Garrett Hunt was rich. It was simple: he was rich and he hated it. While most people would have considered it a blessing to have all the money they ever needed, Garret saw it as his family curse. What was the point in having so much dough if it didn't make anyone happy?
Ever since he could remember, Garrett's family had been dysfunctional - and more dysfunctional than the average family. His parents ceaselessly argued, they spoiled his younger twin sisters, and Garrett was constantly expected to do well in academics, and in, well everything for that matter.
The problem was that Garrett didn't care. He didn't want his material life that had no substance or meaning. Never in his life did he actually get straight A's like his parents pushed him to do - he just never felt like trying. Grades didn't matter to him.
When he was applying to colleges senior year, Garrett's parents wanted him to go to an Ivy League school; for one because they were so prestigious, and secondly because his parents could actually afford the tuition. But eventually Garrett convinced his mom and dad that he should go where he wanted to go: University of Massachusetts, Boston, or what most people just called "UMB."
The second semester of his first year was midway through, and Garrett felt like he hadn't accomplished anything. He was an undecided major, so he was basically taking random classes just to take up time. His life felt meaningless, devoid of any purpose or goal.
Yesterday night he was supposed to be in Physics, his night class at 8:30, but that was when he found out that his grandmother, who was living in Waltham (a little town close to Boston), had broken her hip and was sent to the hospital. In a way, Garrett was relieved to take a break from everything and get to see his favorite relative. Mary Tipton, his dad's mother, was an amazing person who, despite her seventy-six years, seemed to understand the world today pretty well. She always told Garrett stories of the interesting things that had happened earlier during her lifetime. No matter how old he got, Garrett never tired of hearing his grandma's stories.
So here he was at the hospital, walking in the door with flowers in his hand. He walked up to the nurses' desk, where he found a nurse busy on the phone discussing American Idol.
"Haha, Phoebe you are so funny.....Nah, I don't think that gray-haired guy's gonna make it far. Somethin' about him just doesn't strike me right," she was saying. "I know that Paris girl could pull it off. She's -"
"Um, excuse me ma'am," Garrett interrupted, clearing his throat. "I'm looking for a lady named Mary Tipton. Could you please tell me what room she's in?"
"Well Phoebes, I gotta go. Got someone here lookin' for a patient," said the nurse, hanging up the phone and turning to Garrett. "Well who's askin'?"
"I'm her grandson, Garrett Hunt."
"Well that lil' ole lady sho' is lucky to have a grandson cute as you are. She's right down the hall in room 218 hon." The nurse was a middle-aged black lady who appeared to be full of energy and eager to talk. "You just go have a great visit with yo' grandma."
"Thank you ma'am."
"Oh it's mah pleasure sweetie," she said with a smile.
As Garrett walked towards his grandmother's room, he was surprised to find a very awake, very vibrant, and very happy woman.
"Hey Grandma, how's the hip?" he inquired, glancing at the cast on her leg.
"Why hello Garrett. Oh I don't think it's bad at all - could've been much worse. I got out of surgery earlier this morning and it all went smoothly without a hitch."
"Well I'm glad you're all right."
"Oh, would you just quit worrying about me? I want to know how you are Garrett; I can't believe it's been three years since I've seen my grandson."
"I know, it has been too long. And I've been fine; college is great compared to high school...so much more freedom. But besides transitioning in school, my life hasn't been all that interesting."
"So tell me how my son and his wife are doing then...and of course tell me all about what kind of trouble those terrible twins have been in lately."
Mary's son Jack had moved with his mother to the United States from England in 1960, at the age of five. Garrett's dad didn't have a lot of memories of the country where he was born, but one thing that was a constant reminder was his accent.
When Jack grew up, he became a very successful businessman - managing his own hotel called the Chamberlain Suites, after Garrett's great-grandfather. Jack's life was always pretty easy, and Garrett figured that was probably why he was always so proud of himself...and his children. As much as Garrett couldn't stand his father - or at least he never made an attempt to like him - he absolutely adored his grandmother.
"Dad's been fine, just as engrossed in work as ever. I don't think he really cares much about the family, otherwise he'd spend more time with us...not that I'd want him to though anyway."
"Now Garrett, you're making a lot of assumptions. I don't think you really understand your father as well as you think you do."
"Let's talk about something else," said Garrett, quickly moving off the uncomfortable subject. "Mom's doing well; these days she's been as social as ever, going out to lunch with friends all the time, and going shopping - her favorite pastime."
Garrett's mother Danielle was an exchange student from France in high school, who had enjoyed America so much that she stayed, meeting Jack in Chicago when she was twenty-one.
"That girl always has been a social one; I just wish all that shopping would actually make her fashion better."
When Garrett's parents met, Mary wasn't exactly ecstatic about them dating. Danielle, who was not exactly what you'd call financially stable, was trying to make it on her own when she got out of high school It wasn't because she wasn't rich that Mary didn't like her though; it was more of a personality clash. Needless to say, fashion was just one of the many flaws Mary saw in her daughter-in-law.
"And the terrible twins?" Mary continued.
Terrible twins was just the nickname Mary had for Caroline and Monica, Garrett's younger twin sisters. They were the Paris and Nicole of the Hunt household: tall, blonde, skinny, gorgeous, skanky, and everything in between. Plus, they were probably the ditziest girls you'd ever meet. To Garrett, living with them was like living everyday on the set of "The Simple Life." The ironic part was, they were filthy rich and their father owned his own hotel.
In short, Caroline and Monica were just another reason why Garrettcouldn't standhis shallow life. Girls, let alone rich bratty ones, were sometimes just too much for him to handle. His friends always joked with him that because his father was British and his mother was French, Garrett was automatically an American girl magnet, though Garrett didn't really care all that much.
His grandmother watched as Garrett stared blankly into space, clearly thinking about something besides the little conversation they were having.
"You know Garrett, it's already 10:30 and I can tell you're tired from your day, so why don't you go find a place to sleep, that way we'll both get some rest."
"Okay," Garrett said, sighing reluctantly. "You're right. I guess Icouldgo stay at Dad's hotel..."
"You really should Garrett. You know that would mean a lot to Jack." As if the man would really care.
"Uh-huh," he responded flippantly. "So I'll be back first thing in the morning." With that Garrett kissed the elderly lady on the cheek, smiled at her, and walked towards the door.
Twenty minutes later, Garrett put the key into his hotel room, set down his luggage, and flopped onto the bed.
He lay there, thinking about anything and everything. Why am I here? he wondered. As much as he cared about Mary, shouldn't his father be the one coming to check up on his own mother? Oh, that's right. Dad's back in Cali, the place I had to get away from, and he can't take the time out of his busy workaholic schedule to fly to Massachusetts to see his mom, he thought bitterly.
So here Garrett was, taking time out of his college life to come see Mary. So far this had actually been great, driving for almost an hour in the car, having time alone to relax, listen to music, or just think, like he did so often.
Because he was rich, Garrett knew he wasn't average, not even normal. He hated it so much, with an indescribably intense passion. Why couldn't he have just been born into a regular middle class family? Why did he have to be so miserable all the time?
Garrett's mind was restless, filled with questions, but no answers. He got up and unpacked his suitcase, trying to clear his head, but it didn't work. Turning on the news didn't work either because the reports about fighting in Iraq made him feel even more depressed. When he tried watching a movie he just couldn't focus.
Eventually, looking at the clock that read 12am, Garrett turned off the light and made an attempt to be swept away into the world of sleep.