Oh no, not again!


Chapter ONE

Hey... I'm Duo

Friday night. A dark and wet night. Tonight will be his first time. And he was nervous like people always were when they did something for the first time. He was afraid how people would react to him, react to the story he had to tell. He was always afraid how he will react to their stories. To their presence. He was never one to open up to people, not at all. Though most of his time he spent talking. Talking, but not saying anything. Talking about the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees. All those useless things that no one was interested in. This time he WOULD say something, a lot actually, to complete strangers that... even though he will talk to them once every week, will always remain strangers.

He felt guilty for leaving the house. Just before he left, when he went to grab his scarf and jacket, for it was winter already, how time flies... He had cried. Then and there in the hallway as he looked at himself in the mirror while wrapping the scarf around his neck. He was a ghost, but he had denied it for so long... He didn't look in a mirror for a very long time. His appearance shocked him.

After crying for a good five minutes, he was silent, listening. Waiting to hear if someone heard him, but no sound came from above. He avoided the mirror, he avoided himself.

He parked the car in the parking lot after an half an hour drive. His fingers were stiff, freezing and as pale as his face. No, not pale, they were blue. The heating in the car refused to go on. He had to remember to bring gloves the next time.

He sat in his car for a while, convincing himself that going back home was not a good idea. If only it was for the sake of his fingers, he really needed to go into that building! He glanced at his reflection in the rear view mirror, that only showed his eyes. His eyes, his amethyst coloured eyes. The only thing about his face that hadn't changed over the past two years were their colour. Their bright colour. How it did not fade in these times he did not know. What he did know was how terrible he looked. Black rings under his eyes from the many sleepless nights and his eyes had sunk further into his skull since he didn't ate a decent meal in over nine months.

He was startled by a black car, coming to stand next to his. In it was an older couple. Fifty or so. As the woman got out of the car she met his staring gaze, but quickly looked the other way. He mouth opened, she said something to the man, her husband, with her, but he didn't hear it through the glass. They left, heading inside the building.

He stared up ahead, pried his frozen fingers from the steering wheel and gave his reflection one last look before finally leaving the car. He shivered as the cold outside was even worse then in the car. With a hastened pace he walked to the door.

"Discussion Groups" The letters on the glass door told him. He opened it and welcomed the warmth that enveloped him as soon as he stepped inside. He warmed his fingers, rubbing then against his jeans. The friction was relieving and they slowly regained their natural colour. A middle-aged woman guided him to a room in the back of a hall. It was a rather large room, but not really decorated, in the corners there were plants and there was one large window that snowed the shuddering branches of a young tree outside, struggling in the cold wind. The lighting was bright and he realised that in this lighting the rings under his eyes will look even blacker.

In the middle of the room was a circle of cheap, uncomfortable looking chairs. The first thing he did was count the number of chairs. Ten. But that didn't mean ten people would show up. It could be more or less. Chairs could always be added.

He sat down in the chair in which he could stare outside at the tree that someway symbolised himself. He to was struggling against something he knew he could not stop. He too was still young, but the circumstances made him look old. Like the tree, he had also shed his leaves, his youth, everything he valued in life. Just because of the 'Wind' that was making life so damn hard.

The couple that had parked their car next to his walked in and they gave each other a nod as a poor excuse of a greeting. They sat down in the chairs opposite of his, that annoyed him. Because each time he looked outside at the tree, the woman would look up at him, thinking he was staring at them.

He looked at his watch, even though he had been doubting so much in his hallway and in the car he was still five minutes early. Which was not good. He knew himself and he knew that if he had to wait too long he would start doubting again and his fears would always win over. To distract himself he started to busy himself with counting the little amount of money he carried in his wallet.

When done, more people entered the room, all taking their places in the circle. Two more couples came in, of his age. Then two single women. Then the Guider, who lead the conversations came in. She looked at all of them, then at the one chair unoccupied and sure, just as he thought, she went out of the room and returned carrying another chair she put in the circle. Then sat down.

The last one came in exactly at half past nine, a man of his age. He sat down in the last unoccupied chair and a few moments of silence reined before the 'Guider' started.

'As you can all see we have a knew parent in our middle. Duo.' She held her hand pointedly out to Duo. Everyone looked his way and he shyly sagged away further in his chair. 'So I suggest we all introduce ourselves to make him feel more comfortable. I am Patricia, forty-nine years young. I'm the guider of this group. My daughter was a drug addict for five years and is now in an institute.'

He took his deep breath and looked at the couple sitting next to the guider, it was their time to share their story.

'Martha and Stu. Fifty and fifty one years old.' The woman introduced for the both of them. They wore neat clothing, old fashioned. Not the kind of people you would expect to see here. 'Our three sons are all using, one worse then other. Are oldest lives in a squat as he refuses to live with us. He despises us.' She remorsefully said, but she maintained control over her emotions.

The next couple Len and Hank, the one who parked their car next to his, had a daughter, addicted to heroine and was pulled into prostitution in order to pay for her daily dose.

Next was a single woman, she was young, became a mother when she was only a child herself and now had to cope with her thirteen year old doing all it took to get a shot.

The last couple were Forest and Cliff, he estimated them fifty, but they were thirty-nine. Worry had caused their face to elder more then they did. Their sixteen year old son used and dealt drugs, the police was on their doorstep every month.

The other single woman, Lindsay, looked the worst of all, he curly blond hair was mess and her rings even darker then Duo's but she claimed to be thirty-six. Her son, Matthew, used more drugs then he could pay, also living in a squat. Many drugs dealers, whom he owed money, came to her house and smashed the windows, threatening to kill her if she didn't immediately say were to find either her son or the money. She had bought a gun, but not for the threatening dealers, but for her son, to shoot him if he came to her house one more time to beg for money.

At last there was the boy who had entered right on time. His face looked dead, dark rings, but he still had something so boyish. When he was fifteen he got his girlfriend pregnant and she left him the baby, a son. The boy became addicted to drugs and died on an overdose a year ago. The father, Heero, he introduced himself as, thirty-four years old, was still haunted by the many men whom his son owed money, much like with Lindsay.

Now it was his turn, and everyone waited expectantly. The guider asked him to make his story more elaborate then the rest had done, so that she could orient better on it.

He felt nervous and sweaty, but he could not refuse to speak, it would be unfair to the rest who had shared their painful stories him. 'Hey... I'm Duo, thirty-five years old. My sixteen year old son, David... got addicted two years ago. He had grown so much... he looked so much older... so he befriended some Bennie, who was four years older then him. When he started using... he became so lazy... he got kicked out of school, couldn't get work and after the laziness there was aggression. Breaking down the house, screaming... He ran away, then came back begging for money, then ran away again... And every time he came home he promised my wife and I that he would stop using.'

The others nodded, their children had probably done the same and that made him feel relieved that it was not only his son who was lying against his own parents, who had supported him for so long.

'We fell for it every time... False hope... We were so busy with David that we neglected our other two children... my family started to fall apart, I could see it, but all I ever worried about was my oldest son. I thought he was just sick... that with a bit of help everything would be alright... After a year my wife couldn't take it anymore. We were both depressed and I was overworked. We divorced. She got all custody over my two youngest children... And I got David... I feel disgusted with myself when I think back at how much I hated that...

He is currently at home. Sleeping his days away... then going out in the evening, coming back when the sun almost rises again, so stoned he can't make it upstairs and falls down on the couch... I am desperate... I really don't know what to do with him! One moment I can sympathise, I pity him and I give him everything he asks for like I am his slave... And then my mood jumps and I feel so angry that I kick him out the door! But he never makes it past the corner of the street... because that is when I cave and beg him to come back... He is still so young you know? ...' He let out a deep breath and looked down at his hands in his lap. Thinking back at all the things he had done wrong.

The introduction gad taken up the entire hour and he felt guilty for the others, who probably hadn't learnt anything from his whining, but still had to pay.

On the way back home he drove extra slowly. He didn't want to go home, no matter how uncomfortable he felt in that discussion room he had rather stayed there. Watching that tree as if watching himself. The stories of the other haunted him. One of them even died from overdose! He could already picture David, lying lifeless in his bed, not very surprising since he always lay in bed till three O'clock, if not later. But the though that he would dead and he wouldn't know because David lying long in bed was not unusual terrified him. He could not imagine how he would react. But maybe he should. He already lost his son. David, the real David, the small boy who cried a lot but all was better in the arms of his young father, had died two years ago, when he started to use. David died and that poor excuse of a human being ruining Duo's life was nothing but a mere stranger. That was how it felt.

But still he could not deny it was his child and he would do anything for his child. What kind of parent would not?

Entering his home he listened again. It was silent. He went up stairs to check on his son, who was lying sprawled in his bed, staying home on a night for the first time since months. Maybe he had found out his father was going to a discussion group? He sighed, beaten as he saw a full ashtray on his sons bedside table. His clothes were strewn over the floor, there was so much you could not even see the blue soft carpet under the mess anymore. The blue carpet Duo had laid there himself, with his own hands while his ten year old David was watching in awe as his father was constructing the dream room he had told him he wanted when they moved in this house. He started to clean up, trying to busy himself like he always did with simple daily task. Picking up the discarded clothes throwing them on a pile in the corner he would take downstairs later. He emptied the trashcan, there was more in it then just cigarette stumps but he stubbornly told himself it was just candy wrapping. Denial. He had been in denial for so long it had become a part of him. Finished, he sat down in a corner of the large bedroom. He felt drained, he felt like crying.

'Boys don't cry...' He whispered to himself. 'Boys don't cry.'

He kept repeating that to himself while tears were running down his cheeks.


"Crimson Waterfall! Why do you keep posting new stories instead of continuing existing ones!"

"I know, I am sorry, but my muse for those stories abandoned me! While new ideas keep flooding in! But next week I have a week off, I'll promise to work harder then!"

"You better!"

Meanwhile you folks can review on this one –pretty please with cherry on top?-

- One very Distressed C.W.