Always Together

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Chapter 52

More than two weeks have gone by, and still, there is no news of Alec. Jake and Kris don’t seem worried about his disappearance as they know he leaves from time to time to attend his work without informing anyone much about it. And I am not surprised that nobody asks him anything as he is really closed off person.

They told me it is perfectly normal for him to be out of town for days.

But this doesn’t ease my worry. I am concerned about his safety, I have a strong hunch that he is involved in something dangerous which he is hiding from me.

When he will understand I am not going to judge him and there is no need for him to keep secrets from me. Even if I will not understand him then I will try to understand. But whatever he does, will never affect our friendship.

Since I was not in a mood to go to work, so after informing Pops I came to the cabin to spend the rest of the weekend here. However, I have to return home before evening as I remembered Kris’s elder brother, James, has returned home for some time so he is throwing a party.

Kris’s family has always been nice to me. So, when James invited me, I agreed to attend the party. James is almost five years older than us, and on many occasions got beatings because of us, so this is the least I could do for him. Kris and Jake will be there, so I don’t think I will get much bored.

It is just that the person I want to meet will not be there. So, it sucks.

Leaning against the back of the couch I sigh loudly while rubbing my temples with my fingers. Something seems off today I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is, but since the time I have woke up, I have this weird feeling.

Just, after I have placed chopped logs in the fireplace, I hear a loud crash sound coming from upstairs which immediately sends me running towards mom and dad’s room.

Opening the door, I see a medium-size metal box on the floor half-opened and its contents laying across the floor. Cupboard, near the bed, is tilting from one side because its foot has been broken. This box must have been placed above the cupboard, that is why it fell when the cupboard tilted.

Picking up the box, I see a dent in the wooden surface of the floor caused by the impact. Sitting on the floor I start picking up the rest of the things which mostly consist of papers. Some certificates of dad, some faded photographs of him and letters which he had written to Pops from his college days.

Pops might have kept all these things in this box when he had cleared my old house.

One particular letter gets my attention, as it doesn’t look very old, and also I remember this paper from dad’s writing pad, the one which he had on his desk. This must be the last letter which dad had written to Pops.

I know it is wrong to read someone else’s letter, but this letter contains my dad’s words. The words which I will never be able to hear. It will be like directly listening to him while he talks with Pops.

I hope he forgives me for reading his letter.

Pops never talks about dad much. Every time we talk about mom and dad, he always talks about both of them together. However, I hardly remember him telling me something, particularly about dad. It is always mom and dad.

He never told me how dad was during his childhood or what he liked to do, and what type of relation they shared. Now when I think of it, whenever I bring up anything about dad in our conversation, he subtly changes the topic.

Without thinking much I pick up the letter and let my eyes roam over the words written with black ink. I notice there are some points where he must have pressed the pen too hard on the paper.

By the condition of the paper from the corner, it looks like somebody has held it very tightly to the point it is heavily crumpled.

Taking a deep breath, I slowly begin reading the letter.

Papa,

I tried, I swear, I tried really hard but now I can’t do it anymore. I don’t deserve to be punished like this. Claire already took all my happiness with her and now I have to go through hell every day living with her.

Why did God do this to me? To us? We were so happy with our lives, then why everything got ruined?

I never wanted this in the first place, but I never shared this with Claire because she was so happy when she discovered she was pregnant. We both wanted to start a family at some point, but it was too soon. We were young and in love, who wanted some more years just to themselves without any other responsibilities. But watching Claire’s happiness, I figured there is nothing I can do.

I never understood why I never felt any connection with the baby. I pretended to be happy and excited for the sake of Claire, but honestly, I never felt any love for the baby. I thought maybe, mentally, I am not prepared to be a father that’s why I am feeling like this. Once the baby will be born everything will fall into its place.

But now I know why my heart never loved her. How can I love someone who took my Claire's life? If my wife is dead, it is just because of her. Whenever I see her, I don’t see the face of my daughter, I see Claire’s lifeless body in front of my eyes.

I thought if, I distant myself from her, everything will be fine... it will become less painful.

But God really hates me.

Every day she looks more and more like Claire, it seems like God has given Claire’s face to the person who became the reason of her death.

I don’t deserve this... It really kills me when she looks at me with those hopeful eyes and then her whole face fell when I don’t talk to her. When she cries at night, I can’t bring myself to comfort her. No matter how much I try I don’t feel anything for her. It is like my heart never wants to acknowledge her in any way. Her existence is the reason why Claire is not with me.

I can’t live like this... I don’t want to live like this. I know you are going to be so much disappointed with me, but I am sorry.

Through this letter, I want to apologize to you for never being the son you deserved. For not being your good son. For leaving you with a responsibility which I think you will fulfill better than me.

Maybe she will find a person who will care about her in you, which I can never be. Maybe you will find someone who will make you proud, which I was never able to do.

I am sorry, Papa. I am not strong like you, you can live without mom, but I can’t live without my Claire.

I am sorry...

By the time I finish reading the letter, I just feel empty from inside. Blinking, I glance away from the letter and look around the room to figure what has changed.

Everything feels barren around me, the connection that I feel with this place is gone. Like it was never any in the first place. The warmth of my parents which I used to feel is not present here anymore.

All I can feel is cold... both from inside and outside.

The letter slips from my hand and falls on the floor where pieces of my shattered soul are lying. There are no tears in my eyes nor there is any longing in my heart.

Strangely, there is calmness inside me... silence.

Slowly, I stand up from the floor and walk outside the room which held nothing, but lifeless belongings of two deceased people.

My phone rings when I am about to reach home. After several rings, I answer the call.

"Where are you? I have been calling you for so long?"

“I am going home,” I answer Kris, nonchalantly.

“No, you are coming to the party,” She half-yells, seeming frustrated with my lack of interest.

At least one of us is capable of showing some emotions.

“Kris, I just want to be at home.” My tone firmer this time.

“Please, Avery, come to the party.” She pleads, “I promise, I will not stop you, you can leave the party if you don’t like it.”

“Please, please, please, Avery.” She sounds almost like begging.

“Okay.” I disconnect the call and, instead of home, I start driving my car in the direction of Kris’s house.

Moreover, I don’t think I am ready to talk to Pops at this moment. Even though I want to be alone, but going to the party seems a better option than facing Pops.

When I enter Kris’s house it is already very crowded and buzzing with voices and laughter, which is expected as James was a popular kid at school and have many friends.

However, this chatter is not enough to kill the silence inside me.

Glancing at the happy faces of the people, suddenly I feel envious watching them laugh and smile in such a carefree manner.

The entire place is enveloped with joyous energy, while my entire life has turned upside down.

You truly realize how much you are hurting, when you are surrounded by happiness and you have nothing to be happy about.

A small sigh escapes my lips as I bite inside of my cheeks. Suddenly the idea of coming here feels so wrong. Does it really matter if I am here or not?

There are so many people no one would even give a damn about me. My own father never really cared about me, so why should I expect my presence will matter to somebody else?

Swallowing, I try to ease the tightness forming in my throat while I stare at the floor.

“What an unpleasant surprise to see you here?” Victoria’s cringe-worthy voice reaches my ears.

Her presence at this party is not surprising at all. She is the permanent bitch of every party followed by her minions.

Normally, I enjoy pissing her off, but tonight I don’t have that in me.

Without giving her any response, I start to walk in the direction of the door. But she blocks my way, clearly unhappy with my lack of acknowledgment.

“Finally realized you should not be here?” She tilts her head and smiles. “What were you thinking, when you decided to come here anyway, loser?” She frowns at me.

“Just look at her she is so weird, no wonder nobody wants to be with her,” One of her minions says.

My face epitome of boredom as I look at them.

Will they ever grow up?

“She is so pathetic that her mother died the moment she saw her face.” Victoria laughs at her own so-called joke, which is honestly getting old, as others join her.

“You are slightly wrong there,” I say impassively, “She died the moment I came into this world, she never really had a chance to even see my face.”

“Always gaining sympathies from others,” She smirks. “What about daddy dearest? Maybe he died because he saw your face.”

Even though I know she is just trying to get back at for all the times where I have put her in her place. But this time it really hits the nerve.

All this time, I believed my father died in his sleep. But the truth was he took his own life because he couldn't bear to see me alive when he lost my mother because of me.

I am the one who destroyed his happiness. My existence is the reason both of them are no more.

Suddenly, his words start to flash before my eyes while my heart constricts painfully. Closing my hands into tight fists, I dug my nails in my palms. My eyes start to burn with unshed tears, but like always they are not allowed to escape.

I stare at her face which has a victorious smile, obviously enjoying the damage her words have done for the first time.

This time, when I make my way towards the door, I don’t even stop when I hear Kris calling my name.

Nothing can stop me now.



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