Month: April 2017

5.54: Weak

I went up to The Bluffs this afternoon.

It was the first time I’ve been there alone in years.

Some days, the place is packed with tourists scrambling to get a shot of the sunlight on the water, or catch a glimpse of the legendary ‘sea monster’ (which is just a load of crap, by the way). But if you know the right time to show up, you can have the whole place to yourself.

I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring that part out, so today it was just me, the sun, the clouds, and the ocean breeze. It was perfect. And I guess I never realized just how much I missed being there on my own. It always used to be one of my favorite places to go when I just needed to think, y’know?

It’s always been kind of bittersweet going there though. Maybe now more than ever. That’s where Hope and I ended up at the end of our tour of the city all those years ago… Even after all this time, I can still remember the way the sunlight hit her face. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.

But today, there was no Hope there with me. And when the sun finally set and the sky caught fire, I was the only one there to appreciate it.

But you know what? I didn’t feel alone. Not really, anyway. I know it’s so stupid, but I guess that’s when I feel closest to my Mama and Papa – when I’m up there at The Bluffs. It’s the closest thing to a grave that I can visit.

I just wonder what they’d have to say if they were here right now. What kind of advice would they give me? What would they think of what a fuckup their kid turned out to be?

Guess I’ll never know.

But I do know how Tante Joce and grandpa feel, and they’re the closest things to parents I have.

Tante Joce actually showed up at my apartment last week with Ur-Oma. And it was… rough. Okay, more than rough. It fucking sucked.

I was so damn pissed at first. I didn’t really wanna listen to anything Ur-Oma had to say. It just felt like a stupid lecture or something. And then it was like she was YELLING at me.

But by the time she was done… Well, I didn’t really know what to say. Or think. Or feel. I still don’t. It was a lot to take in.

But I’ve been thinking about what she said ever since.

I went over to the house for a visit a few days ago, and I was kind of afraid Ur-Oma or Tante Joce would start getting on my case again… But they didn’t. Guess they felt like they’d said everything they had to.

But apparently grandpa, Oma, and Opa wanted to take their turns lecturing me. I should have known.

Grandpa said pretty much the same thing Ur-Oma and Tante Joce did… A little nicer, maybe, but I guess his point was the same. I need to ‘get help’, he told me. I need to get over my fears. I need to work on my anger. I need to buckle down and start working on the restaurant.

But not for Hope. For me.

Now, I’m not an idiot. I know what they’re talking about when they say ‘help’. Therapy. A goddamn shrink. I can still remember how much I hated going to the therapist when I was a kid. It always felt like he was talking down to me or something. I hated it!

Of course, as soon as I made that known, that’s where Oma and Opa came in. I got this huge speech about going to therapy and how it’s ‘nothing to be ashamed of’ and all that crap. I guess I have to admit that it was… interesting to hear all that. Especially from Opa. He’s not really big on sharing all that personal stuff, y’know? But I don’t think I’ve ever seen him as serious as he was the other day. That really stuck with me.

It’s still just so overwhelming, I guess. They’ve never all ganged up on me like this before. They’ve made little comments here and there, sure… But this was different. And really uncomfortable, honestly. I just… I hate getting lectured all the time. I always have, for as long as I can remember. It always makes me feel like I’m some dumb little kid or something who can’t do anything on his own. Who needs everyone to hold his hand and wipe his snot for him all the time.

But…

Okay, I fucking hate writing this. But maybe I kind of am one. I mean, that’s kind of how I’ve been feeling. For a while now. Maybe even before Hope left, to be honest. It’s like I’m this scared little kid who has no fucking clue what to even do anymore. Who can barely control his temper. Who keeps fucking everything up. And I hate it!

I hate feeling like this. I hate being like this.

What if they’re right?

Should I really go back to therapy again?

Jesus, it’s been nearly 20 years since the last time I set foot in a shrink’s office. I was ten years old. And I was so fucking happy to finally be DONE. The kids at school were always so damn brutal. As if having a big-ass scar on my face didn’t make things hard enough… The day word got out I went to therapy, my social life pretty much died for a few years. Kids fucking suck.

That just made me hate seeing my therapist even more than I already did. It always made me feel so weak, y’know? Like I wasn’t strong enough to handle things on my own.

But… My Ur-Oma is probably the strongest person I know. And she told me she went to therapy for years. And Oma and Opa… They aren’t weak, are they?

I dunno.

This is just… too much right now. I’m still trying to figure everything out.

I did a lot of thinking today while I was up at The Bluffs. I was just kinda waiting for some kind of ‘sign’ or something. Know what I mean? Like, an answer to…

Well, I’m not even sure what the question is. I feel like I have so many right now.

But still no answers.

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Interlude: Yet

The cool summer breeze tickled Hope’s cheeks, contrasting sharply with the pair of full, warm lips that moved slowly against hers. She felt a large, rough hand reach up, entwining its fingers in her long brown hair as it pulled her closer.

The kiss was amazing – clearly this guy knew what he was doing. But all Hope could think of in that moment was Zayne. It sent an unpleasant twisting sensation through her stomach. What am I doing?!

“Cut! That was perfect, guys!”

Hope eagerly broke away from the man’s embrace the moment the director’s cry reached her ears. They’d done four takes of the kiss already, and Hope prayed that this time when he said ‘perfect’, he meant it.

“Let’s take ten and we’ll start on the last scene.” He continued. “Hope, I think that’s a wrap for you, sweetheart. You were amazing!”

Thank God.

“Hey, are you okay?” Garrett asked softly as the blinding lights shining on their faces finally turned off.

Hope shrugged slightly at her colleague’s question. “Yeah… Why?”

“I dunno… I guess you didn’t seem super into it… And I mean, I get it. Trust me.” He let out a small laugh. “My trick is to think of my boyfriend.” He confessed, smiling. “No offense.”

Yeah, that’s the problem. Hope wanted to say. All she’d been able to think about was Zayne the entire shoot. She forced a smile. “I promise, I’m fine. Nice job today.”

“You too! See you backstage tomorrow?” The other model asked kindly.

The girl nodded. “See you then!”

Hope headed straight for the dressing room, eager to change back into her own clothes, stop thinking about Zayne, and start focusing on tomorrow’s fashion show. That was the real reason she was in San Myshuno anyway – Francisco San Martín had requested that she walk in the debut of his new line. She’d booked that job weeks ago. The commercial, on the other hand, was something of a lucky coincidence.

According to Louis, there’d been some sort of scheduling conflict, and the model set to be in this perfume commercial was no longer able to do the job. It just so happened to be shooting the same weekend she’d be in the city for the fashion show, and the job was up for grabs.

The moment she learned the nature of the shoot, Hope had eagerly accepted. She knew how petty it was, but she’d really taken the job as something of a “screw you” to Zayne more than anything else. If he wants to be jealous, I’ll give him something to be jealous of. She’d told herself at the time.

But Hope found herself regretting her decision almost the moment she’d arrived at the shoot. No matter how hard she tried, all she could think of was Zayne sitting back home in Windenburg, completely unaware that she was halfway across the world making out with another guy. A gay guy, yes… But somehow that didn’t help her feel much better.

What’s he going to think of me when he sees this? The girl wondered as she finished putting her street clothes back on. God, we haven’t even broken up yet, and I’m already –

Hope’s entire body froze.

Yet. Had she really thought that? Yet?

Almost without warning, Hope felt the hot wetness of tears on her cheeks. Oh my God.

Had she really made her mind up so soon?  Could she really throw away everything they had without giving him a second chance? But I’ve already given him so many of those. She reminded herself. The thought did nothing but make her feel worse.

Hope headed back toward her hotel on foot, hoping the fresh air would help clear her head. It felt like all the doubt, worry, and regret she’d been battling for the past two weeks had come rushing back at her all at once. Had she been too hard on him? Pushed too much? What could she have done differently? Hope did her best to chase the thoughts away just as quickly as they’d come. There was no use dwelling. There was nothing she or Zayne could do to change the past now.

But what about the future? We could start over, couldn’t we? Do things differently this time around?

Hope slowed her pace a bit as she continued down the sidewalk, savoring the sights and sounds of the city around her, and hoping they’d do something to lift her spirits.

She’d always loved San Myshuno, and even after all these years, it still managed to feel like home. She’d been trying to stay close to Windenburg and take as many local jobs as she could… But lately it was becoming harder and harder to turn down all the amazing opportunities the city had to offer. And the more time she’d been spending there, the more she realized just how much she missed it.

Y’know, I probably would have already moved back here by now, Hope realized. If it weren’t for…

The uncomfortable twisting in her stomach slowly began creeping its way back. And, try as she might, she could not will the feeling away. Maybe there was more to their problems than she’d thought… Had Zayne really been holding her back? And what if she’d been holding him back too…?

God damn it. Stop thinking shit like that!

She needed to give him another chance, didn’t she?

Zayne was everything to her. Her best friend. Her lover. Her confidant. The person she dreamed of spending the rest of her life with.

I love him. Hope reminded herself firmly. More than anything.

But was that enough?

By the time she made it back to her hotel, she’d made up her mind.