Seven Years

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic


The short story of ending a relationship while also trying to maintain one with family.

Submitted: September 07, 2017

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Submitted: September 07, 2017

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I fucking hate old people. Don’t get me wrong, my grandma is pretty cool, as far as any older person with grey hair and wrinkles go. I mean, she can’t do much. She barely remembers me, but on her good days, she’ll recognize my face. She won’t know she’s my grandma or that my dad is even her son, but she knows we’re pretty okay people. But it’s just something about that place, you know? It even smells like death mixed with rotten apples and a hint of shit. My dad tried real hard to be a better son for her. He wanted to visit her every week for about a month now, some weird need out of nowhere. 

“Come on, Ang. She needs us right now.” He’d try.

“She doesn’t even know who we are. What the fuck do you mean she needs us? She doesn’t know who us even is. You can’t make up for being a shitty son in a few months, you know that don’t you?” I choked out. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, I felt my stomach drop the second I said those words. He looked down at his torn up leather shoes and smoothed back his hair, breathing in heavily. 

“Dad…fuck. I’m sorry.” I sat back on the beer stained couch, throwing my hands over my face. We’re all sad. We’re all trying. I have to keep reminding myself this. It sounds shitty, but sometimes I think life would be better if she just died. It’s not that I don’t love her or anything and I know my father would be a fucking mess. But he’s been waiting for her to remember him. Not even for good reasons, I really think he just wants some sort of forgiveness and closure or something. You see, grandma’s in a wheelchair. Right after my dad found out that his father died, he pushed her down the stairs. It was an accident, of course. At least that what he tells me over and over again. Probably only telling himself that. But that’s the story we all stick to. We’d get all the reactions you could fucking think of. 

“Your father is the biggest piece of shit I ever met, of course he tried to kill his own mother.” The neighbor Freddie would randomly say every now then in conversation. Fuck dude, I was talking about how good this bread pudding was, and here he goes on again with my dad. 

“He didn’t try to kill her, okay? How many times do we have to talk about this?” 

I didn’t look up from my phone. Freddie and I were pretty close. Well, I knew him since I was in third grade, so whether we wanted to be close or not, he was right there.  I always knew he had some sort of thing for me, I guess. I mean, I think he just wanted to fuck someone, it’s been a year or so since he last touched someone. At least that’s what I tell myself. And he knew me when I looked like a fetus, so I guess that counts for something. We’d really only hangout when we saw the other outside on the patio chairs. We’re only out there when somethings wrong, so we’re prepared for anything. Your mom died? Patio chairs. Your dog died? Patio chairs. Had a shitty day at school? Patio chairs. When I broke up with Eric about a year ago, Freddie and I just got piss drunk outside. I think we kissed, but I’m not sure. We never talk about it. I’m sure we could have fucked and neither of us would say a word. I really wouldn’t mind either, not because i’m in love with the guy or even think he’s that attractive. He’s this twenty-four year old college drop out. He has this long curly hair that goes down to the tops his shoulders and even when he shaves he’s the scruffiest dude I have ever known. But we talk about things that matter, you know? You don’t find that anywhere. I could talk about space and aliens to how we’d act during the zombie apocalypse and he’d be all for it. We decided if the school broke out with zombies, we’d either try to be kick ass and fuck them all up and lead a whole troop like the walking dead kind of style or we’d just kill ourselves because we’d both probably die in that. I’m not big or anything, but I can’t even run up one flight of stairs without losing my breath.

“I don’t know how you can even defend him, have you ever gotten so mad you pushed someone down the stairs?” He looked at me and raised his eyebrow, then moved his chair a few feet back. “Never mind you psycho, you probably have.”

“Shut up, Freddie. Anyway, he wants to go visit her like every day now. Out of nowhere for the past month or so he just wants to keep going. We don’t even fucking do anything we just sit there. She doesn’t even know who we are it’s a waste of time.”

“I guess it’s just a matter of looking out for her and knowing she has someone there for her. It’s not too late for you to make shit right right with her.” He was playing with the arms of the plastic chair, scratching it then picking at it with his unusually long nails. 

“Wanna hear something fucked up?” I sat up, throwing my legs under my chin and wrapping my arms around them. 

“Always.” He turned his chair facing me, widening his eyes and giving a slight grin.

“Sometimes I fuck with her. You know, sometimes I walk in and tell her it’s housekeeping and she’ll think she’s in a hotel or sometimes I tell her it’s Frank’s daughter, her boyfriend before my grandpa-“ I stopped to read his face as I was telling him what a fucking piece of shit I was. He looked away, right past my face, his lips curled. He raised his eyebrow again and looked at me carefully.

“That’s fucked up, Angela. Why the fuck-“

“SHE DOESN’T KNOW WHO I AM! IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT I SAY OR DO SHE WON’T REMEMBER!” 

“Why are you yelling at me? Look, you should be there for her, as you. What if you were in her position? Come on, dude. She lost her husband, right after, she loses her ability to walk, and now she’s trapped in her fucked up head and can’t remember those she loves and who love her. Just be a good person. I know it’s hard, but you have to be mature about this.”

“Mature? Are you fucking kidding?” I knew he was right. It was one of those things where I felt my heart racing and my stomach was curling. He got up slowly from his chair, his eyes never leaving mine. He reached over and hugged me, long and tightly. I nuzzled my head into his chest, grabbing on to the back of his head and started bawling my eyes out. I haven’t cried like that since I was in elementary school over some kid who said I looked like a frog. How the fuck is that even possible? Am I green? No. Then again, jumping around was kind of fun. My dad said the kid probably liked me. I never got to find out because he moved to Wisconsin or something like that. Good. Stay there.

“Ang, I’m here for you, always.” He pressed my head tighter into him.

I opened my eyes and started wiping down my face with the back of my hand, my other arm still around him. I looked around the yard, focusing on the cooler on the ground. 

“Beer?” I finally muffled out.

“Uh, yeah. Don’t you have to head to your grandmas though?”

“And?”

“Not to mention it’s like six.”

“I’ll drink by myself then.” I pushed him off my and walked over to the cooler, grabbing the first beer I could lay my hands on. The ice surrounding my skin allowed my hand to feel numb for a moment, I just let my hand rest there. I just wanted to feel numb for a second.

“Throw me one.” He let out, sitting back on his chair, running his fingers through his hair. I knew he was fed up with me. All I do is ask him to drink and bitch about my life. Why would he want to stay friends with me? Why would anyone that? He has his own shit to deal with. Not that I really know, he doesn’t tell me much. Maybe that’s why we hangout. I have someone to talk to and he has someone to listen to. His parents aren’t around too much and I never hear him talk about his friends. I’m sure he’s lonely or something. 

I tried to quickly change the topic.

“So, I was thinking. How creepy are children? Like can you imagine being woken up in the middle of then night to your kid being like, “Mommy, I had a bad dream” nope. Fuck that, I’d throw myself out the window, you deal with that.”

“This is why we’re destined for a divorce. You can’t leave our kid there!” He joked, picking his head back up at me, giving out a smile. 

“You leave me, I take the dogs.” I snarked back . 

“Not Frodo! Noooooooo!” He ran over to me and took my hands into his, getting on his knees.

“Baby, please. Don’t go.” 

“No, we’re done.” I stuck my hand out in front of his face, trying not to laugh.

“What if I buy you cheese fries?” He pushed the strand of hair out of my face and tucked it begins my ear.

“Ah, yes. Cheese fries, saving marriages yet again.”

We stopped laughing for a moment and he pressed into my hands tighter.

“Are you alright?” 

He searched my face, reading for some kind of indication of how I could feel. I’ve been told I’m hard to read, not because i’m super mysterious or try to come off like that. I don’t know, I just don’t really know how I’m feeling majority of the time. My body shuts down when i’m upset. I’m not thinking anything, I’m just breathing. I thought about when Eric and I broke up. We dated from the beginning of high school all the way until college and it was weird. I watched him grow and evolve into a knew person over the years. That’s what’s cool about being with someone for so long, you see the differences in them. How they talk, how they see the world. I loved how he saw the world. He came from this background where nothing was ever enough, I let him fuck up and it felt so liberating for him. I allowed him to make mistakes, I told him it was okay, nothing he ever did would ever make me love him less. And it was cool, seeing him have his first interview, turning down drinking, actually trying to make something of himself. Even the way he carried himself, you know? It was different. Relationships are all about growing and changing but that’s also the scary part, you don’t want to change too much that the person doesn’t recognize you and suddenly you have no common ground to stand on. You don’t want to stick in the same place either, he always said I never changed. I kept to myself really, and just wanted to drink and fuck. He said he needed more. He said I had to grow up. I watched him change slowly before my eyes and leave me behind. In that moment, I knew I had to let him go. Not cause I didn’t love or anything, I do. But we didn’t have fun anymore. We had no common interests anymore.

He’s with someone else now, Gabby or some stupid fucking name. What even kind of name is that? I’d find myself having old arguments with him in my head over and over again. I was still defending myself constantly against things that weren’t even happening. You know, the day we broke up, was over a jacket. I bought him a coat for Christmas, trying to be a good fucking girlfriend, and get him something he could wear since he didn’t believe in warmth or something and walked around in sweatshirts when it was snowing.

“Why don’t you ever wear that jacket I gave you? It would look awesome.”

“Eh, yeah. It’s not that cold out though, i’ll be alright.” I remember he started heading for the door, dismissing me. 

“Do you even like it? If you don’t like it why would you tell me you do?”

“Holy shit, Ang. I just don’t want to wear a jacket.”

“You always fucking do this. You just lie to make me feel better about things. Like, I don’t know how you really feel about anything. Do you even love me or was that just something nice to say?”

“You’re being ridiculous. You want me to wear the jacket? Fine, fuck. You are so passive aggressive, it’s disgusting.”

“Excuse me? Fuck the jacket, I want that back.”

“You take everything so personally, I have to walk on eggshells just to talk to you. When’s the last time we had a real conversation, huh? Like old fucking times. Now you just want to sit around and drink beers until I have to take care of you. Do you know how embarrassing that is?”

“Embarrassing to who? You or your precious friends? Just go blow them if you care about them so much.”

This fight when on until four in the morning. It blows my mind how one small argument about a jacket can lead to a fucking break up. It was bound to happen, though. We weren’t the same people we were in high school. At least he wasn’t.

 

“Ang.” Freddie said quietly, smoothing out my hair. He started kissing my cheeks. 

I let myself fall back into him, my head next to his cheeks, my hands running down his thigh. I don’t know if it was the beer or just the fact I needed someone. Anyone. I liked Freddie, but he wasn’t someone i’d marry, you know? It’s important to kiss people you like. It’s important to date people you think you could see yourself marrying. At least that’s what my dad says. I’ve fucked a few people and I didn’t even know their names, it didn’t really affect me like people said it would. But it wasn’t that great either. It just left me feeling indifferent.

He moved his hand slowly up my shirt and found his way around my chest, kissing my neck. I let my hands rest on his thigh, I wasn’t touching him back. But I let him and I guess that’s still just as shitty.

He pressed his lips onto my skin, throwing his hands everywhere like he was petting a dog or something.

“Ang?!” I heard my dad  suddenly scream from the front yard.

“Fuck.” I pushed him off me and fixed my shirt, pressing down the loose hairs from my head back down. 

“I’m sorry, I-“ I pushed Freddie before he could even finish his sentence. He moved back onto his own chair, his hands over his face. Never thought i’d be so happy for my dad being a cockblock.

“Just go home, Fred. This shouldn’t be happening.” 

I didn’t even look back, I just kept walking towards the front door. I took one last chug from my beer, and threw it to the side of the house. 

“Dad?” 

“There you are. Get ready, we’re going to grandmas.” He walked back in the house, searching for keys or something.

“I’ll tell her i’m her lesbian lover.”

“What?”

“Maybe i’ll tell her i’m the new priest. She can confess her sins to me. We’ll find out a shit ton.”

“Angie-“

“Maybe i’ll pretend to be her granddaughter. That’s a real good one.” I couldn’t stop. I felt the redness in my cheeks flush throughout my body.

“Maybe i’ll tell her that her son tried to kill her. That’s pretty interesting, what do you think she’ll say to that?” I looked directly into his eyes, I was feeding off of his pain. I wanted him hurt. I wanted him to be as hurt as I was. 

“Stop.” Was all he managed to say. I could feel him pushing the words out of his mouth, almost forcefully. 

“So tell me. Was it actually on purpose? I’m twenty fucking three dad, I’m not a child. I want to hear what the fuck you did. Why does everyone here hate you? Why do I have to keep defending you?”

“I-I was upset. You wouldn’t understand and I do not have the time to make you understand.”

“You never have time. I want to know. Tell me or i’m moving in with Freddie. I won’t defend you anymore.”

“You’re drunk.”

“I want to know.” I crossed my arms over my chest, tears were profusely raining down my faces, I felt them falling off my chin onto the wooden floors. 

“My father was selfless…” He began slowly, saying every word carefully as if making sure to say the right ones. “He did everything for her and worked so fucking hard to keep her around. She never loved him. I mean she liked him, she enjoyed his company. She thought he was funny. At least that’s what she said to me once. But as a kid, you know, all I see is him picking up three jobs and bringing her flowers every night for her to just say thank you and leave them there on the table. She was sleeping with someone else. I never knew for sure she never said anything. But she’d say she’s going out to Dennis and Sandra’s house and i’d see her car keys here. I’d call and they’d say they haven’t heard from her in weeks. I saw her over your little friend Freddie’s house once. Always thought something happened with his father. I just- I knew she didn’t give a shit when he died. I knew it just meant freedom, It meant her life was coming back together and mine was just completely falling apart. I couldn’t stand the sight of her. She was always smiling, she started baking, she stayed up late and not because she was sad, but to watch movies and laugh all night. I resented her. I didn’t try to kill her, but I wanted to somehow put her through the pain she causing me to feel. I messed up, Ang. I pushed her and now she can’t ever walk again. She couldn’t look at me for years. But now she can’t remember me, but I think it’s for the best. It’s my chance. I just want to fix things, you know? Take this fresh start with her as a chance to be a better person. I told her I was just someone who worked at the hospital a few times and asked if she had a son. More often than not, she’d say no. But one time, one time, she said yes. I asked her about this son of hers, like oh what’s he like? You know what she said? She said she had this darkness within her that grew every time she spoke to him. She said she loved him because he was her son, but she didn’t like him and she knew he didn’t like her. It broke her heart every day. Ang, I don’t want to be that son.”

I stood there, watching a grown man completely vulnerable, just fall to the floor in tears. He was so broken and lost. He had no one but me. Me being this drunken mess who just gave him shit all the time when he was hurting. You never know how badly someone is hurting, how scary is that? I mean, you can tell. If someone is acting different, talking less, being distant. But we never really know.

I walked over to him and fell back onto my knees, placing my hand on his shoulder. I feel the tears forming, but nothing was coming out. I wanted to say sorry. I wanted to tell him he was the best son he could be and somewhere real deep, grandma knows who we are. She knows he’s trying. But I couldn’t. Instead, I thought about all the things I should have said. 

We both sat there on the floor, wiping tears and blowing noses. We didn’t say much. We also never went to grandmas. 

I went to bed that night, cold beer next to my bed, and rested my head back onto my pillow. I thought about change. I thought about the butterfly effect. I thought about how every decision, every small choice, even as little as picking what cereal you want in the morning has some kind of fucked effect. I don’t know if i’ll ever be able to keep up with Eric, I don’t know if i’ll end up being the person he wants me to be. I’m not really even trying, but somewhere I hope I could be. I don’t know if my dad ever really decided to change or if he just had this heavy heart full of guilt. What actually pushes us to be better people? I guess I tell myself, we’re all comfortable who we are no matter what. A fucking serial killer could be happy with himself with no remorse. But there’s always someone or something that kind of wakes you up. I mean, I talk about wanting to change for Eric all the time and I did for about two weeks. But I am who I am. 

I took a final sip of my beer and rolled over to my side, thinking how our cells renew themselves every seven years. 

In seven years i’ll be better. We’ll all be better. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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