I started this last week when I was feeling sick and thinking too much. I finished it this morning. Not so sure if it’s any good. But I felt like I needed to finish it.
Please tell me what you think.
I thought he would have stopped calling by now. But the blue screen on the cordless phone flashes his name.
I usually see things with pictures or words attached to them. Especially with people.
Text from Sara:
Message from Ryan:
Note from Al:
But I see your name flash on when the phone rings. Light up blue and then disappear. I don’t see anything. I don’t feel anything.
It’s Monday. We both know no one is going to answer.
It could be worse. It could be Tuesday.
And I have class. Biology. Statistics. Health.
Health. I learned in Health that if you’re too fat, or too lazy, it puts stress on your heart. To compensate for all the stress, your heart can grow from the size of your fist to the size of your head. It stretches. It takes so much energy to pump your own blood through it. Each one hurts. Even if you can’t feel it.
I’m not sure how much research has been done to show if emotional stress can hurt your heart. But I know that I still wake up at three am, clutching my own fist to my chest. Hearing only the sound of it pumping my blood.
I don’t open my eyes.
I still think I am there, in that tiny white house, with you. Paint peeling off, the doors swelling from the heat, the house I went to every Monday and Tuesday when I was little. I only have a few memories from then. I’ve fooled myself into thinking I need you.
You: watching TV.
Dana: tossing and turning in the bunk bed above me.
You: yelling in your sleep.
Kelly: trying to wake you up.
You: not waking up.
Me: trying not to cry.
I still think I’m there at night. I still think I’m in my tiny room. Sweating. Tossing. Crying.
I still think I can hear the tab of a can being open.
I still think I can smell cigarette smoke.
But I open my eyes and it’s dark.
Dana is in her room. Kelly is asleep, five feet away. The light from Neil’s cage illuminates half of our room. He clings to the glass upside down. Probably because it’s the only thing he can think to do.
Everything is fine.
It’s Monday now. I really wish he would stop calling. It’s easier to run away from someone when they aren’t calling you all the time.
That’s probably what he thinks.
That I ran away.
I should feel good about this. Doing to him what he did to us when Dana and I were five, Kelly, three. But I don’t.
Sometimes I wish I had normal parents. The kind that hug you and tell you everything’s okay. The kind that could see if they were hurting their kids. The kind that love you no matter what. The kind that tell you that you can do whatever you want with your life.
Maybe then I’d be normal. Going out. Drinking. Making friends. But for whatever reason, I’m too afraid to do any of these things.
I want to stay inside. I want to sleep. I want to be left alone. I want to be invisible
And the phone is still ringing in the background.
But I think I almost had that once.
Bob loved us, and we weren’t even his.
We would wait for him to get home from work, hug eachother when he got home.
We missed him when he was gone.
Mom hugs us.
But there’s nothing in the hug. Nothing behind it. No feeling. Just the need to hug.
Dad says he loves us. That he’d do anything for us.
We all know this is a lie. He doesn’t feel what we feel. The one and only thing any of us ever wanted he will not give us. He will not even try.
Makes you think.
Would he have ever stopped?
Did he even care?
I remember even less from when they were together. But I needed him then, too.
He would drink milk with us.
He would help us get ready for bed.
He would tuck us in.
Then he would go into the living room.
He would throw up.
He would piss his pants.
He would blame it on Mom.
My heart stretches more. I’ve heard that you can replace certain parts when this happens. That is a small part of it breaks and stops working, they can cut it out, throw it away, give you a new part. But they can never fix the whole thing. It will always be damaged. Ruined.
The phone rings again.
I should just pick it up.
I should just tell you what I feel.
I should just curse, scream at you.
But that’s not going to happen.
I know when I pick up that phone and hear your voice, I won’t say anything. All I’ll do is cry. Or do everything I can not to cry until you hang up.
You’ll ask me what’s wrong.
I’ll say, “nothing.”
You’ll say that you love and miss me.
I’ll say it back.
Of course I will.
I have to.
This is the way it’s always been.
Only when I was little, I really did miss you. And I loved you because I thought there was no other way to feel about you. Now I find it hard to miss you. When the words leave my moth they feel thick, like blood.
And I still love you.
I don’t want to.
I want to do everything possible to cut that part of me out. Throw it away. Never look back.
He never called this much when we were small. Once a month, maybe. A birthday or some other holiday.
We asked Mom why he ran away.
She told us she didn’t know.
She couldn’t tell us that he was just a horrible person. That he didn’t care enough about us. That he loved her more than he loved my Mom.
We would ask him the same question.
He would tell us because Mommy didn’t love him anymore.
I think that’s where the stretching began.
Imagine being pulled between the two reasons. Both don’t make any sense. But you have to believe one of them.
The blue light blinks.
People say I care too much about things.
That I try to help everyone with their problems.
That I feel too much.
But I have to.
I remember when I wasn’t like this. When my stepdad was taken away. When all I cared about were my own problems.
I remember I never felt anything.
I wake up at three am and I feel that same feeling.
In your house.
The smell of smoke.
My heart is pumping and pumping.
And I’m crying.
Because I feel nothing.
The phone rings again.
He should have stopped calling.
But he doesn’t.
I should stop watching the phone blink his name.
I should feel better.
But I don’t.
The blue light flashes. The phone rings.
I see your face.
You are alone.
You are invisible.
I feel a hole in my chest.
But that’s impossible. It’s impossible when your heart is the size of your head and is stretching and stretching and pumps your blood too fast and it hurts.
But I definitely feel it.
But it’s definitely there.
It has to be.