It’s taken me a generous distance, as well as a healthy break from the pain, to realize I don’t understand what my mom thought of me. In my earliest years, I believed she loved me, cause none of her demands were unreasonable. After all, children are often helpless and don’t even know what’s best for themselves. Then I grew up, and developed an identity of my own. That meant I had distinctive needs separate from hers, and she would deny every one of them unless they were in line with what she wanted. It was impossible for me to believe there was any love at all when she was the cause of so much of my pain. I’ve since come to realize that relationships are full of nuances, and that it’s possible to love someone wholeheartedly and be terrible for them at the same time.
The breaking point happened one night, when an acquaintance I’ll call Thomas chided me for not getting back to him sooner about a dinner invitation. Thomas was upset enough that he needed some time off from hanging out. I didn’t understand, as he never expressed his concern, so I had no idea there was a problem in the first place. I apologized for hurting him, and pleaded with him to let me know next time so it wouldn’t happen again. Still, the situation didn’t sit well with me; my belated reply was due to the fact that I was in a difficult place of my own, about which he never asked or considered. I was left confused, and sad that I’d unwittingly hurt someone so much as to need a break.
So I called my best friend at the time, looking for support. “Avail?” was my usual code-word by text, to let him know I could wait until he had taken care of everything else, as I never took his time for granted. But this time, I was shaken enough that I needed more than just an ear, and told him, instead of asking. When I finally got him on the phone, he dismissed everything I tried to say, overriding it with, “This is what you need to do. Mark three months from now on your calendar, and call him then. He’ll forget by that time”. I tried to explain my feelings over and over, that I wasn’t looking to make amends but trying to understand the situation, and this was the most meaningful answer he could offer. I broke down when I knew I wasn’t getting through, when I realized he wasn’t an ally at a time I truly needed it, and that he never was.
The only time Rob and I ever had a private conversation was the night before Aaron’s wedding, when we were the last ones up out of the groomsmen staying at my house. Aside from that, I wasn’t sure if I’ve ever connected with him on a personal level; I’ve been discovering how differently some behave when others are around, and with Aaron or Mel in the mix, he’s got even more to prove than usual.
But I could always tell that underneath the brash and indomitable impression he gives the world is a wisdom not shared by many. It was exactly that kind of awareness I was looking to be in the company of, so I took the chance to visit when it would be just the two of us. Even though we’re so different in so many ways, it turns out the things we have in common are more significant, and I discovered he’s exactly the kind of friend I need right now.
The man-cave mostly features posters of comic book heroes and cartoon figurines, the only pictures being found in a little frame next to the computer. It was strange to see two of myself in there next to one of him sucking back a beer with Trevor. That was back when I rocked my hair with a part down the middle and occasionally some solid colour, though I don’t remember anything about it otherwise — a strange anomaly in a person with a photographic memory. Lost the hoodie, still have the coat, won’t be caught wearing those glasses again.
The only other people who have a picture of me in their homes are Aaron and Alex. I always take those photographs as a telling sign of your relationship with someone. It means they care enough to want you around even when you’re not there. I guess that’s why each of them have more photos of me than both my parents combined, and why Rob calls me brother.
The nurse comes every day to change the dressings and keep an eye out for infection. Aside from the listing hobble, you’d never have an idea of the punishment this body has borne underneath, until a wince when the tube drags against his shirt. That and the fact that there isn’t a bottle of Blue in his hand. Otherwise, the accident didn’t change Rob at all. He’s still the happy-go-lucky, take-it-on-the-chin kind of guy. To him, the world has always been simple, an equation that can be solved with muscle and mass, and he carries both answers in spades.
Under any other circumstance, I’d hate him. He’s obnoxious, stubborn, and proud; a type I don’t get along with. But I’m also on his good side, which means he’s loyal and loving unlike any other, and he shows this every time he squeezes the breath out of my chest until I’m weak and coming up for air. Through him, I’m learning to understand and accept the people I’d otherwise turn away from.
Our reunion ended on a cliffhanger, where *Skins SPOILERS* Tony gets hit by a bus, Sid finds Cassie, and Angie breaks up with Chris. But finishing a season means we have the chance to start something new (or resume another show), and we tend to alternate between comedy and drama, sweet and savoury, while surrounded by kitties in the little nest we make for ourselves.
I didn’t realize how hard it was to go a whole month without her until I saw her again. The time we’ve spent over the last few years has made me comfortable enough to let my guard down, and it’s good to be reminded that we’re capable of such things every now and then, especially when still dealing with trust issues and emotional trauma.
The things we share are often small and simple, as they’re mostly about pleasures and we’re easily pleased. Actually, it’s more like she’s easily pleased, while I’m pleased when others are happy. It’s a dynamic that works really well for both of us. I love myself when I’m with her cause she appreciates me in all the intricate ways I want to be appreciated, and that gives me a lot of the validation I need in my life right now.
Heather G left a package outside my door after trying to make plans and getting what must have been a distant answer. Organic herbal tea, 80% dark chocolate truffles, and not only sushi from my favourite restaurant, but my favourite kinds too. She knows me extraordinarily well for a person I barely get a chance to see, and she cares so much even though she has no idea what I’m going through. It’s helped me realize that some people are better at being what you need, that you can’t expect every person to fill all the roles in your life. I’m also trying to figure out what those needs are right now, and how to express those needs to others (or how hard it is for me to express them).
It always takes me a while to recover from these kinds of weeks, and this one was particularly difficult. When the cops showed up, I pulled the whole Drexl Spivey thing and ate my Chinese, carried on like I ain’t got a care in the world. I know what they need to hear, especially the second time around, and what’s more, I know that nothing they say will make a difference.
Everything has left me feeling numb and overstimulated. Almost all the hours are spent in Far Cry 3 with a bolt-action suppressed Z93, wasting time and lives in appropriate portions. Losing myself in that world and not getting anything productive done at all was an easy decision. I know I deserve to be okay for a little while, and we all deal with our damage in different ways.