I removed the tiny little one paragraph rant. I think I'm done with the pity party. Besides, Caleb spent the afternoon singing Atlas out loud, along with the stereo while I wrote personalized notes in his Christmas cards and threatened to write very personalized ones in those cards headed to the Russian mafia.
Things like Happy Holidays! So glad you didn't get me when you faked that loan default. And Ho! ho! ho! Merry please don't touch me like you know me okay thanks.
It's water under this bridge but came back glaringly as I filled out five dozen stupid cards and saw those unfamiliar yet all too familiar names.
Urgh! How do you know so many people?
These are not people, these are business connections.
Still! Jesus! Too many of these.
How many are you sending out this year?
Cards? I don't send cards. The boys all live here with me.
He just stood there and stared and then broke out into the chorus again and I couldn't help but smile. He's in a good mood and I'll tell you why.
Ben isn't being the least bit receptive to anything anymore but mostly me. He's actively avoiding me, probably because every time we have any sort of encounter it is evaluated, judged and supervised to within an inch of its life and he isn't good with that. He and New-Jake have gotten into some shoving matches over it and Batman has had to function as a parent. This confuses everyone for whatever reason. They didn't pay close enough attention the past fifteen years, I guess.
I want to jump up and down and wave my hands and yell I know! I know! I know! but I can't right here because I'm not impartial and prone to breaking into tears when I even catch a glimpse of Ben and I have begun to do two distinct but similar things. Firstly, I'm doing what Ben wants me to do, dividing my time between Satan and the Joker. Which is hilarious because everyone always says do this, don't give everything to Lochlan.
(He will take it all, the original thief of opportunity.)
And secondly, I'm going out of my way to make Ben hurt by really giving it my all. I'm enjoying my days. I'm baking cookies and shopping and writing and listening to music and flirting shamelessly with Duncan, helping Sam and Matt plan the wedding and messaging everyone, even Bailey who hardly ever responds and I'm not using anyone or trying to twist screws, I'm just trying on being happy without needing a specific reason.
Fuck, it's fucking hard and I'm exhausted.
And I have moments of unimaginable hurt when I see him and he hardly reacts and once I even blurted out that I bet he feels stupid to have some of those tattoos now with my name and the bumblebee and he just stared at me like I was the crazy one who gave up life for a bible and the Big Book.
I didn't know when I watched you take that drink that it would replace everything else. Why does it still do that if you aren't drinking anymore? Shouldn't your life return to being more important?
Not yet. I still want that drink more than anything.
You are so fucked up, Benjamin.
Yes, I know. That's why they call it recovery.
They should call it stupidity. Because it's stupid.
Don't be. This isn't your fault.
You know, you can say that all you want but it doesn't bring you back.
I'm right here.
No, you're not.
Happy Birthday, Tucker. Is it everything you dreamed it would be?
I didn't wait for his answer. Caleb calls my name and I had Ben the wrapped box and I go back inside. Fucking Christmas. Fucking Coldplay. Fucking AA. Fucking tears. Fucking stupid fucking broken life.
I look at the Devil and wonder if I have any parts of my soul left to sell or trade for selfish gains but I'm pretty sure I'm fresh out.