The Saturday Boy, Two Years On
I stared at the letter in front of me. Jack was asking me what was written on it and all I could say so far is that it was from the NHS. To me it all seemed unreal, but a sense of relief that followed a few stray tears was finally coming out of me.
"Well?" Asked Jack, causing me to snap my head up at him.
"It's from my Doctor; he wants to refer me to a councillor."
"Yeah, oh!" I repeated, as if this was all Jack's doing.
"Well, uh… well I think this is a brave thing for you to do Joey.
"I guess this confirms it then, I am officially a mental case."
Jack sighed. "That explains the look of horror then, you think this is a bad thing?"
"Well its hardly bloody good is it, I mean I'm eighteen, I should be enjoying life. I should be full of optimism and energy, and instead I am going to see a shrink to find out if I need locking up."
"Joey, lots of people our age have problems you just don't see it, either that or they are good at hiding them. Don't think the grass is always greener on the other side because it isn't. Look, I think you need to take this as a positive thing… a step towards working things out within you."
"Save the pep talk Jack, all I know is, I am doing this because you want it."
"If that's the only reason then don't bother Joey. If you're not going to do it for yourself then its pointless."
"I'm sorry I'm just angry right now," I said, regretting my last comment, which was in the heat of the moment I felt. Jack just stood there looking at me.
"Would you like me to come with you?"
"Dunno, I haven't even thought that far yet."
Jack came towards me and wiped my wet cheeks dry with his thumb before pulling me into a gentle hug. I wrapped my arms round him and melted into the embrace. I was trying to put my finger on the emotions I was feeling, sure, relief was there, but there was something else, and I think it was slight embarrassment.
"I'll go on my own Jack, its fine. If I don't, I might be tempted to hold stuff back."
"I get that, and don't worry; I'm not hurt that you'd want to do it alone. So when did you arrange all this anyway?"
"A few days ago, I can't remember exactly."
"Well like I said, I think you are doing a good thing here, I'm sure it will help. You and us."
"I hope so, its just…I"
"I dunno, I mean things are going really well for us, and you even said yourself that I am doing much better. All this letter has done is… oh fuck it I dunno!"
"Joey, your demons are still there and sure things have been ok, but I think you are missing the point. Our problems have not just been caused by us directly, they have been caused by a clusterfuck of emotions that have been driving you to do and say the things you have. I'm talking about personality traits that have worked themselves deep inside you."
"I don't understand," I said, probably with a lost expression on my face. Jack's shoulders dropped and he looked up at the ceiling in our room trying to gather the right words I imagined.
"Right, so all couples argue from time to time yeah? Like when one snores in bed, or leaves their finger nails in the carpet."
"Yeah well that's pretty normal. What's not normal is when they are forever looking for an argument with their partner to quell some deeper issues. For instance Joey, your intense suspicion that I am cheating on you with every guy that I talk to. I have never given a reason to think that I am, and yet you still think that. To me that says you may have deeper insecurities that you need to deal with. That's just one guess."
"Jesus, I might as well cancel this and just talk to you; you seem to know it all."
"I know YOU Joey, but I don't have all the answers, you need to discover them for yourself with an expert."
"Ok, well can we just drop this now and I'll give this a try."
"That's all I can ask of you Joey. Fuck babe, you are everything to me, but we were heading for real bad times you saw that right?"
"Yeah I know, and I'm sorry if I got up tight about this, its just hard to accept I might need professional help, you know?"
"Yeah I know Joey, it's a lot to take in, but I one hundred per cent believe that this will do you the world of good. Now you better get ready, you're going out with mum remember?"
"Shit yeah, so um, what are you doing?"
"Well I said to the guys I would go and get the car washed and cleaned inside before you got up. I was thinking about scrapping that seeing as you were up earlier than expected, but now you are going out I guess I can still do that."
I smirked. "Hmm, well I didn't wanna say it, but it's about time."
"You know Joey, there is nothing stopping you taking the car out and getting it cleaned."
I gave Jack my best puppy dog look. "Aww, but you are so good at it."
"No Joey, you are just lazy!"
We both managed a laugh before I pushed Jack backwards causing him to fall on to the bed. Right at that moment our mum walks in and gives me a stern look seeing that I had not yet dressed.
"Going out in just a towel are you?" she said, looking me up and down.
"Sorry we were just talking… and where are we going anyway."
"That's for me to know and for you to not worry about, now hurry up Joey. Jack, stop distracting him and let him get ready."
"Sorry mum," Jack said getting off the bed and leaving the room. Mum followed him out leaving me alone to get some clothes on. Where the hell was she taking me.
Olly and I were sitting in the lounge watching morning TV as Jack came in to join us.
"Hey guys, Joey is getting ready to go out with mum, Olly if you wanna start getting ready I'll drop you at work then I'm going to get the car washed." Jack stated, slumping on to the couch opposite us.
"Mind if I tag along?" I asked, thinking this would be a good time to talk to Jack, once we had dropped Fish off at work. "Maybe we can grab a coffee at McDonalds or something."
"Uh, well yeah sure," Jack said hesitantly, shooting a quick glance at Olly who was busy watching the screen. His face quickly turned to me forming a frown as it did.
"Cool, just let me know when you guys are leaving and I'll grab my sneakers."
I pulled up outside Crimson Cell and placed the hand break on. Olly, who was in the back of my car leant forward and gave roman a kiss on the lips. I took my eyes off the rear view mirror and just stared straight ahead.
I sat listening to the whirr of the engine while the two of them spoke about what they wanted to eat tonight and what time Roman was going to pick Olly up. I felt awkward, I mean, here was I sitting in my car listening to Roman play happy families with Olly knowing full well what conversation was coming. It made me pretty mad, and the wild side of me wanted to scream at Roman and tell him to admit what we did in his room.
I kept my mouth shut!
"Ok Roman, that's sorted then, I'll see you at six… thanks for the lift in Jack, see you later," Olly said, pulling me from my thoughts.
"Y-yeah Olly, and hey, you're welcome. Have a good day."
I continued to stare out into the distance until I heard the back door click before moving off. Travelling down to the first set of traffic lights I stop at a red light and turned to Roman.
"It's not right you know."
"I know, why do you think I'm here?" Roman said, not willing to meet my gaze.
"Because you feel guilty, because you wanna talk, because you're scared I will talk?"
"How about all of the above! I just wanted to get you alone because I can't get this thing out of my head."
"Yeah well me neither." I growled.
"Can we just go somewhere please… somewhere so we can talk about this? I don't want to leave things as they are it's doing my head in."
"How do you think I feel, I have to look at Joey, who might I add needs me right now and rather than concentrating on him every time he says something or looks at me I think he knows."
"I feel the same Jack, I feel the same. But look, I don't want to argue about it, I just wanna talk it out, and put it to rest."
The light turned green and I headed for a turning that would lead me into a quiet road. After driving past a few I decided to pull into an old industrial estate full of abandoned and dilapidated factories. The scene was not so unlike my mood right now.
I pulled to a stop and switched off the engine.
"Here?" Asked Roman, darting his head about.
"Why not, its quiet."
"Hmm, well I guess so."
"Look, before you say anything I've been thinking. I think I am gonna come clean to Joey about what happened." I said turning to face Roman. His face seemed to drain of blood and his ass almost lept off the seat.
"Are… are you fucking crazy."
"Why is that such a bad idea? Honesty is always the best policy I think"
"Why is it such a… fucking hell Jack, well let me see. Firstly, you and Joey will be finished, Olly and I will be finished, the atmosphere at home will be unbearable because Joey will hate both of us, mum will go mad for wrecking the family… I mean, need I go on?"
I thought for a moment about what Roman had declared. It was a frightening thought yes, but living this lie, well that would go on longer than any confession fallout if I was just honest with Joey.
"Well maybe there is a way I can dumb it down a bit."
"Yeah there is Jack, like not saying anything and_"
"And what, forget it happened? We've both tried that remember, and yet here we are sitting in a car in the middle of hell talking about it."
"Jack, I'm serious, you really can't say anything about this, it would be… it would be apocalyptic."
I sighed, quickly and frustratingly. "Why Roman, why did you have to start this?"
"Me? You fucking kissed me remember?"
"Yeah but… but there was nothing in my kiss, it was just to say thanks or something."
"Was saying I think I picked the wrong brother just to say thanks as well?"
"You don't know what I've been through, I was low."
"So you used me? Oh and I think I do know what you have been through Jack, you forget, I've lived it with you, plus the fact Joey has been a fucking handful for me too if you cast your mind back. Did you ever consider that I might be low too?"
"Please don't make this about you Roman."
"I'm not, I'm just trying to made you see that whatever happened between us was not just down to one person. Sure your kiss may have been innocent as you claim, but when you kiss someone you need to understand that what you feel about it may not be the signals you give off to the person you are kissing."
"Are you trying to suggest that from our kiss you thought I was gonna leave Joey, wreck your relationship with Olly and then invite you to go sailing off into the sunset?"
"Now you're just being stupid Jack, I'm not suggesting that at all."
I stopped talking for a moment as I was starting to get irritated. We didn't seem to be getting anywhere fast and I just felt like we were both trying to shift the blame on to the other, which if we were both honest was not really the issue here. The issue was about guilt and deception.
I was a fan of neither!
"I have an idea."
"Go on." Said Roman, a nervous tone in his voice.
"I'm gonna take Joey away for the weekend." I declared before letting the car fall silent. Roman was obviously waiting for me to continue judging by his expression.
"That's it? To solve this, you're gonna take Joey away for the weekend?"
"What If I asked that we put this conversation on the back burner for the time being and for you to trust me."
"So you two go away for the weekend to banish your demons while mine run riot having not resolved this, are you serious?"
"Like I said Roman, I'm asking you to trust me."
"Wanna get the car washed?"
"Oh so conversation over then Jack I gather?"
"We didn't get anywhere, why continue. We can't agree on resolutions so I am asking you to drop it and trust me."
"Guess I don't have a choice."
"It's either that or we just go round and round in circles until it gets dark?"
"Just drive, so we can get this car washed and get home."
Roman slapped his hands on his cheeks and tipped his head back looking exasperated while I got the car started and drove us back out of the estate.
I had a plan!
Buckled up in mum and dad's car I sat there freezing as mum made a three point turn and drove out of the club parking lot. She still hadn't said anything about why she needed me to go out with her or what this was all about. I wondered if she was taking me to pick out a Christmas present as she had done a few years ago when she was unsure about what computer console I wanted. However her mood now from then was much different so I had my doubts. She was almost nervous, restless in fact.
"Erm, would you mind me asking where we are going?" I said as she made a series of erratic turns in what looked like to be the direction out towards the motor way.
"You'll see… I thought maybe we could spend some time together, you know, just you and me."
"It always worries me when you say that, it usually means I'm in trouble," I said, half joking, but all the same wondering if that was the case.
"Nope, not in trouble, and is that really the only time we ever go out?"
"In fact don't answer that, I think I know the answer, which is half the reason of this little outing."
The comment left me confused, but I thought better to question it as mum looked slightly uneasy as she weaved in and out of the traffic trying to find some space on the busy roads out of London.
Sure enough before I knew it we were out on the open road heading out of the City, but where we were heading was anyone's guess.
"Does dad know we are out?"
"I told him last night, why?"
"No reason, just wondering."
"He'll probably be in bed for a while longer anyway, I don't think he slept all that well last night, I think he has a cold coming."
"Are you guys ok?"
"Yes Joey, why wouldn't we be?"
"Dunno, I'm just trying to figure out what all this is about, its like when we get to wherever we are going you are gonna make some big announcement or something."
Mum managed a snigger. "Joey, if there was some big announcement I would do it with your father the way we always do it and that would be round the kitchen table with all three of you boys. No this is about you and me spending some time together."
We had been driving for about forty minutes and mum had recently left the motorway and had headed down a slip road before turning into a small lane filled with trees as far as the eye could see. We were coming up on a sign which I was sure would have the name of the place we were heading to. Sure enough as the board got closer I managed to make out a name.
The lane continued on developing into an incline until the surface beneath became unmade and bumpy. Trees that had started out quite spaced apart at first were now thick and dense either side. As we approached the top of what had obviously been a hill the horizon revealed a huge mansion style building covered in ivy dominated by a large water fountain complete with two cupids reaching for the heavens that sat about fifty feet in front.
"What is this place?" I asked in complete awe of the building that now filled the windscreen.
"I'll tell you when we are parked," was all she said. We continued on passed the building round to the back where a parking lot with spaces for around a hundred cars was located. Mum quickly found a spot and drove into it before switching off the engine.
"Ok mum let's hear it!" I said, really needing her to satisfy my curiosity.
"This Joey, is a health spa, a bloody expensive one."
"Mum, I think you brought the wrong person, shouldn't you have dad with you for a place like this?"
"Nope, because me and my baby boy are gonna have a nice talk in the bar in front of a open log fire and then you my dear are going to experience the delights of what this place has to offer. You can have anything you want… a massage, sauna, a swim… hell you can even have a tanning session if that's what you want."
"Wow, erm… so what are you gonna do?"
"Joey, when a woman goes to a health spa it's a silly question to ask. I'm gonna have everything they have to offer that's what. So you do your thing and I'll do mine and we'll meet somewhere later on. But first things first, let's go have a talk and a drink, some lunch perhaps?"
"Mum, I need to tell you, you are freaking me out, are you about to tell me I'm adopted or something, I just don't get why I am here, and what's this talk all about?"
Mum tutted. "You know kids these days always thing there is an ulterior motive."
"You're damn right!" I said before breaking into a smile.
We got out of the car and mum lead on to what I assumed was the entrance to this mammoth of a building.
It was going to be an interesting day, I could feel it!
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