6.79: Outsider

Y’know, right before they let me out, Katie came to visit me at the prison one last time.

Until then, she hadn’t really said much about what it was like being on the outside. She’d talk a bit about some of the math and science classes she was taking at the university, and how she’d been trying to reach out to her parents a little bit more. But never much more than that.

The last time was different though. We actually talked a lot about what it’s like adjusting to being back on the outside. I’d talked a lot about it with Dr. S already, but that felt different. He’s trained on what kind of concerns to talk to us about and all that crap, but he hasn’t lived it, y’know? But Katie has… For almost six months already.

“I don’t wanna scare you or anything. But it’s not easy,” she told me.

And, well, now that I’ve been back at home for a couple weeks, I can tell you that she was absolutely right.

Parts of it are awesome, obviously. But overall, it’s just… really friggin’ weird. There’s so much to get used to.

And some of it’s great! Like having a big comfy bed again (though it’s taken over a week for my back to adjust to it!) or getting to eat Papa’s cooking again (that adjustment’s definitely the easiest!).

But as for the hardest? I’d say it’s… interacting with people, I guess. Even my family.

I’m loving being at home with Phoenix. It makes me so happy to get to see his sweet little face every day. But… he doesn’t really know me. Not as well as he knows my parents. Or even Erik.

It’s painful to hear him ask for “Gammy” and “Opi” all the time. If he wants something, he’ll go straight to one of my parents before he goes to me. If he wants to play, he’ll bring the toy to them first. If I’m holding him and he sees mom or Papa walk by, he’ll reach for them right away.

My parents have been trying to encourage him to go to me instead… But it hasn’t really been working yet. And it sucks.

And I know it’s not his fault. Or theirs either. But it still kills me. It’s like I’m some stranger in his life… I mean, not a literal stranger, obviously. He knows I’m his Mama. And he loves me.

But I don’t think he loves me as much as he loves them.

And not as much as he loves Erik either.

That’s another thing I’m still trying to get used to — seeing Erik when he comes to get Phoenix. And it’s harder to say what hurts worse — the way Phoenix’s entire face lights up when he sees his Papa, or suffering through the forced smiles and awkward small talk with Erik.

We’re both trying though, right? So I guess that counts for something. And at least I don’t have to deal with seeing Rubi too. She’s always waiting in the car, or back at Erik’s apartment.

Phoenix spends a few hours with them every Wednesday and Saturday… Sometimes he even spends the night too, as long as my parents okay it first.

It’s really  strange… I’m living at home again, getting to see my little boy every day. But I still have no legal custody of him. Everything’s still up to my parents. And I guess that just makes me feel even more disconnected. Like I’m an outsider.

And that feeling’s even worse when I go out in public.

Most people don’t know who I am or anything about me, of course. I get by at the university just fine. My classes are going great!

And I started working down at the library a few days a week too, and no one there really says anything either.

Obviously they knew my criminal history when I got hired… But my Oma’s husband Mark used to be the head librarian there. And my great-great-great grandfather donated a ton of money to the place after he got famous with that ghost story he wrote. He even started a special fund just to keep the library going.  That was like a hundred and fifty years ago now, but the name “Alexander Rosebrook” still carries a lot of weight.

All it took was a little name-dropping, and they hired me.

Being down at the library is probably one of my favorite things to do right now. It’s calm and quiet and it feels… familiar. It’s so much like when I used to work at the library back at the prison. This probably sounds stupid, but it kinda feels safe there, I guess.

That is, until some familiar faces decide to show up.

That’s been the worst part… Running into people. Sophie, Thad, Nyla… I’ve run into all my old friends at least once since I’ve been out. And it’s not just them either. Old coworkers from the drugstore, or Papa’s restaurant… And instead of ignoring me like I wish they would, they ALWAYS seem to decide it’s a great time to run up and start talking to me.

It’s like there’s some friggin’ neon sign hanging over my head saying “Hey, look! It’s that fuckup you used to know who got her ass thrown in jail! Why not walk up to her and start an awkward-as-fuck conversation?”

How the hell do they keep managing to find me? And why won’t they just leave me alone?

I swear to God, if one more person walks up and tries talking to me about it, I’m gonna lose it.

I think I’d already have gone totally nuts by now if it weren’t for my friends… And that includes Katie too. I’ve actually been hanging out with her a lot lately. Any time I need somebody to vent to, I know I can turn to her. She just gets it, y’know? In a way that I don’t really think anyone else can.

But then, Rylie and Devin get me in a way no one else can either. And being with them still means so much to me, just like being with Katie does too. I really need all three of them. So much.

But as much as I love them, there’s someone else I need too. And I can’t have her right now, no matter how much I want to.

I miss her so much. Even more than I thought I would. I think about her all the time… And I worry about her all the time too.

We’ve talked on the phone twice since I got out. And both times, it just… killed me.

Ivy’s such a bright person, y’know? But so lonely too. I could always tell, from the first day we met. She’s quiet. She likes keeping to herself. She doesn’t really open up to people… Well, except to me. There’s just a lot of sadness inside of her. It’s a side she doesn’t really like showing very much. But I always knew it was there.

Anyway, I guess it really shows when I talk to her now. She keeps telling me she’s fine, but I know her better than that. She’s not happy. That brightness that I always used to feel when we were together… it’s like it’s gone now. I can’t hear it in her voice anymore.

This is exactly what I was afraid of when I left. I mean, I was the only one she really had in there. Just like she was the only one I had too, after Katie left.

And now that I’m gone… Well, maybe I’m not the only one who’s feeling like an outsider. Or who feels so lonely, no matter how many other people are around.

I’d give anything to be able to just hold her again, y’know? To give her a kiss, wrap her in my arms, and tell her everything’s gonna be okay.

And maybe that wouldn’t be enough to make everything better. Maybe we’d both still feel like outsiders.

But at least we could feel lonely together.

41 thoughts on “6.79: Outsider

  1. Poor Lorelai, it’s never easy feeling like an outsider, but things will get easier. As painful as it must be, Pheonix will get used to her being home and she’ll re-acclimate to the outside world. At least she has her friends and family behind her this time. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah I think things will get better for Harper eventually! She has that great support system to help her out… if only Ivy had the same!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahh, it’s so fun seeing her on the outside again! Even if it’s a struggle?
    I don’t think I realized how much the prison really held Harper’s story in limbo until now? But it feels like I got out with her, and even though she’s kind of in a downer place right now, I’m excited about the future!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Haha that’s a great point! The jail arc was so different. We got to see Harper grow as a person, but her life was very much on hold. Now she can go out and actually live it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That picture with Zayne holding Pheonix and Hope with head on his shoulder and all of them asleep just broke my heart. 💔. That hurt even worse tha how sad Ivy looked, although that was pitiful. They are both surrounded by people yet alone. is alone with Harper gone. I knew it would be hard for Harper to assimilate back into a world where things weren’t so black and white, I’m glad she at least has Devin, Katie and Rylie – where Ivy has no one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, they’re both so isolated right now! (And that pic with Harper on the couch broke my heart too! 😭)

      You’re so right that Harper still has her friends supporting her. She’s very lucky! Unfortunately Ivy isn’t 😦 but she does still have a lot of love and support from Harper on the outside! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. KATIE X HARPER, sorry Ivy but you’re still in prison.

    *hides*

    I do feel bad for Harper though, and not just because she didn’t choose Katie over Ivy. 😉 I knew there’d be one hell of an adjustment period… Not just with Phoenix, but figuring out where she belongs outside of prison. I wonder if moving to a place where no one knows her might be helpful, but with Hope and Zayne having custody of Phoenix, that’s probably not feasible.

    But still, it must be pretty humiliating when everyone knows that you’ve gone to prison, like living in a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL I need that mean girls quote “stop trying to make Hartie happen!” 😛

      Yeah, adjusting is definitely not easy. She feels judged everywhere she goes (but you’re also right that she can’t exactly up and leave to try and escape it either…) She just has to learn to adjust and hope things finally get easier!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dark WitcHazard: Calling it now if the outsider feeling continues for the half a year she’s walking away from everything and not looking back I’m sure she’ll send the occasional postcard from where ever she goes especially on Pheonix’s birthday! But the longer she stays away the less she’ll write then she’ll just stop because she’ll feel she doesn’t deserve to be part of her little boys life cause he’s better off without her!

    Lover WitcHazard: Ooh just fades out of he sons life like a ghost only a fond memory of his childhood!

    Emotional WitcHazard: No that’s terrible!

    Anti Shipper: But totally a possibility can’t adjust to life so runs away from it! Sound plausible!

    Shipper WitcHazard: Don’t you start! The baby doesn’t approve!

    Anti Shipper: Well tough love for him/her! That’s the way it looks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dang, Dark is having some crazy ideas over here! But I’m sure the idea of running away and disappearing sounds pretty good to Harper right now, so… :-/

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  6. Harper is having a hard time adjusting. That’s to be expected. And not knowing your son? Awful! Couldn’t imagine the pain. I think Zayne and Hope need to go on a month long vacation and let Harper get to know her son by herself. No more meddling. At least for a little while. (They’ve got to be the longest record helicopter parents in simlit!)

    Hang in there, Poison Ivy! 😓

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL! HoZay will always be a little helicopter-y, I fear. But they’re a lot better now than when she was a kid, at least? 😛

      I think Harper needs to spend more time at home with them before they can fully trust her alone with Phoenix for some kind of extended length of time. The girl has a lot of adjusting to do! But I do like your idea. It absolutely kills her to see Phoenix regard Hope and Zayne as his parents 😦 Bonding time is necessary!

      And ah, Poison Ivy is having some difficulties right now, I fear. Lots of pain and loneliness for both of them 😦

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  7. Poor Harper. That must really suck, being a stranger to your own child. No, that more than sucks. That’s devastating. I do hope things start getting better for her soon. I’m glad she’s still hanging out with Katie Rylie and Dev. She’s not pushing people away anymore which is good. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Awwwww, I love Heartie (I think that was Katie and Harper, I think…), but Harper and Ivey are such goals… I want them back together…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love this view of Harper’s. I love the pic of HoZay holding Phoenix & Harper looking in “from the outside (love Tomato in the background, too). I’m probably the only one who thinks Harper kind of deserves it. Not in a bad way, necessarily, but all the choices she made with actions and not listening and always putting herself first led up to that moment. The good thing about it is that it is hurtful, but can give her some more perspective about the things that led her to this point, but also something positive to KEEP working towards and not running away or playing the “blame game”. This vulnerable side is a refreshing change, it would be so easy for her to rebuild that attitude and behavior, but feeling the absence of her being the main point in Phoenix’s life will probably keep her from that. She can use her stubborn energy towards good things this time, knowing what she would be giving up if she chooses her past behaviors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great comment! This whole thing has been such a learning experience for Harper… very tough lessons, but important ones too! And it’s most definitely brought out a vulnerability in her that we hadn’t seen before. Hopefully this will all lead to some positive changes for her as she moves forward. Thank you for reading ❤

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  10. Oh no! Nothing seems to be going right for Harper. Almost like her prison set up was alright. I was hoping all would be well and we could have a musical number with dancing unicorns.
    I was a little optimistic. I am still very biased against Erik. (I still haven’t gotten over his behavior when Harik was a thing). And I feel sad that Phoenix can’t have a good connection with his mother from the start. He may love his mother but he will prefer his grandparents and father more.
    As for the PoisonIvy, I’m terribly disappointed that things can’t go smoothly. I wish things could just be perfect, but sadly this is somewhat of a realistic simlit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lmao no dancing unicorns this time, sorry! 😛 Hopefully things will get better for her… in all respects! Only time will tell….

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  11. TIme .. time .. time .. it takes a while and thankfully she was not in long enough to get too institutionalized so the adjustment will come! Just building back the house she tore down with her own hands is rough.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I was hoping you’d go down the stranger in my own house road. I think things will eventually get better, but in a way, I think there will always be a detachment there. Especially with Phoenix…which I’m kind of looking forward to. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you might be right… Things will get easier with time, but there’s a good chance that theres a certain bit of disconnect that will probably always be there. Poor Harper!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Poor Harper! She’s lost all those formative moments, but Phoenix is still young. Harper’s lucky she managed to get a job straight out. Little steps.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, there’s still a lot of time to bond with her boy! Things are going fairly well for her right now, all things considered… hopefully it will stay that way?

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Little Phoenix is just the cutest, I love him! ❤ (Although I loved Harper too when she was a toddler and look at the rollercoaster she put us all through :P)

    I don't want to sound pessimistic or anything, but the first years of a child's life are sooo important for bonding to their caregivers. At least Harper got to be with him the first few months and have some skin-to-skin contact and stuff, but man, this is gonna be hard to 'recover' from. You can't make up for lost time. You can simply do the best you can with the time you have left.

    It's so nice to see Harper out in the real world in a real house again, though! I have a feeling she will be all right 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What you said is so true. Poor Harper 😦 Hopefully things will get better/easier like you said! Only time will tell…

      Thanks, sonnie!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Well, the mood is all grim and sad, but I can’t help having sarcastic thoughts, and they are pretty much summed up as follows:

    … Gee, Harper, who’d have thought that criminal behavior would have long-term negative consequences on your life?

    I mean, I feel bad for her, but at the same time I don’t entirely. This is the bed she made, and now she must lie in it.

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  16. “That was like a hundred and fifty years ago now“ God, I am old…Jokes aside,I can totally see why Harper feels the way that she is feeling right now, being removed from one reality to another is never easy. Sudden changes hurt the most, sometimes…I really, really hope she just talks with her parents about Ivy, and does not just wait to talk to then, like , a month before she get s out of jail…Is good that Harper has changed so much, while she was in prison, because, I do NOT think she would have been taking things just as “good“ as she is taking right now if she had that previous mentality…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, jail has changed her a lot — for the better! Pre-jail Harper would be even worse of a mess right now! Haha

      Thanks for reading, ocha!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I can relate to this. Was never in prison, but I’ve mentioned my time in psych treatment, and I was in placements WAYY longer than people are supposed to (long story) it was so difficult to adjust after coming home, and I still haven’t because I stay at home constantly. (Though I start college in the fall so yikes)

    She just needs to put herself out there :3 and I like that the library is coming back. Surround herself with books and things she likes 😀 I’m ready for the upswing XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry you had such difficult experiences 😦 I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to adjust like that! Definitely can’t be easy 😦

      And yes, Harper is trying her best to focus on the positive things and continue getting better… But since this is A2A, who knows how long that will last? Haha

      Like

  18. “But my Oma’s husband Mark used to be the head librarian there.” EXCUSE YOU! But why must you make me cry? #Marklyn!!! Gonna cry now. Thank you. I miss my Marklyn to bits.

    Also note, having talk to a recently parolee, you’re pretty spot on about the adjustment aspect of this story.

    Like

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