The last time I felt numb from head to toe was after the last beating I received from my mother. It was right before I began packing what I could of my things. I didn’t wash the dishes, and she pulled my hair and slapped me, nearly knocking me to the ground. The counter was the only thing my hands could grab to prevent me from falling, and that’s when I knew I had to leave. I couldn’t have another near death experience again.
The same numbness had prohibited any other feelings to consume me. I hadn’t felt like that since the lowest point of my life.
It felt like I was living in my old house again, except I was experiencing the same thing in the hospital and at home. The nurses recommended I stay overnight, to clear my head and have time alone. Though Josh and his family stayed away, my dad didn’t. He stayed by my side, holding my hand, and squeezing it often when I wouldn’t respond to what he was saying. I couldn’t register his words. All I could think about was Bryson.
Bryson passed away, because of the umbilical cord tied around his neck. It suffocated him, resulted in his lack of crying. They tried to revive him, but that cord had been tightened around his neck for an hour before his birth. When he came out, he was just a blue version of a miracle that didn’t get a chance to shine and show its magic.
I didn’t know how the nurses failed to see it, and I cursed and yelled at them, saying, “How did you not notice that?!”, “Why aren’t you doing anything to help him?!”, “Can’t you do something?!”
Those questions had one answer that everyone was afraid to give me. It was too little, too late.
I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t eat, either. All I did was sit there, look ahead, staring at the wallpaper design. Nothing else interested me from that point forward.
I only recall crying in the first moments of everyone’s astonishment. After the pit of my stomach was eating my organs alive with the feeling of disappointment and grief, the tears could no longer fall. Or at least I convinced myself of that, after a long while of holding back the tears.
I was in the same condition when I went home, only it was a bit more aggravating. Chris, Michelle, and my dad were catering to my every need, even when they weren’t needed of assistance. Their reassurance and support pissed me off. It made my blood boil, just like when I told anyone about my mother’s abuse. They would try to relate to me, tell me everything’s going to be okay when obviously nothing would be okay. The scars, bruises, and damage I had gained from my mother was living proof that I would truly never be okay. And losing my baby was another proof added on to the list.
It took everything in me to graciously decline everything and anything anyone had to offer me. Josh tried speaking to me, and it would only bubble up into another dispute, and we were quite talented at fighting.
After another long day of sitting in my room, drinking some whiskey, Connor had knocked on my door.
I looked in his direction. He looked in mine. We just stared at each other for a while.
He coughed and said, “So, who’s going to win this staring contest?”
I fluttered my eyes down to my drink, looking at the liquid. How long it had been since I tasted alcohol. I forgot how the burning liquid slid down my throat and suppressed any other actions I’d regret later.
"You know, our parents are leaving in an hour."
I heard his footsteps grow louder as he walked in, finally finding a seat on the edge of the bed, “Josh went out to buy you more jelly for the breakfast sausages. He figured this would make you talk more, since this has been the most you’ve kept quiet since I’ve met you.”
Silence did my talking.
He sighed, “Evelyn, I don’t expect you to talk, nor do I expect you to listen. But I want to tell you, I’m sorry. And I’m not feeling sorry for you, I’m just sorry.”
For the first time in what seemed like weeks, I met his gaze. His eyes were glassy. I imagined mine were bloodshot.
He cleared his throat before continuing, “You know, this week has been difficult for all of us. I know it seems and feels like you’re alone, and in your reality, you are. But really, you’re not the only one that lost something.”
How I had forgotten how it was to be seventeen and wise beyond your years, because you’ve seen too much at such a young age. Connor was the image of me, except a different gender.
I never formally said goodbye to my dad, Josh’s parents, or Connor. I’m sure they knew I would, maybe, if I wasn’t in this…hell hole.
Revisiting the same feelings and falling into the same habits that I used to medicate the pain was a strange feeling. I thought I left this behind a long while ago. Even crying seemed more calming than what I was doing.
That day after everyone left, and it was just Josh, Driver, me, and the walls, something clicked.
Josh was in the backyard, playing with Driver. He threw the ball, and Driver would run after it, eager to bite into it and return it to Josh.
I had walked in the backyard previously when Josh wasn’t around for those few months. I played that same game with Driver, and pictured it was just Josh and Bryson playing catch, without the slobber.
The imagine imprinted itself in my head; the sight of my dead son. His pale, blue skin covering the body of a boy I birthed. I’m not sure if I ever wanted to figure out who he would grow up to take after. I wondered if Bryson would have Josh’s eyes, my laugh, Josh’s humor, and my attitude. I spent too many hours of the day hoping that he would grow up and fall into the footsteps of the dream child I had pictured in my head every so often.
Were we really better off not knowing?
I took a deep breath, clenched my fists, and released my fingers from the uncomfortable grip. My feet directed me to the door to twist the handle and step outside. The warm air brushed against my skin, making me shiver just the slightest. I was only wearing pajama shorts and a loose fitting tank top, one of Josh’s that I snatched and thrown into my own drawer a long while ago.
The door closed as I swung it, and Josh turned around. He grinned slightly and said, “How’d you sleep?”
"Take a guess," I replied.
I sat next to him, petting Driver in between his ears. He nudged into my hand.
"You know," Josh began, "I deleted the video."
I gulped, “You did?”
He nodded, “We don’t need to remember that.”
"But we always will."
I looked at his clenched jaw. He just stared out into the distance, into the trees surrounding our home.
I let us sit in silence. I let us soak in each other’s presence. Besides when we slept at night, I hadn’t felt Josh’s warmth. I hadn’t felt the reassurance that his voice often held. The feeling was so foreign to me, and I wasn’t sure if I enjoyed how it felt again.
"You want to go out for a ride?" He asked.
I shook my head, “I’m not ready to face anyone. Not yet.”
He nodded, “You know, I have to leave tomorrow.”
I turned to look at him, “You’re not serious.”
"But I canceled the flight."
"Wait," I said slowly, "I don’t understand."
"I dropped the contract."
My heart skipped a beat. A lump formed in my throat.
"Josh, you know you just blew off an 8 million dollar contract? You just left while filming? You just ruined your reputation by up and leaving production?"
He laughed, and it sounded stale, “Like my reputation matters. I don’t care about what anyone else is thinking right now. I care too much about you to up and leave again.”
I took an uneasy breath, and said shakily, “You can’t do that every time you have a movie to film for, Josh! That isn’t-“
"Evelyn," He interrupted sternly, "None of that matters. None of that."
"Then what does matter?"
That was usually my cue to feel all warm and fuzzy and wonderful about the realization of how Josh feels for me. That was the green light to continue my advances, rewarding him with a kiss or a thanks of some sort. But I didn’t do that. All I did was get up and walk away.
That something that had clicked in my head not too while back had done its magic again, only next time, it made me angrier. It made my blood literally bubble, my tongue thicken, and my head spin.
I ran up the stairs and walked into the nursery.
I sat by the window, glancing around the room. All the hard work we put in towards building the crib, painting the walls, putting together the cabinets, and placing everything in its designated area looked phenomenal for someone that was expecting.
Expectantly, I began to feel selfish. I began to feel undeserving for all the support I had that I wasn’t appreciating. I began to feel broken, and I couldn’t decipher why with all the reasons running laps around my brain.
I remember the way he touched me when we were painting.
"Josh," I whined while giggling, "These walls won’t paint themselves."
"Why can’t Andre do it again?" Josh said while kissing the back of my neck.
"Because it’s his break."
"Then that’s our signal to take one ourselves."
His hands snaked from my waist, down to my front area. He unbuttoned my jeans and pulled down the zipper, sinking a hand down my underwear. His middle finger began poking at my nub slightly, making me jump from the sudden touch. I felt my head roll back, along with a sound of satisfaction escaping my mouth.
I felt his grin spread across his face as his head nuzzled in my neck, “You’re so beautiful when you do that.”
"When you scare me to death?"
"When I make you moan."
He turned me forcefully to face him, and that’s when our lips collided.
It started out playful, and then it turned passionate. It went from passionate to urgent in a matter of seconds. Our hands couldn’t find a place to hold or touch. I found his hands running up my hips, my stomach, and then to the curve of my breasts. My hands traveled from his abdomen, his chest, his shoulders, and then to the nape of his neck. Every movement that we made in time sent a shock of electricity in my veins.
Somehow, we ended up on the floor. I’m not sure if he pulled me down to his lap or what, but I laid down on my back, thrusting my hips up for Josh to remove the rest of my pants. Wearing jeans while walking around constantly was getting irritating, anyways.
He smiled to me cockily, knowing well that what he was about to do was more productive than finishing this nursery.
Hopefully the story wouldn’t be used a bed time story.
His middle finger found my entrance, and circled around my walls for a while. His speed increased little by little, waiting for my body to react to his movements, waiting to see if what he was doing was satisfying me.
Just after that, his thumb found my nub. He pressed against it and circled around it, letting my dampness travel throughout my folds. Two fingers were now entering me at a fast pace, and I felt myself become breathless.
"Christ," I moaned.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, his mouth attacked my sex, sucking up the juices and replacing his thumb with his tongue. The stimulation of both his tongue and finger doing work on me had my climax arriving in no time, making my back arch and my chest push out to the ceiling.
It was when my orgasm was ripping through me and my mouth was making uncontrollable cries that Andre walked in.
He opened his eyes wide and laughed, closing the door behind him, “My bad!”
Josh immediately came up from in between my legs and stared at me with the most horrified look I’d ever seen him give. We let what happened sink in as we stared at the door. We glanced at each other again and began laughing.
"Did that really just happen?" I said, practically gagging out my words.
He clapped his hands together, nodded, and breathed helplessly, “That was scary as fuck!”
We laid there, laughing for the next ten minutes. It was a struggle putting on my pants and trying to finish painting, when every time we spoke or looked at each other we would begin laughing all over again.
A memory like this would usually ignite a flame between my legs. Remembering something like this would usually paint a smile on my face, making me feel like a school girl seeing her crush walk past her.
Instead, I felt numb again.