Mum held out two pills. “I don’t know how to deal with withdrawal. Take these sleeping pills. They might just help.” He took them and after more turning and twisting he went back to sleep. Mum glared at me. I didn’t know what for exactly, for spotting the guy out front, for refusing to turn him over to the police? I had no clue. I only knew I wanted him there, I needed to nurse him back to health.
He was restless all night, and since it was the weekend I was free for two days. I should have gone to football practice on Saturday morning but somehow even in my immature mind I feared he’d disappear, so I stayed at home, justified by having to make sure he was all right. My mum went to work for a long shift till seven at night.
He woke numerous times during the morning always shivering, sweating and not eating or speaking. Mum left painkillers and sleeping pills. While not telling me to fuck off any more, he refused to speak, just gazed at me with his good eye. I checked on the Internet about heroin withdrawal but apparently he should have gone to a detox rehab. I had a feeling that he would never agree to that.
In the afternoon, I made a cup noodle and sat and watched some vids on my laptop. I became aware that he was awake and watching me. I started a monologue. I didn’t mind. Perhaps he felt awkward to be here, so he could listen to me like a radio for comfort. He was undoubtedly feeling awfully ill with the beating and the withdrawal. I tried to smile. Do people smile at homeless junkies? Probably not often. It wasn’t surprising that he didn’t smile back.
“Want some?” I held out my cup noodle. He shook his head and tried to sit up with some difficulty. I rushed over to help but that only met with his strong arms pushing me away and another glare. He sat up eventually by himself. Okay, he’s as stubborn as me and my Ma.
“You got a smoke?” He asked, his voice low, less croaky than yesterday and I noticed it had a honeyed quality to it. By his accent, I’d say he’s definitely a Londoner.
I forked up most of the noodles in one go and said with a mouthful of food, “Hmm, have some dope. We have to do it out back though. If mum smells cigarette, she’ll kill me.”
He continued to look at me. I was so mesmerised by those blue eyes, I felt the urge to touch his face and more, but I shook my head, finished my lunch and went to get the gear instead. I came back and helped him stand up. The tension in his body told me he was pissed at having to be supported just to walk to the back door but he had little choice. In fact, I was sure mum would be angry with me for moving him. I helped him ease onto the step by the kitchen door and he sat down with a wince. Oh, yes. I remembered now his ass had to hurt and he didn’t have a jacket. I dashed back to grab a blanket and wrapped him in it, and a cushion for him to sit on. He resisted looking at me at all as I helped him to get comfortable.
I rolled the joint in silence and shared it with him, observing how he held it like an old dope head, pinching the end with his thumb and first digit and inhaling deeply. I started saying shit like telling him my name and I was doing my GCSEs; I liked football and basketball. In fact I was into all different kinds of sport. He listened quietly but was also distracted, his attention on someplace else, in another dimension.
“You’re what then, fifteen?” He asked, the voice, just like the first time, sounding a little older than his age, but the quiet quality of it drew me in.
“Two months short of sixteen.” I said too quickly, appearing to boast and regretting it straightaway. He didn’t tell me how old he was in return, like most people would. He didn’t volunteer any information at all. The sun was out for a change and we sat there smoking with me conversing pretty much one-sided. The boy wasn’t dismissive even though he didn’t say anything. He was just distracted and still in pain, and as I should know later he didn’t talk about himself and his past, certainly not to strangers. I watched in awe the sun on his dirty blond hair. Even with the masses of black and blue, I could tell he was gorgeous. He was the best looking boy I had come across and somehow I felt comfortable with him sharing the silence, joints passing between us. I told him about people at school, my football team and playing computer games. He was patient and his facial expression never changed, and I was in no doubt that he was listening.
After about an hour, he started to shiver again and he clutched his stomach, “Help me back. I need to lie down.” That was all he said. I gave him some more painkillers and let him sleep but he did so badly, twisting and turning. When he woke I forced him to have a cup of tea. He hadn’t eaten for at least a day if not longer. No wonder he felt ill on top of everything else. He didn’t have much of an appetite but he ate a slice of dried toast at my insistence.
Mum told me to lock the doors. I gathered she knew the boy would want to escape if he was up to it. She was right too. I managed to do a bit of my homework project in the afternoon and watched some football on television before he stirred again. He sweated and tremors went through him. When I offered him more Codeine and water, he gripped my wrist, “Get me dressed and let me go.”