A Time to Be Young

tagIncest/TabooA Time to Be Young

All characters are over 18, some many orders of magnitude over 18 that it's not even funny.
The author of this story is not a wizard. Do not rely on this story for actual magical advice.
*****
The sun was shining on his face and it seemed like the first time in a long time. He took in a breath of fresh air and just appreciated that moment of silence and beauty. He paused and took a moment to really take it all in before he had to go back to the day's tasks at hand.
Paul was 64 and suddenly he found himself unemployed and divorced. The fact that he was unemployed wasn't really a surprise to him since he had been planning to retire. Additionally the fact that he was now divorced similarly wasn't a surprise as things had not been going well in his marriage to Susan for quite a long time. What Paul never would have expected was to be blindsided by both before he was ready for anything and in the process be left with no retirement money anymore while his wife got everything. Paul had been so focused on just holding back all the infighting at the company so he could ride out the storm to 65 that he hadn't noticed that Susan was all lawyered up to kick him out of the house the moment he didn't have an income anymore. Paul was forced out from the company six months early and on the day before Christmas no less. By New Years day Paul was homeless and by March he was penniless.
So this was it. This was going to be how his life ended. He thought that over and over again. He thought on Susan and how all the signs had been there from the very beginning. She never really loved him and he guessed he knew that even on their wedding day. She had only settled for him because she was approaching 40 and wanted to finally have a child. Paul wasn't even her first pick of sperm donor but when she got rejection after rejection and Paul showed an interest to finally settle down himself at 44 she married him and they had a daughter together.
Lilith was 19 now and away at college. As Paul sat on the bed in the guest room of his brother's home he pondered his brother's words to him about how he never should have gotten involved with lying selfish Susan in the first place. Once Paul was alone he shook his head. This end might not have been great and Susan had already turned Lilith against him but no matter. His daughter was out there living her life and being happy. Even if she didn't love him he loved her and he was able to take solace in that.
Time was short and Paul knew that his welcome at his brother's place would wear out very quickly. He needed a job and a place to live. Options for someone 64 years old were few and very far between. That was compounded by the fact that his wife's lawyer was licking his chops at the prospect that Paul would find good paying work again so they could bring Paul back into court to get most of that salary for Susan. No matter if he took a high paying job (not that any were offered to him) or a low paying job, he'd be on slave wages for the rest of his life.
Oh, this was interesting, Lilith's college needed a summer residence assistant to live in the dorm and man the front desk. It didn't pay much but it came with a free place to live, a free cafeteria meal plan, and he'd be near his daughter. Nice. He didn't expect Lilith to be thrilled about him suddenly moving there. After how Susan had made Lilith hate him he was sure Lilith didn't want to spend any time with her father at all but at least if he lived there he could be near her even if she didn't say anything to him. It wasn't like Paul was going to interfere in her life.

Jill hadn't seen her brother in years. He was only a year younger than her but they seemed worlds apart. She'd had to drop out of school and get a job from the time she was a teenager while David stayed in the system long enough to finish high school. Jill really couldn't understand how he could tolerate living with all those rules and restrictions. The moment Jill could legally live on her own she'd taken the opportunity even if it came with hardship. She wanted to be free. She wanted to be her own person and she was not going to listen to some hired thugs boss her around. David was weaker than Jill. He didn't know any better than to just listen and obey no matter what anyone told him to do. It was like he didn't have a will of his own.
Jill sat as far to the back of the school gymnasium as she could. She wondered if her brother was looking for her while he was giving his valedictorian speech. She wanted him to see her to know that she was there supporting him but she didn't really want to get involved more than that. It had been too long. She didn't know what to say to him. She didn't really know him anymore. She had her own life and her own problems. She was happy for him but as much as this was him saying goodbye to his school she was saying goodbye to him. They would have very different lives she knew. Maybe there might be the once a year text at Christmas and maybe if she ever got married she could invite him as a guest but that might be about it.
Later in the ceremony when her brother walked across the stage to get his diploma Jill watched with anger filling her as the Mayor's wife took the place of the school principal to be the one to give the diploma to David. Even then at the last moment the system was still trying to reinforce to him that they owned him and they controlled him. He may have graduated valedictorian but they were not going to let him feel normal or accomplish anything without the state stepping in to say that it was really just something they were gifting to him.
In disgust Jill left the ceremony earlier. That dopey smile on David's face when he stood there in front of the mayor's wife sickened her and she had to leave.

"I don't know. Normal I guess." David said to his social worker.
"David, who did this to you?" the social worker asked.
"Hold still." the nurse said as she tended to the blood coming out of David's head.
"I don't know. I saw a girl who looked like she was injured and needed help so I walked over to help her stand up and then some guy hit me in the head with something."
"What did he hit you with?" the social worked asked with concern filling her voice.
"I don't know. What good does stealing my wallet do him anyway? I don't have any money."
"Was he black or white?"
David didn't answer right away.
"Well?" she pressed.
David was going to look away but the nurse again told him to hold still.
"It happened so fast." he said.
"So you didn't see. Then how do you know it was a man that hit you?"
"Ouch." David let out.
"HOLD STILL. Or you're going to have a scar going across your forehead for the rest of your life. You want to look like Frankenstein?" the nurse said.
"Actually, Frankenstein was the creator not the creature." David corrected.
"Well, Mr. Smartypants, if the creature was the creator's offspring and Frankenstein was the family name then doesn't that mean the creature was a Frankenstein as well?" the nurse countered.
"She's got you there, David." the social worker added.
"Yeah ok." David accepted.
"Was he black or white?"
"I'm not a racist." David defended.
The social worker crossed her arms and her eyes aimed at him. "Boy, we're supposed to be moving you to the college dorm today and instead you're here getting stitches. If a black person commits a crime it's just as wrong as if a white person does it. So show me how much of a nonracist you are and tell me matter of fact who hit you."
"He was black. But …"
David was stopped from speaking by his social worker's 'talk to the hand' pose. She already had her phone out. "Chris. It's Helen. I just confirmed, it's him. Have him picked up for me. Thanks."
"Picked up?" David questioned.
"Don't worry about it. Now, is all your stuff packed. We're going to go into your room and get it."
"Yeah."
"If there's anything not in those bags you need to tell us cause we can't come all the way back here."
"Everything is packed."
"Good. We're going to load it up and once you're done here we're driving out."
"It can't wait until tomorrow?"
"We'll be late but we'll get you there. I have to be in court tomorrow and besides that I have a million other things to do. Your room's already ready. We're doing this today."
"I understand."
"I'm very proud of you David. We all are. But now here's a life lesson for you that they don't teach you in school. Don't go helping strange women that you don't know. You put yourself out there too much for other people. It almost cost you your 4 point 0, remember?"
"Not that again."
"And it was a girl that time too, wasn't it."
"That was a totally different situation. I was just …"
"David, if you want to get along in this world you need to realize that there are bad people out there who will look to take advantage of a good-natured guy like you. Those bad people are white and black. They are men and women. There are bad apples everywhere."
"You mean like my parents?"
"I wasn't going there. I'm talking about the future and you should keep your mind there too. College is going to be a lot harder than high school and you're going to be on your own. There are going to be many temptations to get you to abandon your studies. Don't fall for it. You have a good chance at a good future. You can party all you want for the rest of your life once you have your degree and a good job. Just hunker down for now. You hear me?"
"I understand."
"And I know you want to see your sister but if she's got problems don't let her get you wrapped up in them."
"But she's my sister. I'm going to school there to be near her."
"I know you want to be near her but maybe it's best to keep some distance."
"But she's my sister."
"All done." the nurse announced. "Now you can move your head all you want but maybe avoid any handstands or skateboarding down stairs for a week or so."
"I don't even have a skateboard." David was trying to counter but the nurse had already collected the equipment from the station and moved on to fill out paperwork. David turned back to Helen, "I saw her at graduation, I think."
"Jill?"
"Yeah. I thought I saw her in the crowd but then later she was gone."
"You sure it was her?"
"I guess, maybe not."
"We sent her a message to come to your birthday event so maybe she'll come. If she doesn't you have to accept that. You can't force her into a relationship with you. She has to be open to it on her end."

Lilith was so stressed out. Every five minutes she got a call from her mom about her father this and her father that. She just wanted her mother to shut up. The damn divorce was already final. Dad hadn't fought her on anything but her mother wouldn't stop talking about him. She told her mother over and over again to drop it and move on. Now that court proceedings were over her lawyers didn't have the time to stay on the phone with her so that meant she had to suck Lilith's time and energy down a black hole because her mother didn't have any more friends left.
This was a particularly bad day as Lilith had gotten a call from a number she didn't know. "Please, talk to your mother." the young man on the other end begged.
"Who's this?" Lilith asked.
It turned out that it was the suicide prevention hotline. They explained that Lilith's mother called them everyday to vent and complain about the fact that she couldn't get a date and men were horrible because they didn't want her anymore and were ignoring her and she blamed it all on her ex husband for holding her back all these years.
"If she's not suicidal then hang up on her." Lilith suggested.
"We have a rule that says we have to talk to everyone. Normally we just let her call once a day but she's really got herself wound up today. She's called us eleven times from different store phone numbers. We have actual suicidal people that we're trying to help. Can you please just talk to her?"
Once Lilith was on the phone again with her mother it was 'you know your father did this and you know your father did that' over and over and over on a loop. No amount of saying she understood and agreed and promised never to let dad contact her was enough.
"And you know if he says anything about me, anything at all, you know it's a lie, honey."
Lilith rolled her eyes. "So if he says you're a wonderful person I have to assume that that's a lie."
"Lilith, everyone knows I'm a wonderful person so of course he'd have to admit that. But if he says anything else."
"Like if he says you totally deserve all the money you got and maybe even deserve more."
"Well, of course I deserve more. I gave him twenty years of my life. Have you heard that he got a job? Is he working?"
"I haven't heard from him, mom."
"Ok. Ok. But be careful. You never know what he might say. And you know I think he's been cheating. He's been cheating on me for years. And he was stealing money from the family bank account. And you remember that time he put his hands on me, don't you."
Lilith remembered it well. Her mother had been complaining her dad's ear off so he put his hands over his ears to keep her voice out of his head. At the point her mother had grabbed her father's left wrist with two hands and forced his hand away so he would have no choice but to listen to her. He yanked his hand away and Lilith's mother had lost her balance (aka thrown herself) and fell to the nearest sofa. As soon as she was down it was an endless chant of 'domestic violence' for days as her mother called everyone she knew to tell them about it and even was telling complete strangers in the department stores.
Once Lilith was finally able to get off the call she had to just power down the device or she knew full well that her mother would call her again. Without her phone she had no way to call her friends or look anything up or even use the map. Her whole life was in that thing but she couldn't use it for fear that her mother would drain more of her energy.
Even though everyone was still moving in the cafeterias were open and serving food so Lilith didn't need to go anywhere or order anything. She couldn't believe she was here about to do summer school but that was better than the alternative of going home and hearing her mom talk and talk and talk. While she was in line for dinner she just couldn't take it anymore and really needed to call one of her friends to let them know she had to turn off her phone.
Tap, tap.
The guy in front of her in the line looked over his shoulder at her. "Yeah?"
"I'm sorry. You don't know me but I really need to make a quick call. Can I borrow your phone?"
"Oh. I don't have a phone."
Lilith heard that and was stunned to silence for a second. Didn't have a phone? What? "Are you Amish or something?"
"Sorry, I just don't have a phone."
"Why not?"
"Why would I need one?"
"To call people. To look at the internet. For everything."
"Sorry I don't have a phone."
Lilith was just so surprised at this that she couldn't process it. She was on automatic pilot as she moved forward in the line behind him. When he got to the counter and was getting served he got the attention of the lady working there.
"Do you guys have a phone we could use?" he asked.
His question snapped Lilith out of her daze. "What do you mean by 'we'? What are you implying?"
"There's a pay phone over there but I think it doesn't work anymore." the cafeteria worker said.
"So what do we do if we need to make a call?"
"I have a phone back here. Do you know what number you want to call?"
The guy turned to Lilith. "There you go." he said with a gesture.
"Number? The number …" It was at that moment that Lilith realized that she did not know the number in her head as her phone had just always remembered that for her. "Not just now."
Lilith was embarrassed but not so much not to do the right thing. After she had her food she waited for the guy to pick a spot to sit and then she sat near him.
"This is pretty good." he said as he took his first mouthful of food that looked sort of too processed for Lilith's liking.
"Thank you for trying to help me. I'm sorry you don't have a phone."
The guy looked across the table at her with a puzzled look. "Huh?"
"Oh, that came out wrong. Ok, I know some people don't have phones. I'm not making fun of you for that. You have your reasons I'm sure. It's just a little weird is all. But thank you for helping me. I really just needed to make one quick phone call and that was it. I would use my own phone but my mom just keeps calling me and I can't take it anymore. She's such a bitch."
As soon as she said that the guy she was talking to had a very sad look come over his face and he looked away from her.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I said something else stupid, didn't I."
"Can I ask you to not say bad things about your parents?"
"Ugh. I know you and everyone else all have these great amazing parents who love you unconditionally but my parents are a real mess. My dad was basically a carpet that my mother walked all over and he never stopped her when she …"
"I'm really sorry." the guy interrupted. "I don't mean this to be rude but … I can't listen to you say bad things about your parents."
"Well, I'm sorry if it offends your little virgin ears but some people have bad parents."
"My mom was a prostitute and my father is on death row. Half the scars on my body come from him."
Again, Lilith was stunned to silence.
"Because of them I grew up in an orphanage." he continued. "I know about bad parents, yeah. I'm asking you to please not talk about yours."
Lilith looked down at her food not knowing what to say to him. He finished eating before her and then waited there with his tray as she picked at her food for a bit longer before deciding that she didn't want to eat the rest of it. He offered to take her tray for her but she silently let him know she would do it herself.
As he was leaving she ran up to him. "Hey, I'm sorry about all of that stuff. Ok. I'm sorry. I don't know what else to say other than I'm sorry."
"You don't have to apologize to me. You need to vent so vent but I'm sorry I can't be the one to hear it."
"I haven't seen you around before."
"I'm a freshman."
"And you're starting off with summer school?"
"I don't have anywhere else to live."
"Oh. I'm sorry. I didn't realize."
"Don't worry about it. I don't understand the world of the people with phones and you don't have experience with the world of state's custody so we're even."
Lilith was still wondering what the right thing to do in this situation was? What was the correct thing to say? While she was still wondering the guy took his leave and made it clear that he was busy and needed to run.
Alone, Lilith returned to the dorm but before she could get even three steps into the lobby she was approached by the RA on duty.
"Are you Lilith?"
"Yeah?"
"Are you ok?"
"Sure. Why do you need to ask me that?"
The RA sighed. "Your mother has been calling us non stop. Please take care of this or we'll have to make a report."
"I'm sorry." was all Lilith could say.

The simple ceremony would probably be confusing to anyone who wasn't party to it. A lawyer, a judge, the mayor's wife from another town, and some kid living in the dormitory gathered at a paved path in a park like area of the campus near the ruins of a building that had burned down over half a century before. This particular area had a birdbath with a circular paved path around it and from that circle paved lines spread out in five directions. The location was chosen to attempt to add some kind of meaning and symbolism but that was really just grasping.
While the judge, a heavy set black man in his street clothes, was looking at his watch and not paying attention the mayor's wife asked for the document. The judge looked to the overly dressed to impress lawyer who produced the papers newly printed that day from the digital record. The mayor's wife took them and handed them to the kid. The kid read them over.

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