Horizons Ch. 12: The Missing Year

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This is the lost year from Jody’s side. Much of it doesn’t include Ellie. She there though, when they start crossing paths again. This goes from some of Finding Ellie, Parts 1 and 2 of Simmering Inferno and all of Healing Touch. It’s long. I couldn’t do the story right without it being long. I also didn’t want to publish in 2 parts, I didn’t want it to lose its flow. Enjoy!

This was gut wrenching to write. I hope I did the year through Jody’s eyes justice. Please leave me comments. I’m deciding if I want to broach any more of their story from her view point. I wasn’t certain where to place this so opted just to make it chapter 12.

As always please favorite, comment, rate and send me some feedback.

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“Your best friend, the person you would rather be with over everyone else, is lying in a hospital bed. She almost died Jody. She fucking tried to kill herself.” He was screaming at me by this point. “You’re sitting here refusing to go see her. I don’t fucking understand you. Evan said they are admitting her to a treatment facility tomorrow. If you care.”

I looked at Joe with a blank stare. I had been home from my parents for a few hours. My phone had been going off ever since. Jessie. Evan. I just couldn’t. I got off the couch and walked upstairs, crawled in bed and cried myself to sleep. I barely moved out of that bed for days. Waves of pain hit me harder than any wave of pleasure ever had.

I laid in bed hovering under a cloud of despair where even my sleep wasn’t peaceful. Images of Ellie and that blonde wouldn’t stop tormenting me. The hole in my chest was on fire. I could barely move. I didn’t go into work for days. Joe yelled. At me. At the kids. I cared about nothing. About everything. The fog surrounding me wouldn’t lift.

Madi and Kevin weaved in and out of my consciousness. ‘Mom, where’s my’, ‘Mom can I’ and all other sorts of questions I neither wanted to hear nor answer. I wandered into the downstairs occasionally, ate something and went back to bed. Madi would barely look at me, and Kevin was just… confused.

My mother was there. Every day. Without her I may have withered away. I would have been okay with that. I didn’t want to be here, didn’t want to be anywhere. She helped with the kids, so they wouldn’t wither away. She held me when I cried, when I would let her near me. I didn’t want anyone to touch me most of the time.

I didn’t go near my phone for nearly a week. When I finally had the ability to move through the fog and pick it up, it was filled with messages.

Jessie- Jody. Mom. Oh God Jody she tried to

I read part of the first one then deleted the thread unread.

Evan- please come. She’s been asking for you. Please Jody

Another thread deleted unread. Two numbers blocked. A third just in case.

It had been 6 days of pure hell when I finally went into work again. I spoke to no one on my way through reception, purposely coming in early to avoid most people. I put my bag away and walked over to my desk. The picture of Ellie and I stared me down. Pain and anger hit me again as I looked at it. I picked up the frame and shoved it, face down, into the bottom drawer of my desk.

I was on autopilot for most of the day. So much work had piled up while I was gone, it was going to take me days to catch up. I threw myself into it, welcoming the distraction. Phone calls got returned, emails sent. I couldn’t have told anyone what I said or wrote. 12 years in this job flowed out of me and kept my work in check.

I had no idea what Joe told anyone here about why I was gone for so many days. I didn’t care either, I rarely called in sick. A knock on my door pulled me out of my work. I took a deep breath.

“Come in.”

It was Amy.

“Hey. Glad you’re feeling better. I was getting really worried.”

So, he must have told them I was sick. I hadn’t said more than 10 words to him since that day.

I weakly smiled at her. “I’m fine.”

Even I didn’t believe it as I said it. I watched as her eyes wandered to where the picture used to be. I looked at her, willing her to just say whatever she came here to say and then leave.

“Want to go grab lunch?” Her eyes had finally left the pictures.

I had zero appetite. “Thanks, but no. I’m still not really up for much food.” I turned back to my computer. Hoping she would just leave. She lingered another minute, then did.

I buried myself back in catching up and before long, it was time to go. I grabbed my stuff and left out the side door, avoiding people again.

I was home. My mother wasn’t here for the first time and I felt like I might fall apart before I even stepped inside the house. I walked inside, could hear Joe and Madi talking in the kitchen.

“Has Timmy said anything to you? About what happened between them?”

“Dad. His parents just split up and his mother tried to kill herself. He doesn’t exactly have much to say. And I’m not going to try and get info out of him for bahis firmaları you. He’s a mess.”

Madi’s words pierced my chest. The hole that had opened with Ellie’s confession continued to grow and fester.

The kids were on summer break, the summer race season was beginning. They moved on to talking about that. I couldn’t think about bikes and racing, so I went upstairs, took a shower then came back down. Kevin wanted to watch a movie. I hadn’t watched one with him in 10 days. I sat on the couch; he started the movie. His rules about no talking were welcomed. I was vaguely aware of the images playing out on the screen but didn’t invest anything in them.

I went to bed when it was over.

The next day went the same. As did the next. I refused to go to Madi’s race. I refused lunch with Amy. I sat on the couch with movies playing in front of me, zero idea what they were. Kevin asked me when Ellie would be coming for a movie. I didn’t respond.

**

It had been 3 weeks. We had reservations to camp for a week. I did not want to go. Joe and I fought, well Joe yelled, I stood there with a blank expression.

“You have got to snap out of this. I’m sick of you like this. The kids are sick of this Jody.”

I had no response. I had been doing everything I was supposed to. Taking care of work, the house, the kids. I walked away from him.

I went to work. I worked. I came home. My mother was there. Joe and the kids weren’t. I stepped inside and was crying before I even got my shoes off. She held me. Talked to me about the trip. She was going with us. Had been part of the original plan. Wanted me to rethink going.

“Jody, it would be good for you. Good for the kids.”

I didn’t want anything that would be good for me. I wanted to wallow in my pain and anger. I wanted to be left alone to do so.

I started to tell her that. Tell her there was no part of me that could go camping and I stopped. There was no point. I could see it in her eyes. There was no changing this trip and her going and me going. I could feel the worry for me pouring off her. Joe was right, I needed to snap out of it.

“Fine.”

And we went camping for a week. Went to the drive-in where El and I stole kisses behind the concession. The hole burned with anger now. We swam in the pool our bodies had been pressed up next to each other in, before we knew each other well. The anger grew.

The hole in my chest was no longer gaping. It was filled with more than sadness now. It was filled with raw anger at her. Anger for messing up my life. For fucking that bimbo. For breaking my heart. For ever even coming into my life.

I ‘snapped’ out of my funk and replaced it with being hyper focused on my kids and my home. On work. I still refused to go to a race. Madi didn’t push me to. Joe either. I went to work, came home did everything I was supposed to do for the house, for the kids, for Joe.

Summer break flew by. We camped a few more times, long weekends. Kevin and I went to all the movies he wanted to see, he asked me more than once why Ellie didn’t come with us anymore. Madi and I grew apart. Amy stopped asking me to get lunch, stopped knocking on my office door. Joe and I barely spoke. I barely spoke to anyone.

The kids started their senior and sophomore years of school. 3 months had come and gone. I was cleaning the house. My house was always spotless now. I moved the bookshelf in the living-room, I was rearranging. There was a piece of paper under it. I reached for it and realized it was a picture. A collage. The one Ellie had made from that first real camping trip. The one with the kayak and the drive in. The woods.

I couldn’t stop looking at her. Those eyes. I fell into a heap on the floor. It hit me that she almost died months ago. That I refused to go to her when she was in the hospital. How lost I was, had been since that day. The world without her in it was slowly crushing me.

I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My chest was pounding, was on fire, the hole open and gaping again. The world was spinning around me. Was this how Ellie felt when she had a panic attack? Was how I had been feeling since that day, how she felt when her mind battled with her? Was this what it felt like to be her?

I’m not sure how long I sat there crying. These tears were different. It wasn’t the pain she had put on me, it was the pain I caused her. I wasn’t there for her. I had ignored her when she needed me, had even wished she didn’t exist. I let my own pain overshadow her pain. What had happened that brought her to that point? What had I missed?

I spent the next few weeks in a different haze. Guilt directed every moment of my existence. Guilt mixed with pain and made me unbearable to be around. My mother tried to talk to me about the way I was, and I shut her down. I shut everyone down. Joe was back yelling at me, at the kids. I was back not speaking to him. My work was suffering. I got spoken to several times by my boss. I was numb to it though. I came kaçak iddaa closer than I wanted to admit to not having a job any longer.

The days moved forward and I started to get to a livable level of pain again. For the first time in months I got my hair done. Got rid of the grey, and a lot of the length.

Joe reminded me that Madi had a race this weekend. I was trying to repair my relationship with her. In the last few months I had lost all the progress I had made the year before. More guilt washed over me.

I was in the kitchen making tea. Madi and Joe came in from practice. They didn’t speak to me. It was the first time in a long time I noticed and cared. I stood there listening to them talk about the race.

“I’d like to go.” I managed to say to them.

They both dead stopped and looked at me. No one said anything for what seemed like an eternity.

Joe spoke first. “Okay. We are leaving at 5am.” I could tell by the tone in his voice he didn’t believe I would go.

“Okay.” It was all I could manage to say. I was tempted to say I would drive myself. I would chicken out on going if I did that though. Madi was looking at me with mixed feelings in her eyes. I had to start trying again. I had to care about something again.

I was sitting in Joe’s truck at 4:58am the next day. The bikes were loaded in the bed, my parents were taking Kevin for the day. I stared out the window as Joe drove. Madi was chattering away. I was trying to focus on her. Trying to engage her. I was failing miserably.. We arrived to where the race was. I helped set up the team tent. Kat must have hugged me 10 times over the next hour. ‘you have been missed’ coming from her mouth nearly as many times. I helped get the food ready for breakfast and watched the younger kids start their races. Timmy and Evan were here.

Timmy had grown, a lot. Madi still saw him, he had even been over a few times. I stayed upstairs, avoided seeing him. He still had his mom’s hair. So many of the kids had grown and changed since the Spring.

I was completely overwhelmed with the whole morning. I told Joe I was going for a walk. He reminded me that Madi would be starting soon. Spoke to me like I was a child. I told him I wouldn’t miss her; I just may not be up at the start line. I couldn’t take one more parent telling me they missed seeing me all summer.

I watched them go past me, Madi had a good start, Timmy even better. As the crowd of bikes went by I saw Jessie, then Ellie. Every bit of pain and guilt I had felt in the last 4 months smashed into me at once. I couldn’t’ move.

The hole in my chest tore open wider. We were in the same space, the reality of us having to be in the same space hit me. Our kids were still dating, still racing on the same team. I had let mine down enough since that day. I wasn’t going to continue to. We had to figure out how to both go to races. Come to some sort of truce.

I found my ability to move, started walking towards them. They had turned and were walking into the woods. I don’t even know why I spoke, except maybe it was just time. The voice I hadn’t heard inside me in months, was telling me to fix it. Fix us, some part at least. I didn’t want to listen. How could I not?

“Hi Jessie.” My heart was in my throat as those two simple words escaped my mouth.

I watched as they both stopped moving. Jessie slowly turned around, but Ellie stayed frozen. My eyes darted to her wrists, I realized I had no idea how she had done it. How she had tried to die. I looked for scars, but she wasn’t turning around. I couldn’t see.

“Hey Jody.” Jessie quickly said then turned back around. The look in her eyes sliced through me. She tugged on her mom and they walked away, faster than before. I wanted to yell for them to stop. I wanted to cry. I wanted the pain to stop. For us all.

I took a deep breath as I tried to fight back the tears that were threatening to start. I walked to the team tent. Sat in a chair in the very back. Parents came and went, I sat.

She was in the tent, looking for something…her bag. It was in her arms when I stood up, said her name. She froze as she had done when I said Jessie’s name. I had such a need to see her face. To understand everything about the last months. I willed her to turn around. She didn’t.

“El. Please.” My voice was filled with emotion. I hated that. She slowly started to turn towards me. Her eyes were not hers; they were dull, her skin was sallow. She had lost weight; I could see it in her cheeks.

She started to move forward; The need to escape written all over her face. I stepped to block the way, then stepped towards her. I wasn’t in control of my own movements.

Her shoulders were stiff, her lips tight, “Don’t.” came out of them. She was shaking.

I stopped moving. “Just let me talk for a second Ellie. We have to figure out how to be in the same space. Our kids are best friends. They race together. We have to figure it out.” I wanted to figure it out, I needed her to talk to me. kaçak bahis She was staring at me. My eyes were pleading with her. Her eyes were filled with pain and guilt and shame.

I watched as she chewed on her lip, her hands were both twitching badly. I didn’t see anything on her wrists. I looked at her again. She spoke. “No. I shouldn’t have come today. I won’t come again. You don’t need to deal with me in your world.”

She made a move to leave and I stepped aside and let her. She walked by me; was so close I could feel her. Her energy was so wrong, so different. I wanted to grab her, hold her, fix this, fix us. I realized in that moment that despite everything, I loved her. Beyond all reason, I still loved her. And she was still in so much pain.

I watched her walk away, towards the parking lot. I felt the pain in my chest come back full force. My arms crossed tightly around myself, trying to keep the hole in my chest from expanding. Trying to keep myself from falling totally apart.

I was raw again. The drive home was brutal. I was in my own head, and I was making decisions, life changing ones. It was time. It had been time for a long time. We got home, I helped Madi get her stuff in the house. I looked at my daughter, she was growing up, I needed to get to know her again. I needed to get to know myself again. Figure out who I was now.

**

The team was racing this weekend. I was going. I went in hopes she would be there. She wasn’t. Jessie was though. I watched as she walked away from the team tent, she and Evan had been talking, the tension between them was evident.

I approached, gave her the space to avoid me if she wanted to. She stood there staring at me. Then she was hugging me and crying. I held her as she cried, held my own tears back. She started talking. Telling me everything that had happened since that day. How helpless she feels most of the time. How nearly every time she leaves her mom alone, she wonders if she will be alive when she returns. I choked back a sob when she said that. She went into how hard every single moment is for her mother. She wasn’t the same person Jessie had known her whole life. She wasn’t anything like she had been when we were friends. Then she looked at me.

“Oh God, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that; I shouldn’t have unloaded on you.” She wiped her face then continued. “She told me what happened Jody. What she did. I’m sorry.”

I looked at her. This 17-year-old who was now more adult than child. “So am I, Jessie.”

We talked the whole time Madi and Timmy were on the course. She turned her eyes towards me, her face was so much like her mothers in that moment. “Do you hate her Jody?”

I closed my eyes and took the deepest breath I had taken in months. “I hate what happened Jessie. I do. I hate everything about that time. What she did, what I didn’t do. But no, I don’t hate your mom. I did…for a long time. I can’t live that way anymore, I won’t.”

“I wish she could hear that.”

I had my doubts she would ever let me talk to her again. Jessie handed me her phone. I gave her a questioning look.

“Try?”

I stared at it in my hands then opened up a text.

Me- Ellie. It’s Jody. Don’t delete this please read it. I came to the race hoping you would be here. El I really want us to talk. Face to face. Please.

My heart was racing as I stared at the message, it went from sent to delivered to read. No bubbles indicating that she was responding.

I tried again.

Me- please talk to me Ellie.

Sent, delivered, read.

Ellie- Stop using my daughters phone

My heart sank. I tried once more.

Me- Please Ellie.

This one didn’t send as an IMessage. I sighed and gave Jessie her phone back.

The kids were coming across the finish line and we stood next to each other watching them. Madi won in the girl’s division, Timmy was 3rd in the boys. I walked with Jessie to the podium. They were so excited. I was glad I had come, that I was here for this moment.

We were leaving when Jessie came up to me. She hugged me again, “I hope you both figure this out Jody. Figure out how to heal. I love you.”

Her words hit me. I whispered that I loved her too. I had missed her more than I realized until that moment.

Madi was over the moon excited about her win. I told her we would get cake and celebrate. She asked if Timmy could come over.

“Of course, he can. We will celebrate him too.”

She hugged me, tight. I was making more decisions as we drove home. I was ready to act on them.

Later, after Evan and Timmy left, I told Joe I was done. I wanted a divorce. He wasn’t surprised. I told him about Ellie. About who we used to be. His responses made me wonder if he had already known, had figured it out long ago. He wouldn’t admit to that. It didn’t matter. We were done, she and I would never be a thing again.

He slept in the in-law apartment that night, memories of my time in that bed with her filled me. I laid in my bed alone. Sleep was not coming. The next day we told the kids. I told my parents. My mom wanted me to go see someone. To talk about everything that had happened over the last year and a half. I told her I would think about it.

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