“Teresa, I’m not giving them my number. Not yet. And I’ve already told you, I’m sorry. I don’t pay attention to entertainment blogs or shows. You know that.”
I’ve been on the phone with Teresa, my old sponsor, for about an hour. Valerie let me borrow her phone to make, what I knew would be the dreaded phone call. She’s getting ready for her date tonight. And that girl can take hours to get ready. I think she’d put Xayla to shame.
I can tell Teresa is getting frustrated with me. She’s pissed and hurt that I’ve kept my new number from her. She’s pissed that I didn’t tell her about dad giving Jamie my number. She’s pissed I haven’t called her about the whole Georgia catastrophe, and she found out about it from the t.v. I still don’t pay attention to media outlets and what the gossip mags have to say. I haven’t seen the pictures. Unless I’ve passed a newsstand on my walk. I haven’t heard the press releases. Until now.
“You keep telling me there isn’t an issue working for Thomas. But it seems every time I turn on the television, you’re gracing my screen. Or I see your photo in a magazine.”
Sighing, “It’s part of my job. I’m used to it.” Kinda, “Plus, I’m still going to meetings. I’m talking to Carl, and Valerie is an amazing friend. She’s going to Al-Anon meetings and other group, support meetings too. She’s doing more than most did back home. I’m even seeing a therapist here.”
Teresa gasps. The last time she recommended a therapist, I told her when hell freezes over. Well, it did. In Georgia, I guess. “Oh, Ryann. I’m so proud of you. What sprung on this decision?”
I feel bad for even thinking of lying to her. But I also don’t want her to tell mom or my family. I want to tell them. Mom will be proud. It’s Max’s reaction that I’m wanting to see, “I’ll tell you. But you can’t tell mom, Max, or anyone.”
Interrupting her, “No, I mean it Teresa. I’ll tell you, but you can’t tell anyone. I need to keep my trust in you because I’m confused and starting to second guess who I can and cannot trust.”
I can practically feel her frown as her brow furrows with confusion, “Who can’t you trust, Ryann?”
“I think I’m having suppressed memories resurfacing,” I say softly. A part of me is scared to tell her this. I’m not sure what she’ll say. Maybe she’ll just discount the possibility like Max does. But the therapist believes me, Valerie believes me, and I know Thomas would believe me. He’s already questioning certain aspects before I was ready to question them. “My nightmares are back, but they’re different.”
“Different how?” She prompts. Encouraging me to continue.
Looking down at my hand, I’m already spinning my ring. “Max is in them. He never used to be in them. And umm....I’m not sure if what I’m dreaming is a nightmare from a question Thomas asked or...”
“Wait,” she interjects. Clearly surprised by my sudden admission and slip of the tongue. Immediately, I pull the phone away from my ear, annoyed with myself and ready to slam my head against the wall. “You told Thomas about your sobriety and Jamie?”
Again, baby steps.
“Jamie, yes. Sobriety, not exactly. I know what your gonna say. It’s the same thing everyone else has told me. I will tell him. Just not yet. But he asked me if Max stopped Jamie.”
The line stays in a tense silence. When the topic of Jamie and what he did was ever brought up, I’d shut down. I ran away. My memories were of Max helping me. Being there for me. But now I’m not sure. I know in some aspects, he was there. Towards the end, more times than the beginning. But there are gaps. There are questions.
“What did you tell him?”
“That I didn’t remember. That my memories are fragmented.”
“And now?” She questions, “How are your memories now?”
Pacing the room, I hear a beep coming across the line, telling me Valerie is getting another phone call. Pulling the phone from my ear, I see Thomas calling her. I knew these two were talking, but seeing his name sends my heart fluttering. I’m half tempted to answer him. Just to let him ramble on whatever it is he has to say. To say hello and I miss you too. Walking to the bed. I can see my phone. The screen going black as I approach. I know Teresa is talking, but I can’t seem to focus anymore.
Picking my phone up, I see a miss call and a voicemail from Thomas. I stare at my phone, tears prickling the corners of my eyes.
“I’m in New York,” I blurt out. Teresa stops whatever she was saying mid-word as she starts to stutter instead, “I ran away from Thomas after the whole Xayla and party thing. Andrew drove me to the airport, and Valerie met me in New York. I’ve been here for five weeks. Almost six.”
“I’m...umm, what? You’re in New York?” When I don’t answer, she continues, “Why did you run away, Ryann?”
“I don’t know,” I cry out. “Because it’s what I do best. Because I thought it would force Thomas to make a decision that I didn’t think he’d make with me there.”
“Like stop drinking?” She asks. My heart rate slows when I realize she’s not judging me. That there isn’t any snarky or threat of a motherly tone. It’s just Teresa as my sobriety coach talking to me. And I know she won’t say anything to my family.
“Ya. But I also ran for me. I was afraid. What I saw at that party. I was afraid. I saw myself in Xayla, and I thought she was overdosing. I thought she could die. And I couldn’t....I couldn’t deal with the truth if something happened to her. I couldn’t deal with what it would do to Thomas most of all. I left when I knew she’d be okay. I left after Thomas begged me to stay. I just left.” I tell her on a soft whisper. My words becoming shaky as I fight the knot forming in my throat.
“But....” She coaxes.
“I don’t know,” I lie.
She hums, “I think you do know. You just don’t know how to admit what you’re feeling.”
“And what am I feeling?”
Because sometimes I don’t know how I feel.
The phone call with Teresa didn’t end as terribly as I’d imagine. She promised and swore on her sobriety she wouldn’t tell my family where I am. She still thinks I’m making a mistake by not giving, at least mom my new cell number, but ultimately, she seemed to understand my concerns. But the best feeling is her telling me she’s still proud of me. Even though I’m seeking advice and reassurance from new friends and a new coach, she’s delighted by my progress and the fact I’ve seemed to have tamed Hollywood’s party-boy.
I couldn’t help but laugh at her statement because even I’m not sure that is possible. I want it to be. I need Thomas to tame himself. To better himself. And I have every confidence he will. If not today, someday he will see what’s in front of him and want better. Not only for his mental capacity but for his health too.
After Valerie left for her date, I’ve been laying in bed with my headphones in and just staring at my phone screen with Thomas’s voice mail pulled up. It’s the longest that he’s left me, and I’m trying to find the courage to listen to it. Like each time I listen to his voicemails, I know that I’ll cry. Fuck, I can already feel my eyes filling with tears just staring at the damn phone screen.
Biting my lower lip, I hit play. My eyes closing as soon as his soft and soothing tone starts playing in my ears.
Babydoll, I know I’ve said this before. And I will say it again, I’m really sorry for what happened in Georgia. From leaving you at the hotel, for that fucking party. I just...I felt overwhelmed, and I thought I could handle what I was feeling on my own. You have done so much for me; I didn’t want to drag you down into my depression. But I know that was a selfish, dumbass move. You’re the only one who’d known what to do in that moment, and I blew it in more than one way that night. Ryann, I know why you ran away, but I’m not stopping until I have you in my arms again. I miss you. I miss your laughter, your smile, your beautiful and bright hazel eyes. I miss the way the light catches the red in your hair. I miss the way you tease me, your quick wit. Your smartass remarks – I miss your fearlessness. And even your stubbornness. God, you drive me fucking nuts, and I miss that. I miss you. I’ve never been certain of anything in my life before until I ran into you in that alleyway. Ryann, I promise you, I will find you, and I’ll never let you go. Please, please call me.
I listen to his voicemail over and over again and find myself sobbing harder each time. His words striking deep and causing my heart to palpate and swell. I fall asleep to his words. A false sense of security wrapping around me. A sense that Thomas is laying with me, and I’m in his arms once again.
“Ryann, waaaake up!”
Groaning out, I swat Valerie’s hand off my shoulder and cover my head with the covers.
Without warning, I feel her getting up on the bed and start jumping up and down like a damn toddler. This has to be a California thing. “RRRYYYYAAAANNNN!” Valerie screeches as she starts to jump like a maniac around me. “Get up! It’s spa day.” She says, flopping down beside me and pulling the blanket from my face.
My annoyance is evident, “What are you talking about? What spa day?”
She beams at me, “We have a spa day, and then we’re going shopping and then.....” She pauses, drawing out the non-existent anticipation. It’s early, and I haven’t had my coffee yet, “We’re going to Hamilton!” She squeals as she kicks her legs with excitement.
“Huh? How? Those tickets are expensive. How the hell are we paying for this?”
She smiles, “Remember the hot guy from the coffee shop?”
“Well, he’s treating us!”
I can feel my brow wrinkling with confusion, “What? Why?”
She shrugs, “Who cares. It’s all free!”
Ha, that’s a lie. Nothing is ever free, “Nothing is ever free. What does he want?”
“Believe it or not Ryann, not everyone wants something. Sometimes people just do things because they’re nice. So, get up. We’re doing this and going to have a blast!” She declares.
She pulls me out of bed, pushing me in the direction of the bathroom. Looks like I don’t have much of a say in this matter. Right now, I just want to lay in bed and listen to Thomas’s voicemail over and over again until I can find the courage to call him. Marching to the bathroom, I make a promise to myself.
Tonight, I will talk to Thomas.