I lay in bed completely dumbfounded as I watched Sookie doing what I hated seeing the most; running away. I heard her say she had to get ready for work, but glancing at the clock I saw she had more than enough time to get ready. After what had happened between us the night before I’d thought another barrier had been dropped between us and she would be at least a little affectionate when we woke up, but my eyes were barely open enough to see her scurry from the room without so much as a ‘Good morning.’ I was admittedly new to the whole concept of being in a relationship, but I was pretty sure after a night like we’d shared some sort of acknowledgement was called for. I would have settled for a wave hello, but instead all I got was an indecipherable look before she took off.
I forced myself out of bed and got into the shower which only led to my hurt feelings turning into anger as I stood underneath the spray. How could I have been so stupid to let myself become so attached to her or anyone for that fact? I couldn’t even keep my own mother from running away from me and I’d apparently unknowingly followed in my father’s footsteps by picking a woman with that same trait.
Did she regret what happened last night?
I certainly hadn’t, but I must have been the only one. The least she could have done was act like a fucking grown up and told me. I would’ve tried to have been understanding if she’d said something, knowing we hadn’t been together for very long, but instead she chose to deal with it like she always seemed to; by not dealing with it at all. It was a sad state of affairs when I could be labeled the responsible one in a relationship or whatever the fuck we were in now which felt like nothing more than a massive pile of shit at the moment.
I was already in the kitchen when I heard her coming down the stairs and seeing on the clock she still had another half hour before she would have to leave only left me more pissed off. To me it was a glaring sign that she’d avoided me earlier by running from the bedroom and I could feel my blood pressure rising as I attempted to keep it in check. I watched her enter the room looking hesitant as hell and I cursed myself for both the ache in my chest seeing her as well as falling for her as hard and as fast as I had while she said, “Good morning.”
“Is it?” I asked because it sure as hell didn’t seem so great to me.
When she got snippy more or less asking what I was talking about I decided to just end the conversation with a, “Nothing,” before it could get any worse. I needed to think about things; about us and couldn’t take looking at her face to face for much longer, without losing control of both my emotions and my mouth, but I couldn’t help myself when she was in the same room. Sookie was the most beautiful girl in the world to me and I’d already been dumb enough to buy into the idea we were together; a couple. Now I had no fucking clue what we were.
Hearing the shittiness in her voice, a far cry from the way she’d sounded the night before, I finally had to walk out of the room and leave, telling her to do what she wanted knowing she would anyway. I’d learned all too well that I couldn’t force someone I cared about to do what I wanted and couldn’t even revel in the fact she was the one watching me walk away for a change because deep down I knew even though I’d done my best to show her how much I cared about her, in both my actions and words, it wasn’t good enough.
Maybe I was following my own pattern too.
With that thought I drove through the city streets until I hit the highway and headed to a spot overlooking the ocean I’d discovered years earlier. The last time I’d been there had been when I was fresh out of rehab and had sat for hours until I’d decided without a doubt I wouldn’t allow myself to fall back down the rabbit hole that was my cocaine addiction. Because I’d left the house so early I didn’t have to be at the studio for a few hours and once I reached my destination, I parked the car hoping the magical location would work wonders again where Sookie was concerned.
There was no way for me to not remember everything that had been going on in my life when I’d last been there, but the pain I’d felt then had lessened over time. I’d taken ownership of my drug addiction, placing the blame squarely where it belonged; with me, but the reason it began at all was my own secret. Both Pam and my father had just assumed it was because of the crowd I’d associated with back then, neither one of them privy to the real cause of my self-loathing; my unexpected meeting with my mother that had started it all.
She’d approached me on the street one day as I came out of my favorite café at the time. I was just an infant when she’d left so I only knew what she looked like from a picture of her that I’d found hidden in my father’s things years earlier. It was difficult at first reconciling the woman that stood in front of me with the fresh faced young woman from the photograph happily standing next to my father on their wedding day. The years hadn’t been kind to her, but I’d memorized her picture as a child, whenever my father wasn’t home, trying to pick out any similarities in our features and knew from her eyes alone it was the same woman. They were the same eyes I saw whenever I looked into a mirror.
We sat and talked for hours that first day with her apologizing and trying to explain why she’d left us. According to her my father hadn’t been the best husband, which was no real surprise, but what did shock me was her admitting to having a drug addiction before, during, and after she was pregnant with me. She wasn’t sure whether or not my father knew about it and claimed she’d only ‘fallen off the wagon’ a few times while she was actually pregnant, but it got worse not long after I’d been born. She said her inner demons had gotten out of hand when I was only a few weeks old and the catalyst to her leaving had been when she’d gone out to get a quick fix while my father was at work. It wasn’t until she stumbled back home hours later and found me crying in my crib that she’d realized she’d left me all alone for nearly the entire day. She ended up waiting until my father had come home and fallen asleep later on before taking off in the dead of night figuring I’d be better off with him.
My father rarely mentioned her at all to me growing up and I’d learned early on not to ask about her, so I had no idea if he’d known about her addiction. She’d told me she’d been clean for a few months and was trying to get on her feet again, but wanted me to know she did love me which was why she’d left.
I was doing pretty good financially by then and offered to help her out, wanting to make up for lost time and hoping to gain at least one loving parent in return. And I did, for a little while at least. I kept it a secret from everyone, knowing Pam and my father wouldn’t be supportive of me allowing her into my life, and the paparazzi weren’t interested in me back then, so I could go places in relative anonymity. I set her up in an apartment not far from where I lived and gave her money to live on while she figured out what it was she wanted to do with her life. It was nice at first, getting together every Sunday and she’d tell me about herself and her life before me. She didn’t talk about much of her life after me, but I figured it was too painful and didn’t want to make her relive it by asking.
We were a few months in to our new relationship when I started noticing subtle changes whenever we would meet up. Nothing too drastic at first and I didn’t think too much of it, refusing to believe anything was amiss, until she started calling me with ‘emergencies’ where she needed extra cash. I’d been in denial for a while, giving her the money she’d asked for time and again, until I realized where it was actually going; up through her nose or through a vein directly into her bloodstream. I learned heroin was her drug of choice and no matter how much I begged her to stop, even offering to pay for her to go to rehab, it made no difference. I made no difference because in the end she chose heroin over me and when I stopped funding her habit she ran off again without a word. She didn’t even bother leaving a letter behind.
The whole episode from start to end lasted less than six months, but the damage she caused to my self-image was long lasting. Inside I felt less than everyone else, not even good enough for my own mother to love, so I surrounded myself with people that fed my broken ego. I hadn’t been any kind of teetotaler prior to meeting my mother, but where I’d been a happy drunk before her, after her I’d become a depressed drunk. My ‘friends’ didn’t like the emo me and convinced me to give coke a try to give me a little boost. Boy did it ever and it wasn’t long before I couldn’t get through the day without it. I was just lucky no one had died in the car accident I’d been the cause of before finally getting the help I needed.
In my mind Sookie and my mother were both worlds apart, in both character and personality, and yet they were the same; both making me feel worthless and each one fleeing from me in their own way. The difference was Sookie hadn’t completely run off yet and had also been capable of making me feel like I was the only man in the world for her. As far as I knew, I was also my mother’s only child, so I didn’t know how much weight I should give to that feeling.
Talk about a mindfuck.
So here I was again, knowing I needed to get a handle on whatever it was that was going on with Sookie and me before I went insane. There was no way I’d turn to drugs again, I’d learned my lesson the first time, but I was already in too deep with her, as far as I was concerned, to be able to shutdown my emotions completely. Oddly enough, I felt more for her than I had my own mother during our brief time together and I had to come to some sort of decision as to where my line in the sand would be because I couldn’t stand being on the roller coaster for much longer. The highs were great when we were there, but the lows were becoming more and more unbearable for me.
I knew we should talk things out, but I’d probably have to tie her down in one spot just to make her stay in the same room long enough to hear me out. Even then, I couldn’t force her to talk to me; she had to want to talk; want to work things out. As much as it pained me to admit, even to myself, I knew I wanted us to work out.
I got nowhere quick while sitting in my car looking out over the ocean and before I knew it I had to get to the studio. My earlier anger had abated until I pulled into the studio parking lot and realized I could vent my frustrations out on Compton. I stalked through the building, a man on a mission, until I ran into Alcide and he told me Bill wasn’t there having left word he was ‘sick’. He tried joking with me over Bill’s broken balls, thanks to Sookie, but I wasn’t in the mood to laugh so he pretty much left me alone after that. Pam texted me later that day asking if I’d told Sookie about dress shopping later on that evening and I texted back a ‘yes’, but left out anything else. I had no idea what Sookie’s plans were for anything.
When I finally left the studio that night, I didn’t want to arrive at the house at the same time as Pam knowing she’d be able to spot the tension between us and would demand an explanation. It was something Sookie and I needed to work out together without her Dear Abby helpful hints, so to kill some time I stopped at my new favorite café for a sandwich before heading home. As I walked down the sidewalk, passing various shops on my way back to my car, I came across a window display that held back to school supplies. One thing stood out from the rest, immediately making me think of Sookie, and I had to shake my head at my own stupidity when I threw the purchase into my trunk not knowing if I’d even get the chance to give it to her before I finally made my way home.
It was six-thirty when I pulled into the garage and saw what I’d quickly come to think of as Sookie’s car, the Audi, parked where it normally was. Since Pam’s car wasn’t in the driveway I knew if she wasn’t waiting inside she would be with her. I kind of wanted both to be true because while I did want us to get a chance to talk, I also wanted her to be out shopping for a dress for the following night; it meant she planned on actually going with me, so I was happy and sad to find the house empty.
I felt another pang in my chest when I’d gone upstairs to change and saw her pajamas from the night before lying on top in my hamper, but I pushed it aside and tried to keep myself from thinking about it too much. The only problem was I couldn’t actually find anything to do. Somehow, in the span of five days, Sookie had wiped my memory clean of what I used to do around the house before she was a part of my life. I sat in the family room, not watching the TV I’d turned on, while the minutes dragged on forever. When eight o’clock came and went I started to get worried thinking something bad might have happened, but knew I was just being stupid. When nine o’clock came and went I started to wonder if maybe Sookie was staying out later than necessary purposefully avoiding me; surely it didn’t take that long to pick up a dress.
When ten o’clock was nearing, I forced myself to go up to my room so she wouldn’t feel forced to talk to me if and when she got home. No matter how much I wanted for us to find a way to make things work I wouldn’t push my feelings onto her. It was bad enough she’d felt compelled to stay married to me for her Grandmother’s sake so I shut my door behind me hoping she’d decide to open it by her own choosing.
Her scent permeated the sheets on my bed and I fought the desire to wrap myself in them knowing it wouldn’t help ease my sorrow and kept myself upright sitting against the headboard. I heard her come up the stairs not long after and my hopes rose with every step she took closer to my door, but my heart sank again when I eventually heard her shut the door to her own room.
No knock; no nothing; not one word.
I sat there for another hour, not feeling sleepy in the least, and filled the time playing the ‘what if’ game. What if she was tired and that was why she didn’t knock? What if she thought I was sleeping and that was why she didn’t knock? What if she’d thought the night before was a mistake; a relationship was a mistake; I was the mistake?
I didn’t remember leaving the bed, but I found myself standing at her open bedroom doorway, knob in hand, just the same. I watched as she fitfully tossed and turned in her sleep and. thanks to the brightness of the full moon shining through her bedroom window, I could see the dried tear tracks on her cheeks. I just wished I knew what caused them, but lacking that knowledge didn’t seem to matter because all I wanted in that moment was to make it better; make her feel better. The only relevant question at the moment was; could I?
I walked towards the bed, carefully lifting the covers, and climbed in next to her pulling her body against my own and her fitfulness ceased. For a moment I’d thought my touch had awakened her, but her breathing remained slow and even. I don’t know how much time had passed before sleep took me as well, but I savored every moment up until then not knowing what the morning would bring.