“You need to wake up.”
A voice was calling to her; gentle hands were braiding and unbraiding small sections of her hair. Jordan knew that gesture; her sister had done it since they were children, always fascinated by Jordan’s long raven locks, so much different from her golden curls.
“You need to wake up because we need to talk and I am VERY angry with you.”
That got her attention. Nona was angry, Kurt was angry but Jordan couldn’t seem to muster any real emotion about the situation except a profound sadness that her secret was out. She knew she would have to face her sister eventually, now was as good a time as any. She opened her eyes to find her head cradled in Nona’s lap, one arm draped across her sister’s legs. Part of her wondered where her nephew had gone and when he had been replaced with his mother.
“Why are you angry?” She tested her voice and it still sounded awful. Nona jumped when she spoke having been unaware her command had been followed. She met Jordan’s eyes, leaning back so her big sister could sit up.
“Why do you think? All this time, all this time you’ve been feeling this way and you never told me. Never asked for help. You really want to die?”
Jordan found herself staring at her hands again, a new uncomfortable habit. Yes and it’s none of your business, the bad voice hissed again. These are my private thoughts and no one else’s. But that wasn’t right, wasn’t why she had kept it to herself.
“I don’t…” she began but Nona soundly cut her off.
“No.” She commanded with barely controlled anger. “Don’t say you don’t know. You are the most calculated, controlled person I have ever known. You don’t say or do anything without having thought it through. Now why did you think death was your best option?”
Nona had never been able to recall a time when her sister had reacted rashly or made a decision without first considering all the angles. She had been the picture of a responsible, level headed older sibling setting the best example she could for Nona. If Jordan was suicidal, this was not a fleeting thought that had just occurred to her that day. She knew how and she knew why, now Nona needed to convince her that just this once, she was wrong.
Jordan fixated momentarily on the word “did”, alluding to a past tense, since she still felt as she had several hours before. Death was the best option, she was sure of it but she had decided to give her family the opportunity to change her mind. Part of her was annoyed that they had found out at all but her body had been betraying her for sometime now. The nightmares were a manifestation of her anxiety over CLU and the safety of her family; the fainting spells a result of suppressing her powers and her lack of appetite of stress. It was as if her subconscious had been poking tiny holes in her controlled façade waiting for her to spring an emotional leak. She took a deep breath and opened the floodgates.
“You were all so worried about me, ALL the time. I could see how it affected you. But when I started making progress, when you thought I was better, it was like a weight was lifted.”
Nona was watching her intently with the same expression the doctor had worn. She didn’t like it and she almost stopped speaking right then but her sister needed to know this. They couldn’t help her if they didn’t know what morbid thoughts were dominating her mind. Her sister reached out to take her hand and Jordan flinched away, pretending not to notice the hurt in Nona’s eyes.
Before yesterday, Jordan had never pulled away from her even when she didn’t want the affection; she put that aside for Nona. Now this was the second time she had pulled back and Nona kicked herself mentally for not noticing earlier. Jordan was withdrawing into herself, the fear of contact a physical manifestation of her emotional conflict. She waited patiently for her sister to continue.
“But I wasn’t better. And I knew if you had any idea what was going on, you would all worry yourselves sick. I just thought it would be easier for you, for Kurt and Taylor, my dad…if I was gone.” She noticed Nona flinch at the notion. “You wouldn’t have to worry anymore. You could all move on.”
Yes, they could all move on. Nona would no longer have to live in Jordan’s shadow. Kurt would be free to find love with a beautiful woman; a woman without crazy powers, crippling injuries and a lifetime’s worth of emotional baggage. In light of the recent adoption, Taylor would no doubt be allowed to finish her high school years with Kurt and then it would be off to college, her future bright before her. All of these options sounded better than what they would receive if she continued on.
“We all move on and what about you?” Nona practically bellowed. “How does that help you? “Jordan considered the question calmly, even as her sister was seething.
“I get to be free.” Yes! Death is freedom, the black voice intoned again and she couldn’t bring herself to argue with it.
Nona stared at her aghast. The emotions scrolling across her face vacillated between angry, horrified and saddened at an alarming rate. She wanted to hug Jordan and slug her and cry for her. She reached for her sister again and this time she would not be deterred. Jordan sank into her chest, pulled down by the emotional weight of the moment. She could feel Nona’s chest heave as she began to sob but Jordan had no tears of her own to shed. It felt like she was a hollow shell, waiting to be crushed so what was left of her could be carried away.
“Free from what?” Nona whispered between sobs. She didn’t understand, couldn’t understand. But Jordan had to try to make her. She raised her head from Nona’s chest to implore her sister.
“Don’t you see? I’m trapped!” Nona startled at the description but Jordan pushed forward. “I’m in limbo. I can’t be a firefighter because of my injuries. I can’t be a good mother because I’m afraid Taylor will get too attached and then I’ll be gone. And let’s be honest, how can I be a mother when I never had one?”
Nona was aware of the strained relationship between Jordan and their mother. While she had felt like her mother’s closet friend, Jordan had been treated almost like a stranger. She opened her mouth to reassure her sister again but she wasn’t done ranting.
“I can’t be a good partner or wife because I’m worried that I’m holding Kurt back. I can’t be a good sister because you deserve someone who can protect you. And I can’t be a hero anymore because I never truly was.”
“Jay, no, you don’t have to feel that way,” Nona tried again in vain to comfort her sister but Jordan was too far down the rabbit hole of her own twisted logic.
“It doesn’t matter if CLU killed me then, or kills me now or if I do it myself because I can’t take this anymore! Inside I’m already dead and I’ve just been waiting for someone to notice.”
With that last statement, Jordan turned away from her sister not wanting to gaze upon Nona’s face as her heart broke. Just as Kurt’s had earlier that day, just as Taylor’s would when she eventually found out. This was what she kept doing: hurting them; this was why she needed to be stopped. She had curled into a protective ball and she could feel Nona curl up behind her, face hidden in her shoulder. She didn’t pull away but melted into the embrace deciding to savor it just in case it might be their last.