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“Do you remember which key it is?” Sean asked.
“I think so.” I told him. The truth is, I was scared, happy, and nervous all at the same time; I had no idea what I might find on the other side of that door. I looked down at the keys, holding them in my hands for the first time in what seemed like an eternity. A lot of memories lay behind that door; just waiting to be opened again…
Okay, okay, I think I’m getting ahead of myself here. I’ll start from the beginning. My name is Cory Patrick Short. I’m fourteen years old with blond hair and blue eyes. I don’t think I’m the best looking guy in school; but I wouldn’t say I’m the worst looking, either. If I had to compare myself to someone, I would have to say I have the same kind of build that JTT has.
I was asked by Ter … err … Mom, (I’m still getting use to that) to write down some of my thoughts, memories, or just anything I want. She says it will help me remember what happened, but I’m not quite convinced it will. My shrink, Dr. Richardson, agrees with Mom and wants to read what I’m writing at some point down the line so I guess I kind of have to or I’ll pay for it later; plus I would do anything to get a normal life again.
I think I’ll start just a little before the day my life changed forever. It was an average day, nothing much happening. I got up for school, did my normal routine, which consists of hitting the “sleep” button a few times (giggle). I decided to grab a nice hot shower. I turned on the taps and let the room heat up a bit before I stripped out of my boxers. I climbed into the shower, and let the warm water relax me into an almost meditating daze. I love the way a hot shower relaxes me. It lets me forget, just for a few minutes, the pain of not being with my family. After my shower, I went into the kitchen to get myself something to eat. I was the first one up, so the house was still pretty quiet. My first class was about an hour before anyone else’s in the house so I was up and out the door before any of the others.
The house I live in is a “Home” for kids that have had problems with their families. I wasn’t sure why I was there at the time; I knew that there was an accident and I lost some of my memory, but I didn’t know what it was all about.
It wasn’t until lunch that I remembered that I was going to Sean’s after school. That brightened my mood for the rest of the day! Just the thought of spending time with my “brother”, hanging out, and just being a normal kid for a while, was enough to make anyone happy. The rest of the day went by pretty quickly. I thought I’d better get a move on if I wanted to spend as much time with Sean as I could, so I walked straight from my last class to the door and out the school towards Sean’s house.
As I walked to Sean’s house, I noticed how beautiful the day was. I had been inside the school all day, so it came as a shock to me how warm and sunny it was. I turned the corner to Sean’s street; and saw the familiar view of his house half way down the block. I noticed that Terri’s Suburban was parked in the driveway as I approached the door.
Cory knocked at the door. When it opened, he said “Hey there Mrs. Short, Is Sean home?”
“Not yet, but he should be here soon; soccer ended a half hour ago.” Teri then got an evil grin on her face. “And how many times do I have to tell you to call me Teri or Mom you little rascal!” she exclaimed while rustling his hair.
Cory giggled, “Yes ma’am … err … Teri,” he answered with a big grin. He noticed an aroma drifting from the kitchen that got his full attention. “Are those brownies I smell?”
She smiled, “Go ahead, they are on the breakfast bar. You better not eat them all though, Sean will strangle you!”
As Cory headed toward the kitchen at a barely suppressed run, she watched with a far-away look in her eyes. As happy as the fourteen-year-old appeared, it was sad that he had to live in the home without a true family. He was nothing but a little blond angel that asked for no one to feel sorry for him. But she knew the pain that sometimes showed in those sky-blue eyes, and wished that somehow she could help him.
While Cory slid into the kitchen to enjoy some of the brownies, he pondered the look he saw on Teri’s face. It was a look that he’d seen before, but yet he couldn’t quite explain it. It seemed as if she was happy to see him, yet sad that he was there. He shrugged it off; figuring it must be one of those ‘Adult’ issues, and continued towards the brownies.
Just then the entry hall was hit by a tornado. “CORY! BRO, YOU BEAT ME HERE!” screamed Sean as he homed in on the brownies. “You shoulda came by practice, Coach wanted you to play!” Sean soared onto the stool by Cory, and then proceeded to help devour the plate of brownies.
Terri studied her son; thirteen years old (Thirteen and one-half if you asked him!), auburn hair, and hazel eyes. If she didn’t know better she’d say he was a lady killer, but his destiny had become apparent long ago. “Hey you two; you better grab some milk to go with those brownies!” she said as she headed for the living room.
The brownies were quickly devoured, so the boys headed for the rec room and fired up the computer. Recently they have become addicted to the game emulator that Sean’s older brother Mike had downloaded, so in no time they were in a heated battle for high score on Tron. Since Cory seemed to be heading for a new record, Sean sat back to watch his best friend mastering the game. Suddenly Sean noticed a flash of emotion across Cory’s face; it was just a quick flash, but it was something that Sean had noticed happening a lot recently. “Are you OK bro?” he asked.
Cory paused the game and looked at Sean. “Yeah, I think so. I just felt weird for a second; something kinda itched in my head, but it’s gone now.”
Sean giggled “It must be that one blond brain cell of yours trying to work! You blonds are all the same!”
Cory jokingly slapped Sean upside the head, grinning widely, and then went back to the game.
As he settled back in, Cory thought to himself ‘I hope that Sean isn’t too worried about me. He’s the one guy I can really call a friend; the last thing I want is for him to worry.’
Once he was sure that Cory was involved in the game again, Sean’s smile faded. Sean thought to himself “I really hope he’s okay, I’d die if he’s hurting inside.”
The boys played for another hour before Teri reminded them to do their homework before they forgot. Just as they finished their assignments, the ritual Friday night pizza delivery arrived.
“FOOD!” they yelled as they ran toward the dining room. When Teri entered the room with the pizzas, she chuckled at the expressions on their faces. The looks of hunger the boys were giving her would make an Ethiopian cringe in pity.
By the time the boys finished inhaling their share of the pizzas, it was time for Cory to go back to the home. Sean tried to talk his mom into calling to see if Cory could stay, but she reminded him about the Home’s policy on overnight visits without prior arrangements.
Everyone loaded into Teri’s Suburban to take Cory back. As Teri and Sean watched Cory walk to the door of the home, Sean spoke for the first time since they had got in the truck.
“Do you think he will ever get better, mom?” he asked in a worried voice.
“I really hope so Sean. I hate seeing Cory like this. Dr. Richardson said the time you have been spending with him has helped a lot, so I think he will come around soon.”
“I really hope so too; I miss the old Cory so much.” Sean then quietly sat back and wept.
When they got back home, Teri locked up. They both headed to their rooms, each needing to resolve the emotions stirred up by Sean’s question in the truck.
Sean couldn’t get to sleep. He really wished Mike was here to talk to, Mike would know what to do. After Mike’s accident, Sean’s life took a turn for the worse. Even though a year had passed, he still had trouble believing his brother was gone. Cory was back at the home for the night; but before Sean went to bed he made his mom promise to try to arrange for Cory to spend the weekend with them. The look he saw on Cory’s face earlier was keeping Sean awake, Sean wondered if the unimaginable could finally be happening.
Sean laid back in the dark and thought about the events of a year ago, ignoring the tears sneaking down his cheeks.
Cory and Sean had managed to talk Mike into dropping them off at the mall on his way to football practice. They had pooled their cash together, and had came up with enough to get an X-Box. After picking it up, they strolled the mall, laughing at all the guys and girls making out. They jokingly promised each other to slap the other one if he ever did something like that with a girl. About fifteen minutes before Mike was due to pick them up, they headed to the food court and grabbed a burger; then they sat down and waited for their ride. An hour later, Sean spotted his mom come through the door and start looking around. Sean pointed her out to Cory.
“Why is she crying?” Cory asked.
Once Teri spotted them, it didn’t take long before they had the unfortunate answer to the question.
Mike had been on his way back to pick them up. Some guy who had too much to drink had just left the bar. The drunk blasted through the red light and nailed Mike’s Toyota in the drivers door. The Toyota was no match for the Ford Explorer he was driving; the impact killed Mike instantly. Cory took it hard; he blamed himself for Mike’s death, since it was his idea to go to the mall. Cory totally broke down; after that the psychiatrists decided that it would be in Cory’s best interest if he was placed in a “residence” where he could be watched closely. The decision tore Sean up; it was six months after the accident before they would let Cory visit Sean’s house.
Sean wondered if the look he saw today was a sign that Cory was finally getting over Mike’s death. Sean really hoped so; Sean missed having the old Cory around, and wondered if he ever would be back to what he once was like.
Sean glanced towards his closet; just then a moonbeam illuminated a yellow plastic bag on the top shelf in the corner. Sean knew the contents of the bag too well; it contained a brand-new X-Box, still in the original packing, along with a few games. Sean had made it clear that it was not to be touched, it was not to be opened until Cory was able to share it with him, exactly the way they had planned while waiting in the food court.
As Cory laid there trying to get to sleep, a cold chill ran down the back of his spine. It was just like someone had opened the window in the middle of a blizzard. Cory sat up and looked around, letting his eyes adjust to the low light in the room. Nothing had changed, the window was still closed. Mark, Cory’s roommate, was still finishing up his homework at his desk. Mark noticed Cory sitting up and looked right at him. When he saw the look on Cory’s face, he started laughing.
“What’s so funny?” Cory asked sleepily.
“You have a bad dream or something? You just sat up like I poured a bucket of ice water on you.”
“No, it’s kinda weird. I was just about asleep when a cold chill went down my back.”
“You’re right, that is weird. You should try to get back to sleep though; you’ve had a long day. Ain’t you going to Sean’s tomorrow?”
“You bet I am. It’s gonna to be good to spend some time with him. We have a lot of catching up to do. Teri’s going to adopt me, so I better get to know them.”
“Yes, you do have to get to know them. But in a way you already do know them.”
“I know that I KNOW Sean, but I can’t remember that much about him. I don’t know them that well, but its like I’ve known them all my life. They seem to know a lot about me.”
“Of course they do, they’ve read your files and from what I’ve heard, you and Sean used to be best friends so you’ve probably slept over at his house a lot.”
“Your right, I guess not having all of my memory makes things confusing at times. I’m trying to remember, I really am, but it’s so hard trying to get the memories back. It seems the more I try, the less I remember. Then, I’ll walk past something, or smell something, and it brings back a feeling that, I don’t know, that I just remember.”
“Well, that’s a part of the whole healing process, Cory. You can’t just sit and think about what your life was like. You have to get up, look around and enjoy life now, in the present. You will remember, but it takes time. When you get those feelings, they are feelings of closeness, comfort, and familiarity. That’s when your mind is working on remembering. Just let it take its course, and things will come back when the time is right. You’re right, you can’t try to remember something that you can’t remember; that’s just impossible.”
“Wow, I never really thought about it that way. I didn’t pay close attention to how I was trying to remember. The only time I remember anything is when I see something. That’s when things come back. Maybe if I just let it come to me when it wants to, I’ll remember more. I don’t know if I’ll ever get back all of my memory, but that might be the way it’s suppose to be. There might be something to learn from all of this; thanks Mark, that really helped a lot. I’m tired so I’m going to try to go back to sleep. I have a lot to think about.”
“No problem buddy, what are roommates for?”
Cory laid down, and shortly thereafter fell asleep. As he slipped into deep sleep, he began dreaming.
“Hey! What are you doing? Get off of me Sean!” Cory yelled as he pushed Sean off of him.
“Sorry Cory, I thought… well I thought that’s what you wanted. You did say that you love me, didn’t you?” Sean responded in a scared voice.
“Well, yeah I guess I did but I didn’t mean… Wait! Are you… I mean… Do you really…”
Cory’s mind raced a million miles a minute as he thought; ‘Can it be? Could he really love me? Is he gay too?’
Cory’s mind was flooded with a great tidal wave of emotion. It hit him like a brick falling from the sky. Suddenly it became clear; all of the signs, all of the touches, and all of the times Sean looked at him with those eyes. Sean’s stares that seemed to stare deep into Cory’s soul, slowly embedding himself deep into Cory’s heart.
‘All this time and he does love me!’ Cory thought. ‘With that one unexpected kiss he just planted on me, he opened his heart and soul to me.’
Cory sat on the side of his bed with a mixed expression on his face; a look of confusion combined with a look of happiness. That was the point when Cory knew without a shadow of a doubt that he really did love Sean. The realization hit Cory, his feelings finally making sense.
Cory finally was able to assign words to his feelings as he thought ‘I love him as a best friend, as a brother, and now I know a deeper kind of love too. It is a love that is rare, and is only found by a very few lucky people.’
Cory did what he thought was best. He looked Sean right in those beautiful hazel eyes, looking as deeply as he could and softly whispered “I love you too, Sean”.
Cory woke up in a sweaty panic. “What the heck was that all about?” he exclaimed to nobody in particular.
Cory looked franticly around the room to see where Sean was, but he was nowhere to be found. Mark was laying in bed, fast asleep; the computer had timed out and went into sleep mode. Cory figured Mark had been asleep for a while. Once Cory had calmed down, his eyes adjusted to the low light and he remembered where he was; at the home, in his own bed.
“That must have been a dream. But why would I dream about kissing Sean?” Cory muttered to himself. He stood up and quietly made his way to the kitchen to get a drink of water. His mind was racing, so he figured he might be able to relax a bit by having a drink and sitting down to think things through. Cory removed a glass from the cupboard and poured some water from the filtered jug. The cold flow of the water running down his throat caused him to suddenly feel the need to pee. Cory quickly went to the bathroom to relieve himself. As he stood there, a new feeling hit him; he suddenly felt all alone. It felt like he was missing something in his life; he couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was, but the feeling was there. He realized that there was more to his life than what he remembered. The emptiness was clear, but the solution was lost in a haze.
Cory was brought back to reality by the sound of a dog barking. He realized how long he had been zoned out when he noticed his morning woody was now limp resting in his hand. He hurriedly finished up in the bathroom and went back out into the kitchen. When he looked at the clock, he was surprised to see it was only 6:27am.
‘It’s WAY too early to be up and awake.’ Cory thought. ‘Why did I dream about kissing Sean? I know I love him like a brother, but could there be something more?’
Cory’s mind was reeling; thinking of Sean was bringing a warm feeling to his chest. Cory had felt this way before, but this time seemed different; almost like it was the first time he felt it, but somehow he knew it wasn’t. It was the feeling of being protected, cared for, and a strong feeling of being loved. The realization of what it could mean sent a cold shiver down his spine.
Cory thought to himself ‘Could this mean what I think it means? Am I … ?’. He couldn’t even think it, it was way too much for him to even consider at the moment.
Cory muttered to himself under his breath. “I need to go for a run and just clear my mind. That’s exactly what I need, a run.”
A run usually helped Cory clear his thoughts. He quickly changed into his sweats, and left a note for the “Warden”; his private nickname for the night shift supervisor. He closed the door and started on his run. The cool air was shocking at first but Cory quickly adjusted. Since he didn’t stretch before starting, Cory decided to start with a slow pace. The day was still new, and Cory planned on making the best of it.
Cory thought about the plans to spend the whole day with Sean. He never knew what Sean would have planned for the day; it was always something that made life interesting. What little Cory could remember always had Sean being there for him when he needed someone. Cory was hit with a sudden thought; without Sean, Cory had no idea what he’d be doing. Cory was jolted from his thoughts by the sound of a horn from beside him.
“Look out, kid! I almost hit you!” a man yelled from his car.
“Sorry, I didn’t see you there. I was just running and I kinda spaced.”
“Well you better pay attention, or you’ll end up getting yourself killed.” the man exclaimed.
“I will, thanks.” Cory replied, and with that the man took off. Cory crossed the street, and started to look around. He was shocked when he realized where he was; he had ran to Sean’s street and was just one house away from Sean’s house. He had been lost in his thoughts so much that he hadn’t even noticed the fact that he was running straight to Sean’s.
After a moment of thought, Cory walked to Sean’s front door.