Prisons Without Bars
When the doctor left, I looked at my mother standing by my bedside with her arms crossed. "Mom, why can't I go to the dance? I have a date already lined up. It would be wrong to bail on her."
"Her?" my mom asked, lifting her brows. "Her who?"
"Gina. She works in the office at school. She's the one with the short brown hair and pretty smile." I said. You probably saw her when you took me to the school on the day of the debate meet. She's the one who invited me to the girl's choice dance. "
"Well. Perhaps I'll give it some consideration."
"Thanks. Dad agreed to drive us all to the dance and then let us hang out at our house after the dance. It's all arranged."
"Exactly who is 'all of us'?"
"It's gonna be me, Scotty, Kirk, William and our dates."
"Oh, no. I don't like that group at all and I don't approve of you going back to our house. Those gangsters could still be watching it. If I let you go at all, it will be with you and your date alone."
"Mom," I whined. "We have it all planned. Dad will be there with us. It's not like we'll be unsupervised."
"Discussion is over. I do not approve of your choice of friends. You get some rest and I'll be back tomorrow." She leaned over the bedrail and brushed my forehead with a gentle swipe of her hand and touched my cheek. I feigned a smile over my gritted teeth. As she turned to leave, I called after her.
"Mom, did the police give you back my things?"
"Yes." She twisted her expression into a disdainful look and added, "Including your 'soiled' clothes."
I felt embarrassed at that obvious reference to my urine stained underwear, but asked, "Well then, will you bring me my cell phone when you come back? There's a ton of peeps I need to call and text."
Without looking back she said, "Not happening. You do not need a cell phone in the hospital. You're here to recuperate. Besides, I don't approve of the friends you wish to text. I've been reading over some of your texts and let's just say it's very disappointing." She pulled open the door, wheeled around, flashed me a wicked smile and disappeared.
"Arrrgh!" I screamed. I grabbed my urine bottle and wound up. It was ¾ full and I stopped at the top of my windup, not wanting to punish the hospital staff for my mother's stupidity. I hung my bottle back on the rail and thumped my head into my pillow a few times in frustration.
I realized that was just a small taste of the hell I was in for. Living with my mother was going to be a nightmare. For one thing, I didn't even know where she lives and how far out of town it is. I didn't even know if she lives in a small apartment or a house. I really had no idea what really lay ahead for me. I just knew it wasn't going to be good.
I watched Two and ½ Men on TV and then some crime drama. In between, they brought me a tray of soft foods because of my throat. It consisted of watery soup broth, fake mashed potatoes with coagulating, grayish brown gravy, purple Jello, juice, and a banana. I ate all the Jello and the banana and about ½ the soup. I couldn't force the potatoes down. When the evening news came on, I watched to see if there was any mention of the events at Juvey. There was nothing. I suppose a gang banger dying in custody isn't exactly news unless it's a very, very slow news day. I turned it off and tried to fall asleep. I just kept fuming over my mom's rudeness and my father's stupidity.
I was awakened a couple of times by the nurses taking my vital signs. I peered at them through droopy eyelids and then spent forty-five minutes to an hour trying to clear the demons from my head. I worried that the gang might really come after me. I could see the cop's replacement sitting just outside my door in a red vinyl visitor chair like the one next to my bed. He looked seriously bored and I bet he dozed off sometimes. I wondered over and over about life with my mother. I decided that I would humor her as much as possible and hold my dad to his promise that he would get me back from her as soon as possible. I couldn't understand why she had such a problem with me hanging out with Scotty or with William. William was as harmless of a friend as any could be and she scarcely knew Scotty. I was puzzled. I hoped she would reconsider the dance. I didn't want to stand Gina up and I really wanted to go. Mostly, I wanted to be with Scotty. I wondered if it was still okay for me and Scotty to hook up with my injured balls and thought and thought of a way to ask a doctor without being obvious what I was really asking about. I was drawing a blank on that one. I thought maybe I could get William to ask it for me. No one would ever think it was odd coming from him. I chuckled at that thought, but knew I wouldn't ever really dare put him up to it.
Finally, light peeked through my window and I was awakened for vitals and to introduce me to the change in nursing staff. My new nurse was an older, stern looking woman who actually wore an old fashioned nurses hat. When she said in a very firm voice, "If you need your urine bottle emptied, press the call button," I knew the story of my little tantrum had made its way around the staff and I felt embarrassed over it. The young, hot nurse smiled and wished me well as she left me in the clutches of the old bag. I mean that quite literally since the old bag of a nurse had jerked my covers down and pulled my gown up and had a gloved handful of my ball bag in her clutches examining the stitching. I winced when she tugged a bit too hard on my tender balls. Without speaking, she made some notes on the computer.
"Does it look all right down there?" I asked hopeful.
"The doctor will discuss your condition with you," she replied. "Do you have your breakfast menu completed?"
"I never got one." Nurse Crabbyface snorted through her scowl and marched out. Minutes turned into hours as the morning droned on. I had nothing to read, daytime TV sucked, and I felt like my right arm was missing without my phone. My throat was feeling significantly better and even the pain in my balls was mostly gone. I was way ready to get out of there. My back ached and itched and the IV in my arm was annoying. When the nurse finally returned with an armload of clean sheets for my bed, I was jubilant. She had me stand up and it felt so good to do so. I pressed my hands into the small of my back and bent backwards. Standing, the weight of my balls dangling caused some resurgence of pain, but it was worth the chance to stand up.
The nurse helped me out of my gown and into a fresh one, and I felt a little exposed in front of her since she was old enough to be my grandma. She paid no attention and when she tied me up in back, she asked me to walk around the room a bit. When she saw I was stable on my feet, she instructed me to walk around the hallway while she changed my sheets. It felt wonderful to stretch my legs and I pulled my IV cart along with me as I headed out the door. The recently replaced cop jumped up and followed me around the hallway.
"So what are you in for?" The young looking cop asked.
"I had to get my balls sewn back on and my windpipe was injured."
The cop looked at me oddly and then clarified his question, "I meant, what are you in custody for? What crime did you commit?"
I was a little shocked that he was so uninformed. "Driving without a license."
"Yeah, right. Auto theft?"
"No, seriously. I'm charged with driving without a license." I started to tell him the story as we walked and he listened intently asking questions along the way. He was particularly interested in my story about Lenny and the guy in the Beemer. He said the area I'd been chased in was part of his regular patrol area. When he found out, I'd actually almost got my balls cut off by a gang leader in Juvey, he grew serious.
"Kid, watch your back for a while. These guys are bad news. No wonder I'm on watch. Shit, it pisses me off when they don't fill me in on details like this."
When I returned, I sat in the vinyl chair and waited for the nurse to finish up making the bed. She untied my strings in back and I slid into the nice clean sheets. The crisp clean linen felt good against my skin. As my body heat warmed my spot, I resumed worrying about the gang, my mother and the Fall Formal. I wanted to text so many people and was frustrated without my phone. I skipped around the TV channels and watched a couple of South American soccer teams play on the Spanish channel out of desperation. Hearing the Spanish commentary made the hair on my neck stand up slightly as the sportscaster's voice reminded me a bit of Renaldo's.
Finally, the floor doctor came in and checked me over. He told me things looked fine but that I had a bit of a fever and until that was down, I was stuck in the hospital. I groaned. I kept looking at the clock. I figured my friends would start showing up around 5:00 after wrestling practice. Although I thought William and Brenda might come sooner. I thought maybe others from the debate and wrestling teams might also show up. I got discouraged when it hit 6:00 pm and no one had shown up. At 7:00, my mother showed up. "Hi Mom."
"Hello Kyle. How are you feeling?"
"Physically, how are you feeling?"
"Stiff. I'm bored stiff. I feel fine really, but the doctor says I have a little fever and he wants me to stay until they're sure I don't have any infection. I got up and walked around some and that felt good."
"Well perhaps you can come home tomorrow then."
"I hope so. I'll go crazy in here. Please bring me my phone. I'm dying without it. I need to get my school assignments and keep up. If I had my phone, I could get Scotty or William to bring them to me and it would give me something useful to do while I'm lying around in here. I kept expecting them to come visit, but I guess they got delayed."
"Kyle, you don't need your school assignments. You shouldn't be concerned that your 'supposed' school friends haven't visited since you will not be returning to that school. I went there this morning and filled the principal, Mrs. Matthews, in on the events of this weekend and withdrew you. I also spoke with that nice young girl, Gina in the office. She asked me to let you know that she will not be able to attend the Fall Formal dance with you. Her parents would not approve of your gang involvement and they forbid her to be with you, so that settles that. Mrs. Matthews and your wrestling coach were actually quite relieved that you would not be coming back after hearing of the gang connection. The only one who seemed bothered by the news is your debate coach, Mrs. Jones. She looked very disturbed by the news. I suppose you must be a good debater. That seems like a worthy pursuit, especially to help you get into law school. I have enrolled you in a new school. A good Christian, all boys school near where we live that Reverend Rick serves on the board for. I checked with them today and they have an excellent debate team that you can join."
I gaped at her, slack jawed and wide eyed in exasperation, as she spilled her guts to me. I could tell from her voice that she knew I was gonna be pissed and she was selling it hard. Since Scotty had already warned me this was coming, I'd prepared some arguments of my own.
"Mom, where do you get off doing all that without talking to me? And how could you give them the impression I was involved in a gang? I have a good chance to win the state championship with William as my debate partner. That would be huge on a resume for law school. I'm getting straight A's and if I change schools, you never know what I might end up with. And how dare you ruin my reputation with Gina and my coach? I don't care if you talked to my principal, when this all blows over and I go back with Dad, I'm going back to my old school and I'm going back with my friends and I will go back to wrestling. You don't get to control my life. It's my life and I get a say in it." I was struggling to control my anger. I was seething inside.
My mother's artificial smile faded and anger flashed in her eyes. "No you don't get a say. You are a minor and I am your mother and I will decide what's best for you. You clearly made a mess of things in your life with your father's help and I'm going to fix it up. You'll thank me later. And you won't be seeing your friends anymore. I will not be having you cavort around with those freaks engaging in God only knows what kind of unnatural and immoral behavior."
"What are you saying? You've gone mad."
"Mad am I? I know more than you think. I know you've been brainwashed into performing unnatural sex acts with that Scotty fellow and that disgusting boy, William, I suspect. Well, I'll not have their polluting influence in your life anymore. You'll see. Once you're free of their hold on you, you'll be relieved and able to return to being the old Kyle I know and love."
I was dumbfounded. How did she know about me and Scotty? It had to be my phone. I racked my brain for any text messages I might have left on it, but I didn't think I'd said anything. But that must be it. I started to deny it, but it was true and I could tell she knew it somehow. Then I thought about what I had told my dad. I hadn't really told him that Scotty and I had sex, but maybe when he took Scotty to school, Scotty spilled his guts because afterward my dad told me how much he thought Scotty was good for me and would always be there for me. That had to be it. Then, just the way Scotty and I texted to each other, my mom probably read into the messages. Since I couldn't deny it, I decided to own it.
"I'm not brainwashed. I'm legitimately gay. Deal with it. I love Scotty and he loves me and I'm not giving him up. Period."
"You know nothing of what love is. You're just confused by his immoral advances on you. Rolling around in nothing but tight underwear in that horrible wrestling sport was bound to affect your psychological balance. Reverend Rick agrees that was my mistake with you. I never should have you're your father talk me into letting you do that sport. You'll get over it, though? You'll see. If this Scotty loves you so much, why didn't he come back to visit you today?"
"Bull-fucking-shit!" I yelled, "You're the one who has no idea what love is. I've seen real love over at Scotty's house. His parents are completely in love with each other. It's in their eyes and their little acts of tenderness. You're just a bitter, miserable Bitch, impossible to please and determined to make everyone around you as miserable as you are. I've seen real love in Scotty's eyes when he looks at me and when we hold each other. I hate you."
The late-shift cop burst through the door to see what was going on just as my mother slapped me hard across the face. "HEY!" he boomed, "Move away from the bed, Mrs. Davis." She spun and glared at the cop.
"He is my son. You will not tell me what to do."
The cop advanced quickly toward her and she stepped back against my bedrail in shocked surprise at his approach. Her back rolled over the rail and she lost her footing as the large officer grabbed her left arm. She thrust her right arm out to steady her fall and pressed all her falling weight directly onto my testicles. A burning explosion burst in my crotch and I screamed in pain. "Get off me. Oh God, get off!"
The large cop pulled her out of the room and I closed my eyes and silently screamed in pain - pain more emotional than physical, but very real all the same.