Full Circle: Part Twenty-Three of Angel
“. . . You see him
In the corner
Your corona explodes
You stand up and are humbled by the embrace . . .
But you cannot see him
You hug yourself. . .”
I sat with seventeen year old Samuel Throburghe and his friend, Jerry Rohlheim, in what he now considered to be his old home.
Samuel said he was working on a history project with his friend, in the den. “This semester, we have the same class.”
Here, on Tree Creek, there was no L.A. No squatting, no homelessness, and no coping. Sitting across from Jerry, Sam felt this was how life used to be.
“This is a good break,” Sam told himself. “I need to get away from life for a little bit.”
Jerry didn’t know, but Sam would ask him to spend the night. Adam would understand, Sam knew, and his mother would want to talk to about it later. Helen would catch on to what was happening around the house. “As if she couldn’t already tell by the way I dragged ass in the morning.”
Adam had been having more panic attacks.
“I tried to calm him down, but . . . it didn’t work.” Sam said, “Adam wouldn’t even talk to me. I mean, I know he wanted to. I could tell by the way he was acting, but he never would. . . . He seemed to be intent on being helpless.”
Sam felt useless during those times. And he felt a little helpless, too. “I didn’t feel responsible for Adam’s problems,” Throburghe said. But he did feel obligated to at least make Adam feel better when a panic attack was happening. “Adam was becoming more of a loner. [Adam] started going on long walks with his dog.”
Jerry was busy mapping out a timeline in front of me. But I couldn’t see clearly enough to make out what it was of. Jerry told me it was for a history project. “We’re recording the affects of colonization throughout world history.” Jerry added, “You know, something trivial.”
I woke up in the middle of the night. It was dark. I couldn’t feel Adam next to me. When I turned, I saw him sitting on the edge of the bed, with his head in his hands. He was shaking. I touched Adam’s back. He jumped.
“I didn’t know you were awake,” He said.
Adam wiped his eyes. He was crying. My heart dropped.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him.
Adam sniffled and wiped his eyes again.
“Nothing,” he told me. But he was obviously lying.
I asked, “Do you want to talk about it?”
But he said, “No. I should go in the living room so you can get to sleep.”
“I don’t want you to go anywhere.” I told him.
He let me rub his back, this time. I could feel him relax a little more.
“What’s wrong, Adam?”
The next morning, I found him back in bed. There was a cut on his arm. He didn’t want to talk about that, either.
The next two days were the same. Then, on Thursday, Adam saw his therapist.
“And he doesn’t even want to talk to me when it happens.” Sam sat beside Victor.
The sounds of drums were near-deafening. Above those: the rising and falling pitch of the singers. Two men, dressed in full regalia, holding gourd rattles, were dancing in the large circle in the center of the room, blessing the ground. This was the the second gourd dance. Always performed by veterans.
“Well,” Victor was still watching the Mezteca dancers. They were men with tight, lean bodies, who danced to a drum beat furious enough that any god, anywhere, would come closer to watch. They were beautiful, with towering, peacock feathered head dresses, and shell bells. “What about his therapist?”
“Adam’s been seeing him once a week,” He paused to smile and greet one such tinseled buck, who stopped at their table, “but this shit’s still happening.”
“These things take time, Sam.” Victor told him, “From what you’ve said Adam has gone through, you shouldn’t expect him to be better right away.”
“I know . . .” Sam lamented, “I just wish he would let me try.”
Victor gave Sam a re-assuring pat on the shoulder and turned back to the action. Sam sat still, slanted slightly towards Victor, and stared at his hands.
He’s hurting himself.
The words came flooding back to him when he woke up. No disorientation, he knew where he was. And he knew who was lying next to him. Sam cursed himself quietly. Jerry draped his arm over Sam’s shoulder and cuddle in closer, locking Sam into a familiar position.
This is how Adam feels against me, Sam thought, but different.
He cocked his head back to study Jerry’s face. Jerry was the sensitive straight-boy. The guy that everyone wishes was gay. Someone who admitted he wanted to give it a shot.
So here is. Fuck him.
It was all like a dream. But soon, he would have to deal with the consequences. He could lie. But, already, a terrible guilt overwhelmed Sam. I should tell him. But, I can’t, he’ll break up with me and hate me.
Deep inside the room, Sam heard the muffled echoes of crying. He couldn’t make out where it was coming from. Sam stood and left Jerry on the bed.
“Where are you going?” Jerry asked.
Can’t he hear it? Sam looked at Jerry like he was crazy. “Can’t you hear that?” He asked.
“Hear what?” Jerry replied.
“Someone’s crying,” Sam told him, “Help me find where it’s coming from.”
Sam walked around the perimeter of the room.
“Come back to bed,” Jerry whined, “You have a game in four hours.”
“I can’t.” A game? “I need to find out who’s crying.”
A wall across the room, behind the bed, had the loudest sound of all. Sam threw himself against it.
“Com’on, this is the world cup, you need rest.”
Sam’s eyes snapped open.
It was a dream. He had walked Jerry home then came back to Macy’s place.
Adam was sitting up, in bed, crying.
Sam turned around and hugged Adam. “I love you,” He said.