Interlude: Reflection

Note: This chapter touches upon subject matter that may be sensitive to some readers.

——————————————————-

Mari’s stuffy head was pounding as she held the phone against her ear with a clammy hand. The sound of her boss’ cries on the other end did nothing to ease the sharp ache in her ear.

1

Clenching her teeth together, the girl struggled to keep her voice calm. “I know. But you’re not listening to me!” She practically snapped. “I’m actually sick this time, okay?”

Mari could almost picture her boss rolling his eyes as he replied. “Another excuse… Unbelievable. No more chances, Mariana. You can have the day off, sure. Just don’t bother coming in tomorrow either. Or the day after that.”

No! Just listen, okay? I –”

There was a soft click, then silence.

“Fuck you!” Mari cried as she threw her phone across the bed. It smacked loudly against the headboard before coming to rest on one of the soft pink pillows.

Her boss had been threatening to fire her for months… and now he’d finally gone through with it.

What the Hell am I gonna do now?! I fucked everything up again. I’m such a fucking loser. FUCK.

Blinking back the hot sting of tears from her eyes, Mari grabbed a few of the decongestant tablets from her bedside drawer, swallowed them dry, and crawled back beneath the covers. It was not long before sleep found her.

2

Mari awoke a few hours later to find her sinuses feeling a bit more clear, but the same unpleasant pain continuing to pound relentlessly deep within her ear. With a small sigh, she swung her legs over the side of her bed. Mari sat there for several long moments, appreciative of the fact that her congestion had not yet spread to her nose as she took a few deep breaths to calm herself.

Her physical symptoms had gotten a bit better, but the young woman found herself feeling anxious and troubled by unpleasant dreams that she could not quite remember…

Though she had a horrible feeling she knew exactly what they were.

7

Diego’s stupid fucking baby… She thought bitterly as the realization struck her. It could be born any day now. Hell, maybe it already was.

Mari shook her head as she rose to her feet. She needed to go somewhere or do something… But with an empty house and a terrible head cold, that was much easier said than done.

For a while, she tried writing in her journal. As good a distraction as any, I guess. She thought. But after ripping out no less than five pages, she gave up. Mari just didn’t have the energy for it today. Every time she tried to put her thoughts on paper, things got too honest… too real. She could feel the darkness pulling her down, just like before. And writing was only making it worse.

4

I can’t do this…

After putting away her diary, Mari instead decided to take advantage of the still-empty house. She crept carefully down the stairs to the living room, hoping that a bit of mindless TV would help clear her head. She flicked through the channels quickly, passing boring news reports and ridiculous reality shows before finally settling on a cheesy, made-for-TV chickflick.

She only lasted for an hour before realizing what a huge mistake it had been.

5

Fuck this.

Mari hastily wiped away her tears and tossed the remote rather unceremoniously onto the coffee table in front of her. Her sisters would be home from school soon anyway… and she couldn’t bear for them to see her like this. Not even bothering to turn off the TV, Mari stormed up the stairs, and retreated back into the darkness of her bedroom.

Hiding beneath the covers, Mari tossed and turned, waiting for sleep to find her yet again.

But it was the darkness that found her instead.

6

She closed her eyes as the over-the-top breakup scene from the movie replayed itself in her mind.

The tears on the woman’s pale cheeks. The sound of the rolling waves breaking in the background. The look of shame and sorrow in the man’s eyes…

It was all too familiar.

6a

Mari had been able to tell right away that something was wrong… One look at Diego was all she needed for that.

6b

“Mari…” He’d said breathlessly. “I fucked up. Bad.

6e

Those were the only words she could still remember him saying to her. The rest of the conversation was a total blur. But one thing was clear.

6c

Diego had betrayed her worse than anyone else ever had in her entire life.

6d

And it was all her fault.

6f

Mari fought to catch her breath between the heavy sobs that now shook her entire body. She hadn’t thought of that horrible day in months.

If only she hadn’t made him wait. If only she hadn’t been foolish enough to trust him. If only she hadn’t been so fucking stupid.

It was a long time before the tears finally stopped. Mari could hear the school bus dropping her sisters off in front of the house, and, about an hour later, the slamming of the car door as her father arrived home from work. Her mother would be home too, any minute. The thought of her family only made the pain worse.

I fucked everything up with Diego. She wiped away the last of her tears and pulled herself from beneath the covers. And now I’m fucking it up with them, too…

Mari rose to her feet, her gaze falling upon the large mirror that hung above her dresser. She drew closer and closer to the reflection, staring into the stupid, vacant expression of the girl on the other side.

9

Mari felt so much anger and hatred for so many people – Diego, her parents, her sisters…

But there was no one in the world she hated more than the girl in the mirror.

You’re worthless.

You fuck everything up no matter what you do.

You push everyone away – Diego. Your parents. Your sisters.

None of them give a shit about you. And why should they?

You were such a stupid little goody-two-shoes and what did that get you, huh?

You brought it all on yourself, you know. You were such a fucking moron.

And look at you now….

Your own family can’t stand you.

Your dad can’t even look at you.

Because you’re a slut.

And no one will ever love a dirty whore like you.

You’ll never be good enough.

Why try to fight it?

You know it’s true, don’t you?

10

Mari’s entire body trembled as wave after wave of white-hot anger ripped through her. A sharp, stabbing pain shot through the side of her head – and this time it was not due to the pressure in her sinuses.

She pulled back her fist a second time and slammed it once more against her temple.

I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you

Mari readied her hand to strike herself yet again, but hesitated.

With all the self-control she could muster, Mari took a deep, trembling breath, and lowered her fists to her sides.

Fuck this. I’m getting out of here.

It was 5pm on a Wednesday evening, and her cold symptoms had barely improved all day.

But Mari didn’t care.

11

She couldn’t bear one more minute alone.

She needed to escape.

She needed to numb the pain.

And there was only one way she knew how.

12

 

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41 Responses to Interlude: Reflection

  1. Senna says:

    Now this was heavy reading. 😮

    With the screenshot of her trying to write, all I could think of was “Oh, she don’t look so good.” 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Yeah, sorry things got so dark and heavy in this one! It’s hard because she puts on this “cold-hearted bitch” act when she writes in her journal. But she is hurting so deeply and has started this super self-destructive cycle of behavior that is just dragging her further and further down… And I knew I needed a chapter like this in order to convey it, because Mari will never be 100% honest, even in her diary. Classic unreliable narrator haha.

      I feel bad making her suffer so deeply. 😦 Thank you for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. virtualee says:

    All this time I was under the impression she was doing this for revenge, not for self-loathing…I think everyone in their life gets to a place where we contemplate the ‘what ifs’ and regret certain decisions made but this is another level of regrets altogether, a level that is super dangerous and scary… ugh…This (sex) is her drug, it’s her way of ‘forgetting’ her way of ‘escape’ and being in a place of addiction is not an easy thing to break free from. Just like any addiction she will have accept that she has a problem in order to get better, and sadly, just like any other addiction, it’s not something that will magically disappear, it’s going to take hard work Mari, but I have faith it will get better…I hope?!

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      That is a great analysis! Mari is essentially addicted to sex, it’s true. It’s the one thing that makes her feel good. But it becomes such a vicious cycle, because AFTERWARD, she is feeling horrible and like she’s a slut, which just fuels her own self-loathing. When Mari started all this, it was definitely more for the “revenge” side of things, but she has slowly been dragging herself down a path of self-hate and this behavior has become so toxic.

      I wrote this chapter so people would perhaps sympathize a bit with Mari a little more (not that this excuses her behavior!). We have never gotten the “full story” from her diary (and probably never will).

      Thank you for reading!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Its exactly how someone who is in a depression is like. Remember my (ML’s) is always open if you need some help with Mental Health first-aid.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. silentwolfy101 says:

    I honestly thought she was going to pull out a gun or pop some pills or something… I hope that soon, she can get help. Soon, before it comes to that. Poor Mari. At least her behaviour has a reason…

    In the warning at the beginning, I’d add that this could possibly be a self-harm/suicide trigger for somebody… Had it not have been a long time since I’ve done anything, it probably would have triggered me…

    Like

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      I had been thinking of putting a warning at the beginning, but since she doesn’t actually have any suicidal thoughts, I didn’t think it would be an issue. I can add something to the beginning though! I wouldn’t classify this as suicidal. Just self-hatred. So maybe I will throw in a mention of that. I’m sorry if it was upsetting to you. Mari is not suicidal at this point, just in a very bad place.

      Liked by 1 person

      • silentwolfy101 says:

        Yeah, I got that at the end she wasn’t suicidal.

        Maybe suicidal was the wrong word… 😛 I think it was mostly the hitting and repetition of “I hate you/myself” that did it. Hey, it’s alright – it wasn’t upsetting that bad. A year or so ago… It might have been a bit bad… *hugs*

        Like

      • silentwolfy101 says:

        Forgot to mention: you really hit depression very well, if that’s what you were going for. This is like a perfect description of major depression…

        Liked by 1 person

        • CitizenErased14 says:

          Hahaha that is exactly what I was going for. 🙂 I am fortunate enough to not have any first-hand experience with it, but I have a friend who has (and also was in therapy for 8 years AND has a masters degree in pscyhology and now works as a therapist haha. It’s actually awesome because her own experiences make her really empathize with her clients, you know?). Anyway, I actually consulted with her while I was writing this chapter, and she helped describe to me the sorts of thoughts and feelings she herself had when she had dark moments like what Mari is currently going through 🙂 So I’m glad it worked out well! Thank you.

          Liked by 1 person

          • silentwolfy101 says:

            I too had major depression for about two-three years, very recently. And you’re very lucky to not have dealt with the horrible thing known as depression. 🙂

            Like

            • CitizenErased14 says:

              Yes, I know I am lucky! I have unfortunately known many people who have, including one of my best friends (who I mentioned) and my brother too. Not a pretty sight 😦 I am glad you are better now! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              • silentwolfy101 says:

                Thank you. It was a struggle, but I’m glad I’m better now as well. 🙂

                I’ve known several people who have had depression, and I have also known people who have faked having depression simply for the attention. It’s a horrible thing to know that people do that, but there’s nothing I can do.

                Anyways, I do hope that Mari gets help, that Alex “mans up” (I guess) and talks to her, tries to get her the help she needs. She’s on a path that will only lead to destruction… 😦

                Like

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      I added a mention that there is some self-hate talk in the chapter

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jes2G says:

    A. What a d-bag! Who takes their girlfriend to a ROMANTIC place to break bad news?! Idiot.

    B. There are so many things that I want to see happen here for Mari’s sake, but people are flawed, and that’s what makes an excellent story, right? I want for Alex to get over himself and be her DAD! I mean, the girl actually thinks that no one cares about her anymore! Seriously? I know she’s depressed, and I get that part. But, even if she wasn’t depressed, how would she actually know that her dad still loves her? He’s certainly not doing anything to proactively make her see that. She needs her family (esp. her dad) now more than ever, but all of them are still walking on eggshells or avoiding her. So not cool. I know her own actions have caused them to act that way, so in a way it’s her fault, but I wish they were all braver, you know? I just want someone to kick the door in (figuratively lol), yank her out of bed (gently lol), and hug her so tightly she can barely move. Sure, she’ll fight them and probably curse them out, but eventually she’ll yield.

    The end

    lol

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      I love your passionate reactions Hehehehe. And yeah, the “hands-off” parenting method is probably not best in this case… Alex is kind of at a loss right now (even Jade is, to a slightly lesser degree, at this point!). I have this vision that they can’t even say two words to her without getting their heads bitten off, so I think Alex has kind of “given up” (which is so so so awful and he’s basically the worst dad lmao).

      I think if he had any idea how much Mari has been internalizing this and how truly emotionally scarred/damaged she is, he’d get his shit together and intervene. Instead, he’s kinda awkwardly waiting on the sidelines for this “phase” to pass (stupid, stupid Alex haha)

      Oh, and yes, Diego is a little shit. But we knew that, right? Hehehehe

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jes2G says:

        Yeah, we knew that lol.
        The part where she said no one would want a worthless whore, I thought to myself, “How could she think that? Look at her mom!” LOL, I didn’t mean it like that, but you know. That was when I realized exactly how depressed she really was. She can’t even think rationally…not that she did much of that anyway lol.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Virtualee says:

      I never really saw that perspective, Alex as a bad dad I mean, interesting! I feel so connected to his character because I think and act the same way he does, and I would probably distance myself too mainly to avoid confrontation and saying something I would regret in the long run. However, you have a very valid point!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jes2G says:

        I totally love Alex, but yeah…I think he could be different right now just like I was totally #TeamLucas, but he got on my nerves at times. But…if the truth be told…as non-confrontational as I am, I’d probably do the same thing LOL. But hey…I’m not in the situation, so I get to be objective :-p he he he

        Liked by 1 person

  6. kaffepigen says:

    This was intense! The way she blamed herself for Diego’s mistake was horrible. I hope she sees the light soon again and realizes that it wasn’t her fault what he did.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. rinellie says:

    So sad to see Mari blaming herself for what happened with Diego. It can be so easy to fall into that kind of thought process when someone hurts you deeply. Like, why did they hurt me? What did I do wrong? What should I have done better? Really emotional chapter; very well written.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. peacesign101 says:

    *Pulls Mari in for a hug* Like many people, I thought Mari was doing it for revenge, but I guess not. Poor Mari! To think it was Diego who did it. I think at the moment Diego could get the award for least liked character XD

    Liked by 1 person

  9. kettiebee says:

    “Chandeliers” by Sia started playing in my head at the end there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Oooh I don’t know that song, but now I really want to look it up!!! (And by the way, thank you so much for reading ❤ I saw your comment on the forums. You're awesome!)

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Simslover163 says:

    I shed tears as I read this. Poor Mari. I can’t believe she blamed herself for Diego’s mistake.

    Very well written, emotional chapter.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Alright, Dad…Alex…I swear, if you don’t go, get your daughter, and get her help so help me…I’ll find Guitar Hero and make him do it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      “Guitar Hero” is the best name ever hehehe. And yeah, a huge part of the problem is that Alex and Jade really don’t know how severe Mari’s issues have become. This has gone much farther than just sleeping around — she really needs psychological help. But her parents don’t see that… :-/

      Liked by 1 person

      • How can they? She’s gone most of the night, Alex is worried but he is also worried about Jade, they have work, two other daughters, and trying to give the oldest one space, thinking it’s the right thing to do.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. CitizenErased14 says:

    Oh wow, I’m sorry you had that experience! I hope all is well with your brother now. ❤ And yes, Mari is very much an addict right now… She has developed an addiction to sex (and alcohol, to a lesser degree).

    Like

  13. CitizenErased14 says:

    Mari could definitely use a hug… though she’d probably push you away hahaha. And yeah, Mari has internalized EVERYTHING so horribly. She is in serious need of therapy/counseling. But she’s not ready to admit she needs that kind of help *sigh*

    Like

  14. theceltygirly says:

    “But there was no one in the world she hated more than the girl in the mirror.”
    *sigh* Same.
    This was intense. I really like it though, powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

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