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Twenty Six - Melting Candle

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Xavier

Three days -- that's how much time has passed since mom left me forever. 

I have begun to oscillate between two extremes. One where I feel like I can handle anything life throws at me, and will not be defeated. I mean, what is the worse that can happen? After losing the only source of energy in my life, nothing else seems unbearable. The other extreme is where I feel like I have nothing to live for. What use is my life without her?

The simple realization that I am an orphan, with both my parents gone, isn't so simple at all. Especially when my entire life revolved around my mom, losing her has hurt me more than I could have imagined in a lifetime.

People probably wondered why I put up with my stepdad, despite his abuse and physical violence. The truth is that I was only biding my time, waiting for that day when I would finally be eighteen, an adult, and be able to move out from the house my real dad left me and my mom but my stepdad took over. 

This was my plan all along. If I can just wait and be the good kid till I'm eighteen, I'll be able to take my mom and leave, escape the life that was nothing but pain. Nobody knew that I was saving money, bit by bit, and hiding it in an old sock under my bedroom floorboards. Aside from handing everything I earned to my stepdad, the overtime I did, cutting down on school and sacrificing the moments I could have spent with friends or Haley, I had gone to work so I could have some spare cash.

My body would ache all over after the entire day's work and lack of food and sleep, my neck stiff and shoulders hurting painfully. But I would keep going, pushing myself forward and hoping to become capable of being the son my mom needed.

The plan was simple. When I'm eighteen, and if I have enough money, I'll take mom to a professional rehabilitation center. I had even gone to check a few nearby, making sure the place is safe and well-provided for, so my mom won't have any trouble. I also volunteered sometimes at the center, hoping that when the time came, I would be able to apply for a job wherever my mom was admitted. That would allow me to be with mom rather than leave her at the mercy of others.

If only I had known I would lose her three months before I turned eighteen. 

Resting my head on my arms, which are wrapped around my knees, I begin to doze off. I'm sitting on the stairs outside my apartment, unable to gather up the courage to go inside. 

I have lost count of how many times my stepdad kicked me out, forcing me to spend the night on these stairs in the freezing cold and the icy winds. It was on these steps that Haley first came to me and offered me a hand.

The thought of Haley battles against my need for sleep, and I straighten up, my head heavy and my entire body sore. I don't think I have slept since mom died, and I'm pretty certain not a bite has gone down my throat. I have no money on me, and stepping into my house and getting some requires an amount of strength I do not possess right now.

Digging weakly into my pocket, my fingers close around my phone, and I pull it out. The last time I saw it was earlier that morning when I received a call from the police station. They had wanted to see me again before they closed the case as 'accidental overdose'. Their concern was simple. Was I on drugs like my mom?

Samples of blood and urine were taken and sent to the lab. I had been asked to stay at the station for questioning until the results came back. I hadn't known some of the things they told me about substance use. Apparently, some drugs can be detected in the blood for three months to come, but others only remain in the bloodstream a few hours of a couple of days at most. No wonder they didn't want to delay the testing.

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