Don’t Let Me Get Me
We sent Freya to my parents for a few days while we sorted out the practical stuff. Kailani and Colten had already helped Katherine find a place to rent near the harbour. It was final.
I felt betrayed. How long had she been planning to leave? And why? Weren’t we doing fine, keeping it together for Freya?
Or was she leaving me for another man? Maybe someone who would actually touch her?
She told me that the night after Jamie and Athena’s wedding had made her realise that we were never going to work out. I would never really love her, and she was tired of trying. So she had simply started living her own life instead of fighting to be part of mine.
But she couldn’t live like this any longer. She was sick of being lonely, of our complete lack of intimacy, of how we barely spoke to each other, we just took turns with Freya.
But most of all, she was sick of my drinking and my depressive episodes. She didn’t want Freya to be affected by me any longer.
I begged her not to take my daughter away from me, but that was of course no use.
She said that getting Freya away from me was the whole point. That hurt.
She promised that I could see Freya whenever I wanted, she even promised to try and find a permanent place in the Bay so they could stay nearby, but she wouldn’t let Freya live with me.
There was nothing I could do.
No amount of arguing would change her mind. I drank and slept on the couch for the next few days while she packed her things. And most of Freya’s things. By the time she had finished, I felt numb.
She said goodbye. Then she told me to get my shit together so I could see my daughter.
She also said she was sorry. For everything. Then she kissed my forehead and left to pick up Freya from my parents.
I locked the door behind her and sank to the floor. Once again, I felt like my life was in ruins, but last time it was because I was having a daughter.
This time I had lost her.
The first few days alone, I walked around like in a trance. The house and most of the furniture was mine, bought with the money from my parents, but it still felt empty without Katherine’s little touches. Candles and fresh flowers were replaced by trash, empty glasses, and painkillers on every surface in the house.
I couldn’t be bothered to clean up. It wasn’t like anyone was going to see it, and I didn’t have the energy.
For weeks, the only thing getting me up in the morning was Cooper who needed to go outside, and the fact that I had patients to see.
Cooper would jump into bed when he heard my alarm go off, and whine sadly until I felt guilty enough to get up for our morning run.
It was a good way to combat the hangovers. By the time Cooper and I returned home and I got out of the shower, I felt almost human again. And after a month or two, I began coming back out of the fog.
Work was going slightly better than my personal life. The customers were happy. Only problem had been the other vet, Lloyd, but he had commented on my hangovers one time too many so I had finally replaced him with a veterinary nurse.
She was very sweet, and great with the patients.
But she also obviously liked me, flirting with me constantly at work.
Even though I was lonely, I didn’t want to get involved with anyone, not with my life being such a disaster. So I tried to keep the distance for months.
But she was persistent.
I finally gave in and we hooked up a few times, but then things turned… awkward.
She finally realised that I wasn’t going to change my mind, that we were never going to get serious, and she quit.
She wasn’t too hard to replace, though.
None of them were.
I saw Freya as often as I could, even if I was just picking her up and spending a few hours with her before taking her back to Katherine.
We’d often go to her favourite park, which had a nice playground. Freya loved it, and I couldn’t refuse. I wanted to give her the world whenever I was with her.
That’s how I ended up with a cat. It came up to us while we were taking a walk, and Freya instantly fell in love. It seemed like a stray, but was very friendly. I told Freya that we can’t just keep any animal we find.
“But Daddy, look! She has green eyes like us!”
How could I say no?
And so, after making sure she had no owner, Zoe came to live with me and Cooper. Luckily, they got along very well, and I had yet another fur-covered alarm clock to get me up in the morning.
Years passed, and by the time Freya started school, I found myself picking her up from basket or football practice several times a week.
She could never sit still. Impulsive and energetic, she was always climbing or running or getting into trouble.
Katherine still refused to let Freya stay the night. She was afraid that I’d get drunk and maybe not wake up in an emergency. But when my parents wanted to take Freya and me on a weekend trip to Mt. Komorebi to celebrate my 30th birthday, Katherine allowed it.
My parents had rented a cabin for the four of us, right next to the ski lift.
Freya was thrilled. To no one’s surprise, she insisted on snowboarding instead of skiing. And she was a natural.
I wondered how I’d managed to have a daughter that was good at everything she did. She certainly didn’t get that from me, it had to be from Katherine.
It was nice with a change of scenery, and I loved being able to spend more than just a few hours with my daughter.
After dinner, Freya talked my mother into teaching her some new card games, so my father and I decided to try out the hot springs.
We chatted for a bit, but then he turned serious.
“Son… you have a way with the ladies, much like your grandpa Don. Unlike him, though, you don’t seem to be able to hold on to any of them.”
“I really don’t want to have this conversation, dad. I’m fine. I’m not trying to hold on to any of them, anyway.”
“How many nurses have you been through in the last five years? Ten?”
I felt my cheeks burning. “… Eleven.”
My father sighed. “I just want you to be happy, son.”
“Tell me then, how can I be happy, dad? Katherine took my daughter away from me. All I do now is work and wait for my next chance to see Freya.”
“I have neither the time nor the energy to date seriously. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother being alive.”
Shit. I shouldn’t have said that. I could see the worry in his face.
“I didn’t mean that, dad. It just feels hopeless sometimes, you know? I’m going to go out for a drink before bed.”
“Eric, you can’t leave like this.”
“Don’t worry, dad. It’ll just be one drink, I promise.”
“I’m not going to… do anything stupid.”
I walked into town, found a bar and some willing company, and tried to forget what a mess my life was. Just for a little while.
It never really worked, but I didn’t know what else to do with myself.
I couldn’t understand a word she was saying, but she was pretty. And married, judging by the pale mark on her finger where a ring had obviously been removed.
By now, I knew how to spot her kind. A few of my former nurses had been married too – not that it had stopped us. They always ended up feeling guilty and quitting, though. The single nurses usually quit when they found someone else, someone willing to get serious.
Someone who didn’t like them sleeping with their boss.
I didn’t need a girlfriend, I needed a distraction. If she was married, that was her own business.
At least I managed to keep my promise of only having a single drink.
The walk back to the cabin was beautiful in the dark. I took a quick shower. The house was quiet, it was way past midnight. It seemed like everyone was asleep.
When I entered my room, I found Freya sleeping on my bed. I realised that she must have come to see me, only to find my bed empty.
She probably had a nightmare – and I wasn’t here for her. Her little cheeks were still wet from tears. I felt like the worst father in the world.
I resented Katherine for taking my daughter away, but she had been right. I obviously couldn’t be trusted to be there when she needed me. I was too selfish.
I laid down next to her, reaching out to gently wipe her tears away.
She woke up and smiled. “Daddy?”
“Hey baby girl. Did you have a bad dream?”
“Yeah. But I couldn’t find you.”
I pulled her close. “I’m here now, baby girl. I’m sorry, I won’t leave you again.”
I needed to do better.
I just had to.
I’m kind of annoyed. Was his drinking really that bad back then that she had to take the child away it seems to me its gotten worst because. Would have been interesting to see her side of the story so I could know the severity of it.
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Yeah, that’s the problem with only getting Eric’s side. But like all alcoholics, he plays down the severity of it, so it doesn’t look quite as bad through his eyes as it does to others. And even though he plays it down, it’s still almost every day. Katherine was tired of living with a man who drank and was depressed and didn’t love her, which I feel is fair enough 😛
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Damn boy SLOW DOWN
Let’s see if he turns it around lol
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