LIV

Finally, for the first time we will be together, sleeping in the same room. We will certainly talk about so many things. Certainly, this will be the best holiday ever!!! Now, we will get closer! I’ll get to truly meet her and maybe she’ll have time to talk about the things we never got around to. Maybe she will even listen to me, and get to care about me. I mean, yeah, she says she cares, and her Mom said that she loves me, but she doesn’t treat me like she loves me… maybe now, when she gets to know me, maybe she will truly adopt me as her little sister or just a younger friend… Yes, all you brats and tops out there… yes I would like her to adopt me as her brat, but I know that’s not possible, she’s straight and she’s not into …you know… spanking.

She was spanked as a child and she’s never hit anyone like that, ever! She threatens all the time and at first I thought it meant something – I thought it meant she was adopting me, but that’s just something she says, and she even says it to older people… And it’s been 9 years now, and I’ve deserved it many times both by my standards and by hers… OK, I admit… I am hoping for something like that as well on this holiday, but I am not expecting it…The trick is I can’t really be naughty because then she’ll never let me go on a holiday with her. And, also she doesn’t spank, she becomes cold and distant and I just fear that I would lose this friendship, although it’s far from the friendship I want but… it’s something…I can’t wait to get there…Wish me luck!


***

She went out with him. Again. I thought I wouldn’t hate him. But I do and to be honest I don’t even know why. He is an OK guy, but I feel like … like she submits to him. I mean, she could have a much better guy, a more mature one, a more successful one, even a better looking one, but she chose him and he stands like… like a freakin’ gorilla about to pound his chest. When she is with him… she wants to prove something and she becomes kind of… smaller in my eyes… Oh, this is stupid.

OK, if we are pretending I am an adult (I am almost 30 but that doesn’t mean I am an adult in my heart and head, I would choose a milkshake over an alcoholic drink any day), then I’ll go out and be an adult, I will be sexy, I will flirt, I will get drunk. Oh, I hope I’ll find someone who has some drugs. I don’t care what. I mean, I won’t take heroin or something that bad, but pot… or… ecstasy …. or even coke… I’ll take it and I’ll go back in the morning and pretend like she’s being ridiculous for being worried, I’ll tell her that I am not a baby and that I don’t need a babysitter …
****

I got drunk, didn’t find anyone with drugs. Well, to be completely honest I wasn’t really looking too hard. I came home at 2 am, but she wasn’t there… I wanted to go back outside, so she can come to an empty room, but I was just too tired to do it.

****

I can hear her humming… she’s preparing breakfast… I feel sick…

– Come on, Liv, breakfast is on the table.

– Thanks, Remy, but I am really not hungry.

– We have a bit of a hang over, don’t we?  – her tone is almost teasing but a bit reproachful too.

– Yeah, but you came home late … – I try to be equally nonchalant but her face expression changes to irritated and “mind your own business”

– I think you should get a shower and eat … It’ll help you clear your head. – Right, I think to myself, we can talk about my hang over but not about her night life. In that way I am the younger one and the brat (I wish) but when she’s supposed give a damn about me then we’re just friends, regular, normal, and not too close either. Agrh…

***

Coming out of the shower I really do think clearer. If I continue pouting I could just ruin the whole day. Maybe if she starts caring about me… maybe if I am good… maybe then she will really love me enough to care about what I do…

– Better? – she asks looking for signs of pouting.

– Yeah, I am sorry – Shit…Whyyyy do I always apologize to her? I didn’t do anything wrong

– Iggy is taking us to that lovely beach today. We should be ready in 20 minutes. – we… again weeee …. we are not we… you and your precious boy toy are weeee, I am just a bother ...Probably reacting to my expression she adds, not too satisfied: -You don’t have to go if you don’t want to.

– No, I want to. – Of course I want to. That’s why I came here. For your crumbs. For bits of time I spend with you. – I mean, unless it’s only the two of you, in that case you should spend time together.-

No, Mario is coming as well. – she smiles, although I can see she’s not too happy that her boy toy brings his friends with him all the time. Mario wants to be with me. You know, like all men, he wants to have sex. I am ok looking. Some people say I look real good, but I don’t agree. Anyhow, I have all female body parts, some not so developed, but the one men need the most to relieve themselves  is present. So my friend’s boyfriend’s friend is into me… So what?

****

I try to swim as far away as I can, but I am not so fit, and not so brave either … I don’t swim far enough to make her worried. And Mario is always way too near. Finally, an idea pops into my head.

– Mario, can I ask you something, but… you know… don’t tell Remy.

-Yeah, sure. – yes, of course I was hoping he would blab.

– I wondered if you knew someone who sold …. – my brain is racing… should I go for the big stuff… what if pot is too little a deal…  – pot or ecstasy ?

– I think I actually might know a guy…Let me check with Iggy…

I grab his hand as he’s about to call out to Iggy

– Remy mustn’t know!

– Why? She got high wit us, yesterday. I wanted to invite you, we saw you in that club, but she said you were with some friends… are you OK? – No, I am not OK. I feel betrayed. I feel like a fool.

All my real friends told me not to come. Not to run where she is. They told me not to let her step over me like I am a piece of trash on the street. But I didn’t listen. I couldn’t accept the simple truth they told me: “She doesn’t love you. You must let her go.” She knew I was alone last night, she knew I was suffering, and she just didn’t care. And if my friends knew how much energy I was throwing her direction they would have told me to stop pressuring her. I know it… I know it all, in my mind but… I still want her love and attention… And then I got angry! She told me she thought smoking pot is for stupid people. So her boy toy made her stupid. She is stupid! Why do I love her?! Grr…

-Well, I actually wanted something stronger.

-Oh… – he was taken aback, but he liked me so he wanted to be the cool guy. – Sure, sure…

– Can you get me coke? I’ll give you the money when we get back to the hotel.

– umm… I’ll see what I can do… – He was so confused that I felt sorry for him… It wasn’t his fault that I am angry at the world…

***

I am lying in my bed. Tears dried. I can hear someone coming up the stairs. She started from the second she opened the door, wanting to yell but keeping in mind that we are in a hotel room.

– What is wrong with you!? – She threw the money I had given to Mario. – Did you want him to get arrested. – jeeeeez now she cares about freakin’ Mario. agrh… of course she does!! She cares about everyone except for me…Mario is so sweet… Mario likes you… Mario was sad when you rejected him… ” HA! Like I am not sad! Like I haven’t been sad for 9 years. ) 

I was about to sit up so we can talk… I thought she was mad at me for wanting to risk my life and all… The bitterness and anger welled up.

– Oh, he’s a big boy, he doesn’t need his Mommy to keep him safe from a mean girl who…. – She slapped me on the face so hard I thought my lip was cut. My hand instinctively went to my cheek and the tears rolled out. I laid back down and turned away from her, sobbing. I wanted to shout: I don’t care about you either. I wanted to lie from the top of my lungs.

– Get up! – I wasn’t moving. – Olivia, get up this instant! – I could hear the anger. She was pissed but I couldn’t sense caring. Not one tiny bit. I put the pillow over my head. I didn’t feel cared for. I felt hated.

– What are you trying to do?! – she asked angrily.  I guess I felt I had nothing to lose, or maybe it was just the heat of the moment. I turned around and practically shouted at her.

– To get you attention! To make you care about me at least a little bit!!!! – Then I started crying, because the words were so painfully true.

– If you continue behaving like this you can only make me care less. – she said in a cruelly calm and cold tone.

– You could care less?! … – She looked at me as if saying: you’re about to see how little I can care. She turned around and left the room without a word. I just wanted to die. I started packing, but then I realized I wouldn’t be able to go far with a big suitcase and I didn’t have enough money for a hotel room and the new ticket home. I wasn’t thinking, well not consciously, about what had happened. I was in some robot like state. I got ready, even put make up on, which I don’t normally do. I put all my things in the suitcase and shoved it under the bed. Made the bed. Took my passport, wallet, plane ticket and the bathing suit, left her a note with the money .

“Money’s for any extra charges for the room. I have paid the room for the next 7 days, so you don’t have to worry about anything. I will probably come for my suitcase before the flight. Stay well.”

I went to the first shop, bought a liter of tequila and decided to get real drunk before getting into a bar… I drank too much too fast and fell into a drunken sleep on the beach. When I woke up a woman was sitting next to me. Everything was strangely quiet. I closed my eyes, pretending to be sleeping.

– The sun is about to rise. It would be a pity to miss it. I opened my eyes, thinking I must look like shit.

– I’ll just go freshen up.

– Sure. – she said with a warm smile. I wanted to cry. A stranger was being kinder to me than the woman I had loved for nine years. The woman for whom I would have given up everything. Well I moved to another city for her. I helped her with her work. I was there for her friends. I did everything I could. I accepted the way she treated me… And this stranger cared more about me than she did. Well, I didn’t ask anything from the stranger and I did all those things to get Remy’s love, it wasn’t exactly selfless. So, she was right to hate me… In a way I was practically trying to manipulate her emotions. No wonder she hates me.

I washed my face and drank some water at the beach showers. The sky started its show. I came back and sat next to the woman. She was so peaceful. She wasn’t beautiful, but there was something so tender and at the same time strict about her. I always seem to think that women I love have a tender, beautiful, gentle heart behind the stern, cold mask of distance. So far, I have never felt the tenderness.

– I am  Milica. – We shook hands. We both had  a very firm grip.

– Olivia…. Liv… – I smiled.

-You know, what you did yesterday was dangerous. Something really bad could have happened to you… – she said in a strict but caring voice, looking directly into my eyes. The fact that she seemed to care, brought me to the verge of tears, again! They just dropped down my cheeks. I tried to hold them back.

-It’s over now. – she said and continued looking into the horizon. And the memories of the previous night came flooding back. It’s over. I made it over. I want Remy to be here…. and I wanted to die again, despite Milica’s caring, despite the soothing sound of waves, despite the beautiful colors and the powerful Sun… Nothing mattered. I looked around for the bottle, in all honesty thinking I should be drunk when Remy finds me.

-Looking for this? – Milica was holding the empty bottle and looking at me incredulously. She couldn’t believe my nerve. – You know, if I were you mother, you would be very sorry by now, and you wouldn’t think about drinking again.

In spite of all the sadness my stomach jumped. She was a Top!!! Real life Top! And she was threatening me. Delight and fear combined. I knew she could see it on my face. I looked down at the sand. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe, she is one of those people who just threatens… like, doesn’t mean it.

-I have to go back to the hotel. My daughter is going to wake up soon. Will you be OK, kiddow?

Her daughter…. she wasn’t a Top, she was a Mother.

– Yes, thank you. Thank you for … everything… and I am sorry I made you leave your daughter … and… spend the night here… I am sorry…

– Oh, but that is not your fault. You should be sorry for what you did, and very sorry, but what you just mentioned were my decisions, not yours. I am glad to have met you. I didn’t mind spending a part of the night here.

– I am really glad I’ve met you too. Thank you! – I wanted to hug her. I am a hugger… when I am grateful, when I am happy, when I want to comfort somebody, when I need love… I hug. I wanted to, but Remy said that I shouldn’t do it in public. I was embarrassing her. I remembered the lessons which hurt me, so I didn’t move.

– Isn’t somebody waiting for you? – She asked when she saw I wasn’t leaving.

– No. Nobody. – She looked at me inquisitively and then smiled after she had decided what to do.

– Well, then, come along to have breakfast with us. I am sure Valentine will be happy to meet a new friend. – I felt welcome and decided that feeling sorry for myself could wait a little bit. I’ll have plenty of time for that.

***

After breakfast, we ended up going to a beautiful beach, some 20 kilometers away from the town. Valentine was fun and incredibly smart seven year old. I played with her and taught her French and math and she asked me about a million questions and I invented some stories for her about princesses who didn’t need anyone to save them. She hugged me about a thousand times and about as many times announced that she loved me and that she wanted Milica to adopt me as her sister, which almost made me cry because I’ve wanted an older sister all my life. Milica was reading and glancing at us with a maternal look, and the tender looks weren’t meant just for Valentine. I found out that Milica was raising Valentine alone, that she was a University professor. She was 48, just one year older than Remy. After dinner we were going back to her hotel and my mood was getting worse and Milica was getting more serious. I knew I had to leave. I was grateful for that day. I said I would go stay with a friend in her room and asked if she could drop me off at a hotel on the opposite side of the town (the cheapest one I could find). Valentine started begging me not to leave. She wanted me to tell her a story before bedtime. Although she had already fallen asleep in the car; and she would fall asleep again in two minutes, Milica said:

– Yes. I think you should come with us and tell her a story. – Milica’s tone was strange. It wasn’t strict or cold, but I could see that she was thinking about something. Of course, Milica brought Valentine in her arms and she didn’t wake up not even as her Mom undressed her and kissed her on the forehead. We went outside, on the terrace. When we sat down, she started:

– Look. I didn’t buy that thing about your friend at that cheap hotel. And that will be the last time you lied to me. OK? – She was serious, strict, but almost businesslike.

– Yes. I am sorry.

– You should be. – she continued matter-of-fact-ly with a tiny bit more of closeness and I realized the businesslike quality was due to the fact that she must have thought about what to tell me and she was giving me a prepared speech. She continued: – If you want, you can stay here – my heart jumped! She wanted me to stay! I wasn’t boring to her, I wasn’t a pest to get rid of, she was fine with my company.  – buuuut, we have to talk first. You need to tell me why you did what you did yesterday. Or you will stay only for tonight and then tomorrow morning you will have to either introduce me to somebody who knows you, or go home. Of course, you can leave tonight if you wish, but I wouldn’t be very pleased about it.

I imagined Remy’s face if she knew I was telling someone about our … relationship… friendship… nothing… our nothing…. Anyhow she would hate me for telling strangers things about her life. But I really didn’t want to go home. Only then did I realize that Remy might have called my Mom! I panicked thinking about how worried my Mom must be and if something happened to her because of the worry. I turned on my phone and saw two dozens of messages and missed calls. All from Remy. I called my Mom, she didn’t know anything, thank God! She didn’t deserve to worry. She is a wonderful Mom. And then I read all Remy’s messages starting with the “Where are you?” that morning at 7 am to “Olivia, call me right away! I will call the police” written about half an hour earlier. I wrote back. “I am well. As I have written in the note, I will pick up the suitcase at some point. If it bothers you just toss it outside. I don’t really care.”

I don’t think 5 seconds passed when the phone started ringing. I could almost feel her anger through the ringing, but I silenced it quickly. After watching the whole show without a word, MIlica said:

– You should pick it up. Face what you have to face. If you want, I can drop you off somewhere.

It started ringing again. I silenced it. Milica’s piercing, unrelenting stare was very convincing.

– You will be here tomorrow? – I practically pleaded.

Yes. – She patted me on the cheek. I hugged her. And she hugged me. If I weren’t imagining, she didn’t really want to let me go. We exchanged phone numbers. I rejected Remy’s third phone call and wrote that I was coming. I mumbled. “Like you care… “

– Not everyone cares in the same way. – Milica said and picked up my chin so she could look into my eyes to see if her message had sunk in. I hugged her again and whispered.

– Thank you for caring the way you care.

****

Our hotel was less than hundred meters away from Milica’s but I was walking very slowly.I met Iggy and Mario on the stairs. Iggy looked at me with an incredible hatred.

– You are really an idiot! – he said as if he was about to threaten me or hit me.

– Oh, go to hell! – I said as if he is the least important person in the world.

He got even angrier and wanted to punch me or whatever, but Mario pulled him down the stairs.

-It’s between the two of them.

– Stupid bitch. – Iggy mumbled. Although I was angry, and hateful, I knew I would want to kill anyone who hurt Remy. So if his behavior was motivated by love toward her, I could understand it.

While I was walking up the stairs I didn’t know whether I still loved Remy that much. I only knew I felt fear and guilt. It was overwhelming. I felt like running back to Milica when Remy opened the door and pulled me inside. She looked horrible. Like she hadn’t slept in days. Her hands were trembling. I felt she hated me. She slapped me hard. My lip did bleed this time. I was just standing there, looking at the floor, tears flowing down my cheeks. I could see her trembling hands. I loved her. And I was so, sooo sorry. She must have been worried sick. She had been panicking. The whole day. She must have gotten home in the morning and probably didn’t stop worrying since.

– I should have never let you come. What would I have told your mother if something had happened to you!? – My mother!? So she only felt accountable?! She didn’t care. She just felt responsibility…. My heart sank and my anger grew.

– I am an adult. You are not responsible for me. And if you don’t give a fuck – slaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap  I thought my ear and my face were going to fall apart. I started sobbing from the pain. She took out a belt from her suitcase and started hitting me on the thighs on the butt on the legs…

– I   swish swat swat … AM responsible…. – I was trying to escape the belt and growled back through the tears and sobs.

– Stop it… You don’t have the right…. – She thew the belt on the floor, sat on the bed and started crying, her face in her hands. Her whole body was convulsing with the sobs. I was sorry. I was sorry for everything I had put her through. I loved her even if she didn’t love me. I knelt in front of her. And put my hand on her knees.

– I am sorry. I wasn’t thinking. I just thought you didn’t want me here and I … I was hurting and… I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing to you – she looked at me with so much anger and, I thought, hatred.

– What do you want from me? – she asked desperately. And I realized I couldn’t expect anything. I realized I had killed every single ounce of love in her. I put her through hell and now, now it really was over. Now she really didn’t care. I felt a strange emptiness inside. And a realization of how much I had asked from her; how much I have misinterpreted in our relationship; how often I interpreted her behavior as caring when she was enduring my presence… And also, how much I was pressuring her with that presence. Because she is a good person, she didn’t want to hurt me. And, I who supposedly loved her, I have hurt her…

– Nothing. I am sorry. I’ll take my suitcase and I will be OK. I met someone. And I am in touch with my Mom. I will tell her that I am not staying with you anymore, so I am no longer… I mean, I never was but… now she will know I am not even with you… Remy, I am almost 30 … I am not a kid you are responsible for… I thought you were aware of that. I thought you saw me like that… I can’t say how sorry I am for doing this to you, I just didn’t think that it mattered to you… I thought you would be angry, but, I didn’t think you would worry…

Yes, tears made my cheek sting like hell… but my heart hurt so much worse. Was I saying goodbye to the one I loved?? I couldn’t stand it. I really just wanted to drop dead then and there. She wiped away her tears, sighed and looked at me. It was a long look. Undecipherable. Maybe a little empty, and sad. I continued:

– I wish I could turn back time. I would have done everything differently, and I definitely wouldn’t have ruined your holiday. And this, yesterday and today, I wanted a reaction, I was behaving childishly, but I wasn’t expecting that you would worry this much.

-What you did was incredibly selfish,

-I know…. I am sorry…. –

After a long silence, she sighed and she said looking at my lip:

-We have to put some ice on that. – weeeeeeeee again, she said weeeeeeeeeeeeee  what does that mean.. ????????