Maxim felt the cold tiles hardening the soles of his feet with each step, he was walking toward the lounge of the large home he lived in, which belonged to his mother, Joanna. He was close to being twenty years old, but perhaps that was young enough to feel comfortable still living with his mother. At that moment, it was late night, which was normal for him ever since he'd taken a break from college for the year. It wasn't for nothing either, he just didn't see himself having a future in computers; given that, he was still uncertain about what his future held for him. So, for about seven months he'd be at home, having time to think about it, and perhaps find something to do as a part-time job.
This wasn't the encompassing thought though, right now, the late night, he thought about his comfort with darkness, it was the creative side of him getting the better and taking control. His house had a lot of doors that were wooden frames with several glass panes that were transparent. The peculiar design was a ubiquitous quality of the house and made it easy to almost see from the lounge all the way to the entrance, if you were standing at the right place. His creativity showed him his new-found ease with darkness, not just ease but comfort. This was significant, because like many children, when he was one he too feared darkness. Then he reached a point in his life when he loved it, and now he found it strangely comforting. Perhaps because the less lit a room was in his home (at night), the better he could see all around him. If it was more lit, than he'd only be seeing reflections of anything within the room he was in.
Maxim had taken a sleeping pill and was sitting in front of the blank fifty-inch screen that was in the lounge, getting ready for bed, by doing something he often did at night, sit for about an hour and think, it was a habit he gained, perhaps because that way, by the time he'd go to bed, he wouldn't think, just sleep. Lots of people had told him (and several articles have proven), that he'd probably be better off without excessive thinking, because over-thinking was one of the main causes of depression, and why was this essential to him, because he was diagnosed with depression and he was on anti-depressants. The thinking on this night led him to the usual darker places and one thing was his dislike of his own surname, which was probably because it was the only thing his father had left him with before he took off forever when Maxim was only about six years old. I don't believe in a god, he thought, after thinking about several other things. Maxim didn't only think, he questioned himself, often.
He woke the next morning and whispered his name in his groggy voice, “Maxim.” It was something that had become a habit to him, after all his time learning about the subconscious and the conscious mind he was bound to test reality, which was also why his dreams had become exceedingly vivid. He blinked rapidly, wanting to get rid of that flushed drowsy feeling; sleep was barely ever refreshing, perhaps an effect of the medication he had to take daily; especially that sleeping pill. Perhaps it was the thoughts the previous night that had kindled the vivid dreams that were more like memories being shown to him from a different angle. It was the images of his drunk father stumbling in through the front door of their much smaller home at the time, his breath tinged with the smell of alcohol and his eyes reddened; Maxim was afraid (in the dream) perhaps more for his mother than himself. His father was abusive, he saw him, watched him. There was nothing I could do, he thought, now in his complete conscious state. He got out of bed, planning on brushing his teeth immediately, his breath was always bad the next morning after taking the sleeping pill that had a bitter after taste. He passed the desk in his room, it was quite cluttered, but something that was on the top was the results from an IQ test that showed his IQ as superior, it was something he'd been insisting on for months, and finally after all those psychological sessions he'd had and being diagnosed with depression he had the chance to squeeze in the IQ test. Though the standardised tests showed his intelligence, he was bound to be sceptical and felt rather inferior in the world; something which was a whole story, essay, on its own. He'd often considered it that way.
Before he'd leave his bedroom, he made his bed, then he opened the blinds and was bathed for a moment in the afternoon sun, he had little to do during the day, but still felt bad almost every day when he'd get up at noon. He gave a long sigh as he stretched his arms and felt his tendons releasing with a gentle and calming cracking sound.
Maxim drank a cup of steaming coffee, afternoon coffee, he thought. Not that it mattered, he drank coffee throughout the day, it was certainly his favourite drink. He did what he usually did, he thought. That morning he decided on existentialism, it was a harder subject to simply have an opinion about, but he always appreciated the way his own mind worked, which was good, but also something that made him feel inferior for strange reasons. The only thing that ever helped him relax was the thought that everyone is existentially equal. Which was a given, if we all exist, then in that sense, we're all equal.
After coffee and a couple slices of toast he gulped down his morning pills before he went to the place he'd sit at for most of the day, the lounge. He sat on his favourite sofa and picked up the book he left nearby. It was something he'd started reading months ago, but never quite had the chance to finish. He read for almost half an hour, then decided to take a break and put down the book, a little frustrated.
Maxim than gazed out through the sliding glass door, he could see power lines running across the street in the distance, it was something he did to relax his vision after reading for a long session. He was thinking about someone, missing someone; what he was doing was trying to imagine how far away this person was from him, it was about three-hundred kilometres perhaps. He envisioned the area as far as he could, and perhaps that made it seem that much further away.
In a house far away, where five children sometimes spent the night together there was a little boy, more than ten years younger than Maxim. He was halfway through being eight years old and was a real 'boy'. He'd gotten in trouble just the day before for fighting. It's just the usual trouble that boys can sometimes get into and something his parents obviously would not approve of but would laugh about when they were on their own. “Avery, why are you fighting?” his father would ask him, the voice was a special kind of stern, one that most people wouldn't consider stern at all, but to a child when an adult asked you something, you had to answer, and they were often serious, they knew better. Avery looked up, he was in the back-seat of the car and his father was looked right at him, his head cocked over the seat. He nodded in disapproval, “you and your brother are becoming out-of-hand.”
His 'brother', was his step-brother as his father was re-married. He had two brothers who were from the same father and two that were from two different parents, the only relation was a legal one as the parents were married, but in all its awkwardness they all had fun together in their childish ways, they got along easily and the idea of who they were to each other was not something discussed or bothered about.
He brushed his teeth, looking in the mirror, he concentrated on each spot carefully and then rinsed. He washed up, wiped his face his hair was slick and wet, it soggily clung to his forehead as he combed it out of the way and started to put on his usual hairstyle, one that was simple, just brushed his hair to the side, his face was a milky, almost ethnic white. He had balanced features, a small nose, light eyebrows and bright brown eyes, with a shapely chin and little baby-fat. He dressed quickly when he heard Amber calling, his step-mother. They were seated at the table, his father, Amber, his step-brothers: George, the eldest child and Steven, George's younger brother. Breakfast was short, the table was rather gloomy. “Steven, don't you and Avery get yourselves in trouble again. Yesterday's incident will not be repeated. All right, boys?” they both nodded in agreement, Avery briefly and furtively had a wry smile. Avery was the last child of his father, Henry Jackson; and happened to be from his father’s second marriage, so his first two blood brothers, who were also his step-brothers were from the fathers first marriage and were at their mother’s house during the week and only showed once every second weekend. “Why is your hair so wet?” Amber brushed her fingers gently over his forehead, Avery moved away imperceptibly. He gave a slight smile, “it's quite dry, it's just a little shiny still.” he said. His response was good enough. She looked at him still, staring almost lovingly, almost a pitiful gaze. Her heart swelled, and she realised that over the past year and a half she had grown fond of the little boy, almost as fond as she would be of her own kids, but still there was a segregation, she would instantly say she loved her children, deeply. On the surface she showed equality, but she probably wouldn't express that as vehemently with her step-son. Still, she was fond of him.
School felt somewhat longer that day, the summer was rather gloomy. His 'friends' were what they usually were, laughing, having fun. Really, they were doing nothing. They were just running around, making fake rules to fake games, doing what children usually did; he felt as usual, the same, he was getting along, laughing, playing, he was unsure about what he was doing. School children often did things that were reckless, unnecessary; the type of fun that children had that was not supposed to be fun as the grown-ups would know. He watched the slightly older children on the playground that played games that were only for the older children, the seventh-graders. They were playing with large sticks, large enough to be considered logs; they were throwing it at each other. They were far away from each other, far away enough that they would dodge just before the log could hit them, none of them did get hit with any logs. They were all somewhat safe, all under control. Until one kid with less than sharp senses missed a move; from his perspective, the log was inevitably going to hit him. It was like time moved slower, the log was lowering coming straight towards him, instincts at the time did not serve him well, instead of moving to the side which would be far more efficient he backed away; perhaps backing away was good enough, the log hit him on the arm and he cried out in pain. Avery watched in the distance, no one guarded the playground, the teachers were already departing to class away from the lunch room, the other children kept their distance. In fact, most of the children were departing the large playground at the time, already heading off to class when these boys got into the extreme rough-play. Avery saw that he was okay, the log didn't hurt too much, he saw the seventh-grade boy in the halls eventually, he was standing alone, later that same day, he was gazing out into the open skyline, watching the passing world of adults just outside the school, close to the busy intersection on the busiest street in the neighbourhood. He didn't engage with him in any way but was just interested, he saw him rubbing his arm on the spot where he'd been hit and suspected he was still in a little pain, after all he was hit by a sizeable log it came down with some force. The older boy was named, Rolph. He was different from the other seventh-graders. He seemed calmer, more reserved, nonetheless just as reckless at times. Hence the incident.
Avery, for some reason, always appreciated this boy, but from afar, without ever actually meeting him or speaking to him personally, he noticed him, an unusual thing to notice, the kind of detail that one would only notice on the first day of school, in the same way that you find almost anything another student can say interesting. He was definitely less proud, or bossy, he walked with a little less confidence than the other boys of his age, his back slightly slumped and always dressed in the same style, often alone other than those moments he was getting himself in trouble, or getting hurt, but he seemed like the kind of student who got away with most things, and that was true, though, he barely ever didn't abide by the rules, he still would do something unruly once in a while, but would somehow, almost magically get away with it quickly and all his teachers definitely liked him. More, than just as a student, they liked him because he was so different and new to them, and as a teacher they would instantly take not of that, psychologically. In the profession they're bound to notice the regular patterns that students seem to follow, the habits and style of speaking. Rolph always stood out in most areas. He wasn't special though, not in any way at all, he was, despite good grades, less than intelligent, far from athletic and not at all sociable. He seemed only lacking in every way, and he would instantly be judged. Avery didn't know the very core details of him, but he noticed he was certainly lonely.
Avery handled his third grade rather well, he was always getting A's; despite what some would say getting good grades from an early age would be something important, and he sort of knew that, unconsciously. He fitted in with the rest of the class, seamlessly. He would respond promptly when called upon, participate in group activities and was clearly a friendly and confident child. He read from one of the books that stayed on a shelf in the class, the words were smaller that you would find in second or first grade and there were less pictures, but he didn't need it. He enjoyed reading, understanding the words, pronouncing them in his mind and getting through an entire book, there was always that feeling of accomplishment at the end. For a moment when he looked out the window and saw some other children wandering about, probably carrying out some errand for their teacher, he thought about Maxim. He didn't consciously decide to think about him, nor did the thought linger, it was a brief memory, something small and insignificant and would disappear quickly. Maxim. He scratched his head and he felt that everything he did and thought, was perfect; it might be strange to mention, but even growing and beginning to understand complex emotions; when you're this young, the world revolves around you, children are often narcissists as the adults would describe it, but that's not at all how they would describe nor consider it. Maybe, it was mostly because they didn't yet know the word, or understand what the adults meant by it, perhaps it was mainly because they didn't care. Inevitably, however, they would grow up and learn these things, and whilst knowing will unknowingly conform to propaganda and dogmatism. Beliefs were unshakeable, and attaching to nothing would be impossible... It was his eyes... Maxim's. They were so full of... something. I remember him looking at me, staring. I couldn't help but smile, and he smiled naturally, in return.
Rolph arrived home later than usual that evening, his arm still aching from what happened at school earlier that day, but what occupied his mind more than the pain that throbbed in his forearm, was the moment he had with the little boy at his school, there was no actual conversation, it was barely a moment, but he remembered the boy glare at him for a moment too long. It was something that warmed him inside. He already started to pursue all sorts of theories in his mind. He'd noticed the child around before, but now there was something else. The boy seemed special. He started to have fantasies about him, it started just that moment, he sat on the couch.
“Homework done.” the first thing his mother said to him as she walked in through the door with groceries in her hand. “How was school?” he looked at her, followed her to the kitchen. “School was all right. I hurt my hand a little.” he said. Showing her the light swelling on his forearm.
“How did this happen” she asked, “nothing, I just fell.”
“Is it feeling better?”
“Yeah, I think the swelling should go down by tomorrow.” he assured, “what's for dinner?” she was unpacking groceries. She seemed fixed on what she was doing. Your father would be home soon, why don't you go and get yourself washed up for dinner. Don't forget to wear something nice, we're having guests. “Yes, I know, our cousins.” he groaned, “why do they always just show up around here?”
“Well, it's not so bad, we'll get used to it and in time we'll let them know that all those unexpected visits are really unnecessary.” she finished, Rolph was already on the stairs going up to his room.
“well, remember to be nice she said.” he nodded only in response and ran upstairs.
He went up to his bedroom and neaten up a bit, hiding things he valued in their draws and clearing up the clutter.
Dinner was quiet for most part of it, his cousins made some stupid jokes and said some unnecessary things, he always was filled with stupid jokes and spoke to quickly, often before he thinks about what he's doing. The oldest and him used to get along at some point, the time when they were close, but that seems far behind them, they just look at each other greet each other but don't have much conversation to go between them. There really was nothing. His cousin Nick was older that him, by only a few weeks, but had started to grow and was much taller than him. He was taller than him and always made it known because he was gloating for something unnecessary, he was a little stupid, unintelligent. He glanced across the table and noted Rolph who was in the middle of his food still, “Slow eater,” Nick commented. “I eat a lot of food. I'm trying to gain weight,” he said conceitedly. Once dinner was over everyone dispersed the table, Nick and Rolph just got up about last, making short eye-contact. Mary was in the kitchen washing the dishes along with Rolph’s aunt. “Hey, shorty.” Nick started. He walked toward him and smiled. “So, what you've been doing.” he asked. “nothing much,” Rolph answered, clearly bored.
“What's wrong, why you are ignoring me?” he asks. “Nothing,” Rolph started, “I've just been really busy this week.” he said and was walking upstairs. Nick followed him, it was nothing unusual, the children got along, the parents supposed and them being together is no harm. Just as Rolph was about into his room, Nick shoved him. “You stupid...” Rolph shouts from the ground where he'd fell. He looked back at him, Nick was only smiling a playful smile, he closed the door behind him as he entered. “When did you become such a pussy,” Nick said, he looked at Rolph who was standing up, he was taller than Rolph by about two inches perhaps. Rolph didn't care but he was annoyed by how often he'd throw his height around like it was something important and knew that he could thrash this kid in a fight, or so he would suppose at first. Nick patted his hand on Rolph's head, “I think I'm still getting taller. Last time you were a little taller than now.” Rolph rolled his eyes and started to look at Nick again. “We've got some time before we have to leave.” Nick said and then sat next to Rolph on the bed. “So, what?” Rolph said. “I've actually got things to do, maybe you could go join the rest in the living room for dessert.”
“I have dessert right up here,” Nick said. Rolph grimaced. “No.” he said. Nick seemed to be insisting. He already had hands placed on Rolph's head and was pulling him toward him. Rolph had done this kind of thing before but he was to make it stop today. But, now is when he realised how strong Nick was. Rolph fell to his knees as he struggled against Nick. “Come on,” he said, “you know you like it. Just once more.” Nick's hands were now like vices, and at this point that may have been futile, Rolph seemed to be doing what he was supposed to. Nick had forced himself upon him and now Rolph had pleased Nick with his mouth. It was over, and Nick smiled and patted him on the head. Rolph stayed there while Nick left the room, he was angry, he picked up a book and threw it aside.
Rolph returned downstairs to find the adults all laughing and discussing something unknown while Nick was reading through a book, Rolph realised that it was a journal that he'd written in often. They were a little distance away from the adults. Then he tore out a page. “No, don't tear a page out of my notebook!” He yelled. He surged toward him and shouted at Nick in a lower voice so the adults not so far away wouldn't take notice. Nick looked at him, “so what?” he said nonchalantly. “You're being a real monkey. You're stupid.” Nick raised his fist and punched Rolph on the jaw, he felt a moment blinding pain and stumbled back a bit. The parents didn't notice because the two rooms were separated by the stairs and were quite far apart. “You don't talk to me that way,” Nick said, as he knelt and looked down at Rolph in front of him. Rolph sat up, he raised his fist quickly toward Nick in an act of rage hoping to hurt him. Nick grabbed his arm and the other that joined it, he held them both tightly while they were both on their knees. Nick looked him in the eye, an almost dangerous look, “don't mess with me, I'll hurt you.”
Rolph fumbled his arms again to strike or cause pain, but he realised how weak he was now. “You're just a little boy.” he laughed cruelly, let him go and started back toward where the adults were. Rolph went back into his room, that night, after everyone had left and both his parents were in bed, he felt the surge of anger and the embarrassment once more. He knew his parents weren't yet asleep, they were in their rooms, perhaps they were sharing an intimate moment, doing things he knew but shouldn't have indulged in, it's not like he enjoys it. It's all unfair, and right under the same household it seems so difficult to even mention or to make it stop, but trying to fight for himself is out of the question. He took out his frustration by punching the wall, and anything else. His hands were sore, a little bruised he would notice the next day. He felt weak and he knew he couldn't fend for himself. It all reminded him of so much, martial arts, watching actual people fight. Watching fights in real life, he saw that it was no good and it was no game and he felt a sudden fear. Fear in knowing that he couldn't do anything to protect himself. He wondered for a moment if even the big strong men ever felt completely secure, perhaps they feel like they have nothing to worry about, until they too find themselves getting hurt, beaten down sometimes by someone smaller than them, but this was just a fantasy he saw before he was swept up into a dream.
Rolph woke the next morning slightly earlier than necessary, he sometimes did that and would try to do exercise, he did a few push-ups and struggled through some leg exercises before collapsing on his bed and breathing heavily. He remembered the incident with Nick the night before, he sorts of hated how the thought would make him get an erection. He would soon pleasure himself, and hate that he would think of Nick whilst he did it. He showered shortly after all and got ready for school, he did everything quickly even though he had plenty of time before he would need to be ready. He sat at the breakfast table with a bowl of cereal. His mother came down from her room, still in her night gown and greeted him. She went to the counter in front of the fridge and would start to prepare lunch as she always did, for Rolph.
His father was always down quickly and left even before they would leave for school, he was a busy man, a scientist; a surprising thing for him to share with all his classmates, or pretty much anyone. He came downstairs, his cell phone on his ear, already taking business-calls this early. He kissed their mother and took his paperwork and briefcase with him. The car was heard starting and taking-off outside, Rolph looked over at it, feeling a sense of loneliness even here at home, feeling so left out, and unloved. He shivered a moment at the thought, it was a rather warm day, today, not so gloomy either, perhaps good was to follow. He finished his breakfast, his mother handed him his packed lunch and told him to get in the car. They drove quietly. Not even the radio played. It was a warm day and there was the harsh morning sun, not sure if everyone thought about it, but Rolph did, and it was always too harsh and not as beautiful as the sun later in the afternoon and closer to the evening.
He entered the school quickly, he'd barely said a 'goodbye' to his mother, but this was often the case, he was a strange person and often things went this way with him. He was uncomfortable with leaving and with arriving, not because of the idea of leaving or coming, but just something about being watched by all the students, perhaps he had a mild form of anxiety. On that note, maybe it was actual and serious anxiety. For, there were moments, barely a year earlier when he would line up with the other students, because that was something you had to do, but when the whistle blew he did not run like all the other children, he didn't want to, there was this kind of spot where he was on, a light might as well have been shining upon it, causing him not to move. He refused to, but he had to take the walk back down. Alongside the same teacher who blew the whistle. “Why didn't you run when I blew the whistle?” she asked, she was a tall, well dressed woman, she didn't look at him when she'd asked, and he'd looked up at her, not responding. He regrouped with his class, he'd made a mental note that day that he didn't like any form of physical education.
He stood where he usually would in the school, at peace, listening to the other children run past and play, but not really caring. It often got quieter in the later afternoon at this corner of the school, where the last three classrooms stood, the ones he often needed to use. The whole school was laid out rather efficiently, but it was large and a walk around all of it was like experiencing each corner separately, because they all often consisted of different ages and different classes. It was only elementary school. He stood on the upper floor and looked over, he could see the quad from up here, this was often the spot where they would have their assemblies, at least the ones that were short. The serious ones would be conducted in the hall. Down there, among a small group of grades three students he noticed the boy he'd seen watching him the other day. The boy did not look up, he had no need to, he just spoke to his friends, laughed and paced about a bit, obviously waiting to go to class. Perhaps some other force causes him to turn his head and look up, he met Rolph's gaze, noticed that he must have been watching him for a while, he looked down and then up once more, Rolph turned his attention elsewhere trying to be nonchalant. He slowly stepped away from the edge, turned and started to walk back toward where his classroom was. He started to think. What is this. Why am I watching this child, I'm at least four years older than him? But, really... I don't know his name.
Maxim felt weak as he often did. He was quite thin for a young adult; he feared as he was practically fully grown at this point. He didn't know what he was going to do. He was simply sitting at home most of the time. He tried to write something, being disappointed in the book he'd read, but nothing good ever came. There were plenty of ideas, but little good ideas or anything worth writing a whole novel for. He did know one thing for certain, if he was going to write anything at all, he would make sure that every page was worth it, every chapter had only what was essential, and the book was thrilling enough for an audience of the ages. While he thought of books and writing, he wondered about the actual purpose and idea of writing and started to think of how pointless it was just as most things started to seem completely pointless to him. He hated when times like that came about, when all he could feel were the worst most difficult feelings, something inescapable. He remembered his aunt, specifically his uncle's wife, saying that some famous person, was “an idiot for committing suicide,” and that he did it mainly because, “he was seeking attention; even though he's already famous.” He thought on it, not commenting, his mother sat across him as she said this, and he'd remembered the many conversations he'd had with his mother about how much he himself disliked life and somehow, he probably gave her a lot of stress and unpleasant feelings. His uncle however had a much better take, he didn't instantly agree with her, “you all will never really understand...” he started, they were eating pies. Maxim's cousins were there two, one was his age, the other was about four years younger than him. His mother was a little shorter than him, and he wasn't that tall to begin with. She looked younger than her actual age and people were often surprised she had a fully-grown son. “Depression is a bad thing,” his uncle said. “Yeah,” Maxim agreed, knowing that he did understand, “nobody would kill themselves to seek attention.” he finished. His mother glanced at him, which he didn't notice, his two cousins sat quietly for most of the time, not doing much. The visit was mundane, the usual.
He didn't mind where his memories led him, if a story came from them somehow. Sometimes, the ideas they gave him were inevitably pointless, but that never stopped him from continuing to write and hoping for the best. He sometimes did get excellent pieces of work, but they were way too short to be considered anything worth the read, sometimes they were merely good introductions about twenty or so pages in length that would never make up an entire book's length. He wasn't afraid to try though, and somehow even writing those few pages was enough, if he had something to do every occasionally, when he was too bored even to watch TV. He heard his mother in the kitchen. She was probably about to cook something, it wasn't too late in the day, the afternoon sun would soon shine through the sliding doors in the lounge. His sisters would soon be home from school. He had a good relationship with his mother. Well, mostly at this point. In the past things weren't always perfect, especially when she'd just gotten divorced. Nonetheless, she was a good mother and supported him and got him the help he needed and even though he was doing little right now, she barely spoke of it. He even called her by her first name and had been doing so since he was a child, since he could speak, practically.
Now, in his mode of storytelling, the worst parts of his life would shine, so that he had something 'inspirational', to write. Hence, even the short pieces of his stories coming out as the most depressing pieces of work, or so he thought. There was more to it than that though. It was not just a depressing short piece of work, in the sense that it had something to offer, it showed a sense of style, and his work didn't cease to impress him when he'd read it much later, like a year, or a few months later. He was not necessarily fond either of how he'd write erotic material that he would read to arouse himself. Of course, even those were tastefully done, and he focused on those genres much less. His stories were only for him though and there was really no way of telling whether they were good. He thought they were based on a comparative scale and his reading of limited literature. Nonetheless, he did have a talent, one that he would never share. It was not writing that would bring him success, nor anything else artistic. Well, it didn't bring him success on his terms anyway. To others, they may have reached a plateau, or at least what would be pleasing. For him, he waited; he was intelligent, or so he'd believed and reinforced by saying it repeatedly to himself. He knew that statistically most men are in the peak of their intelligence at around forty years old, or just before that and that's why most men become successful and ready to settle completely at around this time. He waited, he thought he was waiting, for when a time like that would come, when he could be comfortable and earning something fair and doing anything he remotely had been interested by. That, however, was not what he'd do either. He was strange, and he knew it, the things he said were often not part of the world that everyone else was living in.