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Perseid Summer

Chapter 1: His return

By LEFPublished 10 months ago 9 min read

“I saw my brother yesterday,” whispers Rebecca as if she hoped her words would go unheard, slumping down further into her chair. Dr. Stoy was curious, Rebecca had never mentioned anything about her brother before. “Tell me more about that experience,” Rebecca gazed down at the loops in the beige-colored rug noticing how nice it contrasted with the wood floors, after a few moments of silent meditation, she musters the energy to speak. “The last time I saw my brother was over three years ago…but yesterday,” pausing as if she was staring at a picture in her mind…” he looked like he had aged 20 felt more like I was looking at my dad than my brother.” Dr. Stoy hastily responding to ensure the topic was broached further, “How did that make you feel?” Although she had not been ready to talk about it before, Rebecca felt compelled to by the unexpected return of her little brother. “Happy, angry, sad, mad, betrayed”, she let a long slow breath out “guilty!” I understand…let’s take some time to explore these feelings, you can start with just one and talk about what makes you feel that way.

Sitting back up in her chair, Rebecca lets out a sigh of both frustration and relief, she has been avoiding this conversation about her brother Jake until she felt more comfortable, in truth, she has trusted Dr. Stoy for some time now but was too afraid to open those wounds inside herself.

When Jake had finished college, he came out to live in the city for a fresh start, a chance to begin his new life, we were all so excited…these memories brought a smile to Rebecca’s face, he had always been the smarter one of us, even though I hated to admit it, his potential was limitless. I just wanted to be the big sister he needed…someone he could look up to. Calvin and I offered for him to come stay with us until he could get his own place, we had just finished moving into our new townhouse and since the baby wasn’t due for a few more months, our second bedroom was available. Jake was quick to accept the offer so he could start his job search and plant some roots here in the city. Our parents’ house was an hour drive out, but that commute would have been strenuous on both his job searching and gas money.

At first Jake was confident, he had three job interviews set-up with some reputable marketing firms for an entry level position. Even though our father had a few friends that had offered him a position, he insisted on doing everything by himself. Jake had always felt the need to prove himself capable and honestly…I didn’t think much of it at the time. In retrospect though, I imagine he didn’t want to have any close ties or connections leading back to my parents…I uhm…Rebecca clears her throat as the memories are starting to build up…I wish I would have noticed something, but I could never have imagined how different his life would turned out.

The walls in Dr. Stoy’s office had a soothing cool, pale blue color that left the room feeling calm like the sea. Across from the couch, Rebecca was sitting in front of what was an abstract painted wall with darker hues of cyan, she focused her vision on the place where the colors met the dark tones overshadowing the light, calming blue that suddenly made you feel omnipresent. That first interview seemed to have gone well, he looked so grown-up with a suit and tie…Rebecca couldn’t help but to smile with a snicker as she thought about that day, I took pictures to send to my mom, so we would boast about how proud we both were of him.

Then a week later, nothing, no call backs, no follow-up interviews, it seemed like the motivation was running out of Jake. I tried my best to reassure him that job hunting was hard, it was going to take some time to find the right fit for both him and a company. Well, it didn’t take much for him to spiral into a deep depression, even though it had only been a short time. Calvin…she sighed…was no help either because he couldn’t understand why Jake wanted to give up so easy. I tried to explain that everything had always came so easy for Jake…that this was the first time he ever really struggled at something. Not being able to play ball any longer had been difficult for him, and he just needed time to rebuild himself and his confidence. Calvin promised me he would be more patient and help in any way possible. A week turned into three months, with no prospects, little effort and a whole lot of sponging off of us. We were secured financially but no one wants to feel like they’re raising an adult child, both Calvin and I were ready for him to move on. My mom said I was being inflexible because he was trying his best although she understood that I needed space for my family.

A few days or so after that conversation with my mom, she was hosting my baby shower at her house, it was such a lovely event with all my friends, family and Calvin’s family. Jake was still feeling low, so he wasn’t much for wanting to celebrate…though he tried. He left halfway through the party to walk around our parent’s neighborhood in hopes of catching up with his old high school friends. That was a huge mistake, most of his friends were his school baseball teammates, they reminisced about their games and high school but all that talk of Jake being the big hero of the team spiraled him out of control.

When he returned…. Rebecca stopping mid-sentence to catch her breath and control her emotions, so she starts to stare down towards the ground not wanting to look up at Dr. Stoy… he was wasted, I assumed he drank too much with his buddies except it was probably more likely a combination of drinking and pills.

He could hardly stand on his own two feet; my parents decided it would be best to let him sleep it off at their house. I had planned on returning the next day to take more gifts home and help my mother clean up, so it wouldn’t have been a problem to pick him up. I had arrived at about noon, Jake was already gone, my mom said he was up early and looked like he had big plans. She was so hopeful… that something good was going to come out of that day. We spent the next few hours eating leftovers, talking and lightly cleaning. My mother and I always had such a close relationship that at this point in my life we were good friends too. When the evening rolled around, I needed to get on the road before it was too dark out, so my dad helped me load the remainder of my gifts into the car when I noticed the box with all my gift cards and new stroller were missing. My mother assured me I must have packed them up the day before, so I headed home alone…no Jake…and honestly, I was relieved to not have to deal with him, even if it was just for a few days.

When I arrived at home, Calvin was waiting to help me unload everything and search for the missing gifts...however there was no stroller, no gift cards. Calvin instantly accused my brother of stealing them out of spite for my parents having spent so much more money on me. I just couldn’t fathom why my single brother would want a bunch of Babies-R-Us gift cards and a stroller. In my head, I imagined maybe, he had gotten one of his girlfriends pregnant or something like that, even my mother thought it was pretty much the impossible…yet he was the only one there.

Rebecca stopped talking for a few minutes… my mom still can’t admit it was Jake who stole my gifts…even after all that has happened. Jake broke my heart that day, it was the first of many betrayals. I should have seen the signs then, who steals random stuff from their family?

“Rebecca, your making great progress” chimed in Dr. Stoy after a few more minutes of silence “We have never spoken of your brother before…I’m hopeful that this will lead us down a path of recovery for you. If you’re ready next session, we can continue discussing Jake.” Rebecca sat silently on the verge of tears as she thought about Jake and everything that has happened between them. “I think I’m finally ready,” she sniffled as she stood to leave. Dr. Stoy has been her therapist for over a year now, she has always been a warm and affectionate person, so without hesitation she gave Rebecca a hug as she went to leave, she had recognized the strength and heartache in her “good job today.”

Heading into the parking lot the sun was already starting to set, lighting the sky in an amber tone but the shadows from the neighboring buildings made it hard to see everything going on, out of the corner of her eye Rebecca seen a homely looking man starting to approach her. She clutched her hand around the mace on her keychain, removing the protective cover to ready her fingers, when she heard “Becca…Becca…it’s me!” She could recognize Jake’s voice anywhere still the sound wasn’t any less scary to her as her heart started to race. “How did you find me here?” Mom said you would be here today, she sent me to find you. Dads had a heart attack and was taken to Memorial Hospital.

Rebecca heart sank as she struggled with her keys trying to open the car door, tears were filling her eyes making it hard to see what was right in front of her. Quietly she sat in the driver’s seat with her car door wide open, Jake got in the passenger’s side door sitting next to her.

What are you doing?

I need a ride…I used the last of my money for the bus over here.

I can’t…I just can’t right now.

It’s not the time to bring up the past, let’s just head to the hospital and see dad…mom needs us.

Don’t talk to me about what mom needs…you have no idea what mom needs…I can’t believe she told you where I was. Rebecca’s anger had removed the tears as she sat there contemplating what to do.

I will give you a ride today and that’s it…she stared at him in the way she used to when he was a child acting out, she always acted like she was the mom… but I must pick my kids up first, don’t talk to them, don’t look at them...just sit quietly.

Rebecca’s anger towards Jake overshadowed her feeling about her father being in the hospital. They started down the road on a silent awkward drive. Jake was filthy from head to toe; it looked as if he had been wearing the same clothes for a month and smelled as he hadn’t showered in that long either. Rebecca opens the window and just grits her teeth as she tries to deal with both the emotional roller coasters going on inside and the physical feeling of wanting to throw-up from his stink.

Please be quiet while I call Calvin, she said as she reaches into her purse to grab her phone, which she has been clutching in her lap the entire ride out of fear Jake would steal her credit cards or cell phone.

Cal, my dad is in the hospital…he’s had a heart attack.

Oh my god Becca, is he okay…are you okay?

I’m not sure…Jake met me outside of Dr. Stoy’s office and informed me that my mother had sent him…

Rebecca stared to let the tears flow again and could hardly contain herself, as she was slightly swerving in the road. Jake’s arrival has brought out so many emotions, that she just couldn’t contain all her feelings.

He’s here with me, he is catching a ride to the hospital…I’m picking up the kids now. Can you meet me at Memorial Hospital?

I’m on my way now, please be careful. Love you…bye.

She could see that Jake was feeling uncomfortable and she wanted to comfort him like she use to when they were children, but they are not kids anymore.


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