“He might’ve been the right person—if I hadn’t been so damaged and he hadn’t been so young.”
The first time I met him, he had a seizure on the pavement in front of my flat. When my efforts to find someone who could take him off my hands failed, I let him spend the night. He was already asleep anyway, so it wasn’t like I had any choice.
What started out as helping someone in need, slowly turns into something much more when he keeps appearing in my life. But how can he want someone like me? Someone so damaged and traumatised from my past that it keeps on messing up my present? When just one simple touch from someone is enough to bring on a flashback, a relationship with another person isn’t exactly within reach.
I’d just made sure my car was locked when I saw him.
He stood on the pavement, right next to the gate to my flat. He was properly bundled up for winter, so he shouldn’t have caught my attention at all, aside from the fact he was in front of my gate. But the blank expression on his young face, that did catch my attention.
I pocketed my keys and walked slowly towards him. I didn’t want to startle him, but at the same time that blank look had me worried.
“Hey. Are you all right?” I spoke loud enough to catch the attention of someone standing only a foot away, but he didn’t react at all.
Frowning, I stepped closer. Is he drunk? I didn’t think so. Drunkenness would have him stumbling around, not standing perfectly still. Maybe he was high on something? That was more difficult to determine, though.
“Are you all right?”
I tried again now that I was closer to him. There was still no reaction, and I was really starting to worry. I tapped a finger against my thigh and wondered if I should call for an ambulance when he suddenly jerked and fell to the ground. His body spasmed, and it took me a couple of seconds to realise that he was having an epileptic seizure.
I crouched down next to him, grateful for all the snow piled up on the pavement that softened his fall. His entire body seized violently and his lips turned slightly blue. I didn’t try to touch him or hold him. I’d dealt with epileptic seizures before, though that was a part of my past I shied away from. My knowledge came in handy now, however. If I hadn’t been familiar with epilepsy, I might’ve freaked out, but I’d seen this several times before. Granted, it had been years, but it wasn’t exactly something I’d forget.
The seizure didn’t last more than a few minutes, definitely less than five, so I figured he was good when another one didn’t start. But he was still in no condition to go anywhere. His eyes had closed and his breathing was turning deep. He was falling asleep.
“Fuck.” I glanced around. I wasn’t sure why I did it; it had been obvious earlier that he was alone.
If anyone had been there, they wouldn’t have been able to do anything anyway. So I did the only responsible thing I could and hefted him up in my arms. He was young and wearing a rucksack.
I managed to get him inside without dropping him. Not that he was particularly heavy, but it was a bit complicated to pick up my keys and unlock the door when my arms were busy holding him. It was also awkward thanks to the thick, slippery jacket he was wearing, and the heavy rucksack.
My flat only had one bedroom, so that was where I put him down. Right in the middle of my own bed. I hadn’t made it that morning, and it was a mess, but the kid was already asleep. I supposed it didn’t really matter. I took off the rucksack and jacket before carefully laying him back down again. His trousers were clean, only slightly damp from the snow, which meant he hadn’t pissed himself during the seizure. I pulled off his Converse last before I tucked my duvet over him. He was in all of his clothes, but I’d left my window open and the room was freezing.
I closed the window on my way out then deposited his shoes and jacket in the hallway. The rucksack I took with me into the living room, where I promptly started rifling through the contents. I probably should have felt guilty, but the kid had just had a seizure in front of me and I’d saved him from freezing to death out in the snow. I figured I was allowed some leeway.
He had a few schoolbooks in there, and I assumed from their titles he was studying Design, Arts and Craft. He was in upper secondary school, then, at least fifteen. I found a wallet next, where he had a debit card stashed inside. Geir Berger. And he was sixteen years old. Seventeen in little over a month.
I pulled out a sketchbook. It was entirely out of curiosity that I opened it. There couldn’t be anything of importance in it, but I was honest enough to admit to myself that I wanted to see if he was any good. There were regular sketches of fruit and other objects, probably what he had to do in school, but there were also landscape sketches and some of people. He was good. I hadn’t expected it. I didn’t know why I hadn’t, seeing as I didn’t know him.
I closed the sketchbook and put it atop the rest of his books. The only thing left in the main compartment of the rucksack was a pencil case. That was of little interest. I zipped up the smaller compartment in the front and found his epilepsy medication as well as a mobile. The last one was what I’d been looking for.
It was on, and thankfully didn’t have a passcode, so I could freely browse through his contacts. There was a Dad in there, but no Mum. I tried calling Dad, but was promptly told his mobile was shut off. I tried the home number too, but that just kept ringing without anyone answering.
Seemed I was stuck with the kid.