I've avoided Nathanial this whole week. I have to make sure he knows that what happened that night meant nothing. He caught me in my vulnerable stage and I was helpless. Yes, that's it! I longed for someone to be there for me for so long that I couldn't help but let him be there. I sighed putting my brush down. This is all I've thought about all week. Why did I let him hold me? Why did I let him see me cry?
It's a salty wetness that could mean so many things. I thought I had no more tears left. I use to cry every night hysterically until one day, I just couldn't. I don't know what came over me last week but when that first tear drop fell down my face I was scared. I was scared that those dreadful nights would come back to me. The nights when I sat up all night lost in my thoughts and confusion. The nights where I let sadness and depression take over me. There were so many nights where I had no idea where I was to go next in life.
I braided my hair then quickly threw on yoga leggings and a baggy, long sleeve beige shirt and went downstairs to the living room. Finally, this is the first time Nathanial isn't already there. I grabbed myself a glass of Arizona Ice tea and sat on the couch to watch Spongebob. I don't know why, but Spongebob is beyond entertaining. I was laughing as Spongebob was breaking rocks with Patrick in 'jail' when I heard the front door open then slam shut. I heard my parents voice from afar and quickly shut the television off before cleaning up the living room.
"JACKLYN!" My moms' voice rang from behind me. I jumped around to see her and my father standing there with my moms' eyes bloodshot red.
I was terrified of what was going to occur next. Nothing ever came out good when either one of them was drunk. "Where's Nathanial?" My mom spurred while walking towards me. I tried to think of where he was, but the last time I saw him was on the couch this morning. "I-I don't know. He might have left, I heard him yell into the phone about being able to go out once in a while." She smirked at me. And it wasn't those nice playful smirks, it was a smirk that said I'm about to do something evil. Next thing I knew my mom had a broom in her hand and that broom was now a baseball bat while my head was the ball. The right side of my head was now throbbing in pain and I was no longer able to hold my tears in. "That's for being an awful, awful daughter you slut." I looked up at my parents and saw rage in my moms' eyes.
But not in my dads'.
I saw sympathy in my dads' eyes. Maybe even a little bit of regret. That made me angry. That made me want to take the bat from my mothers' hands and whack him until he was unconscious. How dare he feel sorry for me when he is no better than her? My mom was out the door 2 minutes later without a word. But I knew where she was going; to the club to whore around and get more drunk.
I had trouble standing up and now had the worst headache in my life. I knew I was most likely bleeding but I didn't care because the second my 'dad' tried helping me up is when I lost it.
"Don't, you DARE touch me!" He seemed shocked at my sudden outburst. "I was only trying to help, your mother is crazy. Don't take her seriously right now Jac, she's drunk." I rolled my eyes drastically at his pity.
"Oh so now you care?" I spat. I saw sadness in his eyes now, as if someone just took the soul out of him. Oh wait, he's only a ghost, he doesn't have a soul. "I always care, you know that." He looked at me in my eyes and I quickly broke the contact. "You're my daughter Jac, I'm your father, and I'll always care." He said quietly.
That made me furious.
"CARE? YOU DON'T KNOW THE DEFINITION OF CARE! AND YOU ARE NOT MY 'FATHER'. MY FATHER WOULDN'T COME IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT DRUNK. MY FATHER WOULDN'T HAVE BEATEN ME TILL I WAS BLEEDING! YOU DO REMEMBER THAT DON'T YOU? WHEN YOU AND HER HIT ME OVER AND OVER BECAUSE I DIDN'T HAVE DINNER READY FOR YOU! YOU DON'T KNOW ME, AND YOU NEVER WILL." I was on a roll and didn't plan on stopping. My hands were making gestures all over the place and if this were a cartoon there would be steam coming out of my ears, "YOU'RE A COWARD. A BIG COWARD. YOU DRANK BECAUSE SHE DID. YOU HIT ME BECAUSE SHE DID. YOU USE TO BE MY BEST FRIEND. WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT, HUH? IT'S ALL BECAUSE SHE DECIDED TO TURN INTO A LUNATIC CAUSE OF THE BABY!" A tear drop fell down my face and I wiped it away fiercely.
I was so sick of crying.
"You aren't my dad anymore. I don't know who you are but you aren't him." I whispered. He looked shocked but still had the nerve to reply, "I know exactly who you are. You're Jacklyn Marie Remirez. My beautiful 16 year old dau-"
I cut him off, "you're a sorry excuse for a father. Why don't you go fuck some whore and come back and beat me some more?" I began to walk away but turned back around to say one more thing, "oh and I'm 17, Jack. Thanks for remembering my birthday was nearly a year ago. Oh wait I forgot, you weren't here on my birthday." I said sarcastically before running out the house.
I ran and ran wherever my feet went. I didn't stop, I couldn't stop. It was like I was on this endless adrenaline rush. The wind was in my face, my eyes teary from the cold (well that's my excuse for my tears), and my feet freezing from the ground. I should have put shoes on. I mentally punished myself. I stepped on a pebble just as I reached a park and, only then, did I stop running. I walked to the swing set out of breath, and now not only was my head in pain but my foot as well. I could imagine how I looked right now. A manic running as if her life depended on it, with her hair in a messy bun, red teary eyes and no shoes on.
I'm a mess.
I heard the grass crunch from behind me but I didn't have the energy to look back and see who it was. My question was soon answered when Nathanial sat down on the swing beside me. It was silent between us for a few minutes. The air was full of curiosity. Now that he was here, I was certain he saw. Hopefully not but the sympathy in his eyes weren't too convincing.
"He's gone you know," he looked over at me, "you can come back to the house." I slightly shook my head not breaking my silence while looking up ahead of me.
It was then when I noticed where I was. This park seemed abandoned. As if no one has touched it in years. It only had an old rusty swing set and an old seesaw. It was hidden by the bushes that surrounded it and now I realized why my feet had dirt all over it. I had walked through grass and dirt to get here. I wonder how Justin found me; we seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. I then looked up at the sky.
"Did you know that you will never know which star is the brightest or which star is in the sky first? They say you wish on the first star in the sky then others say you wish on the brightest but there are so many stars in the sky, that you cannot see them all." I stated. He didn't reply so I took it as my chance to continue, "You know how many wishes I wasted on stars. I was so naive. But now I know wishes are for wimps." I heard him chuckle.
"Wishes aren't for wimps. Wishes are for those who need it." I huffed at his response. "Are you saying I don't need it? I know you saw and heard everything just now." He got up and kneeled in front of me, "No what I'm saying is if god didn't think you were strong enough to get through this, he would have granted your wish." I half-smiled and looked down. "I guess you're right."
And it was that very moment when we looked at each other deep in the others eye that I knew there was something deeper within him. I jumped as I heard a loud thunder. Justin stood up and put his hand out for me, "please come back with me. If it starts raining and you catch pneumonia I won't forgive myself for letting you stay out here." He pleaded. I hesitated but remembered my fear of rainstorms.
"Can we…. Um run?" I knew my fear was noticeable. He knew it without me even saying it. He was about to ask if I was scared but instead nodded pulling me towards my house. We ran hand in hand. Nathanial wasn't running as fast as he could so I could keep up with him. As we reached my driveway it lightened and I picked up my speed and dashed towards the door quickly getting inside. Nathanial came in after me seconds later. Nonetheless, it started pouring shortly after.
"Go shower and change, I'll wait for you in the living room." Justin demanded. I nodded and walked to my bathroom. I took a quick 16 minute shower. Just enough time to clean off the dirt and wash my hair. I wrapped a towel around my body and sauntered back to my room. I put on a long pajama shirt and leggings knowing I was going to take them off to sleep; I hate pants. I put my hair in a messy bun and stepped into grey moccasins before going downstairs.
I saw Nathanial watching Spongebob and now wearing basketball shorts and a white tee-shirt rather than his cargo pants and red v-neck from before. "You changed?" I asked.
"Showered and changed. I'm squeaky clean." He smiled; I did too. "That was a fast shower." I said matter-of-fact. He shrugged, "nah you just take long showers." I giggled knowing that was true. I sat down on the couch next to him and instantly concentrated on Spongebob. I started laughing really loud when Spongebob ripped his pants for the third time. I saw Nathanial smiling at me from the corner of my eye. I raised my eyebrow, "what?"
He shrugged, "nothing."
"Say it Nathanial!" I prepared myself for the worst. I expected an insult about my hair or my body or outfit or face. I mentally slapped myself for not putting make up on before coming down.
"Nothing, you're just cute." I felt my cheeks burn up as I looked down and whispered "liar."
"I'm being serious Jac." I only nodded in response. I could tell he wanted to say something else. He was always easy to read. "Go on, say it."
"Say what?" He was acting stupid. I rolled my eyes, "You know you want to say something. Just say it." I urged.
"Why have you been ignoring me this entire week? It's like one second you trusted me and the next you hate me." He looked sad and partly embarrassed for saying it. I shook my head, "I don't hate you Nathanial."
"Then what is it? I've been trying to talk to you all week but every time I got near you, you said you were too busy to talk. Or you said you were going out with your friend then two seconds later I would hear you on the phone asking some girl named Janely to go out." He longed for some answers and that was more than noticeable.
Should I tell him the truth?
"It was nothing. I wasn't ignoring you. I guess you always came at the wrong times." I lied. I don't know why I did. I so desperately wanted to open up to him and tell him the truth but I couldn't bring myself to it. Now he was angry. I could tell by the way his eyes lowered and his left eye twitched. I was always analyzing everything.
Nathanial stood up from the couch, "stop lying to me Jac! Tell me the truth for once! You cried all night last week. IN MY ARMS. Why can't you at least have the decency to tell me why?" He yelled frustrated. He sat back down and apologized for yelling. "Again, I'm sorry for yelling but seriously Jackie. Give me some answers. Don't you think I deserve that much?"
I could feel my face heating up and tears urging to come out. I stood up out of pointless anger. I wasn't even mad, I felt as if I was supposed to be mad, so I went with an agitated mood and shouted at him, "You want me to trust you with my life even though not even two weeks ago you were a prick towards me. How about whenever you came to visit you only gave Isabel attention and ignored the geeky fat girl. Why is it that now that I've changed is when you want to talk to me! It's not fair! What do you want me to tell you Nathanial Medina? That my parents use to come home drunk and yell at me. That it soon became physical! That even though I, and both of them, knew they were cheating on each other they still decided to come home to me and act as if everything was perfect! Is that what you want to know? That they don't give a crap about me!" He shook his head in disagreement.
"Your mom went through a bad stage losing her kid. She went down the wrong path and your dad only followed. It's the drugs and alcohol that make them the way they are. They do care about you Jackie." He reassured. I know he was just trying to be helpful and I was glad he was here to do that. I liked this Nathanial.
I half-smiled because of his response. "Yeah? Then why did they do absolutely nothing when I told them I was raped a year ago?" He looked like someone just stabbed him. His face went pale and I did not see one bit of sympathy or pity in his eyes which made me so much more comfortable. People know and when they found out that's all I would get. I don't want pity from no one. What's that going to do? Let me answer that for you, nothing.
He pulled me in for a hug. At first I tensed up but a safe, warm feeling washed over me. And that was the second time I cried in the arms of Nathanial Medina. "Don't shut me out Jackie. Please." He whispered in my ear. "And even if you do, I'm not going anywhere." I smiled through my tears as I heard the sincerity in his voice; finally someone that says something and means it.