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“Things will get better. Just stay strong, Rose. Stay strong.”
They always say that. But you can’t listen to them. Because it’s not true. But they still keep saying it. They expect us to listen, to think it’s true. But it’s a lie; a fallacy. Things will not get better. They will never be better.
“Rose? Hun? You okay?”
No. Never. Okay. Never. Okay. Okay?
“Rose? Do you want to go somewhere today? Maybe go to the movies? I know you love that Seth Rogen with the silly hair. We can go see that Seth Rogen picture if you want.”
I don’t love Seth Rogen. I don’t love Seth Rogen. I DO NOT LOVE SETH ROGEN.
“Maybe Daddy can take you out to get ice cream. Would you like that? Going to get ice cream with Daddy?”
I hate ice cream. I hate how it’s cold. I hate how if you hold it in your mouth too long, it will slip down your throat, like a sneaky thief into the night. I hate how it makes my head burn and my eyes twitch. I hate how it makes my lips sticky and my hands grimy.
“Rosie. You can’t stay in bed forever.”
Yes, I can.
“Talk to me, dear. Please just talk to me. It’ll help. Dr. Mick says it will help. It will help, dear. It will help.”
“Rosie, let’s talk about this. Let’s talk about Jack.”
Jack. My heart burns. My hands start to sweat. I bit my lip under the covers.
“Jack didn’t mean to do this to you, Rose. I’m sure if he knew—if he only knew. But he didn’t, dear. He didn’t know how much you cared for him. If he did, do you think he would’ve done this?”
No. You wouldn’t have. You wouldn’t have done it at all if you knew—even suspected what I felt for you. What love I wanted to pour into your soul, but kept hidden in my own heart, scared. Scared. Scared of you!
I killed Jack.
“He didn’t do this to hurt you, Rose. They say…they say things weren’t great for him. His mind—it was different, Rose. He saw things differently. You couldn’t have done anything different to save him. Dr. Mick says it’s important that you know that.”
Jack. Jackie. You wore your hair long. I always told you to cut it, but you never did. Your parents did when they put you in that box, though. They knew you wouldn’t like it, but they did it anyway.
I wish your hair was long when you were in that box. I wish it was long like Rapunzel’s, and I could say, “Jackie, Jackie! Let down your long hair!” And I would climb all the way up to Heaven, and we could sit next to each other by the duck pond. You always assured me there was a duck pond. And at the duck pond there would be wooden benches that were comfy enough to sit in all day. We would sit together all day, every day, watching the ducks.
“Rose. Mr. and Mrs. Henry wanted to talk to you before they left. But you wouldn’t talk to them. Do you remember that? Do you remember screaming when they walked into the room? You screamed so loud that Mrs. Henry covered her ears, and started to cry. But you wouldn’t stop screaming.”
You used to hold hands with me when we went into Target. You said you liked to pretend we were dating. You would spin me in circles as we walked through Electronics, and people would smile as we passed.
“Mrs. Henry says you can visit whenever you want. They’re in Delaware now. That’s not too far, right? It’s just next store, practically. You can go visit them sometime. Wouldn’t that be nice?”
You hit me. The first time, I was scared. After that, I wasn’t. It was normal. When I got black eyes and bruised arms, I told Mom it was from playing baseball in the park. She assumed I was a bad baseball player. I was, though, Jackie. You always told me I was just awful.
“Rosie, please don’t cry. It’ll be all right. Here, I’ll open the curtains. Let me open the curtains! Ah! See? Light! Isn’t that nice? Oh, and look. The neighbors are outside playing basketball. Maybe you should go play with them. You always loved basketball.”
Are you sitting at the duck pond? Are you in the wooden benches? Are you feeding the ducks?
“Going outside will help. You need a change of scenery. Sitting in your room under the covers won’t help, Rosie. Let’s go outside. We can go for a run through the park. Maybe you’ll see a few of your friends.”
I love you, Jack. How did you not see that? How did you not see that I loved you? I said no to movies with Cameron Rizza because you hated him. I didn’t go to Stephanie’s birthday party because you wanted to go on a walk in the woods. I loved you, Jack. I would’ve done anything for you.
“Do you want some breakfast, Rose? Do you want to go on a road trip? Maybe you need a vacation. Do you want to go on vacation? We can go anywhere—anywhere you want! I’m sure we can squeeze out a few extra dollars. I can get an advance—maybe Daddy can take an extended leave of absence.”
Don’t you see, Jack? I would’ve done anything for you. Anything.
If you had only asked, I would’ve come with you.
“Don’t you see, Rosie? I love you. I love you so much. I would do anything for you. I just want you to be better. I want you to be happy again. Can’t you see that? I love you, Rosie.”
I would’ve went with him.