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“I knew you’d make a big deal about this, that’s why I didn’t mention it!” I tell Alan Sebastian.
I’d thought he might be angry but he just looks… frightened.
“You’re friends with Jazz on Facebook. Why is this so different?” I ask.
But I don’t want him to answer that.
I don’t want him to say anything.
I know he’ll say something that will completely misrepresent the situation.
“Scott…” he pleads with me. “Scott, you are not okay right now. You are not okay and I didn’t know why and I’m sorry. I am sorry. I thought it was me.”
I don’t know what he’s talking about.
He wants me to quit my job, suddenly. How would we pay the rent, he doesn’t make enough money. He tells me he’ll work more he’ll find an office job. He says we could just move back to Havenport which is fucking ridiculous we came all of this way…
“You’re making such a big deal out of this,” I say.
“I’m not,” he says, “I’m not. You are not making enough of a big deal about this and I can’t stop you from going to work and I can’t stop you from being there and seeing her but if you think for one second that I will let the woman who raped you anywhere NEAR our son…”
That’s not what happened
But I am shaking and I am crying and that’s not what happened.
I had wanted it.
I had wanted her. Of course I had.
Of course I had liked her. Of course I had enjoyed her attention.
I was nearly fifteen.
I was a teenager what teenage boy wouldn’t
Alan Sebastian had never liked her
and he tried to keep me away from her
and my Dad didn’t like Alan Sebastian
so we’d always hung out at his place
instead of mine which gave me an
excuse not to go home
and made it easier
easier to stay
I feel cold and everything is sort of tilted and Mani and Alan Sebastian are talking but I can’t hear them like I am underwater and
Somebody has vomited all over the floor. And if anyone vomits Alan Sebastian will vomit and if he sees it or smells it he’ll vomit and
“Scott,” says Alan Sebastian, gently. When I look at him it feels like forever since I’ve done that. “Can I touch you? Is that okay? Can I help you up?”
And I nod. And I wonder how long I have been pushing him away if he needs to ask permission to even touch my arm.
And he guides me to the bathroom and helps me undress and I stand under the water.
He throws up in the toilet.
And when he’s finished he rinses his mouth and I remember how good it felt to have his hand on my arm.
“Al,” he says.
It’s the wrong way around, in more than one way. I guess things really are that bad.
And he’s here suddenly without even undressing. He wraps his arms around me. I wonder how long it’s been since he’s done that. He puts his cheek against the top of my head. I close my eyes, and I rest my face against him and the water falls over both of us.
Mani knocks on the door and Alan Sebastian tells him to come in.
“I mopped the floor,” says Mani. “And… Dad, are you wearing clothes in the shower?”
“Yes,” says Alan Sebastian.
“Take them off,” says Mani, “I’ll put them in the washing machine with Pa’s. Also I was wondering about… Dinner. Maybe I could order some takeaway or something? I think… nobody is going to cook anything.”
“That is a good idea,” says Alan Sebastian. “I think Menulog should still be logged in on my laptop. Just order… order whatever you feel like, and something for us, and if we don’t eat it we’ll just put it in the fridge. I don’t… I don’t think I can make any decisions right now so just… whatever you think. Thank you, Mani.”
And I keep breathing.
Alan Sebastian is naked now, and his skin is against my skin.
“I’m sorry,” he says, shifting his hips slightly away from me. “It’s just been a while. Just ignore it, and it will go away.”
And I close my eyes and the water falls down and I’m warm where he’s touching me, and cold where I’m not quite under the water, and I breathe in and out. Over, and over, and over again.
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