Hello Everyone. So in trying to keep things consistent, we have yet another #FICTIONFriday post today. Unfortunately, this week hasn’t been a great one for me, I was really under the weather and had to take a few days off from work. That just threw everything off, and I didn’t get a chance to really edit anything together for today’s post. What I’m going to give you (and I literally just made this decision 20 seconds ago) is the continuation of “Remember to Forget“. I mentioned in that first post that this was something I wanted to expand into a novel, but I have to say when I was re-reading “Call It A Night” I really enjoyed it. I like the voice and the unique-ness of it, so I’ve been thinking of expanding that or using that voice to come up with something new. All that aside, here is an un-edited version of the second part of “Remember to Forget”. And I should also say, I like how this story resolved itself but for the expansion project for this story things will be a lot different. I actually didn’t do this second part of the story until maybe a year after I wrote the first part. Anyway, am I explaining too much? Just read it and enjoy, and give me all your lovely feedback.
“Remember to Forget” by Hannibal Alexander
So they (JC and Des) were always out shopping or whatever. Eventually though, spending all that money started to worry Des. She had been off on a leave of absence from her job for all that time since JC got out of the hospital . So after about three or four months of hanging out with him, she ended up going back to work. She was a little concerned that their money would get too low. See, not only was JC getting disability payments from his job, but his dad actually sued the parents of the kids that got in the wreck with JC that night. Luckily they were loaded, so Des and JC got a big settlement. They were practically financially free, but she was starting to get worried.
And once she went back to work, JC wanted to try to be more of an outgoing person on his own. He was hesitant to do it though, he deliberated for a while on different ideas. Like going back to school, going to Culinary Academy or an art school. We definitely encouraged those ideas, but than he started to get on a paper chase. Typical JC, he always had money on his brain before the accident, and I guess he still did. He didn’t want to get a regular job though, and we all know that jobs that make a lot don’t come easy. JC was, I guess, still in his immature mind state so he probably thought it wouldn’t be as hard. So he would watch a lot of infomercials, and fall victim to those pop up ads online. You know, like getting paid to send emails or stuffing envelopes or whatever.
One night I came back home from clubbing, and JC was sitting on the couch watching TV. So we watched TV for a while and I feel asleep. I woke up at like almost 4 in the morning, and JC was still up hella interested in some infomercial.
“Look cousin. You just send in $40, and than your totally rich” he said all excited sounding
“for what?” I said, still groggy and sleepy really.
“I don’t know… but you send in money for the info on how to do it. And you’ll make hella money… I’m gonna do it”
It took me a while to really get it “make hella money doing what?”
“They don’t really say… but, all the people who did it said they made hella money. The lowest amount I heard was $70,000 within the first month”
“That’s… a little too good to be true don’t you think? Like, wouldn’t EVERYBODY be millionaires if it was that easy?” I started to get up to go to my room and finish my sleep.
“Okay” he said, a little dejected by my comment “why you gotta be so negative though?”
“Just realistic cousin… I’m going to sleep” and that was that.
Not really though, because his pursuit for something to do with his time never really ended. Though he never committed to anything specifically, he would always come to me and Des with his ideas and for the most part we shut them down. Only because they were most likely scams, which he didn’t understand at all. So that kind of became a problem in the house. I mean it was never anything heated, but I could tell that he held some animosity… maybe it was him being upset with the fact that he still felt like he didn’t quite know as much as he used to. Like, no matter what he would always be wrong or talked down to. And I know that must have hurt, because he had a huge amount of pride when it came to arguments before. He’d never want to admit when he was wrong. And not knowing if he was wrong or not after the accident must have torn him up inside.
That’s when he kind of started to be by himself more and more. He’d spend a lot of time on the computer. And he actually did go back to school, he went to a city college with just some basic math classes. He was always good at math, but he could only remember up to his sixth grade classes, so he wanted to try to get his education, at least, back to where it was before the crash.
All the while, Des and me started to take the bulk of responsibilities yet again. JC spent virtually zero time with the kids at this point, and even less time with any chores around the house. And I found out he was doing even less one day. One while JC was out going to the store, Des confided in me on the couch watching TV. She told me they hadn’t had sex in over 5 months.
“I mean, maybe 5 months since I stopped even talking about it. We’ve only done it a couple of times since he got out of the hospital.” She said shaking her head.
“I don’t know what to do” she said.
“Damn” I said “I can’t imagine him not wanting to be all over THAT every night” I laughed, and than I remember thinking to myself that probably wasn’t the most appropriate thing for me to say.
“oops” I said to kind of cover it up. Des didn’t look concerned, she laughed a little bit.
“that’s what I thought” she said, still smiling. “And I want to have sex with HIM” she said and started shaking her head again.
I didn’t want to say anything else so I just was there with a awkward face. While she was still obviously disturbed by it in her head.
“I don’t want to freak out.. And jump to conclusions…” she said, all rushed like she was nervous or something.
“…but, and I know I should be talking to Josh about this, but… I had to tell somebody” she turned away like she was a little embarrassed.
“I don’t know … what to say” I didn’t
“you don’t have to…” she turned back and smiled at me.
“… you’re the best you know. Thank you for helping out here so much, you don’t know how much that means to me” she moved a bit closer to me.
“I think I do” I said “your… almost a single mom now” I said, and instantly beat myself up in my head for bringing up probably the worst thing that she’s struggling with.
“that’s right” her smiley face quickly turned into a gloomy one. “that’s kinda scary”
I had to ease her fears, I mean it looked like she was on the verge of tears, so I hugged her. She hugged me back.
“Des… you know… I’ll be here. No matter what okay”
“you better be” we released from our hug and she wiped some tears from her eyes.
She was still sitting right in front of me when she grabbed my hands and looked into my eyes.
“you know… it’s messed up… because JV probably see’s you more as his dad you know. Your there for him more so than Josh is… these days. I mean even though he calls him daddy… but, you know… you take on more of the… fatherly duties you know”
“I guess… I mean…” I started
“I know… why did I say that?” she laughed “I just don’t know… about, the future you know. We had a pretty nice family before, like I figured we would grow old together. But I just… don’t know anymore…” she stopped for a second and took a breath, than looked right back in my eyes. Her hands still in mine. She got a little closer to me
“… I guess, I just see you in our future more than I see him in it”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know” she released her hands from mine and got up off the couch and went into the bathroom.
I know what she meant, or I thought I did. Sounded like she wanted ME in her life instead of JC. Or maybe I was just tripping, like I was just putting too much on her feelings. The odd thing was, after that I kind of started to have some feelings for her. I always thought she was a major catch, and that JC was hella lucky. She was always really cool, real feminine and girly… but she could always just hang out with the cousins. Now maybe she wasn’t feeling what I think she was feeling, but it looked like maybe she saw me in a different way after all these months of being around her so much. It’s not like I was ever going to act on any of the feelings I may have developed, for so many reasons. Regardless of whatever I thought, I was still gonna stay true to what I said, that I’d always be there for her. We were family, and I’m always there for family.
A couple of weeks roll past and JC moved from the computer room, to basically out of the house. He was rarely ever at home, just normally back by close to midnight to go to sleep. He was spending a lot of time over his mom and dad’s house. He even spent two whole weeks straight there without coming home. He’d just go there and stay in his old room constantly. On the computer or just watching TV or whatever, with his mom there to take care of him. I was confused as to what might have happened to him to make him want to just up and leave his family. Even though I understood that he might have not felt like a part of the family anymore, but I would think he would talk to either me or Des before just leaving.
And than, one day I get this frantic call from Des to “Come here… now please… AS soon as you can, please.” Ofcourse I cut my hanging out time with my friends short as soon as I hung up. My little girl was with her mom at some family thing, so I didn’t have anything to really worry about. I couldn’t even imagine what Des was so upset about when she called, I just knew I had to be there.
Once I got back to the house, I barely even closed the door before a ballin, puffy eyed, crying Des starts to tell me what’s going on.
“He left! Josh left us!”
“What? What do you mean… where’d he go?” I asked, trying to get the whole story. Even though I knew I’d have to get it piece by piece.
“He just packed some stuff, and … up and left…” she’s still crying, now trying to remember everything. I closed the front door and hugged her.
Her head was resting on my shoulder when she tried to tell me the rest.
“He came back from… his brothers. He was crying… he was like ‘I don’t wanna talk’ and…” she dabs her face with a Kleenex to stop the tears “… he went upstairs and started packing, and I’m asking him like ‘where are you going? What’s going on?’ and he was ignoring me. And like… I mean, he left.”
I’m shocked, like literally shocked at that moment. What would make him just leave like that? What did him and his brother talk about? Which brother?
“Who’s house did he come from? I mean, which brother?” I ask
“umm… I think Julian”
“Did you call him?”
Des looks at me “No, good idea though” she wiped more tears from her eyes and from her face and smiled at me.
My first instinct than was to grab my cell phone and call Julian. Des went and had a seat on the couch in the living room while I waited for Julian to pick up. He answered, sounding a little upset, like even he was crying. I had never heard him like that. He tried hard to cover it up though.
“Hey… what did you and JC talk about?” I asked, I wanted to cut to the chase.
“Nothing” he said, trying to rush me off the phone obviously
“… well, I don’t know what happened. But, he was hella mad and came back home and packed up some stuff and left… you know where he’s going?”
“No man, I don’t know … I just know what happened” he said, his voice almost broken, like he’s seriously holding back tears now.
I hesitate to ask “what do you mean? … I mean, what happened over there? You two got into a fight or something?”
“No… you know he was just asking a lot of questions. I just let him know something and he got all mad and left… That’s all I know okay”
“about boosting?” I ask, still trying to get to the bottom of things.
“No… it’s something… man, it’s not your business. Just stay out of it little cousin alright!” and he hung up on me. Leaving me with no real answers for Des. And no way to start really looking for my cousin JC.
I walk into the living room, Des is still sitting on the couch. She notices me come in the room though.
“What did he say?” she asks, getting up from the couch and walking towards me.
“Not much, I guess they got into it… and… I don’t know”
“That’s it?” she looked upset.
“I mean, that’s all he knows… did you call his mom?”
“Yeah, now she’s just as upset as me… let’s drink” she said and walked toward the bar area in the dining room.
“WHAT?” I say , really surprised. That’s the last thing I would have expected her to say.
She stops and turns around toward me.
“Why are you surprised? My husband just fucking left me. He left me and our three kids… I haven’t gotten any sex, or good sex in… three years… and I’m taking care of everything myself. I think … you know… I’m about due to get drunk don’t you think”
“but… you can‘t think like that. He left, but you know he‘ll be back”
“No I don’t. I don’t know that. I don’t even … really know that dude anymore. I’m just tired of it… I’m tired of him. And seriously, he could stay gone. He’s been gone since he came back from the hospital anyway.”
“Des!” I said, trying to get her a little more concerned about JC
“Des nothing… I’m gonna drink. If he wants to call, he’ll call. We’ll see if I pick up”
She turned her back to me and finally reached the bar. She got out some tequilla, I think that’s all that was left in there. She poured a bunch in a small glass and started to drink it straight. I was still concerned about JC, like maybe I should go out and drive around and look for JC, but I guess there really was nothing to do but wait for him to call. So me and her drank and watched TV in the living room for a couple of hours. Basically she got a chance to vent about everything. The lack of sex. The lack of maturity JC used to have. Just everything that annoyed her about him since the crash.
“God, I mean I know it’s not his fault that he got in the crash… and I feel bad complaining about him. But, a whole different guy came out of that crash I think”
“well…” I started “… maybe not a whole different guy, but … like he’s still the same person. But just like he’s reset or something , so he’s starting a whole new game.”
“what do you mean”
“like, he gets to start his life all over from age 12”
“you don’t think he’d eventually turn into the same person though”
“… I don’t know. Not necessarily though. I don’t know… I’m drunk” I laughed it off.
“you know… I think YOU turned into him” She said and smiled
“you remind me a lot of how he was before the crash…”
“in what ways?”
She stares at me “well… your so responsible around here. You always know what to do. Your all about the family… you got the same kind of mind set”
“maybe, but I just gotta do what I have to do you know” I said
“no… you don’t HAVE to. Like, you didn’t HAVE to come and stay with us. And you definitely didn’t have to help out as much as you do. You didn’t have to stay here as long as you have. Your just a good guy” She smiled at me
I smiled back
“… and we appreciate it. I appreciate it” she looked in my eyes still smiling.
I get kind of nervous. She gets a little closer to me.
“remember… you promised you’d always be here for me? I hope that , you do” she said.
“I will be”
About two hours later, I got a call. From JC. Des was sleep on the couch, or I should say passed out. I started to wake her up, thinking she might want to talk to him, but I reconsider figuring that she’s totally drunk and that she might say something she’ll regret. So I picked up the call.
“Hey” he said.
“Whatsup man? Where you been? We’ve been worried about you”
There was a long pause before he said anything, for a second I had thought he hung up
“Sorry man… I didn’t meant to… I didn’t mean to” he sounded drunk… and stoned.
“…make you worried, or whatever” he said, slurring every word together.
“where are you?” I asked him
“I’m… I’m in Napa… I drooove aaaalll the way to Napa can you belie’dat?”
“Well?… I mean, what?…” now I was tongue tied, there was just so much to clear up and I didn’t know where to start, apparently he didn’t either.
“did I call you for… I called you…yeah… I know… I called you cousin, because…” a long pause “… I don’t even know why I just called you… I love you little cousin … really, and … I kneeew, like maybe… I… you could… I knew I could talk to you.”
“… you can talk to me, definitely. What do you wanna talk about?… well tell me what’s going on first off” I said, a little agitated, but not wanting to let it be too vocal because I didn’t want him to hang up.
“I’m in Napa… and, I might… be… gay”
I was shocked, I couldn’t even really be sure that I heard what I thought I had just heard.
“or not… I don’t know… I don’t even know who I am really” he said, sounding like he had just took a puff off a cigarette.
“Okay… JC, your storytelling is fucking me up right now. What’s going on? Tell me from the beginning because I don’t know what your talking about” I said, trying to really not waste time, because I needed to know.
“Alright alright … alright… alright, so” another long pause, I almost started to yell “COME ON OUT WITH IT” before he finally said something
“Julian… big brother Julian came by mom’s house. And I was there… wait, wait, wait, I gotta start by saying. Well, I been … having little flashbacks here and there, sometimes they are just in my dreams… and sometimes you know, it turns out that… it wasn’t just a dream it was a memory. And sometimes… you know, it was a dream. Just a dream. Anyway, I had this …” he sounds like he’s about to choke up. “… Hold up”
“What? Where are you going?” I asked
“I gotta get a drink” he said, and it sounded like he dropped his phone on the floor. About a minute or so later he comes back.
“So… what was I saying?”
“you had a dream, or a flashback?” I didn’t know where he was going with the story, just trying to remember the last thing he said.
“okay. Yeah… so, I had this dream that… Joe and Julian, were just… beating my ass, I mean seriously… punching the shit outta me, kicking me in my stomach… like, they were trying to kill me. And I remember us fighting like brothers and stuff, but I never… I mean their faces were, like they were seriously trying to kill me. So, Julian comes over mom’s house today… and we’re hanging out, playing video games, and I ask him about it. First, he’s all saying I don’t know what I’m talking about it… and the more I described it to him, it was like I could tell… he knew something. And he told me… like, I guess… when I was 11, Joe and Julian caught me looking at some nude male book, and beat my ass for it. He told me I was in the hospital for a week, broken arm… I mean they fucked me up.”
“Damn” there were so many levels of this already that I never imagined. JC looking at nude guys. Joe and Julian actually trying to really kill JC. This was something I never thought would have happened to any of them.
“Yeah, that’s fucked up right, and so … he got like hella mad, crying and shouting and stuff and I was crying and mad at him… and… everybody… who knew, for not telling me you know. So I bounced… I just, had to be by myself I guess”
“so… when are you coming back?”
JC breathed a loud sigh “I don’t know maan, I don’t know if I’m EVER coming back…”
“why?” this confused me, he survived and he became a good man so why was he leaving “… I mean, I know it’s fucked up to find something like that out… but, it happened a long time ago JC. It doesn’t matter anymore, it was when you were 11. You know how much you’ve done since than…”
“NO! and that’s the point… I don’t really know anything about myself. I can look at pictures… that I’m not in. And I could listen to you guys tell me stories… but how am I ever gonna really know the truth. Or my perspective on the stories, how I felt about things… I mean I don‘t even really know how I felt about my WIFE, I don‘t know how I felt about having kids. I don‘t know anything” He takes a breath from talking at his rapid fire pace “I mean… you will, NEVER understand what I’m going through…” he takes another long pause “… it’s like, if you lost something… at first you’d want to find it. And if you can’t after a while, either you replace it or just give up on it altogether. Chock it up as a loss… but, I mean… I can’t REPLACE my memory, but I don’t want to give up on it… ” he breathes another loud sigh “it’s the most fucked up thing, I can’t believe it’s happening to me… ”
“so… what’s being alone going to help?” I asked
“what’s being around everybody who’s lying to me going to help either?”
“JC… I…” I didn’t quite know how to tackle this one, because I had lied to him. Or left things out, but it was for his own good I thought. “… what happened back than, doesn’t matter now… because you still turned into a good man despite everything else”
“I don’t know that. I mean, I don’t know what kind of man I was… and you know, the thing about what Julian told me… I mean, if it wasn’t for them beating my ass and probably scaring me outta looking at any other guy… I might have been gay”
“WHAT are you talking about?” I had almost forgotten about the gay issue. JC was really drunk now, because I couldn’t even picture him even looking at another guy like that.
“I was looking at pictures of dicks cousin…”
“I mean” I was kind of grossed out talking about , but I went on “…maybe back than … you were… interested?” I’m just completely uncomfortable at this point
“… I don’t know… but you probably grew out of it?” I was hoping that would end that topic.
“I don’t think so… And I went on the net and, a lot of people say you are born gay… if your gay. I mean some say the opposite but, I mean what if they’re right?”
“JC, your not gay” I adamantly said
It took JC a while to respond “I been looking at other stuff on the net too cousin. And I don’t know why but I have been. Looking at nude pictures and downloading gay porn… and once Julian told me what he told me. It kinda made sense you know… I think I’m gay” he sighs.
I’m kind of speechless at that moment, just really trying to find the right words to respond to what I’ve just heard, which I can’t believe.
“And maybe I’m not, maybe I’m just curious. But the point is, I don’t know. I don’t know who I am. So I gotta be alone to find out… I mean, being gay… isn’t… I mean that’s TOTALLY something that I should know about myself… and I don’t ” he said, and it sounded like he was waiting for my response still.
I still didn’t say anything, I was a little stunned still.
“… and I know it’s fucked up to walk out on Destiny like this, but … from the settlement and everything, they shouldn’t have to worry about money I’m thinking. So I’m taking, $20,000 from that… and I’m going to keep in touch no matter where I end up, but I just… gotta go. I can’t stay here” he sounded like he was crying now, and also he dropped the phone again. Probably making himself another drink.
I was on the other end, just not even knowing what to do. I had like a major slow reaction time to what he said… about being gay. About leaving. It was just too much to hear at one time you know. He came back to the receiver, and it sounded like he had just drank something mixed with some kind soda… I could hear the fizz.
“Cousin” he checked to see if I was still there
“Yeah” I confirmed
“… yeah, so I’m taking some money… I don’t think she’ll have a big problem with it do you? I mean it shouldn’t… can you tell her for me?” He asked
“WHAT?” I piped up than “You want me to tell your wife that your walking out on her… AND her three kids… AND your stealing 20 g’s from her??” I had to make sure.
“okay… okay, that sounds bad” he said, and laughed
“You gotta talk to your wife JC…”
“Is she really upset?” he asked, getting a little sentimental sounding
I could have told him the truth about her not really caring at this point, but I said “Sure… I mean, of course she is”
“I’ll call her… you know” he said, and than stopped suddenly like he didn’t want to finish.
“what?” I pressed
“… it’s kind of weird probably to hear this, but you take really good care of Des. I don’t know how I was with her, but … seeing you two together sometimes… I feel like, I’m looking at a really happy couple. And…” he took a long pause, and what sounded like another swig of the alcohol. “… I don’t know, I’m gonna be gone, and… I kinda just wanted to say, you’d be a good man for her… you already are”
“you need to call her JC okay!” I practically demanded, because I didn‘t want to get into Des and my real feelings for her, and her feelings for me. It would be way too awkward, I thought.
“I will, I’ll call her soon… once I figure out some things”
“How long will it take?” I didn’t want to press him, but I just had to ask, for Des’ sake.
“I don’t know… look, don’t worry… I’ll call her tomorrow”
“OK. Do… you, want me to come out there to Napa and just … talk?”
He chuckled “Man… cousin, I love you I really do. Thank you for… just being you. I envy that”
“No you don’t have to come out here… they charge so much I’m probably gonna end up being gone tonight”
“JC!” I started, but got a little choked up before I could finish
“… I’m really gonna miss you. I love you… call me , keep in touch please. I don‘t wanna worry about you”
“Don’t worry… I’m gonna always want to talk to you cousin”
He hung up. And I hit “End” on my cell phone. What a strange phone call, so much to think about. There’s nothing really I can do. I imagine it will be really awkward to be around Des until JC actually does call her and tell her what’s going on. I COULD tell her, but I think it would be better for both of them to talk to each other. She probably has a lot more questions for him than I did, and she just needs to hear that her husband is leaving her from her actual husband.
So I’m just waiting now, for her to hear from him. I believed him when he said he would call her. He was probably just not in the right frame of mind to get serious and emotional at the time. And no matter what, he still did love Des, so I’m sure he wouldn’t hurt her. So basically, that’s it. I just wonder how long he’ll be gone trying to “find himself”. I wonder what he’ll be like when he actually does, or if he’ll just turn into the same guy. I’m even wondering if at some point, he’ll get back a lot of his memories. He was right… I have no idea what he’s going through, and I have to just remember that.
Still no matter what changes. If he changes, if I change, if Des changes, when the kids change, JC will still be my favorite cousin. He might have lost over half of his life, but he didn’t ever lose his good heart… and he’ll never ever lose our love for him.
© 2014 Hannibal Alexander