Home > All the Rage(2)

All the Rage(2)
T.M. Frazier

Another week. Another doctor. Another uncomfortable conversation with a complete stranger. Another look of worry and fear in my parents’ eyes when they’re told that although there was something wrong with me, they couldn’t pin point the cause of it, and therefore couldn’t recommend a course of treatment.

Cody shook his head and spoke with his mouth full. “Indifferent.”

“Huh?”

He swallowed. “I think he said you were indifferent. Not different.”

“What does that even mean?” I asked, pulling my knees up to my chest. Cody was only a year older than me but sometimes it felt like a hundred years.

Having a know-it-all best friend wasn’t always the most fun, especially when he wanted to explain to me the science behind recycling every time the green truck rolled by, or draw me a diagram every time about water cycles every time a storm blew in. But when it came to me and my messed-up brain, Cody’s super smarts came in handy.

Cody finished off his half of the Kit-Kat. Balling the wrapper up in his hands, he tossed it across the room to the garbage can like he was throwing a basketball into a hoop. He missed by a million miles. It hit the wall and went rolling across the room in the opposite direction.

Cody sucked at basketball. Baseball was more his thing.

“It means that you don’t feel things other people feel. Like, do you remember when we were watching that movie your parents said we couldn’t watch? The one where the lady gets run over by the train at the end?”

“Yeah,” I said. Remembering when we’d figured out how to order the rated R movie from the TV remote. When it was over, Cody turned away from me, but it was too late. I’d already caught a glimpse of his tears. The lady got hit by a train after just being told that she was cancer free. She died. It was over. “They didn’t even show the cool part where she actually got hit. They just showed the tracks and her hat floating up into the air.”

Cody stared at me like I’d just proved his point.

“Maybe it was a stupid movie and I’m the only one who realized how stupid it was,” I said, settling further into the couch cushions.

“Okay that might not have been the best example, but I’m just trying to explain to you what the head shrinker meant.” Cody said, tapping the top of my head. “But if you ask me”—he shook his head slowly from side to side—“he didn’t do a very good job.”

I sat forward. “Why do you say that?” I might have been indifferent when it came to sadness, but anger was always alive and well and itching to break free. I met Cody’s golden brown eyes and he flashed me a big-toothed mega smile.

Cody was the only one who could settle the burn of my anger once it started. Not my parents, not the doctors, not the counselors at school. Not a single one of them could do what Cody could with just one goofy grin.

“Nerd,” I said, tossing a cushion at his head.

He dodged it. “They’re not doing a very good job shrinking your head.” He made an exaggerated motion with his arms, stretching them as far as he could like he was trying to touch the walls of the rooms with the tips of his fingers. “ ’Cause it’s as giant as ever!” He reached out and mussed my hair with his hand, causing my ponytail to come undone and my hair to fall into my eyes in a shabby curtain of messy blonde.

Cody burst into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. His dark hair, almost as long as mine, was also covering his face as he clutched his stomach and rolled off the couch, laughing hysterically until he rolled right into the screen door, scraping his arm on a jagged piece of aluminum. “Crap,” he hissed between his teeth. He held on to his elbow and pulled his arm up to check out the damage. A trickle of bright red blood dripped from the scratch below the sleeve of his T-shirt and rolled down into the crease of his elbow.

I scrambled off the couch and knelt down beside him and lifted his elbow higher so I could look at his scrape. “Are you okay?” I asked.

Cody looked up at me and brushed away some of the straggly hair that had fallen into his eyes. “Yeah, I’m fine,” he said, standing up off the floor. He reached out for my hands and pulled me up with him. “It’s just a little scratch.”

Cody and I had always been around the same height until last year when he started growing like a weed. I don’t think I realized how tall he’d really gotten until I had to crane my neck to look up at him. His forehead creased like he smelt something bad.

“What?” I asked, taking a step back in case it was me. Maybe extra onions on my foot-long fun dog for lunch wasn’t the best idea.

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