walk | 009
The first thing Ali saw when she entered the kitchen was an exhausted looking seventeen year old at the counter, nursing a cup of green tea in what appeared to be her floral mug. He had dark circles under his eyes and the irritated gleam of a person who had been kept awake. It was her laughter that made him swivel around and glare at her as though it was her fault he wasn’t sleeping.
He scowled at her teasing voice, dropping his head onto the table in exasperation. “Oh please, if it isn’t Blaise’s horrible music from next door, it’s Jason’s multiple curses about his stupid projects and studying. He just can’t take a break, can he? God, I need whatever it is he’s using to stay awake; maybe I’ll get some homework done, then.”
“You know as well as I do that he feels like he has to.” Ali sighed, lowering herself onto bar stool with a cup of tea. “His parents have him working his life away just to please them. The kid is fifteen years old; he has a life to live. What kind of sickos does he have for parents?”
A pause filled the kitchen as both of them drank their teas in silence. Ali ran locked her fingers around her mug, her eyebrows furrowed and lips pulled downward. Opposite her, Nathan’s chin was propped up on his open palm as he sipped from the borrowed mug. It went unsaid that both of them were worried for the boy who had too much to lose.
“He’s still taking those pills?” she sighed, her mug hitting the countertop a little too loudly.
“Yeah,” came the disheartened reply. “He’s bought a new bottle too. I don’t know where he even got the idea of taking those stupid things. One might think he’s addicted.”
Ali shook her head. “I don’t get it – exam weeks are over. He doesn’t need those pills anymore.”
“I don’t know, Ali. I really don’t know.” With a sigh, Nathan got out of his seat and placed his empty mug in the sink.
Before he could walk through the door, she stopped him with a sad smile. “Let’s just hope that he knows what he’s doing.” Nathan turned around and made his way to the stairs, muttering as he did so.
“I hope so.”
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