@high-fashionista @withacherryontop @the-wild-things @anonymiss @roses-are-roses @nifty-nikki @wakeupfarah
-- sometime in the past week --
Jake’s chest moved up and down slightly, in perfect rhythm as he lay sleeping on his back, unblemished but for the white bandage wrapped around his shoulder. He still hadn’t been back on the field since the team’s first home game, and it was starting to catch up to him. The rehab, the waiting, the sleepness nights – every time he rolled onto his side, he’d wake me up with a groan of pain.
So often, I had to remind myself that I wasn’t the one in pain. But as his frustration and anger grew day by day, so did my desire to leave Boston.
It was simmering there underneath us for a while, but it exploded the day that we wrote the wedding invitations. Because he had free time, I had him on extra wedding duty – even though Bridget, our wedding planner, did most of it for us, I still didn’t want to be too detached from everything. I was sitting at the table, surrounded by lists and blank cards, while he played some loud Xbox game in front of me.
“Can you turn that down?” I asked quietly, squeezing my temples with my fingers.
After a few seconds, he turned his head, glancing at me. “You okay?”
“This is just...” I sighed. “Stressful.”
He paused the game, standing up wearily and joining me at the table. “What do you need me to do?”
“Write these,” I said, passing him the list of his family guests. He nodded a few times as his eyes scanned down the list. Until he hit the name at the bottom.”
“No! Daria, no,” he almost yelled, glaring at me. He grabbed the pen out of my head and crossed out his father’s name so determinedly that he left marks in the table.
“Jake, listen – ”
“No... no. You don’t get to do that.”
I bit my bottom lip and closed my eyes momentarily, trying not to lose it. “Just think about it...”
“For God’s sake, Daria, you know... you know how I feel about him. Or, I thought you did. Do you even listen to me?”
“What? Of course – ”
“You don’t get it. You don’t know what it’s like to have a parent walk out on you.”
“But I know that he’s sorry, and he’s trying to make it right – ”
“Nothing makes it right! It’s not just me, it’s my brothers, my grandmother, my... my mother. Do you want to do that to her? To all of them?”
“He isn’t. He’s nothing. God, you can’t see past your own fucking ideas of your family... you know, we didn’t all have the perfect Vermont childhood, Daria.”
I felt myself shrinking as his anger exploded. I was expecting some resistance to inviting his father, but then I was also expecting some sort of reasonable discussion.
“Jake...” I squeezed his uninjured shoulder lightly, running my hand down to rest on his chest in a move that I knew usually calmed him down. “I know it’s hard, but family means so much to me. Especially lately. You don’t... you don’t know when you could lose that. I don’t want you to one day regret being so angry because you lose someone for good. Can’t you just think about it, for me?”
He looked like he’d settled down for a few seconds, before he pushed my hand away. “Don’t play the cancer card. This isn’t about you.”
Now it was my turn to explode. “The cancer card? What the fuck does that mean?”
“You can’t guilt me into this just because your mom is sick, it’s not the same thing.”
“I can’t believe you just said that.” I sprang to my feet, storming towards the bedroom. If I’d been waiting for a moment to get out, this was it. I grabbed the bag I’d packed yesterday for a short away game trip, slinging it over my shoulder. Ash had followed me into the room, and he knew something was up – his head was bowed, tail between his legs. I grabbed his leash and put it on, taking a deep breath before passing the living area again.
“What, you’re leaving me now?” Jake asked angrily.
“I’m going to Beacon Hill for a few days.”
“So you’re kicking me when I’m down?”
I rolled my eyes at his hypocrisy. “Go fuck yourself.”
When I stood on my parent’s doorstep, I didn’t feel any better. I felt weak. Beaten down. Not just because of Jake, but because I’d done it to myself, too. I always promised myself that it was going to be perfect. That because we were so crazy about each other, we’d never fight again. But it never really worked out again.
And when my mother opened the door, I felt like a teenager again. Running home with my tail between my legs. She looked slightly shocked, and I knew my lip was starting to quiver.
“Honey, what’s wrong?”
The tears started rolling down my cheeks, and she pulled me into her, stroking my hair silently. After a minute, she led me inside, taking my stuff up to my old room and handing me a cup of tea as I curled up on the couch that I knew so well.
She listened as I told her what happened. How I thought he’d been dealing with his anger better than last time, but it turned out he was just pushing it down, and it blew up in our faces. I winced as I repeated his comments about ‘the cancer card’, embarrassed that I had to tell her. But she didn’t seem offended – not outwardly, at least.
“You’re going to be fine,” she said, squeezing my hand.
“I know, I know,” I nodded. “I just... needed to get out.”
“That’s okay, Daz... it happens. As long as you don’t run away from him every time things go sour.”
I pulled my legs up to my chest, leaning forward to rest my chin on my knees. “I don’t, but I don’t know how many more times I can do this. It’s not fair. When he gets injured, everything goes to shit.”
“It’s not fair, but not everything is... you know that. But you’ve also always known that he can be angry, and that he has issues with his father, and...” she shook her head, smiling slightly. “That you have the most explosive arguments. But you agreed to marry him, and you have to take on all of that. The good things, too, though. You know that he loves you more than anything, he’s very loyal, and despite thing that have happened to him, he’ll be a great father.”
“I know,” I said again.
Dad was surprised to find me at home once he returned from work, but didn’t ask questions. After family dinner, I went to bed early, feeling slightly weird spending a few nights in the room I’d lived in for so long before I met Jake.
I missed him. It hadn’t been long, but I missed the normal us. I couldn’t go back to him, though. In the same way that he wouldn’t let me invite his father just because my mother was sick, I wouldn’t let him walk over me just because he was injured.
He was on a plane by now, off on the team’s latest road trip.
The invitations were still on the kitchen table.
Day 03 – Your parents, in great detail
• Who are they, what do they do, where they were born, how they were when you were a kid and now, how they act with other people and you and your sibling/s
My parents are Lia (56) [http://www.myreadablefeast.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/marysteenburgen.jpg] and Jeremy (57) Coppola, philanthropist and CEO respectively. My mother was a psychologist/social worker for years, but now works with local charities; my father runs his own finance company. He’s from San Francisco (yeah, Francis Ford Coppola is my grandfather), she’s from Vermont. She moved to SF during the latter years of high school, which is where they met and started dating before going to Berkeley together. They moved back East when my father went to grad school at Harvard. Mom is a lot like me – physically, I think, and in terms of her personality. She’s also the best person I know. Strong, beautiful, kind. Dad is quite different. He’s very quiet, reserved, he comes off as cold to most people, but I know that he isn’t. It’s helped him get ahead at work, but it’s always scared my boyfriends (even Jake).
There’s never been a moment in my life when I haven’t felt loved. I was a miracle baby for my parents – they spent so long trying to get pregnant, and had almost given up hope of conceiving naturally when I finally came along. But even if it hadn’t been a struggle, I’m sure they’d still have the same love for me. And I’ve put them through hell sometimes. No mother ever wants to have to force food into her daughter’s mouth because she hasn’t eaten for a week; nor does she want to see her daughter tear herself apart over a man. But I think she’s happy with the way things have worked out. While she’s always been the first one to pick me up when I’ve fallen down, I’ve always had that unbreakable relationship with my father, too. He never had a son, so I think he was a little disappointed when I chose ballet over t-ball. I have the best memories with him, though – we used to always go to Red Sox games together, at least once a week, even when we lived interstate. He taught me everything I know about baseball. As much as he plays the protective father, I know he boasts to people at work about his daughter marrying a Red Sox player. I don’t have any siblings, so I’ve never had to share them. But I definitely wouldn’t trade them for the world.
Day 04 – What you ate today, in great detail
• Foods you like and dislike, any allergies, can you cook or not?
(basing this on the story...)
This morning I had toasted sourdough with avocado, pepper, and a poached egg. I made the same breakfast for Jake – it’s his favourite, but he eats twice as much as I do. For lunch, I grabbed a salad from one of the takeaway places near our apartment block, which I never really got to finish unfortunately. Dinner was my mother’s lasagne, which is probably my favourite food ever – she makes it when she misses me, or when I need cheering up (definitely the latter this time). Being Italian, she’s an amazing cook, and being Italian, I also love pretty much all food. I have picked up some cooking skills from her – I’m not a terrible cook, but I’m definitely not up to her standard either. Jake has a completely different repertoire to me, so between us, we’re not too bad.