Hi, Hey, Hello!
I don’t know what it is about this week but it feels like it has gone on for ages, which wasn’t aided by the fact that I spent a lot of Wednesday thinking that it was Thursday and so that just threw the rest of the week out. But I am writing this post, so I know for sure that today is a Friday…
Scott, like me and Mia before him, was terrible at giving out letters from school. It became a habit for me to rifle through his school bag once I had put him to bed just to check whether he had any news letters for me that needed to be addressed. Most of the time there wasn’t, but on the odd occasion there were letters about field trips and the odd update about his grades.
And then one day I found a letter about a parent/teacher conference, that by the time I had found it crumpled and borderline embedded on the bottom of his bag was three days away.
When I asked him about it in the car the next morning on the way to school he simply said he ‘didn’t see the point in giving it to me as our parents are dead so they couldn’t go’. I faltered, not quite used to hearing the words said so bluntly by Scott. Mia changed the subject seamlessly and once I had dropped Scott and Lyda off at their school and started driving to the high school she turned to me.
‘You know you can’t flinch every time the words are said right? That’s not healthy.’ She spoke carefully, and I hated once again that I was seen as so fragile by my teen sister.
‘I just wasn’t prepared for him to use it as a reason.’ I admitted.
‘He takes everything very literally these days, it’s not totally insane that that was his reason.’
‘When you put it like that I can see why it would seem obvious.’
‘You should be putting it like that. Do you have any clue what’s going on in that house right now Nix?’
‘Of course I do, I’m there.’ I snapped as we pulled up to a stop sign.
‘Yeah physically you are, but that isn’t necessarily enough. You know that right?’
‘I’m trying Mia.’ I almost whispered after a pregnant pause, before I carried on driving.
‘I know you are. I never said you weren’t. But for some reason you are so far behind us three in terms of grieving that I’m pretty sure you’re still in denial.’
‘I am not in denial.’
‘You know I don’t think I’ve seen you cry yet?’
‘What so that means that I can’t possibly have cried over it? If a tree falls in the woods.’
‘Okay, fair point and I’m not saying that. But, like, Lydia still gets randomly sad and you can see it play across her face and in her actions, Scott’s the same. They pull each other our of it because that’s what they do, but it still happens to them. They still get hit by waves of grief. And that just doesn’t seem to happen with you. You are always stoically fine and I don’t get it. You had 29 years with them and yet you seem to be going on as if nothing has changed, when in actual fact everything has.’
‘Are you being purposefully antagonistic this morning for a reason? Just because I am not grieving in the way that you seem fitting does not mean that I am not grieving. Also I noticed that you didn’t include yourself in that little recap, am I supposed to infer that you are no longer randomly feeling the loss or what?’
‘Why? Is my being challenging bothering you?’ I noticed that she ignored my question and rolled my eyes at the road as I made a turn.
‘Yeah, a little.’ I admitted shortly as we slowed down into traffic.
‘Well at least I know you still have a spectrum of emotions.’
‘What does that even mean?’ I had to fight to keep the anger and scorn out of my tone.
‘It means that in the last 5 months all I have seen from you is false chipperness and it’s starting to grate on me.’ We edged forward slightly and I started wishing that we were closer to being at the high school than we were.
‘You know I don’t live to please you alone?’
‘You don’t live to please yourself either right now Nix and we both know it.’ She had raised her voice slightly and it caused Hayden to stir slightly in his sleep. We both looked on at him to check that he was settling back to sleep as we crept a bit further forward.
‘Look I get that you don’t want your 17 year old sister telling you how to live your life, but I’m worried about you Nicola. Because even though you’re nearly 30, don’t think I didn’t notice how Mom and Dad always had your back. They looked after you even though you moved out almost 12 years ago and that’s gone. There’s no adult calling you out on your shit and making sure that you’re staying healthy and taking care of yourself, so shittily for you I have taken that role upon myself for the time being.’ We finally moved forward more than an inch and I could make my turn for the street that the high school is on.
‘I didn’t ask that from you.’ I said quietly, suddenly feeling guilty about the burden I had accidentally and unknowingly placed on her.
‘Yeah, you also didn’t ask to become a mother in the middle of the night, but you’re a fucking martyr.’
‘Language.’ I said reflexively.
‘Lydia isn’t here. And you are one. You don’t owe Mom and Dad your wellbeing for the sake of their children. It’s called balance. You should, sleep, eat properly, take a bath. I mean a proper relaxing one, like the ones that you make me. Cry. Scream. Anything. Just please stop looking like a fucking shell. Please just try Nix, because this isn’t you and I’m worried about you.’ Her voice almost broke as she finished her sentence and we pulled up in front of the school just as the bell started ringing. Even after all these years that noise still sends a chill through me, something akin to fear although I now know what true fear is.
‘You’re gonna be late.’ I muttered, staring at the car in front of me until the license plate started to blur and I tried to pretend that Mia wasn’t still staring at me. She sighed before she unclicked her seatbelt and turned to open the door.
‘We’re not done here though.’ She commented as she stepped out of the car.
‘We are right now. Have a good day.’ She sighed again and rolled her eyes, gently closing the door behind her and waving at me as she walked in front of the car and walked into school.
I wiped underneath my eyes and blinked back more tears as I took a shaky breath and pulled back out to make the long drive back home so that I could finally cry.
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