I'm Here to Fix You

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Chapter 41

SILVIA

I felt my head heavy when I woke, but I unconsciously reached out for him, smiling. I frowned when I realized Jake wasn’t there. For a moment I panicked, and sat up. He’s still too weak to do anything beyond standing more than 5 minutes. I calmed down when I spotted him by the balcony.

Jake was standing, back arched, his hands on the balustrade, head hanging low. I stood slowly, my head still a little dizzy. The new antidepressants are really, really strong, I still gotta get used to them, but the doctor says it’s normal that they make me sleepy at first.

Truth be told, he keeps saying I should see a psychiatrist, but he knows I’m never gonna listen. My parents don’t even know I take these meds, imagine if they knew I’m seeing a psychiatrist ... they would take the first flight to Boston even though they can’t afford it.

I know it should be worrying, but ... a lot of people take medicines against depression, so it’s fine. Just because I take them a little more often now, doesn’t mean it’s this big of a deal. My neighbor takes antidepressants daily, and she’s fine. To be honest, I’ve never understood why do Americans call them drugs. To me drugs and medicines are a totally different thing, aside from those drugs that can be used for medical purposes.

Leisurely, I headed to the balcony, rubbing my eyes. I would have smiled at the sight of Jake half naked on the balcony, sexy as hell, but he also looked deep in thought, which is never really a good thing. So I sneaked up on him, and wrapped my arms around his torso, just like that last time at the dock. I tried to smile, even though he flinched. “Hey, baby ...”

I could feel his chest rising and falling beneath the gauzes, but he didn’t move. I left my head on his shoulder, my smile fading. “You alright?”

Jake reached for my hands, and squeezed them tightly in his. “I should ask you that.” His back tensed.

“What do you mean?”

Jake turned around, leaning against the balustrade, a grim look on his face. He was still all gauzed, but he looked visibly better. Phew. “Are you alright?”

“I ...”

“After what you did, are you alright?”

“I don’t understand, I ...”

Jake glared at me, and my heart sank. “How can you even live with yourself, Silvia?”

“I ...”

“You just let her die there. She died to save you.” His jaw clenched. “Matilde died to save the pathetic human being you are, and you can’t even value her sacrifice.”

I swallowed, tears welling up in my eyes. I knew he’d see it this way. “I ...” my throat clogged up with tears. It felt as if a heavy load were stuck in my chest, and I couldn’t speak, only listen.

“I, I, I ... do you even hear yourself?” Jake raised his voice. “You’re nothing but a selfish hypocrite. Always thinking about yourself, always you, you, you. News flash, bitch, you’re not the fucking Sun, the world doesn’t revolve around you and your frigid little heart.”

“I ... know that, I ... you don’t understand ...”

He laughed wryly. “Oh, I understand very well.” He scoffed. “I understand that on top of being a coward, you’re also an ungrateful little bitch.”

“Hold on a sec, you can’t talk to me like that, I-”

“Oh, please. I talk to you how the hell I want.” He spat. “You don’t even deserve to be alive, and you claim respect?”

“Jake ...”

“I have no respect for a backstabbing wuss that abandoned her sister in the worst moment! I have no respect for a bitch that did nothing but live in a lie, pretending nothing ever happened, while she knows full well what she should have done.”

“I tried!” I shouted, tears pooling my eyes. “I tried, alright?! But I couldn’t do it!”

Jake scoffed, crossing his arms. “Because you’re a wuss.”

“I ...”

“I can’t believe I actually fell for one like you.” Jake spat. “I can’t believe I even let you strung me along like that.” He laughed wryly. “God, I was so blind! I could have picked anyone. Tess, or maybe Hillary. Hell, even Elise. Yet I got stuck with a girl that let her own sister die alone, without doing a single shit about it. A coward that didn’t even have the guts to make the most honorable choice and rid us all of her worthless presence. I must have been really blind.”

“Jake, I tried! I just ... I just couldn’t ...”

“Is that the lie you’ve been telling yourself?” He scoffed. “That you did what you could, but you didn’t make it?” He snorted. “I hope you can see as well as I that that is a bunch of shit.” He pulled off the balustrade, his eyes bloodshot, his jaw clenched.

“I did try. I really did.” I repeated, trying to convince him that I really did, I really did try, but ... I couldn’t.

“Then maybe you didn’t try enough.” Jake hissed. “The least you can do is try again.” He pulled a pointy knife out from behind his back. “And see to make it this time.”

I suppose he’s right. With a bleeding heart, I took the knife, steadying my hand. I pointed the blade to my chest, but when Jake sent me a dirty look, I adjusted the aim, higher up, straight to my heart.

Crying without a sound, I swallowed the lump in my throat. “I ... I love you.”

“If you do, then go ahead. Die for her. Die for me.”

***

JAKE

I stood there, not sure what to do. This is ... I knew more or less, I just ... I just didn’t know the whole extent of it. I don’t even know what to think. This is ... this is so huge and ... and it brings back so many memories.

The way she wrote it, the way she recounted it, in every detail, it was so clear, so vivid, that I had to stop more than once. Hell, I can’t even tell you. Too many gory details. No wonder she couldn’t say it out loud, it must have been terrible to even only dig it up to write it down. I know I wouldn’t.

I can remember every single detail of the night I lost my brother, but I would never ever fathom writing down in detail. Hell, it’s already enough that I told you. Silvia did something I’d never have the courage to. No wonder she needs antidepressants. After such an experience, any person would be lucky to still be mentally sane. I should know.

Sighing, I dropped my head, hands on the balcony’s balustrade. What do I do now?

***

SILVIA

I felt my head heavy when I woke, but I unconsciously reached out for him, smiling. I frowned when I realized Jake wasn’t there. For a moment I panicked, and sat up. He’s still too weak to do anything beyond standing more than 5 minutes. I calmed down when I spotted him by the balcony.

Jake was standing, back arched, his hands on the balustrade, head hanging low. I stood slowly, my head still a little dizzy. The new antidepressants are really, really strong, I still gotta get used to them, but the doctor says it’s normal that they make me sleepy at first.

Truth be told, he keeps saying I should see a psychiatrist, but he knows I’m never gonna listen. My parents don’t even know I take these meds, imagine if they knew I’m seeing a psychiatrist ... they would take the first flight to Boston even though they can’t afford it.

I know it should be worrying, but ... a lot of people take medicines against depression, so it’s fine. Just because I take them a little more often now, doesn’t mean it’s this big of a deal. My neighbor takes antidepressants daily, and she’s fine. To be honest, I’ve never understood why do Americans call them drugs. To me drugs and medicines are a totally different thing, aside from those drugs that can be used for medical purposes.

Leisurely, I headed to the balcony, rubbing my eyes. I would have smiled at the sight of Jake half naked on the balcony, sexy as hell, but he also looked deep in thought, which is never really a good thing. So I sneaked up on him, and wrapped my arms around his torso, just like that last time at the dock. I tried to smile, even though he flinched. “Hey, baby ...”

I could feel his chest rising and falling beneath the gauzes, but he didn’t move. I left my head on his shoulder, my smile fading. “You alright?”

Jake reached for my hands, and squeezed them tightly in his. “I should ask you that.” His back tensed.

My eyes widened. “What ... what did you just say?” Oh, no. No, no, no. The words sound even too familiar. This is ... I swallowed, stepping back from him as my breaths hitched. It was just a dream, right? Dreams can’t just become real ... right?

Jake turned around slowly, his gaze intense. “I said, I should ask you that. Are you alright?” He brushed my shoulders, and I felt just a tat bid soothed.

“I ... I-uh ...” I had a horrible nightmare where you suggested I should kill myself for what I did to my sister?

Jake didn’t say anything, he just pulled me into him, wincing the slightest at the pain shooting through his shoulder. “You’re the strongest, most incredible woman I know, baby.” He murmured in my ear. “And I admire you. I admire you so greatly, baby. And I am so proud of you.”

“Why ... w-why?”

“Because you resisted.” He claimed. “All this time, you held on, no matter what.”

I swallowed, knowing exactly what he meant. “I ...” I haven’t. He just ... doesn’t know a couple of details. I left them out purposely. I just ... I’m not ready to let him know that side of things just yet. We brushed the subject that week, when Jake started being my therapist, but then he left and ... I guess all the courage I had worked up to say it all faded the moment he cut off our “sessions”.

“I knew you were tough, but ... all of that ...” Jake cupped my cheeks, leaving his forehead against mine, heaving a deep sigh.

“Please, don’t ... don’t pity me. I’d rather despise than pity.” I closed my eyes, trying to force myself to resist and not abandon myself in his arms. This is ... it’s probably the end of us, so I just ... I shouldn’t seek his touch. I should try and protect myself as best as I could.

But I am never as defenseless as when I am in his arms, I realize that now. It’s really cliché, I’ve probably read this in all the romance novels I had to translate or edit, but ... I guess it does happen.

That thing, when you’re in the arms of the man you love, that thing that you feel powerless yet strong at the same time. That kind of feeling you get, that he could destroy you, shatter you, with just one word, but at the same time heal you, save you always with just one word. That sensation, that you look into his eyes, finding for a moment the courage to open yours, despite your fears, and see ... the future.

That you look into his eyes, and your heart swells, because behind your own irises you get some sort of flash forward, where you two are together, for the rest of your lives. That feeling when he attempts a smile, and even that, it brings you back to life. That feeling you get, that he’s gonna bring you down, but in the meantime he’ll have built you up again and again and again.

“I don’t pity you, baby. Nor do I despise you.” Jake claimed, pecking my lips, a small smile etched on his lips. “I’m just ... flabbergasted. I knew you were badass, I just ... didn’t realize the whole extent of it.”

“Jake ...” I tried. He doesn’t know the full story. He knows what happened that night, what happened with my parents. He doesn’t know how ... how I lived through it all. I just couldn’t make myself say it.

“I know it doesn’t end there.” He claimed. “I know you haven’t said it all. And I know about the antidepressants you take, you told me last night, but you probably don’t recall, you were almost asleep.”

“I ... I do recall.” I swallowed. “I ... I know I ... why are you being so understanding? Did you read it all?” I stepped back. “You can’t ... you can’t still love me after ... after that. I ... you’re a fool, you ... you don’t understand what I did ...” I voiced my thoughts, tears pooling in my eyes. “I ... I killed her. I ... I ...” I stepped back, a lump clogging up my throat, “you don’t understand ... you can’t ...”

“I killed my mom.”

My eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets, my heart stopping for a moment, while tears streamed freely. I recall he said that very same phrase, before the overdose, I just ... I just didn’t think of it. I thought it was overdose delirium.

Jake grabbed my hands, and entwined them in his. “You didn’t kill Matilde. You just couldn’t do anything to save her. You witnessed horror, baby, it’s obvious that it’s scarred you for life. You’re lucky to be still mentally sane.” He lefts my hands, and pressed our palms against each other. “I know the face of a murderer, because I look at it every day in the mirror. And you’re not. You were a victim, just like her.”

“I ...”

“There is a difference between not being able to help someone, and helping them in the wrong way.”

“Jake ...”

“I know you want to know more, but I’d rather focus on your for now.” He cracked a small, bittersweet smile as he caressed my cheek. “We need to work this out, and we will. I promised I’d fix you, didn’t I?”

“Yes, but you can’t ... you can’t just drop a bomb like that, then expect me to ignore it.”

“We’re going to see a friend of mine.” He claimed, his fingers trailing caresses over my cheek, his gaze distant, as if he weren’t listening, as if he were in a whole different dimension. Another coping mechanism? “She’s really good at her job, I’m sure she’ll be useful.”

I arched an eyebrow at him. “You want me to see a psychiatrist?”

“She’s a psychologist, specialized in post traumatic syndrome. She mostly treats soldiers that came back from war, cops that went through a shooting, but also common people that went through something as huge as you.”

I stepped back, furrowing my brows. “I’m not going to see a shrink. I don’t need it.”

“You do, baby. Don’t deny it. The sole fact that you take those drugs-”

“For the love of God, antidepressants aren’t drugs!” I snapped. “Jeez, I really don’t understand you Americans. It’s a medicine, a freaking medication I take. It’s no big deal!”

“It is when they knock you out like that.”

“I was just sleepy. Nothing to worry about.” Ugh, of all people, I thought he would be the one not to judge me for this, yet he’s the first. I expected him to hate me for what I did, which is just about right, but judging me for taking medicines, that’s so absurd. “Besides, you’re one to talk.” I snapped. “You overdosed on morphine! That’s a drug.”

“Don’t get all translator on me now, Silvia.” Jake spat harshly. “Call it medicine, call it drug, call it whatever you want. The fact remains that you’re 23 and you’re addicted to antidepressants. Do you seriously wanna spend all your life like that?”

I narrowed my eyes at him, my jaw clenching. “You’re an alcoholic, Jake. You’re addicted to morphine, and I can’t even begin to imagine what other drugs you’ve taken in your life. So step off that high horse of yours, you have no right to judge me.”

“I am not judging you!” He raised his voice. “I’m just trying to help.”

“I don’t need help from a murderer.”

Oh, God. What did I just say? Oh, no. No. I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean it! There it was, in his hazel-green eyes, the exact moment when his heart cracked open, the precise instant during which I tore him apart. Again.

“Jake ...” I called in a whisper when he stepped back, falling against the balcony. “Jake, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it! It’s just ... my mind is in a haze, it’s still the pills and ... I’m sorry. I’m so so so sorry.” I took a step closer. “Please, don’t ... please, delete those words. I didn’t mean it.”

Jake closed his eyes, pressing his eyelids as well as his lips, which quivered. His voice was raucous and broken when he spoke: “There’s no such thing as words spoken without being meant. Anything you say, even if it is not filtered, it still crosses your mind. That implies that you think it.” He swallowed. “In your eyes I am a murderer. And you’re right. So step away from your impending doom. It’s best, don’t you think?

But know this, maybe I’m a murderer, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need help, Silvia. You need all the help you can get. And if it’s not from me, it’s going to be someone else, whoever you choose, but someone has to hammer in your head that simple fact that just because you couldn’t save her, doesn’t mean it’s your fault.

It’s survivor’s guilt 101, Silvia. You blame yourself for something you didn’t have the slightest power over. As a murderer, let me tell you, that is not way to live. Because it tears you down. It gnaws at you every single hour of every day, until you start desiring to vanish from this world. But you’ve got a long way ahead of you, Silvia. A whole life to live with that burden on your shoulder. Believe me when I say, if you don’t try to fix it, it’s going to kill you way before life leaves your body.”

I let tears stream freely, well aware of what I just did. The look in his eyes, I could see his shattered soul screaming in pain. He asked me one thing, goddamit. Just one. Not to pity him nor despise him. Yet look what I did.

The way Jake slowly turned back to the balcony, his every bone shaking, his every muscles limp as he crawled to the floor, seemingly giving up, it was proof. This time I really did it. I destroyed him.

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