Monday, February 10, 2014

It's That Time of Week

Hi everyone! Happy Monday :) I just got home from another workout and I feel great but a little sore, which is to be expected. I like taking my mind off everything and just feeling the burn in my thighs. Mock Trial is ending next week for me so I'm hoping I'll have more time to reflect about things that aren't just ranting about S or posting the few chapters of my story. 

I hope I'll be feeling a little more like my usual cheerful self in the weeks and months to come. I've been trying really hard to keep my chin up. I know it's normal to be grieving and upset after a break up, but it's so impossibly hard to move on. I was rereading old emails we sent each other during the summer while I was in Korea. My grandma's computer is ancient and because of the time difference, it's hard to keep up a constant stream of chat messages. I didn't have the heart to watch our old vlogs but the emails alone made me cry so much. I miss him so much sometimes and I keep thinking that things might be better when deep down I know they won't be. He's fully blocked me out and there's just nothing I can do about that. He doesn't want to be my friend. 

Senior ball is in May and I know there's still A TON of time before. My friend J wanted us to all have dates, which would a really awesome and fantastic and lovely way to end senior year. Except... none of us really have guy friends and definitely not friends who are close enough to hang out at ball with.. I'm just in this state of not wanting someone new. I guess ball was just one of those things I was looking forward to when the thought of breaking up didn't even cross my mind. 

I'm just in a weird state of mind at the present moment. Anyways, I'm sorry I didn't post a chapter of the City Girl story last week. I've been seriously very busy! I started writing a new short story that will debut for it's one and only chapter on Valentine's Day. It's about five young women who have different experiences with love-- some fall out of love and others experience the sensation of sharing your little daily moments with another person for the first time. Due to that, I've put City Girl on hold. Maybe you've been reading my blog for a while . . . but everyone should know that I'm not the best at wrapping stories up. I hate endings, endings for books, for movies, or an outing with friends.. the end of a relationship. So I'm not exactly sure how to wrap up City Girl but I promise you an ending, unlike Coffee Shop. So without further ado, enjoy!
Strangers Again

         I barely remember anything as my eyes flicker open. Ray is sitting next to me. Ashley is also there with a gloomy look spread across her face. This room isn’t familiar to me. There are family photos hung up on the walls but I can barely see the individual faces. The room is painted a lilac color and faintly smells of oranges. Ray is dozing off but Ashley looks attentively at me. The nice, sweetness is gone.  
         “Where am I?” I ask.
         “Who are you?” Ashley demands.
         “Brie, Brie Sommers,” I say because I’m in no mood to explain to her the entirety of my story. I wince once I look in the mirror. My face is bruised and I look almost like a giraffe with all the marks on my neck. I don’t have any memory of how this happened.  
         “You’re awake,” Ray excitedly chatters.
         “You need to leave,” Ashley says. It’s so easy to cast out the people you don’t want to protect the ones you love. “I won’t let Hans get in trouble again for this. It happens all the time when a new girl comes. He can’t help himself.”
         “I don’t want to.” There’s nothing in this town for me and yet I want to stay. I don’t understand a thing.
         “You won’t have a job, you don’t have any friends. Why are you going to stay here?”
         “I was trying to lay low to scrap up some money and leave. I’ll find a new job, Ashley.”
         “I’ll give you the money.” Ashley throws a thick envelope at me. It’s enough to run away again. I smile at her and she leaves me, with Ray.
         “Violet.” I wince and he watches my reaction. She was long gone and now somehow she’s resurfaced again. I came to tie up loose ends, not be reminded of someone I used to be.
         “Don’t call me that. You were someone else then too,” I begin to say.
         “Fill in the holes for me.” He sounds angry and hurt all at the same time. He doesn’t deserve to feel that way about me.
         “Where was I?”
         “You were Isla. You didn’t explain why you left LA.”
         “Oh. Okay. Well I guess I can start there. While working the flower shop one day, I got an offer to be a glamorous model in New York. What is a girl to do? Diane checked carefully to make sure that it wasn’t a scam. She was sad to see me go but I wasn’t her real daughter or anything. She couldn’t do anything more to make me stay. The contract was legit. After becoming Jenny Perkins, I fell in love with the city.  She was a fan of the bright fluorescent lights and the city that never slept. I was never really a cultured girl, but New York made Jenny yearn for Broadway musicals and strolls through the Met. She had champagne while talking about the implications of Rococo art and rode the subway listening to Sondheim.” 
         “Describe Jenny to me.” He seems more at ease as he leans back in his wooden chair. His face isn’t bright red from rage. He just seems confused by it all. Ray was never supposed to know anything more than the little bit of Violet he had seen. This was never my intention.
         “Jenny was a girl lost in New York. After landing the modeling deal, she moved to a better place. It was a little studio apartment with actual sunshine and a little balcony. Her potted plants thrived there. Naturally they didn’t need much more than sunshine and the occasional watering. She would always stand out there in the morning or at night to hear the honking cars and the blaring sounds from the highway. There were too many taxicabs there. She was glamorous in New York, under the backlight of the fluorescent lights. She never wore socks, ever. She forgot about Archie, almost completely. There was no time to think about him amongst all the shoots and travelling. Imagine a sunny blonde girl with cute little dimples and crazy blue eyes. That was her. She had such a big personality.” It almost brings tears back to my eyes. Those were seriously some of the happiest memories that I’ve had.
         “What’d you do then? I met you in Boston, over a year ago.”
         “I met someone named Archie during one of my shows.” I have never said his name aloud to anyone since the time he left me. I can see Ray freeze a little bit. He had known Violet, a shy, quiet girl who liked to think and write. Violet had mousy brown hair and little glasses that fit squarely on her face. She was the type of girl to hang around the dimly lit, dusty bookstores late at night. She wasn’t a college student but looked no different from anyone strolling past the NYU campus. It’s obvious that he still thinks that my first love was him. I wonder what he sees when he looks at my bruised face.
         “Who . . .who is that?”
         “He was a young photographer there. He was the only one I allowed to take private pictures of me.” I see his face scrunch up. “No, no not like that! He wanted to capture the essence of freedom and spirit. We went to the rooftop of an abandoned building and I danced in the wind while the shutter of his camera clicked away. I was beautiful, then. Archie,” I pause a little. I recoil at the sound of his name on my own tongue. “He occasionally bought me coffee and discussed some new photo project he was working on. I fell for him without knowing anything. I didn’t know who he was or where he came from other than the face that he was a student at NYU and interested in photography.”
         “What does this have to do with Boston and meeting me?”
         “Well, one day his family found out about us. He was a sweet guy with good intentions, nothing like the other people I met. Well you can imagine what happened.”
         “Let me guess. Basically what happened to us?” His tone is softer. He must be remembering how easily he cast me out for his fiancée. “Your clothes are tangled on the floor and his weight is almost crushing you. Neither of you hear the door open and then his parents kicks you out.”
         “Not really. We were having one afternoon and he was telling me about a very cool project he was going to work on focusing on the homeless and less fortunate. I was intrigued because for a good portion of my life, I’ve been a vagabond. I’ve never really had a home before, or anywhere remotely close. His parents saw us, and they were unhappy that their son was seeing a wild girl with high cheekbones, hair like a lion’s mane, and eyes brighter than the ocean. I still very much had that model vibe at that point. I didn’t know, but his parents wanted Archie to go into business. They allowed him to be at NYU just because he promised to transfer to the business school. They threatened to kill my career, Ray. He was faced with the ultimatum, did he want to stay here at NYU or did he want to allow me to stay in the vibrant city of New York? I had no idea his parents had so much power.” Ray seems uncomfortable and starts looking out the window. I’m tempted to ask about the weather or anything, but I don’t.
         “So he chose to leave?” Ray seems surprised. Archie let go of all his dreams and aspirations because he wanted me to continue smiling and relishing in the beauty of New York. When he left, he told me to always follow my dream and hopes. I guess I’m doing a rotten job at that.
         “His parents forced him to leave to England and go to the London School for Economics, or something of that name. He couldn’t so much as call me or his parents would know. In the beginning, there were some anonymous phone calls from phone booths, I suppose, but those dropped off and I was depressed. New York was full of melancholy memories and it was painful to walk around the coffee shops or the retro places he would always take me. I didn’t want to run in to his parents anymore either, so I did what I always do, I left.”
         “You did that to me too,” he stops speaking. I wait for him to call me Violet or shoot me a dirty look. “Brie.” I’m surprised but I don’t betray any of my emotions. “That man blacklisted and ruined my future!”
         “You don’t know the whole story!” I cry out. Jenny and Violet are an especially heart wrenching part of my life.
         “Well then fill me in. How did you meet your new father?”
         “As a security precaution, I wrote down a couple of names of high profile clients Talla had while she was a showgirl. He was the vice president of Goldman Sachs and mostly retired. He left most of the tricky banking to the young minds of Wall Street. He was married to a woman around his age and they didn’t have kids. He seemed like the perfect candidate. Of course, he was skeptical of my story when I turned up on his doorstop in Boston. I still had a bit of the glamorous air of Jenny. I became Violet the minute he accepted me into his home. I was tired of being Jenny, after the whole fiasco regarding Archie. If I had been a studious girl studying law or something, his parents would have accepted me in a heartbeat. Anyways, my new father was thinking about sending me to college and I wanted nothing more than that.”
         “So I get the part where I fell for you and we started connecting. Why did you just do that to me?”
         “Did you ever love me, Ray?” He shifts his weight on the chair and tries to avoid eye contact. I repeat the question. He doesn’t answer so I start speaking again.
         “You didn’t love me, Ray. It’s hard for me to believe that you did. You liked the idea of having something you couldn’t have. You even said that yourself when you were describing the heartbreaking story of what Violet did to you.” He doesn’t say anything. I know it’s true. “I hadn’t meant for my . . . father to blacklist you among firms and universities. He had never had a child before and he was way too protective of me. He thought you were a bad influence from the beginning and wanted you far away. I wasn’t the innocent Violet he, and you, thought I was and it was tiring to keep that up. When you left, I decided to pick up modeling again and ran away from my . . . father. The modeling didn’t work out because I just felt so guilty of what I did to you. I hadn’t meant to seriously hinder you. I needed a break from Archie. I wasn’t out to ruin someone’s life. So I did what any responsible person does and apologized to that man and his wife. I didn’t tell him the whole story, just most of the important parts. I found you in this small town to give you his word that you’re not blacklisted anymore. He even managed to get you an acceptance to Harvard Law, if you choose to apply. Don’t ask me how that worked because I don’t know. The paper is in my suitcase in the apartment.”  
         “Why didn’t you just explain to your family that we were together?”
         “You knew he was my father, didn’t you? You did your research right? It’s okay to be honest.” He shuffles his feet and nods.
         “I was a boy from a small town and knew nothing about what Harvard even was. I thought if I made it there, I would be set for life. Everyone there had such affluent parents and I was a big fish from a small pond. I found out through the grapevine that your father was the VP of Goldman Sachs and I just had to get to know you. The party was the perfect place to say hi.”
         “I thought you were a nice guy, Ray. I couldn’t give up everything because I knew you wanted to take advantage of a shy, bookish girl who didn’t know anything about the world. You’re lucky that you met Violet I guess. I was scared and needed a home more than anything. You did the same thing to me tonight. Isn’t that a bit ironic? Why did you run after me? Why did you save me from Hans?”
         “I can break it off with Mindy. I can. We could be in Boston together, like last time.” His voice cracks and I just sigh. I’m too tired to respond. He probably thinks I’m his golden connection back into the world of Harvard.
         “Ray, I can’t, not with you. I just came to say that I’m sorry and that everything has been undone. Okay?” He seems to understand. He probably doesn’t even care now that he’s not blacklisted. “I wanted to tell you my whole story and who I am because I felt that I owed it to you.” 
         “So this Archie guy, you still love him?” That came out of nowhere.   
         “It’s complicated, Ray,” I say. I close my eyes. I’m still the hospital and still getting treatment for physical violence. “Thank you for what you did.” He simply nods and waits for anything else I may say. We sit in awkward silence. Everything hurts.
         “I don’t regret meeting you, Brie, whoever you may be.” He walks away and I know it’s forever. I don’t call after him. I just listen to his shoes scrapping the tiled floors as he leaves. Maybe, just maybe, I had thought that if I came back and explained everything he would take me back. He offered but I realize that I would never truly be happy with Ray.
         The nurse comes back and checks on my IV. “Everything is normal,” she says in a low tone accompanied by a dirty glance. She’s one of the only two nurses working in the hospital. Her brownish hair is always combed strictly into a bun without so much as a loose hair. The other nurse comes in after four in the afternoon. I’ve only seen one of the three doctors but he always acts like I have some transmittable disease. Maybe bad reputation is a virus much like polio.
         News and gossip spreads like wild fire in small town like this. Of course, no one hears my side of the story. They just hear of the desperate city girl who was too drunk to function and flung herself at Hans. Ray pretends he never knew me, and his little fiancé certainly doesn’t mention my name ever. I still have the money Ashley gave me tucked away in my personal compartment in the hospital ward. It’s the only thing that motivates me to wake up every morning. I’m the only one with the key and running my fingers across the cool, steely surface of the key always relieves me. I couldn’t even run away because my condition was too severe for me. It’s been a week in this prison like place and I’m already on the path to a slow and tiresome death.
         “Hi, who are you?” There’s an energetic voice coming from the hospital bed next to mine. The walls are an eerie shade of off white and the tile flooring has a cascading diamond pattern. The blinds are drawn and sunshine pours in. The place is dead silent without even so much as an air conditioning vent or the static from radios. I hesitate before saying anything. My first instinct is to give a new name but I know that wouldn’t be smart.
         “Brie. I haven’t seen you around.”
         “I’ve only been here for a day and a half.”
         “Are you from this small town?”
         “Absolutely not,” the girl says with a little chuckle. “My uncle lives here and I was visiting but got a bum leg.” She raises her leg in a plaster cast an inch higher. I wince slightly. I’ve never had a broken leg in my whole entire life.
         “When are you leaving the hospital?”
         “Oh probably not for another week or two. The doctors got to run multiple tests and everything.” She groans and I can’t help but laugh. There’s something adorable, charming, and familiar about her. Have I seen her somewhere?
         “You didn’t tell me your name.”
         “Susanna,” she says and it doesn’t ring a bell.
         “Do you have a last name?”
         “Hauser.” My mind short circuits and I take a deep breath. I’m not prepared for anything to happen. I smile and nod and pretend that her last name means nothing to me. What is she doing here? I know all too well an uncle doesn’t exist. I try to take a deep breath. It could just be a coincidence. There must be tons of people with that last name.
         “Do you have a brother?” I can’t help but ask her. There is nothing left for me. I don’t have anything more to lose.
         “Yeah, his name is William,” she says with a wide smile. It’s obvious she loves her brother. Relief washes over me and I run my fingers over the key in the pocket of my hospital gown. “He’s so sweet and handsome. Right now, he’s depressed.” The girl is only ten years old or so. What does she know about being depressed? “He’s looking for a girl named Jenny. He always talks about her when my parents aren’t around.” My heart freezes but I know that Archie isn’t the path open for me either. Maybe in some alternate universe, I’m drinking coffee and laughing in some hipster coffee shop but that was for a girl long gone. Who knows, maybe Archie also has some fiancée or some past that he hadn’t told me. He certainly didn’t tell me about Susanna.
         “That’s nice. I wish I had a brother,” I say absently to no one in particular. I wonder why or how Susanna found me. “Susanna, what are you really doing here?”
         “Uh, uh,” she says, stumbling for the right words. “I just had to know who you were. He talks about you all the time.”
         “I’m not Jenny,” I say before closing my eyes to the world. “I’m Brie and I have no idea who William is.” 

1 comment:

  1. My eyes are almost red and I feel dizzy. Read the first part of your post but not the story because I am pretty much dizzy right now. Just wanted to tell you, I am here if you need me and everything will be fine. You ll do awesome. :)