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Unstoppable and Unmovable (II | B Side) by Zero
Unstoppable and Unmovable | B Side
[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Hey, guys. Just a quick warning: Things will get bleak. Having said that, here’s the second part, or as I prefer to refer it: The B Side. As always, feel free to review!]
"Call the cops on you!? You could call the cops on him! He assaulted you!".
Kurt had told Patrick everything. Now, he got to see his best friend fuming and yelling above the melody of the band playing after them. It was a sight he was familiar with.
He went off like gunpowder at many things, but whenever he described him how a bruise or a torn eyebrow or lip on his face happened, that made his fuse go in a millisecond.
Sometimes he didn’t ask at all and Kurt didn’t tell him. That pact of silence was how they bridged everything they couldn’t voice, couldn’t talk about.
But tonight, Kurt knew Patrick would have questions.
"You’re forgetting my dad is Dr. Ezra Rosenfeld, head pathologist, researcher, PhD, you name it, he has it. My dad’s basically royalty for the Hospital and s**t" he leant against the wall of the corridor and stopped in his tracks.
"Well, I don’t f***ing care" Patrick threw his hands up in the air "He’s more than clearly a dick and your life would be a thousand times better if he was in jail or something!".
His best friend’s anger ignited his, and he struggled against it "Dude, first, I don’t want my dad to go to jail" his voice hardened "And second, don’t call him a dick".
Kurt saw in Patrick’s face how he swallowed his reply, almost asphyxiating with the words that touched the verge of his mouth. He heard the genuine offense and hurt in his voice despite himself when he had answered back, almost biting viciously.
"Besides, we’re turning eighteen next year, college and that stuff, you know, it’s going to be different" he slid his hand across the back of his freshly buzzed head. It felt prickly and wrong and it was going to take an eternity to grow his hair back.
"Yeah, right..." Patrick spoke again "I really hope you’re not applying for Medicine School".
"I’d rather die" Kurt scoffed and wrapped his hands tighter around his guitar case and his backpack "Or enlist. I mean, that’s also a way to get the hell away from here, right?"
"Well, I mean, you already shaved your head" the other teen shrugged.
"Asshole" he burst out a laugh.
Patrick joined in with a chuckle "WHAT!? I’m just saying you already look like you came straight out of bootcamp!".
"So, it’s that bad, is it?".
"No, it’s just great bullying material, private Rosenfeld" Patrick proceeded to rub his hand roughly and playfully against the other boy’s hypersensitive scalp. Kurt jerked away and insulted him again with the benevolence and mercilessness of brothers.
"Hey, any of you Kurt Rosenfeld?" one of the staff members walked up to them, Kurt nodded "Someone’s looking for you out there".
"Is it the cops?" Patrick asked at no one in particular.
"I don’t know" Kurt whispered.
"The cops? No!" the guy spit out "I don’t know. It’s a dude. Well, not a dude, a man, like just a guy. Gee, kids. Don’t scare me like that".
"Hey! Must be your uncle Dave!" Patrick perked up.
"Wanna come say hi?" Kurt asked him.
"I’ll get the others and we’ll catch you up in no time" Patrick combed his hair with his fingers, then he stepped closer to him with his hand over the other’s shoulder "You swear to me you’ll tell your uncle. Tonight".
His best friend bent closer to him "F***ing swear it!".
This was a conversation they had a thousand times before.
Tell your uncle. Please. Tell your grandparents. Who cares if they live in Ireland? Tell Mrs. Fitzgerald, she adores you! She would do something! Tell my parents. (Kurt knew that Patrick had told his parents behind his back, on his own, and the fact that they knew was both shelter and vulnerability for him). Tell. F***ing. Someone. Please.
It was easy for Patrick to ask that of him. It was just so simple for him to say. It was easy for him because even if he was aware... he was still in the dark and he had no idea of... he didn’t need to know the rest... so, Kurt shut it down as best as he could.
Still here was. Holding on to a backpack with his things, past the middle of the night. After he had sneaked out of his house. He had come this far.
"Alright" he thought that this once, he had to force himself to do it.
"If you don’t, I will!" Patrick raised his voice.
"I’ll do it".
His best friend wrapped his arms around him "Hey, and don’t enlist, you, dumbass. We need our lead guitar".
Kurt smiled at him.
Then, they advanced in opposite directions of the corridor. Kurt started drafting how he was going to tell his uncle about this. Telling Patrick was one thing because it wasn’t really telling him, as in, he already knew. His uncle on the other hand...
He had imagined it many times, when things felt unbearable and critical. But actually doing it seemed too colossal for him to grasp it.
He went over his head with that:
‘Hey, uncle. You know my dad? Well, he sucker punched me tonight. Thing is that, this is something that he tends to do. But, to be fair, he usually isn’t a violent prick. Like not all the time. Anyway. I’m no longer cool with it and I was thinking about no longer living with him because of that. Oh, yes. Also, I shaved my head. But that's okay. And I'm not sad’.
Yeah. This was why he didn’t write lyrics.
The walk to the end of the corridor proved too short for him to figure out what he was going to say. Out that door was David Rosenfeld. His dad’s younger brother.
He could do this.
He opened the door "Hey, un-".
When he looked up, Kurt was face to face with his dad.
His blood froze. The hairs he no longer had at the back of his neck raised.
Where was his uncle? Where were the cops? His mind started spinning.
"What are you doing here?".
"Let’s go home" his father’s voice was flat and commanding.
Kurt put his guitar case aside on the floor and grasped the heavy, metal door on his hand "No".
"Come on, kid" his dad held an open can of beer on his hand.
"I said no".
He tightened his grip on the door behind him when he caught his father’s eyes on it. He held to it as tightly as his muscles would allow him when he found the intention in the way he looked at it.
In that instant, Kurt didn’t fail to see his dad’s intention, to recognize that flash deep in his gaze.
He had just misread it. But he wouldn’t know it until a split second later and it would happen so fast and so violently, his memory would get stuck only with that (he would forget what was said, where they had been, how old he had been and keep only that) even years from then.
First, the beer hit him on the jaw. Liquid, first. Can, second. He shut his eyes and raised his free hand to deflect it as best as he could. He clawed at the door with his other hand, refusing to let it go.
In that fragment of a minute when he shut his eyes, before he knew it, his dad had secured the door handle and pulled lightning-fast.
Then, a horrid pain shot through his arm.
"DAD!" Kurt let out a bloodcurdling scream as he gazed back and saw it. His hand was trapped between the metal door and the frame and an angle that also caught his wrist. His fretting hand. He muttered every single curse he knew as he twisted it "MY HAND!".
His howls were drowned out by the sound of the other band onstage.
"Don’t try to squeeze it out, you’ll only hurt yourself more!" he felt his father use his strength to close the door tighter.
"DAD! PLEASE!" the pressure was crushing on his wrist, the heaviness of the door against his bones was unbearable. Kurt felt tears coming out on their own from his eyes, pouring down his face beyond his control.
His dad let go of the handle "I’m sorry, I thought you’d remove your hand to let me close the door".
He finally felt the pressure vanish.
Kurt doubled in pain and retrieved his hand. His palm burned. He saw the edge of the metal door had peeled and lifted the uppermost of his skin. But his skin be damned. His bones. F***. They had to be broken.
"We better leave to get your hand checked. Now" his father stood beside him, placing his hand on his back.
"Don’t touch me!" Kurt felt electric discharges up his arm. He could only breathe through his mouth. The tears still poured onto the floor.
"Ezra!" he heard a familiar voice.
"Dave!" his dad jumped.
"What are you...? Is that...? Kurt! Are you...?".
Kurt could hardly look up at his uncle. He couldn’t remember if he did. The pain blurred everything. The only thing that existed was that horrific throb and fire in his hand.
"He’s okay. I’ll handle this".
"I’ll go with you!".
"You don’t have to, Dave. Really"
He wouldn’t remember. He wouldn’t know how he managed to say it. But he knew it came to him with urgency, like a survival instinct "Please, I want my uncle to come, dad" then, he repeated it.
"I want my uncle Dave to come, please" Twice. Thrice. Four times. He knew he held onto that request like his life depended on it.
The following hours seemed disconnected for him.
They went to emergencies, where everyone knew his dad, where no one knew anything.
Where he was Dr. Ezra Rosenfeld’s son, whose latest antic had been shaving his head (oh, kid, your gorgeous hair) to sneak out of the house and go to some rock event.
According to his dad, his teenage-doesn’t-know-better shenanigan had ended up covered with him in alcohol and with a broken hand and wrist. Also, a huge gap of his palm flayed. Crushed bones and nerves had somehow become a consequence of all that.
Which wasn’t entirely untrue.
The whole thing would be a captivating future tall-tale to tell at parties, if only his hand wasn’t throbbing like his heart was inside it, and swelling like extra tissue had made home underneath his skin and he wasn’t struggling against the pain.
It would all probably be a great story to tell years from then with that hilarious-in-the-tragic-kind-of-way-hindsight tone if he hadn’t needed surgery.
The following morning. His hand was wrapped. Immobilized in a cast. His dad had been the epitome of a caring, concerned man. That was him. He tore him apart and then he stitched him back together. Once, twice, thrice, over and over again.
Because his dad was a genius at that. At everything.
He asked himself again if he actually did care. But he didn’t want to know.
His hand was crushed. His fretting hand.
If he had broken his arm. F***. He wouldn’t have minded if he had broken his nose, or his eye socket, but his wrist, goddamn it.
Hope you learnt your lesson and don’t sneak behind your dad’s back and drink again, kid. Ha, ha, ha.
He had not even tasted alcohol that night.
His uncle brought him a change of clothes after the surgery. Even if he wasn’t wearing the beer soaked t-shirt from last night, he still couldn’t get the smell out his nostrils.
They let him leave the hospital the day after. In the morning he had yet again a million messages from Patrick asking him where he was and a final one where he told him he had talked to his uncle Dave. So, now he knew he had surgery in his hand. He asked him if he was okay. Kurt told him he was.
His uncle had come early to check on both of them with packs of candy bars and coffee.
"Let’s go" came his father’s voice and a strong pat on the back of his head.
"Can my uncle take me home?" Kurt made eye contact with both of them.
He noticed his father’s defensive silence. He perceived his uncle’s sudden alertness, like at that moment, something told him something was going on.
His dad said he’d see them later.
His father was clever. Kurt knew he was clever too. He had to be.
As he sat in the passenger’s seat of his uncle’s car (thank God his uncle Dave’s and not his dad’s), he told him everything. He didn’t break down as he did.
He refused to.
"I’ll talk with your dad. I’ll tell him you’re moving in with me".
"No, I’ll do it".
"So, finally home. Thanks for bringing him, David. You didn’t have to bother" his dad poured him a glass of water and dropped a couple aspirins over their kitchen table "Take them, they’re for the swelling".
Kurt put his phone over the table. He swallowed both and then he braced himself. For the last time. He has to take it. He can.
"Why did you do that your hair?" his father studied him with disapproval "I guess you’ll look presentable again once it starts to grow out again. Never do that again, alright?".
He remained in sullen silence at his dad’s questioning.
"I explicitly told you not go yesterday. You defied me".
He looked at the half-empty glass on his hand "You taught me that I should honor my compromises, no matter what and the band is a compromise".
"It was clever of you, to remove the SIM card, to turn up the music, I’m almost impressed. But this nonsense ends now" his dad’s voice was steely.
"It does. You don’t have to worry. Because I’m leaving".
His father’s hand clenched into a fist. Kurt wasn’t afraid.
"What do you mean? Where to?".
"To my house, Ezra" his uncle replied to his right.
His dad looked at both of them "What is going on?".
"I’ve had enough. You’ve done enough. I don’t want to stay here. I know I’ve tried to run away last night. But I’m not doing that today" Kurt took a deep breath "I’m telling you upfront that I’m not going to live here anymore".
"You’re still underage. You can’t go anywhere without my permission" his dad replied matter-of-factly "Not even my brother’s house".
"Ezra, Kurt will not stay here with you. I won’t let it".
"This isn’t your decision to take, dad" he chimed in, almost cutting his father short "You know what? Yesterday night, I thought that you’d slap me in the face when we were back here and that would be it" he eyed his broken hand "I wasn’t even questioning it. I had ran away. I had disobeyed you. I had talked back... I’m not doing that anymore and I’m not letting you do it either".
"As you’ve put it: This isn’t your decision to take" his father replied "You’re my son. You’re not going anywhere. Keep this up, your hand won’t be the only thing broken. I promise you that".
"Ezra, don’t you dare!" his uncle yelled at him.
"What will you do? Punch me in the face again?" Kurt reeled him in.
"I’ll break your jaw if that teaches you not to talk back".
Kurt didn’t say anything else. Neither did his uncle. He just stared at his dad, he waited.
His dad’s demeanor remained distant. His gaze drifted from his to his phone. It had the notification light on. Then he broke the silence "You have a message, aren’t you going to answer it? Just a heads up, you’re not having it for a week after this".
"Oh, that’s not a message" Kurt said "That’s the voice recorder. It’s been on since we sat down here".
"You’re bluffing" his dad paled.
"We’ll see if the court thinks I’m bluffing when they hear everything you’ve said to me here" Kurt kept his voice steady. He will make all and every single of the ways he took after his father serve him.
"How can you be this ungrateful?" his father’s face was full of betrayal. He didn’t know if he faking it or not. He wouldn’t find it out either.
"Here’s the thing. I’m going to go upstairs; pack my things and I’m leaving and you won’t do anything to stop me" he told his father.
An hour later, he was back inside his uncle’s car, gazing out of the window as he drove away.
It had started to rain.
It had been his uncle who had noticed. Kurt thought that maybe his uncle was devoting himself not to let anything escape him again. So maybe that was why he seemed to be looking all over him for things he didn’t put a name on, but still desperate to find them.
"You need to get this evened out" his uncle stroke his crown and the back of his head "I have clippers. Do you want me to help you fix it or you’d rather have me take you to my barber tomorrow?".
Kurt touched his crown where the man’s hand had been. It was true, there was a slight difference, his scalp wasn’t all sand-paper to the touch, it was needles and pricks at places. He liked the feel of the almost rigid, almost skin level hairs better (he liked the feel of his shoulder-length mane a lot more). He acknowledged it was better if it was all a single length.
"I’d rather get it done right now, I was just thinking about getting a shower, either way" he needed it, badly, he swore he could still feel himself covered in beer and bits of hair here and there.
Soon, he was in the room that he would start to call his sitting on a stool, while his uncle plugged in his hair clippers. He heard them hum to life. That uniform, deep compass of the machine entrapped the air, seemed to go well underneath the other noises and hold and contain them.
The shifting, bare, metallic teeth touched to the back of his neck first. His hair wasn’t falling off in sheaves, creating mounds around him. It was coming off in a drizzle of barely-there millimeters. The pitch of the clippers was steady, only changing tune when they pressed against a patch he had missed.
Kurt felt much more aware of the bareness of his scalp as the clippers bit into it without his mane muting the blades. His uncle’s fingers traced the stubble and lightly shook off the bits of hair that came off with each pass.
"I’m so sorry to burden you" he murmured "I promise, I’ll find a job and I’ll move out as soon as I can".
It still rained outside. Only lighter.
"Burden me? Kurt, I’m sorry I didn’t step in before, I had no idea!" there was a care in his uncle’s voice and touch that he had only known before through its utter absence, through the envy he had felt at his friends for the fathers they had.
He listened to the rhythm of the clippers, feeling the vibration through his skin like pulsations. He felt at ease.
He couldn’t recall what that was like.
"And you can stay as long as you want to" his uncle folded his ear and went around it "Make it ten years, or ten days... even ten hours, if you decide you hate it here".
He smiled at that and thanked him.
His uncle asked him to straightened his head. Kurt felt how the clippers went from his forehead, in backwards movements all the way to his crown. It was unreal how he was going to move in with his uncle, how he had finally told him everything.
Having his head shaved also seemed far too strange to be real. He had long hair for years. All the way down to his shoulders. That had changed.
Yet, he felt it was cleansing that it was that way.
"And done" his uncle turned off the machine and rubbed his head softly "How do you feel?".
Kurt ran his hand across the top of his head, his fingertips still found alien the texture of his almost shaven scalp "All good", he replied and he didn’t lie when he said it "Besides, this is going to be more practical, while I recover and all that" he lifted his other arm and felt the weight of the cast "I just hope that I can play again after this".
F***. His fretting hand.
"Kurt, look at you. You’re strong. You will get better and you will play again. Just be patient" his uncle patted him on the back.
"I will not promise I’ll be patient" Kurt laughed "And I really need a shower".
"Of course! I’ll order some pizza while you’re at it!" his uncle unplugged the clippers.
"Hey, uncle" Kurt checked his phone "I know I just moved in, but can my friends from the band come over tonight?".
"I’ll order more pizza, then!" his uncle shrugged and left with a welcoming smile on his face.
Kurt truly felt grateful for his uncle.
After he had showered and changed, he stood in front of the mirror for a while. He realized that he hadn’t really seen himself in a mirror since yesterday. Being in front of a mirror and seeing oneself in one were two different things.
He took in how he really looked with his head almost completely shaven. Without his hair down to his shoulders. He thought he wasn’t his father’s famed, long-haired and handsome son that everyone could tell apart. That had been the point of cutting it all off.
He thought hard about it. He knew at that moment that his shoulder-length mane had been a concession. A relief among all of this dad’s devices of shutdown. It was how he had tasted and exerted his own free will. An artificial one, that was. That first pass of the clippers had pained him. His hands had trembled. His hair had been that closest thing to freedom and decision he had. He had gotten rid of it. In a heartbeat.
He thought that he had needed to cut it all off. It felt cleansing and liberating to do so because it was. It had felt painful because it also was.
He didn’t look like the teenaged, long-haired boy that played the lead guitar in their own band in all that previous footage. He didn’t look like his dad either. Kurt thought that he could be between both ends. Not his father. Not exactly himself either. He would figure it out.
This was not going to stop him.
He was going to keep moving.