Dante takes her first steps, but a promising start doesn't always hold a promising future.
I stood in their living room during the hight of summer; the lack of ventilation meant the heat was stifling. The battered grey duffle bag that the group house had supplied me was slumped on the floor by my feet, even it groaned under the oppressive temperature. Gerard was as giddy as a gang banger; while both he and Mikey had campaigned for my title as their sister, it was his hazel eyes which blazed with passion- we clicked.
The pair of people, who I eventually came to refer to as Mom and Dad, beamed; Dad more so than Mom. For a non religious couple they were liberal at referring to me as a god send. They had always wanted a girl -the boys pouted as they said this- but they had long given up one having a third child; it was fate that I fell into the family. Mom was wistful as she signed the adoption papers; she had had long discussions with me about what my middle name would become, and together we chose Aideen- the name she'd always wanted to call her daughter.
My same grey duffel bag sat at my feet again today, now held together by a rainbow of fabric patches and a handful of steel safety pins; I could afford better, but there was certain unwillingness within me to leave its memories behind. It's curious how people become emotionally tied to inanimate objects.
"You ready?" Gerard's voice broke through my reminiscing.
I stared at him; even the look in his eyes reminded me of that day. They were passionate, thrilled, but the worry which flickered in reserve at the edges of his irises made me unsteady. He hadn't pried since he had arrived off a red eye the day before, and I still hadn't volunteered information about my physical condition, nor my state of mind. I couldn't confront anything until I was safely tucked away from this city.
Eventually I nodded, there was a sort of sickness drifting between my throat and stomach, unsettling my entire body; if I was a nervous sort of person I would have recognised them as butterflies. He smiled, and I smiled back -Abigail was smiling too- apparently she had called my oldest brother in the first place.
"We better go," he said, picking up my duffle bag as Abigail made to open the front door. I grabbed a stack of assorted notebooks; I was leaving my life behind, but even in my writers block I wasn't walking out on my novel.
"Dante," Abigail caught my arm as I passed through the door; we hadn't talked much in the past day. I turned and stared at her; my feelings were mixed, one hand I was grateful for intervention, on the other I was burned by betrayal. "I'm sorry," she finally said, her voice laced with emotion, and her stormy eyes welling with tears.
I dropped my load to the floor with those words and flung my arms around her neck in the most emotional gesture I had made in months. My eyes matched hers, and I clung to the girl whose friendship I had abused for so long. "You have nothing to be sorry for," I whispered fiercely into her ear; her lips smiled against my neck as her arms wrapped around my frail body.
Gerard had told me as he held me yesterday that it was all about repairing your life one action at a time. Leaving New York and clinging to my best friend; I counted them as my first two actions.
"Good bye," Abigail murmured, finally releasing me as I released her.
I bent to pick up my note books.
"I'm sorry," I replied, and turned away, walking away from the apartment as the girl stood in the doorway watching me. Ever since I was a child I couldn't stand to say good bye; those word chilled me to the bone.
Finally we reached the elevator and Gerard wrapped his free arm around my shoulders, pulling me to him as we travelled to the ground floor. I raised my hand and wiped the tears gently from my smooth cheeks, sniffing the sadness away.
"You did the right thing leaving," he comforted, smiling down at me.
"I've fucked her around so much," I replied staring at the brushed steal of the wall; it was the kind that was so dull that you couldn't quite capture your reflexion in it.
"And she still loves you," he said seriously.
"I love her too."
I wrote about airports quite often in my novels, as my character's seemed to romanticise their bustling, emotionally taut atmospheres, but personally I shied away from them; there was just too much in a single building for me to handle. This occasion wasn't an exception- I kept my head down, and shuffled my feet as I followed Gerard.
"You alright?" he asked, catching my hand so that I didn't become lost in the throng of bodies.
"Yeah," I mumbled, looking up; his concerned hazel eyes caught mine. "I just don't like airports."
"I get it," he replied, smiling down at me.
"Where are we going anyway?" I asked, raising my voice so that he could hear me over the noise of the crowd.
He laughed for a moment; I suppose we'd both forgotten about details until now. "The guys are should be arriving in LA this afternoon. So we're meeting them there."
"So we're on tour?" I questioned; the unsettled routine of touring had always made me uneasy.
"That okay?" Gerard asked with concern. "I can always get you a flight back to Jersey."
"Its fine," I replied after a few moments of pause. "I think this might be what I need this time."
He nodded, and squeezed my hand; even that small gesture was enough to remind me that I wasn't fighting for my life alone.
Staying in one place hadn't done me wonders... Maybe this would.