The Tide that Turned in Spring

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13. The Blower's Daughter

Chapter 13: The Blower's daughter


Saturday 2nd February

So I'd been away on Friday night in Aberdeen with my mum and when I came back to Arkansas on Saturday morning;, everything had changed.  Luckily, they were all gathered next door so I dropped my bag and I headed back downstairs and across campus to the year 11 common room. I open it and Lulu is bawling.

"Oh Rome. He's been expelled."

I hold her close.

"What's happened? Talk to me.  Come on."

"It's Brad...he's been expelled..."


"He...he was caught sleeping with Jay..."

I can't take it in.  Brad.  Ruining Jay's life. Jay, the only girl I've felt strong feelings for. The one person I couldn't loose. And it's all Arkansas's fault. The door opens and Lulu starts getting hysterical. The four Arkansas boys just look at her.

"Where's Brad, Lulu?"

"This is all YOUR FAULT!" Lulu screams and I have to hold her back.

"How is this my fault?"

"If you had just told the truth, none of this would have happened! He wouldn't have been seduced by her again!" I say, getting angrier and angrier. Jay was the only person here to ever be nice to me. The only person who gave me hope.

"Who? WHO?" Henry begins to raise his voice.

"Fucking Jay! And they've both been expelled! Because of you Jel!" I yell.

"It's Brad's choice who he sleeps with!"


I punch him hard around the face and Zook grabs me by the scruff of my neck and throws me down onto the floor. He keeps down under his foot.  Henry sinks to his knees.  He's just beginning to terms with the fact the past two years have been a lie.

"Let me go Zook! Did Jel not tell you?"

"Tell me what?"

I pull a letter out of my pocket. I notice Jel slip away.

"Oh my god Rome, no, please,"

"Let me go first."

Ben slips away too, presumably to go after Jel. I stand up and rip it up in front of him so it falls like snow.

"You didn't get in."

And with that I slam the door behind me. I don't go back to Arkansas, I walk back to Gallagher along that  familiar road. I think about Jay. I think about how beautiful she was that night we danced and how I hope I'll see her again someday. I look up at Gallagher house, the place I called home for so long. I'm never coming back here. Vermont is my future now.  I take one last look over my shoulder, then I set off for Arkansas. I come onto the road and I see Lulu running down towards the bridge. I go after her as she sinks to her knees in the road, in so much shock she can't even cry. She knows she's never going to see Brad again. I go to her and help her get up. She falls into my arms and starts to sob.

“Oh Rome, he's gone to South Africa. I wasn't even allowed even say goodbye.” She starts to sob. I turn her face away from the road, from his horrible place and in towards my chest. I hold her tight. This is the beginning of the end. Our world crashes and burns around us. Someone said happy endings only happen on the last page but I don't believe in happy endings any more. Just endings that we have carved out for ourselves. Then I walk her back to Alvie. We don't look


What Rome wrote in his journal is almost an accurate representation of what happened. And stealing it is my final revenge. But he'll never get it back. I'd been up to the loft to find Jel but he's gone. I run back downstairs.

 Then he lights a cigarette and disappears. I don't see him for a long time. I run down the stairs.  As I come into CC, I hear Henry and Zook outside.

I'm still taking in what's just happening.

"Don't tell them I've gone. Please.

I just stand in the doorway.

"Where is he? I'm gonna fucking kill him! I'M GONNA KILL HIM!"

I think Zook would have hit Henry. Henry grabs him and holds both his arms behind his back.

"No Zook. It's over."

Zook thrashes against Henry's grip and he lets out a howl of anguish as the tears stream down his face. It's the sound of an animal in pain and it rips right through me. The rain begins to pour down. I watch as Zook sinks down onto his knees, the tears still streaming and Henry face as his heart breaks. I think of Brad being carted to South Africa and Lulu not even aloud to say goodbye. God. I had no idea that us as human beings were capable of causing so much pain to those we love. Or that despite this pain, a feeling stronger, can still exist. For a moment I saw what love truly was. I saw it in the way Brad and Lulu held each other, the look in Jel's eyes as he looked over his shoulder for the last time or in Henry's face as he held Zook. But I never believed in love again after today.  I had no idea that Jel wasn't going to come back for a long time, that none of us would ever see Brad ever again or that Zook really would have to leave. All I knew was that  the tide turned against us that spring, all those years ago and took our home and everything we had. It never turned back.

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