3.42 - Caged Bird

3.42 - Caged Bird


“You sure you don’t want to come out with us? You know we’re going to have a ton of fun,” Elias offers one last time.

“Nah, I’m just going to do some thinking.”

“You good bro? You’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately,” he plops down on the couch next to me.

“Not really, but it’s okay to not be good. Don’t worry about it.”

“I’m always here if you need to talk,” he cups his hand to his ear mimicking Hulk Hogan.

“Thank you, but I promise I’m okay.”

“If you change your mind, just let me know. You know I don’t judge anyone, except people who put pineapple on pizza.”

“I put pineapple on pizza.”

“I don’t judge you, because you’re my brother. I judge the rest with my mighty gavel of justice,” he laughs as his phone vibrates signaling his ride has come.

“Well, I’ll see you later,” I hop up to close the door behind him.

“Can I have a hug,” he pauses just outside the door.

“Sure,” I know the hug is more for me than him.

“You can hold on as long as you want,” he assures me.

“Alright, that’s enough,” I break after a few seconds.

“Nah, just a little more,” he squeezes me tighter. “I just love you so much.”

“Thanks,” I force a smile.

“You know I give good hugs. You feel better already,” Elias puts his hand on my shoulder. “Stop being so hard on yourself. We all need other people to help carry our burdens.”

“Thanks bro.”

“You’re welcome, I love you,” and just like that he’s sprinting down the hall. “Say it back dickhead,” he calls from the elevator.

“I love you too moss head,” I shout back knowing our neighbor will leave a note in the morning.

He waves before disappearing into the elevator. What can I say? He’s like an emotional savant. The hug really did help me feel a little better. It didn’t solve all of my problems, but it did make me feel a little better. Think a little clearer. A reminder that there are people who care about me unconditionally.

Magic caused all of this, I’m pretty sure it could be a solution as well. I log onto the Occult web and begin my search. It doesn’t take long before I find some crystals that let you wipe your memory. The problem is they wipe all of your memories, not just one event. There are a few wizards with offices in the city that claim they can wipe traumatic events. The problem is they all look like creeps and sell courses on how you can start a business wiping traumatic events. I have to assume, they all bought the same course at some point, and just want to creep through memories. I suppose I can just get a therapist and have a head start on that trip to Arkham Asylum. I could probably give The Riddler a run for his money.

Footsteps distract me from my search. I creep over to the kitchen as silently as possible, making sure my own footsteps aren’t heard. I grab a kitchen knife, not the best weapon available to me. I know I can summon my normal blades, and magic helped my shoulder heal flawlessly. Still, I’m not trying to summon them. I’m just trying to defend my apartment. I’m not sure how someone could have gotten up this high without being noticed, maybe they’ve been hiding for a while and made a mistake.

Slowly I move through the apartment checking each room. Bathroom, clear, laundry, clear, Elias’ room, clear. The last spot is my bedroom. With all the crap I’ve been through lately, I can’t help but wonder if someone has come to get me. Some vampire wanting revenge, some kid saying I killed their parents, Wererats blaming me for Mercer’s death or someone trying to finish everyone off after the mall thing. I really went from zero enemies to an entire list in less than a year. I ease the door open and spot a shadow sitting on the edge of my bed.

“Hands up,” it obliges. I flick the light switch.

“Surprise,” Destiny feigns excitement.

“Why are you here,” I cut to the chase. I need to be firm with her so I can move on.

“I just realized I’ve never seen your bedroom before. It’s really neat. You’re a lot cleaner than I thought you would be. You know, men have this reputation of being dirty,” she’s just talking with no point. “You could be kind of sloppy sometimes, like when you cook, there would always be a mess, but you did clean up after yourself, and your clothes are always very neat. Coordinated colors, different belts to match the primary colors of your outfits. It’s no wonder your family thought you were gay. Painting the room blue, nice touch. I should have known blue would be your favorite color, you always wear it in some way. You even drive a blue car,” and she’s out of steam.

“Why did you come here?”

“Just checking in,” she smiles.

“I’m an adult. I don’t need you to check in on me.”

“Maybe I’m the one who needs to be checked in on,” she suddenly can’t look me in the eye.

“You’ve spent the last few weeks telling me to get out of your life, but now you’re breaking into my home because you want me to check in on you?”

“It sounds crazy when you say it that way.”

“Every moment of our relationship that you never considered a relationship has been crazy,” I catch the irritation in my voice and try to cool my temper. I sit the kitchen knife on my dresser to show I’m not hostile.

“I can see where you’re coming from,” she nods to herself.

“What do you want from me? Every time I try to embrace you, I get pushed away. Yet you won’t let me have anyone or anything else in my life without you. You keep dragging me deeper into the world you live in and any time I try to claw myself back to reality here you come, breaking in and dragging me back,” I throw my arms in the air so she knows I’m done.

“I took my shoes off when I came in, you’ve got carpets. I didn’t want to mess them up.”

“But, what, do you,” I point at her, “want, from me,” I point to myself.

She sits there silently, “I want you in my life,” she yells out when she can see my frustration.

“No, you don’t. You’ve shown that over and over again. I was just too dumb to see it.”

“Love is hard for me. I’m all messed up. PTSD and all that shit. I’ve been left and abandoned so many times before that I’ve been trying to push you away, before you can leave,” she forces the words out so fast my ears have trouble keeping up.


“What do you mean?”

“I’m done with this Destiny. You can’t even apologize for treating me like trash.”

“I’m sorry.”

“No, you aren’t. We’ve been through this twice now. You treat me like trash, we break up. Then I apologize, and you take me back, because I’m too dumb to see it’s you with the issue. Wait,” I pause and tap a finger to my head, “I just remembered we can’t break up because you don’t believe we’ve ever been together anyway. I just run your errands, act as bait, work as your digital assistant. You see why I feel used in our relationship? There’s nothing in it for me. I get nothing from being with you, except pain. So please don’t come in here telling me you’re sorry if you don’t mean it,” I’m not sure where I’m finding these words, but I mean them. “You said it’s hard for you to love because of things in your past, right? Well what does any of that have to do with me? I never cheated on you, put a hand on you, even yelled at you before you broke in tonight. Either we’re going to be together, and you’re going to stop carrying all this extra baggage around or we’re just not going to be near each other. I love you! I love you! It hurts me every day because I have never loved someone so much and I can’t do anything about it. But, I don’t love your baggage and I don’t love being with you.”

We just stare at each other for the next few minutes. I’ve said what I need to say, and she has to accept it or move on. I don’t know what’s going through her mind, but she hasn’t killed me yet so I guess she’s considering it. She stands up and walks to the window, still not saying anything. In a blink she’s standing in front of me again.

I can feel the heat from her nostrils hitting my face. I close my eyes bracing for the punch I know is coming, but it never comes. I open my eyes and she’s still standing there without saying anything. We would often sit together in silence, just enjoying each other’s company, but the silence was menacing now. She slams her lips against mine and I give in right away. Our tongues dance and I need a deep breath when we finally stop.

“I really am sorry. If you decide to call me, I’ll be better,” she slips her shoes on and sits on the edge of the window.

“You can use the door,” I start to lead her through the house.

“Have a good night Bluebird,” she steps into the hallway.

“Bluebird,” I ask in confusion.

“Because you always wear blue and you’re a caged bird.”

“Caged bird?”

“Because you can be free, you just don’t know how yet.”

“Alright. Have a good night,” I hate when she starts talking in vampire mumbo jumbo.

“Bye,” she heads down the same hallway Elias did an hour ago.


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