It’s not that I never wanted to fall in love.
Going into high school, and even in middle school, I didn’t really have a lot of really good role-models for being in love, for love that lasts. It’s one of the few things that I had in common with Isabella Millar. One of the many things that set me apart, attitude-wise, from Lucy.
Here we have society and culture and narrative myths shoved down our throats telling us women are there to be loved, to find love, to find happiness. How could I not want that?
When my mom met Robert Eastwood, I was suspicious. We all were. Why wouldn’t we be? This was just some guy who wasn’t our dad. Not just a stranger—an intruder.
By then we’d already had some missteps. Imagine being thirteen years old in your underwear going into the kitchen in the early morning to find some stranger already there sneaking out the door. Imagine him looking at you. Imagine where on you he might look, and whether your mom would believe you. Her telling you why are you walking around in your underwear to begin with, and not responding when you ask in return why the guy was there at all.
Mom wasn’t perfect, but somewhere deep down we knew she deserved happiness. That was why the bar was so high, high enough that just buying us ice cream and smiling at our teenage achievements wasn’t going to cut it, and that was where Rob started off.
Turned out Mom had known him for a hot minute, longer than she’d even known Dad. Not well. I guess they went to high school together, whatever that means, but I do know more. I know he did something for her, something she appreciated, once. I can’t make out what. Maybe it’s too long ago, too far away for me to be able to make it out clearly, and maybe she doesn’t even remember herself. But she doesn’t have to. From memory, it’s slipped into myth and built palaces in her dreams, on her soul, so it really didn’t take long for her to fall (back) in love with him, once he realized she wasn’t really married anymore.
Getting us, her son and daughter, to fall in love with him, in our own way, was harder work, but seeing how it made her feel, how it made her move, how it changed her, helped, I guess. In a way. To an extent. I guess we were still pretty harsh towards him.
I think part of my suspicion, honestly, had to do with my ability, and the fact that for the longest time, he never really factored into any of my visions.
Was it because his future was uncertain? Looking back on it, that just doesn’t seem likely at all. He’s actually one of the most stable people I’ve ever known, let alone that anyone close to me has ever dated.
Another possibility is that what happened to him and my mother just wasn’t important enough for whatever power sends me these visions to care about. I don’t want to think that. Especially since my new baby brother came into the world, I don’t want to think that. But what else is there?
That “what else” is this: it’s possible that I am getting these visions for a reason. That I’m meant to know the future, in order to make it happen, or maybe in order to prevent it. I can’t imagine preventing some of the things I’ve seen, or even wanting to—or even wanting to have anything to do with them, some of them. But what if I’m being… what if I’m being prepared for something?
And what if, when I don’t get a vision, what if that means something, too? What if that means I was meant not to intervene, or to feel uncomfortable with not having seen it coming? I can’t help but wonder how my relationship with Rob would have progressed there at the beginning if I had known how things would turn out. More to the point, though, I have to question how our relationship would have been if I’d never had visions, if not having visions of him hadn’t made me suspicious.
Was there any reason why I had to be suspicious? Is it possible that my resistence, added to my brother’s, had some effect on the situation? Would things have been different for him? Would he have acted differently? Or would it have all been the same?
Whatever else is true, it made it clear to me I’m being used. It wasn’t something I’d ever really thought about before. But now I have to think. Now I have to dwell. Now I have to be a teenager and do what teenagers do best.
I have to brood.