Day 13: Sunday Lunch with the Familià

Dear Vodka

I woke up extra early this morning and sneaked into Mum and Dad’s room. The sun was just rising and I convinced Mum to walk down to the beach with me in her sleepy state. Dad was already up, fixing a pipe under the kitchen sink. Dad has his own plumbing business. He would always joke about me taking over the business and Mum would cover my ears, whispering into them that princesses don’t do such things. I wonder if she still thinks I’m her princess.

Mum was okay with me inviting Theo and Ellie over for lunch. In fact, she drove straight to the supermarket after I asked. She looked excited. She looked alive and healthy. She looked like my Mum. We sat on the beach in complete silence at first. After about two minutes, Mum burst into tears. I noticed the few grey streaks in her long strawberry blonde hair. I noticed the veins in her hands as she put her hand in mine and kissed it over and over again, repeating the word ‘sorry.’ I began to cry too. I embraced Mum and I could feel the bones in her back through her clothes. She’d lost a lot of weight ever since I moved out. We sat on the beach for quite a while, pouring our hearts out; allowing our tears to fall onto the sand and watching as it made splotches in the sand. It was therapeutic.

I now know why Mum’s been so distant all these years. Mum had quite the life as a teenager before she met Dad. She was a wild flower, partying day and night. She was rebellious. She lived in the moment, too afraid to think of what the future would bring. When Mum turned sixteen her dad died of a heart attack. It was sudden and it completely tore her apart. He was her favourite person. She blamed herself for not spending enough time with him. For abandoning her relationship with him because she wanted to be a teenager and ‘live life.’ She slipped into depression.

When I was born, Mum still had that hurt inside of her and she resented bringing me into this world ever since. As a result, she suffered from postnatal depression. She was afraid that I’d turn out like her. She said that I reminded her so much of herself and she couldn’t bear to watch me grow up into the person she was. That’s why she pulled away.

I was shocked. All these years I’ve been my mother’s biggest fear. All these years I’ve resented her for something she had no control over. Mum asked for my forgiveness but I simply embraced her and said ‘sorry.’ We walked back to the house which was one road away from the beach. Thomas and I helped Dad prepare lunch while Mum made dessert. In our household, Dad’s the cook. The only thing Mum’s good at in the kitchen is making dessert. For the first time, I felt like I belonged. I felt a sense of home in my own home.

Theo and Ellie arrived just as we were finishing up. Theo helped me set the table while Ellie entertained Thomas with her talk about electrical engineering. Apparently, Ellie wants to study electrical engineering in England. It came as a complete shock to Thomas who is studying industrial engineering in England. I reckon they’ll get along well even though Ellie’s my age. Theo is three years older than me but age doesn’t matter in our family really. Mum is eight years younger than Dad anyway.

Lunch was delicious and the conversation was pleasant. It was like heaven having my family and friends all in one place. Mum was extra happy and open. She told us about how she met Dad while Dad shot carrots at Mum, telling her that she was embarrassing him. Mum simply laughed and continued with the story. After lunch, we played a game of Scrabble and I won. Obviously!

Ellie, Thomas and Theo and I took a walk on the beach whilst Mum and Dad tidied up in the kitchen, reminiscing over their younger years. It just happens to be my luck that Ellie attends the same school as me. Yippee! Theo studies Applied Chemistry at the local university. They live like ten minutes away from Mum and Dad’s. Guess I’m moving back in!

XOX

Charlie

Day 12: A Little Bit of Sunshine

Dear Vodka

No one likes to wake up early on the weekend, especially when it’s your last weekend before school starts. However, if I was going to keep up my yoga routine, I’d have to make the sacrifice. Plus, today was my first group therapy session. I felt kind of anxious but also really excited. I was silently praying as my dad (Paul) drove me to the youth centre three blocks away from our house that it wasn’t going to be anything like it was in the movies. Little did I know that the universe has a funny way of making things happen!

A refreshment station was set up at the entrance of the meeting room. I poured myself a glass of mango juice since there was still some time left before the session started. If there was one thing I valued, it was being punctual.  As I turned, someone bumped into me. I looked down at my jeans, which was completely drenched in juice. I looked up in horror at the person standing in front of me. It wasn’t just any person, might I add. It was a gorgeous being with the softest-looking head of shoulder-length medium-brown curls. The sunlight creeping in through the windows above shone on his tan skin, emphasising the strong curve of his jaw. The sunlight made his eyes appear almost cat-like. They were a beautiful green, almost olive. I quickly apologised, realising that I must have been staring at him for a bit too long. I couldn’t help but stumble over my words as I apologised. He quickly put me out of my misery when he introduced himself as Theo. I was about to introduce myself when a girl who looked related to Theo came running in our direction. She was beautiful, with her dark hair set against her olive skin. She is just about my height. If it weren’t for her big round brown eyes, I’d say she looks exactly like Pocahontas.

The session was complete poppycock. The only thing that made it bearable was Theo, who sat across from me. He kept on glancing my way, making weird faces. I couldn’t contain my laughter and at one point, I burst out into laughter. The coordinator then realised that there was a new member in the group and I was forced to introduce myself. I soon learnt that the girl was indeed Theo’s sister. Her name is Ellie. Even her name is beautiful. Geez! I might just fall in love with her but not in that way. She just has this radiance about herself. Like a ray of sunshine in the dark. I couldn’t understand what they were doing at group therapy but I soon learnt that their mom, who just happened to be a therapist, thought that it would be healthy for them.

They invited me over for Sunday lunch next week. I figured I’d return the favour and invite them over for lunch tomorrow. Fingers crossed. I hope I can figure things out with Mum before then.

I guess you could say that I had a positively successful day today. I feel so happy. So content and fulfilled. This is the start of all things great, Vodka!

XOX

Charlie

Day 11: Good Luck Charlie!

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 Dear Vodka

If today was anything, it sure was full of surprises! I was head-over-heels when I called Chloe and she told me that she’d met this super cute guy named Finn. I immediately started imagining what he looked like and what their children would look like if they ever decided to procreate. Seriously, Charlie!? Okay, that was just weird! 

She told me all about her cousins, Elias and Greta. Hearing her voice made me happy. I can’t wait to see her again. Truth is, I don’t know whether I’ll see her again considering how much she is enjoying herself over there. In the short time that I’ve known Chloe, I’ve learnt that once  she becomes comfortable in a place, she becomes attached, especially when there’s a guy involved. When I spoke to her, it sounded as though she wanted to set up camp and stay there forever. We each agreed to keep in contact at least every second day since school is starting soon. 

Argh! Thinking about going to a new school where I have to make the effort to be nice to everyone all over again makes me feel kind of bleh! Teenagers are so meh…I mean look at me! Don’t I bore you with my endless rants and complaints? I know I do. Therefore, to kick start my improved attitude, I’ve started this new routine where I wake up a bit earlier to do yoga each morning so that I can calm my thoughts. I’d then have a good solid breakfast and proceed with the rest of the day. I realised that when I don’t eat breakfast in the morning, I become as cranky and pessimistic as ever. I found the problem; it’s now time to implement a solution!

From now onward, you’ll have a front row seat to the new Charlie. I’ve simply decided that being bitter about everything only makes my life more miserable and deprived. I can’t live like that forever. I want to be happy for goodness sake!

I have me first group therapy session tomorrow and school starts on Monday. I don’t want to think about it too much. I guess I’ll hope for the best and stay optimistic. I seriously want to change. Maybe then Mum would open up to me and we could have an actual relationship. Dad said that he’d drive me to group therapy tomorrow. I haven’t seen him in a while but he promised to make it up to me by teaching me how to drive. There goes the neighbourhood!I’m so excited!Wish me luck then!

XOX

Charlie

Day Ten: Therapy Time!

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Dear Vodka

My shrink found out that I wasn’t taking my antidepressants and guess what? She didn’t even freak out! I was totally surprised but then again, shrinks are supposed to be all rational and calm. I, however, burst into a fit of laughter when she recommended – or rather ordered- me to attend a support group. Is she insane? Me? In a support group? The world must be going to shit! Never! I can’t do it! I refuse to do it!

After calming me down, however, she convinced me that it was either the drugs or the group. I guess I’ll be attending group therapy soon. Mum wasn’t upset with me at all when she heard that I’d ditched the drugs. She simply smiled an said “whatever makes you happy, darling.” I know that I’m a handful at most times but this is so not like her. Today was just not my day. I felt totally out of it. I felt like I had all this anger inside of me that needed to come out. Immediately. So, I went for a jog on the beach. I could feel the cool air brushing against my cheeks as the waves crashed against the rocks. With every deep intake of breath, I listened as the seagulls flew above me, making those terrible gawking sounds. I appreciated it nevertheless.

Thomas called me when I got back home. Gran Lilith was out as usual. He wanted to come over but I wasn’t feeling up for it. I said ‘yes’ anyway. I figured that it was no use pushing away the one person who truly cared about me. We just strolled on the beach, mouths stuffed with strawberry ice-cream, listening to the calm sounds of the ocean, as the water kissed the sand and pulled back each time as though it was being sent away but promised to return. I told him about the group therapy idea and he offered to tag along for my first session. This is why I adore Thomas so much. Sure, he’s my brother and I’m obligated to love him but he’s so gentle and understanding. I refused his offer though. This was something I needed to do on my own. I’d gotten myself into this mess in the first place and I needed to conquer my demons by myself. 

I thought I saw Chloe when we were walking but then I remembered that she was off in Germany. I’d better call her. To be honest, I kind of miss her. She was the first friend I made here and I don’t want to lose her. In time, I hope we’ll grow closer…

XOX

Charlie

 

Day Nine: Facing My Demons

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Dear Vodka

My day started off with a rigorous cardio workout and a relaxing jog on the beach before I met up with Aiden for kickboxing classes. Yeah, I know. There’s a lot that people don’t know about me but I prefer it that way. Mystery captivates the mind. Everyone thinks that Aiden and I are an item but we’re not. We agreed to be strictly friends that day we went for a bike ride. It’s less complicated that way.

Either way, Aiden is not the subject of today’s entry. Lydia is. We agreed to meet up at the beach down by the multi-coloured sheds but she changed her mind at the last minute. She wanted to meet up at Bean Therapy instead. I was hesitant. Bean Therapy is my happy place. A place I go to with friends. I didn’t want the memory of our meeting to linger around there after. I obliged nonetheless. Lydia gets what Lydia wants.

I have to admit, Vodka, she still looks as gorgeous as ever. Okay, maybe that was an understatement. The first glimpse of her made my heart race and my breath quicken. I watched as the sunlight played with the jet black strands of her long silky hair, making them appear navy blue. She still had those same soft features- playful black eyes, small nose and smooth deep pink lips. She wore a black velvet crop top with the silver choker that had a sun token hanging from it. It was the one I gave to her last Easter after we separated. I bought it before everything fell apart. Before I knew that my heart would be shattered by the intense love I had for this single amazing human being who I would’ve walked through fire for.

Was I seriously going through with this? Yes. It had to be done. I’ve always believed in talking things through. Over coffee, preferably. Lydia knows that too. Must’ve been why she wanted to come here instead.

Being the bright spark of life that she is, I couldn’t find it within myself to stay angry at her. We caught up on our old memories together; how life has changed since then. I wanted to say so much more than that. I wanted to yell at her. To tell her how much she messed me up. She was a tornado dressed as a drizzle of rain after a long drought. I wanted to tell her how loving her was selfish, that we should’ve never let it go so far. I needed to tell her all these things and more. But I couldn’t. Some part of me regrets not telling her. One thing was for sure though, Lydia could never know about my depression and anxiety. Ever. I needed her to think that I was strong. She had to, like she always has. I don’t want people to think that she’s the antagonist. She never was. After all, it takes two to tango! At that time in my life with she was exactly what I needed. No one can deny that. You can’t dismiss relationships and burn bridges because things don’t work out. It doesn’t work like that. I’m wiser for it now.

Before we left the coffee shop, she reached for my hand and drew me in closer. Her scent was enough to make me lightheaded. It was the anxiety. I could feel it coming on. I hate being so weak. So dependent. So undecided and fragile. The truth is, everyone is  behind closed doors. They’re just to scared to admit it. I pulled away from her before it could go any further. I didn’t want her pity kisses.

I haven’t taken my antidepressants in two days. No wonder I’ve been feeling so off. I figured I’d wean myself off them. Miranda, my shrink, and my Mum don’t need to know. What happened last year really threw me off the wagon but I refuse to be dependent on drugs to keep me sane.

After all, sanity is overrated!

XOX

Charlie

Day Eight: Just Tattoo of Us

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Dear Vodka

Today is the day! The day that Thomas and I finally got the marks that would intertwine our souls forever. Forever. Okay, that’s a bit too dramatic! But all teenagers are after all. I don’t want to be like all teenagers, however. Vodka, I think I might be bipolar. Yeah. That’s it. Don’t tell my Mum I said that. She’d probably drag me to the shrink to get drugged up on some pills!

 Anyway…Thomas and I arrived at the tattoo parlour around 10. I couldn’t contain my anticipatory joy, as some might say. I was stoked, as I would say! First minute in and I was inwardly screaming for my Gran Lilith. At least Thomas was there to hold my hand, even though he looked pretty pale himself. It was great fun though. One thing more ticked off my wish list. We went for smoothies at Kauai afterwards to cool off. Literally. I looked like a cooked tomato and Thomas looked like, well, Thomas.

We hung out at the beach at Gran’s. She wasn’t home when we arrived. Probably out with Bridget, her bestie. Whenever Gran Lilith and Bridget are together, they’re like two school girls brooding over the latest gossip and guys. All I can ever do is laugh. They remind me of how Emily and I were. It gives me hope that some things last forever. Okay, okay. I’m getting a bit sentimental now but it’s true.

Thomas and I raided Gran’s secret drawer that contained a variety of sweets. She didn’t know that we knew. All of the packets were opened already, so we each took one of each kind. I ditched the jelly beans for another sour worm. Jelly beans are an abomination. Truly. Unless it’s sour jelly beans of course, then I might consider it.

I called Chloe when Thomas left. Her phone went to voicemail but she called me back. She told me that she saw Aiden snogging some redhead at a mall. I wasn’t bothered. Truly. I’d like to be friends with Aiden only, even if there was a speck of connection before. Chloe scoffed when I told her this. It doesn’t matter either way, I have my own issues. Lydia is visiting tomorrow. We’re meeting at the beach down by the coloured sheds. No one ever goes there. It’s my secret hideaway.

My shrink called today. I said I’d come on Thursday. I’ll need the talk after tomorrow. Who knows what will happen?!

Ciao for now. I feel a bit weird. Must be the nerves. Wish me luck!

XOX

Charlie

Day Seven: Magnum opus

Dear Vodka

Everyone makes mistakes, some more than others. For a long time, I thought that my mistakes made me unlovable and worthless. I was wrong. I soon learned that making mistakes is part of being human and that being human is all I ever need to be.

If it weren’t for Lydia, I don’t think I’d ever learnt that. She allowed me to discover myself. For a long time, I thought that I needed another person to complete me and I thought that she was that person. At first we were just friends but our friendship developed into something more. I bared my soul to her. Foolhardy. That’s what I suppose we were, and happy. Truly, it was like a fool’s paradise. So much so, that it was laughable and we did. We laughed. A lot! We shared so many things with one another. We took turns daring each other to do crazy, sometimes dangerous things.

Lydia was Lydia. Everyone loved her and everyone wanted to be around her. I knew that I’d found a jewel. I shared something with her that no one else did. It made me feel special and wanted.

Then, I fell in love with her.

I tried distancing myself from her but I couldn’t. I was obsessed. Being without her caused me physical pain.

We gate-crashed a senior high school party one night. It was Lydia’s dare to me. We must’ve had too much punch that night because I can still feel the searing headache I woke up to whenever I think of that night. Lydia was passed out on the couch next to me and the party had died down. I called Thomas. I knew that Thomas would come get me with no questions asked. When we got to Lydia’s house, no one there had missed us. We were safe. Our secret was safe. It seemed more like my secret because Lydia remembered nothing.

Everything that happened the night before came crashing into my mind like a tsunami: the taste of Lydia’s lips on mine as the alcohol swam through our veins; the gentle movements of her hands as our bodies moved rhythmically to the music…I struggled to explain it to her but she seemed unfazed by it. By us. She breezily suggested we make it official right there. I was confused. I thought she knew. So I agreed. Like an idiot, I agreed.

Those few months were amazing. Being with her was like being on an adventure every day, until I found out about her fling and the fact that she was straight. Her excuse: “I didn’t want you to feel bad about yourself.”

Outcome: 413 doses of antidepressants, 22 anxiety attacks and a weekly visit to the shrink! Thanks, Lydia. I guess you were my “magnum opus” of mistakes!

XOX

Charlie