December 7, 2024

The day after my head injury, I woke up in Matt’s bed and found him sitting next to me. He was in his suit, ready to go to work. He apologized for what he did, and I saw my luggage at the door. Matt said he respects my decision to leave. However, he didn’t want me back in Iowa. He offered me to stay at his house in Vancouver. I declined, and as usual, he insisted. He said it’ll be a nice and relaxing place for me to go to for Christmas, and that when I’m ready to be with him again, he can come over and we can spend some quality time together. Part of me really wants that, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen. I ended up accepting regardless. He smiled and left the keys to his other car on the nightstand and left.

Last year, I went through the loneliest holidays ever. Just like every other year, my parents called and asked me to visit them. After skipping two Christmases in a row, I thought I’d go. I made it home just in time for dinner on Christmas Eve. Rosamunde picked me up from the airport, and after asking me a bunch of questions about my life in the states, questions to which my answers were shorter than usual, all she did was talk about herself. She has two kids now; twins: a boy, Marcus Jr. and a girl, Maxine. When we made it home, mom was already at the door while dad stayed inside and kept the guests company. I walked up to her, and she hugged and kissed me. Tobias grabbed my suitcases and took them inside. When I entered the dining room, I found myself to the sight of three completely unknown strangers; a middle-aged couple and their daughter, Johanna. She looked at me and smiled awkwardly and I unintentionally reciprocated.

After spending an hour and a half watching everyone ramble conversations and laugh at the lamest jokes, the subject of marriage was brought up to the table by my mom. Then the strangest thing happened: she started talking about me in third person as if I wasn’t sitting right next to her on the table. The funniest part was when she introduced me as her single son still looking for that “special someone.” I just love it when people speak on my behalf. At that point, it was clear to me that something wasn’t right. I felt so left out of a conversation I was obviously a part of. Things got clearer when I saw how everyone was looking at me when I didn’t respond or participated. Then things started to make even more sense to me; I was slowly becoming the victim of an arranged marriage. That’s what the evening was all about. It wasn’t a family reunion, it was a setup. All this phony behavior coming from my family was a way for them to manipulate me and set me up. I was being used to carry on with the family legacy. That’s why they invited me to come. It had nothing to do with them missing me or wanting the family reunited for the holidays. It was about me getting married to that stupid, worthless bitch so she can have my babies, and so the whole family can have their minds at ease. If they only knew the things I’ve done. The people I’ve hurt, and the people I’ve fucked.

And so I found myself stuck again. Stuck in that house I wasn’t familiar with. Nothing felt the same. I didn’t even know why I accepted to go there in the first place. I guess I just felt bad for them not having me around. Unlike them, I thought maybe it’ll be nice to be there again, after all these years and for old times’ sake. But they were selfish enough to make plans behind my back and define my future. When I moved, I couldn’t wait to start a whole new life and reinvent myself. And that’s what I did. Cutting myself to fit convention would’ve turned me into a boring hypocrite. I am what I am, and there was no way they could change me. I excused myself and left the table when things became too ridiculous for me to handle. Of course, my controlling mother followed me and started to lecture me like I was twelve. I left the house that night, and we never spoke since.

I arrived at Matt’s house in Vancouver two days ago. It’s really nice out here. Nicer than I expected. The house is surrounded by a winding river and beautiful old, pine trees. The inside smells like sandalwood and is furnished with a tasteful and heartwarming decor with mostly neutral colored furniture and elements. I felt embraced by a feeling of east coast goodness as soon as I stepped in. The house feels safe and serene, something Matt’s apartment certainly lacked. I don’t know what to do with my days yet. Maybe I’ll just stare at the ceiling and feel the days go by, or maybe I’ll do something productive. The latter is unlikely.

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