18.0 Aiden's Art Of Meeting Someone Like Himself

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I've seen three lawyers this week, trying to find a way to file for Owen's custody. They say my case is weak for several reasons.

"Well, on the plus side, you're employed," said one of them. "Which is one advantage you have over both your parents. However, your job is unstable and you don't have your own apartment. Then again, judges will never agree to take the child out of his familiar routine. Especially considering his cognitive state, your brother might not be able to adjust to the change of environment. Kids like him require full-time care. You're traveling all the time. Who will take care of him?"

He had a good point -- or several to be honest -- and I can't really figure out a way around it. After spending two days sitting awake at night, tapping my foot against the wooden floor of my new one-bedroom apartment, and pulling my hair out of my scalp, I decide to do something practical: I decide to get a job.

At first, I don't know what to apply for. I was always interested in political science, but having dropped out halfway through my degree, that is not even an option. Instead of wasting my time getting rejected from every firm I could possibly apply at, I focus instead on jobs that lie within my approach. They're not many, I admit, but I have experience working as an assistant production manager. It might pay less than modeling, but at least it's stable. And stability is all Owen needs.

And I do too.

Designing an impressive resume is tough, and I spend two nights browsing the web for samples. High school education and a few months' experience -- yeah, there's no way I'll ever be able to get custody.

Slamming my laptop shut, I drop my head into my hands and sit at the edge of the single mattress lying in the middle of the room that is barely large enough for a master bed and a couple of chairs. The place smells of sodden socks, wallpaper peeling off to expose the dirty gray walls behind it. I haven't been here long, but sleep seems impossible.

Until Xanax.

"They'll help you sleep at night," says Craig, a relatively experienced model I have come to become almost-friends with.

He's nice enough, keeping mostly to himself and smoking on his cigarettes. The first time we speak is when he asks to borrow my lighter after one of our shoots together. I learn that he's been modeling for over nine years, starting small and staying small. Another thing I learn about him that he's been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and takes pills to keep going.

"I would never even sleep if not for these," he tells me, shaking the bottle in my face. "Wanna try? You look like you could use something to calm your head." He points at my bouncing knee as I sit beside him on the sidewalk outside the building.

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