I opened my eyes and was immediately disoriented. My mind was swimming with different thoughts, like: Where the hell did that hospital band come from? Or, What's with the crazy tight bandages on my arms and chest? And plain old, What happened?.
I got up from my bed and realized I was shirtless. I stood, looking into my bodylength mirror. I stared at the bloodstained white tensor bandages on my abdomen, the bruise on my cheek and … how I became ripped in one night. My muscles were toned, my abs were more visible and I felt totally healthy. And, was it just me, or was I taller?
Last night was a blur. The only parts I could remember were how I was driving to Kat's family Art Gala, then I was there, and then I was taking her up to her grandfather's study. Next, I was dancing with my girlfriend Hanna and Kat, who seemed almost younger and rejuvenated after she came downstairs, and Hanna drove me home …. and that's all. Wait, I had just remembered that I was feeling feverish and had bad headaches in the morning so my dad drove me to the hospital. What was going on?
"Marcus?" My dad knocked on the door. "Are you okay?" He creaked open the door and gawked at me. I shot him a confused look and gestured towards the bandages.
"Uh, son?" He sat on the bed. "If you aren't feeling well, you don't have to go to school." He sat back and smiled weakly. Even though his dark brown hair had just been cut two days ago, it was messy and somehow a bit longer. His beard was curly and crazy, but neatly trimmed.
"Uh..." I stammered. I looked at my bandages again. "Dad. What happened?" He stopped in the doorway. He turned slowly and just smiled, trying to ease me.
"Uh, you fell last night. So, I took you to the hospital again." With that, he quickly strode down the hall.
I shrugged and let it pass. I turned on the stereo and my iPod turned on "Young" by Hollywood Undead. I pulled my yellow American Eagle tee over my head and pull on my jeans. I slumped down the stairs and slung my backpack onto my shoulder. I grabbed a bag of granola from my step-mom, Lucy and a bottle of water from the fridge in the kitchen.
"Marcus?" A turned and Lucy held a tiny green Tupperware container. She shook it and smiled, wrinkling her caramel coloured skin around her green-yellow eyes. "Pain killers. They might help. Take one every two hours with water if you need them." She tossed them to me and continued to spread mustard on bread for my younger brother, Shane.
"Thanks, Lucy." I never, ever called her mom because she wasn't my mom. My real mom lived in Kansas durning the winter and came back up here in Vancouver, durning the summer to spend time with me and Shane. My parents got divorced when I was ten, and Shane was only five. My dad married Lucy, a middle-aged African-American woman a year later. Shane ran down the stairs, clutching his Lacrosse stick.
"You've got practice after school today, Shane?" Lucy handed him a blue plastic sandwich box.
Shane sat in a wooden kitchen table and poured Captain Crunch into a bowl. "Nope. My first game of the season! We are so going to beat W.M Stone Academy, Masons!" Shane had taken up Lacrosse when he was seven and has been playing it ever since. On the calendar, beside my birthday, a day was circled a million times in red pen. That was Shane's provincial game. That meant that I was going to have to spend my eighteenth birthday in some shabby motel, surrounded by stinky Lacrosse equipment and screaming, hyper little thirteen year olds. Again.
I pulled on my green winter coat and stuck my feet in my Converse shoes, when Shane started groaning at the table.
"What's wrong?" I asked him, half-heartedly. I usually didn't care if he was in pain, but headaches was a new one.
"Unhh.... my head hurts." He groaned. "I think I need to go to the hospital for third time today!" He broke into an annoying giggle. I rolled my eyes.
"Shane, do you want to live to see your first Lacrosse game?" I stood. I strode over to the table and slammed my palm down on the table, right beside Shane's hand. He squeaked.
"Do I make myself clear, you little runt?" I was inches away from his face. He squirmed away and nodded. I smiled, basking in my victory. Shane stuck his tongue out at me and hugged Lucy.
"Bye mom. Are you going to come to my game? It's at the indoor arena." Lucy nodded. Shane ran out the door, ripping his jacket off the hook and jumping into the front seat of my beat up, black Ford Raptor. I trudged through the garage and hopped into the driver's seat.
"Back seat, buckaroo." I started the ignition. Shane whined and crawled into the back. As I pulled out of the back lane driveway, my head started to hurt. Shreds of last night came back to me. Some old and some... new. One of me growling and shutting my eyes tight. Another, although all I saw was black, of my dad screaming at me and me just yelling back. At least, I thought it was my voice. It was much deeper and angrier. What was going on?
"Hey!" Shane yelled. It jostled me back, but I barely missed a yellow Nissan Skyline. The driver, a twenty-something Aboriginal guy yelled at me and gave me the finger. "How come you get a tattoo?! You aren't even eighteen yet!"
I looked in the rearview mirror and at the back of my neck, were three long blue tattoos that looked like claw marks. Shane crossed his arms and sulked in the backseat, while I sat in the front seat, totally and completely disoriented.
"i wish I could get a tattoo." Shane pouted. "I wish I could drive, too."
Me too, Shane. I thought. Me too.