After a lot of jokes and laughter and an exchange of number, Jacob had excused himself and left Kathelyn and Jeremy to themselves. Feeling strangely restless, he made his way down the streets until he realized that he might be lost. Nervously, he took out his phone from his pocket and checked a map app. The cold bit at his fingers and he cursed himself for not having brought any gloves.
He arrived at home much later than he had planned. He had thought reaching his house would calm himself down but, to his dismay, it didn’t and his unease only grew. He was greeted by his mother with a scolding stance. He promptly explained that a classmate was sick and fled to his room.
He paced back and forth for a while until his father screamed to stop the ruckus from downstairs. Then, he opened the window, but it was too cold outside. He did his homework’s halfheartedly but kept spacing out. He went to shower but spent too much time in it and got out feeling dizzy.
Exhausted, he laid on his bed. “What the hell is wrong with me?” He thought. Closing his eyes, he saw the many expressions of Kath, when she was alone and when she was with Jeremy; Her smile could never lie. Suddenly, he was seeing all the details; If he’d payed attention a little more, he could have known, without even being told, that Kath loved Jeremy…
He frowned, trying to hide his face under his arm. “Why does it bother me that much, though?” He asked himself, struggling to stay still. Kathelyn wasn’t anyone special. Jeremy wasn’t either. Not to him. Not like that. Or maybe… But it couldn’t be. Jacob had barely ever known true friendship, why would he now? When he is already 18 years old. “Better late than never.” His grandma used to tell him when she was still alive. His parents were still in love, back then. The world was so different.
“Love and the like, does it really exist?” He thought. If it did, why wasn’t he allowed to know it. Or maybe it was his fault after all. He would shut himself up in this tower where nobody could reach him. “Maybe it’s time to heal?” He frowned at the thought. What was he thinking? He had never thought this way before. “I’m going bunkers. Soon, I’ll be stuck between four walls with some other lunatics of my kind…” Instead of feeling scared, the thought made him grin. “Wouldn’t that be simpler?” But Kath came flooding back in his mind and then Jeremy and his smiling, easy going demeanor.
What would happen if he was betrayed by one of them. His anxiety pushed his grin aside. “I can’t heal after all.” He sighed, wondering if he could cope with such an event. Suddenly, he realized how much they meant to him. The thought of rebuilding the wall was an appealing idea. He would have loved to distance himself again. Things would be much simpler this way. He wouldn’t have to worry about others anymore.
Just at that moment, his phone let out a sound. He looked around, wondering where he had left it. It was dark in his room and the screen emitted a glow from the surface of his desk.
Struggling to stand on his numbed legs, Jacob reached for the phone. He had received a text message. It read: “Thanks for today, it was fun. :)” The text was from Kath. Jacob went back to his bed, phone in hand, staring wordlessly at the screen. He tried to find something to answer but couldn’t.
He was awoken by screaming and suddenly realized that he had fallen asleep, the phone still in his hand. He rubbed his eyes. His mouth felt parched and he felt gross. He got up and slowly went down the stairs, completely ignoring the fact that his parents were fighting.
He made his way to the fridge. The sound of the fridge’s door opening and water pouring in a glass made his parents turn. They stared at him, speechless and then started to whisper loudly at each other. His mom approached him hesitantly.
-“Did we wake you up?” She asked quietly. Jacob frowned.
-“Nah, the fairies did. They were shouting pretty loudly…” he said sarcastically.
His mother frowned and his father’s face distorted in anger.
-“I’m really tired tonight so could you just keep it down?” He turned to his dad who looked livid. “Dad, maybe you should leave earlier tonight?”
-“You little bast~” His father roared, his face reddened by rage.
-“Ed…” His mother interrupted.
His father growled in frustration and stormed out the door, slamming it behind him as he left. His mother raised her hand, about to say comforting words, no doubts, but he cut her off and went back to his room. It was the first time he had confronted his parents about the fighting. He felt strangely calm about it. He laid back on his bed again, staring at the blindingly bright screen of his phone. He couldn’t find anything to reply and, in the end, couldn’t find sleep again either.
He silently went downstairs and sat on the sofa next to his mother. She tried to hide her tears at first but Jacob silently hugged her and patted her on the head. She cried louder at first but her tears died down as she fell asleep on his shoulder.