“Um, hey, it’s just me calling again. I know you haven’t responded to the other…14 texts and calls, but you know,” I suddenly stopped and shook my head before deleting the message. Now leaving that type of crap on someone’s voicemail was sounding desperate. I wasn’t like that. At least that’s what I continued to tell myself.
It had been two weeks since I saw Sabin, let alone exchanged more than three words with him. Our paths crossed a few times since our classes were in neighboring buildings, but he never stopped to have a conversation with me. I thought that we had a great date. We had fun and that kiss—oh, that kiss. I leaned back in my chair and groaned. That night replayed in my memory like a record stuck on a loop that only ignited the butterflies in my stomach.
I missed him, and it sucked that I didn’t get to see him much since then. Hell, my mind was manipulating itself into thinking something was going on. What if someone started some rumor about me? What if he decided I wasn’t worth spending time with?
What if…? What if…?
For a while I was able to hide my anxiety, but it wasn’t long before Dani could read me like a book. Mom I could still avoid, but Dani? No way. She saw me every day and she was basically on the same level as my siblings. She knew my every move, so there was no faking around her.
“Did fuckface not pick up?” Dani hissed as she threw on her jacket.
“You don’t need to call him that,” I uttered.
“Pretty sure I do.” After quickly glancing at her phone, Dani dragged her own chair and took a seat next to me. “He took you out and kissed you, and then had the nerve to drop off the fucking map. You have a right to know what’s going on instead of being led into this fucking anxiety-inducing shit-storm…”
I looked at her with an expression I knew she’d read as a plea to stop attacking him. Sabin and I shared a moment, sure, but that didn’t mean that we had an agreement to start dating. We weren’t a couple, an item, or whatever you wanted to call it.
“I know,” Dani nodded and got up from her seat. “I’m just saying, Alma. It’s weird if this dude acts all interested then just stops talking to you. I mean, what the hell? If Saul pulled that crap after hanging out with me, then you better know I’d be knocking down some doors to get answers–” She immediately rolled her eyes after spotting my expression twist into concern. “Not literally, but yeah, I’d be trying to talk to him since we’re in a relationship and we talk about stuff like this…”
I agreed. What more could I do? I talked to Dani until her phone indicated that she had to go meet up with Saul. Although she was excited to go see her boyfriend, she didn’t leave without sincerely placing her hand on my shoulder, urging me to go talk to Sabin.
It was Saturday. All my assignments were turned in and the only task on my agenda was to relax. On any other Saturday I would be making plans with Sabin, but with our weird silence, I was left to figure out what to do with my free time. I never thought I would say this, but I wished I had more work to do. I’d beg for anything at that point. A paper, a project, a new plant to dissect–I wanted anything to occupy my mind and keep my restless hands from checking my phone every five seconds. Believe me, I knew it sounded stupid.
Yet each time that I would set my phone down, I could hear Dani’s voice in the back of my mind.
You deserve to know.
Go to him.
Next thing I knew I was marching down the twisting paths around campus until I reached the student apartments where I knew Sabin was staying that semester. I traveled from memory since all I ever saw was him heading in that general direction. Luckily when I actually stepped up to the building, the apartments had indicators as to who lived where.
Thank you very much, mailboxes. Thank you so very much.
Once I walked into the building I felt my breakfast churning in my stomach. The monstrous growls stopped me dead in my tracks. I was only doing this because I liked him so much. I wanted to fight for us,or at least to find out what happened that had him stop talking to me. It wasn’t often that I felt anything for someone so deeply. When I finally felt something, then it had to be a sign to do something. I gave myself a quick push and walked up to the second level where I was expecting to find the door marked Frobisher/Mortensen.
My adrenaline was rushing and I was past the point of no return. I knocked softly and then firmly soon after before the door swung open, and in front of me stood a man who towered over me. His hair was braided into a deadlock mohawk; his warm smile quickly reminded me that it must have been his roommate. I heard a lot about him, but saw him very rarely.We were always passing by.
My throat became dry very quickly. All the courage that I mustered up to actually talk to Sabin was flushed. “Uh, I’m…”
“You’re here to see Sabin? Alma, right?”
“I’m Otto, by the way, Sabin’s roomie. We met before, but,” he chuckled,”not sure you were really in the mood for introductions then…”
No better way to meet people than to have them take care of you when you drink too much. I’d always mark that as an excellent start to a college experience. I’d blush more if my face wasn’t already red from my adrenaline rush.
“But yeah,” he cleared his throat and stepped aside to welcome me in. “I know he’s been keeping you out of the loop, but…well,” he sighed, “I’ll let him explain.”
I could hear rustling and groaning coming from the room with the closed door. What was supposed to be on the other side? Was I seriously about to walk in on some messed up scene from a Brazilian soap opera? But before I could even begin to think about what portrait of betrayal could be behind those doors, Sabin burst out of his room looking out of breath and more frightened than I had ever seen him.
“This is me,” Sabin admitted when he opened the door to his room after having calmed down. His sheets were tossed across the bed and his desk was littered with pill bottles and half empty bottles of water. “This is as real as it gets.”
“What do you mean?” I asked as I took a seat at his desk. Without drawing attention to my observations, I took note of the disorganized room. This was beyond someone being messy. It looked like something intense happened. Something that would raise my concern. “Are you okay?”
Sabin laughed as he paced around his room. “I’m in therapy, Alma,” he paused and stretched his arms behind his neck. “That’s why I had to leave early on our date. That’s why I’m always on a tight schedule when we try to make plans. Alma, I–”
He waited for me to speak, but I had nothing to say. At that moment all I wanted to do was listen to him. I watched him patiently. My expression remained as soft as I could manage without showing that I wanted to reach out and take his hand. There was nothing that could scare me away, I thought. If he was getting help for something, then I respected him. I wanted to let him know I would still be there.
When he stopped to catch his breath, Sabin looked at me and waited. “You’re not saying anything. You’re not running out…”
“Am I supposed to?”
“Well, I wouldn’t want you to. That’s why I didn’t say anything.” He glanced at his hand before looking back at me. “This shit cost me a previous relationship…” Though his voice trailed off, I could feel he didn’t want to leave anything unsaid. “She didn’t want to deal with my baggage. I know well that this isn’t something anyone wants to take on, on top of their own life. I’d never ask that of you; I hope you know that, Alma.”
I offered him a smile and held out my hand.
I wiggled my fingers until he finally reached to take my hand. “Sorry, buddy, but there isn’t really much that could scare me away from you. Whatever it is, I want to be there for you, with you.”
You’d expect some sign of relief to replace Sabin’s solemn expression, but he looked more worried. He let go of my hand and took a seat on the edge of his bed where he could still be close to me. Our eyes were fixed on each other, which didn’t feel much as intimate, but more…grave. I heard him mutter something, but I didn’t understand anything.
“You know that I’m still enlisted, right? In the Navy?” He asked softly.
I nodded. He mentioned his time overseas, but never in much depth.
“I’ve been enlisted since I was 18. I have my fair share of stories from my travels and missions–at least the ones I’m allowed to talk about.” His smile was faint, but it appeared that those memories could still bring him some happiness. “My last tour, however, I don’t talk about that much. I’ve been working on it with my therapist, because I know that leaving that mess to brew in my head would not help me or my family.” He looked up and clenched his fist, “and it wouldn’t help those I want to be part of my life.”
His gaze broke away from mine; I couldn’t figure out what was happening. He was holding back and I didn’t want to pry the words from his lips. Somehow I felt that would have been the worst possible option for me. So, I waited until Sabin suddenly exhaled sharply and spoke without returning his gaze to mine.
“I have PTSD.”
[Author’s note: Hey loves 🙂 Hopefully this will be the last author’s note for now. I just wanted to fill you guys in on some things:
- I’m trying to “adult”. So, I’m looking for a new job. I’ve been super busy and super tired, so finding time to write has been incredibly difficult.
- I am BACK…somewhat. I am writing, drafting, and brainstorming.
- My computer is dead, but I am going to be building a new one soon. I’m waiting for a list of parts I will need.
- With a new computer and some energy to actually write…screenshots may be in our future 😛 However…I don’t have any of the Wells files :< So, I will have to spend a lot of time recreating everyone. Yikes.
- You’ll be seeing more of me 🙂 I may be slow and sometimes quiet, but I will never give this up. Not until this story has a proper conclusion.