5.48: Balance

Well, today was my birthday. I’m officially 28 now.

The same age my Mama was when she died.

It’s a really weird feeling… But I kinda figured it would be. I feel like my life’s just getting started, y’know? There’s so much left for me to do. So much I haven’t done. So many things I have to look forward to… Is this how she felt? Did she have any idea her life would get cut so short? Would she have done anything differently if she knew her time was almost up?

And what if died tomorrow? I mean, how would I–

Ugh. I don’t even wanna think about that. But it’s kinda hard not to.

And I already know next year will be even worse. It’s crazy thinking that pretty soon I’ll be older than her. In a few years, I’ll be older than Papa too. And, unless something bad happens, I’ll keep getting older and older after that. I’ll have kids of my own and watch them grow up. My hair will go gray. My skin will get all wrinkly. I’ll live a long, full life.

All things they never got to do.

So yeah, today was pretty hard. And not having Hope here made it even harder.

I’ve been trying to be understanding about this whole thing. I really have. But it’s still not easy for me. We got in a stupid fight about it a couple weeks ago, and things were still a little awkward right up to when she left yesterday morning.

Today wasn’t all bad though, all things considered. It was a hell of a lot better than I thought it’d be. And it was actually all thanks to Hope.

I had no idea she was planning something special for my birthday. I mean, I figured we’d just celebrate when she gets back in a couple days. But when I came back from lunch with Tante Joce and Grandpa, I found something waiting for me… Turns out she left Charlie with a present and a key to our apartment. I had no idea!

She got me the first three issues of a new Batman comic series that just came out. I almost couldn’t believe it — Hope’s one of the only people who knows how much I still love Batman. It’s kinda my secret ‘guilty pleasure’, I guess. But I never even told her that I’d been eyeing the new comics for a while… How the hell did she know?!

I dived into the first one right away, and found a cute little note inside the front cover, telling me I had one more surprise coming.

About an hour later, a delivery came for me… And I nearly died when I opened the box.

It was a new set of Altara cookware… The kind I’ve been drooling over for months. She even got me a new mixer and scale too! I don’t even wanna think about how much it probably cost her.

Hope had tucked another little note at the bottom of the box, saying she knows I’m too damn stubborn to throw out my crappy old cookware and buy some new ones… So she took it upon herself to do it for me. I couldn’t stop laughing.

She knows me too damn well. Better than anyone else ever could.

I hate being away from her. I hate that we had to cancel our trip. I hate that she couldn’t be here for my birthday. I hate that this stupid restaurant thing has me feeling more stressed and frustrated than I’ve ever been. And I hate how much everything’s been changing lately with Hope’s job.

But I love her. I love every single thing about her. I love that she’s so dedicated to her career. I love that she always pushes me to do better. I love how she always supports me no matter what.

And I love that she loves me too.

That’s what I keep trying to remind myself of — We love each other. We support each other. And that’s the greatest feeling in the world. It really is.

It’s just… Some days… I dunno. I mean, all that good stuff… It doesn’t automatically erase the bad stuff, y’know? Hope doing all that awesome stuff for my birthday doesn’t erase how upset I was that she wasn’t here. Finding an awesome new recipe for my menu doesn’t change how frustrated and overwhelmed I feel about this whole restaurant thing. Stuff like that. Know what I mean?

It’s all about balance, I guess. Does the good outweigh the bad? Or is it the other way around?

Today, the good definitely won.

But there are other days when I really can’t tell.

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40 Responses to 5.48: Balance

  1. sourocha1 says:

    So that’s why he was so upset about the birthday…and I remembeard his imaginary friend, Bruce! And Zayne, if you have love in your life, the other hings will figure it out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Yup, can’t forget Bruce! 😛 That love of Batman never really faded hehe. And I like your advice to Zayne… Hopefully he can take it! Focus on the love and the good stuff ❤

      Like

  2. Senna says:

    You know Zayne, you’re not doing yourself any favors by complaining that you’ll be older than your dead parents one day. That happens to quite a lot of other people, so you’re not really special in that sense.

    So, I don’t know, maybe start moving on, and stop holding a candle to two entitled bratty adult children who treated your aunt like the shit they scraped off their shoes. (this goes for the rest of the Rosebrooks too, for the record) They’ve been dead for over twenty years, and they’ve long since passed on to the afterlife, so let them go.

    And maybe get rid of that picture you have of them and you, that’s not really helping either. Just put that picture away somewhere well-hidden, and focus on your potential life with Hope and a great restaurant you own.

    TL:DR: Stop thinking about the past and what could have been (although now I wonder if he ever knew how nasty his parents became towards Jossy), and start looking towards a better future with Hope.

    (Look at me, giving life advice to a fictional character. I think I’ve completely lost my mind :/ )

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      I don’t think Zayne is trying to imply that he’s special in any way by growing older than his parents who’ve died. It’s just painful for him (as I feel it probably is for many who are in a similar circumstance).

      I think as a general rule, you’re right that looking toward the future is healthier than looking toward the past. However, I think most people who’ve lost parents end up mourning them, especially when it happened at such a young age. Zayne has to go through life with a lot of “what ifs”, and it’s not easy.

      Like

      • It never stops, you know. My father died when I was 11 and I still have his picture in the shelf next to my desk and I talk to him in my mind sometimes. I never stopped missing him. Sometimes I think about him intensely, remember every little detail I can scour up from the depths of my brain.
        I feel sad when I think about that my daughter can never meet him, and she’ll be 10 this year, and soon she will be the age I was when he died. I feel sad when I think about how he never saw me grow up, never saw me learn how to drive a truck, never saw me go through all the crap I went through.

        It’s not special, but it’s real. You can’t help but think about all the “how it might have been”-things from time to time. It’s human nature, I suppose.

        Liked by 1 person

        • CitizenErased14 says:

          I’m so sorry for your loss 😦 I am fortunate enough to not be writing about Zayne’s feelings from experience, but I can’t imagine how difficult that must be. I appreciate you sharing your experience. The struggles you go through are how I imagine Zayne feels about his own parents. Hugs to you, Deira ❤

          Like

      • audreyfld says:

        Ohhhh. Mamma bear is protecting her cub!!!

        Sadly though, I agree with Senna. For Zayne, it seems it’s always all about Zayne. And he does keep looking backwards instead of forward. Poor me, everyone coddles me. Poor me, I don’t have any money so I have to run drugs. Poor me, my girlfriend isn’t here for my birthday. Poor me, my boss hates me so I hate my job. Poor me, I am scared about opening a restaurant and it upsets me. Poor me, my parents are dead and I will never know what could have been. Sorry – that rant was really, really harsh.

        I go back and forth with thinking he’s adorable to wanting to shake him. Sort of like I did with Mari…and Jocelyn…and Tobi…yeah, it’s a Rosebrook curse.

        Liked by 2 people

        • CitizenErased14 says:

          Haha I was agreeing with you up until the “Poor me, my parents are dead” part. Many people are being so cold toward him about that! I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t be grieving for their parents in Zayne’s shoes. Deira shared her personal experience in the comment above yours, and I appreciate her opening up and sharing her feelings about that, because I think she captures what I’m trying to express with Zayne perfectly.

          Liked by 2 people

          • audreyfld says:

            Like I said – I knew I was really, really harsh. I do feel bad about his parents – and I get it. I totally don’t mean to make light of anyone that has had to suffer the loss of their parents at a young age. That is horrible…crawling into a hole now….

            Like

            • CitizenErased14 says:

              *pulls you out of the hole* Don’t worry about it, I think people understand that you’re speaking to Zayne as a fictional character. Hopefully it’d be a little different if he was a real person haha

              Like I said, I agreed with everything else you said. Zayne is selfish, immature, hot-headed, insecure, and jealous haha I’ve given you guys SO much to feel frustrated toward him about, so I just feel like being frustrated at his grief is the one thing that makes the least sense haha He has plenty of other flaws to be called out for 😉

              Liked by 2 people

    • Yogiwonks says:

      The thing about grief is it’s so stupidly personal.
      Like my dad died when I was 12 and I still am so damn sad but I can’t really talk about it because people always think things like what you two are saying.
      And my mom died when I was real little, she was 20 so when I turned 20 I thought the same as Zayne. Every year since I have thought (wow I’m so much older than my mom.) I kept it to myself but his is also a journal you know. It’s his inner thoughts.
      I get it though, you can’t understand what (I’m assuming) you haven’t experienced..

      Buuut it isn’t something you just get over. He’s actually doing a good job of not letting it consume him. Grief is like a fire.
      (And oh hell no I would never get rid of any pictures xD)

      (I haven’t commented in a super long time but I still love this story.)

      Liked by 2 people

      • CitizenErased14 says:

        Yogi, thank you so much for sharing your personal experience and I’m so sorry for the loss of your parents 😦 I appreciate you opening up and sharing how you feel!

        Thank you for this, and for reading. ❤

        Like

    • Arrowleaf says:

      My step-dad, that raised me from my birth to his death, died when I was 6 due to a truck driver falling asleep at the wheel. I’m 26 now and I still mourn him every year on his birthday. Losing someone you love never goes away, and while most days I go without thinking of him, he’ll pop into my head at random times. I don’t think throwing away pictures or trinkets will help, it might have the opposite effect since having them nearby is often comforting. My step-dad wrote poetry and I still have all his books in my closet. Grief is different for every person, and comments like this can really undermine what someone goes through when they lose someone they love.

      I don’t think Zayne is making this into me thing, I think he is just dealing with the stress of opening his own restaurant and being away from the love of his life. And no matter the reason, it sucks when someone you love misses your birthday. I sympathize with him.

      Liked by 2 people

      • CitizenErased14 says:

        I’m really sorry for your loss, Arrow 😦 But I appreciate you sharing your personal experience with us ❤

        Like

  3. witchazard says:

    Mama WitcHazard: Throw that good bad scale out the window it’s a bunch of phewy! Don’t put the events of your life in catagories, just treat them for what they are things that happened in your life that helped mold you as a person. Nothing more nothing less! Theres no need to worry about the nature of what happens because if you start writing off or keeping track of every little thing that doesn’t go your way in life you’re labeling something bad that has just as much to offer than the all the things you like about your life!

    Anti Shipper WitcHazard: Have kids, grow old and wrinkly. Funny I didn’t see get married or the fact that he would like to do the latter two things with Hope. All I heard him say is that he loves her bit that he wants to marry her! He’s 28 his parents were married and had a six year old at his age what gives! Keep walking Hope!

    Shipper WitcHazard: Stop taking what he said out of context, clearly he meant to say he’d want to do those things with Hope he just didn’t have to cause we all should know it by now!

    Anti Shipper WitcHazard: Now you’re just grasping at straws!

    Emotional WitcHazard: Perhaps he didn’t say anything about getting married because unconsciously he’s associated marriowith his childhood trauma!

    Anti Shipper: Don’t give him an out E! I’m not ready they won’t be together they just might not be walking down the aisle! What do you think Nooboos?

    Nooboos WitcHazard: You don’t need a wedding to have nooboos!

    Anti Shipper: See she’s on board!

    Shipper: But Nooboos if they have a wedding you’ll get to see Hope in a wedding dress, Dahlia would be the flowergirl in her cute little dress throw petals everywhere on her stubby little legs as she walks down the aisle. And you’ll get to see Leo in a tux as the ring bearer!

    Nooboos: Hope in a wedding dress! Dahlia as the flowergirl! Leo in a tux! Eeeeeeeeekkkk!

    Anti Shipper: Hey stop poaching my allies!

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      LMAO That’s some great advice, Mama!

      And I will calm the other WItcHazards’ fears 😛 Yes, he wants to get married and yes he wants those things with Hope 😉 He was listing/focusing on things his parents didn’t get to do (watch his children grow up and get old himself). He didn’t mention marriage because that’s something they DID get to do 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  4. raerei says:

    Hitting the age your parents were when they died is hard for everyone. Thanks for the great insight into what he’s thinking about, his parents, the restaurant, and Hope. Hopefully the good can outweigh the bad more days than not.

    Also he needs help with the restaurant. He can’t do it alone. I can’t imagine anyone who could do it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jes2G says:

    That’s life, oh handsome brat prince. Choosing battles and deciding not to let the negative things break you.
    It’s so cute that he still loves Batman!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I’m glad she hooked him up for his birthday. I’m looking forward to eventually hearing some things from Hope’s perspective in an interlude.

    Like

    • Yeah, I found the comments and replies on this chapter very interesting. I think it’s hard for a lot of people to separate his typical bratty complaining from his continued angst over losing his parents. It all starts to sound like the same Complainy McComplainerson behavior, you know?

      Like

      • CitizenErased14 says:

        I do understand that to a degree. I just don’t necessarily agree with it. I’m already rethinking future chapters when he brings up his parents’ death again haha. So we’ll see what happens…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Zayne is a complainer, that’s his default when something is less than perfect. He, like several Rosebrooks before him, have lots of strong traits that elicit strong responses. If nothing else, you should be proud that your story affects most of us so deeply. I wish I could see what edits you might make to future chapters. I’d be all, “no, don’t change that! This is Zayne, love him or hate him for it, it’s all in character. And it keeps us with eyes glued to the browser for the next update!”

          Like

  7. CitizenErased14 says:

    Well the jealousy toward Hope isn’t related to grieving for his parents… They’re really two separate issues, I think.

    He’s definitely a super frustrating character though… I’m already sensing he’s on the way to becoming Mari 2.0 haha I do get quite frustrated with him when I write!

    Like

  8. crstasse says:

    Zayne has every right to have his fair share of doubts, and he is expressing them in his journal, if ever there is a place for total honesty, it’s there! I like the honesty, we all have days when we are filled with doubt. And let’s face it, if everything was hunky dory all of the time it would make, not just for a dull character, but no conflict either. And I really don’t think he’s had everything done for him, he’s asserted himself from the get go and works independently of the Rosebrook fortune, that I’m sure he could dip into if he really wanted too. I kind of admire that about him. I don’t think he’s a brat at all!
    I think what he’s really struggling with is that Hope’s job takes her away on long absences from him and that he finds hard. Maybe that does make him a bit selfish. She is undeniably sweet, and her presents were lovely, but I also get the feeling that her elaborate presents are a means to make up for the fact she won’t be there (guilt) and what Zayne would rather, is to have her in person, instead of the gifts. I hope I’m reading this right? I can imagine this will continue to be a contentious issue between them in the future to come. At some point something will have to give.
    As for him reflecting on his parents and being the same age as his mother, I thought that was a beautiful moment. I loved reading his thoughts about being older than his parents.
    I love imperfect characters, they just seem so much more real to me!

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Thanks, crstasse! I think you have a really good grasp of everything going on for Zayne right now (and I’m glad you admire Zayne’s independence! Though I do agree with some others that he’s kind of bratty too 😛 Just in other ways!)

      Thanks for this great comment! (And thank you for reading!)

      Like

  9. sonniejj says:

    I feel like Zayne and Hope have kind of left the honeymoon stage and they need to figure things out again. Zayne can definitely be a bit dramatic in my opinion, and Hope could be a bit more sensitive to his feelings. They will have to find a compromise if they want this relationship to work.

    It’s tough. I feel like, when it comes down to it, Hope will pick her career and her future over Zayne’s happiness and I don’t necessarily mean that as a bad thing. Too many people forget about what they want in order to make other people happy. However, I think Zayne needs to become more mature to be able to handle that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Interesting analysis! I like what you said about the two of them having to find a compromise. I think there’s a lot of truth there.

      Like

  10. julyvee94 says:

    This chapter felt so… Real. I can definitely get behind what Zayne is saying, about his parents, hope and the Restaurant. I love how you write your characters they’re so believeable!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. lisabeesims says:

    Augh on the grrr aww rollercoaster … he redeems himself here with sweet thoughts

    Liked by 1 person

  12. addbratlove225 says:

    Hope, you’re the only character keeping me sane right now. She sees the world clearly. Everyone else is out of control. Zayne’s figuring it out.

    Liked by 1 person

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