O for Options by Joel Gomes
O for Options by Joel Gomes

O for Options


 


 


 


There is a reason why I feel so empty inside. It's not a logical, nor is it a factual one. Not anymore, anyway. First, it used to be because of my mother's death – for too many years, anger and resentment have fueled my actions – then, it was because of the chase. One moment I had a friend, the next I was chasing him across the country, trying to return him to very same people who had taken my mother from me.


I could argue that I did not know that at the time. And I probably wouldn't have if he weren't out there to show it to me. But that doesn't excuse the fact that I betrayed his trust.


People call me the Ice Queen. How could they not? Everyone around me either dies or withers. It happened with my mother, with Jarod, Thomas... even with Mr. Parker, my supposed “father”.


Jarod had a nickname for him. What was it? Ah! “Mr. Duplicity Himself”. He always saw him for what he really were. I should have seen it too, but instead I allowed him to make a fool of me all those years. I was “daddy's little angel”. So many lies and deceit, and for what? For what possible reason?


I spent my entire life at The Centre, first as a child who enjoyed spending time in its hallways – never realizing how much Jarod and Angelo (forgive me Timmy) were suffering – then as an adult, making it possible for others to suffer as they did.


I can lie to myself and say I didn't know what I was doing, but that would be like calling me stupid, which I'm not. I may not match Jarod's intelligence, but I'm pretty damn well close.


I wish I were still a child. I wish we could still be friends, but that would imply him still being a prisoner. I couldn't do that to him. I couldn't take his freedom away.


Why do you think I haven't caught him yet?


Jarod and I share a bond that few people know of and even fewer understand it. Basically, I can feel him. I know when he's hurt, and if I focus enough I can easily know where he is. I always interpreted this as empathy, a gut feeling. They've always been there. I didn't know what they really were, until Ethan came along for the ride.


That was the beginning of the end. I realized I would have to push Jarod as far away from me as possible. As much as it would hurt me, I knew it would be the only way for him to be really safe from The Centre. Having a common brother, who wished to see us back together, didn't help.


You can't outrun fate. I soon realized that. We both did. Little by little, we began drawing closer and closer to each other. Ethan said we were like an elastic cord that had been stretched to its maximum and was now returning to its original position. Though a bit strange, the example was very close to the truth.


Many years after of our forced departure, Jarod and I resumed our friendship. Only this time we wouldn't let The Centre come between us. That option was no longer acceptable.



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