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Part 2

"Remember this, --that very little is needed to make a happy life."
Meditations. ii. 67


"Earth’s noblest thing - a woman perfected."

I’ve tried to explain, to others, and myself why I feel the way I do. Why there’s so much anger and frustration that I just can’t let go. Thomas tried to help me get rid of it but even he wasn’t very successful. He might have been, of course. I guess I’ll never know, now, whether he would have been or not.

My relationships with other people could never be considered as normal. Although I don’t like to admit it, even to myself, I push people away when I desperately need them to be close to me. Only two people have ever really realised that - Sydney and Jarod. Perhaps Angelo too, but I’m not sure about him. But I’ve suffered in my life and I try to convince myself that, by hiding from emotion, I can also hide from the pain that it causes. I’m not sure that it works, but I can’t give something like that up now.

I count as success only the utmost of what I set out to achieve - a perfectionist, I suppose that makes me. I won’t tolerate failure from anyone, least of all myself. That’s something that turned a lot of people off me. Jarod was the first person who refused to be repelled. I guess working with someone who was just as much of a perfectionist as I was meant that he wasn’t even aware of it. He just accepted it as part of me. He was the only person I’ve ever met who could do that.

I’ll never really understand what changed between us. I suppose part of it was the person that I became. The fact that he was no different after so many years, and I wouldn’t allow myself to see that it was because he wasn’t allowed to change, meant that I saw him as the child I first met when I was only nine years old. But was there one event that changed everything? I’m not sure. If I ever knew, then I’ve repressed the memory deep down inside. I don’t want it to escape. I’ve been forced to relive so many memories since Jarod escaped and they’ve all brought back so much pain that it almost makes them unbearable.

My childhood was never normal. When your parents are hardly ever around, you soon develop a life without them. If it could be called a life. And running around the Centre could hardly be called a life either. Perhaps that’s why I have a problem with Jarod - he managed to create something that I didn’t have. I’ve always secretly resented his relationship with Sydney. After all, I might just as well not have had family. The memories of my mother are nice, but she was a part of my life during the time when everything seems nice. Have you noticed that about childhood? It often seems like the nicest time - when there was no concern or stress. No decisions that had to be made or problems that had to be sorted out. Always someone there to do it for you. Well, almost always.

After my mother died, maybe I should have stayed away from the Centre. But the memories, until I leant to hide them away, always continued to hurt me unless I was always doing something to keep them away. I would fall asleep, exhausted, at the end of the day, but then the dreams would come and, more often than not, I would wake up sweating and clawing at the sheets. But then, before I could properly remember them, they would be gone, withdrawing to the outer limits of my subconscious and waiting there until I was vulnerable again.

Jarod has had nightmares all his life and, when we were little, he would often tell me about them when I went to visit him. Once, Sydney found us and suggested that he tell me other, happier stories from his vast imagination. I can still remember the look on Jarod’s face when he said that he didn’t know any happy stories. If he hadn’t turned away, Jarod could have seen an almost identical look on Sydney’s. It was one of the first times that I realized how close the bond between them was. The greatest tragedy, and one that still gives me no end of frustration, is the fact that neither of them will really admit it. Of course, Jarod tried. But Sydney won’t admit to himself how powerful his own feelings are and this means that Jarod is not willing to open himself up to hurt by allowing his own emotions to be voiced.

Am I that different from Jarod? Perhaps not. Except that I have no life and he does. But, one day, that situation will change and I will have the chance to properly live again. I remember the few years of freedom. Of course I can see now that they were never really free, but instead I was always under some sort of investigation. The Centre will never let a person really go. All I ask is the chance to have a proper life, and perhaps a family. I wouldn’t have thought that it was too impossible a request.

I mentioned vulnerability before, and the fear of letting people know I’m vulnerable is and always has been the one thing that terrifies me. Let people see inside you and they tear you to pieces at the first opportunity. I’ve seen it happen. To my mother and to people like her. Having seen what she went through, I could steel myself from allowing it to happen to me. And I do. It all comes back to emotions. Show them to people and that allows people to take advantage of you. Hide them and they gnaw away at your insides, never letting you escape from them - or yourself. I remember once talking about dying. Jarod said that taking your own life was the easy way out, the coward’s way. I said that sometimes it looked like the only way. He shook his head and showed me that there was always something, or someone, who would be damaged by a person’s death. No matter what the person themselves thought. I sometimes wonder what it would do to Jarod himself. Not if I were to kill myself, but if I were to let the Centre suck me in and make me disappear, in the way that so many other people have disappeared. It’s a constant fight to stay away from the turbulence, to stay safe. I can’t help wondering, sometimes, if that tireless, endless fight is really worth it. I wouldn’t do it myself. I have too much self-respect to bring myself that far down. But to let go, to stop fighting the power of the Centre, it would be tantamount to suicide. It would also be failure. And I won’t tolerate failure. From myself or anyone else.

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