When Nick awoke, he jerked around, confused at where he was. Bitterly, he realized that would one day become a common feeling for him. He screamed in frustration, climbing out of the car he knew he slept in the night before. It hadn’t been for long, as the sun was only beginning to rise, casting a serene view over the ocean waters that he loved so much. He wondered how long he’d remember how much he loved it. Or how long till he forgot how to surf? When would it turn from random small things like misplacing items, to his entire life?
When he was on break, this was his favorite time of day. Early, early morning was the best time to surf. The fact no one really noticed him at that time of day was also a random bonus he always enjoyed. Now it was the first day towards the end of his life. A life he worked so hard for, a life where he wanted to make his mark before he left it. For most, what he had done thus far would be a satisfactory legacy. For Nick, it wasn’t enough. He wanted to reach more people as a musician, in the group and solo. He wanted to change it, change music in a more dramatic way.
He wanted to be remembered.
Now he’d be remembered, but nothing like he wanted. He’d be remembered for the nearly mindless Nick he’d become before he died, rather than what he did during his life. His mind flashed through his life thus far. His chaotic childhood, to his even crazier teenage years when fame had hit. Adulthood, where he’d lost himself for about a decade. He’d thought he had plenty of time to settle down, despite how he wanted to give up that dream. But now, he would never be given the chance it seemed.
He screamed, slamming his car door shut. A jogger gave him an odd look as he passed. Nick simply flipped him off. What did anything matter? Why care what anybody thought of him anymore? Once he used to care so much, tried so hard to be what the media wanted of him. All for naught, really. He glanced at his car; the sea green paint of the Lexus shimmered in the rising sun. He caught sight of his reflection in the car window and stared at it. Nick’s eyes were bloodshot, and puffy from the tears that came the night before, his hair was sticking out all over. His face was tired and seemed to have aged five years in less than twenty-four hours.
His reflection. One day, it would mean nothing.
He kicked the car, unable to release the storm that raged inside him.
“I don’t give a damn about you anymore! You’re just a fuckup! That’s all you’ll ever fucking be! A fuckup!” Nick cried, and in blind fury his fist flew at the window.
The window that was supposed to be shatterproof gave way in a piercing crack, his punch going through it. Several shards fell upon the ground around him. Most of the glass stayed in place, spider web lines sparkled in the sunlight as his arm throbbed with sudden agony. His arm was now stuck in the window. Crimson splashes could be seen along his arm, the window, and rained upon the cream colored seat in steady drops. He tried to move his arm, and found the pain to increase when he did.
‘Maybe I should just try pulling it out.’ As soon as the thought appeared, so did the fear of doing more damage to his sliced up arm, with pieces of glass around it stabbing still. He was furious at himself, at his stupidity, at his innate ability to take any situation and make it worse by any means possible. His foot slammed into his car door, this time causing the alarm to go off. Why it went off when it wasn’t set, and why it didn’t go off when he broke the window, he had no idea. But it fit with the mess he was forced to call his life.
His cell phone rang as the tears fell again, not from the pain, simply frustration. “What?!” He demanded the moment he answered.
“Whoa…Nick where are you? What’s going on, why’s a car alarm going off? I’ve been trying to reach you all night.”
The rescheduled meeting. It was supposed to have been last night, after the basketball game so that Brian and Nick could watch it. Nick however, had gotten the call and forgot about it. He hadn’t even bothered to check if anyone was calling him last night. He wondered how many missed calls he had. Who had actually cared that he’d vanished for the night. He thought about the album, how he’d been so proud of what they’d come up with. Now, he felt nothing for it. Nothing for the effort put into the music, nothing for the release that was looming away set to come out in mid August.
‘Shit. Heh. Like it matters.’ Yet he knew it did. It was just in the current situation, it all felt so trivial. He expected everyone to see that, even though no one knew but him why it was so trivial all of a sudden.
“I’m at this random fucking road…” He looked for the street sign. “Oh, 15th street…” He glanced around for some way to see what beach he was at, and found one at the nearby beach shop. “I’m at Hermosa Beach. Don’t worry, after I fucking hang up with you I’m going to a damn hospital.”
“What? Why? What’s wrong?!”
‘Million dollar question Bri. And a hella fucking loaded one too.’
“Oh I don’t know, I fucking punched my hand through my fucking car window, and now my ass is gonna have to go down before I fucking bleed to death!” He hung up, ready to throw his cell out into the road. His hand froze midway.
“Right, can’t.” He sighed. “Gotta be calling an ambulance…” He punched in the numbers with his free left hand. Of course he was right handed, making the entire affair that much more awkward.
“I need an ambulance, I…” Nick suddenly felt even stupider than before. The situation sounded even worse when one said it aloud. He felt stupid, idiotic, and incredibly worthless.
‘I’m always gonna be too. It’s never gonna stop, just get worse.’
“I punched my car window and now my arm’s stuck in it…bleeding like hell.” Before she could comment, Nick interjected. “I’m at 15th street, by Hermosa Beach.”
“We’ll send someone out.”
He hung up, kicking the car again. Thankfully that second kick forced his car alarm off. Nick wondered how long the alarm had been acting up, and was simply glad for the moment that it shut down no matter what caused it. He’d have done a happy dance, if only he wasn’t still trapped in that car window possibly bleeding to death. “Fuck yeah! Thank you!”
It was the only thing that would go right that day.
After a lot of laughter, stitches, and a brand new lime green cast on his right arm Nick found himself sitting before the doctor, waiting for the pain medication prescription and an allowance to go home. The EMTs that had taken care of Nick, had found it funny he’d managed to get his arm stuck. Everyone seemed to have found it funny, which only fueled his own anger at anyone within the medical field. They’d been forced to break the rest of the window down, to avoid tearing up Nick’s arm even further. Now, feeling tired, sore, and irritated, he was waiting before someone other than Dr. Hansen, who had been out the day. This was someone new. It was someone who hadn’t diagnosed Nick, so therefore Nick didn’t have the immediate urge to blindside him upside the head with his cast.
“Lucky for you, you managed to avoid any major nerves; your hand should be able to function properly once it heals. However, you did tear it up pretty bad, so expect scarring after we take the stitches out. You even managed a hairline fracture.”
Nick blinked, how hard had he punched that window? “I’m talented that way.”
“It says in your file you were just diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.”
“What of it?”
“Mr. Carter, were you feeling suicidal when you punched your car window?”
Nick felt his cheeks flush, not of embarrassment, just of anger.”No!”
“Did you feel suicidal at all last night? There were obviously signs of uncontrollable rage, was it because of your diagnosis?”
Although a lie was at the tip of his tongue, Nick felt himself hesitate. His tongue ran across his lips idly, momentarily lost in thought. “…yeah I was mad about it.” He was content with excluding the mental debate he’d had about suicide. He knew he’d never be able to actually go through with it anyway.
The doctor nodded, jotting something down. They were always writing things down; Nick noticed when it came to him. “Signs of depression usually appear with Alzheimer patients. Dr. Hansen already noted your reaction; you spoke with the psychiatrist on hand as you were treated as well. We feel that you should go into therapy to help you cope. It’s pretty standard with Alzheimer patients, especially ones younger than sixty-five.”
“What!? I don’t need therapy…”
“Mr. Carter, you’re showing suicidal tendencies as a result of life altering news. You’re also acting impulsively with rage in a dangerous manner. This is simply to help you cope. A couple sessions, if the psychologist doesn’t feel you need it, just quit. If it goes nowhere, put an end to the sessions yourself. We simply want you to try it out.”
“I have to do this don’t I?”
“You don’t have to do anything yet. But if more incidents occur, we would attempt to involve your family so that we may look out for your best interests.”
“Can I just get my fucking prescription and go?” Nick asked pointedly, heated at the veiled threat. He snatched the prescription from the doctor, and stormed out. He rapidly made his way down the hall, only to be greeted by Brian in the main lobby, walking through the doors.
“Nick, what were you thinking?” Brian questioned as he pulled the taller man in for a hug.
Nick opened his mouth; he instinctively wanted to tell Brian everything. It’d always been that way, even back when Nick was twelve, scrawny, and shorter than the seventeen year old Brian. There had always been this welcoming aura around him, able to comfort Nick and feel like he could tell his best friend anything. And it had proven true. He hugged Brian back, deciding then and there not to tell him. For the moment, Nick was going to handle everything. They didn’t have to know. No one had to know. The time would come of course, where Nick would be forced to tell them everything. He knew that, accepted it even.
But not then.
Not when he could barely handle it himself.
“Nothing Brian!” He pulled away. “I was just mad and the window was just there.”
Worry lined Brian’s face; the blue eyes that usually sparkled with a carefree light had darkened with concern. Brian was the one Nick knew he’d have to work the hardest at hiding it from. “What aren’t you telling me?”
“Nothing! Geeze, is that why you came?”
“No, I came because I called a tow truck to take your car to the auto shop. You have no ride home. And I came to deliver you to the meeting.” He grinned. “Seems like we have to kidnap your crazy blonde butt to get it anywhere.” Brian grabbed Nick’s good hand and pulled him along.
“Don’t I get a choice in this?”
“When has the Backstreet Baby had a say?”
“Heh, good point.”
“Now come on.”