Knots, Book 4
by Elias Scott
Matt's pretty much told you what happened, but I thought maybe I'd let you know what I was thinking. When my dad first told me we had to go to counseling, I wasn't too happy about it. I had the idea Dr. Walker was going to talk to our parents about what went on because they were paying the bill. But once I found out it was all private, I felt more comfortable. The way I opened up surprised me. I think it's because, unlike a lot of guys, Matt and I talk a lot and he forces me reflect on things.
Just about the time I thought I was off the hot seat and Walker was going to talk to Matt, he asked me about Dillon.
"Tell me a little about your relationship with Dillon. What's his last name?" "Burke. Dillon Burke. Do we need to talk about him?"
"Don't you want to?"
I was hoping he'd leave it at that, but he asked, "Why?"
"Uh. Uh. I don't know. He hurt me. I was ready to kill myself over him."
Dr. Walker wrote something on his yellow notepad. "If the same thing happened today, how do you think you would react?"
I started pacing with my wheelchair. "I don't know."
Instead of asking me more questions, he turned to Matt.
My heart jumped when he looked at me.
"You were raped by Dillon Burke. Is that right?"
"I don't want to go into detail on this right now because I'd rather do it with you separately, but from the little I got from your parents, they told me you didn't approve of Andy's relationship with Dillon Burke. Is that true?" I nodded.
"Something never seemed right. He was a couple of years older and I thought it was odd that a guy his age would be spending so much time with Andy."
I wasn't sure I liked where this was going so I tried to move him away from the subject. "Do we have to talk about this now?"
He looked at each of us and crossed his legs. "Like I said, I won't go into great detail, but Andy said you gave your virginity to him to save his life, and while you're both here, I'd just like to delve into what happened prior to that."
"I really don't like talking about it."
"To be honest, I'm not sure. I just don't want to."
Damn, he liked that word. Why? I think that deep down I resented the fact Andy put me in the position of making me feel like I had to save his life. If he'd have listened to me, I wouldn't have been raped, Andy wouldn't have had a relationship with Dillon, and he wouldn't have been thinking about committing suicide. I sure wasn't going to tell him that.
"Are you avoiding the question because you're hiding something?"
I raised my voice a little. "NO. I just don't want to talk about it."
"Damn, Matt. Open up," Andy said. "Matt warned me a lot about Dillon and I ignored him. The sex was great and Dillon told me he loved me."
Andy lowered his head, then looked up and replied in a low, quiet voice filled with shame. "No."
"If you had to do it all over again, what would you do?"
"I'd listen to Matt."
Walker wrote something down and turned back to me. It appeared he was going to get my secret out one way or another. "How do you feel about that, Matt?"
"I wish he had listened to me." And then came the inevitable question.
"None of this stuff would have happened." It surprised me to hear those words come out of my mouth. A nice simple short sentence that said everything I felt.
Andy's face didn't change. I expected him to look angry.
"Andy, how does it make you feel to hear Matt say that?"
Dr. Walker sat there tapping his pen on the yellow pad, waiting.
"A little angry, a little hurt, and very stupid, because while it hurts and makes me angry, I know Matt is right."
"If I understand you correctly," Dr. Walker said, "what you're saying in so many words is that actions have consequences. Is that true?"
"Doc, you're right on. Look at me sitting in this wheelchair with my arm and leg in a cast and a tooth missing. Yeah, actions have consequences."
Walker paused for a couple of seconds before asking, "Who are you angry at, who hurt you, and why do you feel stupid?"
Andy went silent again. I wanted to come to his defense, as if there was anything I could do. Andy wasn't even under attack.
"I don't want to answer those questions, Doc. But I need to." Andy paused. "I'm angry at myself, I hurt myself, and it's all because I made stupid decisions."
Walker was on a roll. "Do you think you'd be in that wheelchair now, if you'd have never gotten involved with Dillon Burke?"
"That has nothing to do with this," I said. But I should have kept my mouth shut because you know exactly what came next.
"Why do you say that, Matt?"
"I don't know. It just doesn't."
"But you said that if Andy had never gotten involved with Dillon Burke, none of the rest of this might have happened. That's true, isn't it?"
Then Walker came after me. "Do you feel the same way Andy feels? Are you angry, hurt, and feeling stupid over everything that happened?"
"Who are you angry at?"
"I don't know."
"Why are you hurt?"
"I don't know."
"Do you feel stupid?"
"Why?" Damn. I had no idea that word WHY was so powerful. It reminded me of when I was a little kid and did something wrong and my mother asked me why I did it.
"I can't tell you right now Doctor Walker. Maybe later." I sure wasn't going to tell him in front of Andy that I was angry at Andy, hurt that Andy didn't listen me, and stupid for feeling it was my responsibility to save Andy's life. There had to be other things I could have done. Having sex with him that night seemed like the best choice. But after everything that's happened since, I'm not sure.
Dr. Walker wrote something down. "I'll accept that. We'll come back to that at another time."
Ole Walker had Matt on the ropes. Hell, he fidgeted and squirmed and didn't want to tell Walker anything. I got the sense that Matt was angry at me for everything that happened, as if I'd forced him to do anything. There's no way of knowing for sure. It's just the feeling I got.
Walker stuck with Matt. "We only have a little time left. Matt, are you angry with Andy?"
"From what I understand you have been best friends since you were little kids. Is that right?"
A look of relief passed over Matt's face. "Yes."
"Did you ever think about having sex with Andy before the night you gave him your virginity?"
The look of relief disappeared.
I knew that was a lie.
"Andy said that when you gave him your virginity it made him feel loved. Do you love Andy?"
"Is that why you did it?"
"Yes. I was afraid he might kill himself and I didn't want to lose him."
I wanted to jump out of my chair and give Matt a big hug.
"Did giving him your virginity change your relationship?"
Walker sure likes that word.
"We started having sex all the time. It was the only thing I thought about. Andy had plenty of sex with other people before that night, but it was all new to me, and I went kind of crazy."
"Do you think that's normal?"
I couldn't wait to hear his answer.
"I don't know. I suppose so. All I know is that before that night I thought a lot about sex, but wasn't possessed by it. After that night, I was possessed."
Then Walker hit him with the next worst question. "How does that make you feel now?"
"Like I said, possessed."
"You mean like you were possessed by the devil?"
"No, you know what I mean. Sex possessed me. Not the devil."
"Did you lose your free will?"
Damn, what a question.
Matt didn't say anything at first, but then he looked down at his fingers and mumbled, "I don't know. I really don't know."
"Either you had a choice or you didn't. Which was it?"
I remember thinking he should let himself off easy and just say, the devil made me do it. But he was holding back, and I sensed he was angry and might leave the room. But Matt isn't the type to give up. So he hung in there.
Matt's face went blank but his eyes showed anger. "A little of both. I wanted the sex but didn't like the idea that I'd lost control of my life," he blurted out. "Andy and I had sex every day for a whole week because our parents let us stay home from school to be together. They were worried about Andy. I lost count of the number of times we had sex. It never seemed like enough. And of course, it continued after that week. It was like I'd lost myself."
"Did that make you angry?"
"At yourself or Andy?"
I think Matt wanted to take the fifth, but we weren't in court.
"Both," he spat out.
There it was. He blamed me. I knew it.
Walker turned to me. "Andy, how does that make you feel?"
He really liked asking that question. "I don't know."
"I want you to think about it between now and the next time we meet." I expected him to go on, but instead he said, "This has been a good session. Next week, I'll meet with Matt at 10:00 AM and Andy at 11:00 AM. Is that okay with you two?"
We both nodded. He set his yellow notepad down, stood up, and patted each of us on the back. "See you both next week."
Matt nodded. "Fine." He didn't sound too happy about it.
"Andy, I'll see you right after Matt."
Matt ended the session with a question of his own. "How many times will we have to meet?"
Dr. Walker walked with us into the outer office. "I'm not sure. We'll play it by ear."
I couldn't tell you why, but I wished we could do it for a whole year. Matt, on the other hand, would have liked to see it end that day.
My dad was late so Matt grabbed the back of my chair and started to push me out of the office to the elevator. The halls were empty because it was Saturday.
"Stop," I said. "I don't need you pushing me. You might push me down the stairs."
"What the hell are you talking about? Why would I push you down the stairs?"
"You might have tried to cover it up in there, but you blame me for everything. Admit it."
"Andy, this was just our first session. I didn't know what I was saying. Hell, I'm all confused. Not you, of course. You have it all figured out."
I moved toward the elevator. "You told Dr. Walker you were angry at both of us. Why in the hell are you angry at me? I didn't force you to do anything."
Matt moved in front of my chair and I stopped. "Look, Andy. You're right. You didn't force me to do anything, but you created the circumstances. You ignored my warnings about Dillon. What I said was true; if you hadn't gotten involved with Dillon, maybe none of this would have happened. We wouldn't have had to go to court, we probably would have never met Derrick and become teenage whores. You're trying to avoid any blame. It's like when you broke your leg. Poor Andy. Please feel sorry for me."
I moved the chair toward him. "Get out of my way."
"You can't have it both ways. You said that you felt loved the night I gave you my virginity because you knew it was special. I did it because I love you. Yeah, I wanted sex. I'm a normal teenager, but I'd have never done it if I didn't love you and was afraid of losing you. I said the same thing to Dr. Walker."
"Maybe so, but I'm not to blame."
Matt pressed the button on the elevator door. "This isn't about who's to blame. It's about understanding about how we feel. The feelings are going to be there whether we admit to them or not. And the truth is Andy, I am angry at both of us. Was it really necessary for us to have sex to save your life? I could have just spent the week with you playing basketball, jogging around the park, throwing the football around, making popcorn and watching TV. You just needed your best friend around. And what did I do, I had sex with you. I blame myself because I didn't look at the other options and deep down I blame you for getting involved with Dillon. That's the truth of matter. Do you disagree?"
The elevator doors opened and I used the time it took to get my wheelchair in to think about my answer. "Uh. It wouldn't have been the same. The sex brought us closer together and it was what I needed."
"Right, Andy. It was what you needed. I wanted it, but didn't need it. You would have survived."
Matt pressed the ground button and we headed down. "Hopefully, your dad's waiting for us."
I hit the stop button "I can't believe how much Dr. Walker got out of us today. You're probably right. He's right. This is all about understanding our feelings. It doesn't mean they are right or wrong. They're our feelings and it's good to share them. We wouldn't be talking about this now if you'd have kept it all inside. You would have still been angry. But now at least I know." I looked up at him and smiled. "But that doesn't mean I'm not pissed. But I guess I'll let you push me out to the sidewalk. Just promise me you won't give me a hard push into the middle of the street."
We both laughed. Then Matt said, "Shit, you'd be dead and I would have lost my virginity for nothing."
"You're right. Maybe I should give it back to you."
"If only you could," he said.
I looked back at him. "Does this mean you don't love me or want to have sex anymore?"
"Andy, the bell has rung and can't be un-rung. The knots are tied and all we can hope is that we can untie a few of them. We're only sixteen and we have our whole lives ahead of us, at least I will, after I roll you into the middle of the street."
"You're an asshole, Matt."
"I know. But seriously, we've taken ourselves in too many wrong directions and tied too many knots. We need to do something to make life right. We need to recreate ourselves. For some, stupidity lasts forever. I don't want that to happen to us. My dad says that it's not important how many times you fall, but that we rise each time we do. It's time we got up. I may have thought therapy was a lot of crap, but we're lucky our parents are doing this for us."
"Matt, you really are a philosopher. Our talks are what made it so easy for me to talk to Dr. Walker today. You think about things, and while it might hurt a bit, I think you're right."
"Too bad neither of us stopped ourselves from doing stupid things. Aren't you a little angry with yourself too?" he said.
"When he asked you about making your choices and about the decisions you made, I knew it right away. I didn't want to admit it at first, but we made some stupid decisions. I'll have to take some of the blame. But that doesn't get you off the hook. You had free will. I didn't force you to do anything, but as much as I hate to admit it, if I'd have never gotten involved with Dillon, and let my dick and the dark emptiness inside me do the thinking for me, none of the shit that came down on us would have happened."
Matt rolled my wheelchair toward the street until it ran off the curb. "Let's just say we're both to blame because it's true, and we're both a little angry with the other, but hell, that's life, and I can live with it if you can."
I looked back at him. "Are you going to kill me now or what?"
He pulled the chair back up on the sidewalk. "No, I think I'll save that for another day."
My dad pulled up to the curb in front of us. He'd rented a wheelchair-accessible van for the few weeks I was in the chair so it would make everything a lot easier.
"How'd the session go?" he asked.
"Great, Dad. Thanks for sending us."
"Am I hearing you correctly? You mean you're not angry?"
"Well, I'm angry at Matt, but not you."
"Can't tell you. Our counseling sessions are a secret."
Andy was a little pissed after the session, but we straightened everything out.
My dad met me at our door. "So how'd it go?"
"Is that all you have to say?"
I hugged him.
"What's that for?"
"I don't know. I just felt like doing it."
He squeezed me, let go, and patted me on the back as I walked into the living room to talk to my mom.
She looked up from her book. "I see you're still alive."
"Yep. Dr. Walker's cool."
"What'd you talk about?"
"Our feelings. He loves asking why. It got to me."
My dad grinned. "Why?"
"You think you're funny, don't you? Well, if we said something about how we felt, he'd want to know why we felt that way. I felt put on the spot. But all in all, I like Walker."
"What do you mean 'put on the spot'?" my mom asked.
I gave her a smile. "Why?"
"I want to know."
She laughed. "I get the point."
My dad sat in his recliner. "Sit down for a second. We don't want to know what you talked about, but I'd like to know if you took anything away from your session that will help."
I avoided the temptation to ask WHY. "I've been joking about Dr. Walker always asking why, but it really helped. It made me think why I did some of the things I've done, or maybe I should say that Andy and I have done. I'm not sure I ever really thought about it before."
My dad scratched his head. "Anything else?"
"He loved asking 'how does that make you feel?'. He made me realize I was carrying a lot of anger."
"No, at myself and Andy."
A look of relief crossed my parents' faces.
I looked at them. "You are not responsible for anything that happened. You have always made me feel loved and cared for. I've always known your love is unconditional. It was me. I made some bad decisions. That's kind of the gist of it. All I can say is I'm sorry for letting you down. I'm ashamed. It's in the past though. Andy and I were talking, and it's the future that counts. We've lost the innocence of our youth and can never get it back, but maybe we can at least learn from our mistakes and do better. We have our whole lives ahead of us."
My dad had to ask: "What about the sex? Are you still going to have sex?"
"That's a tough question, Dad. I don't think I can answer it. Like I told Andy, you can't unring a bell, but you can untie a knot. We're going to do our best, but at this point in our lives, sex may be different for us. But I don't think it will end. We promise not to prostitute ourselves again. You can count on that."
"That's a relief. And what about football?"
"All I can do is take it one day at a time. Frank isn't as good as me, but, as you know, I've had other things on my mind. My focus should be better, and I'm going to get the starting job. When it comes to junior class president, I doubt I'll make it. My reputation has been tarnished. I'm no longer Saint Matthew as Andy likes to say. But I'm going to run. You can learn as much, if not more, from losing than winning. After we lose a football or basketball game, I think a lot more about what I could do to improve than if we'd won."
Both my parents smiled. They looked like, at least for the moment, that they believed they had their Matthew back. But the Matthew they'd known was gone and a new one had to rise out of the ashes like the Phoenix. I wasn't sure I could do it, but I was going to give it my best shot.
The worth of a person is not determined by a single failure or a solitary success. However we stumble, it is the teacher's burden to always hope, that with learning, a boy's character might be changed and so the destiny of the man. – The Emperors' Club
Life is not about finding yourself, but about creating yourself. - George Barnard Shaw as quoted by Troye Sivan
It's not living that's important, but living rightly. – Socrates
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