The Wells Legacy

Without you, today's emotions would be the scurf of yesterday's ~Hipolito


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Author Update: I Did Some Adulting Today

Hey all! I hope all is well!

Today has been a pretty crazy Mother’s day as it was also my graduation 🙂

I can’t believe it, but after 2.5 years of community college and then transferring to a university for another 2 years..well…wow..

I did it.

I am now a graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in English 🙂

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❤ I have a job to finish up for a client in the next 2 weeks, however I do hope to write a new chapter soon, and keep it consistent from here on out!

Till next time!

-Olga


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Sixteen

Sabin’s Point of View

I forced my way back home, treading through grass and along sidewalks where I planned on continuing the date. Guilt ate at me like heartburn that I couldn’t settle. Alma was left to return to her dorm without the date even coming to a proper end. There were plans to get ice cream from the Irish parlor they had only ten minutes away, but the incessant ringing in my pant pocket reminded me that I wasn’t yet allowed that flexibility.

“How was it, man?” Otto asked. His body turned in the couch and his head rested on the cushion.

All I could do then was whip my phone out of my pocket and sigh.

He knew what I was doing.

My room was a mess. Clothes were sprawled all over a bed that hadn’t been made in weeks. On the bright side of things not going too, too well on my date: I wouldn’t have brought Alma over to see the pig sty. As the alarm on my phone sounded again, I grabbed my laptop and brought it to my desk.

After logging in, the calendar application didn’t waste time in reminding me that I missed a call from NCRodriguez151. Quickly before the pop-up came up again to tell me it had been ten minutes, I clicked on the username and waited for the dial tone to connect me.

An image of a woman in a blazer showed up on my screen. Mine was a small box in the corner, but to her it was blown up. She could probably read my disappointment in every crease on my face.

“I was starting to get worried, Sabin,” she began. I saw her flip to a new page in her notepad. The notepad that she had marked “Sabin McKenna”.

“Sorry.”

“Well, as long as you’re here. I was just curious since you’ve never been late—not even by a minute—to our appointments.”

She was right. Then again, I couldn’t remember the last time I went on a date. Better yet: the last time I actually felt something for someone.

“How’s your medication, Sabin?” She asked, quickly scribbling down notes. The scratching of her pencil on the notepad startled me.

I glanced at the orange bottles on my nightstand. The sight of them made my stomach turn. Those tiny pills were aids that left him feeling dependent. Some days when the nightmares were too much, I took them. When the nightmares stopped, I looked the other way.

“You should be running out in the next few days. I’m going to write you a new prescription, okay? You can pick it up at the university pharmacy. I know they have Zoloft on them. Have the nightmares been okay? Easing up a bit with the new dosage?”

I sometimes wanted to break down and tell her like I did the first time we met. There were many dreams that tormented me, but it was always the face of Captain Williams that never let me be. He told us to watch each other’s back when crossing the field. The chances of mines being in the field just—

“I sense you want to change the topic.”

“Sorry I was late,” I finally said. I figured it would be appropriate.

“As long as you’re okay,” she smiled. “I get the feeling this appointment pulled you away from something?”

Now I couldn’t hold back a small smile. I remembered her smile and the way that her hair brushed against an exposed shoulder. It was Carmen all over again only this time I didn’t feel like I was only seen as a military brat. This time a woman appeared to feel something for me without knowing what happened. This time, she didn’t know what I did. My weird quirks were somehow forgiven, but I didn’t know how long I could keep it up.

“That girl,” I started, “that I meet at the café after some of our appointments.”

“Alma, am I right?” She asked.

I nodded after shifting my laptops position. “I took her out tonight.”

I caught Dr. Rodriguez scribbling away on her notepad. Knowing her for years, I established this as her thinking it was an important move in my treatment. My stability with Carmen, the last woman to be intimate with me, was questionable. Things weren’t left off right, because when I hoped for a future with her, her dreams were somewhere else. Somewhere that didn’t include me in the picture.

The thought irked me, so I leaned back in my chair and ran my hands along my short hair. There wasn’t much that I could do once I’d be forced to tell Alma everything. I never liked secrets, and if this somehow ended up developing into something more, then how could I keep her in the dark? I’d scare her. I should have done this a long time ago. Honestly, telling her was one of my “healing” assignments, but when I saw her face each night, I couldn’t tear her away from talking about her day to telling her that I watched my squad captain get blown up by a landmine.

I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Dr. Rodriguez looked at the screen and her lips parted in a small smile. “And you’ve told her about your PTSD, correct? It takes a lot to bring something like that up, and even more to be strong and supportive of someone going through what you’re going through.”

Through clenched teeth, I nodded. “Had to.”

Unfortunately, I had a hard time following these assignments when my mind was more mesmerized by Alma’s smile than the twisted mess inside my head.

But I knew I would have to.

Someday. Somehow.

I’d tell Alma everything there was to know about Sabin McKenna.

~*~

Author’s Note: Thank you for reading ❤ 🙂 That’s one. Also, thank you for sticking by this story even though I haven’t been able to update it frequently! I intend on finishing this legacy, however at this point it may be without pictures.
I’m graduating this semester. Woohoo! Finally getting my degree in English!  I’m pretty excited, but also experiencing a very hectic life.
I also actually took on my first freelance project that involved me writing web content for a new company website, so that’s been pretty exciting. Now that’s coming to an end and I have another project that will require me to write the backstory and dialogue for a video game that a Video Game Design class is working on at school. I’m extremely thrilled about that, because I applied for the writer’s position and got the spot. I’m honestly so excited to be working on this type of stuff! Ahhh! Well that’s just a little update from me.
Thanks for sticking with me! ❤
-Olga


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Fifteen

When plans are made, the days in between seem to drag. It’s actually quite annoying how that happens. Classes seem much longer, sleep doesn’t seem to end soon enough, and texts don’t arrive fast enough. I didn’t see much of Sabin since that night, but instead of him dropping off the face of the earth, like last time, he promised to keep in touch via text.

Done with class?

            Seen at 6:50 PM

 

I waited for a response patiently when the day finally came. No plans were discussed just yet about our date. Part of me figured he’d have it figured out, but maybe it also meant that he was going to cancel plans last minute. I mean, 7 was already getting pretty late to do stuff aside from just going to the café and sitting there till the sun would come up. It was a Friday night, so if I spent the next day in bed, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Sure, Dani would give me some crap about it, but that wouldn’t be the worst.

Not going to answer? I looked down at my phone and tried to summon what mystical powers I wanted to make the message pop up on the screen. Oooh, come on! Come on! Don’t make a girl wait like this!

 

I can meet you by your dorm if you’re ready. Hopped in the shower first—sorry 4 wait

 

***

It only took me 15 minutes to finish getting ready once I knew Sabin was on his way. The added pressure really got me moving. If only Dani could see me rushing to pull up my tights and boots without even toppling over onto the floor. Ah, she’d never believe me. When I was ready I grabbed my keys and walked out of the room. Knowing us, there was a chance we’d stay out late, so I didn’t want to wake up Dani with my knocking.

“Hey,” I said, walking downstairs where Sabin was leaning against the wall. “Sorry it took me a little while. Dani borrowed this shirt before and well, ya know…”

“That’s fine,” he shrugged and motioned for me to follow him out the door. “Luckily where we’re going, time isn’t really important.”

“It’s the café, isn’t it?” I laughed as I followed. I stayed close, but I wasn’t sure what it was I wanted to do. Do I linger close, or do I keep my distance. Do I brush up against him or go straight for his hand?

Sabin turned around so he could face me. Ah, walking backwards? That’s a no for the hand.

“You think I’m that predictable?” He asked, his hand reaching out for mine. Bingo.

I took his hand without thinking twice. “Well, I wouldn’t say predictable, but I mean, what else did we ever do together?”

“Exactly,” he sighed, “I thought it would be nice for us to do something different. As much as I enjoy our talks at the café, I wanted to actually take you out.”

 

Neither of us said anything about it, but even without speaking I felt fine. It was good to be walking with him. To say I had feelings for Sabin was well, the least of it. I never really felt close to any of the men I met at school. Not in college. Not in high school. Sabin was my best friend. We talked and actually had meaningful conversations. None of it felt repetitive or just mindless. With Sabin, I wanted to listen to him talk, and I actually wanted to hear things about him. I wanted to learn about what made him who he was. It was the first time I wanted to know more. Before I really knew it we were away from campus and on our way to a camp ground that I only really heard about. It overlooked our campus. Dani told me about it; Saul took her there once.

“Did I take you by surprise?” He asked. “The date, that is…”

“I don’t see you for days, don’t hear from you for days,” I exhaled and leaned back on my palms, feeling the thin blades of grass between my fingers. “And then you just come back and ask me out?”

“You got me,” he groaned, lying down on the hill. “Asking was the easy part. I-I didn’t really plan on it happening that day, but I had to redeem myself somehow after being gone so long…”

We sat in silence for a while. The clouds were keeping out of the way for now, which was quite the rare occurrence. The sky was lit up by the stars. It was one those sights that really just left one speechless. I looked over at Sabin from time to time who looked more than content. I remembered the first time I really talked to him at the café. He approached me, telling me he’d seen me all over campus and finally worked up the courage to talk to me. Two months later we started spending time together outside of the café. We still drank coffee, we still talked, but it was all strictly as friends though it would have been foolish to ignore the electricity I felt between us.

“Why was that the easy part?” I finally asked.

“Hmm?”

“Why was asking me out on a date the easy part?”

“It was the domino effect, Alma,” he said. “I pushed myself to do it because then I would have no choice but to tell you what I thought of when I saw you each night.”

“And what would that be?” I fished for more.

“How great I think you are, and how alive I feel again. Even in silence, I feel so…”

“I understand it.” I slid down the hill and stopped when I was next to him. That entire night, and every night before when I first felt that electric buzz in the pit of my stomach, I wondered what his lips tasted like. Experience? He was eleven years older than I was after all. Did they taste like what that night felt like? I always blushed when I thought like that. I never thought of anyone that way, with such intimacy. Everything with Sabin felt new. To Dani it was completely normal, but this was intense. I trembled thinking about him, but steadied myself when I felt my hand brush against his firm shoulder.
I smiled the entire time. “Thanks for asking, Sabin.”

“Yeah, well, you’ve given this old man a reason to stay up late,” he chuckled and reached to drape his arm around my shoulder.

In my head I felt the end of our date coming to an end and I had to picture what would happen. Would he walk me back to my place and just stand there awkwardly? Would we finally lock lips? Ugh the possibilities were there, but all we were missing was the moment. I couldn’t wait.

I had to wait.

I bowed my head and glanced at him.

At first he reached over and cupped my chin in his hand like a child sheltering an injured bird. It wasn’t enough. He shifted his weight around so he could free his hand, planting the newly freed hand on the other side of my face. In all that time he never said a word. There was nothing between us that lingered as coherent words. Our staggered breaths were the only present noise before Sabin kissed me. Sabin’s pained sigh was the other sound he made when I kissed him back.

I would’ve kept going if it hadn’t been for his phone ringing from the inside of his pant pocket.

“Shiiit,” he sighed and rubbed his thumb down the side of my face. “I was just beginning to really enjoy the silence.”

“Do you have to go?” I asked, hoping he’d forget about whatever he had to do just so he’d kiss me again and just pour fuel onto the fire brewing inside me. Wow…

His look mirrored my own disappointment. I could see it as he fiddled around with his phone. Any other person who would tell me they had to go wouldn’t have hesitated so much. Sabin looked at me while clutching his phone. “I wish I didn’t, but I have an–” he stopped himself to reach behind his head to rub his neck.

Even if we couldn’t continue our evening or even have it end with him walking me back to the door where he’d look me in the eyes, I felt that he didn’t mean to cut our evening so short. After all, he took me all the way off campus. Disappointment flared again.

“Skype appointment,” he smiled halfheartedly. His hand slowly reached to touch mine. “I’d skip it, but I honestly shouldn’t miss it.”

I looked up away from his phone and glance at him. “What?”

“And I’m hoping we can reschedule this,” he cleared his throat,”this date.”

I wanted to agree, but I knew I’d just be going along with whatever he said. I wasn’t that type of person, right? Trying to come together with some witty comeback that still left me feeling not quite as defeated as that stupid phone call made me feel, I shifted my weight before getting up from the grass. As I offered my hand, to help him up, I shrugged.

“What do you say to that?” Sabin asked.

“Well, I’ll say yes as long as next time you tell me more about yourself and not get snatched away by Skype appointments, eh? What about next time you fill me in rather than build up your mysterious facade,” I said with a smirk.

He rubbed his arm and chuckled. “You have a deal.”


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Fourteen

 

By my third year of college, I knew one section of the campus like the back of my hand. When I was running on twenty minutes of sleep, or seven hours, I could maneuver myself round the campus to my classes. Life evolved for me. I made new friends. I learned life lessons that I hoped to pass on one day. And I even experienced some of the things my mother did when she was in school:

Ramen noodle shortages;

a lack of quarters for laundry;

and the amazing feeling of coming back home for weekend, just to snuggle up in my bed.

I found myself embracing many new things, like staying up ridiculously late just to talk to someone. Even Dani was surprised despite this habit formed almost two years ago.

“You’re going out again?” Dani asked, brushing her long, and now green, hair. “Does that mean I can have Saul over without you moaning and groaning?”

“You do whatever you want, my friend,” I smirked, scooping my bag up off the floor and slinking it over my shoulder.

“Is it Sabin?” Dani asked before I made it out of our dorm.

My smile was all that was needed.

Yes, it was indeed Sabin. It was funny how it happened, really. We met the first week of school when I was a freshman. I didn’t realize it until we actually started talking much later. He had to point it out to me that he was the one who handed me a bottle of water to drink when I got a bit too tipsy at my first college party. After that moment, we had made our nightly coffee sessions a tradition. Sometimes he wasn’t there, but sometimes he was. I tried to focus on those days more than those where he wasn’t there.

When I got to the cafe, I quickly ordered my drink and made my way to what I deemed as “my table”. It was only because I sat there every night.

“9 o’clock on the dot,” the man behind me chuckled. “I think that’s what they call an addiction.”

“Poking fun at my need for coffee?” I chuckled as the man’s own cackle carried around me and ended up before me. “You’re one to talk. You’re up now and till god knows when. And–” I said, pointing this his full hands, “ I see you’re basically double-timing your intake.”

Sabin rolled his eyes and placed one of the cups on my side before sitting down. “I didn’t know if you got yours yet, so I went ahead and got you a cup.”

My eyes widened. “W-wow, thanks.”

I saw Sabin’s lip twitch upward. His sheepish smirk was electric—sure made the hairs on my arm stand tall.

“Now, don’t drink all of it at once, kay? I need you around tonight. Haven’t seen you the last few days and I was hoping to catch up.”

“I should be saying that line,” I mentioned, leaning forward. “Everything okay? You didn’t even really text me about it…”

Sabin’s brow furrowed. Somehow I felt I shouldn’t have said anything, but he leaned back in his seat, letting the cushion absorb him. “I’m sorry about that, but I just didn’t feel well enough to keep you company. Wouldn’t have been fun for you.”

“Did ya catch a cold?” I asked. God, I wanted something more out of him than apologies. We were really starting to get close. We started sharing things, but the closer we got, the sooner Sabin would cut off our personal chats.

“No I—look, Alma, it’s okay.” He bowed his head and smiled, only slightly, but smiled nonetheless when I nudged his foot with mine. “I’m better today.”

“And I’m happy to hear that. So what do ya wanna tal–”

“Can I take you out this weekend?”

I was happy that my mouth wasn’t full of coffee and that I wasn’t even holding the cup, because when Sabin spoke, I thought I was going to soon find Otto, his roommate with a camera in my face—screaming “HAH! GOTCHA!” I didn’t respond to Sabin immediately and I knew the pause was killing him, but I was taken back. Can’t blame me, right? He doesn’t show up for days, then just blurts out he wants to take me out? Like, wait…

“Like, on a date? O-or,” I quickly tried to come up with an alternative, but nope, I was blanking.

He nodded. “Like, a date.”

I was still quiet, feeling my body tense up to the point even the softest peep out of a chair screeching against the wood floor, or even someone clearing their throat would sound loudly, but Sabin’s soft chuckle soon alerted me of him and him alone.

“Your cheeks are so red,” he whispered tauntingly. “Does that mean we can try this?”

“T-try?” I smirked while I tried my best to have the color in my face stop concentrating on my cheeks.

“Something other than coffee for a change,” Sabin responded.

“Yeah…” As if there was anything else I could say when the thought of talking with him about nonsense had me looking forward to my evenings. “I think I could give up coffee for a night.”

***

The rest of our night was spent talking as if nothing happened. We went about our night touching up on subjects of new movies, new park attractions at the amusement park twenty miles from the school, and very rarely did we acknowledge the fact that our eyes lingered on each other longer than usual. Now it didn’t seem so innocent anymore. Now there was purpose.

“So, hold on,” Dani sat on her heels as I relayed what happened that night with Sabin. “Seriously? You’re finally going out with him? Girl, I thought you two were already getting down and dirty and you just weren’t telling me…”

“Yeaaaah, I wouldn’t do that.” I said softly. I never really felt the things that Dani did.

She clicked her tongue and hugged her pillow. She understood how I felt, but she still clicked her tongue and winked at me. “Yeah, I know. I’d be able to tell immediately. Wells, I can read you like a book.”

I shrugged.

I laid in bed that night, staring at the cream-colored ceiling. There were many nights spent wondering about what just happened and if it would ever become a reality. Some nights I’d lose sleep over silly things that he’d say, because I’d want to dig into some hidden-meaning when there really was none. But tonight? Tonight there was something to be analyzed.

Sabin felt something and that something went beyond me just being a friend he killed time with because he couldn’t sleep.

[Author’s Note: Yes, I am aware that there aren’t any pictures in this chapter. I’m currently finishing up my semester at school and loading the game to get a few pictures that eventually just crash my game is a bit much to deal with when I have 4 chapters (even if a bit shorter than usual) to post. I think 4 months is long enough to be on a hiatus.]


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Thirteen

Life at home was rather crazy, and even now that I was back at school I could feel the lingering presence of sadness. Before coming back we had Grandpa Grey’s funeral. It was a long week that I had to watch Dad struggle with the hope that there was a way out of a coma. In reality, that coma was what was keeping Grandpa Grey still with us. It was truly upsetting, and I felt horrible that I couldn’t be the most comforting person in the family. Mom was good at being there for Dad and for everyone who came to say their goodbyes. She asked me many times if I was okay, because I hadn’t cried. My expression faded and lost all trace of happiness, anger, and even sadness. I felt incredibly numb, but I–I just didn’t know what to do in such a situation. I never had to face such a situation where I almost lost someone. Well, not at an age where I actually understood what was happening.

But as expected, life keeps moving forward. There is no way to pause anything. Dani had heard about what happened over my holiday, so she kept her questions to a minimum the moment she saw my body tense up. She was like my sister. She could read me like a book.

“Did you want to hang out tonight?” Dani asked, flinging her backpack onto the foot of her bed. “I’m done with classes for the day!”

I was happy that she offered, but the reality was that I had to actually study for my horticulture classes. With a foggy mind, I knew I couldn’t pass any of my classes without putting in extra hours with my books, and well, with my plants as well. “Maybe another day? Maybe you can spend some time with Saul? I’m sure he missed you over break.”

She opened her mouth quickly before shutting it again. She changed her mind. Dani bobbed her head. “But next time, please let’s hang out. I feel like I’m not getting nearly enough one on one time with you. And you know I’m here if you want to talk, right?”

“Yeah, Dani. I know,” I smiled, picking up my bag to head out. “Thank you,again.”

The day was coming to an end, but that didn’t really affect me. That was mainly because sleep wasn’t treating me all that well, so I made the best of it by loading up with my favorite tea late and spent most of my time at the college cafe. I actually got a lot of my homework done that way.

You could say that I was a bit of an insomniac at school. My productivity was at its highest outside of my dorm and between the hours of midnight and 4 in the morning. I was lucky that semester, because the majority of my classes weren’t until 1 in the afternoon, which gave me some time to actually get a good nights sleep after powering through my studies.

 

***

“Alma, thought you wouldn’t make it tonight,” the barista said. “Green tea late?’

I took the warm cup from the barista and dragged my feet to the back of the café. Tonight there was a small group of people studying, but no other special events. The ethereal sound of Soren Juul occupied the air.

Days passed like that.

I lost track of what was happening outside of my school work. Getting ahead on my homework and taking on extra projects mainly to help myself became almost cathartic.

Thinking of my grandfather and of my father became easier with each month, but I still stayed at the café each night.

I loved the solitude that I found in a busy space.

Before I knew it, months had passed, and like clockwork I’d make my way to the café. By that point I only had to slip the barista money and my order would be waiting for me.

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It was the middle of April when I heard the chair behind me screech like a fork against a porcelain plate. Even if it was annoying, I did my best not to turn around. I was sure the person who caused it didn’t want any additional attention drawn to them.

Then it squeaked again, so I had to turn around except that the person was no longer in their seat, but standing in front of me. Being seated didn’t help, because the guy was tall. Like, very all. I craned my neck up to look at him.

He was lean with facial features that could help distinguish him from others. His cheek had a discolored line that trailed down his cheek and his cheeks were decorated lightly with freckles of different shades of brown. I looked at him as if I had seen him before. The hair was different, but the blue tint was like a blurred memory.

“What’s up?” I finally said. As those words left my lips, I remembered. I remembered the hair, but it wasn’t until his lips parted lightly to show half his teeth that I knew exactly who he was. All that was missing from his hands was a plastic bottle of water. Instead he had a steaming drink in each hand. “Ah….hello there.”

His face appeared to be tense, knotted with some form of anxiety. I only knew because I saw that look in the mirror every morning when I rushed to get ready for my classes.

“Don’t know if you remember me…,” he said.

“Oh,” I chuckled, “I remember.”

His name was Sabin.

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Sabin and I talked till six in the morning that night, which normally wasn’t easy for me with people outside of my family, unless it was Dani. We didn’t seem to run out of things to talk about, but I admit that the majority of our conversation ended up with him bringing up the party where we first “unofficially” met.

Sabin continued to laugh heartily until he covered his mouth to cough. “You know,” he said breathlessly, “I’ve been meaning to talk to you for months.”

“What?” I asked suddenly stopping mid-bite of my stale croissant.

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“I saw you here a few months ago. You seemed really down, but I didn’t want to be some random guy walking up to you ask if you were okay…”

I didn’t know which night in particular, but I knew it had to have been not long after the funeral. My life was all sorts of crazy then. The café served as one of the few places I could escape to.

“Well, you’re certainly not a random guy anymore,” I smiled. “Now I’ll actually remember your name instead of a partially blurry face.”

He chuckled.

I was so drawn into the conversation that I barely noticed that the baristas changed. The morning girl was there, Aimee.

“Oh my god! What time is it?”

Sabin stopped and glanced at his cell phone. “Oh wow…”

I quickly stuffed my notebooks and laptop back into my bag while Sabin sat without flinching. He simply watched me. I had to stop for a moment to glance over at the barista then back at him. “Why don’t we make a little routine out of this?”

“Routine?” He said with a smile.

“Yeah. I’m here every night. And if you’re around, then let’s talk…,” I bowed my head. “I could use more talks like this.”

Sabin bobbed his head and got up as I did. “Yeah…I’d like that, too.”


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Twelve

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So much of life passes us by in a single blink of an eye.

You don’t think much of it until you’re struggling to grasp each second as it begins to slip past your fingers, like sand…

We arrived at the house not long after we originally promised. Oren and Jax were still young enough to have the excuse of their bladders not being strong enough to withstand a few hour drive. Our slight tardiness, however, did not mean that we weren’t welcomed with open arms.

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“You’re here!” Aunt Arecia exclaimed. She practically busted down the door and ran to us just to be the first one to wrap her arms around all of us. “I sure hope you found this place alright. I know we’re a little secluded.”

Mom assured her that everything was fine and that our tardiness was not the fault of our GPS failing. In fact, at some point during our trip we were actually able to outsmart it!

When we walked inside the house, I finally saw the holiday decorations. Lights and festive garlands decorated the already rustic atmosphere of the house. To be honest, this house was perfect for the holidays and everyone seemed to agree. If someone was lacking the holiday spirit, then all they would have to do is step inside Aunt Arecia’s home to immediately be embraced with the fuzzy feeling of Christmas.

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“Is that my baby, I hear?” It was Grandma who came from the kitchen once we were all filing inside. Mom was right! Our grandparents were here, and I couldn’t wait to tell her about my time away at school. Grandma looked amazing for her age. In fact, she was one of the few people, aside from Grandpa Grey, who rocked a cane. I mean, she had quite a swagger to her walk!

I wanted to just right into my conversation with her, but I was going to hold myself back until after dinner, or at least right before it. We were only getting warmed up, and some of us weren’t even in the house yet. Kaden was running back and forth with Dad, bringing in all the presents we had for everyone. I was really beginning to feel the holiday spirit when all I could see were the smiling faces of my family. I mean, even at this point in my life, and even Mom’s–people who we used to see every day, or at least once a week, were only seen a few times a year. It was a no-brainer that life got pretty crazy. I suppose this was a good example of importance of “stopping to smell the roses”. The older I got, the more harder I tried to appreciate that thought.

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“U-um,” Madelyn yelped. No one seemed to notice it at first, until I gave my Mom a tap on the arm. My younger cousin looked both horrified and confused.

“What’s going on, sweetie?” Mom asked, suddenly raising her hand, to pause the conversation she was part of.

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The poor girl was speechless as she continuously pointed back to the kitchen and in no time everyone was rushing to see what was happening. We all made it there quickly only to find Grandpa Crescendo on the ground with  Grandpa Grey, laying on the wood floor. Everyone gathered around them–my cousins, my uncles, my friends–they all stared in disbelief as our grandfather was working on keeping  Grandpa Grey’s head from hitting the hard ground. Past me came my dad, and his reaction was one that sent the entire moment into a slow motion montage. I loved my dad more than words could ever possibly express, and there was never truly a time that I saw him look more scared than he did at that very moment.

Mom was right beside him within moments as she quickly instructed me to dial for an ambulance. I did that without thinking twice.

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“911 what is your emergency?” The operator asked.

“My grandfather collapsed; he’s unresponsive…”

 

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The flickering red and blue lights blurred the holidays lights. Despite the beautiful decorations in my Aunt’s house, the feel of solemness couldn’t be taken away. My dad was shaken. Mom was doing her best to console him, but even then it was difficult to watch, because all my life I saw my Dad as the true pillar of strength in our family. When Mom was stressed, he helped her fight back and regain her strength. Now, it was her that was working on being there for him. I loved him, but seeing him like that–I was afraid to step closer. That was how I was stuck with babysitting duty along with my brother.

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“When will we go home?” Jax moaned.

“Is Grandpa G going to come back for story time?” Oren pouted, squeezing my arm tightly.

I didn’t know what to say.

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Oren and Jax were huddled under my arms. Their spirit was dimmed, and it had occurred to me that this was the first time they were in the hospital for something like this.  This wasn’t the Christmas they were picturing in their mind. Normally around this time we would be seated around the holiday table and often everyone would be moving onto second helpings of delicious holiday food. I made eye contact with Mom from time to time while she remained with her arm on or around Dad’s shoulder. Then when I wasn’t around to get Mom another cup of water for Dad, or snacks for the kids, Grandma Attie and Grandpa ‘Scend were cruising around the waiting room asking to provide the same thing.

“How are things at school?”

I looked at my grandmother and I couldn’t think of what she was saying. I saw her lips moving, but nothing was registering. “W-what?” Did she seriously ask that?

“I-I’m sorry,” she quickly apologized before taking a seat beside me. “I was never good at hospitals. I’ve been in so many in my life, and rarely was it a good time.” She exhaled softly and rubbed her head. “I don’t know what to say, truly–gosh, I was just hoping to maybe change the subject. You’ve been sitting here so quietly–are you alright..?”

I couldn’t answer Grandma’s questions when even I didn’t know the answer to that. How was I to know how to respond. I saw my father cry for the first time yet there I was without a single hint of moisture in my eye.

Grandpa walked to us and placed his hand on Grandma’s shoulder. “Have you heard anything?”

I shook my head. Grandma did too.

It was Christmas Eve in a hospital. As happy as the holiday was generally assumed to be, there were high spikes in attendance during the holidays too. As upsetting as it was, it was the unfortunate truth. I didn’t know what to say to my grandparents, but talking about school was just something that I couldn’t do. It didn’t seem right, you know? We were all huddled on the uncomfortable seats in the waiting room long enough that Grandpa ‘Scend offered to take the younger kids back to Aunt Arecia’s place. Mom agreed that it was a much better idea for them to be there while we waited for any news on Grandpa Grey. I was asked if I wanted to go back as well, but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t leave my parents.

As the waiting room slowly vacated, a middle aged man with his blond hair slicked to the side walked out the door with a clipboard in his hand.

“Cateo Saunders?” He asked like a professor taking attendance.

Dad quickly got up from his seat and walked to the doctor. It was then that I saw how heavy his eyes looked. “C-C-Cateo Saunders. Y-yeah. I’m uh, that’s me. My last name changed, but yeah, I’m Grey’s son. How’s he doing, Doctor?”

You know those moments in movies when someone receives bad news and all of a sudden all dialogue fades and all you see if the gestures while emotional  music plays? Well, this was nothing like it. This was nothing like that at all. The waiting room wasn’t quiet at all. Coughing patients occasionally walked by and nurses pushed wheelchairs, but even then I could see my father’s face lose all expression that even held a smidge of hope.

“I’m sorry, Doctor,” Mom said, stepping to Dad with her arm immediately around him. “What’s going on?”

“Mr. Saunders has suffered a severe stroke.” He quickly looked over his notes on his clipboard and rubbed his head. “It is to no surprise, I am sure, that Mr. Saunders is very old.”

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“But I’ve known people who’ve had strokes and they’re fine! I’ve even seen them with some facial paralysis, but they were still alive and well as they could be for many years!” Dad suddenly exclaimed before being pulled back by Mom. He was clutching his head; I couldn’t even think of how horrible he must have felt. I never really knew what it felt like to lose someone, and seeing the way Dad was reacting had me wishing to never feel it. If I were in his shoes at that moment, I wouldn’t be able to take it. Grandpa Grey was Dad’s father. He was all he had left since his mom passed away when he was much younger. This wasn’t fair. Grandpa Grey still had so much life left. This couldn’t have been it for him.

The doctor bowed his head and ushered for Mom and Dad to follow him down a hallway where I felt they were keeping Grandpa. I quickly shot up from my seat only for my uncle, Mattieu, to help settle me down.

“There’s nothing we can do right now, but just wait.”

Waiting was the worst part, because we couldn’t do anything. We didn’t know what was happening, and we definitely had no medical knowledge to know how to help him, to help anyone in our situation right now.

How does one help others deal with grief when they don’t know how to grieve themselves?

I felt so useless in a time when I knew my family needed each other the most.

~

Grandpa Grey was brought home to us for the finals days that he had left. Being that he was so up in age, Grandpa was kept in a coma, which was essentially the best way that doctors could alleviate the pressure on Grandpa’s brain. The doctor mentioned doing everything to help make things easier, however any additional operations wouldn’t have  aided him. Despite there not being many days left, Dad didn’t want Grandpa to be stuck in a hospital that lacked the feel of true comfort. It was a sterile environment without a single hint of home. So after renting out all the medical equipment required to sustain Grandpa, he was brought home for his final days, which would be spent with family.

Our holiday was cut short due to the obvious circumstances, but Mom never failed to try bringing some brightness to our days, even to Dad who very rarely left Grandpa Grey’s side. Even though he was comatose, Dad believed that his dad sensed his presence, and didn’t want him to think that his only son was celebrating during a time of great struggle for the family. As hard as Mom tried, it was the simple reality that our holiday wasn’t going to magically turn into an amazing celebration. To me it made sense and I understood completely, but Mom definitely had to spend some more time with my younger siblings, the twins specifically, to explain to them why we weren’t going sledding, or allowed to play with their new toys around Grandpa Grey.

Grandpa Grey was taken care of very well in his final days, but even so, his time had come in the early morning with no pain or discomfort. It was as we were told: he simply drifted deeper into a sleep that freed him of any pain.

~

“Is Dad going to be okay?” I asked, keeping my head bowed in some poor attempt to muffle my voice enough for Dad not to hear me. He was sitting outside the church just beside the cemetery where Grandpa’s funeral was. Everything happened so quickly, like dominos collapsing into a pile of active dynamite. There was no slowing it down, no stopping to smell the roses. A life had ended and the aftershock was finally hitting those around us. Friends and family were sending their condolences and yet there I still was–unsure of how to respond.

Mom sighed, the fatigue she felt was underlined clearly by the bags under her eyes. “I don’t think so, sweetie,” she responded.

That was a stupid question, really. How could anyone who lost their parent be okay?

“So you’re heading back to school soon?” Mom asked, doing her best to stray from other topics, mainly ones that were unfolding behind us. “Is Dani going to be back yet?”

I shrugged. “No, but I figured I’d go get my stuff setup again. I have some stuff to review before my classes start up again.” Every word that left me felt like complete and utter bullshit. I felt pathetic, and frankly pretty shitty because I didn’t know what to do anymore.  “Will you let me know if you need anything? I’m only a short flight away,” I mentioned. I wasn’t good at coming up with the right thing to say in that situation, but I needed them to know that if they needed anything, I’d be there in the blink of an eye. Even if it meant having to take time off from school to help–I needed them to know I’d do that.

Taking a quick look at Dad, Mom smiled as heartily as she could. “I think we’ll be okay. In time it will get easier. I think we just–your father especially–need some time to process and grieve properly. I’ll be staying with him and working out any legal things that are left on Grandpa’s will.”

I stepped back, but before I could walk away to catch the taxi I had called to take me home and then to the airport, I forced myself to walk to Dad. The closer I got the more clearly I could see his discomfort. Dad was lost and he needed us. There wasn’t anything that I could think to say, except for that I was sorry. He had nothing to say in return, but he pulled me into a hug. His arms were trembling, but he was still so strong.

We knew we would make it through. Maybe not in the next few hours, or even the next few weeks, but in time we would.

And I would be there every step of the way.

~

[Author’s Note: Hey, guys! Thank you for reading!! And thanks for being so patient. This was supposed to be out last night, however, my game is just a pain in the butt right now. This explains why the post isn’t FULL of pictures from start to finish. When a game takes about 10 min. to start up and crashes constantly…well, it’s a little annoying. I really don’t have the time for that to be happening every time I play, especially since I have a full school schedule AND work. So I think I should say that posts won’t be too frequent while I work on figuring out what to do with this. This doesn’t mean I’m done posting–I just ned to redo some stuff in my game to hopefully make it run better.

Thanks for your understanding!

xOlga]

 


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Eleven

Winter break for college students meant that finals were finally over and it was time to sit back, relax, and go back home to spend the month with family. I was eager to go back home since I hadn’t seen my family much since the beginning of the school year. I knew I missed a lot, because each time I would call or Skype with my mom, she would fill me in on all the different happenings in St. Claire. Now I had an opportunity to be part of these moments rather than just hearing about them through the grapevine.

My semester concluded with average grades. Well, three B’s and one A’, which to me wasn’t as well as I knew I could do. There was always next semester to really kick butt. Dani was in the same boat as I was, however her sorrow did not come from having average grades but rather knowing that she would be leaving Saul for a good month. Unless they would find a time to meet up over break, which as romantic as it sounded was close to impossible being that Saul’s family lived in Washington and we were all the way on the other side of the country.

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“I’m going to miss that big goof,” Dani sniffled in the taxi that was bringing us home from the airport.

“Aren’t you going to Skype and stuff?” I asked.

“Well,yeah, but you know that it’s not the same.”

I was going to say something about it being a good way to stay in touch over long distances and periods of time, but I knew that it wasn’t the communication that she was talking about, but rather the physical aspect of her relationship with him.

“Ah well,” I cleared my throat and gave her a pat on the back. “The Holidays will be over before ya know it. Then you’ll be able to get back to him.”

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While Dani’s mind was elsewhere, I looked out the window as the suburban area of St. Claire finally came into view. One by one, we drove by all the decorated houses. I always loved the holiday lights. All the bright colors illuminated the front lawns and even if the town was behind on getting an adequate amount of snowfall for that time of year, the feel of the holidays was apparent.

I said goodbye to Dani once we made it to my house and as the taxi drove down the street with my friend, I stopped to gaze upon my home. Bright lights were hung up along the roof and festive decorations were set out on the lawn. It had been quite some time since I saw that lawn, and it felt like it was ages since I saw those decorations. Not wasting another moment, I threw my bag over my shoulder and pulled my suitcase behind me until I got to the door.

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The door swung open and I was nearly tackled to the ground by my twin brothers. Holy smokes! Those little rascals were not so little anymore and their excitement to see me was truly appreciated.

I ruffled their hair with the palm of my hand and laughed only to end up coughing due to the cold. “I take it you missed me?”

“Yes! So much! Caius sleeps in your room all the time now! Old kitty!” Oren exclaimed while Jax huffed and puffed—trying his best to climb on top of us.

I smiled at the thought of Mom’s cat sleeping in my room. Caius had been with us for such a long time now, and even though I knew that he probably wouldn’t be around forever, it was nice that he was able to be around for everyone through all the years. We didn’t know how that cat was still going so strong, but who knew, maybe we had a super strong cat.

Unfortunately I knew the same couldn’t be said for poor Angelo, who had “run away to join his bandit brothers”. At least that’s what Mom wanted the twins to think. Normally she would tell us the truth, but over the years it had appeared that she had softened up a lot more. Well, for the sake of the holidays and the happiness of my brothers, I didn’t say a word about poor Angelo.

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“Thought I heard someone over here,” Dad said, walking through the doorway and straight towards me so he could embrace me. “Aw, pumpkin, good to see you. Was your flight alright?”

“Yeah. It was just fine!”

Before long everyone had come downstairs to greet me. I swore we were catching up more much before I even unpacked! My brother was maturing before my eyes and I admit I now had to take back any mocking comment I ever made about his facial hair looking like peach fuzz! Then there was Mom. She looked just as beautiful as ever. I was praying to take after her when I got older, then again I wouldn’t mind if I was more like Dad. I was pretty blessed with two parents who were aging like fine wine! Dang!

As much as I wanted to stay up with all of them and catch up, I knew that I wouldn’t last. The flight from school tired me out and the not so smooth ride in the taxi didn’t help either. I was ready to hit the hay in my own bed, in my own room. Tomorrow would be a day for catching up and reminiscing—a true Wells holiday tradition.

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“Good morning, sleeping beauty.”

After a quick rub, my vision was finally clearing up to see that Mom was moving my curtains away from the windows. “W-what time is it?”

“Sorry to break it to you, but it’s almost nine. I figured I’d wake you so you can come eat some breakfast.”

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I yawned as I sat up. “Who’s going to be here this year?”

It was rather funny. There was once a time when we spent the holidays together. All of us. That meant including all of my aunt’s and uncle’s, but now that everyone was starting families and moving away for jobs and overall better opportunities, such large family gatherings were becoming rare. Grandma and Grandpa were still there, so that was such a special treat for everyone. I couldn’t want to tell my grandparents about school. They were always such a great support when I talked to them about what it was I wanted to do with my life. On more than one occasion, Granny Attie helped talked me out of reconsidering my goals.

“Your grandparents, of course. They’re excited to see you,” Mom admitted as she moved to sit at the edge of my bed. “Aunt Arecia and her sons, and of course your Grandpa Greyson.”

“Really? It’s a for sure thing for Grandpa G?!” I exclaimed. Grandpa Grey was getting up in age, so his visits weren’t quite as frequent. He lived in a retirement home in Hidden Springs, so traveling was a bit much for him often times, but when he was able to visit us it was definitely a great time!

“You bet,” Mom smiled, “know what’s even more exciting?” She added and didn’t bother waiting for my reply. “We’re not hosting this year. Aunt Arecia really wanted full reign of Christmas Eve. Shuyin says he’s pretty excited. They’ve been cooking and baking for a while.”

“Auntie Arecia? Really?” I couldn’t help smiling. “She sure sounds like she’s full of energy.”

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Mom nodded. “Yeah…she’s in remission, sweet girl. Her treatment went according to plan and she’s been fighting so hard. You know, Alma,” she said, getting up from the bed, “you come from a line of really strong women. Maybe I’m not up there with the rest of them, or at least as high, but when I look at you and your siblings, I know that I did something right in my life. So if you’re every feeling down know that it’s in your blood to overcome even the shittiest of situations.”

“Thanks for the motivational pep talk,” I smirked.

“Hey—it’s all part of the job description, okay?”

Oh, it definitely was. If I had any intention of being like my Mom, I had to start memorizing her format for these lectures. No child of mine would  ever go without knowing they come from a line of fierce women!

I got out of bed not long after my chat with Mom. As much as I wanted to sleep the day away, it was Christmas Eve and I was not going to pass up a once a year opportunity to feast on Mom’s gingerbread waffles. It would be sinful! Downstairs, utensils were clanking against plates and my brothers were in the middle of a debate about a new show that they were obsessed with. It wouldn’t be long, I thought. Oren and Jax often wasted little time in dragging me into their little fandoms.

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“Alma! Alma! Good, you’re up! You can help settle a debate!” Jax shouted with half a bite of waffle in his mouth.

“Don’t listen to him!” Oren pouted. “Captain America will survive! He can’t die!”

Once again Jax finished chewing his food and raised his fork up in the air. “Yeah, right! I don’t think so! He’s going up against Iron Man for creating the Ultron program! I’d be angry!”

“They’re a team!” Oren shot back.

“Not anymore!” Jax hollered.

“Nuh-uh!”

“Yuh-huh!”

The back and forth banter of my siblings had me look past them to the end of the table where Kaden shrugged. “They got a hold of my Civil War comic.”

That. Explained. Everything.

Mom turned away from the counter with another plate of waffles. “Alrighty, settle down everyone. Captain America and all his buddies will be just fine. Let’s enjoy our breakfast before we have to really scramble and get ready. Aunt Arecia would like us at her house at five. And knowing us, we’ll have to leave extra early, okay? It’s going to be a long drive.”

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Dad came in sipping his coffee before he joined us at the table. “Which is why we’re all starting early with our coffee, right, kitten?” He paused for a moment, long enough to see Mom bob her head before speaking again. “This is nice,” he said. “It’s been a while since everyone was present around the table.”

That I could definitely agree with. For many months the closest that I got to have a family dinner was sitting across from Dani in the dorm’s dining room, while scarfing down a bowl of ramen noodles. So, being home was nice. Eating food that wasn’t full of chemicals and whatever else it had, was even better….

“Are you happy to be back home?” Dad asked, finally sampling Mom’s breakfast. “Sure hasn’t been the same without you around,” he chuckled.

“Yeah, it’s definitely nice to be able to sleep in my own bed. Super comfy. Finally.” I answered.

“Have you met anyone new?” Mom asked, only I knew in her cheeky tone that she wasn’t asking about friends, but boys.

“Hey! HEY!” Dad hollered, pointing his fork with a waffled skewered onto it at Mom. “S-she’s in school to learn, ya know! She doesn’t need some boy right now! Right, baby girl?”

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I laughed at his sudden protective response, but I shrugged. I thought back to the first party we attended, and then some of the others, but all that time no one really caught my attention. I really found no reason to go out and look when I had Dani to fill me in on all her romantic happenings. After hearing all of that, I just went about my own business. So, to calm down my Dad, and sadly disappoint my mother, I shrugged.

“Nah, I haven’t. I’ve been keeping to myself for now…”

And even as I said those words, I came to wonder if my entire college career would be just that…”keeping to myself”. I tried not to think about it too much, because there were better things to think about at that moment, like if I could manage fitting another gingerbread waffle into my stomach. Which I did, actually. With a few pauses.

“OKAY! Wells family, let’s get these dishes cleaned up,” Mom exclaimed after we finished eating, and giving Dad a playful smack on the arm. “Time to shower, get dressed, and head out! Our Holiday is just about to begin!”