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One Shot [Part 1]
I have nothing left to live for. Basketball is life. My life. And now, with this injury, I’ll never get to play again. My mother is dead. She was the only parent who had actually been there for me outside of basketball. I mean, sure, my father has been there for me, but only pertaining to basketball. If I ever went up to him to ask for help on a trigonometry problem he would just say something like, “It doesn’t matter. You have basketball scholarships begging you to accept them.” It’s really inconsiderate. Maybe, someday, I want to help my kid with trigonometry. If I ever have kids.
My twin brother, he definitely cares about me. But he has his own family to worry about¸ outside of me. The woman he knows as a mother is my father’s ex-lover, from high school. And the man who has raised him is my father’s brother, and my uncle. Although, he calls my mother, his biological mother, "Mom”, and they are extremely close, my twin hates my father. As do I. I would change places with him, any day. He can still play basketball. He still has his mother. And he also does not live with the man that calls me his son.
I sit here, and think this, on a white balcony that is connected to my room. My balcony is almost as big as my room. I have, many times, brought my big screen television out here to watch a game with some friends. My house, that my father had built before I was born, is three stories high. The bottom floor is all glass. As in, instead of the outside walls being brick, they are glass. The glass is, of course, bulletproof. You can see into my living room, dining room, game room, computer room, and kitchen. The kids at school, even my friends, seldom call it my house. It has always been “The Glass House.” The house is on a hill that overlooks the town. The gate to our driveway is metal, and to enter the estate, we have to type in the numbers 6-5-3-8, and then a computerized machine scans our finger print. On my balcony, which is on the second story, no one can see me in town, but I can see everything that is going on.
My twin brother, Kayden Cross, is running down an alleyway behind his house. He is headed to the school basketball court. He is probably thinking about the basketball game and which plays he needs to work on, as he has nothing else to think about that is of the same importance. He looks extremely absorbed in his thoughts as he crosses the road without looking either way. His headphones are, of course, in his ears. He is most likely listening to The Beatles, or Journey. His iPod is stocked full of songs by them. His basketball, which hits the pavement at the same pace as his feet hit the pavement, is a brand new ball.
Kayden’s girlfriend and his other best friend are waiting for him at the school basketball court, knowing where to find him at almost any time. They are on opposite sides of the court, not talking, not even looking or acknowledging each other’s presence. They completely and totally despise each other. I have absolutely no idea how Kayden deals with that, because I know I would never be able to handle my girlfriend and best friend hating each other. They argue constantly. Paige, his girlfriend, is waiting to tell him about my mother. Isaiah, his best friend, is waiting to tell him about me. They both think they’re there to tell him the same news, and to help him through rough times. But they won’t, because Kayden never lets anyone inside his mind far enough to actually help him through something.
My girlfriend, Sadie, is sitting in her room, waiting for me to call her. I cannot see her, but I know her well enough to know what she’s doing. Plus, she just called, but I didn’t pick up. She probably thinks I’m in the shower, or playing basketball on my basketball court, outside. She doesn’t have any clue that I have crushed my legs beyond repair. That I am confined to this wheelchair for possibly the rest of my life. If I had picked up the phone she would have known instantly something was wrong.
I have a handgun in my lap. It is silver, and cold. I don’t know what kind of handgun it is, and I really don’t care. I do know that it could kill me, if I pull the trigger. I also have a bottle of Vicodin in my pocket. I don’t know how many it would take to kill me, but I know if I take the whole bottle, I’d be dead. I don’t know if I’m going to use either one, but I do know I no longer want to be in this world. I am not scared to die. Surely being dead is better than this.
I guess you are wondering who I am? And why I am thinking like this?
My name is Aiden Cross. I am seventeen years old, and I am currently in my junior year of high school. I am a co-captain on the school’s varsity basketball team. My father, who is alive, unfortunately, is having an affair with a woman who is half of his age, and two years older than me. She graduated from my school last year. My legs are crushed beyond repair, as I have already told you. My mother is dead, due to a car accident. I believe in God, and I believe that she is in heaven, out of the reaches of my father. My father gave my twin brother away, definitely not out of the goodness of his heart. He didn’t like the way Kayden cried when he picked him up. So, he gave him to his brother, and to his ex-high school lover, who are now married.
Kayden and I are exactly the same. He is the other captain of the varsity basketball team. We understand, and have trouble in, the exact same subjects in school. We have both had our girlfriends since freshman year in high school. In fact, we asked them out on the same day, in the same class period. The only difference between us is our friends. My life is basketball, but now I can’t play. Therefore, my life is over.
I was sleeping when my father came into my room, the day my life ended…
“Aiden! It’s time to get up! You have to be at the gym in two hours!” he demanded. “Eat, shower, and get to the gym!”
I sat up, and threw my feet over the side of my bed. The cold, hard floor was made from a beautiful mahogany wood.
I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and stood up.
“Hurry up, son! You have a schedule to follow! And that Kayden kid better not get more points than you tonight!” He stood close enough to me that I could feel his breath against my face, as he spoke. He needed to brush his teeth.
“That ‘Kayden kid’ is your son, and my best friend. He’s also my twin brother.”
“That boy,” my father said it as though Kayden were something unhealthy, that needed to be locked away forever, “is no son of mine, whether you claim that worthless piece of trash, as your brother or not. “ He paused to let that sink in. “Now get dressed, and get down to the kitchen to eat breakfast. Your mother is waiting.”
He walked out and slammed my bedroom door. My medals and pictures rattled, threatening to fall off the wall.
I grabbed some shorts and pulled them over my boxers, and walked down the stairs, into the kitchen. My mom had bacon, eggs, and waffles sitting on the bar. I sat down on the stool, right as she set my apple juice down. I hate orange juice.
“Good morning, sweetheart,” said my mother, warmly.
“Morning, Momma. How are you doing today?” I asked as I gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I poured syrup on my waffles and picked up my fork.
“I am… okay, I suppose. Your father and I aren’t talking,” she rolled her eyes. “But then again, when did we ever talk?”
“Who even wants to talk to him?” I asked, laughing. I started to eat my eggs. My mom leaned on the bar, laughing. She ate a piece of my bacon, and I playfully poked my fork at her, smiling. “Momma, this is amazing, you gotta teach me how to cook someday.”
“You are not going to learn any woman’s work!” my father snarled, as he marched into the kitchen, having brushed his teeth, and put on his work suit. “I’m going by the office before I go to the game.”
He walked out the door before we could say anything. My mom and I looked each other and shrugged before going back to what we were doing. I finished my breakfast and pushed back from the bar.
“I’m gonna jump in the shower, and then I’ll be ready too,” I said as I started to walk over toward the stairs.
“Don’t forget! I’m riding with you!” she laughed, and I smiled. I turned toward the stairs. My toes sunk down into the soft carpet of the hallway. I can remember falling asleep, countless times, on the carpet, because it’s so soft, and plush.
I walked up the stairs and through another hallway. When I got to the bathroom that connects to my room, I stood in there for a few minutes and looked at the walls. They are a dark purple, with yellow wall ornaments. My basketball number, 38, is hanging next to the mirror, and there are pictures of my family, of me when I was younger, of my girlfriend, of Kayden and I playing basketball, of Kayden and his girlfriend ice skating. And then there is a picture of my family, my mother looking deadly serious next to my father and I, a picture of my mom and my dad at their wedding, my mother looking distinctively unhappy, and then a picture of my mother by herself, laughing at something. I smiled at the pictures, and turned the water on for my shower.