Never Been Loved(10)

By: C.M. Kars

I was smart back in the day, when I cared. I got good grades, and my soccer team was so fucking good, we had scouts coming to the games. I could’ve gone to school in the States on a scholarship and made something of myself. Then the world fell apart when a teammate commented on how much water I’d been drinking. All I knew was I was thirsty. Turns out I’d drunk the equivalent of four litres in the span of two hours.

Red flag. I went to the doctor by myself, ’cause Mom sure as shit wasn’t going to come with me, and Dad was fucking some poor intern at work, and I didn’t want Jules to worry. I explained my symptoms. They did some blood work and I walked out of there with a name for my condition - diabetes.

Now I work construction since I don’t have a college degree, and whatever money I’m going to get when Mom dies is going to help me, but for now I’m treading water and barely getting enough air. Even Matty has nicer clothes than me. I sure as fuck have t-shirts older than twice his age that I’ve kept since I moved out after Dad left nine years ago.

I do the math by hand, trying to prove to myself I don’t need the calculator when I know I’m going to check the sums and differences with my phone later on. I don’t know why I try. At the end, I find we’ll be good for this month. I have enough money to cover everything, and the money I got from selling my motorbike goes straight into Matty’s account for college.

So this month, I get the oxygen I desperately need. Next month might not be as good. Rubbing my head, I let my neck fall loose on my shoulders and take in a deep breath. I lie to myself, mouthing the words over and over and over again. Everything’s going to be okay. Everything’s going to be okay.

Everything has to be okay.

I don’t see Aly for a whole week. Then, like clockwork, when Saturday comes around, I get another video that has my dick twitching and my stomach twisting. My dick doesn’t care who it’s getting its sink and glide from, as long as she’s willing. My brain is getting in on the whole thing, finally giving me a conscience, and I don’t know what to do.

I can’t look away. The way Aly’s hips are jerking as she dips her fingers in her pussy, moaning my name. Then I think of her positioning her phone on her dresser or whatever, knowing exactly what she’s going to do, knowing I’m going to come running. I hate being played.

I close my phone and try not to look at it. The hard-on will be taken care of as soon as I can get Matty to the doctor’s for his check-up.

“C’mon, kid, we’re going to be late.”

Matty nods and stumbles forward and plops his ass down to get his Velcro sneakers on. He wailed for a whole week until I relented to buy him those Iron-Man sneakers with the heel that lights up. He nearly walked into four walls a day just looking down at his feet and trying to catch them flashing red.

I grin, remembering. Then I rub it off my face, wondering what the doc is going to tell me now about Matty’s health. How good or bad he’s doing, and what that means for me and for him. And how the doc is going to look at me like it’s all my fucking fault.

I ignore the way my guts twist into knots as I stuff my feet into my boots. Grabbing a hoodie, I toss it on top of my clothes and help Matty zip up his jacket. I stuff my keys and wallet, and some candies for my hoodie pockets, I lock up and we move to the elevator together.

Once inside, the kid starts in on the questions.

“Daddy, if something bad happens, I have to call nine-one-one, right?”

“You got it,” I say. Am I ruining his childhood with this information? But if something happens to me and I can’t talk on the phone, he needs to know what to say – it’s only me and him after all.

He grabs my hand and squeezes my palm. I squeeze back, hating myself that I’ve treated him so badly these last three years. I don’t know how else to be.

“And I’m s’posed to say: ‘in-su-lin de-pen-dent di-uh-be-tic’, right?”

“Exactly, buddy.”

Quiet, then, “Can I have a bubble gum because I remembered?”

Don’t I feel like I’m giving a puppy a treat. I clear my throat and ignore the incessant buzzing of my phone after I strap him into the car and drive out of the indoor parking lot. “Sure thing.”

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