6.2 Aiden's Art Of Ignoring His Needs

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"Aren't you going to work?"

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"Aren't you going to work?"

Mom's question is harmless, and yet it hurts me so much more than I care to admit.

I've been in bed all day, unable to move. I rarely get sick, but when I do, it's terrible. I know no medicine will help me heal faster, but the hope that somebody will notice that I'm unwell and take care of me comes naturally. After being the one to take care of everyone for so long, is it wrong to expect someone to return the favor when I'm sick?

Dad doesn't notice, not coming to my room the entire day. He hardly even comes home anymore, ever since he realized mom was going to find an attorney and file for divorce. Things blew up like I'd expected, with both my parents fighting over who'd get me. Just for that one night, both of them wanted me, reminding each other of everything they have ever done for me. The night came to an end and so did their love, putting me back under the pressure of carrying their wights and fulfilling their responsibilities.

As for mom, she hasn't spoken to me since I told her -- the day after her fight with dad -- that I won't be living with her. She'd ended up yelling at me and calling me an ungrateful man like my father because I told her I won't be providing for her and Owen. It's not just about money. It's about them objectifying me and dividing me like I'm some property they can own and share.

I'm a human being, not a fucking bank account.

Brimming with resentment, burning with fever, and shivering under my covers, I don't answer her as she stands in the door to my room now and calls me over. Her lack of concern for my health and inquiry only about why I'm not going to work hits me where it matters and I refuse to open my eyes and respond to her. I don't care what she says at this point.

"I'm talking to you, Aiden." She raises her voice.

I still don't answer, squeezing my eyes shut tighter and trying to fight off the fog engulfing my brain.

"Fine, then. I'm putting this electricity bill here. It's due tomorrow so when you're done ignoring your responsibilities, maybe you can go and --"

"My responsibilities?" I repeat, finally appearing from under the covers and sitting up to stare at mom with a mixture of anger and disbelief. My head spins at the sudden movement and my voice sounds hoarse when I speak, my throat aching. "Since when did all of this become my responsibility?"

"Don't start, Aiden," mom says. "People who live in one house share burdens. They don't remind everyone about all they're doing all the time."

I can't help but scoff, a throaty sound that sounds more like a cough. Mom doesn't even seem to notice. Either she's completely oblivious or she's learned to ignore everything about me, but she doesn't notice my pale skin and the circles under my eyes.

"So, that's it then?" I ask venomously. "This is the price of living in this house? No matter how unwell I am, all you care about is the money I bring in, is that it?"

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