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Old 08-13-2009, 05:52 PM   #1
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Stranger In A Strange Land: Chapter 10

Well, being sick has had one benefit...I could sit down all day yesterday and today and write

~F-i-c-t-i-o-n-a-l~

I was in the worst mood ever landing in New York. I didn't want to be back in this stupid city, at least not alone...just as I had left. There I was at JFK again. I was getting sick of airports. This was somewhere around my sixth or seventh time in one in the past two months. I kept telling myself that I was behaving horribly in light of my brother's triumph. Bono would be disappointed in me. He cared about everyone, even people he didn't know. I was acting like I didn't care about my own brother. But I did. I did care about him. I was just angry about the timing, what I was missing, and that I felt like I was being treated a bit like a child again. And I missed Bono already. It had only been about six hours.

Both of my parents were there to meet me at the gate. I felt like it had been years since I'd seen them. They were definitely happier to see me than I was to see them. Not that I wasn't happy to see them, but I would have been a lot happier under different circumstances. All I could think about was getting home. I wanted to see my brother, and I wanted to wait for Bono to call from Denver. "Where's Killian, at home?" My dad shook his head. "No, we're going to get him from the train station right now."

I could probably navigate Penn Station with my eyes closed. Being there brought back a lot of memories, but I felt almost like I was watching the memories through the eyes of the person who had lived them, but that person was not me. It was turning out to be the strangest and most bittersweet homecoming I could imagine. I actually felt sad that everything familiar seemed that it was a lifetime away, instead of right in front of me.

When my brother got off the train, I felt like I had stepped back into the past. He looked like my brother again, not the strange and cold person he was when I last saw him. His blonde hair had grown out again, and he was smiling. It had been a long time since I'd seen a real smile on his face. I ran to him and almost knocked him over. "Killian!!!! Oh my God, you don't know how I've missed you, kid." He hugged me back. "Whooaaa, Lil...you smell like a dude!!!" I laughed. Just like him, to act as if nothing had ever happened. He was grinning. "Oh, yeah...it's the shirt, it's...my boyfriend's shirt." That sounded weird. I had never reffered to Bono as 'my boyfriend' before. I never had the need to. If I wasn't reffering to him by name, I usually just called him my 'baby'. And we hadn't technically been a couple for very long, at that. He chuckled. "Ohhh, is that supposed to mean something??" Hadn't I got enough of that crap yesterday? "NO. And shut up. You look great, Kil, really. I mean...you look like you." He nodded. "I know. I feel like me, too." My parents spent a good 15 minutes hugging him and crying, before the conductor told us to get off the platform. It was time to go home.

Being back in our appartment was the strangest feeling of all. It had been barely two months, but it felt like ten years. I guessed that this feeling of extreme separation was due to the fact that so much had changed in between. Everything in my room was just as I had left it back in March the morning I left. The pair of shoes on the floor were right where I threw them, angry that they weren't going to fit in my bag. The bed was sloppily made, showing the hurry that I had been in that morning. I didn't have long to sit there and think, and let everything soak in. My parents were already trying to drag me out. Hmm, welcome home, I thought.

I let my parents talk to Killian for a while. I wanted to talk to him alone, not as a part of this overbearing, questioning threesome that wanted to know every little detail of his journey. I knew that he would be happier to just forget that it had ever happened and move on. As an adult, and as his sibling, I could respect that. As for our parents, well, he was their child. It is in a parents nature to ask all the question their children don't want to answer, and be concerned about their every move. Someday, I figured, I would be like that with my children. But Killian was my brother. I didn't have to know what was best for him. I just knew what he wanted. And he endured their grilling with patience and good nature. Although calling it grilling wasn't really fair. They just wanted to know eeeeverythinggg. I had a bad feeling that same thing was in my near future. But finally, I could talk to my brother alone.

"So, I have to ask you the obligatory 'how was it', y'know..." He shrugged. "It sucked at first, and then it got better. Not as epic an experience as some might like to think...but I'm good now, so I guess 'rehab' can keep it's image of lifesaver." He laughed. He really was back to normal. That was his signature behavior...he laughed everything off. Nothing was too bad or too serious for Killian to joke about. Not that he didn't care, but he always saw the silver lining. He smiled. "I think it would be much more interesting to talk about you. Me...I was screwed up, I went away, I got better. Yawn. But I heard you ran away with some guy in a rock band!" I had to laugh. Leave it to my parents to make it seem so dramatic. "I didn't...run away with anyone, per se. In March, I decided that it was time for me to go. Things were not great before you left, and it only got worse once you were gone. All the focus was on me, and I was not living up to expectations. So, I left home. You know, when you get to a certain age, that's just what you do. I went to Dublin, and I met someone...unlike anyone I've ever met before. I know, that sounds like a line in a bad soap opera. But really...I love him so much that it almost scares me sometimes. It's a hard feeling to describe...I don't mean to talk down to you, but-" "No, I get it. You don't understand that kind of thing until you experience it." I nodded. "Right."

He was quiet for a minute. "You know...I guess it was a dumb notion to have, but I was imagining that when I came back, everything would be just as it was when I left. That I would be able to pick right up where I left off as if no time had passed at all. But everything's changed." He wasn't smiling anymore. He didn't look upset, but maybe just serious. "You moved out, to another country, you're in a serious relationship...I mean, you're wearing his SHIRT for heaven's sake!" We laughed again. He always made me laugh. "But you've grown up, Lil. You're an adult now. And I'm still just a teenager. I feel like, for once, we're not on the same level anymore." I put my hand on his shoulder. "That's not true...remember when we were around 12 or 13, and I had a crush on that kid in our class? You told me it was so weird, because you always thought of me 'like another boy'. I was so offended!" He snickered. "And that's when you told me that I was only concieved because mom and dad drank an entire case of Killian's Irish Red beer." "Yup! You'll always be my brother, kid. Even if we're doing different things in different places, we'll always be able to talk and pick up where we left off. Like now...it's been almost a year since we've seen eachother. A lot has changed for both of us. But we're talking like we saw eachother yesterday." He nodded. "Y'know, you're right. And hey, I'm starting back to school in September. But I'm not going to NYU...you were always the smart one, I can't handle that." I rolled my eyes. "Apparently I couldn't handle it either. It was stressful as hell, and if you haven't noticed, I dropped out." He cringed. "Are you planning on going back...anywhere, ever?" I realized I had never thought about that. I hadn't been thinking much about 'the future' at all recently, other than to acknowledge that Bono and I would 'always be together'. "I don't really know. I'm not thinking about it right now. It might seem stupid, but I really think that this band is going to make it. Every time I say that, I feel like I've heard it in a movie, it's so annoying. But I really mean it. But I don't care if we're poor...which we kind of are right now. I don't have a job, but I'll get one if I have to. Neither of us are looking at college right now...especially not him. It's just not important, for now."

He seemed to be just absorbing everything when the phone rang. Before I could scramble out of the chair to get it, my mom had snatched it off the hook. I nearly faceplanted on the floor. "Hello?" She looked curiously at me. "Is who...wait, who is this?...Ohhhh...yes...well it's nice to finally speak to you...she's right here." I motioned that I was going to pick up the phone in my room. I wasn't going to stand there in the kitchen and talk. I raced down the hall and made sure I heard the other line click before I said anything.
"Hello?"
"Lilly!!! It's me!!"
No duh. It was so nice to hear his sweet voice.
"Baby!! Did you just get to Denver?"
"Yeah, and it was a horrible, long, boring drive. And it's cold here! I'm wearing a sweater!"
"It's not so warm here either. But not sweater-cold...which one are you wearing?"
"The kind of nappy black one, that you said was beat up?"
I laughed.
"It IS beat up! But you look so cute in it. I wish I was there to cuddle you right now."
I kept my voice low. I didn't want anyone to hear me being ridiculously mushy-gushy
"Me too, love. I miss you so much-"
There was some guffawing in the background, and then the sound of someone being smacked.
"What the hell was that?"
"Ugh, just Adam, teasing me...I oughta tell him that he's just jealous because he doesn't have anyone to love."
"No, that's horrible!"
"I know. I could never say that to him. I was just, you know...are you really coming back, Lilly? I keep getting this awful feeling that you won't come back. Everything was perfect."
"Of course I am! I already have a flight to Phoenix booked for the 8th. I'll be getting there sometime in the evening. Not soon enough..."
He sighed.
"Phew. Ok, I guess it was dumb to worry. So, how is your brother?"
"Like his old self. It's so wonderful to see him smiling and looking healthy again. He was very interested in us. I brought a few pictures to show everyone when they inevitably start bugging me about it."
"Did you bring them just to show?"
I twirled the phone cord around my finger.
"Well, no, I guess not. I mostly brought them so, you know..."
He cooed.
"Awwww, so you could look at me and everything...Lilly, you're so lovely."
I swallowed hard.
"Well, I love you, baby..."
I could tell he was grinning.
"I love you more."
We talked for about two hours, until I could hear Edge in the background telling him they had to leave NOW.
"Give her a kiss and say bye...we miss you Lilly, Bon really sucks to be around right now...c'mon, we have to go now."
"Ok, love, I'm about to get beaten with the phone..."
I laughed.
"Listen, be careful. Take care of yourself. Don't drive like a mad loon, ok??"
"I won't, I promise. You be good, girly. But I'll call you several times a day anyway. You'll be sick of hearing from me, but I'll keep calling anyway!"
"Yeah, right...I'll talk to you later."
"I love you, Lilly."
"I love you too."
It felt so good to say, much better than 'bye'.

It seemed that my parents knew the second I was off the phone. "Lil, come in here!!!" Supressing a groan, I walked into the living room. My mom, dad, and brother were all in there. "You haven't told us hardly anything about this boy," my dad said. True, I hadn't really spoken to him on the phone when I was gone. "He calls you 'Lilly'??" My mom sounded curious, and maybe even a little put off. I had gotten so used to it that it felt strange being called Lil again. "Oh, yeah. When we met, he said 'So, Lillian...I really like that name. Do you prefer Lil, though?'...and I said no. Later on he just came out with that nickname, and I loved it. Like a flower..." I remembered his exact words, and how I loved the way he said my name in his soft Irish lilt.

They all wanted to see a picture. Of course, I knew that was coming. I had spent a bit of time picking out the perfect ones. We'd all been taking a bunch of polaroid pictures, to document the wild journey across America, I guess. "Here, this was taken the other day in LA." I handed it to my mom. My favorite, by far. He was carrying me piggy-back. I had one hand on his head and the other arm draped around his neck. He was wearing his signature grin. My cheek was pressed against his head, and my smile was more subdued than his. "How sweet! He's adorable, Lil." I couldn't help but sigh. "I know. Here's another one. I took this, he was daydreaming and didn't realize I was taking the picture until after I had taken it." I thought it was a breathtaking shot, that had absolutely nothing to do with my picture taking skills. "He's beautiful, actually," she said. I was drowning in delight. I wanted them to love him. I wanted everyone to love him, but them especially. He meant the world to me, and it would break my heart if my parents didn't like him. Of course, they hadn't met him. But I was positive that when they did, it would be impossible for them not to love him. They weren't happy about the situation, I knew that. But Bono was so wonderful. I felt that once they got to know him, there was no way they could ever want anything else for their child. They wanted me to be happy. And I was.
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Old 08-13-2009, 10:32 PM   #2
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w/ the story; w/ being sick as many people will tell u sucks.
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:25 PM   #3
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I'm sorry you were sick...but I'm happy with the results!

Ohhh..is he going to meet the parents soon??
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:36 PM   #4
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another great chapter
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Old 08-15-2009, 06:33 PM   #5
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yay, great story for after a hard week of work and no interference! thankyou
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Old 08-19-2009, 05:42 PM   #6
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:48 AM   #7
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Bwawwwww

and sickness sucks. It's amazing you were able to write at the same time...
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