every time she sees him, she can’t help commenting on how tall he’s getting. you’ve grown again, even, you’re head’s going to touch the ceiling soon!
she doesn’t have favourites - really, she doesn’t; she loves all her son’s friends - but she always gives even an extra spoonful of food, winking at him as she does it, and even just smiles fondly at her and tucks in
sometimes, even will detach himself from elias and the boys and go to the kitchen, to help mamma bakkoush with the cooking. they would talk and talk and talk, about nothing and everything, and she teaches him all these little tricks, like how adding a splash of sour cream makes your eggs taste better
occasionally, she’ll find even awake at ridiculous times at night. 3am, 4am. she’ll be downstairs getting a drink, and she finds him, sat at the table or in the living room, restless, wide awake. “can’t sleep?” she’ll ask quietly, and even will look at her and shake his head. and so she makes them both a hot chocolate, and settles on the sofa with him. she’ll watch a film with him and listen as even tells her about the camera angles and directional choices and, ok, she’s really, really tired, but she takes comfort in knowing even isn’t awake alone
another evening, she finds him downstairs reading one of their qur’ans. when he sees her, he shuts it quickly and apologises, standing up awkwardly, and she just sits next to him and asks what he was doing, voice kind and quiet and gentle. “i was just interested, that’s all, i’m sorry,” he says. but mamma bakkoush tells him there’s nothing to apologise for, nothing at all. and she proceeds to tell him to read it if he wants to, and to let her know if he has any questions, or wants to talk about it with someone. and the little sparkle he gets in his eyes when she says it, and the smile that won’t really go away, makes her so so happy.
but soon, everyone can’t help noticing that even isn’t…isn’t well. mamma bakkoush notices this. even’s mother notices this; has phoned about it in tears. he won’t get help. can’t see anything different about his behaviour. and mamma bakkoush tries to talk to elias about it, but he doesn’t want to believe it. says it’s just even, mamma, this is what he’s like
there’s a night though, where even shows up at their house unexpectedly and asks for elias. but elias is out, so he ends up talking to mamma bakkoush. and he tells her he just needed to get away. he doesn’t say it, but she knows his parents have been pushing him to see doctors recently. she knows he’s been refusing, that he’s found being at home….it’s a lot for him. she knows it’s tiring and terrifying and she can just see the exhaustion radiating off him.
she rings even’s parents to let them know he’s safe and with her, and then she makes some hot chocolate and settles in the living room with him. even is quiet and subdued and just…not there, really. at all. but then even asks her if she can read something - anything - from the qur’an to him. his voice is quiet and husky and so, so soft, but almost desperate, too. desperate and somewhere between hopeless and hopeful.
mamma bakkoush smiles and nods, reading a passage that she hopes will calm him. and sure enough, she’s barely been reading for five minutes before even stops fighting sleep and lets it wash over him, snoring softly, and she smiles and takes the hot chocolate away, popping a blanket over him to keep him warm
she’s about to go upstairs when she hears his voice again. he’s barely conscious - still asleep, really, but he says, “mrs. bakkoush?”
and she turns to him and yes, his eyes are closed, he really is just sleep talking, but she says, “yes, even?’ anyway
and then he opens his eyes. tired, heavy, teary. and he says, voice barely above a whisper and so, so vulnerable; “can you pray for me?”
mamma bakkoush simply smiles, walking over to him and crouching so their eyes meet. she places a hand over his, pushing his hair away for his eyes and smiling quietly at him before saying, “my darling, i pray for you every day”
even falls asleep again after that, and it’s the first time in a while, mamma bakkoush thinks, that he’s actually slept through the night
then, one day, even stops coming over. the boys no longer talk to him. and she knows he isn’t her son, and that teenagers are teenagers and friendships can come and go, but she can’t help this ache in her chest. she just misses him. and she tries to encourage elias to patch things up between them, but it doesn’t work. eventually, they don’t talk about him much anymore, but it doesn’t stop her thinking about him, praying for him, hoping he’s ok
and oh, when even comes back. he looks terrified, like he’s anticipating the worst, all wide eyed and chewed lips, and she knows even, knows he will have worried about not being wanted here, worried that she’d hate him for what happened between him and elias. she knows all this, which is why, when she sees him, she smiles wide, arms open, and says, “come here.” and she pulls him into a hug, squeezing him tightly, then she pulls away and cups his cheeks, making their eyes meet as she says, “i’m so happy to have you back, even.” and she says it with such force, such sincerity, such meaning, that even really can’t do anything but believe her.
There are more and more books around about gay boys these days which is great but where tf are my books with lesbians bc there are hardly any and I’m pissed off
I’ve only read one and it sucked
Also where are the bi people because they just don’t exist at all apparently unless they’re some side character
all of the nude models in our art school are such interesting people aside from just the nude model part like we have:
•a former NASA scientist for 20 years who seedily obtained a piece of the actual moon & brought it in to show us. he also wants to secure a piece of mars eventually I can’t believe he’s a space smuggler
•a male competitive roller-skater
•a burlesque dancer who auditioned for the rockettes & sings professional opera on the side
•a trapeze artist who used to train in Paris then became a French teacher in the states but gave up that to be a full-time circus performer & she’s the most Jacked™ woman I’ve ever seen
•a civil war reenacter. we have an actual fucking larper
•a guy who’s missing his left eye and nobody knows why but we have a theory that he’s an Italian mobster so it’s probably best not to ask
•a Chicago broadway actress who showed us her acting chops one day but she was naked at the time & reciting Shakespeare it was so intense
•a completely normal plain bagel dude but he can hold a 3hr standing pose without taking breaks so I’m convinced he’s not even alive and has no soul