CHAPTER FORTY FOUR
Brian had always felt happier when he left the hospital. The last time he had been in there was for heart surgery a few years back. He remembered the feeling he’d had when he’d stepped out onto the pavement for the first time in days. It had been a marvellous feeling to have his freedom back then, but today he did not feel that freedom. He only felt trapped. Trapped. No way to escape.
Everything around him seemed to be a daze. The gloomy clouds hanging ominously over the area made him more aware than ever of his sorrow.
Kevin had been the one who collected him from the hospital. Brian had sat in his car and stared out of the window as Kevin drove them down the streets. A blur of colour zoomed by but Brian took little notice of them. To him, everything seemed black and white. This world he had entered was dull and miserable without…
Brian felt the teardrops forming in his eyes. He pushed his thoughts away and concentrated on what his life would involve now – misery.
Brian turned to stare at his cousin who was leaning over towards him in concern. Brian realised that the car had stopped without him noticing it. He looked through the windscreen and saw the cobbled path leading up to his own house, but it wouldn’t be the same as it usually was. It never would be again.
“Okay?” Kevin asked.
Brian nodded and unbuckled his seatbelt. Slowly he clambered out of the car and stood up in front of his house. he didn't want to go in there. He wouldn’t be able to cope with the emptiness. With heavy feet, he followed Kevin reluctantly up the path and to the door. While Kevin fiddled with the lock, Brian put his hand in his pocket and his hand clasped around Rocky. He squeezed the little toy and roughly pushed the tears away as he walked back into his home.
It was awful walking back in there. He remembered the last time he had been home and the fear he had felt when Carl and Dustin arrived. Why had they had to spoil everything for him? His life had been perfect until they came... Who was he kidding? It was his fault they had taken him away. He should have tried harder to protect him. He should have…
“Are you going to be all right?” Kevin asked, watching his cousin stare vacantly about the room as if he had never seen it before.
Brian nodded slowly as he walked to the large window at the far end of the room. He leaned on the windowsill and stared at the grey sky beyond. Rain would be falling soon. Maybe that would wash away the pain…
“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay?”
“No,” Brian murmured. “I’ll be fine.”
He heard Kevin sigh. “I’ll be back tomorrow morning and I’ll bring Tyke with me. Nick’s been looking after him for you.”
“He all right?” Brian asked. Tyke was all he had now.
“Broken leg, but he’s okay. He misses you.”
“Poor baby,” Brian said.
“Do you want me to cook you something before I go? I bet you’re starving after living off of that hospital food!”
Brian shook his head. He doubted if he could stomach any food. He felt too sick and numb inside. Besides, it would be too lonely to sit at the table by himself without the usual chatter he had grown so used to.
“I’m not hungry. I – I’m tired. I think I’d rather just have a shower and go to bed.”
“Okay, Brian,” Kevin said. “You get some rest and I’ll see you tomorrow morning, okay?”
Brian nodded. He wanted Kevin to leave. He hated the way he looked at him with his eyes full of sympathy and sadness. It made him more aware then ever of the pain tearing his heart into little pieces. He wanted to forget that pain, push it aside. He wanted to get his life back on track. He was going on tour soon. Maybe then he could forget the pain… forget that his baby was happy in a new family.
Ouch. He still felt the sting in his heart as he thought about him.
He jumped as he felt the hands upon his shoulders. He turned his head slightly.
“You’ll be okay, Brian,” Kevin said. “I’ll take you to see Sammy soon. We’ll sort something out.”
Brian nodded dumbly, but he did not know if he wanted to see him again. What if he didn’t want Brian anymore? Why would he when he had a brand new mommy and daddy with normal jobs and normal lives?
Kevin gave him another pat on the shoulders. Brian heard the soft padding of Kevin’s shoes on the carpet. There was a click as the door opened. He felt his cousin’s gaze linger upon him from the hallway and then he heard the door shut. Now he was completely alone.
First he went and bolted the front and back doors. There was an element of paranoia within him now and Brian knew that it would be a long time before he felt completely safe in his own home again.
With a heavy heart, he climbed the stairs and crossed the landing to the bathroom, refusing to look at the one door that would bring the pain crashing back down upon his already shattered heart.
He turned the hot water on in the shower and stripped down, revealing the ugly bruises that covered his legs and arms. In the mirror, he could still see his black eyes and the cuts he had sustained from the accident. He turned away from the sight of his melancholy eyes and stepped into the shower. He let the warm water run over him and leaned his head against the wall.
He liked being back in the warmth. It was all too easy to remember the prickles of icy fear that paralysed his body… and the cold waters which had tried to rob him of his life. He remembered that awful feeling of being trapped as Pete bore down upon him. Why did he still feel afraid? Why was he still trapped? Was it because the one thing that could help him had been snatched away?
He felt that cold dread descend upon him. Closing his eyes, he saw Pete’s mean face and heard the splashing of the waves that froze his tortured body…
He shuddered and turned the water off. It didn’t seem hot anymore. He was almost trembling with the cold, a cold that wouldn’t go away. A cold that was part of the memories he was still locked up with.
He grabbed a thick towel and used it to wipe the icy water droplets from his skin and then pulled on his pyjamas. Sleep… he needed rest. Rest and time would help him to forget.
His eyes alighted upon Rocky. The small toy was lying on the floor. Delicately, Brian scooped it up and held it tightly in his hand. Slowly he stepped out of the bathroom and his eyes were drawn to the door at the far end of the landing.
No, he wouldn’t do this to himself. It would make it worse…
His feet didn’t listen to him. He felt himself beginning to move towards the closed door.
No, no, don’t… It’ll hurt too much…
He stopped outside of it and reached out to open the door.
No, I can’t see this. I can’t…
He pushed the door open and was faced with the beach coloured carpet and the watery waves on the walls that Sammy had loved so much…
Th tears began to fall. Brian tried to turn around and run from the horrible room but he never made it. He felt his legs collapse from beneath him and he sunk down onto the carpet sobbing as his despair fell upon him. Th tears streamed from his eyes as he remembered the one thing he couldn’t have. He pulled his knees tight to his chest as the wails of misery escaped him.