Thursday, 6 April 2017

Forrest 4b

Secrets ....

After I have managed to calm myself down, and stopped myself from having a full blown anxiety attack, I get up from where I am lying and wander up onto the deck.  I need to occupy my mind, before I go crazy.  I am not really sure what I am going to do, because my head is still all over the place. 

I look through the glass in the door and I can not see any sign of Mel inside the beach house, so I presume she is probably in the bedroom crying.

My eyes fall onto the book that is sat on the table.  My mind suddenly starts to fight with itself.  I know I should just rip out Granites messages and burn them like I burnt the letter, but suddenly I want to read all the messages properly, something that I didn't do when I found them, I only skimmed over them.

I pick up the book against my better judgement and walk into the beach house.  As soon as I open the door I can hear Mel crying, and can now see she is lay on the couch.  I really can't deal with her crying right now, so I ignore her and go off into the bedroom, slamming the door as I go.

 I lie on the bed and open the book, finding the page where Granite wrote the messages.

I stare at the first message, especially the date.  I still remember the exact date that Granite was unexpectedly released early from prison, and it hits me like a punch in the stomach ... his first message was left less than a week after he left prison.  This must have been the first place that he came, and knowing that hurts!!  I should have known, he would try to get a message to me somehow, and here was the most obvious and the first place that I should have looked for him ... but I didn't!!  I should have known!!

I suddenly wander what I am doing to myself!!  I am supposed to be letting this go - not screwing my head up with it even more!!  I rip out the page, screw it up angrily and launch it across the room.

To shut my head off from having to think about anything, I turn over the page and start reading.  I don't even start at the beginning of the book, I don't really care what I am reading, I just need to stop my head from thinking about Granite and the pregnancy.

I hadn't been reading for very long before Caramel opens the bedroom door.  She hovers by the door, and I try to ignore her.  Her just being there watching me, starts to irritate me.

I glance up at her fleetingly before my eyes go straight back to the book.

        "We need to talk."
        "What is the point!"  I snap, not taking my eyes off the page.  "I've spent years trying to talk to you, but you don't listen.  You will just carry on regardless of what I think or how I feel, as long as you get your way, you really don't give a shit!!  So why should I waste my time and energy now, having the same argument we have had a million times already that I am never going to win!!"

Caramel comes into the room and approaches the bed.  She makes herself comfortable on the bed and just lies next to me saying nothing, so I do the same, while I continue to pretend that I am reading.

Even though I am trying to read, I can not really concentrate, I am reading the words but my brain is not taking them in or processing them.  I am just going through the motions of reading.  I can feel Mel staring at me, which continues to irritate me, because I can't switch off and ignore her being there.   I snap the book shut and throw it onto the floor before I turn to look at her.

        "You didn't tell me how Alpine is?"  I mumble quietly
        "He is having another good day.  He is building lego houses and doing jigsaws today.  He says he has finished your scarf."  she smiles at me and I laugh for a moment
        "He seems to be enjoying himself at the hospice, he has not had one bad day yet. "  I laugh  "Proving that I need to change what we are doing with him at home.  I've already told him I'll start taking him out more when he's having good days, but getting him lego, colouring books, jigsaws and activity stuff like that to keep him entertained will make him feel a whole lot better."  I pull a face at her  "I've been telling you for ages, just sitting him in front of the television is not really helping him!"
        "Okay smart ass!!  You can do what you want with him. he's your responsibility now remember!!"  she laughs at me, and I wander if she is trying to be funny.  "Did you know Meadow is visiting him every day?"
        "No I didn't!!"  I frown at her  "I swear she is a nightmare, I told her not to, because she is going to screw his head up and we are going to be the ones left to deal with it!!"
        "I know, it's worrying me too, he is already getting carried away with it!!"
        "I am going to kill her!!"  I snap  "I told her, to keep away from him unless she is going to commit to him properly and completely!!  I've explained how highly strung he is at the moment, and she knows it is not safe for Holly and Ivy right now!!  I know she still loves him, and I know exactly how it feels and how hard it has been for both of them, but I am going to swing for her if she messes his head up again!!"
        "Well you need to speak to her ... but I think the damage might already have been done!!"  she mumbles as she pulls a face  "Meadow is all he wanted to talk about!!"
        "I'll phone her in a bit and find out what she is playing at!!"

We just lie there for a moment quietly, I watch her rubbing her stomach, which makes me cringe.  It hasn't taken her long to remind me again about what is growing in her stomach.

       "Ice ... So I guess she has looked through your pregnancy records."
       "Yeah, she knows.  I had to explain it to her, she spotted the baby I had when I was thirteen."  she mumbles quietly  "She was shocked - I didn't tell anyone while we were at boarding school.  Besides you and Alpine knowing, I've only ever told Lilly, I told her when she lost Twilight, but she doesn't remember now because of the coma and amnesia, and I've never reminded her."
        "Did you tell Ice about T being the babies Dad or where Coal is?"
        "No!"  she shakes her head
       "I think its time you came clean Mel about EVERYTHING, and did something about your oldest son!!!  One more person knowing your secret, I seriously do not want Bay especially finding out through gossip on top of what we already have to tell him!!  If any of them are going to find out, it is going to be him first!!"
         "He is going to hate me enough because of what we've hidden, without him finding out that he has also got a half brother that I've hidden from them!!"
         "He will hate you more, and so will the girls, if they have to find out the hard way - which is inevitable now, it's only a matter of time.  Bay is going to be living with Granite, Turmeric, Slate ... Coal's Uncle, Dad and Cousin ... and Mace is his best mate and foster brother, they are closer than close.  All of the Rocks including Coal are going to be running around Cherry now, and there is only Slate, Bay and Coal who don't know  .... you can't tell me they are going to cut Coal off or keep him at arms length just to keep your secret, and it only takes Jasmine to over hear something, she's a child, she wouldn't understand she has to keep it quiet ... its only a matter of time before it gets out!!"
          "They have all promised they wouldn't say anything, because they don't want to upset him or Bay."
          "Him - you can't even say his name can you!!"  I tut at her  "That is easier said than done, it is not going to be an easy secret for them to keep!!  Bay and Coal could actually work it out for themselves, quite easily I think.  Have you looked at the photos Shale tried to show you?"
         "No."  she shakes her head violently.

        "Well, they look a little alike facial, when Bay and Coal stood next to each other, I could actually see it, and so did Alpine.  He has your slanty eyes like Bay, they were the first thing that jumped out at me.  He is skinny thin just like Fudge, which he gets from you  Coal knows his Mothers name, age and where she came from.  They all call you Mel, like we do.  Those two boys only need to start talking about their parents and they could work it out, especially as he has your hair.  Besides it's not just our kids that Gravel could advertise in the court room, he could announce Coals true identity too!!  Then there is T who is going to kick off big time when he finds out about us, he will be banging my lights straight out and he will probably give the game away without meaning too kicking off.  He will have me for lying to him as well as keeping quiet while I have had to sit listening to him banging on about you!"  she frowns at me  "He never shuts up going on about you, we all know he's shagging the red bike, but it's you he wants, and you wander why I'm paranoid!!  You know he thinks he is still in love with you."
          "He is pathetic, we were only 13 for berrys sake!!"
          "Well he's definitely messed his and Coals life up because of the way he feels about you!  You know Gravel only made Turmeric come to Sugar just to wind me and you up, like he didn't have enough on us already!! "  I laugh at her  "There is something else you haven't thought about, the most important thing in my book.  Coal plays gay and straight, what about if something happened between Coal and Bay, or even one of the girls, you know Mint and Parsley are very rocky right now, and I actually heard Fudge and Mint having one of their giggling fits, because they think Coal is cute, for berry's sake!!  It could be devastating for them to find out after something has happened, that they are half siblings!!"  I raise my eyebrows  "This is why you have to stop being selfish and CAN NOT keep it hidden any longer!!"
         "I don't know about the girls, but Bay wouldn't ... he has always loved Slate!!"
         "It only takes them to get drunk ... I have always loved Granite obsessively, but it didn't stop me did it, even before he left me!!"  I laugh  "Like Ruby loved Sunny, Maize loved Juni, Mango loved Lilly, Atlas loved Mace, Strawberry loved Parsley .. it didn't stop them either did it!!  We all got our leg over somewhere else - it happens, especially when alcohol is involved - just think about Bay and Strawberry!!"
         "I still can't believe he actually slept with Straw!!"
         "Me neither, but he did because he was hammered - just proving it is possible, he could well do it again, he is capable!!"

         "Stop him from going Forrest ... I don't want him to move to Cherry!!"
         "How can I stop him?!"  I laugh at her  "And don't think I'm even going to try either just to help you hoard this problem, because I'm not!!  I expect he will be too busy hating me anyway, to listen to anything I've got to say to him - he won't not go with Slate just because I or anyone tells him not too, you know how he feels about Slate.  Besides, I'd much rather him being in Cherry Hill than Sugar Valley, he will have a much better life!!"
         "I'm scared Slate is going to hurt him, that he's going to wake up one day and realize he's straight and shouldn't be playing gay ... it will destroy him!!"
         "That really worried me and Granite to start with too, but we don't worry about them now.  Honestly I don't think Slate will hurt Bay in that way now.  Don't think I haven't been watching them very closely, because I have, Bay is the only reason why I stuck it out in that house for so long!!"
         "So why doesn't it worry you now?"
         "They have gone straight back to how they were when they were kids, attached at the hip, constantly lying all over each other, they never stop kissing or mauling each other, most of the time it's Slate jumping on Bay, and there is plenty of noise coming from the bedroom ... morning noon and night, I don't know how Amber sleeps through it!!"
         "Oh stop!!  Tell me you haven't been listening!!"
         "Not on purpose, what do you take me for!!"  I laugh  "You can't help but hear it in that house, the walls are paper thin.  Another reason why I moved out, I couldn't hack it ... Granite and Mace, Bay and Slate, Atlas and Saffron are always at it, then there is Slate and Shale snoring so loud I'm surprised the roof has not come off!!  Shale sleeps with earplugs in and I hate to think what Jasmine must be thinking!!"  I start laughing  "If its not kids screaming its bedroom noise  ... I just can't hack it!!"
          "You are a weird one!!"  she stares at me for a moment then laughs. 

          "Forrest ... we need to talk about this baby."
          "I don't want to talk about it, I don't even want to think about it!!  If I do, my head is going to go and I'm going to run and you are going to end up doing it on your own again!!"
          "I really don't get you, how can you not love your own babies?"

          "It is not that I don't love them, now they are grown up, I do from a distance.  I just can not mentally handle being around them, when they are children, because of what they do to me!!"
           "Why do you hate children so much, it really doesn't make any sense to me!!"
           " FINALLY you ask me that question!!"  I laugh at her sarcastically as she frowns at me in confusion.  "It's not that I hate them, I just can't be around them because of what they do to me!!" 
           "You've said that twice now ... what exactly do they do to you?"
           "You have seen me go, so you know what they do to me ... I have major anxiety and panic attacks.  I get a feeling of dread and fear and start shaking, I feel physically sick, my heart starts racing, I can't breath, I get dizzy, start sweating, throw up and most of the time I pass out.  The only thing you don't see is what is going on mentally inside my head.  Unfortunately it is just who I am."  I pull a face at her
           "I have seen how you perform ... but why?  Why do you do it, it doesn't make sense!"
           "Yes you have seen how I get around children, and I don't do it on purpose, and it's not an act or because I'm selfish, heartless or mean, I don't want to be like this ..."

I take a deep breath knowing that I have got to do it, I have to finally come clean.

         "It ... it is a phobia ... I am scared of children."

At first she just lies there staring at me with a blank look on her face.

          "I don't hate them, I am scared of them."  I mumble quietly
          "A phobia ...."  she frowns, but I can tell she is trying to stop herself from sniggering
          "Yeah ... I have a phobia of children."

Suddenly she starts howling with laughter - I knew it was coming, and this is exactly why I am always too scared to tell anyone.  She is now reacting in exactly the same way as my parents and sister reacted when I admitted my problem to them, which scared me and has never really left me, and why I have always been so cagey about it.

        "A phobia!!"  she continues to laugh.

Her laughter is going through me and starting to make me  angry.  I can feel the dull ache building up in my chest, my heart is racing and I am having to take deep breaths as my panic starts to build up. 

       "Oh berry, I have heard you say some mad things in the past Leafy, but babe, that is the best one yet!!  You can be scared of a lot of things, but not children!!"  she starts howling again almost uncontrollably, and my head snaps.

I yell at her loudly and nastily, which shuts her up almost instantly.  She is shocked for a moment, then she starts to frown at me.

       "You might think it is damn funny and hilarious, but trust me, for those of us who suffer from it, it is far from funny!!"  I snap angrily  "You are scared stiff of tiny spiders, so maybe I should go and buy a big hairy tarantula and make you hold it ... then you might understand how I feel!!"

        "Sorry ... I thought you was joking!"
        "Hell, I only wish it was a damn joke!!"  I snap angrily
        "You can't blame me for laughing ... a child phobia ... it just sounds like madness!!"
        "Phone Granite, if you don't believe me, he will tell you, like Mango or any other doctor will  ... an abnormal and persistent fear of children is a phobia of children.  It is a genuine mental disorder and medical condition called Pedophobia."  her eyes widen  "I am a certified and registered Pedophobe.  I am and have been seeing a psychiatrist because of it for nearly twenty years!!  I basically have a mental illness, and you really don't understand what you are doing to me mentally every time you announce you are pregnant!!"  I laugh sarcastically  "The next time you ring me up squealing or you are screaming the house down for me to get rid of a spider, maybe I should just tell you to catch your own damn spider, then you'll understand - what being close to a spider does to you, children do exactly the same to me!!  I am petrified of children, just like you are of spiders!"
           "You have never explained it like that before?!  All you have ever told us is that you hate children."  she is really frowning at me
           "Because you never asked!!  In all these years you have not once bothered to sit down and talk to me or ask about me disliking children properly!!"
           "That's not fair, I am not a mind reader, if you have a mental problem, then you should have explained it properly!!"  she frowns at me   "Why do you keep yourself so closed and shut off?"

           "It is easier for me to deal with it that way.  I have a mental illness which is not something I can admit to freely, not even to you.  You should understand that, it is only like you, you don't tell anyone about your depression do you, not even the kids know.  You have only every told Mango, and I bet I only know about it because I am your doctor!!"  she rolls her eyes at me.  "I'm always scared about how people will react to it, and your hysterical laughter just, is an example of why I try to hide it and keep it to myself!!  I already feel like an abnormal freak, and I can not cope with being ridiculed or laughed at for it ... it sends me under!!"
          "I'm sorry ... if I had known ...!!"  she pulls a face
          "I know I have always looked like an asshole who is cold hearted and just running away from my responsibilities, but that is far from the case!!  The phobia is a mental disorder, which makes me act irrationally, like you have seen.  I really can't help it, stop or control it, just like my OCD!!  My OCD and phobia are very closely connected, the obsessive and compulsive behaviour is just one of my ways of dealing with it."
         "Babe you should have told me!!"  she frowns at me
         "It's been hard for me to tell anyone, because I'm embarrassed and ashamed!!  I hate myself because of it!!"  I start to choke  "I haven't enjoyed watching Alpine bring up my kids, them not knowing who I am, wanting to be close to them but I physically and mentally couldn't ... it has killed me!!  I hate being the way I am, and if I could change it I would, I've tried but nothing the psychiatrist says or does has made a damn difference!!"

            "When you told me years ago you went to see a psychiatrist ..." she frowns at me  "I thought it was just another one of your stupid excuses."
           "Exactly!!  I remember, you told me to get lost and come back when I had a better excuse, I was trying to tell you then, and you wander why I clammed up, shut myself off and didn't feel I could explain the phobia to you properly!!  Back then I doubt you would have listened or believed me anyway!!"  she pulls a face at me  "You can come to my next session with me if you want.  My psychiatrist will tell you, I started seeing him just after we found out Bay was mine, and I have never stopped seeing him since."
         "It's okay, I don't need proof ... I believe you!!"  she laughs quietly then frowns  "So when and where do you see the psychiatrist?"
         "I was seeing him every week to start with, and did for over sixteen years, I still see him now, but only once a month, it doesn't affect me so much now the kids have grown up.  I go out to Raspberry Hill, to see him, even though he does actually work at the Sugar Valley hospital now."
         "So why go out to Raspberry, why not just see him here?"  she frowns at me
         "Originally he was based in Raspberry, which was better, because I couldn't risk seeing one in Sugar Valley.  I doubt it would have taken people long, especially Mango, to clock me keep going down to psych and obviously I've had to talk about my own kids, and there was a risk of it getting out, which you know we couldn't afford because it would have screwed up the kids if they had found out about me being their biological Father, when they were young.  He understands the situation, with the kids not knowing about me, and he lives in Raspberry, so it's just safer to see him there."
        "So I bet you must see him at work all the time."
        "Yeah, we quite often cross paths in the hospital, but we never discuss my problem there."  I smile at her  "I think Bay arriving is what made me realise my problem was a mental one.  You could have told me both of my parents and Sister had faded in a car accident that day and I wouldn't have felt half as bad as I did just knowing that baby was mine!!  It was traumatic for me, it tore me to shreds - you really don't know the hell that I have been through!!"

       "So this phobia started when Bay was born?"
       "No!!  Looking back, I think I've always had a problem connected with children.  I can now see signs of it when I was a teenager, I hated Mango, Gravel and Meadow being anywhere near me when they were children, I spent four years hating and avoiding them like the plague, until they became teenagers themselves.  I have never liked being around them or wanted children, and at first I didn't really know why.  Granite always used to nag me about adopting some - he only had to mention it and I was off having a major panic attack ... I didn't understand it then .... now I know it was the first signs of the phobia.
           "Seriously why have you never told me this properly before?"  she frowns at me  "You have just sat there saying nothing for twenty years, letting us think where the kids are concerned, you are just a selfish asshole!!"
           "At first I couldn't say anything, I was too ashamed and could hardly handle it or deal with it myself, let alone admit it.  It took me years to even admit it to my parents properly.  Because we have always lived apart, it has been easier for me to hide it from you, because you haven't seen the hell I've been going through when I'm alone.  It was just easier for me to say I hate kids, and because you have just always accepted that, I've never needed to explain the phobia in depth ... you could see what it was doing to me ... I guess I just took the cowards way out."  I laugh quietly  "I know I'm an idiot, and Gran has told me as much, because if I had told you properly from the start, then maybe we might have only had Bay, and you would not have kept putting me though the hell that you have put me through, keep springing babies on me, that I mentally can't handle!!"

           "Oh so you have told Granite, but you couldn't tell me!"  she snaps at me
           "Not exactly ... he found that out for himself, because he illegally accessed my medical records when he was in Cherry Hill, before he came back.  So he knew already that I was a registered pedophobe, which didn't really surprise him."
           "Yeah but if he hadn't found out for himself, while you continued to keep me in the dark, you would have been quick to run and tell him, like you do with everything!!"  she snaps sarcastically  "Just like you told him and Mace about our three kids, when you have broken your neck to hide it from Mango and everyone else!!"
           "You need to quit sniping at Granite every chance you get!!  He is not a threat to you or getting in between us any more.  It is over and done with, I've sorted my head out, so stop sniping!!"  I snap at her   "And for your information, I had no intention of telling Granite or anyone else!!  I didn't have to tell Granite, because he already knew.  He found out about those kids being mine, before I came back with Atlas, before he even got shot, he already knew."
          "I don't believe that for a minute, how could he have possibly known?"  she frowns at me
          "He told me he suspected Bay, Fudge and Mint might be mine, before I came back.  The first time he met Bay, he was spooked, he had this nagging feeling in his gut.  Bay's eye colour, along with his and Fudge's hair spooked him, he could clearly see they had none of Alpines colouring, but he just thought he was going mad.  Then when he saw Mint he said he just knew she was mine, because of her eyes and skin, plus you know how much she looks like me and especially Meadow.  He could clearly see what nobody else has seen!!"  She laughs quietly

       "But he didn't know for sure ... you must have told him!!"
       "No ... when Gran had a run of the hospital, while he was covering for Mango during the police operation, he accessed mine, Alpines and the kids medical records - to check our blood groups, which made him believe his nagging feeling even more.  So he did a bit more snooping to see if he could find something concrete.  He read through my psych reports thoroughly.  The kids being mine, it is there, written down for him to read.  So I didn't have to tell him about the kids, or the reason why my true identity has always been hidden from them  ... he worked it all out for himself, and being a doctor he could, because he knows what pedophobia is and what it does to those who suffer from it."
        "So when exactly did you find out he knew."
        "When Mace thought he was being clever, when Gran woke up after the sepsis."  I start to laugh  "Mace thought he was grassing me up for sleeping with women on the sly ... Gran surprised both of us when he said  "Yeah I know, he's been playing dysfunctional families with Caramel, haven't you closet Daddy!!  Leafy has three kids who don't have a clue that he is their sperm donar!!" ... you should have seen Mace's face, he was so hacked off he didn't get to spill the beans and that Granite already knew and more than he did!!  He is such a drama queen!!"  I start really laughing remembering Maces face.
        "Why do you never tell me these things ... you keep everything to yourself, like that, all I got was Gran knows about you and kids, but don't worry he wont say anything, and that was the end of the conversation.  I have to interrogate you most of the time to get anything out of you ... you don't talk to me!!"
        "Force of habit I guess, because that is just the way that I am.  I have always kept myself very closed off, even before my phobia reared it's ugly head."
She lies there just staring at me, without really looking at me, I can tell she is deep in thought.  I watch her quietly, and I wander what she is thinking as I watch her face twist up a few times as she starts to rub her stomach again.   I openly cringe watching her doing it, the panic starts to well up inside me again and I have to look away.

           "I think you need to explain everything about your phobia to me properly ... like why do you even have it?  and what is this hell you have been through?  I need to know everything!!"
          "Is there any point in me digging it all up, when I doubt that it will make any difference to you having that baby!!  You will have it regardless of anything I have to tell you."
           "It might make a difference ... you have hidden it and shut me out all this time, so I didn't have a clue about what you have been going through or why.  I didn't know what I was putting you through, and if I had known, it would have all been different!"
           "So are you saying you might consider having a termination?"  I raise my eyebrows
           "Possibly ... "




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