Chapter 6: Amaya
All I have is two and a half hours to get used to the idea of being forced to eat dinner with Bethany and her family which I’d be fine with if we excluded Bethany and her mother from the equation. Their mom definitely has a twisted version of the type of person I am from this situation which is fine as she does have the right to be mad but I did have some self-control and will only admit that I’m in the wrong if Bethany admits she is also.
As of right now, laying down on the couch contemplating my decisions and life choices for the day isn’t something that I can just do. I need to pass the time because the sooner the dinner starts means the sooner I get to get the hell out of here to sulk in peace and think about how I’m going to make things up to Aaron. I hate that he’s now in the middle of all this.
I stand up before cracking my back and moving down the hall in the direction of my bedroom that hasn’t been touched since I was last in here two days after moving into the apartment. There were some things that I needed but couldn’t bring all that I wanted to as I couldn’t convince myself to come here multiple times. I also had to run to get home to Aaron since Shawn had football practice and I knew that boy of us would have a mental breakdown if he comes anywhere near this house.
Oh shit, Shawn’s football game that’s on Friday. Am I even gonna go to that now? Fucking hell.
I walk through my bedroom threshold before my eyes land on the bed that I used to sleep in and looks the exact same as when I left, but then again, I know that nobody was in this room since my leaving. The red comforter made it seem so innocent if that made any sense, you sure as hell wouldn’t be able to tell that I lost part of myself in here, on that bed where screaming for help and pleading for it to be over only made things worse, nowhere near better. I can’t escape the shitty roots.
That floor that I used to sit on and lean against the bed while I cut myself and thought of how much of a fuck up I was. Only stopping with the suicidal thoughts after Aaron was a few months old because of Shawn who was part of the reason that I was going to stay strong. All I wanted was to be numb, but he wouldn’t allow me to be.
This room sure does have some dark stories in it and I’m glad I’ve left this place with Jonah and Aaron though it leaves Mom alone in this hell. I want to get her out too, but in the end, I can’t force her to come with us. I can’t force her to leave here if she doesn’t want to, I also can’t stay here because one, my mind won’t let me any longer, and two is Aaron.
My eyes go to the window with plaid drapes that has been not only my way out, Jonah’s too, and also the way that Shawn has come to save me from so many of my problems. Sometimes he’d sneak out just to see me in the middle night, making sure that I’m okay before holding me in his arms before I managed to drift off into sleep. It’s also how he’s gotten in here after almost every situation with Derrick to not only check on me but get me out of here to the safety of his home.
“Damn does this place bring me back,” I say out to the empty air. It becomes almost impossible for me to take in the much-needed oxygen to fill my lungs but I’m trying my hardest not to have a damned panic attack right now. “It’s only an empty room with a morbid history. Your history.”
The room isn’t all that bad, I mean, the cream walls still have some of the precious moments shared between Aaron, Shawn, the boys, and I in the pictures that I just haven’t taken to the new place yet. I don’t really know if I plan on taking them all over though I will be taking some, I will still be coming back here on occasion though it’s not ideally what I want. The only real problem with this is that I need to convince Aaron that there’s nothing to be afraid of in this house any longer which will take a lot of time.
This was his first home. The place that I brought him home from the hospital to when he was just three days old though the doctors did say they wanted to have check-ups every two weeks for the first three months with him. I’ve watched him grow up so much in this house over these past four years which is crazy.
He took his first steps/ran to me in that living room yelling Mommy… but that’s also where he found me bleeding after Derrick stabbed me on a drunken rage. I did make it worse, but that was only because I needed to make sure his soul attention was on me since Aaron was still in the house which meant he wasn’t safe.
I can’t even fully process all that has occurred in this place, it’s all being thrown at me from different angles and I don’t know if my head will be able to take all this. For one, I can’t believe that I’ve had Shawn involved in all this for so long, especially with Aaron in the picture, maybe it’s best that all this happened now. I’m still pissed at Bethany, and Shawn a bit, but not as much. He can forgive me for this later maybe, but I think that this could possibly be what’s best for the two of us, Aaron too I think. Shawn, I shouldn’t have rushed back into our relationship in the ways that we did.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be any pain though. I can tell this is going to hurt at least twice as hard as it did the original time.
I move over to the closet in the corner of the room before pulling open the right side to reveal my hard silver guitar case with some of Aaron’s stickers that he placed all over it when he was younger that almost calls out to me. I take the case and rest it flat on the ground while getting on my knees to open it. What used to be my dad’s Gibson acoustic guitar that is now in my custody, is black around the outside and a caramel type of color in the middle where For Amaya was signed on in his script. Such a beautiful instrument it is.
A single moment passes before the guitar is resting in my lap as I sit criss-cross applesauce and the strap around my neck feeling as though it truly belonged there. My mind almost a blank slate besides the two reasons that I used to play in my head come to meet me. One of the reasons being to express all the bottled-up emotion that I didn’t know how to speak to anyone about fully and the second being for Aaron as he loves it and it helps him sleep, but right now, I’m playing just for me and my own needs.
My back is against the bed as I sit in the same exact place where I could’ve easily ended my life as I once wanted though that’s far from what I want now. This place can be what I want it to be, I don’t need to live afraid because of all the bad when there was good too. I can remember this as the place that I play, the living room as the place where Aaron first walked/ran to me and Shawn witnessed it, and I can remember this room in general as being on of the places where Shawn’s endless flirting happened. This doesn’t have to be a depressing place, it can be whatever I make it and allow others to make it.
My fingers move to the frets of the first chord of Gone, Gone, Gone by Phillip Phillips which might be an old song but I could care less. It’s a part of Shawn and I’s story as I remember it being one of the songs he’d listen to when he felt really sad or in a mopey place. I also know that he refused to allow anyone else to know that he loved the song besides me which makes a sad smile come into my face as I begin to sing the lyrics as I play my damn heart out, not caring a single bit if Mom hears me.
When life leaves you high and dry
I’ll be at your door tonight if you need help, if you need help
I’ll shut down the city lights,
I’ll lie, cheat, I’ll beg and bribe to make you well, to make you well
When enemies are at your door I’ll carry you away from more
If you need help, if you need help
Your hope dangling by a string
I’ll share in your suffering to make you well, to make you well
The opening to that song has always had meaning to me seeing as that’s what he’s done for me though he doesn’t realize just how much he’s done for me though I’d do the same for him. I’d do anything to make him better and as of now, I’ve been the one causing the problems, especially on that day when Jonah was shot. Derrick almost shot him too and he wouldn’t have even been involved in it had we not gotten back together in the first place. I’m a hazard right now and sadly for Aaron, he’s stuck with me as his mother because I can’t just abandon him with Shawn. That’s not me. I swore it wouldn’t ever be.
As I continue with the song it’s like all the years he’s been in my life are just replaying in my head, hitting me even harder than I’ve ever once been through in the past. I find myself finishing the song before releasing the first sob that I’ve managed to hold in all this time more or less, but am I even allowed to cry about it? I’m the one that ended us, insulted the relationship we share or rather shared, and broke Shawn in those damn school hallways. He didn’t deserve any of what I’ve put him through in the past few hours.
“Pull it together,” I whisper to myself while placing my guitar on the bed and standing. I wipe at my eyes before moving out of the room and heading down the hall to Aaron’s room. I don’t even know why of all the places I choose coming in here, but it does calm my nerves just a bit. It’s funny because Even when he’s not around he’s able to calm me down.
“I’m so sorry, Kangaroo.”
Do For Love by 2Pac meets my ears before I set a mental note to change my ringtone before I pull out my phone to see that it’s Shawn calling me. I throw my head back and let out a loud groan. “Maldito,” I whisper before answering in case it has something to do with Aaron.
“Hi Kangaroo,” I say into the phone a bit shocked but in a smaller voice since I don’t him to hear how raspy my voice is from now crying. I’m on the ropes of snapping here and he’s usually able to sense these things out. “Is everything alright?”
“I don’t know, you tell me. You acting all weird and so is Daddy. When you left he went upstairs and had me stay with Uncle Cody and Uncle Dylan. Then when came back he was all quiet and still won’t say nothing.” Aaron’s voice becomes this much more fragile than that moment I left and I hate it because as a parent I never want to have my child worrying about situations like this. Shawn’s now in a funk and it is all on me but I can’t say that I didn’t expect this or something along the lines of this happening.
“We’re just having a bad day is all.” No, it’s not, but he doesn’t know that. This day is just really, really shitty.
“Why? Can I make it better?”
“Nothing drastic and there’s nothing that you really can do to make it better. Just keep being your regular happy self because he’ll feel bad if he knows he’s making you sad and maybe you’ll be able to lift his spirits a bit, also make sure to be on your best behavior. Okay?” It doesn’t take him long to agree.
“You can count on me,” he says before I smile a genuine smile.
“I know I can, now does he know that you’re on his phone right now?” I feel as though I already have the answer to that. I can just picture that innocent face as he’s worn it over a million times with me after doing something that he knows he has no business doing. An adorable look for the “bad” side of him.
“Kinda… I asked to watch Flash and I did, for a few minutes anyway, then called you. Is that bad?” I sigh into the phone. What am I going to do with this boy?
I avoid the question. “Next time you want to speak to me you, can just tell your daddy or one of your uncles?”
“That’s my boy. Now does there happen to be anything else running through that head of yours?” I ask with a raised eyebrow though I know he can’t see.
“No. Bye Mommy,” he says in his regular voice.
“Come back home soon,” he whispers before hanging up, not giving me a chance to say anything else, but what is there really to say? I sigh and remove the phone from my ear to slip it back into my pocket.
“Amaya!” Mom calls out my name before yet another groan comes out.
“Coming!” I make sure to take my sweet time moving to the living room where I know the Santiagos must be with my feet dragging the whole way there. Why can’t just a single thing go good for me? Almost all eyes come to me when they notice that I’ve finally arrived though I wish I dragged my feet just a bit more. “Hi.”
Is it too late for me to choose to leave?
“Amaya,” the Santiago siblings say in unison.
After addressing each other’s presence we don’t say anything else but instead just stand in awkward silence, rocking back in forth from the balls of our feet to my heels. I don’t truly understand who thought it made logical sense to have Bethany and me in the same room when I assaulted her not even five hours ago where the majority of the grade witnessed it.
The time ticks away before we move over to the kitchen table and take our seats. Bethany to my left, Charlie to my right, and Ralph to her right. I really don’t want to speak about what I did or why I did because, quite honestly, if anyone should speak about this it’s me and her since it doesn’t concern anyone else.
“Do you have something you’d like to say?” Mom asks, making everyone’s attention turn to me as I eat my plate of grilled chicken breasts, broccoli, and mac and cheese. I look into her blue eyes that are identical to Jonah’s before quickly shaking my head. “Amaya,” her voice is that of a warning. I swallow what’s in my mouth.
“Alright, alright, I-” I close my mouth before dropping my fork. “I’m not good at apologies.” Especially when I’m not sorry and I’m not the only one that should be apologizing. Their mom watches me with hard eyes before swiping some of her bronze hair out of her eyes. “I don’t understand why I’m the only one that has to apologize anyway,” I mumble under my breath.
“I’m sorry, what was that?” Mom asks with narrowed eyes, daring me to say my thoughts before I clear my throat.
“¿Por qué soy el único que se disculpa?” I ask her in Spanish.
The Santiagos look between me and my mother who shakes her head in disapproval at me as I blow out a huff of air and turn to look at them.
“All of you are expecting me to apologize for fighting you,” I say while pointing to Bethany, “but you have to apologize too. You kissed my damn boyfriend in those hallways when you can tell I was worrying my ass about him in that classroom, that was a bitch move. Not to mention that I didn’t even touch your ass until you spoke your shit about my mother’s past that you don’t know a damn thing about. We’re both in the wrong, and I warned you ahead of time that I was different than the person you once knew. You took that lightly and continued pushing.” Her cheeks turn a deep red and I don’t say anything else before her mother decides to intervene.
“Do you think it’s a good idea to solve all of your problems with violence because, quite frankly, I don’t think that’s anywhere near fit to raise a child.” She didn’t just go there, did she?
“Mom!” they each shout before I raise a hand up to silence them which they each do. Mom stares me down, waiting to see how I’m going to handle this and even giving me a look to show that she’s willing to handle it, but I only wave her off. I take a sip of my iced tea before giving their mom my undivided attention.
“I’m going to pretend that you didn’t just say something about my parenting skills when you weren’t able to do such a good job at protecting Bethany, your daughter, from her own father. I was the one that held her and told her it’d all be alright when you were off living your best life with your new husband as she cried and cried because of her dick of a father so you don’t have that right. At least my child had never been attacked and placed in the damn hospital on more than one occasion by his father.
“Our friendship also might’ve turned toxic, yeah, but I was planning on staying in her corner if she ever needed me up until the moment she laid her hands on me first when I refused to stay away from my own boyfriend and attacked me in the bathroom. That was the first time I got violent, so don’t come at me without the full story on that.
“I also don’t choose to get physical with people for no reason. In my past, I didn’t receive a choice, but now I’m trying to change and make sure that Aaron isn’t forced into the world that I was at his age. That’s why he’s not around actually, and until you have a father figure for even a short span of time hurt you in unimaginable ways then I don’t want you making assumptions about me or my life.
“We don’t know each other and I’m not trying to make you change your opinions about me because I couldn’t give a damn either way how you feel towards me. But at least find out who I actually am before going for the kill, especially when you can get the news from about any damn kid in the high school because of your child spreading my shit around,” I basically growl out at the end before taking another sip of iced tea and leaning back in my seat. I’m glad I spoke what was actually on my mind.
“What is she talking about?” All attention goes to Bethany.
“Oh shit, this is getting good,” Ralph’s voice meets my ears before I shake my head. Damn idiot… but I can’t help agreeing with him.
“I-uh-” she stutters.
“You want to say it or should I? I’ve lost all damns that I could have especially knowing that I can’t get grounded any longer.” All eyes are back to me when she doesn’t say anymore before I place my hands in my lap and sit up straight. “Putting it lightly she spoke a ton of shit about my son and is the reason that he is known to be my son the day after my brother was shot and placed in the hospital. I wouldn’t have minded it so much if it didn’t mean that he could’ve been in danger after that whole thing, but luckily nothing bad happened and that’s all I’m about to say about that or else I’ll find myself walking. Although I’ve mostly forgiven you for that one.”
Charlie watches me with a gentle look, eyes kind before placing a hand on my arm. I don’t move but instead, sit there staring at my food now that I’ve cleared my head.
We sit through the rest of dinner, not saying anything much to each other before they say goodbye to us and leave. The moment they do I look to Mom who just stands staring back at me with a question in those eyes.
“Go on and ask me whatever you want to ask.”
“You feel better now? Seems like you got a lot off of your chest.” I nod before stepping closer.
“Is it bad that I got just a bit of satisfaction from putting both Bethany and her mom in place?” Mom shakes her head.
“I’ve had my fair share of women like that in the past, most of the time it happened when I was out with you when you were just a baby and Jonah too. I just never allowed myself to show them that it had an effect on me whenever it did.” I wish I knew how to do that.
“How?” A small smile appears on her face.
“Because I’m not ashamed in the fact that I had you two though other people thought I should be. I love you both and I loved being your mother and though I haven’t always been the best parent, that’s not going to change. At the end of the day, they weren’t important to me, they aren’t important to who I am while the two of you mean everything and so much more.” I smile too before wrapping my arms around her for a hug that she almost immediately returns. It’s been a while since we’ve shared a hug like this and I want to just take it all in.
We don’t have the most amazing relationship and everyone knows that, but she’s important to me. She’s done a lot for me and Jonah both which I do have to remember. Mom tries and that’s all that I can really ask of her.
“So since I’ve handled just a bit of my demons… I think you should handle some of yours too,” I say before suggestively wiggling my eyebrows. She takes her head while letting out a small laugh.
“You just don’t know how to quit, huh?”“What can I say? I got it from you and a bit of Dad too. You’re both some stubborn asses.” I laugh out before she does too. “Now if you would excuse me, I have to make a phone call.” She gives me a knowing smile before letting go of me. She doesn’t even know the half of it. I move to my room while pulling out my phone, taking a deep breath. It’s not anything like what she thinks.