So It Goes…
It was Saturday morning and things were becoming predictable.
I had just gotten out of bed as Samuel entered the room. He came straight from the shower after sleeping on the couch again.
I missed him. Even when he was home, he just seemed so far away. By the time he came back from the hospital, he was exhausted. Every second of sleep was precious.
We barely talked. I couldn’t remember when we last had sex. A couple of months, at least.
He was in an even worse mood than usual today. He glared at his phone before going to the closet to get dressed.
“Samuel? Something wrong?”
Even with his back to me, his entire body radiated annoyance.
“Charlie? What’s with Charlie?”
“He’s in Copperdale and he wants to visit us.”
There was venom in his voice as he pulled the belt through the loops of his pants with angry movements.
“Oh. But isn’t that a good thing?”
“I guess. I guess I should be thankful that my brother finally deigns to grace us with his presence. Do you know how often I’ve heard from him since the wedding? Twice. To congratulate us on Hailey and Ivy. That’s all.”
“I know, but aren’t you still happy that he wants to visit?”
Samuel sighed heavily.
“Sure. It just pisses me off that everything has to be on his terms. Always. He’s practically been gone since he moved out, doing whatever the fuck he wanted while someone had to be the responsible one. And then he thinks he can just walk back in like nothing happened and be all, hey bro, care for me to drop by for dinner?”
“Admit it, Samuel, you miss him. And he’ll get to meet the girls.”
“I know. And of course I want him to meet my family. He suggested dinner tomorrow. And he even invited us to see his band play at the old warehouse tonight.”
“Tonight? We should go. I could ask Amelia to look after the girls, make it a date. We haven’t gone out forever.”
“You know we can’t do that, Freya. I have another long shift, I won’t be home until early morning.”
I said nothing. Of course. All he ever had was long shifts, and he didn’t even take the time off he was technically allowed to. I only saw him when he slept, and lately he didn’t even come to bed.
My husband was slowly becoming a stranger in the house, just dropping by for the occasional nap.
“Freya? Are you mad? If you really want me to come home early, just say so.”
He always said that. But it was a risk-free offer. He knew that I’d never demand it. I tried to rearrange my face into something less pouty.
“No. You know I can’t do that, your job is important. I just… I wish you felt that your family was just as important.”
“Ah, yes, because you always seem to think that I’m putting my job over my family. Of course you and the girls are more important to me than my job! But as you very well know, my job is also important, I have a lot of patients depending on me.”
“Whereas we are fine without you, I guess.”
I regretted it immediately. I was stepping onto a well-trodden path and I didn’t have the energy to have this particular argument again.
Neither did Samuel. He just turned away from me as he finished tucking in his shirt.
“You know what, I don’t have time for your shit right now. I need to be at the hospital in half an hour. And if family is really the issue here, why don’t you go see Charlie’s band? You’re his family too. Then you can ask His Highness what he would like for dinner tomorrow.”
He stalked off. Less than a minute later I heard the car start.
The sun was barely up and my husband had already left in a huff. Great.
I wondered if he’d come back.
I wondered if I wanted him to come back.
As I dressed and fed the girls, I thought about what he’d said. I would have liked to see Charlie’s band. I would have liked to go out and have some fun with my husband for once, the two of us, seeing other grownups.
As much as I loved Hailey and Ivy, they didn’t make for very stimulating conversation. At best, I got some hot gossip about which farm animals said what, or endless strings of “Why?”. And then I had Amelia over for tea every once in a while, but I hadn’t actually gone out for years.
Fuck it. I had decided. I was going to see Charlie’s band play, be around other people, have actual conversations. Even if it had to be without Samuel.
Luckily, Amelia was able to babysit despite the short notice.
I spent the day tidying the house. If Charlie was coming for dinner tomorrow, I wanted everything to be perfect.
Or rather, I needed someone to look at my life and tell me that everything was perfect. I wasn’t sure I believed it myself any longer.
After feeding the girls dinner, I went to the closet to find out what to wear. I’d never been to one of Charlie’s concerts. I wasn’t even sure exactly what kind of music his band played. I did, however, remember how Charlie used to dress. He was all black and leather, skulls and chains. Edgy.
Not exactly the kind of stuff I had in my closet. Everything I owned was either old athletic wear or screamed stay-at-home mom.
I could definitely have used Jessica’s help for this, she’d come up with something. I missed her. We talked on the phone sometimes, but I hadn’t seen her in ages.
I finally settled on some worn out jeans and found an old black shirt in Samuels’s side of the closet. He hadn’t worn it in years, it was too small. I just never got around to getting rid of it.
I still didn’t look like a forgotten band member of The Shrieking Llamas, but it was the best I could do.
I hung back when I arrived at the concert, feeling very out of place. Everyone looked like they were used to going out, except me.
And maybe except the extremely pale man I suddenly noticed standing next to me. He ignored me, his gaze focused unblinkingly on the stage. Something about him made me itch.
I moved away slightly. At least I wasn’t the only one rocking a dress shirt tonight.
Their music was good. I knew Charlie wrote most of the songs, and he definitely had talent.
He hadn’t changed much since I saw him at the wedding, but he still looked different. Like he enjoyed himself. As if he was in his true element here, and just slightly uncomfortable everywhere else.
When they were done, I intercepted him as he got off the stage.
“Charlie! You were great up there.”
“Freya! Where’s Sam, is he not with you?”
I shook my head.
“He says to tell you he’s very sorry, but he had to work.”
A shadow crossed Charlie’s face.
“Always so dutiful, my brother. Come inside and hang out with us for a bit. You’ve got to say hi to Caleb as well, and meet Kari.”
He led me to a room on the first floor of the building, and I talked to Kari for a bit. She seemed nice, if slightly intimidating. I’d never be that effortlessly cool, not in a million years.
Charlie offered me a beer, but I declined and just listened as he and Kari discussed the concert.
Caleb joined us a little later.
He didn’t look like he’d aged a day since the last time I saw him.
Charlie barely looked up from his phone.
“There he was at last. Caleb Babyface Vatore, we call him.”
Kari rolled her eyes.
“And it’s equally hilarious every single time, Charlie.”
I tried to follow their small talk. It was interesting to get a glimpse of a life so different from my own.
I wondered if I had missed out on something by choosing the path I did, but I also felt extremely out of place.
An hour later, both Kari and Charlie were getting a bit drunk and smoking something.
I was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable, like a spectator. Caleb was just brooding in a corner. I wanted to go home.
“Charlie, it’s getting late and I have my neighbour watching the girls. Will we see you for dinner tomorrow?”
“Sure! Actually, I should walk you home, you never know what kind of people might be lurking in the dark.”
He gave Caleb a pointed look.
Charlie quickly changed into a less ridiculous shirt and we left.
It was nice being outside in the cool night air after sitting in the stuffy room. My clothes smelled like whatever he and Kari had been smoking. I felt a little lightheaded as well.
As we walked back to the house, Charlie told me about touring, about trying to make it big. He told me about getting into trouble and running from the police. It was still baffling to me that he could laugh about things like being arrested, like it was all a joke to him.
He also talked a little about Samuel. It felt like he was trying not to, but couldn’t stop himself. It sounded like his feelings about Samuel were just as complicated as Samuel’s feelings about him. There was definitely the same mix of resentment and envy.
After we got back to the house and I thanked Amelia for watching the girls, Charlie followed me upstairs to get a glimpse of his nieces. They were both sleeping peacefully.
In the hallway outside their room, he turned and looked at me with those mismatched eyes, one brown, one green.
“Cute kids. I know I haven’t been much of an uncle, but I’ll meet them properly tomorrow. My brother has always been the lucky one.”
I felt the lump in my throat. Tell that to him, maybe he would be here now. Maybe he would still care.
“Is something wrong? Freya? Hey, what’s up?”
There was actual concern in his voice. A voice that sounded so much like Samuel’s, except Samuel’s voice was causing me nothing but pain lately. I felt the tears coming.
“I’m sorry, Charlie, I’m a mess these days. It’s just – I don’t know if Samuel and I are going to last, and…”
He put his arms around me, and I leaned into him as I tried not to cry. It felt good. Samuel rarely held me when I was upset, he just explained why I shouldn’t be.
Charlie lifted my chin.
“My brother has also always been a fucking idiot.”
Then he kissed me. Hard. Insistent.
This was nothing like Samuel’s gentle kisses, bore no resemblance to his constant restraint. Or to his complete absence lately.
My knees buckled as Charlie continued kissing my neck, his other hand slowly, deliberately, untucking my shirt.
I should have pushed him away, told him to stop. But I didn’t.
Somehow we reached the bed.
I had never felt this wanted, this desirable. All my frustration, doubt and hesitation obliterated.
As I wrapped my legs around Charlie, I knew this was wrong, this was a disaster. But all it did was turn me on more.
Charlie demanded instead of asking, ordered instead of suggesting.
Praised instead of criticising.
I let go of everything, lost myself completely in his arms, my mind blank, my body frenzied.
He looked up at me, eyes shining in the dark, as I moved my hips furiously, my nails digging into his skin.
“Fuck. If only my perfect little brother could see what his perfect little wife is doing right now.”
His harsh words cut through me without mercy, slicing through all the ties that had ever bound me.
They say the truth will set you free.
I had spent my life running from the truth, telling myself that everything would be fine if only I could find a way to be perfect.
I guess there’s nothing as freeing as accepting that you’re just a horrible human being.
Or maybe I was just human.
Never meant to be perfect.
This is my first attempt at making a machinima. Be advised that it contains explicit lyrics and somewhat suggestive images. If you’re fine with that, enjoy!
What’s that time? Is it time? Is it time for another
saumel: i come into room with weenor out but also holding my phone. i am such a workaholic that i take my phone with me when i shower, like all sane people
freya: ugh i miss when the weenor was visible and also touchable and i could touch it
freya: why “ugh?” why you “ugh” and also not about me?
samuel: it’s my stupid fucking brother man he wants to spend time with me and shit
freya: i am sorry??? that your stupid fucking brother??? wants to spend time with you and shit???
samuel: what was that? i am busy getting progressively less naked
freya: i will spend time with your brother without you, who i find fascinating and we kind of have this Dirty Dancing thing low-key happening where he’s Patrick Swayze?
samuel: well, i bet if Patrick Swayze had a younger brother he wouldn’t be parentified like wtf
freya: but what if instead of not come
freya: what if come?
hailey and ivy: mom u know what the cow goes
freya: i’ll tell you what the cow goes. the cow goes to the concert where she can have a real conversation for once. this is the worst book club ever
freya: the house has to be PERFECT for charlie it has to be PERFECT
freya: i must. clean. everything. charlie must be impressed
freya: if ever there were a person obsessed with things being clean it is definitely charlie. you look at that guy and think “whoa that guy must spend so much time cleaning his house”
freya: oh god, my clothes. they need to impress charlie he definitely cares about this he wears BLACK they need to be BLACK because that is the color that cool people wear oh god is it clean? oh god did i pick the wrong brother and ruin my life it’s ok don’t think about it wait is that a vampire probably not oh my god
zaddislaus straud: i have entered the chat
kari: they call me dr. worm/good morning how are you i’m dr. worm
caleb: aw yiss best song ever, this is the most fun i have had in 300 years
freya: omg he looks so good playing the guitar, but that is because the female gaze personifies rather than objectifying the person they are attractive to so i relate it to his comfort levels
charlie: hey gurl hey
freya: hey gurl. wait. not that. wait. something else. please pretend i said something else
charlie: come sit on my dirty couch with your awkward self
kari: hey. i’m kari but they call me dr. worm. every little girl who sees me wants my hair
freya: omg he’s putting his shoes on the chair. what a bad boy! i would yell at my kids to not do it but here he is doing it
condom wrappers next to the coffee: hi! we are here! hopefully the rest of us made it to the trash!
caleb: i GLARE. i STARE. i stand and glower THERE
charlie: i will do the thing where i scooch down and my abs get really bumpy
freya: oh my god he did the thing where he scooched down and his abs got really bumpy
charlie: yeah that’s right i failed every class including sitting-in-chairs class
kari: btw caleb is a vampire
charlie: oh yeah. those. freya, let’s go, if we die we die together
charlie: i’m not a snack baby i’m the whole damn meal
charlie: for vampires
freya: ur eyes are two different color
charlie: has there ever been a conversation where one party’s eye color gets brought up that isn’t flirty
freya: colorS plural
freya: oh god it’s such a mess
charlie: shhh let me make it worse
freya: i need to do something dumb
charlie: i M D U M B
samuel: this flower should fix my marriage
samuel: oh no
samuel: THE FLOWER ONLY SERVES AS A SYMBOL FOR MY BETYRAYED EFFORTS
freya: it’s so nice to not have the pressure to be perfect
samuel: ok but like
samuel: in a way that was
samuel: not that??
samuel: i don’t know it just seems like you could have ended up there a different way
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I have read a lot of things. I have read Plato’s Πολιτεία. I have read Il Principe by Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. I have read 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and both Ἰλιάς and Ὀδύσσεια by Homer.
What I am getting at is that I have read a lot of stuff. And thus I feel that I can say, with some authority, that this? This is ART.
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Your machinima is good. The flower in the doorway at the end is the perfect touch.
Obviously, this chapter is also heartbreaking. Freya’s been spiraling for a while, but this hurts. Her relationship with Samuel had potential, but to cheat on him with his brother… She’s going to have to find the ability to forgive herself for this huge, devastating mistake and move on. I don’t want to see it ruin her life. Of course, Samuel is under no obligation to forgive her for the betrayal.
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