I love my mother, but…
I’m running around with my friend, Larry. My shoes are bringing in damp, summer dirt from the backyard onto plush white carpet. If mommy saw this she’d scream at me, but for now, I’m having fun. Kevin meets up with me and Larry. We’re laughing; it’s boiling, hot. My hair is cut short in this cuteness that makes all the girls stare at me too much. I love it and hate it at the same time. I feel like I’m more seen when sometimes I just want to hide.
Well that’s what me, Larry and Kevin are playing: hide and seek. I’m it. I have to find the both of them in this large house, and I have no idea where to go. What I like most about this game is that you don’t have to stay in one spot all the time. You can move around, so long as you don’t get caught. And even though I love this game, it doesn’t love me back. I can never find anyone. Larry and Kevin giggled, so I run to the north wing. My feet stomp the hardwood, polished and well kept. All I do is run, so I feel fit. I’m not breathing in and out a lot, but my hair flops up and down too much. I’m telling mommy I want a different haircut. After hide and seek.
I hear a sound that stops me before a hallway that leads to a close off room. I never go in there because it’s a study and mommy and daddy never let me in. It’s for grown-ups. But I keep hearing that sound. Like wood banging, a tin dropping onto the floor, pens and pencils falling out sounding more like chopsticks if they were shaking together in a cage someone was waving around. I creep down the hallway, careful not to press hard on the floor, just so whoever was in there wouldn’t hear me. It could be Larry or Kevin, wondering where to hide. It could be a ghost, you know. I’m just being careful. Like mommy says, always be careful.
The door isn’t closed properly, but it’s not half open either. I grab the cold handle, grip it tight so when I pushed the door it didn’t break free in a snap. I slowly pushed and eased the handle up, no sound, smooth. The loud banging was harder, voices sounded, but no actual words. A man. A woman. I peeked through the doorway and saw mommy and Dr. Spitteri. Mommy calls him the shrink. They’re kissing. Mommy likes it. She’s not pushing him away. He’s pulling her in closer at the waist. Mommy, seated on top of daddy’s desk, legs bare, Dr. Spitteri in between her. What are they doing? Daddy won’t like this.
Mommy sees me and gasps, shaking Dr, Spitteri and moving him back.
“Fuck,” he spits when he sees me.
“Don’t use that language around my, son!” Mommy says.
“Check your morals before you start talking to me about language,” Dr. Spitteri says, zipping himself up.
Mommy moves the hair from her face, fixes her clothes and walks towards me. She gets down to my level and I can only stare at her when she holds my arms when she speaks. “Daniel, honey, you didn’t see anything, did you?”
I look at Dr. Spitteri. A tall, white guy with glasses. He used to wear vests, but ever since he started treating mommy he would wear suits. Like this one, blue. White shirt. Brown hair all poufy. Dark blue eyes. I looked at Dr. Spitteri smiling at me with perfectly straight teeth, hell-bent on being as white as the shirt he was wearing.
“Honey,” mommy shook me. I looked down at her. “You’re not going to say anything to your father, are you?”
I stayed quiet.
“Because, you know, this can be our little secret,” she tried smiling but it looked weird. Like she was in pain, trying to smile.
Our little secret. Our little secret. Our little secret. Don’t tell anyone. It’s out little secret.
In winter, it snows. I love the snow. But I couldn’t play much outside. Not like in summer. Every time Dr. Spitteri came down to treat mommy, I always feel sick. Daddy’s never home long enough to notice anything, but I so badly want him to notice. I don’t like Dr. Spitteri. He always looks at me weirdly, like I’m supposed to be eaten by him. She left me alone with him once. It was the last time we ever saw him.
I said something to Dr. Spitteri that he didn’t like, he told me to lift up my shirt. I heard him take off his belt, the metal scraping the leather. I trusted him because mommy trusted him. So he could do anything to me because he was always right. That’s what mommy says about shrinks: they’re always right.
I laid my hands on daddy’s desk, stretched out my back and looked at the ground. Then, the burning smack came. On my back. It felt like a rubber snap and then fire; after a tiny bit it started fizzing out. But stayed fizzing. One whip. Two. Three. I forgot what I did wrong but he says I was wrong. Shrinks are always right. I’m wrong.
Mommy rushed in because she heard me crying. They fought. Mommy grabbed his hands and Dr. Spitteri tried fighting her off. Daddy came home early that day and found mommy and Dr. Spitteri yelling and wrestling. Dr. Spitteri was about to hit her when daddy ran to her. Dr. Spittery left and never came back. Mommy wouldn’t let daddy call the police or anything. Didn’t want anyone else but us.
I love my mommy, but…she hurt me. I’ll still keep her secret though. I won’t tell anyone. Ever.
I sleep over a couple nights, just so I can easily check up on Daniel. One night, I heard him murmuring in his sleep from my perch on his sofa. When I opened his bedroom light and approached him, he was drenched in sweat. His neck shone bright and his mouth fluttering as if he were cold. I’d very rarely seen him like this. I heard him talking in his sleep before, but never sweating so much he could outweigh Niagara Falls.
“Daniel,” I shook him at his shoulder. “Daniel, wake up. You’re having a bad dream again.”
“Mmm…” he groaned.
“Daniel,” my whisper grew in volume.
His eyes batted open and he squeezed his mouth tight a couple times. He looked at my hand on his shoulder and followed the trail, up my arm and to my face.
“Hey,” I said lowly, smiling. “You were talking in your sleep.”
Daniel stared at me sternly, the muscles in his face tensing as he lifted his head on an angle. “What did you hear?”
I shrugged and shook my head. “Nothing. It just sounded bad.”
He plonked his head on the pillow and stared at the ceiling. He let out a deep breath of air that practically sounded restricted for years. “It was a bad dream.”
“Okay.” I didn’t know what else to say.
Daniel began pulling himself up and turning to let his feet drop from the bed. I held my hands out and watched for his leg, my arms out in anticipation.
Daniel smiled. “It’s cute the way you still look out for me.”
I returned the beam of happiness strewn across his face. “I try.”
“I’m just going to wash up,” he said, inching towards the bathroom.
“Need a hand?” Daniel cocked his head and grinned, jutting his left eyebrow up and down. I put my hand on my hips. “I didn’t mean it like that and you know it.”
Daniel chuckled. “Of course I know it. And no, thank you. I’ll be fine.”
I held my breath for a second. “What was the nightmare about?”
I sat on Daniel’s bed with my legs crossed underneath each other, listening to him retelling the events of his childhood. His broken leg craned upwards on an angle by a cushion underneath, my eyes flickering between his leg and his eyes. So much more of him so broken and I never knew.
“…you can’t even imagine thinking that you had the perfect life,” Daniel explained, almost as if I weren’t here, “and then one day see it all come crashing down. I never, ever wanted to tell you this because I never wanted you to think less of me. But—” he raised his hand to stop me from speaking in protest, I closed my mouth “—I guess it has to be done. My mother and Dr. Spitteri carried on an affair that shook me probably a little more than it should have. But at that vulnerable age, it was all I had. You know, there’s this study, and it’s common knowledge throughout medical practise, that the younger years, all before say, eighteen years old, something like that—” he shrugged “—is when your mind is most vulnerable because it’s still developing. Your brain. So when something hits you, it doesn’t just hit you hard at the age of twelve. It hits you hard and you’re forced to carry it with you for the rest of your life. I am, against my own will, forced to carry this burden. I almost hate that I love my mother. Love her to death. Because I never agreed with her doing something like that. And it took what he did to me to get her to see that. It took Dr. Spitteri nearly killing me, emotionally and mentally, for her to realise that what she was doing was wrong. But she trusted him for so long. And because she trusted him, I trusted him for that long, too. In some insane, fucked up way, he was always second to my father,” he laughed humourlessly. He sighed, avoiding my gaze. “Dr. Spitteri was a shrink. A therapist. A trusted advisor of the medical, psychological profession. I know it sounds stupid but, I don’t want to see a therapist with you for many reasons, those of which including the possibility that whoever attends to us can take you away. In any form, be it mentally, emotionally, physically, or a combination. And yet I’ve lost you because I don’t want to see a therapist,” he chuckled, “it kind of backfired. The most important reason, I’d say, is that…” he held his breath, turning his head and staring at the floor. Then, he faced me and cleared his throat. “Trust issues.”
I nodded, taking his words in and saturating my mind with them.
“Questions,” he said, as if he were a professor and I, the student.
I returned his lazy smile. “Umm, I don’t know…” I furrowed my brows. I had this feeling of weight in my mind like I had so many questions coming all at once, unanswered, that they turned into nothing. Like sparks flying from metal being cut, sputtering out like a sprinkler and then disappearing into thin air.
“No questions? Nothing to say?” Daniel urged.
“Well, I guess one thing is on my mind.” Daniel nodded and waited for me to go on. “Where do we go from here?”
Daniel grinned. “That’s the question, isn’t it?”
“I mean, what if we find—” I shrugged “—a lesbian therapist? Will that help?”
Daniel burst out laughing, reaching for his pain killer and bottled water. “A lesbian therapist?” He said, testing the words out on his mouth.
I turned pink and ducked my head to let my hair fall around to cover my face. “Well, I don’t know. I want to help, I truly do, and I’m sorry you had to carry that kind of burden from such a young age till now and forever, but, I still think we need to work some communication kinks out. How hard and how long it has taken you to tell me something as important as this just reflects on the future of our relationship. I can’t go on—we can’t go on—forward if we don’t talk. I mean, really, really talk.”
“We’ve broken up too many times, Anna,” Daniel shrugged, shaking his head in disbelief. How high we’ve climbed, and how low we’ve fallen. “There’s too much pain between us, too much bad memories. I don’t…want to keep hurting you.”
“And good ones,” I quickly said. “Remember when I told you about my parents divorcing? I remember I wasn’t crying, not all the time at least, but I was almost numb inside for the most part. I didn’t know how I felt. I knew it was sadness but there was something else on the brink of that sadness, lingering, like a shadow. You crawled into bed one night, while I was hugging my pillow. I remember I hadn’t spoken to you that much that day; not even that much that week. You wrapped your hand around my waist, the silence unspooling by your soft touch, your warm breath tapping my shoulder, your lips pressed on my skin. Do you remember what you told me?”
Daniel, upon hearing my every detailed memory in admiration and gratitude that I had treasured it this whole time, smiled and nodded. “’Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.’”
“’Pain is inevitable,’” I repeated. “’Suffering is optional.’”
“I used the wise words of your favourite author because I knew you’d listen to him more than me at that time.”
I laughed with him. “My heart turns into a cheesy poet when it’s sad, I mean, what can I say? My point is,” I lifted my shoulders, “it can end when we say so. But—”
“There’s always a ‘but’.”
I bit my lip. “We’re not together…yet,” I clarified. “We still have to figure out what to do with this communication problem. Our first priority.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever spoken this long about my issue with therapy before,” Daniel said, looking out his window at the faint baby-blue glow of the morning.
I rounded my mouth, yawning, letting my eyes fill with moisture, and then rubbed them. “That’s a good thing, one step closer.”
“What would everyone think of us getting back together for the forty billionth time?” Daniel asked, chuckling.
I giggled with him, finding a deep, resolute satisfaction burst inside of me. “You know what? For once in my life, I don’t give a fuck about what anyone thinks.”
Daniel nodded in agreement. “That’s right. Not all relationships are black and white.”
“Mmm-hmm, ours is black, white, blue, yellow, purple, pink…” I jokingly started sounding off colours on my fingertips of each hand when Daniel sprung forward and pinched my side. I yelped and hopped backwards, not realising I was already at the lower half of the bed, decidedly falling off and thudding the floor with my butt. I groaned and turned over to rub my backside.
Daniel picked himself up and came to my aid. “Are you alright?” he laughed.
“Yeah,” I breathed. Taking the hand he offered I pulled myself up.
“So,” Daniel said, “what are we? Right now?”
“Right now,” I mused, “we’re just stuck in limbo. But a happy limbo. A good, forward moving, perhaps progressing, limbo?” I waited, hoping Daniel agreed.
Stroking my bottom lip with his thumb he said, rather lowly, “Oh, Miss Parker; limbo, heaven, hell—I’d go anywhere so long as it’s with you.”
I find it strange that, approximately two years into our relationship we’re not only back to square one, but taking baby steps. Baby steps by the millimetre, too. But it’s what we have to do. This time, it felt right. We’re neither boyfriend\girlfriend, nor completely broken up; we’re seeing how this goes and if we can actually progress into a bright future together. This frustrates no one more than me, believe me. Through all the hoops I had to jump through, the powdered specs of memories built on foundations of love and loss; support and respect, one thing was for sure: I love Daniel. It’s not the kind of high school love I can fret over on a single day, and barely think about it that same night. It was the kind of love where, I couldn’t breathe without him because our lungs intertwined so tightly it stretched to its breaking point when we parted.
This isn’t a common, even normal love. Perhaps not to you. But there is no such thing as normal when it comes to love. Definitely no such thing as normal when it comes to Daniel and I; we’re unexplainable. And that’s love.
Daniel is right, too. Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional. I can’t run away evert time something gets hard. So I won’t. California was an option on a whim because I thought that’s what I wanted when, as a matter of fact, I thought it’d help my pain; my suffering. I wanted to revisit the good ole’ days back in California when really, most of those good days involved Daniel. I miss my friends, too, of course, but that’s another story for another time.
So what are we going to do now? Well, we’re exploring our options outside of therapy. There had to be something besides therapy, right? Even so, one of our friends could even sit in as a faux-therapist. At least I’m thinking outside of the box.
A knocking on my door kept me from busting out my dance moves in the morning while I made breakfast. Daniel was at his place, and I came over to mine just to freshen up. I was starving by the time I got out of the shower. After brushing out the knots in my hair, I decided to make some pancakes. The mess in the kitchen looking like something out of a WW1 history book; in the trenches, with my pancakes.
I turned the stove heat low and skipped to the door. I was in such a good mood, nothing could phase me. And it only grew when I opened the door and found my best friend, Jodie standing before me!
“Jodie!” I squealed, slamming my body into her for a hug.
“Hey, what’s up!?” she beamed. Oh, man, where do I start? I thought. Then, she leaned in. “Who’s the naked guy in the next apartment?”
“Oh,” I giggled, pulling her into my apartment. “That’s Daniel a.k.a Danny-boy.”
Jodie cocked her head, then she started laughing. “Okay, no really, who is that?”
I rolled my eyes jokingly and hooped my arm through hers. “Jodie, we’ve got a lot to catch up on. Pancakes?”
“Hell yes!” she exclaimed, taking her hat off and throwing it on the couch, giving my apartment a once over. “Not bad, not bad.”
“Well thank you,” I said. “I always trust your opinion.”
Jodie shrugged. “Well, what can I say, I’m unbiased. It’s a gift.”
I stared at her, seeing Jodie differently then. Mulling over a million thoughts and scrutinising ideas in my mind. “A gift, indeed,” I said, absentmindedly.
A gift, indeed.
***Hi all! This, you can imagine, was a really tough post to write. There’s just so much weight to it, but I’m glad it’s finally out in the open. Not every relationship is black and white, so I hope you all can appreciate Anna and Daniel’s fight. Love is a tricky business, ain’t it? Well, anyway, there’s also another thing I’d like to say, which is that I’m taking a month off from keeping up posts on any of my scheduled blogs. This has been an awfully difficult decision to make, but a much needed break for me as I’ve got so many other things I want to write and self-publish. I need to commit most of my attention to those stories; I just hope you can understand and will be back along with me soon enough. However, I specifically say “scheduled” blogs because my Wattpad posts and VANITY & VICE may be updated here and there. It’s not definite, but maybe. I have like 3 books I want\need to write, one of which is a sequel of something I want to self-publish, so I’ve got my work cut out for me! For those of you wanting to check out VANITY & VICE, here’s the link, and thank you for being so interested in that website! I’m so nervous about going away for a month because I don’t think I have ever for that long, so I do hope I see you then! Love you all lots and long time, Soul xo***