He came home and kicked his shoes in a corner.
“Conner?”, he heard his mother calling. Quick, before she could come around the corner or call for him again, he run up the stairs. Slamming the door behind him, he threw his bag in a corner.
The heat of the hate in his chest was easing up even though he wanted it to keep on burning. He wanted it to flame inside him, it should fill up the hole he normally felt.
The hole that sucked all the happiness out of him. At least he felt something but emptiness when the hate was pumping through his veins. Anger was better than nothing.
After a few years though the thought of his classmates didn’t make him angry anymore, it just hurt. Shaking his head, he went up to his desk and started his computer.
Starting his music, he stared out of the window for a second and wondered what the world would be like if he just stopped existing. Not killing himself but just his whole existence being erased.
He imagined that he would stop feeling completely but this time it would be a good nothing not a nothing that was created by overwhelming sadness that numbed everything else.
Shifting his sight from the tree in front of his window to his desktop, he had just opened his browser when his mother threw his door open.
He didn’t turn around, he didn’t want to face another confrontation.
“Conner!”, she sounded annoyed, but he didn’t take off his headset, so he couldn’t hear her clearly.
“What is it?”, his voice was emotionless. She clicked her tongue in disapproval, she would have started complaining if she had seen that he had, once again, the look in his eyes.
The look that showed that he wished he was gone. No emotions, no sign of acknowledgement of the person standing in front of him. A complete lack of will to live.
“I called for you, multiple times.”, she continued, pronouncing the last part very clearly. Her voice had this lurking undertone, it was aggressive and just waited for him to say something wrong.
“I didn’t hear you.”
“Then take off these stupid headphones!” her voice grew sharper with every word.
Pressing a button on his keyboard he muted his music, slightly he turned towards her, so she could see parts of his profile.
“What do you want?” He got a glance of her eyes before looking away again, they burned with that underlying anger that he felt just minutes ago but this time it was directed at him.
“Go do the grocery shopping.” She turned around on her heel and slammed his door behind him without any sound.
She shut it with such force but to anyone but him it would have looked normal,
but he could pick up the nuances that clearly showed that she was angry and felt good about ordering him around without ever using the words “please” and “thank you”.
Phrases which he had to use just to get the milk passed at breakfast. He lifted his view from the ground and turned his computer off.
Sighing he stood up and grabbed the jacked he had just thrown on his bed. After talking to his mother, the hole spread through his chest, the numbness lied heavy in his stomach.
Standing a few moments longer than a normal person, delaying the moment ever so slightly, he put on his jacket and went down stairs. He picked up the grocery list and put on his shoes.
When he was about to leave the house, he could hear the car of his father parking outside the house. In a reflexive movement he went to the small bathroom they had downstairs.
A few more seconds passed when he heard his father coming in through the front door.
His shoulders tensed up, ridiculously careful he listened to his father’s steps that slowly marched towards the living room. A door opened and closed behind someone.
Rushing out of the bathroom and out of the front door he almost ran towards his bike. Only when he finally started biking towards the supermarket he calmed down again.
It wasn’t that he hated his father or that he was afraid of him. He just didn’t want to face him. His eyes were glued to the floor while making his way through the supermarket aisles.
While he was looking for something he felt a small tuck from the side of his shirt. Turning around he saw a little girl brightly grinning at him.
Caught off guard he looked at her for a moment and then looked up to see where the parents of this unsupervised children were.
“Hey!”, she exclaimed. Very carefully he released her hand from his shirt while mumbling: “hi…”
“My mom said when I get lost I should ask for help!” Her eyes were radiant, their colour wasn’t special.
They were of an unspectacular walnut brown, but the pure glee for life sparkled out of them. A little taken aback he looked at her.
“Your mother told you to talk to strangers?”, he asked while slowly raising a single eyebrow. She giggled at that, a small smile stole itself on his lips.
“No, she told me to ask the employees, but I couldn’t find any…” puffing out her cheeks, gesticulating she threw her hands in all possible directions.
Looking up and around he really couldn’t see anyone.
“Why didn’t you go to the cashier?” She averted her gaze and clasped at her own jacket.
Finally, she mumbled something under her breath,
he thought to have heard something among the lines of “Those are scary and always hectically…” Realizing his hand were on its way to pat her head he yanked it back.
He couldn’t just touch a stranger kid. With a look for help he scanned the area again in hopes to find an employee.
Unsure of how to handle the situation he squatted down in front of the maybe 6-year-old girl.
Knowing all too well how it felt when the seemingly normal and casual could overwhelm someone, he gave her a reassuring smile, her face brightened up and she smiled back.
“Okay so I need you to next time take all your courage and talk to the cashier, okay? Strangers can be dangerous!”, slightly scolding her.
With a serious expression that just wouldn’t quite fit to her sparkling eyes she nodded.
This time he couldn’t help but grin at her, “for today I’ll help you, so you don’t have to go alone okay?” She nodded heavily and put on a brave front.
Honestly smiling he stood back up, “so let’s go and find you mom okay?”
“Yes!”, now obviously relieved she grabbed his hand.
“Let go.”, his voice was cold, and it was more a reflex than anything. He didn’t want to be touched, even right now by this kid. He didn’t want to be touched, he slipped his hand out of hers.
Her face and her sparkling eyes showed that she was hurt. Guilt hit him like a bat, failing at the attempt to smile he hold both his hands up.
“Sorry, I just don’t like to get touched or hold hands, okay?” his voice was still cold but not as dead as before. The undertone was raw guilt, it was the proof of his mind beating him up again.
How could he do that to an innocent little girl? She deserved better, she should have asked anyone but him. He scared her, he was so stupid. How could he do that to her?
“Okay.”, timidly she looked up at him. He was the lowest of low.
“Okay, then let’s go!”, again he haunted her with that fake smile off his. It probably scared her, even his real smile was ugly, but his fake smile probably counted as heinous crime.
With his mind now racing against him, he looked down so that he could see his shoes while walking. The cashier wasn’t too far away and only remotely full.
Not wanting to bother the other customers he pressed himself against the wall so that they didn’t have to move just to make him way.
Instinctively the little girl did the same even though she didn’t press herself against the wall with the same kind of force he used.
When they finally stood next to the cashier they waited politely until the current customer was ringed up and left until he took a step forward about to say something when
the cashier started scanning the next persons items. Connor stopped midtracks, he didn’t want to be a bother.
When that customer was also ringed up, he again stepped forward, this time even more insecurely and nervous than before.
When the cashier was about to start scanning the next products the girl jumped forward.
“Excuse me? I lost my mom.”, her voice was unshaken and mostly sweet. The cashier stopped in her tracks and looked at them. Her glance shifted up to him, quickly he straightened his back.
He must look pathetic, not even being able to talk to a cashier. The girl which asked for his help had to do the thing she was afraid off because he couldn’t do it.
His view shifted downwards, and he looked at his worn-out shoes, which were comfortable but with him starring at them the cashier would now realise how dirty and old they were.
She would judge him.
“You lost your mommy? And is that your brother?”, with a calm and gentle voice the cashier started to sooth the girl which had trusted him with this simple task he failed.
The emptiness started spreading inside of him again, he couldn’t even help a little girl who lost her mother in a supermarket. Pathetic.
“No, he isn’t. I asked him for help and he brought me here.”
“Oh, is that so? Can you tell me your name then? So, I can ask for your mom to pick you up?”
“My name is Eve.” Feeling a sudden urge to run away he looked up at the cashier who was about to ask for the mother to come to the checkout but stopped mid-way when she saw his sudden movement.
“Since she is now with you I’m gonna take my leave, bye Eve.”, awkwardly raising his hand towards the little girl he dashed off.
She looked after him for a few seconds but then turned back around towards the cashier.
A moment later he could hear the cashier’s voice over the speaker asking the mother to come to her checkout.