Starting Over

by Tony A

Chapter 5

"Okay, Matthew, tell me what you were feeling emotionally when you were punching him," Dr. Siegel stated calmly in that voice that every psychiatrist must practice.

I should probably explain why I'm talking to a therapist. After I beat up Sam to a bloody pulp and got suspended, my parents were concerned that I might be mentally unstable and that it would be "beneficial" for me to talk through my feelings. So now here I am talking to this therapist who keeps his face expressionless and the tone of his voice neutral, which is really unnerving to me because he seems like a robot.

"I felt angry," I wasn't really giving him much, but he still persisted.

"Why were you angry?" All I can focus on is his notepad, where he takes down his little notes whenever I start talking. It makes me not want to say anything.

I looked down at my hands, I couldn't help but fidget. I didn't really want to answer that, "I don't know, I just was."

"Was there a specific reason you punched him. Was it something he said?"

You can bet it was something that that asshole said, but I wasn't about to tell him that. "I don't know -- I don't remember."

"Do you not know or do you not remember, which one?"

"Um... both," I looked up at him weakly.

"Matthew I know that you don't really want to be here," that's an understatement," but I think it would really help if you talked about your emotions."

"Well, I don't know about that."

"How about this, I'm just going to ask you some simple questions, okay."

It's not like I have a choice, "Okay,"

"Did your anger come from something that Sam did?"


"Did he say something or was it something he did physically?"

"Both, he said things then he did -- something physical,"

"Did you punch him out of self defense?"

"No, I punched him because he hit Cole," I said it before I could even think. I did not mean to mention Cole.

"Cole? Whose Cole?"

Well that's a loaded question. Cole is my lab partner, friend, obsession, person who hates me now. "Cole is... Cole was just in the bathroom when it happened."

"What does Cole have to do with the situation?"

He has everything to do with the situation, he is the situation, "He got caught up in what was happening with me and Sam."

"Why did Sam hit Cole?"

"Because-- because Sam doesn't like Cole,"

"Why doesn't Sam like Cole?" God can he ever just accept my answer without adding on another question. He's giving me a headache.

"He just doesn't," I said snidely.

"Why doesn't he," Dr. Siegel pressed.

And I cracked, "Because Cole is gay and he was kissing me in the bathroom and Sam saw us together and thought that Cole was forcing me, which is ridiculous because I could easily fight off Cole if I wanted to, but I didn't want to, I wanted to kiss him because I freaking like him a lot. Is that so wrong?" I huffed, then looked up at Dr. Siegel and for once his face changed from neutral to surprised.

Right after my tirade he started taking a bunch of notes then he said, "I see you're ready to talk. Tell me about Cole."

"Uh what is there to tell. I apparently didn't know him for very long because before my accident I didn't interact with him much. Wait you do know about my accident and condition right?"

"Yes your parents informed me that you were in a football accident and I also have your hospital records, I know that you have retrograde amnesia. Please continue,"

"Okay, well after the accident when I came back to school I recognized him, which was a weird feeling for me since I didn't really recognize anyone, but when I saw him he seemed so... familiar to me. Also, we're lab partners so we have to interact, but the more I was around him, the more I had feelings for him... like an attraction to him. Again that was another thing that was weird, being attracted to Cole, because apparently before the accident I was dating a girl. Anyway, on the day that I got suspended I was in the bathroom with Cole and we were talking and I was finally ready to show him how I felt and we kissed briefly before that asshole Sam came in and basically ripped Cole away from me."

I looked up and Dr. Siegel was taking so many notes and I got anxious all over again, "You're not going to tell my parents what I say, right?"

He looked up at me over his glasses, "Of course not, I have a strict doctor patient confidentiality rule. I won't tell them anything that you say as long as it doesn't hurt yourself or others.These sessions are for your benefit."

"Okay. Well after Sam pulled Cole away from me he started calling Cole a faggot and just being horrible to him and I tried stopping him, then he hit Cole and I just lost it and threw Sam to the ground and then just started beating his face in until someone pulled me off of him," I kept an even tone but I could feel the anger seeping back into me.

"Did you feel any remorse after you did that?"

"No," I stated simply and I saw his face change into something I couldn't quite place but I knew it wasn't a good expression," I mean, why would I? He deserved it, he hit Cole."

"Why is Cole so special to you?"

I had to think for a moment because I honestly don't know its like something in the deep recesses of my mind is telling me that he is important but I still don't know the reason.

"I have amnesia, so nothing makes sense to me anymore, but the only thing that I have been sure of is that Cole is important to me, I don't know why, but he's the only thing that makes sense to me."

After the incident that caused my suspension my parents made a deal with the principal that I would see a therapist about my apparent "anger issues". My parents only wanted me to go twice, once for an evaluation and a second for a follow-up. But after going just once I felt that the session was a good outlet for me and I felt the doctor a person I could trust enough to tell all my thoughts and emotions. So I decided that I wanted to make regular appointments with him and my parents were more than happy with that decision. I knew they were worried about me lately, so was Kevin and everyone else I have to deal with on a regular basis. They're worried because after that violent outburst I had a week ago, I've become "emotionally withdrawn".. No one can figure out exactly why, they all have their theories, but I haven't told anyone why I've been in this state, not even Dr. Siegel (who I now trust the most). I won't tell anyone, if I don't admit it to myself or others maybe it won't exist, If I just push my ever growing problems far out of sight maybe, just maybe, it won't bother me anymore. Maybe Cole will just get out of my head, because he is the problem and after all he meant "nothing" to me anyways.

I've been back to school for two days now, after my week long suspension and getting back into the swing of things has been even harder than when I came back to school after my accident. Everyone's treating me the same, if not better because I beat up Sam. I guess he would always get on people's nerves and they thought he deserved a beating. Anyways, Kevin thinks I'm starting to get back to normal because he said I never liked Sam either and that I always talked about fighting him but never did.

No one even knows why I punched him in the first place, everyone at school has made up their own stories on why they think I did it. Some say I did it because he was hooking up with Ava behind my back, but Ava quickly dispelled those rumors. Some girls say that Sam insulted Ava and I heard him and that's why I punched him because I was defending her honor, which was a rumor she didn't dispel. Some say that I hit him because he was talking shit about my amnesia. Some people even said I did it because I found out that he had something to do with my accident that caused the amnesia. Everyone's coming up with these elaborate explanations when the real story is much more simple. Only me, Sam and Cole know what really happened.

Surprisingly neither of them have told the real story. Sam probably hasn't told the real story because he probably was so confused by what was really happened that he doesn't even know the real story. And Cole probably hasn't told because he doesn't want anyone to know that he was there. No one even knew that Cole was part of the equation, they just think it was me and Sam. If only they knew, Cole was the reason why I hit Sam. Either way, after all this commotion my social life is still somehow stuck in the cliche High School jock world, which just consists of obnoxious jocks and the stuck up hot girls who follow them around.

"Matty, baby! I've missed you bae." Speaking of stuck up hot girls, Ava Luciani is now standing right behind me, putting me sandwiched between my locker and her (so that I wouldn't be able to escape, I'm guessing). God, If she doesn't make me cringe, then I don't know what does.

I turned around to face her, "Hey, Ava, can you not call me Matty," I said with a very forced smile on my face.

"Why I used to call you that all the time," she said with a pout.

I imagine that I didn't like it back then either, "Okay, well I've changed now".

"You sure have," she said under her breath and then looked back up at me. I have to admit she is really beautiful, I can see why I went for her in the first place. "Honey, why haven't you talked to me, you don't call or text me. It's like you're totally ignoring me and this came out of nowhere." She said with sad face that she looked like she practiced in the mirror.

"Well if you don't remember, the last time we talked you called me an asshole because I didn't sit next to you in class and then you stormed off dramatically. I thought you didn't want to have anything to do with me."

"Ahh, I can't believe you took that so seriously darling. I was just slightly emotional, you should know I didn't mean anything about it. I still want to be with you." She said while simultaneously looking done at her phone and probably texting someone. Now, I remember why I don't like her, she may be pretty but she's a fake bitch.

I stared at her for a while in disbelief as she ignored me and continued texting. Then I decided to humor her for a bit just to see where this was going. "Why are you just trying to contact me now. It's been two weeks since we last talked. You could've contacted me sooner."

She looked up from her phone and looked at me like she was interested in what I had to say,"Well," I could see her searching for the right words to say. I guess she didn't expect me to ask this question. "I just wanted to give you some space. I didn't want to be clingy, no one likes a clingy girlfriend".

There was the word "girlfriend", does she honestly think she's my girlfriend? I didn't think we were at that stage, especially after my memory loss.

She saw me thinking so she quickly added, "Plus I heard what you did for me and I thought it was so sweet." She gushed while touching my arm, lightly caressing me and pushing herself closer to me.

"What are you talking about? What did I do for you?"

"You forget so easily don't you. Last week when you punched Sam because he was talking shit about me. I didn't know you were that protective of me. It's nice to see that side of you," she got even closer to me, if that was even possible."It really turns me on to see a guy who's willing to fight for me," Then she wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me. Not just a peck either but passionately, open mouthed type of kissing. I'm not gonna lie, she's a good kisser, she had me transfixed for a second, then I pushed her off of me and just looked down at her.

Then I caught something or more like someone out of the corner of my eye. Cole. Yes, Cole was standing there; because my life is one big horrible twist of fate, the person standing there witnessing my kiss with Ava was none other than Cole. Who looked downright betrayed as he quickly turned the other way and hurried down the hall.

My fucking life! It's like I'm destined to never do anything right. I let my guard down for a second and I'm punished for it. I didn't think and I just let the kiss happen. Partly because I wanted to see if I would actually like it. But mainly because I was curious to see if maybe Ava and I could be a real thing. Maybe if I did enjoy the kiss then my life would be less complicated.

Without even thinking if this was the right thing to do or not I went running after Cole. Regardless of whether I might have enjoyed the kiss with Ava, I knew deep down that Cole was still most important. Even if it's not quite apparent why, I still knew I had to make things right with him.

I saw him turn down a more secluded hallway that leads to a back stairwell. He was just about to open the door to the stairway when I called out to him.

"Cole," I huffed out as I quickly came towards him, his back was still turned to me but he stopped, he didn't turn around though. "Cole, you have to let me explain," I said desperately.

He just stood there stock still, as if he was frozen. I almost thought he was until he said in the quietest voice, "Explain what?"

He said it so evenly as if nothing had happened. I would've thought that he hadn't seen the kiss by the way he's acting now. "You know, about the kiss."

He did a big exhale and turned around to look at me and to my surprise his eyes were shiny with the hint of a tear brimming over. He looked up at me with his sad crystal blue eyes and my heart felt too tight in my chest. My heart ached, honestly.

He wiped the tear before it fell and looked confused, "Why do you think you need to explain that? I get it, I honestly get it,"

"No, I don't think you do, I --"

"Matt, " He said sharply and a little bit too loudly.

I tried to touch him but he dodged my hand, he continued, "Matt, I don't think you get it. You don't have to explain anything to me." He looked up at me sadly, "She's your girlfriend. Okay. I understand that. I also understand that you're getting back to your old life. It was inevitable, I knew it would happen eventually. That's why I never had hope for the 'new you'. And that's okay." He said solemnly.

"No that's why I have to explain, she kissed me. I still like you--"

"Stop! Just stop it. Stop trying to justify everything. Okay, it takes two people to kiss, especially the way you guys were kissing. Also, stop messing around with me. I've had enough of it. My fucking feelings!" He said the last part while looking up at the ceiling like he was willing himself not to cry. But once he looked back at me it was like he was a different person,he had no tears and a hardened demeanor on his face. "I can't be jerked around on this emotional roller coaster you want to keep me on. I can't be this vulnerable anymore, it's unhealthy for my mental state. One minute your so very much into me and the next your hanging off your girlfriend. Then you punch a guy for calling me a faggot but then you go back to hanging out with all those jocks who bully me all the time. Kevin especially, who, by the way, is your best friend. Then you kiss me... and I just don't know what to believe anymore."

"Hey, believe, me. I've never lied to you, I like you a lot and I've never lied about that. Any time that I kissed you, I meant it. When I punched Sam, you better know that I fucking meant it. I know I'm being confusing but it's because I don't know what's going on half the time. I'm just learning as I go along. But you," I stopped and looked into his and touched his cheek, which he swatted away.

"No, I'm serious Matt, you can be a smooth talker all you want but I'm not falling for it. I know you still have this memory loss thing and you've come back from your accident as a 'changed' person but I just can't get caught up in all your drama. Which you seem to have a lot of. I'm so anxious all the time, I can't concentrate on my school work and now my grades are going down, I can barely get my thoughts straight because all I can think about is you. I'm always thinking about whether your going to like me today or are you going to go back to forgetting all about me. Or I'm thinking about if you just did that kiss as a prank and if I'm going to somehow be fooled by you again and I just can't handle all this quintessential teenage angst. I'm sick and tired of it!" By the end of his speech he was red and flushed in the cheeks.

One thing that he said stood out to me, "Wait, what did you mean by, 'you don't want to be fooled by me again'? When did I fool you before?"

He looked up dumbfounded, "I didn't mean -- I just meant that." He looked up like he'd been caught. "Okay fine since you don't remember I'll tell you what I meant. It was probably a month before your accident. I got this letter in my locker and it was a really nice note that was from a 'secret admirer'. The note just said 'your crystal blue eyes are the only thing that keeps me going', I remember because I'd never had anyone say something so nice to me before. The note also said 'meet me by the back of the school by the exit after school'. I was so over joyed that someone had taken an interest in me so I couldn't wait to see who it was. Well, at the end of that day I went to the back of the school and I saw you leaning up against the wall looking casual. I was so excited because I couldn't believe it was you but I was nervous because I still wasn't sure. I was walking towards you and you actually looked happy to see me but then it all turned to shit when Kevin came up behind me and I instantly knew it had been a set up."

As he was telling the story every word was like deja vu, like I had somehow heard this story before. But I still couldn't believe it, my head was spinning and I felt like all the air left my body and I was about to hyperventilate."Wait," I said slightly out of breath because I was freaking out. I was remembering. I finally remembered something and it was probably the last thing I wanted to ever remember. "I know what happens next. I think-- I think I remember. Kevin came up behind you and I wasn't expecting him but I played along. Then I tried to cover up why I was just standing there so I said that I just found you standing here and I called you a faggot... didn't I? Then Kevin laughed and he pushed you into the wall and started taunting you and calling you names. And I didn't stop him. Even though I so desperately wanted to stop him, but I had to keep up my reputation so I joined in. Soon it escalated and Kevin punched you in the stomach and you fell to the ground and he was going to kick you but I stopped him. I told him we had to go before someone saw us."

I opened my eyes to look at Cole, because I guess my eyes were closed while I was telling the story and he looked petrified. Like he was reliving the experience. He looked just as scared as I felt. "Oh my fucking God. I can't believe I did the same thing to you that Sam did to you. The thing that made me punch him." I actually had a tear come down my face. This is the first time I've ever cried, at least to my memory.

He looked more devastated now that I knew,"So your memory's coming back. See Matt, this is why I can't do this anymore. I knew from the beginning, but I still got caught up." He paused for a minute and just stared at the ground thinking, then said, "I just can't get comfortable with you just for that to happen all over again. For me to think this could be something and then at any time you rip the carpet from under me and I won't know what hit me. So I just want to end this before I really get hurt." He turned away like he was about to leave but I pulled him back by his arm and turned him around roughly.

"Cole, look, I remember, the note. That note was real, that moment outside the school that day would've been real but Kevin had to come and mess it all up. I really was your admirer and I wanted to tell you that day. But things just got out of hand. Please, believe me," I said almost too desperately for my liking.

He searched my face with his eyes and I don't think he found what he was looking for, "I can't get wrapped up in this chaos that you somehow always get me in, it's too much. I try to act like I'm really strong, but I break easier than I'd ever like to admit. And by the way, If you really had liked me you would've never let that happen." He said firmly then yanked his arm out of my grip and walked through the door.

Leaving me looking like a pathetic mess with tears streaming down my face. I knew I had finally lost it. I had lost all hope.

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