God, my head hurts! Why is that light so bright when my eyes are closed? I couldn’t get a grasp of where I was. All I could feel was pain- sharp, throbbing pain. My face, my right arm, my chest and sides hurt. It took me a few minutes to finally realize what had happened to me.
After what seemed like hours, I finally managed to open my eyes. The bright lights made it nearly impossible to focus. “You’re awake, Young Man. Good.” I heard a voice say. Then I saw the face of an old man emerge into my view. I guess he was leaning into me as he spoke.
“Tell me how you feel. Where do you feel pain?” he asked worriedly.
“I fucking hurt all over!” I shouted back at him. “My head hurts, and I’m having a lot of pain in my chest when I breathe. What’s wrong with me?”
“Can you tell me anything about what happened to you?” he inquired. “Do you remember anything at all?”
Then it all came rushing back to me. The humiliation in the cafeteria. The falling down and running out of the room with everyone laughing at me. Josh and his friends coming into the restroom, and me attacking him. And then, their vicious assault on me.
“I don’t remember anything! How bad am I hurt?” I lied, but I didn’t feel like telling him what had happened to me. It really wasn’t Josh’s fault. I was the one who had initiated the fight, and they were justified in returning the favor.
“Surely you have to remember who did this to you,” he said questioningly. “You took quite a beating, so you must know who it was.”
“I don’t remember a damn thing!” I yelled. He jumped back and told me to calm down. He turned to the nurse and asked for a syringe. Darkness overtook me as everything went black again.
I awoke later, but I don’t know how long I was out. The room was no longer bright. There was only a dim light coming from what I imagined was the bathroom.
I moved a little and let out a small breath of air. I immediately felt a hand on my arm, and a gentle voice ask, “How are you, Honey?” I recognized the voice immediately. It was my mother. Hearing her voice made tears start to run down my face.
“It’s okay, Gary. No one’s going to hurt you here,” she assured me as she kissed on my forehead. The damn tears wouldn’t shut off though. They were racing down my face and falling onto the pillow that my head was propped upon.
I don’t know why, but I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I didn’t want her to see me like this. I didn’t want her to ask me questions about how this had happened. She would soon figure out that her ‘little Gary’ wasn’t the son she thought she had.
“What happened? She asked. “Why would someone do something like this to you? Can you tell me who did this?”
“I don’t remember,” I said. Again, I lied, but a lie was better at this point than telling her the truth. ‘Yeah, Mom. I got my ass kicked because some guys didn’t think a faggot should be using the bathroom and perving on them.’
I asked, “How long have I been here?” No one had really said anything to me about the injuries I had received. In fact, most of the time I had been asleep.
“Two days,” she informed me. “You’ve been sedated for two days. They wanted to keep you calm so that your injuries could heal.”
“What injuries?” I felt like shit, so I assumed they were rather severe.
“You were unconscious when they found you. They rushed you here and took you immediately into surgery. You suffered a slight concussion, two broken ribs and a broken right arm.” She began to sob uncontrollably, clutching at my left arm. It was beginning to hurt.
“I’m all right, Mom,” I said trying to reassure her. “I’m not in too much pain.” Actually, that was another lie. I hurt all over, but I didn’t want her to know. She would have just cried even more.
“God, Gary! Why would someone hurt you like this? You’ve never harmed anyone in your life. I’ve never known you to have an enemy or to ever get into a fight. Why would someone do something like this?” She cried out, clutching me even tighter.
“I don’t know, Mom. I didn’t see who did this. Someone just jumped me from behind. I guess they wanted my lunch money or something.” More lies, but I couldn’t bear to tell her the truth.
“It just doesn’t make much sense. The principal told me about someone tripping you in the cafeteria, and then you running to the bathroom. Then this happens. It just doesn’t make sense. Is there something you’re not telling me, Honey?” She moved her hand from my arm and took my hand in hers. Oh, no! Here come the tears again.
“No, Mom,” I said with teary eyes. “There’s nothing more to tell.” I turned my head to the side and closed my eyes. I just wanted to go back to sleep and forget about all it. Maybe when I wake up, this will have just been a bad dream- a really bad dream.
I awoke again when I felt movement around me. I opened my eyes and saw the doctor who had been attending to me earlier, minutes, hours, days ago- I don’t remember.
“So, Young Man. How are you feeling today? I’m Doctor Lassiter. I understand your mother told you yesterday about your injuries. Would you like to talk about it?” he asked me gently, but forcefully. I had a feeling I was going to have a hard time convincing anyone that I had suddenly developed a case of amnesia.
“I feel like shit. Can I have a drink please?” I needed something to take away the dryness in my mouth and throat.
“You can have just a sip of water. We’ll see how you handle that. Then you can begin drinking liquids on your own if you don’t get sick.” He raised my head and gave me a small sip out of a straw. It felt so good going down. He watched me carefully before giving me another sip.
“Good,” he said reassuringly. “You seem to be doing just fine.”
“Gary,” he insisted, “We must know what happened to you. The police have been here. They will return shortly. They feel a serious crime was committed against you at school. You were brutally beaten, more than what happens in an ordinary school fight. It appears more than one person may have been involved. Can you tell me what happened?” I could tell by the gentleness of his voice that he was sincere, but I couldn’t tell him the truth. It was something I had to keep to myself.
“Sorry, Doctor, but I don’t remember anything. As I told my Mom, someone jumped me from behind, and I didn’t get a look at them. I think they wanted my lunch money.” There. I was sticking to my story. It sounded so good that I was beginning to believe it myself.
Just then the door opened, and my mother came in, followed my two men in gray suits. I assumed that they were probably detectives. I was right.
“I’m Detective Stevens, and this is Officer Robinson,” he announced. “We are here to investigate the brutal beating you received in the restroom of your high school. Can you tell us what happened?”
“Like I told my mother and the doctor,” I repeated for the third time, “I don’t remember anything. I was jumped from behind. All I remember is getting hit in the head, and then waking up here.” I stated firmly. I was getting pretty good at lying.
“It doesn’t appear to be a random robbery,” replied Detective Stevens. “The injuries are too severe; and besides, your wallet was still in your back pocket and no money was taken.” He looked at me very accusingly. I felt I was the one in trouble.
“Maybe he got scared and ran away,” I suggested. I was hoping they would buy my story. I didn’t think I could take much more questioning.
“So, your story is that you don’t remember what happened to you, you didn’t see any one and you can’t identify your assailant?” His eyes narrowed. He knew I was lying, and I guess he was trying to break me with a cold stare.
“Yes, Sir,” I responded. “That is my story. I have nothing else to add.” I stared back at him for a brief second, before diverting my eyes to my hands. A small smile appeared on his face. He knew he had gotten to me; however, he didn’t pursue the questioning.
“Okay, then. I guess we are done here for now.” He handed me his card and said, “If you remember anything else, give me a call.”
“Sure,” I replied. I was glad it was over. Suddenly, I felt extremely weak. I began to grow very sleepy once again. I heard the door open and then close. I felt my mother’s reassuring hand take mine just before I fell asleep.