The Nightmare's End

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
April's nightmare subsides at last, plus I get to finally be in the show I always promised I would.
Carla is left to contemplate defeat, while my life takes off again at last.

Submitted: January 05, 2016

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Submitted: January 05, 2016

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The battle was over, swelling with pride, I returned home. I glided out of the taxi, and stepped with purpose onto the hallowed gravel of the street. I looked up.

"Thankyou."

I couldn't help but break out into a stuttering giggle every few seconds. I was home, I had the ending I wanted, and I knew that my recovery was a formality. My loyalty to Berwick had been less than fair the past few months. I'd always felt a surreal bubble of protection from the street. I felt invincible here, nobody ever emerged victorious from our ground. All we had were anecdotes of times we'd beaten and humiliated opponents. We had ridiculous situations that always resulted in absurd but hilarious consequences.

 There was an implicit hint of fate about everything. I had betrayed my ideology and lost the Berwick element of me following January. There was a loss of association between us and I developed a comparison with somewhere else simply because I'd been born there. Even that black Saturday there was still an eleventh hour rescue bid made by the street. I'm sure of that. I'd been in Chicagos less than 2 minutes before some drunk moron threw up on me, by the cloakroom! How badly did this guy pre-drink to not make it to the bar. It forced me home, like a symbolic intervention was being thrust upon me. I should've stayed there, I elected to return. Even some fabric softener fell from the worktop and spilt on my replacement shoes. I should've seen the signs, something was trying its best to save me.

My refusal to act upon instinct saw me beaten and humiliated. I suppose Berwick had enough of my contradicting attitude. I'd effectively been a naive teenager who assumed he knew better than his parent's advice. You can only help someone so much. But this was redemption, I was home. Broad Oak's Tom was dead, I was Berwick's Tom once again. The sun began revealing it's hiding place, and the wind stood still. It was perfect. 

April's nightmare had finally subsided. I was rousing from my internal slumber, and I could feel the belief I had lost coursing through every vein. Berwick's Tom, had at last, been reborn. I had somehow won. This situation had looked impossible, I never believed I would come out on top. I felt so humble and so grateful that fate and destiny had conspired to culminate in my victory. I had felt sick every single Thursday of 2015. At last, as it had been before, Thursdays were now ablaze with hope and opportunity. This was one to tell the grandkids. It had been the biggest night in my history and I had achieved it with the biggest away win of my career. I could smile again.

April had aged me far beyond what a month is given, but now, I felt young again. The same plethora of naive exuberance I felt at 15, I felt it now. Carla had spent the entire month laughing at me and planning methods to ensure I didn't get my life back. She had failed. There was only one of us laughing now. My arm stung with the aftermath of her three nailed assault. It would scar and I would forever have a reminder of tonight etched in my skin. I didn't mind. It would be a memoir of how me at my worst had managed to save the day. How evil had lost. How the pain she tried to inflict me with had consumed her instead. That attack was born out of frustration at defeat. I could now move on with my life in safety. There could be another girl to share my dreams with one day, but a while yet. I was for the first time in five years, back home, fully single, and with no enemies. Everything was as it should be. Ryan walked inside his house. I had Berwick, I had a dramatic night to shout about, and I'd had my best friend with me for it. All as it should be.

As far as milestones were being measured, this was the first time I'd been home, single, no enemies, and no family problems, since 2006. No evil boyfriend of my mum's to contend with. The point I was illustrating to myself was that it was the first time in near on a decade that there was no-one to hold me back. That struggle was finally over. I felt that justice had been served. For the first time in a long time, Carla would not retire to bed with laughter and a smile saddled on her face. But, in direct contrast, for the first time in an age, I would. It had been the biggest away win of my career. Berwick had just bowled into Broad Oak's ground and bopped them 8-1. I had nullified the power of my birthplace. Berwick was my real birthplace. The person I was had been created here. I didn't know how long I might be about for at this level. Illness and tragedy had often compromised my success, but tonight had shown me at my best whilst at my worst. The sheltered and spoilt had lost to the underdog maverick. 

I couldn't wait to tell Mum, I could finally tell her that I'd be ok, that she would get her son back. That I would no longer be such a crumbling mess. Mum had promised me throughout everything that I would be alright, that it would turn out well for me eventually. I should've believed her. I owed her an incredible debt for keeping me together when I had fallen apart. I owed Karlie that same debt, I couldn't wait to tell her either. The knot had finally untied. 

With my personal demons slaughtered, the focus had to shift to matters more paramount. I had a degree to fight for. I'd battled so well through so much that threatened to tear the degree away from me. My grades were higher than Drew and Snelly post-noon, and if my extension was approved I could have no excuses. "My ex-girlfriend systematically destroyed my character and had me assaulted" was only going to get me so far. If they gave me this extension, I would be at fault if I didn't succeed, and I couldn't reconcile with the notion that failure was a possibility. 

A few days later and to a degree, normality had resumed. I stepped into the hallway to lace my shoes, everyone was in the kitchen smiling.

“Thomas, I’ve got some news.” My mum announced, brimming with pride.

“Yeah I know. You’re pregnant.” I confirmed, and then nonchalantly returned to tying my laces.

“How did you know?” She asked, absolutely baffled.

I knew because when someone says they have news and they say it like that, they’re either pregnant or dying. Everyone looked far too happy to be announcing death. Instead, I knew this was a fantastic attempt to keep up my running gag.

“Coz I’m from the future.” I stated, as fact.

“It’s a girl.” I added, and walked out.

Early May was a race against time. Every second drew me closure to inevitable defeat, and as a consequence, it would be an illustrious victory in Carla's meticulously fought campaign against me.


Fuck that, that wasn't going to happen. It wasn't written that way, and I would fight harder than anything to prevent it. I wondered what 2012 Tom would make of this, would he understand? Would he be a mess of rage and utter fury at my failings. Given his circumstances and mine, he'd be fuming. I couldn't let the battles I'd faced since 2012 to rebuild my life now become irrelevant, it would culminate in three years of progress being wiped out by one terrible decision. But, in a way that contradicted Voodoo, I had nothing in my hands. All I could do was hope another miracle was in the post, addressed to me. I tore away tirelessly at the task. My eyes reddened as the hours staring intently at the screen clocked up. I imagined that another hour may melt them and they would pour out in liquid cartoon fashion. 

They declined. I would have to appeal an appeal, and I wouldn't discover the outcome until after the thing was due. Stop. That was the advice my lecturer Kate gave me. Kate was sweet but firm. She would fight tooth and nail as long as it was reciprocated, and she could see the desire in me to achieve this. She was one of the few people whose job transcended into their personal lives, she cared about the people she was teaching, a genuine care. I say one of the few people, Chris' job had become the ultimate focal point of his existence. Keener than mustard, I'm pretty sure if Chris had to take his child and Costa supplies in his car, but only had one working seatbelt, then I'm afraid his kid would just have to grip tightly to the grab handle and hope for the best. However, Kate's job involved people, and the ability to positively shape their futures. The world needed more people like Kate. She was now another person I would refuse to let down. I stopped working at rushed pace on the project, I'd simply have to leave it up to fate. I was going to get an opportunity to turn this round, or I wasn't, those were the only two outcomes. I diligently worked away, sat knowing that it was probably for nothing, that the choice was not in my hands. I felt like a team relying on other results. How could this happen?

Carousel, the show I'd come dangerously close to not doing, it was finally here. Another chance to rebuild and reinstate things that had been absent from my life. It had been two years since I'd properly enjoyed a show. It had been two years since that bitch wasn't in my life. Irrelevant now. Nothing to stop me, and my confidence escalating, not only was I going to use this platform to bring myself back to 100%, but it was her bread and butter. It was going to destroy her, as she, from afar, watched herself surrender her greatest pride, and watched me swoop in and snatch it. Knowing full well that she would be stalking all forms of my social media, would I agitate her by flaunting the show? Would I be the bigger person and just enjoy the occasion for what it was? Fuck no, that wasn't me. I'd never subscribed to that "bigger person" bullshit. Do whatever you needed to win, and whatever you needed to move on from the situation. I would pimp out this show like it was my bottom bitch prostitute.

I posted a photo of my name up on the dressing room. A complete mirroring of what she posted two years ago. If she wanted to not see it, all she need do is not look. But I knew she would, I wanted her to see me thrive on stage. I wanted to see me thrive on stage. The show began on the Thursday, and the appeal was due on the Thursday. This was huge. Only one of us had qualified for Europe last season. This was my champions league. She wasn't eligible.

Thursday succumbed to the authority of time and I could no longer live in limbo. An e-mail was going to dictate my future. The sense of occasion was so vividly drastic and I was relishing the day, as well as fearing it. The afternoon loomed and doomed, and at last there was a short beep that contained the rest of my life within it. Approved. 1-0 to me. My future was now re-attainable. I could breathe. Carla wasn't going to win. Time swept on, and the first night of the show had arrived.

"For the benefit of all patrons, the safety of the artists, and in the interests of copyright...." The voiceover boomed and a nostalgic chord struck within me. Whistle. I had heard this voice maybe a hundred times when Carla listened to that CD. That was her defining moment. This was mine. I had stolen her legacy. Unlike Cuckoo's nest, I had already had the accolades bestowed, so with all the compliments, I now felt assured about my ability. 

The night before, the director asked me the strangest of requests. Was there any chance I could grow a beard for the show. What? The night before. I could've started last year. I couldn't grow facial hair of any variety. So tonight, I was equipped with a fake one. Just make-up that produced a shadow. I quite liked it. So this would be me with facial hair. Not too bad.

The show was a roaring success, and for the first time in my life, my Dad had actually seen something I was in.

"Can I give you some advice Tom?" He said, in an encouraging manner.

"Yeah." I accepted.

"You should keep that beard." He stated.

"Dad, it's not real, you know I can't grow a beard. In fact you saw me yesterday!" I exclaimed.

Unbelievable. Just how could he have made such a glaring error. As if the beard hadn't dominated enough of the day's importance, my phone chimed to reiterate my Dad's advice.

It was Whatsapp, and it was the milf from ages ago. The one who'd absolutely thrown me about her living room and bought my average age of girls up by about 10 years. It was like having the British Olympic football team. Everyone around 21, and then Ryan Giggs. 

For 42, she was stunning, and she was filthy. What a night that had been. 

"Keep the stubble." She wrote. "If you do, you won't be on the shelf long ;)" 

Wow. This beard was only going to last me until Saturday. I couldn't paint a beard on myself every night. But if it was going to improve my chances with milfs, then I would have to try and find a way to force my body to produce one. Just how had one of the most important days of my life become about a beard. A fake one at that. Oh well. It had ended 2-0 to me, and some hot milf thought I looked good. Who cares? 

I cared. Really what was I raving about. That milf had been the only woman other than Carla I'd done anything with for over two years. I'd exploited Carla's whole "we're not officially together again yet" campaign when she had snuck off with Jamie over Christmas. What exactly did she want to prove we were together, a fucking certificate or something. She may have had that laugh over Christmas, but I certainly struck gold on New Years. If her words legitimised her, then they legitimised me. But that was now over four months ago, and before that you'd have to go back to early 2013 for the last time I banged a girl who's vagina didn't try and kick out every cock that entered. I didn't exactly boast a fabulous record with women now. There had been opportunities in 2014, but I had taken none of them, and for what? Nothing. I had invested in the wrong girl, and it had cost me dear.

 I had to get that confidence back. Oh sure, Carla had assumed I'd been off with a few girls, but the drastic reality was that my pierced heart just couldn't do it. I couldn't move on like that. Karlie was my manager, and Charlotte was Liam’s ex, there was no way it would’ve happened with either of them. I hadn’t even kissed Karlie the night she thought I did. Whilst she’d been handing out blowjobs like free samples at a store, I had scarcely manager a hug. It is 10 times harder when you’re the only one hurting in these circumstances, you have a disadvantage that almost certifies failure. I had been disastrously in love with Carla, and there was no way in that first month I could've contemplated being with any other girl.

 But as I had learnt over the last few years, was that the media could construct representations of reality. I had done the same. Not only had I made her believe I had waltzed off with better girls, but all the throwbacks had convinced her I'd spent all of 2014 laughing in her face. I wish I had.

 It was time for a new era, although I was still going to keep tabs online. Just because I had won, it didn’t mean she would stop. It was only a few days previous she was trying to message me lies, whilst she messaged her lot the truth. So far, access to her account had stopped police, and stopped her lies to me. I needed that, because they were convincing. Without that, I’d still be providing OCD remedies by text as she wrapped her mouth around her extended family’s extensions. I deserved better than that. By all means get rid of me, but just do it and fuck off. Don’t try and ruin my life to compensate the problems of your own.

I had won against her, now it was time to repair the damage she had caused me, and oh how I would. Records were about to be broken.

The next few months would be comprised of one specific hallmark:

"Girl, I'm all cried out, over youuuuuuu."


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