He falls on the bed on his back and stares at the ceiling. Why is Sarah trying so hard? As if he’s worth the time and effort? Oh, he knows. She still feels she owes it to Joe. Sometimes, when he really wants to hate her, he thinks she does it to appear to be a better mom than his own… But he also knows that that is not true. She would do the same for Paige and Cooper.
He sighs. Tears stinging in his eyes. He’s so mad. At everyone. His teacher, his classmates, his mom, his dad, Sarah, …. He’d like to say Paige and Cooper too, but he can’t. You can’t hate Paige, she’s a sweetie and you can’t hate Cooper, he’s ball of energy. He is mean to them, because he doesn’t want them to like him, but Cooper’s face lights up when he sees Gabe comes in and Paige always wants to play with him. And he gets all fuzzy inside when he sees them.
He thinks about the plates with initials. Sarah has promised him one as well. He tries not to get too excited. How many times did his mom not promise him things and they all fell through. He’s more cautious now. He’s happy he told Sarah the truth about what happened in school. He was so worried, but as soon as the words slipped out, that he had fought for being called a fag, he realized that there was a little shift in Sarah’s behavior. She relaxed. She was on familiar territory. Here was a re-run of Justin and his years in school.
She wasn’t mad at him and once he had asked her about the plates with initials, something euphoric had come over her. And she left him alone. Alone to be here, on his back, on this bed, looking at the ceiling. So maybe Sarah wasn’t so bad. The Walkers in general weren’t so bad. He really liked Nora. She was always good to him and thought of him as another grandchild. He liked Tommy and Julia and Justin. He still felt weird about Kevin and didn’t know what to think of Kitty. But in general, he liked them.
“Gabe! Gabe!” The door swings open and there’s Sarah. Now what did he do? “Gabe, thank you. Your question helped me crack a very important code I needed…. You are the best!” She takes him in her arms and holds him very tightly and ruffles his hear. She has tears in her eyes and kisses him on both cheeks. He backs off. There are limits to how much he likes to be cuddled. “Tonight, we’re having pizza!” Alright! Gabe loves them. Strange, here he thought he’d be severely punished for fighting and now….
It will take a long time for him to understand them, but he doesn’t really care, because, secretly, he likes being here. Because, deep in his heart, he loves Sarah and Paige and Cooper and he wouldn’t want to miss any one of them.
“Those Walker are nuts!” he mumbles, taking up his book, putting his earphones back in his ear and he waits for Paige and Cooper to come home, so they can have pizza.