That Sweet Big Feeling
I stand inside the bedroom closet, back cocked up tall against the closet wall. The tape measure sings the same old song:
four feet two inches tall.
Then into the bedroom, the minifridge, and I take out the small leather case, the cartridges. I keep the needles in an old mitten, one of those kinds without separate fingers but one big pocket for everybody. I rip apart a new bag of cotton balls. A box of Band-Aids lays open, bandages stacked like a deck of cards. I unscrew the lid from the bottle of rubbing alcohol and feel the stench tug at my nose hairs.
Cartridges of growth hormone click against one another as I arrange them on the desktop. I pick one up and disinfect the rubber disk on the tip with alcohol. Then I jab the tip of the needle into the cartridge. Holding the tube firmly, I pull out the plunger and watch the hormone get sucked out. It's not cloudy, or discolored, or floating with junk or anything-it's perfect. I point the syringe at the ceiling. Then I flick the end and make it quiver, mostly because people always do that in the movies. It still looks cool when I do it, as cool as the first time. Odors of metal, medicine, and alcohol rise from the balls of cotton as I swab my inner thigh.
I feel Mom watching me from the doorway. She taught me how to do this. It was six months ago,
and we practiced on a warm Hot Pocket, pepperoni flavored. Six months of therapy, and for what?
"You know the drill," I say out loud. I can almost hear Mom's lips move with mine, forming the words. "Think of something..."
I push the plunger in for one click of my internal clock, one second, one fluid motion. The frigid bite of the hormone washes in and under the skin, or maybe it's just my imagination.
Think of something...
I think of my brother.
I think about the night before high school started. Mom was out at dinner and a movie with some guy, one of the many duds, a wannabe dad firing blanks.
"I don't know you," Kurt had said. "At school, you don't know me, either. Got it?"
"Got it," I remember saying.
"I don't want to hurt you," he said. Then he put a mouse in the microwave, to show how much he didn't want to hurt me. Needless to say, I didn't stick around for the fireworks.
I flinch, draw blood, just a trickle. I pull out the needle and press the cotton against my thigh. All that fuzz barely stops the stupid bleeding, and sometimes I just feel like bleeding. I wonder how long I could before I'd end up totally empty.
"That's a big boy," Mom says from behind me.
PAGE 5 ~ ANNOUNCEMENTS
AGAINST THE ROPES
THE SCHOOL NEWSLETTER OF
THE FILLMORE HIGH SCHOOL BOXING TURTLES
"A turtle only makes progress when it sticks out its neck."
Week of May 9-15
o Don't forget the schoolwide "Casino Night Party" (theme as of yet undetermined) on June 3rd. Bring a date! And if you can't find a date, work the coat check!
o Need a tutor? American History got you down? Did poorly on those college entrance exams? Ms. Wessin can help. E-mail her today for hourly rates and commuting and gas charges: email@example.com.
o There are still some parts left for the summer production of William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. Amaze your parents with plum roles like the bartender's wife and vagrant #3!
o Lost: Green binder of personal information. Please don't read. Call Wendell at 798-0041 for reward.
o WORK AT SOUTHWORTH MALL-Cash! Fun! Friends! Did we mention cash? Call 555-CASH.
o NEW: Instant Messaging Club, Thursdays, 4:00 in the computer lab. Call Leslie: 579-9877.
o NEW: Ghost Hunters Club, Fridays, 4:00 in the library. Call Leslie: 579-9877.
Copyright © 2005 by Andrew Auseon
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy,
recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission
in writing from the publisher.
Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be
mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc.,
6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.