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The Problem


Heidi Yang

Justin looked worriedly at his friend. He could tell that Kevin was depressed about something.  "What's wrong?" Justin asked softly. "Nothing," Kevin replied gruffly. "Oh, you just seemed..." "Just leave me alone, I'm fine," Kevin replied, glaring angrily at Justin.

"Well you could at least stop sitting here in the dark," Justin said with a sigh.  He walked over to the front door and flicked on the light.  The room was filled with comfortable looking furniture. A brown overstuffed chair sat near the far right wall, and a couch that had seen better days stood opposite the chair. The wooden floors were a light-colored wood that shone brightly. Justin glanced again at his friend. He sighed and ran his fingers through his short dark brown hair.  'Why won't he tell me what's wrong?' Justin thought frowning. 'I know I can help him.'  

Kevin's face was twisted into a scowl. His black eyes were brooding and his short, black hair somewhat hid his face. 'What makes him think he can help?' Kevin thought bitterly, 'What I did wasn't right but it's over now.' But if it had happened so long ago, why did he feel so much regret all of sudden? He glanced at Justin for a moment. His friend's tall, lanky frame didn't take up much space. His expression showed that he was worried about him.

"Maybe I should tell him," Kevin said quietly. "What do I have to lose?"  But despite that Justin knew everything Kevin still didn't want to tell Justin he regretted killing his dad. "Are you sure you don't want to tell me what's wrong?" Justin asked worriedly.

"Well, actually I changed my mind," Kevin replied hesitantly. "Does this mean you're going to tell me what's wrong?" Justin asked hopefully. "Yes," Kevin said slowly. "You know that I killed my dad, but there's something you don't know."

"What don't I know?" Justin asked curiously. "I regret killing him," Kevin said softly. "I don't know why, he was monster. He deserved to die." "Yes, but he was still your dad," Justin said thoughtfully. "You didn't have to live with him," Kevin said quietly, glaring at Justin. Justin frowned. He remembered when Kevin had told him he had killed his dad. Actually that was back when Kevin didn't talk to anyone. But he had written down what happened. Justin glanced at his friend, what was so bad about regretting something? "Just because you regret killing your dad doesn't mean you're a bad person," Justin said quietly.

"Yeah, I know," Kevin said with a shrug. "Then why was it so hard for you to tell me that?" Justin wrinkling his brow. "I don't know," Kevin said slowly. "It's just sometimes I wonder.." "Wonder what?" Justin asked curiously. "Nothing," Kevin replied hurriedly. "It's not important." "Oh, are you feeling better now?" Justin asked quietly.

"Yes, I think I'm going to head home." "Okay see you later," Justin said as Kevin walked out the door. Kevin glared as he walked down the sidewalk. He was beginning to wonder if he was responsible for hurting his family as well. Justin sighed. Why did Kevin always feel like he had to hide things like that? 'He probably thinks he wrecked his own life,' Justin thought wearily. In away that was true, but with his help Kevin had managed to get his life back together. His friend was fine now, wasn't he?

Meanwhile Kevin was sitting in his room wondering what life would've been like if he hadn't killed his dad. Could he have changed? 'No, he would've stayed the same, a monster,' Kevin thought bitterly. If his dad hadn't abused him he wouldn't have killed him. If his dad hadn't tried to kill him every time he tried to call the police, he would've done that. He had run off only to have his dad find him and hurt him again.

"He left me no choice," Kevin said quietly. Justin sat in his room thinking about his conversation with Kevin. 'Maybe I should call him,' Justin thought. 'Just to make sure he's okay.' A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts. "Ready for dinner?" his dad asked.

"Yeah I guess," Justin replied absent-mindedly. Justin opened his door and followed his dad down the hall towards the dining room. His dad was about the same height as Justin with blonde hair and blue eyes. Justin smiled at his mom as he came into the dining room.  She was about average height and had short brown hair and dark brown eyes. "How was your visit with Kevin?" she asked curiously. "Fine," Justin replied quickly. "What did you guys talk about?" his dad asked eagerly.

"Nothing in particular, just school and stuff," Justin replied with a shrug. "Oh," his dad said frowning. The meal was rather quiet. For some reason, Justin couldn't stop thinking about Kevin. He kept getting this nagging feeling that something was wrong. 

Meanwhile, Kevin was still sitting in his room. His mom came in her face twisted into a worried expression. Her dark brown hair was frizzy and her short frame didn't take up much space. "Are you okay?" she asked with concern in her voice. "I guess," Kevin replied quietly.

"Are you sure?" his mom asked frowning. "Actually I was thinking about dad," Kevin said pausing. "Are you mad at me for killing him?" "No, I didn't think it was the right way to solve the problem though," his mom replied thoughtfully.

"I wanted to call the police, but every time I tried dad beat me up," Kevin replied hurriedly. "I know," his mom said with a sigh. "I kind of regret it," Kevin said slowly. "I'm not surprised that you do," his mom said hesitantly. "Besides, he shouldn't have treated you like that."

"You're definitely right about that." "Feel better now?" his mom asked hopefully. "Yeah," Kevin said quietly. After his mom left Kevin got up and closed the door. He sighed and looked around the room. It wasn't too messy. A few shirts lay on the floor next to his bed and his desk was a bit cluttered. 'I wonder where I put my pocket knife,' Kevin thought.

He remembered putting on his desk not too long ago. He found it amongst the crumpled up papers and pencils. For a moment, Kevin looked at the blade. 'It would only take a couple  cuts,' he thought to himself glancing at his arm. But was that really the way he wanted to get rid of his pain? Justin glanced around the living room, no one else was there. 'Good, that will give me a chance to call Kevin,' he thought quickly. He picked up the phone and dialed Kevin's number.

He waited while the phone rang, hoping someone would pick up. Fortunately, Kevin answered. "Hey Justin, what are you up to?" "Not much," Justin replied hesitantly. "Are you okay? You sounded kind of upset this afternoon."

"Yes I 'm fine," Kevin said quietly. "It's just..." "Just what?" Justin asked curiously. "I know I wrecked my life by killing my dad and I can tell my mom thinks I should've called the police and she probably hates me," Kevin said worriedly.

"I doubt that," Justin replied reassuringly. "Besides your life is okay now isn't it?" "Yes," Kevin said quietly. "I just.." "What?" Justin asked firmly. "What's wrong?" "I feel like maybe if I cut myself, the pain would go away," Kevin said quietly. "Oh," Justin said pausing. "I guess you feel really bad about this." "Yes, I know it's not the right thing to do but.."

"But what?" Justin asked forcefully. "You don't have to do that." "I know I just feel so stupid," Kevin said slowly "If I hadn't killed him, none of this would've happened." "I know," Justin replied hurriedly. "But that doesn't mean you have to hurt yourself just because you feel bad."

"Yeah I know," Kevin replied lamely. "Do you?" Justin asked flatly. "Well, maybe not," Kevin said with a laugh. "But at least now I know I shouldn't be doing this." "That's good," Justin said with relief. "Promise me you won't ever do this again okay?" "I promise," Kevin replied solemnly. "Good, I 'll talk to you later," Justin said quickly. "Okay bye."

"Bye." Justin hung up the phone. He breathed a sigh of relief. At least now, he knew Kevin would be okay. Kevin put away his pocket knife. He was glad Justin had been able to help him. He knew now that cutting himself would've been a big mistake. He knew he was going to be okay now. Justin was right. What had happened was in the past. Kevin smiled to himself as he realized his problem was solved.

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