Steve says to Brenda in the kitchen, “Brad has to grow up sometime. He has to take control of his own life. We need to start pushing him to start doing it now.”
“I don’t think he’s ready to be pushed.” Brenda replies.
Steve shakes his head as he yells downstairs into the basement. “Dinner’s ready, Brad. We want to talk to you about something important.”
Brad walks in slowly and sits at the table. He faces them, “What’s wrong?”
“We need to talk about school starting soon.” Steve analyzes his son’s reaction closely.
Brenda pushes the conversation forward. “We want to make a plan for when school starts. It’s coming up soon.”
Steve crosses his arms. “We are worried about how this is going to affect our family.”
Anger flashes in Brad’s eyes. “What are you talking about?”
“Dr. Oswald called and we talked with him about you.”
“What do you mean you talked with him?”
Steve stares back at him; unwilling to be intimidated by a teenager in his own house. “Dr. Oswald has been helping us understand you.”
“He’s been talking to you behind my back? Those talks are supposed to be private. Am I the only one keeping my word anymore?”
“Calm down, Brad – you’re not in any trouble. I just can’t go through another year of fighting. We need to work together how this year will be different.”
Brad slams his fork on his plate. “Fine, you want to talk – then let’s talk!”
Brenda shakes her head. “Just listen to us for a second − we don’t want to fight with you anymore.”
“Whose side are you on?” Brad yells at them.
Brenda feels stunned. It’s happening again. Flashbacks storm into her mind. Brad’s face turns into hatred. “What do you want from me? Do you want me to act like all those other stupid normal kids at school?”
Steve scrambles for words; trying to contain all the explosive energy in the situation.
“We don’t want you to act like somebody you’re not, but we want you to get along with people who are different than you. Sure, you have Rick, but he’s not going to be there for you when you return to school and the bullying starts again.”
“I’m never going to fit in with any of those kids at school – deal with it.”
Steve glares at his son. “Think about our family for a change. Your depression got out of control last year and it sucked all of us in with you. We can’t go through that again.”
“You think I was out of control last year? You haven’t seen anything yet.”
Brenda sees they’re losing control. She slams her fist on the table. “Just talk to us, Brad. Reassure us that it’s going to be okay. That’s all we want from you.”
Brad throws up his arms. “I’m not stupid. Quit trying to turn me into somebody I’m not.”
Steve replies, “In three years, when you graduate high school, we won’t have to think about these bullies ever again. But you still have to live with them this year. Maybe you could try out for a sports team, or a club, to help you fit in better.”
Brad yells back. “I won’t be able to fit in no matter what I do!”
“Then try something different.” Brenda says, “I just don’t want to watch the other kids tear you apart again.”
Brad stands up, “I don’t need any friends. You don’t know what it’s like to be me. No one does.”
Steve stands up to face him eye to eye. “Sit down, Brad! We’re just trying to prepare for the challenges that are on its way.”
Brad yells back. “You’re not trying to prepare me; you’re trying to change me; and I don’t want to become who you want me to be. You’re just a bunch of hypocrites!”
“Calm down, Brad. You were doing so well.”
Brad kicks his chair and runs downstairs. Steve and Brenda don’t know what to do. The evil they thought they had tamed is back, and they see it’s ready to fight anyone who gets in its way.