Every time I open my blog it prompts me, "Add Catchy Title." I couldn't think of one this time so there we go. All right I have things to talk about.
Has anyone watched the show "Sex Life" on Netflix? For me it all started with a Tik Tok trend. Influencers were going to minute 19:30 of episode 3 and blind reacting. I had to see what they were looking at. Holy Fuck. Yeah, it's worth checking it out.
Anywho, from the clip alone, I assumed it was a show about a man less attracted to his wife because he realized he likes men. I was super stoked because that would be an awesome storyline IMO, but I could not have been more wrong. I've never been so wrong about a show. But it has some Sex in the City vibes and so I stuck around. I LOVED it. Loved it so much. It's about a woman questioning everything about her white picket fence life. Her husband is fucking amazing (and hawt) but she's fantasizing about her SMOKING hot bad boy Ex. Was sort of a soul-searching show with a lot of sex and nudity. If you end up watching would love to chat about it.
Okay but we are not here for this. And I do have some more The Story of You. First, I want to thank everyone for sending me feedback. As well as comments on here, people sent messages and emails. All were helpful. The overall consensus is "Trust what your characters are telling you" and I"m going to.
Usually I do but I think I was thrown off by a comment I got on Goodreads about Xavier's School. It was more of a discussion really. As thick as my skin gets, some comments get through. All righty. If you are signed up for my newsletter you will have read the first bit but now for the rest of it. One thing I like about the story is how Darius is kinda this entity playing a role in many lives. Silas and Simon in particular are impacted by him. They have perspectives on him and it's interesting to see him through their eyes and then to see what he thinks about things.
The Story of You ----- Simon
I sat near the edge and thought about jumping. My skinny legs dangled over the edge of the pedestrian bridge. The water rushed beneath me. I could jump, my body would be swept under by the current and eventually it would wash out to the sea. No one would miss me. There wasn’t anyone to miss me.
“Hey you! Hey you there!” The voice called from the mouth of the bridge where a tall, fat rock sat and the shadow of a boy fell across me. I peered up. The sun was bright, I could only see his outline at first. He was a thin boy with stick legs, stick arms; a fist planted firmly against his hip. He looked like a wonder boy superhero—all he needed was a cape. A cloud shifted to block some of the bright rays and he came into view.
Bright red shorts. A Duran Duran, Tour of ’84 concert crop top that showed his midriff. He had blond hair that was long on top and shaved underneath. It paired with this alabaster skin. He hopped off the rock and walked over to me, analyzing me. “Boy, why the fuck are you crying?”
“My parents died,” I said.
He shrugged one shoulder. “So did my mama.”
“What about your dad?”
“He’s the asshole who dumped me into this home.”
“Why aren’t you more upset about it?” I asked.
“Because my brother will come get me, eventually.”
He had the confidence of a lion. I liked that immediately. I wanted some of whatever he had. He held out his hand and I took it. “You have a brother?”
“Two, actually. One’s just a baby. The other one’s a teenager.”
“Why did your dad only get rid of you?” Kids could ask each other deep personal questions like that without consequence.
“Not sure. He doesn’t like the baby much either, but he kept him. Silas is his favorite.”
I nodded. At the time, it made sense. “I’m Simon.”
“I’m Darius.” He put an arm around me. “Come with me and I’ll show you how to survive around here.”
The Taylor’s had a farm. They wanted farmhands. They fostered children, mostly boys, to work on said farm or so they said but I think the real reason was they wanted to avoid teen pregnancies so as not to interfere with working on the farm.
“From what I can tell, there’s a system. We’re in the younger group with the nines, tens, elevens and twelves, the teenagers want nothing to do with us. How old are you?”
“Good, same as me. We’ll move up together when we reach teen status.”
“I thought your brother was coming to get you?”
Darius said that a lot. Talked about it. I didn’t believe him, and I think part of me hoped it wouldn’t happen. I latched onto Darius like a leech. I didn’t know what I’d do without his guidance.
“He will but probably not for a while. I’m sure he’s told Silas I’m with Uncle Pax. Once he realizes I’m not there, he’ll have to figure out where I’m at. There’s also Dad—he’s got some strange hold on Silas. Could take months.”
I watched him, fascinated, as he deliberated. I didn’t know who Uncle Pax was. “How are you so sure he’ll come?”
“Because. He might be a huge dick sometimes, but Silas always comes through. He knows my wish. He’ll make it happen.”
Darius took me inside the house. “We’ll be missed soon but you got here late, and Terry won’t mind if we’re quick. You probably don’t have any clothes. Let’s get you some.”
The house sat on eighteen acres of farmland. It was large and run down. Ten bedrooms, six bathrooms, two kitchens. It was old and so the design was weird, like a mad hatter had added to it willy nilly over the years without rhyme or reason.
Darius led me to the laundry room which thankfully had a large washer and dryer. A lot of other stuff in the house was lacking, it wouldn’t have been out of place for us to handwash—and hang dry our stuff, and when it broke down, that’s exactly what we’d have to do—but it had a good, working washer and dryer.
At the back was a mountain of clothing, all of it second hand.
“We get a massive donation once a month, but currently there are ten of us. The donations are random. Getting your size is sometimes difficult and you have to settle for a size up. Don’t go a size down. Mistake.”
Darius tossed clothes at me. “Try these.”
I had a few meager belongings, but they didn’t let me bring much. I took Darius’s suggestions and we brought them up to our room. My bed was across the room from his. We shared. There was a third bed in another corner. It looked unoccupied.
He dragged me across the house, through a series of clean but untidy rooms and to a kitchen when led outside. “You didn’t eat this morning, don’t do that. There are snacks available but nothing substantial until dinner. They serve a big breakfast that’s expected to tide you over while you work out there—never does.”
I hadn’t planned on returning from the bridge. I didn’t think the food should be wasted on me. I had good parents. They loved me. I loved them. I didn’t think I could go on without them. Darius saved me. He was too fascinating not to follow off that bridge and by the time we’d made it to the house, I was on tenterhooks, seeing what he’d do next. He climbed onto the counter and reached to the top shelf, pulling out a box of crackers. He went through the fridge to fish out of block of orange cheese. “Eat a few of these then we’ll join ‘em. Otherwise, you’ll pass out.”
He didn’t ask my permission, he didn’t pander to my depression, he simply prodded me a step forward, then another, then another until the only times I thought about my parents were on dark, lonely nights or when we drank beer with our feet hanging off the dock. Even then, Darius would tug me by the wrist and pull me into his bed with him, so I’d have something to hold onto.
We were considered the younger kid group. We got jobs like cleaning out the stables, feeding the animals, gathering eggs, and milking cows and goats. The Taylors didn’t have a lot of the big, expensive equipment other farms had. They had us.
Any equipment they did have was run by the bigger kids. The teens. It wasn’t always a good idea. People nearly lost limbs more than once. They drove them too hard, and equipment broke down. Then we’d have to wait for Terry to fix it and with the amount of stuff on Terry’s ‘to fix it’ list, it was a wonder anything on that farm worked at all.
We’d work hard all day but at night, we got to do pretty much what we wanted. Terry, Lars and Sandy didn’t care to keep too strict tabs on us. So long as we were up and ready to work by dawn they were happy. Darius and I would take food down to the river. We’d climb trees and watch the stars. We’d dream about what we’d do when we got out of here.
It wasn’t a bad place.
Lars was good fun, unless he drank too much, then you steered clear. Sandy was kind. She made us cinnamon buns on Sundays. She made sure we got our schoolwork done. But she worked in town and was gone most of the day through the week.
Terry was the go-to guy. He was in charge. He managed us well and patiently taught us what we needed to know. He wasn’t great at emotional support for us or himself.
Lars and Terry were a thing. Sandy was Terry’s younger sister. Technically we were Lars and Terry’s foster kids. Sandy was there to help Terry when she could.
Living there was just living. It’s not that the adults didn’t care about you. On some level, they did, but it wasn’t the same as a parent loving you—nothing like the love I knew—and so I carried a constant pit in my stomach. A hole. I ached and longed for something.
That hug when you scraped your knee. That pat on the back when you did well at school. That interest in your life only a parent gets, often annoying, letting you know they give so much of a fuck they’re going to nose their way into your business whether you like it or not.
Even the rules, they were for keeping track of us and to make sure we were sound enough to work the next day. They existed to keep us in line enough the house didn’t descend into madness. Unlike many of the rules my parents made which were because they were scared I’d get hurt, or that they’d lose me, or to teach me a valuable life lesson.
You could feel the difference.