Home > All the Rage(3)

All the Rage(3)
T.M. Frazier

“Can I ask you something?” Cody asked, which was stupid because that was a question as well.

I gave him a look that conveyed that thought, my lips pursed in a sideways pout and my eyes rolled high back in my head.

Cody waved me off. “Okay, so right now. What did you just feel just then when you got up off the couch and came over to me?”

“I don’t understand,” I said, and then it was my turn to scrunch up my forehead.

He pointed to his arm and then his scrape where the bubble of blood had already begun to dry. “When I hurt myself, you came over here to check on me. What were you thinking when you did that?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess I just saw the blood and I wanted to make sure you were okay,” I said, wondering where he was going with all this.

“See?” Cody said like he’d just proved some point I still hadn’t gotten.

“See what?” I asked, biting the inside of my cheek.

Cody waved his arms in the air like the answer was obvious, but I still wasn’t seeing it. “Duh. There’s no way you’re indifferent like that quack says. There’s no way you don’t have any feelings or that you’re indifferent. Because if that were really true then you wouldn’t have cared what happened to me, right? People who don’t care about other people or who don’t have feelings don’t check on their friends to make sure they aren’t hurt. So there you go. The doctor’s an idiot and we can get back to video games.”

Cody kind of had a point, but I didn’t bother to remind him that he was the only one besides my parents that I would have that reaction for. Out of all the people in the world, did caring about only three of them even count?

The week before, an older neighbor had fallen on his bike in front of our house. I watched in fascination from the living room window as he struggled with his obviously broken leg until a car came by and stopped to help.

It never even occurred to me to help. Not once.

It was that thought, the idea that I was broken, that sent the heat of rage soaring through my spine, and it was that anger that caused me to send the entire contents of my mom’s china cabinet crashing to the floor.

“You’ve got to remember that you’re different, not broken. We just gotta fix you up a bit. Make it so that others don’t see all the different inside you.” He winked at me, something he’s been doing a lot over the last few months. Whenever I tried to wink back, I just blinked a bunch of times and wound up looking like a genie ’cause I couldn’t close one eye at a time.

Cody walked over to the TV and started untangling two controllers for his gaming system. “It’s a start, though, right? We’re getting somewhere. You care about me, so what the doctor said isn’t true. I’d say that’s enough headway for today.”

“Sure is,” I agreed, sitting down Indian style on the floor in front of the couch.

“You can’t worry so much about what’s normal and what’s not,” Cody said. I wished it were that simple, but my parents were hell bent on fixing me. Some days I felt more like an experiment in a petri dish than their kid.

I knew I wasn’t normal without a single person having to tell me. My parents didn’t need to spend a single dollar for a professional to tell them something so obvious. “But my parents worry about me. That’s why they’ve taken me to every head shrinker from here to Georgia to try and figure me out.”

“But they’ve only taken you to them because of your anger thing, right?” Cody asked. “I mean the other stuff. The always worrying that you’re sick, the germ thing, the never sleeping, that’s not the thing that gets them calling the doctors, right? It’s just when you get really mad.” I nodded, knowing full well it was my rage and what I did when I had an “episode” that kept them up most nights.

Cody finished untangling the controllers and handed me one. He powered on the gaming console and the little TV sprang to life in bright, animated colors. “Then I think the answer is simple.”

“It is?” I asked. “What answer?”

Cody’s gaze was fixed firmly on the little green character on the screen, his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth while he concentrated. His elbows inches away from my face as he dramatically maneuvered his controller around in the air. “Uh huh. We just gotta teach you how to fake it.”

“Fake it?” I asked. “Fake what?”

“All of it. The emotion stuff. First, when you need to unleash the fury, when you feel like you’re choking in your own anger, we’ll figure out something for you to do to let it all out, but not around your parents. Whatever you do, just don’t let them see it. What they don’t know, won’t hurt them.”

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