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Peter Pan Syndrome

I think I finally understand now that there is something wrong with me; the ways I over analyze everything. The doctor tells me otherwise. She says all these nice things like I shouldn’t be so sad because I’m an "extremely cute boy;" things my mother can tell me. She's always laughing and telling me how lucky I am to be so cute and to have such a good personality. I can’t help but wonder if she would still tell me these things if I didn’t sign her name on a check. She also tells me I’m better off than most kids. So I guess just because you have a house and a mother who cooks you dinner everything is supposed to fit right and be okay. Nothing's ever really okay though, you know what I mean? With anybody.

Like right now I’m sitting in class, not really paying much attention to what’s going on with the teacher. I’m just wondering how many of these kids sitting around me are really happy. Is that a weird thing to do? I hope not. It’s just that I wonder some times which one has a drunken father or a dead relative. I wonder which one is lonely and which one has attempted suicide before, and which one has just had their heart broken by some girl or guy. Which one was raped or which one hasn’t ever been loved. I don’t understand how they all cope with it. I can’t help think how much happier everyone used to be before they all grew up. Like when you were never bored and everything seemed to be fine. And the adults always looked happy; because you didn’t know back then that they were just pretending. You didn’t know anything back then. I miss that. I want to go play video games and ride my bike and play house with the girls across the street. But maybe none of these kids I’m looking at were ever happy at all, even when they were little kids, when they are supposed to be. I can’t tell you why, but that really makes me feel sad. So sad that sometimes I can't even sleep at night thinking about it.

I get so messy sometimes that I have to get away from everything and breathe the fresh air and tell myself to calm down. I chain smoke like crazy and some times get all worked up and start crying. I can’t help it; it just comes like a sneeze or a cough. No one's caught me yet. Once my friend asked me why my eyes were so red and I just told her it was from smoking weed. People can’t tell it’s a lie because it’s not too far from the truth, considering I’m almost always high. I feel bad lying but I just don’t want anyone to worry. They all have enough things to worry about. Besides…I like to get high. I don’t get why so many people don’t understand that.

The doctor always asks me if smoking and drinking all the time helps me at all; does it offer me any kind of clarity. I just shrug and say the same thing every time, because I don’t really know myself: it helps for the time being. And I guess that is pretty much anyone can do really; little spurts of joy that allow your brain to shut off, even if it’s just for a little while.

Sometimes on these walks of mine, I talk to my grandmother. I like to let her know how everyone is. Keep her updated on recent events because I know she cares and wants to hear it.

I tell her about my oldest brother and how cute his daughter is. I tell her not to worry about him getting custody because either way he’ll be okay, and he’ll be happy with his steady job and his home where the same kitchen she used to cook me breakfast in is.

I tell her about my sister and how good she is doing in law school and how proud her daughter and her husband are of her. I tell her how she’ll probably end up marrying her boyfriend and they’ll both be great at their jobs and they’ll travel and they’ll be happy. And she'll cook him dinner the nights he can't afford to take her out and they’ll be one of the few living proof's that love between a man and a woman can really exist, and last, and be beautiful. (I tend to leave out the bad because I don't want to upset my grandma. You can understand that, cant you?)

Anyway, I continue and tell her how well her husband's doing. How even though he's more alone than I could ever imagine, he seems happy; even if he can’t kiss her goodnight anymore. I wonder if he talks to her too, and if he tries like I do to tell her everything is okay and that he's fine without her kisses; and her hugs; and her charm; and her smile; and her laugh and the way she walked and the way she talked and the way she spoiled her grandchildren. He’s okay. He still has time to watch us all grow, to start new families.

I tell her about my Father and how proud I am of him to overcome sickness twice. I tell her him and I still see movies together and I’m not embarrassed because someday this man might die and I won’t have a Dad anymore. And a boy without a father is like a boy without arms, without legs, without a mouth, without an ear. Parts are missing forever.

I tell her about her daughter, my mother, and how proud she should be of her. How much trouble she goes through to keep her family safe and happy, and how for the most part, she’s succeeded. How she's always been there for me (then I think this to myself because they are bad thoughts and my grandma can do without them: My mom's always been there for me... been there to take me to doctors, to carry me inside when I got too drunk to crawl up the steps, to give me a bowl when I needed to puke and hold my hair back while I did it, for going to countless teacher parent conferences because I was acting up again. If only she saw how much I cry just thinking about all the times I’ve tortured her. How much I remind her of her shit brother who left his mother to rot in a hospital and let his sister take care of all of it; who no longer sends his nephew's birthday cards. I tell my grandma how she couldn't have raised a better daughter.

Then I get to me. I tell her I'm doing okay in school because all my classes are English classes and for some reason unknown even to me, I’ve always seemed to be better at getting things down in words. (Really; ask anyone who knows me...I’m crazy...I’m terrible in social situations...they make me all...nervous). But then I stop and realize that is pretty much all I have to tell her about me. I’d like to tell her that I quit smoking and drinking and I joined the school newspaper and a band and am getting straight A’s and helping poor children in Africa somewhere or something.

I’d like to tell her that I met this beautiful girl after class one day when she dropped her books in front of me on accident; like in the movies. I’d tell her how sometimes, not always mind you, just times like when she smiles in a really cute way or tells a funny joke, and our eyes meet and I suddenly get lost in the blue as if I was looking at some sort of ocean; an ocean only I can see; where I can lose myself until she blinks or looks away.

And I’d tell her how last night she was crying real hard over her Aunt's death, and how I kissed her. And how it was amazing and it didn't matter that it was wet with tears....nothing in the world ever felt so right. Like we were both puzzle pieces falling into the right blank spaces. Like we both belonged somewhere. I was happy knowing that for a few short minutes I meant something to someone who wasn’t just a family member...where it's not just there because that’s how things are supposed to be...

Maybe though, I’m not so sure, I will be on one of these walks and will be able to tell her all of this has happened.

It’s at this point I start getting really messy, because I understand that she can see right through all my lies and stupid daydreams. I know all she sees is a hurt boy, who’s not so sure why he is hurting, or how he wound up feeling this way, and doesn't quite want to give up his childhood yet, despite his age. And I wish she could listen and watch me and see the little boy hopping off the bus with his mushroom hair cut; laughing and smiling and kicking rocks up and down the street, excited for the dinner his grandma is preparing especially for him and wondering whether or not this time she'd slip him a cookie before the table was set....

I wish I could tell her everything is fine. But I wipe my tears and continue walking and I get to this place off an old dirt road where there's this big pond, and purple flowers and trees hanging over the water and ropes with wooden swings attached to them. You know a place where you can sit and think back of all the things that have happened to you so far, and all the things that are yet to happen, and you wonder how you got to where you are and if there was anything you could have done to get somewhere else. A place that could really make a kid think. Maybe a kid sat here before whose mom died and he came here to think and be alone or smoke and get high and just forget about everything for a little bit. I light up another cigarette and stop convincing myself that I’m not just talking to me. I tell her I miss her and I love her and that I hope I am somewhat making her proud...even if it’s very little.

I go back to my room and my roommate asks me if I’d like to go get something to eat or my mother calls and we get into an argument because she doesn’t realize what I tried to say before. She doesn’t realize how much I appreciate her. No one ever realizes anything.

I always let my roommate leave before I do so I can check myself in the mirror and make sure it isn’t obvious what I’ve been up to. Somehow, each time I go I look at myself and tell myself things will get better. I tell myself everything will be okay. I feel that's what everyone should know or at least have hope for...don’t worry, one day you’ll wake up, and it will all just…be okay.

Either that or fucking hang yourself. I still have hope for the former...but it's steadily deflating.

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