(this is your FALSITY)
Alex knows and Alex doesn’t say anything. Alex knows and Alex doesn’t try to help me. Not that I need to be helped - I knows what I am doing, after all - but the situation would look bad to the uninformed eye. But Alex knows and Alex hasn't said anything, and this more than anything allows me to shove aside those doubts (too far and too much) and not ask Him to stop.
(This - not telling Him to stop - is the wrong thing to do, and maybe my subconscious decides not to talk with my not-father just to spite Alex. Maybe it is a little self-destructive - maybe I have finally realized that we're doing it all wrong - but maybe I don’t have anything else anyway. Maybe I know that Bellatrix is/has breaking/broken her, and maybe I want to feel more things crack and to believe that it is okay not to have control over anything. Maybe maybe maybe. I don’t know.)
(I - clever, intellectual - don’t know anything.)
So we continue, and I am actually a little glad when Alex leaves.
As February turns into March, I direct all attention to Him. I want more, and - and I don’t particularly care if he really is going too far. I simply make sure to take more Tylenol before and after every occurrence.
I don’t care about the lack of emotion in the not-father’s face and eyes when he looks at me. I want the painpleasure and the lack of line between it, and I am desperately caught and have been and know it and hate Him and am indifferent and passionate and begging for more.
(This is when she dreams of another world.)
. ... .
This is when the not-father lets me go. This is when - this is when everything that was already crumpled and warped falls apart.
Here is the scene: it is five minutes before nine and we are in the hallway near the kitchen. We haven't fucked (and even I don’t bother to call it anything but that anymore - even though I love him, that love is as twisted as he is) yet tonight.
So they are walking, and then he suddenly stops. I look at him enquiringly.
"I'm going to leave tonight, I believe." A cold voice. Confident, high class, and about to break my heart and soul.
"I -” And there is a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.
"It's been fun," he drawls, looking me in the eyes brazenly and uncaringly. I see boredom and disdain and madness - and that has all been there before, so why why why now?
(This is when -)
And I - and I don’t know what to say, because I should have seen this coming like I saw the indifference in his eyes (like anyone could have been there - like I wasn't a person, just something to bleed and fuck), but -
(This is when: the landing.)
I have no words. The world has muted out and taken my tongue with it. This is madness. Madness. Madness. My father is simply on one of my far more frequent spells of insanity, only: "It's all a game, lovely." His lips curve into an amused smirk. He leans in close - too close, close enough to kiss - and "You've given up, and that makes it no fun" is husky against my mouth.
One two three seconds: He is gone, the door closing in his wake. My vision goes grey, and when I come back to myself I don’t know how many hours it has been. All I know is that I is stiff and the stone against my back is freezing - and I am sitting against the wall even though I don’t know how I have gotten there. I stare at my hands for a moment. I can't feel them. They are so cold.
I stare stare stare - and then I turn my head and retch.
Zen. Empty. Blank. Calm.
The taste of pure bile is thorough and lingering, but I do not finish the walk to the kitchen. I mechanically make her way through the house until I find myself in my room. I stand there, looking at nothing.
There is something to look at, however.
I don’t register him, but he is sitting on the hand-me-down couch across from my bed and staring at me moodily. His hair is messy in a different way than it usually is, and the expression on his face is tired and thoughtful. He isn't out of it enough to not notice me, though, and the pinched draw of his eyes and mouth lighten as he catches sight of me. There is a little bit of wariness there, as well. (Because words can tear and eat things that really need to be destroyed - and some things that don't - and maybe he has grown up a bit. Maybe the words I can't remember saying have saved a lot of things - and maybe Alex has given those words power.)
He realizes that I am not seeing him. He realizes that something is still wrong. (And, yes - yes, he has changed.) Five months ago, he wouldn't have noticed. Five months ago, he would have jumped up and called me Flower and I would have slapped him. But we have both changed - maybe for the worse - and this time he does something right.
He calls my name quietly. "Anna."
I don’t hear - and then I do. My eyes focus on him, and I don’t even have the presence of mind to scowl. What - what has happened? Where has Anna Davis gone? (I have been torn and eaten by words and actions, by time and madness and darkness.)
(Words and actions and time and madness and darkness - and I didn't even manage a word when my father left her. He has broken me down so skillfully.)
"Oh," I say dully. "Alex." I am lost. I am so lost (without the promise of the physical to take it away - without a promise of darkness to lose myself in, where it is okay that I am not in control).
And Alex don’t really recognize this (because he has grown up but not that much and he is still so innocent), but he knows that something is wrong, and that is all he needs to know. So he smiles instead of grinning wildly and beckons me over to his couch.
And - and I actually go. (Wrong, wrong, wrong - not me, but what can anyone do about it?) We sit in silence. He lights a candle, casting flickering, crackling light and dancing shadows, and my hands are so cold. (I am used to this. So used to this. Zen zen zen - I have to find my zen.)
We sit. I don’t even know for how long, and then Alex breaks the stillness by standing up.
"What -” He is gone before I can ask.
When he returns, he hands me a cup of hot chocolate and smiles at me again. "Something hot tastes good going down on a night like this."
And - nothing. I don’t blink back tears. I am too weak to cry. It isn't like I ever truly had Him, so I haven't lost anything I didn't give away in the first place. He had me - and that is the problem. I am lost. Too much was taken and I haven't gotten the bits of myself back and never will. (My father is selfish - and I always trust all the wrong people, the selfish people who don't give enough of a fuck. My father would have keep me carelessly and cruelly, not caring, and isn't that just Him in a nutshell?)
I look at him, and then I look at the mug he has pressed into my hands. I wrap my fingers around the warm ceramic and look at him again. "...Thank you."
Surprise moves across his face, quickly followed by happiness. His emotions are as easy to read as a billboard. "Not a problem." There is a pause. "...Anna, what's wrong? You haven't been the same lately." He sees her still expression and backtracks quickly. "Not that I'm trying to pry or anything, but -" He falls into silence, features collapsed into the very definition of 'torn', and quickly spits out: "I'm worried."
I stare. It is such a novel idea that someone is worried about me. (And when did I get too used to that?) I know he fancies himself my brother. I know (a lot of useless things because I am such a clever girl) that he wants me - that he wants Anna Davis, fiery and contrary and a little bit arrogant. And I am not that Anna Davis anymore, but I think I can pretend if that means that I can have - what Alex Michaels represents. (My father would know that I am pretending, but he won't.)
I want someone safe and sweet and light and concerned, and, really, two out of four isn't so bad - and he has changed, too, so obviously. I could say yes to him. I think that I could pretend. I think I could, with the passing of time, rebuild some things (necessary, human things inside of my) that have been ruins for too long. I think that I am tired of looking for that something in all the wrong places.
And it really isn't fair to him, but I (am weak and selfish and more broken than I used to be) thinks that he won't know the difference. (He won't.)
I turn my gaze back to my untouched hot chocolate and says, "Alex, you're such a ponce." And smiles a little (falsely) as he begins to sputter.
I feel the scars on my back and thighs burn and think I can pretend.
(Daddy, you teach so well.)
. ... .
I don’t have all the answers. I don’t.
I am sixteen years and one month old. I am quiet and clever and wise (and tired and worn like an old dishrag) - and I have no answers to war and the war-torn and hate and the hate-consumed.
I have no answers, and I am lost and fractured and really good at pretending I am not.
I have to be.