I'm recovering at home. Going to therapy. I wish Benjamin didn't watch me like a child. But after I got out of rehab, he wouldn't leave me alone for a second.
Henry is...somewhat angry at me I think. I try to smile and be happy for his sake.
He steps in the house upset.
"Hello Henry. How was your day?"
He sighs. "Fine!"
I sigh. "I'm glad it was fine. Please do your homework."
"I don't want to!"
I press my lips together. "I understand. Do you need time?"
"I don't need time! I just want you to leave me alone!"
I close my eyes. In my house when you said anything but yes sir you were immediately hurt. But that's not good. That's not normal.
"If you're frustrated...that's okay, but you cannot be disrespectful to me, do you understand?"
He frowns and then screeches, throwing his phone.
I frown deeper. I can't do this. I won't do this. He has a father for a reason.
"Okay. You do understand that you will not be getting a replacement phone,"
"Mom I—I hate you!"
I blink. I will not move from this spot.
I say nothing, and he storms off. I don't understand why he's so angry. He was alike this after I got out of inpatient rehab.
I don't know how to discipline. I don't have any examples of proper discipline. I only know what not to do.
That doesn't help much though.
• • •
Benjamin comes home around dinner.
"I'm home—is everything okay?"
"You go in there and you talk to your son." I instruct.
He sighs. "What's going on?"
"He's being disrespectful . Go talk to him."
"I-I just got home. What do I say?"
I say nothing. He sighs.
"Okay. Okay I'll talk to him."
He goes up to Benjamin's room, and I follow. He sits down on Benjamin's bed awkwardly.
"So...your mother told me you've been disrespectful."
Benjamin says nothing.
"You can't disrespect your mother, Henry. You know that. She's been through a lot recently she's been sick—"
"What does it matter," Henry mutters. "Isn't sick just a way to say she's leaving again?"
"Your mother isn't leaving. She had to go to the hospital. She's...been having trouble eating. That's why she's gotten thin. She needed help, Henry. And she just got back."
"She's all smiles now though. And before too. Doesn't she just want to leave me? Who cares is I'm not nice to her? She doesn't car—"
"Henry!" Benjamin interrupts him sternly. "She is your mother. She smiles so that you don't have to worry. This behavior is unacceptable. You will apologize, and you will stop acting this way or you will be punished."
Oh my baby...it's my fault. It always is.
"Punish me! I don't care! I hate it here! I don't want you or mom! I wish I was born in another family!"
"I wish I wasn't even born at all! Then mom wouldn't have to pretend to be sick just to get away from me!"
"She is not pretending! And she's not trying to get away from you Henry! She's just...going through a lot. And she's home now."
Henry slides under his bed.
"Henry!" Benjamin sighs. "Please Henry. Your mother needs help. I know that's it's hard to understand now, but...your mother will be so hurt to hear you say those things. Trust me...you'll regret saying those things. You'll regret hurting your mother."
"She's been through a lot. And when you hurt her...her heart stays hurt for a very long time. So please, even if your angry, be kind to your mother."
He gets to. I flee back into the living room, sitting down.
"Did you talk to him?" I ask.
"And?" I ask.
"He's...he's having some trouble at school," Benjamin says, kissing my head gently. "I'm sure everything will work itself out, y'know?"
I nod. He sighs. "I'll cook dinner alright? Go rest."
• • •
Benjamin and Henry have gone to bed. I can't sleep. I get up, and go to the coat closet in front of the door.
Something is burning my eyes. I sigh. I know that...that I'm not a good mother. I know that I can be an eyesore.
But I think I've realized...I traumatized him.
I'm fine. I'll make this right. I'm fine. Just a few small bruises, some cuts , some scars. But I'll be fine.
Then why I am crying in a coat closet?
Why can't I be normal? Why can't I be happy?
I know why.
I close my eyes. I can see him so vividly.
"I will be your punching bag...if you'll stay in my past," I whisper, "I understand that I'm a worthless eyesore, and I'll won't eat breakfast...if you'll just stay away from me. Please stay in my past,"
Why? Why can't I just be...
The door opens. Benjamin cocks his head, stuffing himself in the closet. I snort despite myself. He's too big to be in here.
He says nothing, gathering me in his arms. At least I have him.
I put my nose to his chest.
"I bought this...ridiculously overpriced shirt last week, and I just realized I hate it."
"I kept looking at it, like what shade of green is that? It's so unique. And I brought it home. And it was vomit green. It was hideous."
I laugh. He chuckles.
"I also tripped in front of Japanese investors and they all pretended not to laugh at me, but they called me stupid in Japanese."
I laugh a little harder.
"Oh and, speaking of Japanese I mixed up some words, and ending up telling on the investors his mother was a cow. He was not enthused."
I'm laughing now, laughing and crying.
He rubs my back. Yeah...I have him. Every time I've needed help, he's there. He knows exactly what I need at all times. It's ridiculous how well he knows me.
"You'll see, Honey. Everything will work out. And I'll be here, cheering you on, helping you anyway I can."
I smile. Yeah. There's one person in this world who doesn't see me as an eyesore no matter what I do.
I look up at him. His eyes meet mine instantly. I can barely see. He bumps my nose with his. I nod, our lips touching.
He's warm. I lean in a little more. He cups my face, kissing me gently. I sneak my tongue in his mouth, as he pulls me even closer.
He pulls back softly. He doesn't say anything, but we both know I was in a very vulnerable place.
"You broke my heart," I whisper.
He backs away a little. I take his hand.
"And when you did, a little piece of my heart, of myself, became your possession. Maybe that's why, I feel whole when you're around."
He smiles. "You are always whole, Jessica. But you're never alone either. You know that. Don't you?"
I nod. "You're here."
"Always," he promises.
"Till the world caves in on itself."
"Till then," he swears.