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Old 02-27-2011, 08:25 PM   #1
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Out Of Control 20

Sorry for the crap summary at the end, but I couldn't write better than that...ah well. Next chapter may possibly be better. It's also a '78 one; I have to finish with '78 soon.

***


1978

The still blue of morning, pale ghostly fingers of light washing over the room from the window, pulling Cath’s eyelids opened, struck a chord in Cath. She sat up, wincing, and walked barefoot over to the window, looking out and over the rooftops of the other houses, to the lightening sky. The road was empty. She was reminded of her dream: could she just run…and be gone? Could it be that easy?

She went downstairs. Her lip still stung, and her bones ached, to say the least. She grabbed some cereal from the cupboard with her eyes half-closed—she was exhausted—and sat down carefully. No-one else was up yet, which she was grateful for: she wasn’t sure she could handle the lie that she was all right. She stared into her cereal, then, her reflection swimming brokenly across the empty parts of the bowl, as she realized she wouldn’t have to lie to them. That wasn’t it: it wasn’t a weekend or a holiday. She would be going to school today.

Shit. She breathed out wearily and ate the rest of breakfast, dumping the bowl in the sink and running water over everything. She closed her eyes, letting it run over her arms briefly, remembering…water…a great sea of water, freezing, her childish gleeful shrieks as she was buffeted by waves echoing and waterlogged, coming to her with the sound of her brother running over the sand, chasing after their mother who laughed, and lost in the mesmerizing heartbeat of the ocean. There was a time when she’d been much happier, Cath thought. If their mother was here, none of this would have happened.

She turned, eyes still half in dreams, and looked calmly at Oisín, who held out his plate for her to stick it in the sink. She turned off the water and neared him, a little uncomfortably: he was very good at guessing what was on her mind, and she didn’t want him to do that. It would hurt him, ultimately, even if he tried to fix it.

“Oisín,” she asked haltingly, “you’re probably not going to go to school today—“—he smiled guiltily, and she asked him intently, looking into his eyes, “can you make sure he—“—she gestured over to the couch, where she knew Isaac lay; she could hear his shallow breathing, and could not bring herself to look at him, knowing he in sleep was just a mockery of the force he was awake, and she couldn’t let herself forgive him. Even though he looked, peaceful, like her brother—“—doesn’t get infected and have to go to the doctor’s?”

Oisín nodded, frowning at Cath like he was suspecting something.

She either cares about him or hates him. Like he had once thought about their mother, when their father had started the cycle of drinking: she either cares about him or hates him…

He stayed silent, knowing Cath would have said. She shouldered her schoolbag, hugged Oisín, and left the house. It was cold outside, needle-sharp through her shirt. Her jacket was stained hopelessly with Isaac’s blood from when she’d changed the bandage on his hip.

It felt good to be outside, even though walking hurt a little. She was getting used to hurt until it stopped. She raised her head, the wind grabbing at her hair and the back of her neck, looking up into the white dizzying sky as she walked.

When she got there and sat in class, she looked around lost. Where was Ruth? Ruth usually waited by the doorway before they came into class so they could sit by each other. She had a sudden overwhelming need to explain everything to her friend, that she hadn’t realized before now, and Ruth’s absence ached. Cath shivered, the voice of the teacher falling into a deep rushing tunnel she couldn’t hear. She couldn’t concentrate. She flipped her pencil over and over in her hand, blindly feeling the wood. When the class ended, she felt sick.

When she walked into gym class, she was a pale shadow of herself. She was told not to put her bag on the wrong side of the room, but she did it anyway. She took one step inside the locker room, saw the flashes of other girls changing, bit her lip, grabbed her bag and bolted. The sidewalk was hard against her footsteps, and her heart pounded as she ran. She came to a shuddering halt, when it was quiet and she was alone, only the wet dark ground and the white sky and blank buildings around her.

She just—couldn’t stay in school. She couldn’t. She couldn’t go to health class, and listen to some cheerful woman talk about sex. She couldn’t go out of the locker room for gym, or see herself in the mirror. She couldn’t face these people she once knew and know she was different now, imagine them whispering all sorts of things about her behind her back. She bit back tears and breathed slowly outward, sitting by the side of the building and letting the sky rush onward, forever solid clouds, above her, the chill air unchanging, the damp ground just as solid as it had been in February. She would be fine. She would. She didn’t have to go back.

Eventually people walked by, and she smiled at them, knowing they didn’t know her, or anything about her. It all seemed very funny suddenly. She walked with a greater energy down the street, and a sign plastered to a window caught her eye.

Inwardly, Cath rejoiced. She went to a pay phone booth and leaned against the dirty glass walls, dialing the number and asking calmly the price of the apartment. She hung up, a few minutes later, amazed at herself. Where the hell did she think she would get the money from to rent an apartment? She called back about ten minutes later and apologized that she wouldn’t be able to afford it, and listened with disbelief when she was told they’d lower the price.

Clutching this shred of hope to herself, Cath headed for home, before she realized school wasn’t out yet, and she didn’t want to go back home. It was the one thing that pulled her into the depths, the idea of home right now. She stuffed her hands in her pockets and walked down the street, turning right when she felt like it, ending up in the inner part of Dublin. She found she stood before the Black Cat, her father’s bar. Her eyes traced the edges of the posters fondly and she frowned when she realized they were different. She couldn’t make out what exactly they were now—maybe a band; there were four boys and yes, one had a guitar, and there was another one with a guitar. She looked away, having glanced at it briefly and unable to figure out the name, and opened the heavy door, walking inside.

Seamus Fairleigh wasn’t there. What a relief. She walked up to the bar with more confidence she didn’t really believed, and asked the man working there for a glass of water. He bit back laughter but got her one.

“It’s an off day for Seamus, then?” she asked him when he returned.

“For who? Ah…you must mean the old owner of the place. The ownership of the Cat switched hands when he didn’t show for the past few days.” Cath just looked at him in disbelief.

“You’re joking,” she said, rolling her eyes and muttering something in Gaelic he took as profanity. It was actually something along the lines of a victory statement.

“Sorry,” he said. “It happened quickly, I know—“

She rolled her eyes again, grinning. “I’m not angry. I’m fecking glad he doesn’t own the place.”

She set the glass down and looked out to the street, thinking sadly that her father couldn’t be responsible for anything. He couldn’t handle it. He wasn’t able to take care of children, his business…anything. And then they were gone.


As she walked home a few hours later, she heard a song from a little ways away. It was quiet, but almost powerfully so, and she stopped to listen. She heard something about the ocean, and a lonely, beautiful sound from the guitar as the voice continued singing.

"Just me...by the sea," he sang...
"and I felt like a star,
I felt the world could go far
if they listened...
to what I said
"

I’d go back, Cath thought, but there’s nothing to go back to. I can’t go back to that time.

Paul Hewson blinked, glancing back through the door when she song ended. No, he must not have seen someone there: she was gone.


Just me...by the sea, she thought, closing her eyes when she got back home, hearing Isaac's rough raised voice. They were alone again. She clenched her fingers and walked through the door, glaring at him but knowing that could do nothing, that she'd had to come back because for now, she had nowhere else to go.

The memory beckoned but it did not wash the present away. At the corner of Cath's mind, a younger Cath was swept away by the tide and Oisín and her mother stood saying something at the shore, but she could not hear. She faded from the memory and the present as best she could.

Have you ever been loved, Isaac? she wondered fleetingly, picking herself up and walking to the window again to stare at the inscrutable sky. Behind her, he was curled in sleep again, his face tight and troubled.

Did you know not to do what you do? Is there someone who would stay with you, given the choice?

The night air stung across her face, which still felt raw. She felt briefly sorry for Isaac, but only in the still moment when she felt nothing for herself. He had been...less forceful, but still she felt like she would jump if she so much as looked at him. Thoughts scraped against her mind like broken glass. She sat on the windowsill and wondered if the boy who had been singing was more like Isaac or more like her, if he had been singing from some hurt or knew nothing of the kind.

Perhaps he—faceless, since she hadn't seen him, but his voice had pulled at her and made her listen—was someone who could have been that boy she might have been with, if she had been different, that other Cath whose father worked somewhere regular, whose mother was alive, who didn't know Isaac. She fell asleep with the thoughts like waves, his voice pulling her from drowning into the recent past.
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:41 PM   #2
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Oh, but I liked it...
I just wish I could write like this.
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:22 PM   #3
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Aww, thanks ^^ Overall, though, I feel like my writing's not as good as usual lately...I've been sleep deprived and such...
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