Thinking back to my mother’s weird episode the other night, is making me extremely paranoid. I messaged her support worker to ask if she can meet me somewhere and after waiting roughly four hours for a response, I finally got one.
I sit with Cathy in the coffee shop as she shakes off her jacket. The sunlight is beaming in through the window, reflecting off her glasses, making it difficult to distinguish whether or not she’s looking directly at me or past me.
“What can I do for you Skye?” she asks, adjusting her colourful blazer. “I’m not supposed to be seeing your mother again until...” she quickly checks her diary, “three weeks’ time.”
“Something happened yesterday. I don’t know if I should be worried about it or not.”
She pushes her glasses up. “Okay. What is it?”
“Mum told me that she was going out, which is nothing out of the ordinary. But it was the way she acted before she left and when she came back. It was a bit disturbing.”
Cathy nods. “Hm. Okay. How did she act?”
“She lied to me about where she was going for starters. And she seemed irrational.”
“Your mother has been doing really well as far as I’m concerned. Maybe she was just having a bad day.”
I don’t need Cathy’s tendency to be positive right now, I need her to listen to what I’m saying. I know my mother better than she does.
“But don’t you think it’s odd though? I mean, she disappeared for hours, didn’t return with anything and seemed to be in quite a state when she came through the door. She was really shaken up.”
Again, Cathy just nods and I do wonder whether I’m wasting my time here. “Have you noticed any sudden changes in her behavior lately?”
I haven’t been in the house much to observe her behavior, but the first alarm bell went off after seeing the way she acted last night. If she told me how she was feeling, maybe I could help her... or at least try.
“Skye, do you want to know what I think?” No, but I get the feeling you’re going to tell me anyway. “I think that you’re scared. And I also think that you are taking this situation entirely out of proportion.”
Yes, I... wait, what?
“I understand that it’s been difficult for you and I know that you naturally worry about your mother – that’s why you got in touch with me in the very beginning, wasn’t it? So, I could help out?"
"But, you can’t be at your mother’s side all the time Skye. She’s going to have to get better in her own time and only she is capable of doing that. Eventually you are going to have to let go of what you can’t control.”
“What happened yesterday was probably just a minor bump in the road. Your mother is going to have good days and bad days... sometimes she might need to distance herself and that’s okay too. Space can be a good thing."
"It doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s going to do something reckless. It just means that she’s using coping mechanisms to release what she’s feeling in a healthy way. It’s all part of her treatment and road to recovery.”
I try to take her advice on board, but it’s hard. I don’t know if yesterday should be counted as just another bump in the road. It seemed serious to me. But I realise that it’s pointless trying to argue with Cathy on this, when she already has her mind set on what she believes.
The canteen is close to empty when I get there on Friday afternoon. I hover my finger over the keypad on my phone, but I can’t bring myself to text my mother.
I feel a tap on my shoulder and my heart jumps as Rory’s face appears in front of mine. I hold my chest as I sit up and glare at him.
“What the hell Rory! You frightened the crap out of me!”
His eyebrows scrunch together in concern. “Sorry! I meant to surprise you more than anything.” I fold my arms and scowl. “I wanted to catch up with you anyway. We should go to Starbucks sometime.”
I flash him a look of annoyance. “Why would I want to go anywhere with you Rory? Just leave me alone.”
He takes a step back. “Woah, where is this coming from? I thought we were making progress.”
“You thought wrong.”
“I don’t get it Skye.”
He’s clueless and a complete idiot. “You just invited me to go to Starbucks with you, after I caught you with the pretty blond yesterday. Is that where you take all of your friends with benefits? How many do you have by the way? Are you hoping that I’ll end up becoming another one of them someday? Is that why you’ve been acting extra nice to me lately? Because that’ll never happen. You may as well stop trying to win me over if that’s what you’re up to.”
Rory’s eyes widen. I may have just overloaded him with questions. “Woah. Don’t you think you’re overreacting?”
“I don’t want to be taken advantage of. I don’t want to be taken for a fool. So, I want you to be straight with me right now. Do you have a hidden agenda?”
He stiffens and for a moment I get the sense that he might actually have one. But then he settles down in the chair next to mine and says, “I don’t. I just genuinely want to be your friend. Why can’t you accept that instead of questioning everything? Does there have to be a reason?”
I can’t argue with him there. “I guess not.”
He leans forward. “Look, the whole Starbucks thing... I sleep with Bree sometimes but that’s it. I don’t sleep with lots of girls at the same time. I wouldn’t do that.”
“So, you just continue sleeping with the same girl and then dump her when you get bored?”
“It sounds bad when you word it like that. But at least I’m not two timing anyone. And Bree knows what to expect from me – nothing more, nothing less. I actually took her to Starbucks to end things anyway.”
Rory’s lips press tightly together and we acknowledge each other for a moment. Strangely, my heart hasn’t slowed down.
I jump to my feet and Rory does the same. “Any plans for the weekend?” he’s quick to ask.
I’m about to say no, but then I remember Grayson’s invitation to the Lakeside party. “Yeah. I have got plans actually.”
“Just a party.”
We walk up the stairs together. “Yeah, but it’s going to be so lame because I won’t know anyone there and—” And suddenly I have a brilliant idea. “Do you fancy coming with me?”
“To the party?”
“Yeah. I’ve got a project to complete with Grayson Swain. We’re going to work on it there together. But once that’s done, we can just enjoy the night.”
I watch his eyes widen and then he nods slowly. “Right... that makes sense. I don’t think I can go though. I just realised... I have to take Jenny somewhere. But thanks for asking.”
I recognise two things at this exact moment. Rory definitely just lied to my face about already having plans. And two, I can’t believe he used his sister as an excuse.