Sunday, 27 November 2016

Forrest 3a

I am woken up quite abruptly by something hitting my head, not hard but it was the shock of being hit, along with the loud shouting that I can hear.  Whatever hit me is still on my head, and I feel like I'm buried under something.  I try to knock whatever it is off and I can now hear Alpine laughing quite loudly.

When I open my eyes the bright bedroom light, that he has obviously turned on, makes me squint for a moment until my eyes have adjusted to the brightness.

Mel groans and rolls over towards me, but continues to sleep.

   "Get up Leafy you idiot!!"  Alpines snaps  "What have I told you about leaving all your clothes lying around the house and all over the floor, for the kids to find!!"

Mine and Caramels clothes, that is what has just hit me, Alpine has obviously picked them all up and has just thrown them all over me.   I struggle to sit up as I knock all the remaining clothes off me, and onto the floor, wandering when he has ever told me this before.  This is the first time that I can recall us being this careless, but where is the stress when the kids have all moved out and it is just the three of us in the house.

He hands me my phone, which I put down on the bedside table.  Alpine suddenly runs off, over to the window and I wander what he is doing as he starts mumbling while he is tugging forcefully on the curtains like a complete idiot.

     "Alpine STOP!!  Just leave them, you are going to pull the curtain pole down, then you'll have Mel going off on one!!"  I shout at him quietly trying not to wake her up.
     "Then you should have closed them shouldn't you.  The stupid things are stuck!!"  he mumbles as he really yanks at the curtain  "Anyone can see you in here from outside, you know not to leave them open!!"  I hear the curtain tear quite loudly  "Oh Boy!!  Now look what you've made me do!"
      "Alpine just leave them before you do any more damage!"
      "Oh Berry, she is going to give me a damn headache now!!"  he scratches his head as he starts laughing at the torn piece of curtain in his hand.

I lie there laughing at him laughing at himself, while I retrieve my underwear from the pile of clothes and put them on underneath the bed clothes.  I notice how dark it is outside.  We normally do make sure the curtains are drawn, but last night we had been too preoccupied and in too much of a hurry to get onto the bed to even think about closing the curtains.

Alpine tosses the piece of curtain onto the floor like a naughty child and comes over to me.  I am sat chuckling at him as he smirks at me.

       "You know I'm blaming you for the curtain, don't you leafy!"  he laughs at me
       "If you must."  I laugh back at him 

      "Come on, you need to get your gay but out of bed, the kids are going to see you sneaking out of the house if you don't hurry up!!"
      "Hell Alpine!!  What time is it?"  I laugh at him
      "I don't know, but the kids will be getting up for school soon, so isn't it time you went home!!"
      "Seriously Alpine it is still the middle of the night!!"
       "While I think about it, your boy needs a new bike, he's knackered his completely and broken the stabilizers and I'm sick of listing to Cinnamon having a go at him for pinching his."  this really makes me laugh for a moment  "Bay, Slate, Storm and Tapestry have been riding their bikes down the stone meadow steps like idiots, and smashed them up.  They could have broken there necks, falling down those steps, if they had come off their bikes, Mango has gone totally mental at them and so did I!!  I've grounded him because he should not have even been in the Meadow in the first place, or doing something so stupid!!"

I frown at him for a moment, he's obviously reliving something that happened in the past, but I wander with him mentioning the stone meadow steps and broken necks, if this memory hasn't been triggered by Sunny fading, due to him breaking his neck on those very same steps.

       "Mate you are living in the past again!"  I laugh at him  "Bay did that when he was about ten, and the stabilizers was years before that!!"
       "Wake her up, she needs to fix their breakfast, or they are going to be late for school."  I rub my eyes as I glance over at the clock and it is 3am.  "Come on Leafy, it's time you did one before they see you!"
      "Alpine, it is only 3am, and the kids don't go to school any more.  They are not even in the house, to see me or my clothes, they are all grown up and have moved out remember."
       "Have they?"  he frowns at me as he scratches his head
       "Yes!!"  I laugh at him   "So no, Bay doesn't need a new bike, he's a big boy now, and I don't really think he would appreciate me buying him one now, especially with stabilizers, do you!!"  he just grumbles as I start howling at him which makes him start laughing.
       "Yeah, I remember now, it's cars you are having to fork out for now, not bikes!"  he starts howling, I think more at himself for his forgetfulness
      "We need to get you back to bed, it's still the middle of the night."
      "I don't want to go back to bed, I'm hungry, I need feeding, wake Mel up."  he mumbles as he glances over in her direction  "Hell the curtains are open!"

He barges off over to the window again and I have to jump up quickly,and run round to the other side of the bed trying to stop Alpine from doing any more damage to the curtains or waking Caramel up.  I can't help but laugh at him, he seems to be having one of his forgetful sessions, which can get pretty amusing at times, for me at least, Mel just gets really irritated and ratty with him.

      "You should shut these curtains anyone can see you from outside!!"  he snaps
      "We have already been through this!"  I tell him as I pull him away from the window  "Look you ripped them remember!!"  I point at the torn curtain on the floor before I pick it up and throw it into the bin.
       "Oops!!"  he starts laughing and I can't help laughing with him.  "Mel GET UP!!"  he yells as I draw the curtains closed before he starts tugging on them again.
      "Leave her!!"  I laugh at him  "She needs to sleep - she's not feeling too good."
      "What's up with her now?"  he laughs  "Tell me you haven't knocked her up again!"
      "Don't be stupid!! That will never be happening again, and do you think I'd be this calm and normal if I had!!"  I laugh at him as he starts howling at me  "She is just exhausted from looking after you!!"
      "Judging by the trail of clothes that started in the living room, I'd say it's more like you keeping her awake all night!!"  he starts laughing
      "Chance would be a fine thing!!  We are past all that now, don't you think!"
      "Not judging by the clothes trail, you are not."  He starts howling really loudly  "I seriously didn't enjoy picking your undies up off the stairs and landing, or hers!!"
       "Alpine Shush!!  You are going to wake her up."
       "Good because I'm hungry, and it will teach her for banning me from using the kitchen!!"
        "The kitchen ban is only because you keep breaking things and trying to set fire to the place."  I laugh at him quietly  "Just come with me, if you need feeding, I'll do it."
      "Well if you are making breakfast I don't want any of your shitty toast!!"  he snaps
      "It's French toast, not shitty toast ... so what do you want to eat?"
      "A ham and tomato butty will do!!"

We make our way down to the kitchen and I can't help but laugh all the way down the stairs, remembering what Bay told us yesterday about his outburst over the ham and tomato sandwich that he was given, now he is asking me for one.   I hope I am not getting a repeat performance and he is not just about to try and break bones or start caving my head in, like he did to Bay.

Alpine sits down at the table, while I start to make him the sandwich that he wants.  He starts drumming his fingers impatiently on the table behind me.

      "You know, you need to be more careful, Cinnamon is a detective, it's not going to take him long to suss you two out, especially if you keep sleeping over like you have been, since all the kids moved out.  You are being careless leaving your clothes about for him to find."  he mumbles  "And I noticed she was washing and drying your clothes the other day."
      "It's not like we leave clothes around often, and Cinn is not likely to come round at 3am in the morning to inspect the contents of the washing basket, is he!!"  I laugh at him, he has obviously forgotten again that Cinnamon has faded, so I just humour him.

Trying to remind him that his son has faded generally sets him off and puts him in a mood, its almost like he is hearing it for the first time and has to start the grieving process all over again, so we try to change the subject away from Cinnamon whenever he talks about him like he is still alive.  I have noticed that he has a really hard time with Cinnamon in his mind.

       "How many sandwiches do you want?"
       "Just one, I've got that half a pizza from last night to finish off"  he laughs  "Leafy put some cheese on with the ham and tomato, and I'll have ketchup too, seeing as Mel is not looking.  I seriously don't know why she moans about me putting ketchup on everything."
       "Well you do put it on some odd things, like your cereal for instance - it must taste rank!!"  I laugh  "You used the last of the ketchup on your pizza last night.  I didn't realize it was running low when we did the shopping, I'll have to get you another bottle later."

I glance back at him and he is playing musical chairs.  Sitting in one for a few seconds then getting up and moving to the next, I wander what he is doing but don't bother asking him.  I notice he has sat in all of the chairs except one, the chair that Cinnamon always used to sit on.


He starts laughing quite loudly as he points towards the unopened bottle of wine on the side.  Im glad his mind has moved away from the chairs, he sometimes gets a little fixated on the chair that Cinnamon used to sit on, which can set him off, especially if anyone sits on it.

       "She didn't touch her favourite wine after we went for that ride out to Apple to specially get it for her!"
       "Yeah I know, she said she didn't fancy it ... she wasn't in the mood to drink alcohol she reckoned."
       "What did she do with the flowers ... batter you with them?"
       "Yeah, you got it!"  he starts laughing
       "I told you not to waste your money!!"
       "I should have listened!!  I got rose thorns stuck in me everywhere, and she made me clean up the mess that she made!!"  we both start laughing at each other.  "She hardly touched her dinner either, she just played with it, I don't know why I bothered to go to all the trouble of shopping or cooking, if I'd known, I'd have just given her half your pizza!!"
        "Huh!  I told you, there is no point even trying to butter up a sulky Mel, it never works especially when you are the one who has upset her!!"  he frowns at me  "You still didn't tell me what you two were arguing about?" 
       "It was over text messages that someone sent me yesterday, even though I've told that person to stop and leave me alone.  Mel just had a paranoid fit."  I laugh at him  "But it's all sorted now.  I managed to talk her round, so I'm back out of the dog house again."
       "Yeah I guessed by the clothes trail!!"  he starts laughing
       "So you remember which decade you are in at the moment?"  I laugh at him
       "Yes, I know the kids have all grown up and moved out, I was just half asleep!!"
       "Was you dreaming about Bay and his broken bike?"
       "I must have been."  he shrugs

I put his sandwich down in front of him and he starts to tuck into it straight away.  I pull the pizza box out of the fridge and leave it on the side before I sit down watching him, a little amused that he is eating the sandwich without a problem.  I am careful not to sit down on the chair opposite where he has finally settled to sit, because that was Cinnamons chair. 

       "Where is the ketchup?"  he frowns at me
       "I told you, we ran out, you used the last on your pizza last night."
       "Oh yeah!"  he mumbles before he continues eating.

Alpine had woken up from the sedation in a pretty good mood yesterday afternoon.  So after me and Caramel had finished thrashing out the future in theory, she had a sleep, while I took Alpine for a ride out to Apple Hill so that I could do some food shopping.  He now still seems to be having a good day, he remembers our trip out and the pizza we put in the fridge last night, other than having his initial forgetfulness and forgetting Cinnamon has faded, which he does all the time anyway, he is appearing to be pretty calm and sane.

     "You need to have words with that boy of yours ... he tried to poison me yesterday!!"
     "Yeah he told us you had accused him of it."  I laugh  "What made you think he was trying to poison you, when it was actually Mel who made the sandwiches?"
     "He thinks I'm stupid, I saw him switch our plates around after he'd been messing with them."  I frown at him for a moment
      "What did he do ... lift up the bread?"
      "Yeah he did!!"  I laugh, half tempted to ask him how he thinks Bay was trying to poison him and what with, but I don't bother.
     "If I know Bay he was probably just checking the sandwiches to see which one had tomato on it, you know he doesn't like tomatoes.  I think you know Bay wouldn't hurt a fly and he definitely wouldn't be trying to poison you, he loves you, you are his Dad!!"
       "So he thinks!!"  he laughs quietly  "He is gay that's why he couldn't hurt a fly ... I wander where he got that from?" he smirks at me
       "Mel, because he didn't get it from me that's for sure!!"  he just laughs as he carries on eating  "You fractured his arm you know ..."  he looks up at me and stops chewing  "... and you told him he's not your son."
     "I didn't did I?!"  he frowns at me  "So does he know now?"
     "No we told him you didn't know what you was saying because of your head."
     "You can't blame me for slipping up, I can't think straight most of the time - without having to worry about what I am and not saying!!"
     "Yeah we understand that you can't help it half the time, and they know not to take too much notice of what you are saying when you have a bad day, but if you say it too often, he might start thinking about it.  I think it narked him a little."
     "Isn't it about time you two came clean?"  he frowns at me  "It is ridiculous that we are still hiding everything!!  Is she still refusing and digging her heals in?"

      "We are going to tell them soon - I've finally talked her into doing it, and I'm not letting her change her mind this time either!!"
      "Good luck with that one, you know what she's like!!"  he laughs
      "I've told her I'm walking if she changes her mind."  he frowns at me  "I've threatened to leave her and I've told her this time, I'm doing it whether she likes it or not.  We should have put our foot down with her and out voted her six years ago!!  You will back me up if I have to tell them on my own, won't you?!"
       "Yeah, of course I will.  She can't keep putting it off forever!!"  he smiles at me  "They are going to hate me aren't they!"  he starts to look upset
      "Don't upset yourself!!"  I smile at him  "You are their Dad they could never hate you, even when they know the truth, It is me they will hate not you!!"
      "When are you doing it?"
      "In about three weeks, once Mel has had a break away and is feeling a bit more herself."
      "Is she sick?"   he frowns at me
      "No she is just mentally and physically worn down.  You have been hard work lately for everyone, and not just Mel.  You have appeared to be very frustrated lately and have been lashing out a lot more, so until Mel goes away, I'm going to be around a lot more to help her and I need to keep an eye on you, because if it gets any worse we might have to get you back into hospital for reassessing.  I'm hoping its just grief and nothing medical."
      "Is that why you had blood and pee off me yesterday!"
      "Yeah, I told you, I'm just giving you a check up, to make sure you are fit and healthy!"  I smile at him, I don't mention the bed wetting because I know it upsets and embarrasses him.

He doesn't say anything he just continues to chew on his sandwich thoughtfully.  I sit watching him wandering if I should make the most of his mental stability.  We need to talk to him about a few things, but it is always hard because some of the time he is not mentally stable enough to take it in properly, and everyone is always having to walk on egg shells with him, because the slightest thing unhinges him and he starts to lash out.

    "So what is upsetting you lately, is it anything in particular?"
    "I'm sick of all this fading, Cosmic, Jazz, Honey, Storm, Cinn now Sunny.  I can't handle it, and I'm sick of being caged in this house being baby sat all the time, feeling useless!!"

     "Yeah, I thought Sunny fading might have triggered you off."  I frown at him, the name Jazz rings a bell in my head but I can't think why.  "Who is Jazz?"
     "One of our school mates - that green bitch faded him when she cut Ice's face.  You've never seen him, he didn't come here with us."  he mumbles  "Mango, Jazz, Cosmic, Sunny and me, there is only me and Mango left out of the boys."
      "You must be having a really good day if you are remembering so much about your school mates."
      "I guess."  he mumbles  "Its funny, I have thought about Jazz a lot lately.  I saw him."
      "What do you mean you saw him?"  I frown at him
      "In the cemetery.  I was lying on the floor crying, and Jazz helped me get up ... his eyes were shining really bright, he actually hurt my eyes, and he was so cold!!"  he shudders dramatically which makes me laugh  "He hugged me and he said the strangest thing!!"  he laughs  "He told me not to cry because Sunny is with him and he.s okay.  He also told me not to be scared of fading, because it is not the end, and when my time comes, he, Cos and Sunny would be waiting for me.  Then you turned up and he flew off through the bushes so quick I hardly saw him go!!"
       "Was that the night I found you in the cemetery a few days after Sunny faded?"
       "Probably."  he mumbles as he shrugs
       "Mate, you was very confused and lashing out that night, you was angry and upset because Sunny had faded.  You had gone out wandering during the night and I had to go out and find you.  You lost it in the cemetery and I had to get Prelude and Mulberry out of bed to help me get you home.   It was your mind playing tricks on you, you know you hallucinate sometimes, you are always saying you've seen a ghost, you are as bad as Tapestry!!"  he laughs for a moment
         "I do see them, I used to laugh at Tap like everyone else does, but not any more!!  I see Cos and Storm here all the time!!  I've even seen Tapestry shouting and wrestling with Storm and Cos in the cemetery at someone's funeral, I can't remember who's - the one where he was digging up graves!!  I think Cos and Storm were trying to calm him down."

 I cringe because he is talking about Cinnamons funeral, but I don't remind him of that.

       "Alpine, we all saw him yelling at an invisible Storm and Cosmic."  I laugh  "He was just having one of his emotional outbursts because he was upset."
       "Ahhhh but they weren't invisible to me - I could see them just like Tap obviously could - you know Tapestry is not mad, he does see them, they actually were there, because how else would Tapestry know Cos, he never saw him living!!"  he laughs 

 I just stare at him and think about what he just said.
        "I saw Sunny last night, with Cos, they were sat in the living room watching you and Mel messing about like a pair of kids on the sofa while I was playing that racing game.  I can see they are talking to each other, I just wish I could hear what they are saying!!"  I start laughing at him.  "You know I swear they are following you, they seem to be listening to and watching you and Mel very closely.  They always appear when you do, and Cos came with us when we took our ride out to Apple!!"  he laughs  "You know Cos is actually sat over on the working surface over by the sink right now watching us." 
         "Mate ghosts aren't real, they are just hallucinations that you are having, and you said this Jazz faded years ago, so I think you know he wasn't really there in the Cemetery, just like Sunny and Cos were not here yesterday."  I glance over to the sink  "Just like Cosmic is not here right now."
       "Leafy, normally I would accept you saying that, my head does get really scrambled and according to you and Mango I hallucinate, but I don't think I do!!  I swear Cos is sat there right now!!"  he looks over towards the sink and smiles, waves then laughs.  It makes me shudder wandering if there really is something there that I can't see.  "See he just waved!"  he carries on laughing.  "Jazz is different to them, Jazz didn't look like the other ghosts, he felt and looked real - I don't think he is faded!!  He was definitely there, he hugged me really tight, and nearly broke as well as froze my bones!!  He put something in my hand and told me to look after it."  he mumbles as he goes into his pocket.  He drops what looks like a pink button on the table, its a strange pink, I can't think of anyone in this town who is actually that colour.
      "Are you sure you didn't just pick that up when you was on the floor?"
      "No, look at it closely."  he pushes it towards me so I pick it up.

I turn the button over as I look at it, and notice there is an A scratched on one side and a J scratched on the other.  I frown at him and he laughs.

      "I haven't seen that button for years, not since we were at school, Jazz always used to keep it.  That was how me and Jazz decided who's turn it was to shag the school bike - Ruby!"  I start laughing as he takes it off me and flicks it up off his thumb, it lands on the table spins a bit then falls flat A side up.  "It looks like its my turn tonight ... but I think I'll pass, she's got to have been through the whole town by now!"  he starts howling and I sit laughing at him because I haven't seen him this calm, sane and happy for ages, even if he is talking about seeing ghosts that I don't really believe in.  He suddenly stops laughing  "Have you been there?  Have you taken a ride on the red bike?"

       "Hell No!!"  I smirk at him  "I'm gay remember."
       "Yeah, my ass!!"  he laughs as he puts the button back in his pocket.  "Seriously have you?"
       "No way!!  She is red and you know how I hate that colour!!  You are right, she has been through most of the town, Turmeric has been riding that dirty bike for years, I keep telling him he's mad, because one of these days he's going to catch something, because he's not the only one!!"   he laughs  "Remember everyone thinks I'm gay, so I have always had to behave, so I don't give the game away!!"
       "Ahhh but you have not been behaving have you!"  he smirks at me and I cringe  "I heard you and Mel arguing ... Wisteria ... tut tut tut!!"
       "Seriously you need to forget you even heard that, and whatever you do ... DO NOT repeat it to anyone!!  The last thing I need is the kids, Crimson, Mango or Prelude ever finding out!!  It's over and done, it won't be happening again - I was stupid to even go there, and I've been beating myself up over it ever since it started!!"
       "Then why did you?"
       "I was off my head and at breaking point!!  Mel was driving me mad and I was sick of living a dysfunctional life and being lonely because Mel wouldn't come clean so we can change things.  I bumped into Wisty in Rainbow, a few years back, when I was out there covering at the hospital.  You know she and Crimson are having a long distance relationship, because she's at Uni, and she was feeling like I was, sick of being lonely, and not sure if their relationships is ever going anywhere.  She was really down and needed someone to talk to, so we went out, I was only trying to be a friend and cheer her up, but it backfired on me.  We drank a bit too much, and in my stupidity, when she came onto me I didn't stop her, and any time she is in town, I carried on being stupid!!"  I roll my eyes at him  "I ended it, months ago, I've told her it's not happening anymore, but she's been stalking me ever since, and I can't shake her, even Granite, Mace and Mel have had to tell her to back off!!  I shit myself every time she comes to Sugar, I'm scared she's going to say something.  She's already blabbed to Mace."
       "Well you need to get rid of her, and if she does say anything, just deny it, she can't prove it can she, and you are gay remember."  he smirks at me then starts howling  "And I wouldn't bother riding the red town bike either, because she is seriously not worth riding!!  We only rode the bike because she was so easy."  he smirks  "Now your sister on the other hand ..."
       "STOP!!"  I put my hands up as I laugh at him  "I really don't want to hear any details about yours and Meadow's love life."  he starts howling at me 
        "Can we go to the cemetery?  You never know Jazz might be there again, then I can show you I'm not hallucinating!"
        "Seriously Alpine, it is the middle of the night.  I'll take you in the morning, if you get upset and start lashing out, I'll have to wake up one of the Orchid thugs to help me carry you home. "

         "I want to visit Cinnamon's grave and see Jazz.  I miss Jazz and I'm sick of being cooped up in this house.  I enjoyed our little trip out yesterday, and when was the last time we actually went to the dive bar together and got plastered?"
         "I promise I'll take you to the cemetery in the morning, as for the dive bar, it's been years because you know you can't drink on your medication, but we might be able to do something about you feeling caged in this house."  I smile at him wandering where this sudden fixation with Jazz has come from.  "I'll have to start taking you out more when you are stable, I guess we could go to the dive bar and play pool, as long as we stick to drinking pop."  he laughs at me  "I'm sending Mel to Sandy Shores for two weeks on vacation, she deserves a rest and the break away will do her good ..."
      "So who is going to be looking after me - you?"
      "Not exactly, I'm going to Meadow's, to help her sort out my Dads things, and to save burdening the kids, who also could use a break, we thought you could spend a few weeks out in Raspberry Hill, having your own little holiday away."

I don't tell him the truth about me going with Mel in case he repeats it.  He just sits there staring at me, I'm getting nervous because I am expecting the hospice to set him off, this is the thing that we most dreaded talking to him about.

      "So what's in Raspberry?"  he frowns at me  "Are you taking me to see Meadow?"
      "No, that's not very wise is it, when it's only going to upset the both of you!"  he pulls a face at me  "You know you need 24/7 care, so we can't just send you anywhere.  We are going to book you into the hospice for two weeks, where there will be plenty of medically trained people to look after you and keep you safe ..."
      "Hospice ... oh I get it, she is finally trying to off load me!!  She is going to dump me and just leave me there isn't she!!"  he snaps  "I guessed this might be coming after Cinn faded!!  After all, Cin was the only reason we stayed together living in the same house, in the first place."
      "No that is not the case at all, honestly.  You will only be there for two weeks, while we are both away, as soon as we come home, we will be picking you up to bring you back home, I promise."
       "Yeah."  he snaps sarcastically  "So what are they going to do sit me in a chair and drug me up, so I don't cause any trouble."

       "No don't be stupid!!  The hospice in Raspberry is a really nice place, it's a properly run medical facility, me and my Sister used to send my Dad there, when Meadow needed a break, and we wouldn't have left Dad there if they did that kind of thing."  he laughs  "You can treat it like a holiday, it will get you out of this house for a few weeks, and it's more like a hotel than a hospital.   You will get your own room, get to meet new people, and they keep you entertained with lots of different activities, there is always something to keep you busy and amused all the time ... my Dad used to love his stays there, he went regularly for years, sometimes he asked to go."
      "He's faded now isn't he?"  he frowns at me  "What was wrong with him."
      "Old age and Dementia."
      "Why did you not look after him, why was it left to Meadow?"
      "My job would have made it awkward, I don't have set shifts, they are all over the place and I am often called in for emergencies, I couldn't have just left him alone.  Besides you know the situation, he couldn't be in Sugar Valley because of the kids, it broke my parents not being able to have anything to do with them - something they will never forgive me for.  I'm actually angry with myself, and Mel, six years ago we could have come clean, and I've sat here giving into her and letting her have her own way.  They could have had six years with their Grandchildren, now they are both gone and there isn't anything I can ever do to fix it.  I thought my parents would be around longer, and I've let this situation go on for far too long and now it's too late."

I see a pained expression flash across his face, and I am now kicking myself for letting the conversation get carried away.  Mentioning parents always upsets him, as he's never known his, he was put into the care system when he was a baby and lived his whole life in foster care and childrens homes.  I can't help but feel sorry for him, in the grand scheme of things, he has had a very shit life, and more thrown at him than anyone deserves!!

      "How is she?"  I frown at him  "Meadow."
      "Oh she's okay I guess."  I smile at him 
      "What does Cinnamon think about all this hospice stuff?"  he says out of the blue
       "He thinks its a good idea, he can see Mel needs a break and he thinks it will do you good, especially the change of scenery."  I smile at him, fobbing him off again.  "We are taking you out to Raspberry tomorrow so you can check it out and see how you like the place."
      "Okay, I'll take a look, but I'm warning you Forrest, you better not leave me there!!  I am still not completely stupid yet, I can break out of there and find my way back here still - they are my kids as well as yours remember!!!"

        "Do you think I don't know that!!  We would never take you away from them, it would hurt them too much,  and even when they know the truth, you will still always be their Dad, I'm just the sperm donor!!"  he starts laughing  "We are trying to do what is right for all of us, so when we get back off our holidays, the three of us need to sit down and make a few decisions."
       "Like what?"  he frowns at me
       "We can't carry on living like we are, Mel needs help, she can't carry on looking after you on her own.  So we have decided that I'm going to help her, and I owe you that much don't you think, after what you've done for me all these years.  You will always have me and Mel to look after you, no matter how bad it gets."  he smiles at me  "We need to change the living arrangements, the three of us will be living together from now on.  After we've come back off holiday and told the kids the truth, we need to decide where the three of us will be living, here, at mine or somewhere else."  I smile at him.
       "So what is happening with you and the gay one?"
       "We are getting divorced."  I glance up at him  "He's divorcing me so he can marry Mace.  However, because our relationship did not restart when he came back, I can divorce him for abandonment, which will basically annul the marriage and make it a hell of a lot quicker.  Now he's stopped being a dick over the house, I have been to see my solicitor to get the ball rolling, I just want it over and done with now. 
       "So I guess you will want me and Mel to do the same, I presume you two will be getting married.  It is very long overdue don't you think."
       "We haven't thought that far a head yet."  I laugh at him  "We need to sort out the kids first, they could very well react badly to what we have to tell them.  Besides have you forgotten, you divorced Mel for adultery years ago, before Fudge was born!!"
       "Oh yeah, I did didn't I!!"  he starts laughing

I'm grateful for the break in the conversation because that is all I am saying for now, I've given him enough to think about, and he hasn't kicked off so I'm not pushing it any further.  He gets up just to come round the table and give me his plate which amuses me.

      "Are you going to eat that pizza?"
      "Maybe later, when you have got the ketchup."  he mumbles
      "I guess we should go back to bed, it's still only 5am."  I laugh as I glance at the clock, not quite believing that we have been sat here for nearly two hours having a mostly sane conversation. 

Alpine starts to make his way into his room quietly without another word.

I watch him get into bed then turn off his light and close the door, very relieved that he seemed to take all that in without him having a kick off.  But I guess there is still time, once he's had a think about it, especially if he is unsure about taking my word, about him only being in the hospice for two weeks.  Caramels main worry is that he would start kicking off because he might think we are trying to get rid of him completely.

I hesitate before I start to run up the stairs to go back to bed.  Thinking that if what I have just said to him does unsettle him, he might get back up and start wandering around, and he might well try to creep off to the cemetery, now he has that in his mind.

I've never been very comfortable about his bedroom being downstairs, while everyone else's is upstairs, especially as he does tend to get up during the night and escape the house, without anyone hearing him.  He has been found, many times, wandering around town during the night confused and not knowing where he was.

       "What are you doing down here?"  Mel asks me as she comes down the stairs and puts her arms around me  "I thought you had sneaked off home when I woke up and you wasn't there, until the 5am alarm went off on your phone!"  she frowns at me  "I saw your clothes in a messy pile on the floor, which is very unlike you Mr OCD!"
       "Alpine woke me up, throwing our clothes at me, he was hungry.  I didn't have a chance to tidy them up trying to stop him from pulling down the curtain rail and waking you up."  I smile at her  "We've been sat down here talking for a few hours, and he's only just gone back to bed."  I frown at her  "Have you heard Alpine talking about Jazz lately?"
        "Jazz!?  No, I haven't hear him mention Jazz for years."  she frowns at me
        "What colour is he?"
        "He is the pink boy on the school photograph in Alpines room, why?"
        "He wanted me to take him to the cemetery so he could see Jazz."
        "Jazz faded years ago, before Lilly and Mango got married and he's never been to this town, so he's not going to find him in the cemetery!"  she starts laughing  "He's not even buried here ... actually, he's not buried anywhere, they never actually found his body, just a pool of his blood, but Ice saw Lime stab him three time."

        "So if Ice watched him being stabbed, how could they not find his body?"
        "Jazz told her to run when he was lying in the gutter fading.  She had to leave him and leg it, because Lime was going at her with the knife, that's when Lime slashed her face up, luckily she managed to escape, so she didn't suffer the same fate as Jazz.  No one knows what happened to his body, its a mystery."
        "Seriously!?  Now you have spooked me, because Alpine reckons he's not faded and was in the cemetery a few nights ago talking to him. and you know I swear I've heard Mango talking to someone called Jazz a few times lately on the phone."  I frown at her  "So he could actually still be alive?"
         "Seriously Babe, if Jazz was still alive, trust me, he would be here, or at least in contact with all of us, and Mango would have said if it was our Jazz, he was just like the rest of us, one of the gang!!  Besides he has not been seen since he was stabbed, not even by his parents."  she laughs  "He couldn't have seen Jazz in the cemetery, you know what Alpine is like, I bet you have been sat listing to him talking rubbish for hours!"
         "Actually he has been the happiest and sanest that I've seen him in a long time, he hardly spoke any rubbish."  I smile at her  "So has Alpine always had that pink button that he carries around."
        "What pink button?"   she frowns at me in confusion  "I haven't seen a pink button." 
        "He has got a pink button with an A and J scratched onto it, he showed it me, he said him and Jazz used to flip it to decide who got to ride the red school bike."  she starts really laughs  "Alpine reckons Jazz gave it him a few nights ago in the cemetery and told him to look after it."
        "Seriously I've never seen the button."  she frowns  "So I guess he has been talking about seeing ghosts again." 
         "Jazz isn't a ghost according to Alpine, he is not faded, but he has been talking about seeing Cosmic and Storm again, and Sunny has now joined the mix, he saw Sunny here last night apparently, with Cos.  Cos is here right now according to Alpine."
         "Take no notice, he's a fruit loop and has been driving me mad going on about seeing Cos and Storm a lot lately, but I haven't heard him mention Sunny yet."  she rolls his eyes  "You know he is seeing things, trust me Jazz is faded, and Alpine has probably just picked that button up from somewhere seeing it is the same colour as Jazz!"  she laughs
        "The ghost thing is starting to really bug me, I'm even starting to believe it ... Alpine keeps saying he sees ghosts and Tapestry has since he was a small child ... Alpine said he actually saw Cos and Storm at Cinn's funeral, when Tap was shouting and wrestling with them.  He swears the ghosts were there and both him and Tap were seeing them."

        "They both have damaged brains Doctor Rock!!"  she starts howling at me  "You of all people shouldn't be listening to his mad rambling and especially not over thinking it!!"
        "Normally yeah but - it can't be a coincidence that they are both seeing exactly the same two ghosts - Mango told me Tap talks to and sees Cos and Storm all the time - and so does Alpine, and why would Alpine be seeing Storm, it's not like they were close in life.  Alpine seeing Storm and Tapestry seeing Cosmic - just doesn't make sense!!"  she rolls her eyes at me  "Alpine actually said something that makes total sense, something I've not really thought about properly before ... we all heard Tapestry quite clearly shouting out Cosmic and Storm's names at Cinn's funeral didn't we?!"
         "Yeah we did."  she frowns at me in confusion
         "Think about it - how the hell would Tapestry know Cosmic?  He can't, unless he is actually seeing him now as a ghost.  Cosmic faded before Tapestry was born."  she stares at me a little wide eyed
         "Oh berry!!  I'm not sure any of us have thought about it being impossible for Tap to know Cos - because it is, he would never have seen him ... Cos faded 3 years before the triplets were born."
        "Exactly, and I can still vaguely remember what Tap was shouting ... he said something like  "Get off me Storm you Jerk!! You and Cosmic need to back off and mind your own business!! Go polish your headstones or haunt somebody else!! If you weren't so busy bugging me and Crystal you might have stopped Honey and Cinnamon from passing over !!"   I smile at you  "Something there is bugging me too ... how can they be bugging Crystal unless she can see them too, and you would think wouldn't you that if Alpine is going to imagine seeing anyone it would be Cinnamon, but he doesn't does he, he hasn't once said he's seen Cinn.  What did Tap actually mean by passing over ... does that mean that Honey and Cinn are not here as ghosts because they have passed over to another place?  To us he looked like he was fighting with the invisible man, but according to Alpine he was wrestling with both Cos and Storm - they were trying to calm him down."
         "Stop, you crack pot!!"  she starts howling at me  "You need to stop even thinking about this, it's stupid ... you are definitely over thinking again ... ghosts are NOT real, and you know they aren't!!"
         "I'm really not so sure any more!!"  I mumble
         "I think I need to take you back to bed, before you have me out ghost hunting!!"

As she stands there laughing at me Alpine comes walking out of his room.

       "Couldn't you sleep?"  I laugh at him
       "I don't have time to sleep!"  he laughs at me  "I'm late."
       "Late for what?"  I frown at him
       "I'm meeting Jazz and Sunny in the cemetery."  he tuts  "I have got the button, and we need to sort out who's turn it is to ride the school bike."

       "Oh Fudge!!"  Mel bursts up laughing and I can't help but start laughing with her, until she starts laying into Alpine  "Go back to bed you STUPID IDIOT!!  Jazz and Sunny have faded so you won't find them in the cemetery, not even their bones yet, and before you even start with all your ghost crap ... THEY DON'T EXIST!!"  she shouts at him
       "Mel stop!!"  I snap at her  "Just shut up and let me deal with him."
       "Yes Mel SHUT UP!!"  Alpine snaps at her  "Make yourself useful for a change and watch the kids, while I pop out, I won't be long."  he frowns at me.  "Leafy it's time you got dressed and went home, before the kids see you, they'll be getting up for school soon!  Cinnamon is going to arrest you if he sees you stood there like that mauling his Mother!"  I notice his head is all scrambled again.
       "Alpine, you can't go outside dressed like that, you need to get dressed first!!"  he looks down at himself and laughs  "Mate you are living in the past again!!  The kids have all moved out remember and it is the middle of the night still, we need to get you back to bed."
       "Leafy I need to get to the cemetery, Jazz is waiting for me!"
       "Jazz isn't waiting for you you stupid idiot!!"  Mel snaps  "He's faded!!"
       "Mel stop!!"  I frown at her  "Alpine, I said I would take you to the cemetery in the morning, I'm sure Jazz understands you should be asleep right now."
       "There is no need - Sunny is there with Cos, waiting for me.  They can take me."  he points behind me, and  I automatically turn to look and of course see nothing.
       "Well Sunny and Cos need to sling their hook and come back at a decent time - it is the middle of the night still, and just because they don't need to sleep, it doesn't mean we don't!!  Besides won't the school bike be asleep now, so you three should really wait until in the morning."  I smile at him and he rolls his eyes.  "While you are waiting, I want you to show me the pictures you have of Jazz and your school mates."
        "Okay, I'll go and sort them out."

Alpine smiles at me and goes back into his room.

       "Shit me, you are starting to sound as nuts as he is!!"  Mel starts laughing at me   "I thought you said he was sane and you was having a sensible conversation, that just sounded like nuts to me!"

      "He was, but you know how quickly he switches and how easily his past and present thoughts get jumbled up."  I frown at her  "What the hell is wrong with you right now, you've turned into a right ratty bitch and you need to change your attitude with him!!  I know you are tired and worn down by it all, but you are serious going about it the wrong way and making it harder for yourself!!"  she frowns at me
      "How so?"
      "You don't humour him enough, you should be talking him round, not yelling at him!!  You just shout at him and call him an idiot, which makes him worse!!  I bet you keep reminding him Cinnamon has faded like you kept telling him Sunny and Jazz have."  she just looks down sheepishly  "It's no wander you never get a decent conversation out of him and he's kicking off all the time!!  Just go back to bed  ... I'll sort him out!!"
       "Fine!!"  she snaps  I'll leave you to sort the nut job out then!!  Let's see how long it takes you to get fed up of it when you are dealing with it full time!!" 

I just stand there and watch her as she stomps off up the stairs and slams the bedroom door.      


Sunday, 20 November 2016

Forrest 2

Words - Birdy

As soon as we walk into Caramels house, we can hear the very loud television.  I see Bay is sat on the couch alone watching it.  I'm quite surprised that he is here, not even thinking to ask Caramel who is sitting with Alpine while we were at the hospital.

He has the television on so loud, he didn't seem to hear the front door opening.  I stand laughing as Caramel frowns at me and covers her ears.  I tap him on the shoulder which makes him nearly jump right out of his skin.

       "Are you deaf?"  I yell at him over the top of the television
       "No!!"  he laughs at me

Bay jumps up off the couch and turns the volume completely off with the remote.

       "So why is the tv on so loud?"  I frown at him
       "I was trying to drown out Dad's yelling earlier, and I just haven't bothered to turn it back down!!"  he laughs
       "You need to tone it down, or you will be shatter your ear drums!"  I frown at him  "And I think I need to check your ears and hearing, if you didn't see anything wrong with how high the volume was.  I could understand if you are listening to music, but you aren't!!"
       "Stop fussing, and they say I'm a girl!!"  he laughs at me  "There is nothing wrong with my ears or hearing!"

He turns his attention away from me and scowls at Caramel.

Waiting on you, trying to keep your head strong

     "Where the hell have you been Mom?"  he snaps  "You said you wouldn't be long, I'm sick of you doing this to me!!   I told you we are supposed to be taking Amber to the clinic, Slate is going mad, by the time we get there, we will have missed the appointment!!"
     "He is a big boy, now there was nothing stopping him going on his own, does Slate need you to constantly hold his hand?"  I laugh at Bay who is all stressed out
     "Funny leafy!  What are you doing here anyway?" he frowns at me  "You are not on the rota for a shift, or are you just hanging out?"
     "Hanging out as well as helping your Mother sort out your Dad's respite care.  She is struggling at the moment and you need to lay off her, she is under enough pressure without you throwing a gay tantrum at her!!"
     "Respite Care?"  he frowns
     "Yes, I can't cope, I need a break, and if you don't like it it's tuff!!"  she snaps at Bay defensively  "I'm tired, so I'm sending him to a hospice for a few weeks while I go away and take a break .... Forrest has said I can use his beach house."
     "Huh!!  Finally!!"  Bay laughs  "Well it's about time you listened to some sense ... now we might all get a break from the nutter, and you wander why I can't wait to leave this town!!"
     "Bayleaf!!  Stop calling him that!!"  she shouts at him  "Where is your Dad anyway?"
     "He's in bed asleep.  I have had to give him some sedative, so don't get giving him any more yet.  I've written it down on his chart ... have you seen my split lip, I'm lucky he didn't break my arm, although it is killing me!!!

Bay holds his arm out to show us.  I can see it is red, very badly swollen and the bruising is already coming out, he is having to hold his arm up with his other hand because he is obviously in a lot of pain.   When I examine his arm gently and move his fingers slowly, he cries out in pain to the point where he has tears in his eyes.

With nothing to lose you raise your voice with something to prove

      "Bay you need to get that arm x-rayed, from the look of it, I suspect it could well be fractured."
      "Great!!  That's all I need!!" he snaps  "The last thing I need right now is time off work, especially if it hasn't healed fully by the time I get to my new job in Cherry Hill!!  It is my throwing arm too, that is going to go down well isn't it, me joining the new team with a lingering injury!!"
      "How did that happen?"  Caramel starts to get upset, I presume it is the mention of Bay's planned move to Cherry Hill, because I know how much it is upsetting her.
      "He just switched, one minute we were talking normally, then he just went psycho, suddenly he said he didn't know who I was and he didn't like the sandwiches Mom made him. Suddenly he says he doesn't like ham or tomato, which is stupid when it's always been his favourite.  He accused me of trying to poison him, because I'm not his son apparently, he said his son is buried in the cemetery and I need to do one!!  I'm not his son, I'm just the gay one ... he has always hated me and we all know Cin has always been his favourite."  he grumbles as me and Caramel quickly glance at each other.  "I'm lucky he didn't cave my head in with the plate ..."  he points to quite a deep cut by his temple that I hadn't noticed  "... and I'm wearing the tomato!!"  he pulls on his top which is stained.  I know that must be really annoying him, because he is as finiky as I am over dirt and mess.
       "Bay, he doesn't hate you, and we have already warned you all, not to pay any attention to anything he says, when he's having a bad time."  I frown at him as I inspect the cut on his head.  "He doesn't know what he's saying half the time because of his condition!!  So don't even dwell on it or let it upset you."
       "I'm not, but he riles me sometimes, he forgets my name, forgets who I am, but he never forgets I'm gay!!"  he mumbles
        "You need a few stitches in that cut, it's pretty deep, so don't mess with it or you will get it infected.  Has he done anything else?"
        "Not to me, but he has smashed a few things in the kitchen and he's pulled the cupboard door right off its hinges trying to make himself another sandwich!!"  he pulls a pained expression as Caramel starts to cry  "I've never seen him this bad, his temper is getting worse, its like he's lost the plot completely!!  I had to use the syringe in the draw and jab him from behind while he wasn't looking, otherwise he probably would have caved my head in completely and smashed the house up."  he frowns at me  "I'm actually worrying about leaving Mom here alone with him."

and all the things you say to me, I can't forget them

     "She is not alone.  I've got the day off work so I will stay with your Mom to make sure she is safe.   I'll assess him when he wakes up."  I smile at Bay  "If he's getting this bad we might have to admit him into hospital and get him and his medication reassessed again, but I think at the moment it is probably just Sunny fading, if you remember he got like this after Cinnamon faded, I expect he will calm down again soon."  I smile at Bay  "You go and take Amber to the clinic and while you are at the hospital make sure you get that arm and cut looked at ... don't worry about your Mother!!"
      "Thanks Leafy, you are a gooden!!"  I just laugh at him as he hugs me, then kisses and hugs his Mom and runs out of the house.

Oh if only he knew the truth, he would hate me!!

As soon as Bay closes the door Mell falls into my arms and cracks up again, I'm expecting her to say something, about what Alpine had said to Bay, about him not being his Son, but she doesn't.

I just hold her while she cries, hating this whole situation that we have created and what she now has to go through.  However, I can't help but think that she is doing a lot of this to herself now, because she is so stubborn, when there really is no need for her to carry on suffering like this.

After a short cry I kiss her head and try to wipe the tears off her face.  She stares up at me for a moment before she starts to kiss me.  I know the kissing is going too far when it starts getting heated, her hands start wondering and she is slowly trying to undress me.

You don't leave, but you tell me with your eyes what you need

      "Mel stop!"  I pull away from her as I straighten my clothes up  "Aren't you forgetting something, the door is not locked, and who is on the rota for this afternoon?"
      "Turmeric is due at three, I'm at work at four remember, then Mint is due at six and is sitting with him until I've finished work"  she tuts

My blood runs cold when she mentions Turmeric.

      "Since when has T been doing a shift?"
      "Since Sunny faded"  she starts laughing  "Granite roped him in to cover Sunny's shifts."
      "Yeah I bet he did!!  He is an ass hole, I bet he has done that on purpose just to wind me up!!"  I snap
      "You know how it amuses Granite that you do go stupidly over the top when in comes to T.  So you lay yourself right open to his mischief!!"
      "I'm sorry Mel, but I don't want him in this house."
      "Oh please!! Don't get going all stupid on me!!"  she laughs at me  "I seriously don't know why you feel so threatened by that idiot!!"
      "Because you and T have got history, he is still besotted and he is like a dirty rat up a drainpipe given half the chance!!"
      "History!!"  she starts howling "Please!!  A stupid childish fumble when we were thirteen doesn't count and I have no intention of repeating it, look at the trouble it got me into last time!!   Besides I don't let any only dirty rat up my drainpipe!!"

She start laughing as she takes my hand pulling  me towards the couch.  She suddenly pushes me backwards, I lose my balance and I fall back on to it, she just laughs as she crawls over me.

Oh please, do you think that I don't know what it means

She starts kissing me.  I don't stop her this time, and we start to get a little carried away.

       "Talking about dirty rats, isn't it about time you crawled up my drainpipe."  she mumbles quietly against my neck which she is now kissing, this snaps my head back to reality.
       "Not now."  I mumble as I gently hold her away from me a little  "Later .... Shouldn't you be checking on Alpine before we start getting too carried away."  I smile at her
        "Are you going off me?"  she frowns at me
        "Don't be stupid, of course I'm not!!  THE DOOR is still unlocked and if I let you you'll have us naked on the sofa losing track of time, and the last person I want walking through that door catching us is T!!  Alpine needs checking on and I want to get this respite sorted out before you change your mind!!"  I laugh at her  "When all that is done, then I'll inspect your drainpipe!"  I smirk at her
         "You are no fun any more!!"  she tuts as she gets off the couch
         "I'm getting old babe and quickies are no fun!!"  she laughs at me as she heads towards Alpines room.  "While you are there, check how much sedative Bay has given him and what time, so I can work out how long he is likely to be out for.  Actually just bring his chart in so I can take a look at it."
         "Anything else?"  she laughs at me
         "Yeah a brew and butty would be nice, I need to build up my strength if you are planning on molesting me later."  she laughs at me  "Mel, where is Alpines medical card, birth certificate and ID papers, I need them for the hospice, coming from Sugar Valley we will have to prove he's a pure berry.  We also need to check your passport is still valid, otherwise we might have to delay all this until we can escape."
         "They should all be in the top draw over there, you'll have to sort out what you need."  She points towards the sideboard before she walks into Alpines room.

all the things you hide from me, I accept them

 I lock the front door and put the chain on, to stop anyone from just walking in, before I make my way over to the sideboard and open the top draw, which is untidily stuffed with paperwork.  Even though it irritates me, I laugh at her hoarding and untidy disorganisation as I start to pull a handful of papers out and flick through them, searching  for what I need.  When I've found all of Alpines papers, I search for her passport, but its not in the draw.

I stuff all the unnecessary paperwork back, close the draw and open the one below it.  I pull out quite a few more handfuls of papers and envelopes before I spot two passports.  I throw Alpines passport back into the draw and am about to put all the other paperwork back in when something catches my eye.  The colour red, which I hate, jumps out at me, so I look at the paper closely.

It's a red letter ... she hasn't been keeping up with the mortgage payments.  I glance through some of the other papers and it is not the only one - she has a lot of red letters in this draw.  It disturbs me when I see she has taken out loans, which she is not paying back regularly.  I glance at some of the unopened envelopes, and I think I know automatically what she has been doing.  She is a hoarder and she hoards her problems like she hoards everything else.  She can't face opening them so she is just throwing them into the draw without looking at them.

I glance at Alpines bedroom door, wandering what is taking her so long, before staring back at the unopened envelopes.  I open one out of curiosity, wandering just how bad it is, I know she won't tell me if I ask.  A letter from the bank, she is on the verge of losing the house.  I open another one, a balifs letter for none payment of loans, which she has ignored because she hasn't even seen it, not even bothering to open the mail.

but I need you next to me

I know that she has always struggled financially because she has only her small wage coming in, with Alpine being unable to work due to his brain damage.  On top of the maintenance payments, I've helped her financially over the years to pay bills and make the mortgage payments when she has really been struggling, and she was getting a little financial help off the kids when they started working, but lately, I haven't even given a thought to them now all being moved out, and she's back on just her wage ... why didn't she tell me it was getting this bad!!

I stuff all the paper work back into the draw, keeping a hold of the red letter from the bank and go over to sit down on the couch.  I open her passport to check the dates and am relieved that it is still valid, but only just.  I'm surprised because I've never known her leave Sugar Valley, and presumed she hadn't since she first came here from the boarding school in Strawberry Fields.  However, she has renewed her passport since and there is one stamp in it after Strawberry Fields - Rocky Falls.

After a few minutes Caramel walks back into the room with an armful of sheets, which she drops on the floor by the kitchen door.  She sits down on the couch next to me and I automatically put my arm around her.

       "Did you find what you needed?"
       "Yeah, your passport is still valid, thankfully, but it will need renewing in a few years"  I frown at her  "Babe why have you been out to Rocky Falls?"
       "That's where my parents moved to after they left Orange Falls."  she smiles at me
       "I don't remember you going to see your parents."
       "You probably wouldn't, it was when you threw that mega wobble after Bay was born and you did one for a while.  Me and Alpine were arguing, and you know how I felt, trapped, I knew I'd made a mistake coming here with him in the first place thinking I could run and hide away from my other problem, then I go and make things worse for myself, with you.  I just lost my head, you had done one and I needed my family."  she rolls her eyes
       "I'm sorry!!  I didn't really help at the time did I!!"

if I can't hold you now, keep thinking that you might not come around

       "No, not really, things could have been so much different now if you hadn't acted like such an idiot!!"  she pulls a face at me
       "Babe, that's not fair and you know it!!"  I frown at her  "Don't think I like being the way that I am, you know if I could change it I would in a heart beat."
       "I know, I'm sorry!"
       "So your trip to Rocky Falls didn't go well I take it as you don't have any contact with your parents, you don't even talk about them."
       "I was stupid to go out there trying to patch things up with my parents.  They were angry enough with what I did with T when I was thirteen, but the colour mixing just finished us off, they washed their hands of me.  My brothers felt the same.  I thought with Cinnamon being completely brown they might take an interest in him, but I should have known, they didn't want to know."
       "What's with the sheets?"  I frown at her "Didn't you changed his sheets this morning?"
       "Yes I did, but he has wet the bed again ... I'm getting sick of it, the mattress is ruined and needs replacing, his room stinks and I can't get rid of the smell!!  Its like having a small child in the house again!!"  she mumbles  "Why has he started wetting the bed suddenly?"
       "I'm not sure, medically there are several things that could be causing it.  I'll get bloods and a urine sample off him after and get them tested."  she pulls a face.
       "We have enough to deal with already, we don't need any more medical problems adding to them!!" 
       "Don't worry, I'll sort it, don't stress!!"  I smile at her  "Did you bring his chart?"
       "Oh yeah, its with the sheets."  she laughs as she jumps up off the coach, digs around in the sheets and hands his chart to me.  "What do you want on your sandwich?"
      "Ham, cheese, whatever, I'm not bothered." 

I watch her closely after I have seen her trying to stifle a yawn as she is picking up the sheets.  She looks tired as she makes here way into the kitchen where I can now hear her bumping and banging about quite loudly.

I have no words, I have no words to say

I stare down at his chart.  The chart was Mango's idea and is basically a record of what he is like each day.   Everyone who sits with him adds to the chart, which gives us a picture of his antics and mood, it gives us a clear picture of all his good days and bad days.  I notice lately he has had a lot more bad days than good, and everyone who has sat with him over the past four days has remarked on how frustrated and violent he is getting.  I'm amused by the last entry, Caramel has written in capitals "HE HAS BLOODY WET THE BED AGAIN - IM GOING TO CUT HIS SPOUT OFF!!"

I laugh while I check the sedative, working out that he should be out for another three or four hours yet, so it will give us plenty of time to talk in peace.  I get up and go in to check on Alpine before I wander into the kitchen.

I stand in the doorway for a while, just watching her, I'm amused that she is making salad and not sandwiches after she asked me what I wanted.   There is a pile of broken crockery swept up by the bin and I spot the cupboard door that Bay said Alpine had pulled off, propped up against the wall.

       "I'll try and fix that cupboard door later."
       "I think he's knackered it completely, I'm not sure it can be fixed."  she mumbles
       "Why don't you phone in sick, you are worn out.  I thinks you need a rest, and we seriously need to talk."  she frowns at me  "I'll put T and Mint off and I'll stay with you this afternoon and tonight, I'll cook you dinner later, so you can put your feet up, and if his Lordship moans about my cooking like he usually does, I'll order him a pizza, that always keeps him happy."  she smiles at me  "I really don't like the idea of you and especially not Mint being left alone with him if he is this agitated, especially after what he's done to Bays arm and head.  Him lashing out is getting worse and he has not had many good days lately has he?"
       "No he hasn't, if I have to be honest, he is starting to scare me a little, especially when he doesn't know who I am!"  she pulls a face
       "Mel, you seriously need to start listening, if not to me, to Mango.  It is time you stopped being a martyr and did something for yourself for a change!!  I am really starting to worry about your safety, don't think I haven't noticed all your new bruises!!   Alpine is hard for any man to handle when he blows, even Prelude and Mulberry struggle with him, you and the girls and anyone else who sits with him don't stand a chance."  she pulls a face at me  "I only cope with him because I'm armed with sedative and Crimson has taught me how to twist him up like the police do."
       "I know."  she mumbles quietly

if I can't change your mind, keep thinking is this our last goodbye

She puts a plate of salad down on the table in front of me before she fetches her own and sits down.

       "This is a funny butty!"  I laugh at her as I pick up my fork.
       "Yeah, I forgot I was supposed to pick up bread on the way back from the hospital, you distracted me."
       "So are you going to phone in sick?"  I frown at her 
       "You can stay over and cook me dinner with pleasure ..."  she smirks at me  "...but I can't afford time off, I still need to go to work, I'm struggling as it is ..."
        "Yeah so I've noticed!!"  I slap the red letter from the bank onto the table in front of her.  She stares down at it for a moment.
         "You've been snooping!!"  she snaps as she screws the letter into a ball and throws it at me.
         "No I wasn't snooping, your passport was not in the top draw, it was in the draw below it with that lot!!  I couldn't help but see it when the contents of that draw is mostly red and it jumped out at me."  I snap at her  "What have I told you about money and especially taking out loans!!  You have got yourself into a right mess haven't you!!  You don't have to struggle, you are just too stubborn to ask me for help."  I shake my head at her  "It's ridiculous us STILL living separately, we are just throwing money down the drain running two houses ... I think it's time we sat down and sorted all this shit out once and for all .... I'll cover the money you lose today, and pay off all these debts before you become bankrupt and homeless."
       "No!!  You have bailed me out enough over the years already don't you think!!"
       "It was my place to don't you think!!"
       "Yeah right I forget, you think you can throw money at your problems then that's your job done!!  Well your problems have grown up and moved out, or have you not noticed!!"  she snaps at me sarcastically  "Just but out Forrest, I don't want your money, this is not your problem any more!!"

you say it first, you say it first to me

       "Just shut up Mel!!  I'm sick of you keep saying that!!  It is still my problem if it affects you, and what exactly do you think you are going to do when the bank repossessed the house after the bailiffs have taken away everything inside it?  Live like a homeless tramp on the street with Alpine, because you are too stubborn to ask for help which you know I'll always give you.  You are always banging on about not wanting to burden the kids, but what do you think you'll be doing if one of them has to take you and Alpine in?!  And quite frankly, in reality looking after Alpine is not actually their responsibility is it, and I won't let it happen!!   I don't understand why you are too stubborn to let it go!!"
       "You are a fine one to talk about not letting it go  ..."
       "Yes maybe I am, but I am having to let it go and it's about time you did to!!  Its time we both sorted our damn lives out, we've both made a right mess of this, and especially you now, because what you are still doing to yourself is ridiculous Mel!!  What you are doing, in the long run is not going to do you, Alpine, me or the kids any good!!
       "Don't even start going on about coming clean again - I am not losing my kids or ruining their lives, because you have suddenly and finally had a change of heart!!"
       "I have never wanted this hidden forever and it's not suddenly!!  For berry's sake, I've been asking you to do this for years, since the day Mint became a teenager or have you conveniently forgotten that!!"  I snap
       "You know why I have to continue to do it this way.  There is no hospice in this town, if he is placed in one out in the coded world, the kids won't be able to see Alpine ever again, which will hurt both him and them!!  They can't even go out to Raspberry to visit him while he's in respite care."
       "No you don't have to do it this way, you just won't listen to any of the alternatives!!  So you are going to destroy yourself and suffer for the rest of your life, doing something that they won't even be grateful for in the end, because they don't even know about the sacrifices you are making ... Do you honestly think they would be happy if they knew what you are doing to yourself, especially when there are other options to make everyone's life easier, especially yours."

you're in the clear, while I'm waking up to nothing but tears

       "None that will work!!"
       "Mel this situation is very workable, your problem is you are just too stubborn and scared of change, so you won't even listen."  I snap at her  "Moving to Berry Shores where there is a very good hospice for him is your best option.  The hospice is in a colour mix town where the kids can visit him, all it takes is a plane ride, which is better than them not being able to see him at all.  I've always said I'll move with you, so you don't even have to worry about all the hassle of the move, and before you even start banging on about money, we have two houses and my beach house to sell, so money is not an issue!!  Tapestry spends a lot of time in Berry Shores, Atlas and Saffron will be moving there after the trial, Crimson and Maize are also talking about making the move, so there will be people out there that you know.   Mint and Fudge might even move with you as well, if you explain to them that Berry Shores will give them and their kids much better opportunities and a much better life than this dump ever will, which is exactly why Bay and Slate are taking Amber to Cherry Hill.   Moving to Berry Shores would make your life so much easier, but you won't even consider it ... berry knows why!!"
      "Why didn't you mention Cherry Hill?"  she frowns at me  "At least we could be close to Bay."
      "I didn't mention Cherry because I didn't think you would want me living in the same town as Granite, which I don't really want to be doing myself, and don't forget the Rock clan will be crawling all over Cherry with Granite, Turmeric and Slate living there ... I thought you wanted to keep your distance from them."
      "I do."  she mumbles  "It's not fair asking them to jump on a plane every time they want to see me or Alpine, not only is it too expensive, Berry Shores is too far away.  I'd never get to see them."
      "Like I wouldn't pay for their plane tickets, because I think you know I would ..."  I snap sarcastically  "... and you can't say that when Bay is moving to Cherry Hill, he is putting himself into exactly that situation, because its what kids do.  They move out and get on with their life, their parents become a fleeting thought, look at me, my parents lived in Raspberry and they were lucky if they saw me once a month.  I was close to my parents in the end, after I sorted out all the crap that we created, but I didn't have to live in their pockets to keep it that way.  Phone and internet - there are plenty of ways to stay close, without living in the same town."

and you stay the same, like I'm the only one that needed to change

       "I can't do it - it's just too far!!"
        "Okay, you have it your way!!"  I frown at her  "So we will just sit back shall we, and do nothing, we will let this situation play out, and when you don't have a pot to piss in or a roof over your head, and you are too worn down and beat up to even stand, then I guess you have no choice but to go with plan B ... You and Alpine will have no choice but to move in with me, then maybe you might let me look after you!!"
        "We can't do that!!"
        "Give me one good reason why not?  There is only you now stopping things from changing ... but I think we both know the real reason why you keep putting up the barriers here!!  You are scared if you change things, it won't take long before everyone starts to suss us and everything is going to come out and you can't face what is coming to us.   Like you can't face the debts that are piling up - so you just sit on them, both the debts and this situation, hoping it will all go away - but it won't go away and the longer you leave it, the harder you are making it for yourself!!  I'm scared too, I am not looking forward to their reaction, but I think they will be too busy hating me to give you to much of a hard time, but I think I'd rather they hate me than you kill yourself in the process.  I told you at the start, we should come clean about us at least, which would have made what we are hiding easier for them to take!!"
        "You know damn well the kids were way too young, they never would have understood what was going on!!  Not hiding us would have made it harder to hide the rest, and it would have only upset them, especially when you was acting like such a jerk!!"  she snaps  "At least this way they got to know and like you as a friend, whereas the other way they would have hated you watching you acting like a pathetic jerk, which would have totally messed there heads up!!
       "Stop keep throwing that in my face, I have a damn good reason for acting like a jerk and you know it!!"
       "Yeah so you say!!"  she snaps sarcastically
       "Sod off ... like you are innocent in all this ... Not!!"

you know the things you said to me, do you regret them?

        "Mel they are going to understand even less now because we have left it way too long!!  Us telling them is going to be a lot better than them finding out another way, which is very possible now Granite and Mace know the truth and Bay will be living with them remember!!  Besides I think you know, we are running out of time very fast!!  You know I am expecting Gravel to spitefully blurt it out during the trial and expose us publically, do you really want to run the risk of them finding out that way?!   And we have already played Russian roulette one too many times, we can't let it happen again, you are just being damn selfish ... we were never going to get away with this forever, how my ears have not surfaced yet is beyond me, and they are going to hate us even more if they have to find out the hard way!!  We have no choice but to come clean!!  Alpine thinks exactly the same as I do, and if you are not careful we might just out vote you and do it whether you want us to or not!!"  I snap at her  "Which is going to be harder for me to do because he is now not even mentally stable enough to back us up half the time, which isn't going to help us, but hopefully eventually everyone will understand!!  You could have made their lives so much easier ... and mine, if you had done it when I asked!!"
        "That seriously is not fair!!  You have always been quite happy with this situation, after you stopped running and turning your back on your responsibilities!!"  she snaps at me  "You was selfish and too busy clinging onto Granite, to care about anything else!!  Shutting everything out thinking he was going to come back and fall straight back into your arms like the pathetic idiot you are!!!   This situation was created because of you and has always suited you, hiding us and your gay and dirty secrets, because don't think I'm stupid, I know if he had come back here without Mace, still in love with you, you would have left me without a second thought!!  Imagine if we had come clean from the start, it would have wrecked mine and the kids lives even more then - you know this is why we have done it this way!!"

I just need you next to me

       "Well that didn't happen did it besides they are grown ups now and it wouldn't have made a scrap of difference to them now, and you seriously need to stop throwing Granite at me too, because NO he is not the reason why we did this at all and you damn well know it!!"  I snap at her because she is really starting to make me angry.  "It upsets me that you think I've been happy or enjoyed this situation because I haven't!!  Yes okay I admit this situation was my fault, but it is not like I don't have a damn good reason, and it takes two and you knew exactly how I felt about children, but still you went and let it happen!!  I warned you how I would react, so you only have yourself to blame!!"  I snap at her  "You put us into this situation and are going on, like this situation hasn't suited you either, because it must have, you are obviously still happy to continue wallowing in it!!  If you had sorted your act out all those years ago when I asked, I could have sorted my head out a lot sooner, it's your fault that I've continued clinging onto that idiot  ... is it any wander I lost my head when he came back and I acted like an irrational crazy idiot!!"
       "You said it!!"  she laughs sarcastically

I hold my hands up

      "Mel we need to stop this, before we start tearing shreds off each other!!  Arguing about the past is not going to fix the future is it!!  Not that we will have a future if we can't fix right now!!"
       "Don't say that!!"
       "I'm just trying to face facts, something that you are not willing to do!!  If you want to lose every single one of your kids, as well as me, then you carry on!!  You can't hoard all these problems away like you hoard everything else!!  If I've learned one thing from the whole Gravel situation, hiding things never works, in the end it will come out and the longer it takes the harder it bites you!!  Yes I know I've been very wrong in the past, but we need to put this right now Mel, so we can at least salvage something out of the wreckage!!!"  she just stares at me  "I thought we were in this together!!"
        "We are!"
        "Well then!!  Do you think it is easy for me to sit here watching you needlessly struggling, financially, physically and mentally, when I can do something to change it but you are too stubborn to let me.  What would you rather I do just walk away and leave you too it, because that is how it feels sometimes?  Me still being here does complicate things for you doesn't it ... you and the kids would be better without me in your lives .... It can be arranged permanently if that is what you really want!!"  I snap at her

If I can't hold you now, keep thinking that you might not come around

       "Don't say that!!  Of course that isn't what I want!!"
       "Well try making me believe that then!!"  I snap at her  "I'm sick of wasting my life bending for you and Granite, waiting for something I can never have ... You think I would have learned my lesson from him wouldn't you, but I haven't, I must be stark raving mad to even still be here, putting myself into this same situation again with you ... I'm having it put on my headstone - "Forrest Leaf, the idiot who spent his whole life waiting for NOTHING!!"
       "Don't be stupid!!"  she laughs at me
        "You say you love me, but you won't do anything to change this situation, and I don't think you ever intend to!!  I want them told because I'm sick of living like this!!"   I snap at her  "It is not like I've ever asked you to dump Alpine completely, I have said I would look after him with you, I owe him that much for what he's done for me, there has always been three of us in this, and I'm happy for it to stay that way!!  I understand exactly why you feel you have to stay and look after him, because you and the kids are all he has and you don't want them burdened with him.  So I stay like an idiot and put my life on hold for you and the kids, taking any scrap of you I can get, while you remain stubborn and run yourself into the ground needlessly, just picking me up and tossing me aside when it suits you!!  I even had to give up fighting to get Granite back for you and the kids, even though I know I can easily get him back when Mace gets locked up!!  But I don't want him and that life back, I want you and the life we should have had!!  I've sorted my part out, now it's time you did the same!!"  I snap at her  "This has always been very one sided Mel and I'm sick of you shutting me out, dropping me and picking me back up when it suits you, and you wander why I had to find comfort in someone elses arms!!"  I snap at her "Pretty ironic don't you think, the one person who says she loves me and can give me a normal life, I don't love or even want, while I'm sat here like a lonely twat again ...  Isn't that just the story of my life!!"

if I can't change your mind, keep thinking is this our last goodbye
        "Don't you even mention or threaten me with her!!" she snaps at me nastily
        "I'm not threatening you with her!!  It's over and done with, even if I walk away from both you and Granite, she is the last place I'll be going!!"  I hold my hands up  "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have mentioned her!!" 
        "Then why did you?"
        "I don't know ... I guess I'm trying to make you understand what you are doing to me.  Mel I'm sick of being lonely and living a dysfunctional life, since I've been a child it's all I've ever had!!  I've already wasted too many years on you, how many more do I have to waste, just to find out at the end of the day you will probably just throw it all back in my face anyway,  just like he has!!"
        "I won't, you know I love you and always have!!"
         "Yeah, that's exactly what he said!!  Mel I seriously can't do this any more."  I snap  "If you can't meet me at least half way then I need to end this, disappear completely, and try to forget you like I'm trying to forget him."
        "You can't do that ... what about the kids?!"
        "What about them?  You obviously never want them to know the truth!!  You are the one stopping them from knowing, so don't get using them as a weapon or throwing them at me now!!  What they don't know will never hurt them and they have managed so far without me, they can't miss what they have never had!!"  I snap at her  "You carry on doing what makes you happy, while ever day it is crucifying me, which is obviously the way you want to keep it!!  I'm sorry, but I can't be here any more living this way and just watching them!!  I need to get out of this town and sort my life out once and for all.  You clean your own damn mess up when it all blows up in your face, which it will, because you obviously don't want or need me!!"

I get up off my chair and go to walk off.

you say it first, you say it first to me

She grabs me as I walk past her, trying to stop me walking out.

     "Forrest don't!!  Please ... I'm sorry!!"  she starts to choke  "Don't leave me, you are the only thing that keeps me sane!!!"
      "What about my sanity Mel?  You are playing with a head that already has physiological issues, and everyone wanders why I am not free of them yet - you and Granite have never done anything other than prolong my agony!! "  I pull a face at her  "I don't think you understand what this does to me every single day and has for the whole of their lives!!"  I snap at her  "You know I've been begging you to change this since Mint became a teenager, but you won't budge!!  For six years now we have only been doing this, not for their sake, but only for yours, and while you are happily getting what you want, I am the one who is suffering ... out of all of us, since the day Bay was born, I am the only one who has ever suffered here and I seriously don't have the strength to do it any more!!  I honestly think if we had sorted this out years ago, I would be a different person now mentally, and this ... what you are continuing to do, is not helping to fix my problems, it's making them worse!!  My OCD has already flared up pretty badly, and if I have to walk into that court room with the kids still not knowing the truth, scared of what Gravel might say and how badly the kids are going to get hurt by him, I'll probably have a breakdown!!"  I frown at her  "Can't you see that what you are continuing to do, is giving Gravel the opportunity to destroy the kids, which will just wreck everything that we have fought for and done to protect them for the whole of their lives!!  What we have done will become pointless!!"  she just stares at me  "Do you seriously want to hurt them even more than they are already going to be?!"

so I can just forget you ...

      "I'm sorry!!  Okay we will sort it out ... we will tell them!!  I know this isn't fair on you any more, and I can't carry on like this, and the last thing I want is them getting even more hurt by that berry hole!!"
      "Finally!!"  I mumble as I stare at her, and she just smiles at me.  "You can phone work and tell them you are sick, in fact just tell them to stick their job, you don't need it any more!!"
      "Are you being serious?!"
      "Yes!!  I don't think it is safe for you to be left alone with Alpine, because of the volatile mood he is in right now.   So I'm going to move in here until we sort out where the three of us will be living together permanently, and you don't need to work anyway because I earn enough for all of us."  I raise my eyebrows at her expecting her to start protesting like she normally does, but she doesn't.
      "So when are we telling them?"
      "When we come back from Sandy Shores."
      "Okay."  she mumbles
      "I am taking control of this situation from now on, so if you don't like it speak now, because I meant what I said, I seriously can't do it any more ... this time we are coming clean and telling the kids the truth, and I'm not going to let you change your mind or back peddle later like you normally do, because if you do I will be walking straight out of that door and never coming back!!"  I frown at her  "And I'm warning you in advance - if I do walk - they will still know the truth before the trial starts, because I WILL tell them with or without you blessing, and I know Alpine will back me up!!  I am not sitting there and watching that man wreck their lives in an instant, when we can sit down and explain everything to them properly - something we should have done at least six years ago!!"
 ... just forget you
      "Okay ... I won't be changing my mind this time!!"
      "I hope not because this seriously is your last chance as far as me and you go!!" I mumble  "I'll phone Mint and T and put them off, while you are phoning work.  Then we are going to sit down and sort this shit out!!  I want this at least worked out in theory before we go to Sandy Shores, because I'm not arguing with you over it any more!!  We do it or I am gone!!"


Song = Words - Birdy