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Wes Trapaghan has never had a grip of his life. After a nothing short of horrible childhood and a few tragedies, he’s settling. After a content few years, the sight of a certain person causes bad behaviors and habits to spring up to the surface again. Read on to follow Wes through a series of emotional rollercoasters and realizations. Will he finally take control of his life?
Unlike my other story here, ‘Work and Play’, which has a generally light and humorous tone, this story is dark and pretty dramatic. The main character has many internal issues and doesn’t live as glamorous a life.
This story is one that hurts a little, and explores darker themes including poverty, abuse, and life lessons. It will be shorter than ‘Work and Play’.
I do hope you enjoy reading ‘Aggressive Addiction’ and let me know what you think!
I flip my septum ring back down so each tiny ball makes itself visible in each nostril. No more interviews. My last one was a bust.
The man interviewing me was visibly annoyed at my lack of qualifications and experience. It’s nothing new. I know I need to go back to school and at least get a Bachelor’s in computer science. That’s the last thing on my mind right now though.
My raincoat has a hole in the side of it where a dog decided to attack me, but as long as I’m not completely soaked by the time I make it to the old boxing gym, I don’t care. My bike gets me there in twenty minutes.
I knock on the window. Nobody answers. I knock again, louder and longer. Still no answer. It is Tuesday, right? “Hello?” I knock. “It’s me, Wes.” No answer. I immediately start thinking of the worst.
There’s an older guy, Chip, who runs this old place. It isn’t used much, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays I swing by and have it out on some old boxing equipment. Take my anger out, or my frustration, or any energy, really. Chip tells me stories and I work out. I don’t have to pay. He stays from 11pm to 1am for me. I wonder if he decided to leave early. It’s 11:09 now.
“Chip? It’s Wes.” The rain seems to get heavier with every passing moment. Maybe he can’t hear me. Or maybe he’s hurt. I don’t want to worry too much, but I dig into my pocket for a paperclip anyway, and pick at the lock until the handle gives way. As soon as I burst into the room, I don’t see Chip. “Hello?”
I hear a vacuum in the old office that Chip never uses and decide to talk to him before I start. “Hey, I—” To my surprise, there’s a young guy with earbuds inside, vacuuming up around the corners. He doesn’t hear me, but when he turns around, he practically jumps out of his skin.
“What the hell?! How did you get in here?” he booms. My turn to jump. He snatches the earbuds out of his ears and clutches at his heart.
“Where’s Chip?” I ask. Something tells me this guy looks familiar, but I don’t say anything. I have my gloves and everything.
“Not here… dude why are you here?” the guy snaps.
“I come here after 11 every Tuesday and Thursday… Chip lets me in… what happened to him?” I ask. The guy gives me a confused look.
“Chip is 68 years old. He doesn’t work nights anymore. I started here last month,” the guy snaps. He looks ready to burst out of that blue jacket. His muscles are defined down to the shape in it. I realize that I haven’t removed my hood, so I’m sure I look like a dark specter. He probably can’t even see my face.
“Damn,” I mutter. “So he’s not going to be here anymore?” I ask, not removing my hood. I’d rather have him not recognize me later on if he wants to stir up any funny business.
“Not past 5pm,” he says, finally losing his defensive stance. “You said you do what now? Chip let you in after hours?”
“Y-yeah. I’m W—” I stop short. “I’m a friend of his.”
The guy nods, and his jacket shifts. I can see an array of tattoos creeping up from his neckline. He’s really, really familiar. I know his face at least. His eyes are a piercing kind of blue. He’s pretty damn attractive now that I look at him with a nice, new-trend haircut that definitely fits his defined jawline. “And you have a key?”
“Nah… I was worried somethin’ might’ve happened to him or whatever. Sorry. I uh… I broke in.”
The guy doesn’t say anything for a while, but he fiddles with his phone and packs up the vacuum while I stand there, dripping wet still. “Well, I was closing. I don’t mind staying late for a night if you’re so desperate, but you’re gonna have to come in earlier from now on, Compadre.”
I know him alright. Matthew King. He picked on me endlessly in school until I went numb. He didn’t have any tattoos back then. He made my school life a living hell for three years until he dropped out our senior year.
“Yeah… no. Sorry. I’ll just come back later maybe,” I say, my voice light.
“Dude, it’s alright,” he chuckles. “I don’t care staying. I need to be out of my house for a while anyway.” I don’t want to be weird, but I seriously doubt he knows bedava bahis who I am at this point. I could leave. That would mean finding some other form of stress relief for two days out of the week though. Damnit.
“If you’re okay with it,” I say, quickly swiveling around before I take my hoodie off. I do look pretty different since high school. I’m not so skinny anymore. I actually eat now. Got past that phase. Of course, my nose is pierced now. I grew my hair out. It’s not long, but my soft curls and fro are at full capacity. Good genes. I keep it longer on the top. My acne is clear, so my face is a smooth caramel-brown like the rest of my body. I almost didn’t get him until he said ‘compadre’, so maybe I’ll be unrecognizable to him, too.
I change my shoes and as soon as I drop my jacket to the ground, I can see Matthew from the other side of the room. Please don’t please—
“Wes? Wes Trapaghan?” he scoffs, looking as surprised as ever. My eyes widen, but I don’t say anything. “It’s me, Matt? Matt King.”
“No way,” I say quietly. “Crazy.”
“Wow… you look so different. Holy shit.” He approaches me, smile on his face. Ugh. “Do you live here again in Brooklyn?”
“Yeah,” I reply shortly. I’m 22 years old and the sight of him still makes me want to punch something. And he’s going to sit here and pretend like everything he did to me in high school is just forgotten. Of course he is.
“Wow. I thought you were a braniac. Out to be a doctor or some shit, man. You’re back in Brooklyn. Wow,” Matt laughs. He’s about five feet away, which to me is too close.
“Yeah,” I say again, putting my own earbuds in my ears and shoving my hands in my gloves angrily. I tune him out to the sound of heavy rap. He actually takes the hint, nodding once and going back to sit across the room. I barely even stay an hour, choosing to do some footwork and air swings until I’m too annoyed to even take out my aggression on a dummy. Matt spends all his time on his phone. What is he doing running this gym anyway? Does Chip pay him?
I mean, I never wanted to be a boxer. I just got good at some clubs I went to, and figured it shouldn’t go to waste. It’s always been a good way to work out.
At midnight on the dot, I’m changing my shoes again and putting on my raincoat, even though it’s not raining anymore. I’m out the door, and Matt follows me after turning off the lights. “Hey, if you’re gonna be here Thursday, I don’t mind staying after again.”
Just as I suspected, my apartment leaked in the places I thought it would. All three buckets are halfway full. I’m glad I predicted that.
I throw a pot pie from the freezer into the microwave as I flip through the TV to see what I can watch before bed. Matthew King. He was the last person from my 200 classmates I thought I’d see. I know people change, and I don’t doubt that he has, but I don’t want to take the high road on this one. I’ll talk to Chip in the afternoon, maybe have to change my aggression hours.
He punched me so hard in the mouth when I was sixteen that if you look really close, a side tooth of mine is still slightly turned in. There was an array of names he called me having to do with my race. I wish I could say it didn’t bother the hell out of me when he called me ‘Oreo’ or ‘Gray Baby’ or flat out ‘Mulatto’ whenever he felt like it. I did some math, and in the three years of torment, he stole $90 total from me. I did a lot of shit because of him. I stopped eating because of him.
I don’t even pay attention to the fuzzy show that’s on. I take small bites of my chicken pot pie and take small sips of my Gatorade. I should just let it go. Matt obviously didn’t make much of his life. Neither did I, but at least I graduated high school. He was chill in the gym. I should just avoid him and get on with my life.
I fall asleep on the couch, TV droning in the background.
“Hey. I thought you might not show up,” Matt says. I shrug, pushing past him and claiming my corner. Matt closes the door, locking it. “Do you want music? Out loud so your earbuds don’t get in the way?” I shake my head.
Chip had a note for me, but I never saw it. He didn’t forget about me, and he forgets about a lot. It killed me to see the defeated look in his eyes as he relied so heavily on his cane just to stand up. He can hardly walk.
It was Wednesday when I saw him. He told me he talked to Matt, and Matt agreed to stay late on Tuesdays and Thursdays, same time. Said it fit in with his schedule. I wasn’t going to mess with it.
I keep my distance from Matt as I get my head on straight. I don’t want to talk to him anymore than I have to, even though I should probably thank him for agreeing to stay late. Later. After I punch on this bag for a while. “Is it too hot in here?” I hear Matt ask over my music. I ignore him, doing quick rounds on the dummy. “Alright, dude. I’m putting on the A/C anyway.”
I sigh loudly. bedava bonus “Thanks for staying after hours,” I say quickly, taking out an earbud in the process.
“No problem. Glad to help you with all that… masculinity or whatever,” he chuckles. I roll my eyes and try to put my earbud back in, but that means taking off my glove, which I’m too stubborn to do. After the third attempt and a frustrated grunt, Matt quickly makes his way over, the expression on his face letting me know he wants to help. He gives a sympathetic smile as he places the earbud in my ear. We don’t interact the rest of the night.
For two weeks, actually, we barely communicate. I thank him every time he opens the door, and when he leaves. He occasionally asks if the temperature of the room is okay, and I always nod, whether it is or not. If anything, I’ve been more tense instead of letting off steam. He drives me crazy and he doesn’t even have to do anything.
It’s the third Thursday of June when I snap.
Matt has been watching me closely, probably monitoring my technique. I haven’t cared. I keep on as usual. It’s when I’m doing footwork that I’m most focused. I don’t notice that Matt is behind me in the ring until I feel his hand on my shoulder.
Now, I’ll deny a lot of things. I didn’t initially plan to punch Matt right in the mouth, but I did plan to give him a piece of it someday, mostly through words. But I was genuinely surprised by him, and my instinct was a right jab. Instinct. He fell immediately, both hands on his mouth and as I ripped out my earbuds, I heard him groan.
So I sit here, feeling only a little guilty as I unwrap my tape and take my gloves off while Matt stays in the office, a cold water bottle from the vending machine on his lip. He didn’t bleed, and I apologized three times, so I don’t feel too bad. I just hope nothing like this happens again.
He’s worn three different jackets for these past weeks, alternating every time I see him. Tonight though, he takes his jacket off and tosses it aside in a frustrated fit. I start moving quicker. I don’t want him to gear up for a fight. When he steps out of the office, his lip only a little swollen, I stop short. He’s only wearing a wife beater. He’s absolutely covered in tattoos from his neck down to his collarbone. His arms are covered as well. It looks like the ink stops after his collarbone, but I can’t see his torso. I haven’t seen anyone wear tattoos so well. I’m not even necessarily attracted to tattoos, but this is turning dials in me and flipping on switches I didn’t know I had. I swallow hard, finally snapping my attention away from the dull pink and blue mandala on his neck and the dark patterns on his arms. I think there’s a few faces inked in through all the designs. I leave quickly without saying a word.
On that next Tuesday, there’s no sign that I even hit him. He’s wearing the red jacket today. I like that one, because it is a little tight on the chest, and the red contrasts against his dark brown hair, making him look suave. It also accents the mandala on his neck. I got tired of hating him a week ago. I won’t show off by any means, but if he’s going to sit there and watch me for two hours twice a week, I can stand to spice it up a little. He’s hot, I’ll admit it.
I don’t put in my music this time, instead choosing to listen to the fans and my own feet shuffling on the ground. It’s pretty distracting at first, not following a beat or a melody, but I get used to it after a few minutes. Matt is watching me for sure, and I pretend not to notice.
Funny thing is, Matt was pretty much the only one in school who had a problem with me. I’ll estimate that a good 20% of the kids in school were mixed race, be it Black, Asian, Mexican, White, etc. None of them came to help me though. They had problems of their own. Most of us, over half my class, lived below the poverty line. We all had a mutual respect for each other, and most of the time, no food was stolen from us. Matthew broke the silent rules.
But it takes too much energy to hate him.
So when I see him approach the ring and step inside, hands up, I stop to catch my breath. “Can you hear me?” he asks with a smile. “I don’t want you to get surprised and right hook me.”
“Mhmm,” I say, still catching my breath. Matt stands behind me. “What are you doing?”
“I’ve watched you, and I think you’re doing everything great… I did notice your step when you retreat back is weaker, and it leaves you vulnerable. So if you wanna… I mean I’ll stand behind you while you do it. If that’s okay with you, of course. A-and maybe it’s just cause you’re off today, I don’t know.”
“Whatever,” I say. I throw a few punches forward, and mess up on my retreat, almost falling backward as I trip over my shoes. Matt catches me. “Sorry.”
“Nope, you’re good. Do it again,” he says. Now I have the scent of his cologne swirling in the air around me. I do the same thing (without falling), I feel Matt’s body behind me before I can throw deneme bonusu my last punch. He grabs my waist with strong hands. “Okay, right here. Do you feel how all your weight is on your front foot?” I nod slowly. “That’s not going to do much good, cause your weight is already forward. We both know you can’t effectively punch unless you have your shoulders and legs behind you.”
Yes, I know this. I just am NOT going to stop Matt from having his hands on my waist. I haven’t been in contact with a man since half a year ago, and he doesn’t have to know I like the feeling. It’s just boxing. I nod slowly again at his words.
“I’ll do it again,” I say. Matt affirms with a huff, letting go of my waist. “And when I get there, you grab me and make sure I’m not off-balance, cause I’m going to go forward again,” I say. That’s the most I’ve said to him so far.
I do my series of footwork and swings, and just like I instructed, Matt grabs my waist before I swing forward again. I swear I don’t mean to be off-balance; I fall into him, feeling the hardness of his body against mine. “I can feel it now,” I confirm.
“Right, right.” Matt keeps himself pushed against me. “Step back for a second?” I do. I still feel him exactly lined up with me. I admire the tattoos on his fingers and hands. Candy skulls on each index finger. That’s where the similarities end. There’s initials on his left hand as the centerpiece, but on his right hand, there’s what looks like an elaborate, watercolor sea turtle. I’d never be brave enough to let my body be a canvas like he has. “So you can lean on me, it’s alright,” he says lowly. I relax against him, and his hand slips down to my thigh. “Now, I’ll step with you, so you can feel my technique.”
This is too hot for me to think properly, but if nothing else, I’ll use the sensation of Matthew’s body as fuel while I jerk off tonight. He’s being helpful, I know. It’s not like anyone knew my sexuality in school, but Matt was pretty homophobic if I remember right. I’m probably the closest thing he has to ‘acquaintance’. I can’t imagine many people want to be around him. I only recently got over hating his entire existence.
We both do the same steps, me acting as a puppet as I rely on his body for support. At the last punch, Matt grabs my arm with one hand and uses the other arm to wrap around my waist. “Good. Great. Again.”
And again. And again. My breathing gets heavier each time. I can’t hold a grudge against someone so hot. Shallow of me, yes, but I don’t care. I’m glad my body is too tired to get hard, because I’m definitely feeling some type of way. “Great. You’re really good,” Matt says, his lips close to my ear. “Did you ever actually box? Or was it just those programs in school?”
It takes a lot to separate myself from his touch, but I do anyway, walking over to get my water. “Just in school. Hobby. A good way to work through some things. Defending myself against shitheads who picked on me,” I say. Unintentional, but it still strikes a nerve in him.
I did actually fight with Matthew before junior year. He won, but I got some punches in. The cops were around the area, so I didn’t take too much of a wailing. I gave him a black eye, though.
Matt doesn’t say anything, but he nods, stepping out of the ring. Nobody speaks a word before I pack all of my things and leave.
“Hello, Wes Trapaghan?” the man on the other line says.
“This is he,” I say quietly.
“Congratulations, Wes. This is Carl Michaelson, your interviewer. I’m calling to inform you that you’ve been hired.”
What? Is this real?
“I’ve… I got the technical service job is what you’re saying, Sir?” I ask as calmly as I can, sitting up in bed. It’s 8:07am. That interview was awful. I felt like a mess. The guy definitely didn’t make it seem as if he liked me at all.
“Yes indeed. We’d like you to come in next Monday at 9:00 to discuss your schedule. Congratulations. Have a wonderful day.” With that, Carl hangs up the phone.
I scream happily into my pillow, kicking wildly and feeling the tears hit my eyes.
I got a job.
I got a job that pays $12 an hour. I’ll be working 6-8 hours a day. I’m absolutely ecstatic.
I don’t have anyone to tell about it, unless…
I ride my bike over to the gym in a frenzy. I don’t even follow traffic signs. There are about five different people inside, all doing very different things. Chip isn’t in his regular corner, so I head to his office to see if he’s in there. What do I find? Matt. He looks up from a stack of papers, and I can see him brighten up at the sight of someone he knows. “Hey, Wes—”
“Where’s Chip?” I ask. Chip has been with me through seven months of job searching. I wanted him to be the first person to know. Matt doesn’t know anything about me.
“He’s taking the day off. I’m here all day,” Matt replies. “I can give him a message for you.”
“No,” I say plainly, storming out of the office and leaving as quickly as I came. What the hell? He’s everywhere. I had a good time yesterday, feeling a man’s touch. I know that. I don’t deny it. But he has no idea how fucked up I was because of the torment he caused. I may not have the energy to hate him anymore, but I damn straight haven’t forgotten it.
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