Five o’clock came like a freight train with Shane’s watch alarm going off. I could barely move, and my eyes were heavy. Shane also moved very slowly next to me. I grabbed his watch and turned off the alarm, softly nudging him, “Wake up baby.”He mumbled some words and I kissed him. I turned on the bedside lamp, and looked at him.
He opened his eyes slowly, “Hey.”
Shane pulled me to him, kissed me and we laid like this for a moment until he said, “Shit, I’m so tired, but I need to get up.”
He let go off me and I gave him space to slide over to the edge of the bed, where his crutches were leaning on the wall. He sat there for a few moments, his head hanging and just sitting there until he grabbed the crutches and slid his arms into the loops, gripped the handles tight and pulled himself up with a sigh. Very slowly he dragged himself out of the bedroom. I heard him in the bathroom, the toilet flushing and the water running.
About 30 minutes later he came back into the bedroom with just a towel wrapped around his waist. Breathing heavy he let himself down on the bed again. I helped him get his boxers, jeans and a T-Shirt. I watched him get dressed, he was quiet.
When he was ready for his braces he sat wobbly on the bed and I asked him, “You got it?”
He nodded and pulled the first brace over and somewhat up on the bed he got his foot into the boot and the brace under his leg and started buckling the cuffs. It was a hassle and when he tried to lean over some his whole upper body wanted to just fall forward, he had to keep pushing himself up.
I just watched him and felt so drawn to him as he adhered to this daily task quietly and without much enthusiasm. I watched him buckle all the straps around his legs and when it came to his boots, he didn’t protest when I tied the laces for him. When I was done I looked up at him and he glanced at me with a smile.“Thanks. You should probably go back to sleep now. You’re going to stay though, right?”
“Yes, I’m staying. I can’t leave this already.”
I touched my hand to his leg with a smile and he nodded with a grin, “That’s right. Only right here for you.”
As Shane pulled himself up and his braces locked his legs stiffly in their standing position I got up and in front of him, my hands on his arms, “Shane, last night…your dreams. Are you okay?”He looked down and nodded, “Yeah, I’ve been dealing with this for as long as I can remember. I’m sorry I woke you up.”
“You don’t have to be sorry about anything, but I worry about you.”
He didn’t look up, “I’ll be all right.”
“I want to help you with that.”
He nodded, “Let’s talk about it later, okay?”
“Okay. I love you.”
“I love you.”
We kissed again and said our Good Bye’s for the day. Shane made his way out of the bedroom and as I closed the door I heard low noises in the kitchen and I made out Jordan’s voice.
The bed was still warm and I crawled back under the blanket. Now that I had spent the night with him again I realized how much I had missed Shane next to me the last couple of days. More and more I felt there was really no good reason for me and him to be apart. We loved each other and there was no denying this anymore. We needed each other so much and our connection was special. But even though I wanted to be with him all the time, at the moment there was no other way than for him to stay here with his brother. I still had my life and job in the city. For now we had to make this work somehow. I still wanted to be there for him as much as I could in his moments of despair and anger and even moments of fear during the nights filled with bad dreams. I needed to talk to him about this so we could maybe figure something out. Lost in thoughts about us I dozed off again into a dreamless sleep.
I woke up to lively voices in the kitchen and I could make out Jenny’s and another female voice I didn’t recognize. My cell phone showed almost ten o’clock. As I walked out of the bedroom I peeked into the kitchen and I saw Jenny and another woman.
Jenny spotted me in the hallway and called over, “Hey Anna, I hope we didn’t wake you up with all the noise out here?”
“Oh no worries Jenny.”
Jenny added, “Anna, this is my sister Deena.”
I walked up and greeted her, “Hi Deena, I’m Anna, sorry I look like a mess just waking up and all.”
Deena was about as tall as Jenny, just as skinny with long brown hair, wearing a summer dress.
She smiled at me warmly, “Anna, hi, nice to meet you. Don’t worry. If you say you look like a mess right now, how do you look when you’re not a mess?” She laughed, “And that’s a compliment.”
I laughed lowly and ran my hand through my hair, “Thanks Deena.”
“So you’re Shane’s girlfriend?”
I smiled, “Yes, I’m the intruder.”
Deena smiled, “I’m very sure you’re not an intruder here.”
Jenny smiled and added, “Definitely not, I think she’s the one that can keep that boy straight.”
Jenny informed me that they were planning to go shopping and asked if I wanted to tag along. I wanted to go as well and got into the bathroom, took a quick shower, and got dressed and ready. When I came back out the two women were sitting at the table with coffee in front of them.
Jenny poured some coffee for me, “What do you want to eat Anna?”
“I’m okay, I can grab a bite on our way.”
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
Soon after we were in Deena’s car on the way to the closest mall outside Morgan City.
I was sitting in the back seat and Jenny turned to me, “So, obviously you decided to stay for another day?”
“Yeah, I hope it’s all right with you and Jordan?”
Jenny smiled at me, “Of course it’s okay Anna. I know Shane is happy about that and if we can keep him happy, then that’s good for all of us.”
I nodded, “Yeah, he basically talked me into staying.”
“I know he misses you when you’re not here.”
Deena asked me how long Shane and I had been together and I told her the story about how we met and how things had happened. Deena was friendly and seemed a fun person to be around. I felt comfortable around her, just like Jenny. They didn’t make me feel weird or like I didn’t belong or anything. Just the opposite, I felt I connected with the women and I enjoyed being out with them. I had initially planned to talk to Jenny about Shane’s dreams but since Deena was around I didn’t address it.
We had a good time shopping. We looked around in the stores and I found a couple of things. Jenny and Deena found some clothes they liked. It was nice to have some girl time with just fun and chatter, not having to think about anything. We had lunch together and had a good time. We got home about three and Deena didn’t even get out of her car, because she had to get home. She dropped us off in front of the trailer and we said Good Bye.
Jenny’s and Jordan’s boys were getting home soon thereafter as well. Jenny put some coffee on for us inside and I dropped my shopping bags in the bedroom. The boys filled the trailer with noises and laughter. I joined Jenny in the kitchen as she prepared some snacks for her kids.
“Anna, get yourself some coffee and sit down.”
When Jenny was done with the snacks for her boys, they settled in front of the TV and were quiet. Jenny sat with me at the table and we had coffee.
She smiled, “So, how do you think Shane is doing?”
I sighed, “I think he’s okay with his job and stuff but with me being gone…I don’t know.”
I told her what he had said about feeling alone with everyone having someone.
Jenny took a breath and said, “It’s strange how he’s so attached to you. Back in the days he could have cared less if the girls he hung out with were around or not. They came to him all right but if he wanted to party and hang out with his buddies, there was no girl that could stop him from that, no matter how she felt about him. We’d have girls call for him and he wasn’t around but instead running the roads with his brothers. I felt bad for the girls sometimes. He definitely is a different guy now.”
She took a sip from her coffee, then added, “I suppose he really loves you very much.”
I thought for a moment, “Maybe he just feels insecure about himself now and I was the first girl to come into his life after the accident, that’s why he’s clingy. Sometimes I still wonder if he’ll change on me all the sudden and turn into this wild child he used to be once he realizes that he can still score with other women.”
Jenny laughed, “Maybe he’s just actually grown up now. God forbid the way it happened and we really feel for him but he definitely changed since the accident. He didn’t deserve all the hardship though.”
I looked at her and asked softly, “Jenny, what do you actually know about their childhood?”
Jenny’s face turned serious and I added, “He deals with bad dreams at night, last night he woke up crying….he doesn’t want Jordan to know about it.”
Jenny asked, “You should ask Shane yourself.”
“I don’t think he’ll tell me.”
Jenny looked down into her coffee mug, “I can just tell you that there was a lot of abuse in that house and I don’t know to this day why child protective services never interfered. A few years back Jordan went through some counseling and it helped him a little.”
I kept on, “What kind of abuse was it? He talked about a shed in his dream last night.”
Jenny’s face turned sad, “I really can’t tell you. Talk to him, maybe he’ll confide in you.”
“Did Jordan tell you about all of this?”
She nodded and I asked, “Where’s the house?”
She looked surprised now, “It’s out in the woods.”
“Like where at?”
“About 25 minutes from here. What are you thinking?”
“Maybe if I drive out to the house with him, he’ll have to confront it. I won’t tell him how I know.”
I fixed my eyes on Jenny when she grabbed a pen and paper and wrote something down without saying a word.
She then slid the paper over to me and I took it and when I looked at it I saw an address and a map drawn on it.
Jenny leaned over and explained to me how to get to the house. It didn’t seem too difficult.
I rested my hand on Jenny’s hand, “Thanks Jenny. I’ll pick him up from work.”
Jenny sighed, “I don’t know Anna…I really don’t know if it’s a good idea. Are you sure about that?”
“I guess I’ll have to see. The worst that can happen is that he’s going to be angry with me.”
Jenny sighed, “Yeah, maybe very angry.”
“I’ll take that chance. Maybe it’ll help him.”
“I don’t think Shane has been out there in a long time. The house is empty, I don’t think it has been inhabited for years.”
When I called Shane at work he was surprised but happy that I was going to pick him up from work. He explained to me how to get to his work place.
I got there shortly before five and I parked my car so he could see me when he came out. On the phone he had told me to just wait outside for him when I got there. I had my window down enjoying somewhat of a hot breeze coming in. The main door eventually opened and first Shane came out and was followed by Cody in his wheelchair. I waved my hand out the window and Cody smiled at Shane and I heard them talk but couldn’t make out what they were saying.
I watched as they came closer, Shane was a lot slower than Cody, who swiftly maneuvered his wheelchair over the parking lot. I felt my heart beat faster at watching him and I imagined how Shane would be in a wheelchair and it was a nice image in my head.
As they came closer Cody wheeled up to the driver’s side, smiling “Hey Anna, you’re giving him an excuse to get out of going to the gym with me.”He laughed and Shane was getting into the car on the passenger side.
I tried not to stare too much at Cody in his wheelchair as he was right next to my car, “I’ll get him tomorrow though.”
I smiled, “Yeah, I’m leaving tomorrow morning. You can have him again then and put him to work out.”
Cody laughed, “For sure, I let him slide today. He needs to enjoy his time with you.”
Cody put his hands to his push rims, and looked into the car, “I’ll see you tomorrow Shane. Have a good trip back to New Orleans tomorrow Anna.”
I thanked him again and Cody wheeled away to his car.
I let my window up and turned to look at Shane, “Hey.”
He leaned over and we kissed.
Shane asked, “So what’s the occasion that I get picked up?”
I just wanted to. Are you hungry?”
“A little I guess.”
“What do you feel like?”
Shane seemed a little surprised, “Are we not eating dinner at home?”
“I don’t feel like it. I want to hang out with you.”
He nodded, “Okay, that’s all right with me.”
We decided to grab a Burger at a local place but ordered in the drive through and ate in the car. While we ate Shane told me about his work day and I told him about my trip to the mall with Jenny and her sister.
I had studied the directions Jenny had given me and after dinner I veered my car onto the main road and took off into that direction.
Shane looked over at me, “Do you know how to get to Jordan’s house?”
“We’re not going home yet.”
He kept his eyes on me, “Where are we going?”
I said lowly, “You’ll see.”
He sounded somewhat tense, “Okay, I like surprises…not.”
I drove along the main road. Jenny had said it was about a 25 minute drive.
Shane asked again. “Where do you want to go Anna? I can probably tell you how to get wherever you are planning on going.”
“Then it’s not a surprise anymore.”
He nodded but he seemed tense.
I was concentrating on what I remembered Jenny had explained and even though I had the paper she had given me I didn’t want to pull it out because I didn’t want Shane to know. We drove along and we left town and came out to a country road.
Shane said tensely, “I wish you would tell me where we’re going. There’s really nothing out this way.”I didn’t say anything but I could literally feel Shane’s tension next to me.
For a few moments we sat quietly.
When I turned onto another country road getting closer to my destination Shane asked tensely, “Anna, where are we going?”
I didn’t answer and I turned onto a gravel road when Shane added with apprehension, “You should really turn around right now. There’s nothing out here. I don’t think you know where you’re going.”
He shifted some in his seat and even though I was somewhat worried, I also was almost there at the house now.
Shane sounded angry now, “Anna, you need to turn around. There’s shit out here, you’re in the wrong place. I don’t know where you wanted to go but it’s not out here.”
He was breathing quicker and at that point we had reached our destination, “This is where I wanted to come to.”
I pulled my car over the grass and gravel and parked in front of the small, weathered, boarded up house.
When I looked over at Shane I saw he was breathing quickly, and his lips were pressed together as he was staring at the house.
He didn’t look at me when he eventually said in an angry tone, “Why the fuck are we out here?”
I placed my hand on his thigh and answered somewhat worried, “I just wanted to see it.”
The house was surrounded by oak and cypress trees covered in Spanish moss and stood back from the dirt road that had led us out there. The house apparently used to be white but now was dirty, weathered, and the wood looked rotten. It had a front porch, a very fragile looking car port to the left of it. The door and the windows were boarded up. There was moss growing on the roof and some of the roof tiles where missing. I didn’t see any neighboring houses close by. Brush was overgrown around the house and it looked like no one had lived out here for a long time.
When I glanced over at Shane, he sat totally still, just breathing, and his right hand was gripping the door handle so tight his knuckles were white. With his left hand he was digging into the thigh cuff of his brace.
He still didn’t looked at me.
He stared at the house and he said lowly, “Anna, I beg you to just turn the car around and get the hell out of here.”
I placed my hand on his hand, Shane had closed his eyes now, just breathing quickly.
Lowly I explained, “I thought if we would come out here you could confront your past.”
My voice was trembling because I was worried I had made the absolute wrong decision with this.
His hand trembled under mine, and he shook his head, “I can’t…don’t do this to me Anna. Please!”
His chest was moving up and down quickly. I realized he had a very hard time with this and even though it hurt me just as much to see him like this, I opened the door and got out of my car.
Almost in a panic Shane called out, “Anna, don’t go out there…”
He didn’t say anything else and I walked toward the house to look around. It was still daylight, there were noises of insects all around me. Crickets were chirping loudly, this was their territory. Large cypress trees stood behind and around the house, the scent of water and swamp lingered over the area. I heard birds and the faint splashing of water. The house definitely had a sad aura to it, somewhat creepy but having seen lots of pain. A squirrel rushed off the porch as I came closer. I stepped onto the porch, the wooden panels were rotten and squeaked under my feet. I was worried if they could hold me. There were spider webs all around the house. The door was boarded up but the boards were almost coming off. I tried to turn the knob but it didn’t budge. Screens were hanging off hinges on the windows. Leaves and natural debris covered the porch.Only on one hook a sign hung off the porch railing “Keep Out, private property”.
Shane was still in the car. I walked around to the side of the house and was able to look into a window and saw the inside of the house was rotten, dirty, boards and some old furniture scattered in the room. It smelled musty and I walked to the back of the house. I kept my eyes open for any snakes or other critters. I heard rustling and scattering noises around me.
Over in the distance I saw two old sheds, abandoned, damaged, windows busted in. The sheds were far from the house sitting in brush and between the trees. I heard water and saw over to the side that the property bordered on swamp and marsh, cypress trees sitting in standing water. I was just standing there taking in the scene and I felt only sadness and loss.
I was startled when I heard a noise behind me and turned around quickly. Shane was standing by the corner of the house. He just looked over at me. It was a surreal sight to see him standing there in his leg braces and holding on to his crutches next to this old house in the middle of nowhere.
He moved over some and leaned with his back against the house, letting his head hang.
I walked over to him and said softly, “Shane?”
He didn’t look at me and only mumbled lowly, “Why are you doing this?”
I stood in front of him and softly touched his arm, it twitched as I touched him.
“I had to because otherwise you would’ve never told me, or would you have?”
He looked up at me, his eyes were dark as night, “Told you about what? What makes you think I want to talk about all the fucking shit that happened out here?”
I replied with a trembling voice, “I don’t know.”
He took a deep breath and moved his eyes from me looking into the distance toward the sheds, “You want me to tell you about all the times we were locked into the fucking shed, no food, just water. Or about all the days when he was wasted as shit and pulled his belt out beating the living daylights out of us, making our backs bleed. Or the times when he pulled me by my hair and dragged me to the marsh, pushing me under water until I passed out. Or when I was locked into the shed by myself and he came in night after night, and I had to jerk him off over and over….”
He stopped and he hung his head again, shifting some to get a better stance. I was shocked at what he was telling me and I felt my vision get blurry.I swallowed my tears and with a shaky voice I asked lowly, “What about Nick? Jordan, and Scott? And Jared?”
“Everyone got their share of beatings. He didn’t really touch Jared, he was still little.”
My eyes travelled to the sheds, “So those are the sheds?”
Shane looked up and toward the sheds, “He locked me up in there for days.”
He fell silent again and I cried silent tears. I had no words for what he was telling me.
Shane added lowly, “I don’t know why he was such a fucking asshole to us.”
Lowly I asked, “What about your mother?”
Shane replied resentful, “She couldn’t do shit. He beat her up half of the time too or she was just lying in bed wasted or fucking high from all the shit she was taking.”
I stepped up to Shane and got in front of him, leaning my head on his chest and he rested his head on mine.
I wrapped my arms around his back and I cried, “I’m sorry I brought you out here.”
We stood like this for a few moments. Out of the corner of my eye I saw his hands holding the crutches tightly.
Eventually I looked at Shane. His eyes were shiny and I saw moisture on his cheek.
I said, “C’mon.”
I walked toward the front of the house and went up onto the porch again. There was an old wooden bench which still looked somewhat sturdy. Shane came around to the front and found me sitting on the bench but he didn’t look very excited.
I patted the bench next to me, “Come sit with me.”
He carefully made his way up the few steps onto the porch, and with a sigh he let himself down next to me. It squeaked under our weight. He took his arms out of the crutches and stood them next to him leaning on the house, then he unlocked his braces and angled his legs.
I took his hand in mine and rested my head on his shoulder, “Shane?”He looked down at me, his dark eyes were shiny and I said softly, “Please don’t be angry with me.”
He moved his eyes out to the distance again and I added, “My childhood wasn’t pretty either but maybe not as horrible as yours.”
Shane said very lowly, “There was so much shit going on for us out here. All of us got it. Jordan and Scott more indirectly by witnessing what he was doing to me and Nick. He mostly left Jared alone, he was still little. I think he got spanked a lot though.”
He paused, then continued, “We’d be playing outside and it would get loud, you know…boys play rough sometime and get loud. He’d come out and ask Jordan or Scott if I was being bad and then they’d tell him that we were just playing and he’d change their words around and say something like “So Shane is not playing good”. It didn’t matter what they said and even if they tried to convince him that I was being good, he’d say shit like having to put me in time out. He’d pull me by my hair and they’d beg him to leave me alone but he didn’t care. He’d just lock me up. He’d leave me in that shed until after dinner and then send one of the boys, usually Nick come to get me but I had to go straight to bed without eating. I was lucky when it was only a couple of hours or a day in there. The longest he left me in there was like two weeks during summer break, I had a bucket in there with me and a dirty old mattress. He would just barely keep me alive in there, just enough food and water where I didn’t die. Sometimes he would lock both me and Nick in there and then at least we had each other and we’d try to pass the time by imagining all these things we’d be doing once we grow up. Nick got it too, I just don’t remember anymore. We didn’t really talk about it.”
He stopped and swallowed his tears. I felt mosquitos buzzing around us. It was strange to sit on the porch of this old abandoned house. I was trying to picture Shane and his brothers as kids, running around and playing out here.I asked carefully, “So there was also sexual stuff too?”
Shane now only nodded in silence.
He looked around the overgrown yard, “I hated this place, this house and I still hate everything it stands for.”
“So, is he still alive?”
“Have you ever seen him anymore?”
“None of us have. After I left I never went back, not even to see my mother or when she was sick. I saw her in court when I got locked up and that was it. She never came to see me in the hole. I don’t know where he is. I think Jordan and Scott may know but they don’t talk to him either. We never talked about it.”
“I’m so sorry.”
He shrugged his shoulders, “Well, it’s all in the past. Nothing we can do about it anymore.”
“It still haunts you every night, you could still get him charged for it.”
Shane laughed lowly, “Probably not, we don’t have any witnesses.”
“You have each other to testify against him.”
Shane shook his head, “I couldn’t do it. I never want to see him again. I just want to forget about it.”
I laid my head on his arm again, “But you’re dreaming about it all the time.”
Shane sat quietly next to me, we heard insects buzzing around us, crickets chirp, and a very light breeze shook up the heat and the humidity around us.
“Maybe you can get counseling for it.”
Shane shook his head again, “I’m not going to do that. I really don’t want to talk to a perfect stranger about all this shit. I really don’t want to talk about it at all. I know you thought it would help to come out here but it’s not going to change anything that happened out here in this shit hole. I have to live with it and that’s all that there is to it.”
I sensed Shane’s reluctance was steadfast and I sighed, “But Shane, it’s bothering you. All the things that had been done to you. It makes me sad to see you struggle with it every night…”
He looked at me from under his dark bangs, “It’s okay. I’ll be all right.”
“You’re not going to do anything about it then, are you?”
Shane shook his head determined, “No, I won’t.”
I took his hand and squeezed it, “I just wanted to help.”
Shane shifted and turned to look at me, “I know that.”
With that he lifted my chin and wiped the tears from my cheeks and kissed me.
It was after seven in the evening, it was still hot and humid. July was in its full bloom now with the humidity and heat, frequent heavy thunderstorms and Hurricane season upon us.
We just sat there and held each other and I could tell Shane’s tension had eased some and he was calm sitting with me on the porch of his childhood home, in which he had endured so much pain and abuse.
I thought back to my own childhood. My mother was an alcoholic and drug user. Our abuse had not been so much physical but more on an emotional level. We had simply been neglected a lot. There were days with only bread and water because we had no food in the house. She was out drinking and getting high. There were days when we didn’t have clean clothes, the laundry had piled up in the house and until I figured out how to wash clothes we had to wear dirty clothes. My mother stayed drunk and high for days. There were times when we got home from school and she didn’t hear us knock and we just sat in the back of the house waiting. She didn’t talk to us a whole lot. I remembered weekends when Jay and I didn’t see our mother all weekend. She was out with men and we were left to our own devices. We lived off Peanut Butter and jelly sandwiches and watched adult programs or scary movies all weekend. We had a mother but she didn’t care about us. I had tried to find answers all my life but there were no answers. She had simply been a selfish and sick person.
I snapped out of my thoughts and met Shane’s eyes on me. Again he wiped tears from my cheeks. Tears had been flowing the whole time.
Shane asked lowly, “Are you all right?”
I nodded and answered lowly, “I think so.”
I leaned my head against his shoulder.
He put his arm around me and pulled me close, saying lowly, “What is it?”
I sighed, “I don’t ever want to lose you Shane. Why do I feel like you could slip away any moment? I’m scared somehow, I don’t know why…”
Shane didn’t say anything for a moment and I added, “Sometimes I still think it’s some kind of dream.”
I looked up at him and his dark eyes were on me, “Baby, it’s not a dream. I’m as real as it gets, but I know how you feel. I feel the same way about you. I don’t want to live without you anymore. I need you so much Anna.”
With that we kissed for a long time, I slid my legs over Shane’s lap, feeling his braces under my legs, and we sat in a tight embrace kissing.
When the mosquitos were getting worse we made our way back to the car, “Ready to head home?”“Home?”
“Well, your home for right now.”
I watched Shane get into the car with some difficulties. Really everything he did was never easy. He had to focus on his stance, on his gait, on the ground beneath his feet, he had to move his legs around with his hands, had to lock and unlock his braces constantly. His crutches were a necessity, without them he wouldn’t be able to do anything. More and more I was toying with the idea to get a wheelchair for him. I still had the brochures from Zach and I was determined I would look through them. I wanted to make things easier for my boyfriend and as much as I loved him in his braces and on crutches I also liked the idea of his using a nice sporty wheelchair.
We sat in the car and as we pulled away Shane said, “I’m actually okay with having come here. I just wish we would’ve had a normal childhood out here. It could’ve been a good place for a boy to grow up out here but instead it was hell for all of us.”I looked at Shane and he turned his eyes to me and we smiled at each other. I patted his leg and even though he didn’t feel it he saw it.
We made our way back to the house and when we got there it was already after eight. We were both tired and sweaty and after talking with Jenny and Jordan for a little while, we then retreated to our bedroom and also got into the shower. I helped Shane again and we felt close and connected without many words. He had become more comfortable with me helping him and wasn’t so shy anymore. We didn’t have sex that night but instead fell asleep in each other’s arms. Shane had nightmares during the night again and I had to calm him down. He was sweating and gasping for air. I knew the visit to the house hadn’t helped him with this.
Five o’clock came early and Shane rolled over next to me. I could barely open my eyes and I nudged Shane to help him wake up. Eventually we both laid there with our eyes open. Shane pulled himself up to a sitting position and leaned with his back on the head board of the bed. I looked at him and kissed him.He moved his legs over to the side of the bed, “I guess I’ll have to get my ass out of bed.”
He sat on the edge of the bed for a moment, then reached for his crutches and pulled himself up to a standing position.
I asked, “Are you all right?”
He just nodded and answered with a low Yes. I watched him make it to the bathroom without his braces and the usual slow movement of his feet dragging on the ground and his upper body doing all the work to move. He seemed tense somehow.
When he came back in he got onto the bed without saying anything and got dressed. I pulled his braces up from the floor and dropped the heavy objects on the bed next to him and Shane started the process of getting into his braces like he always did. He didn’t look enthusiastic and when I asked if he needed help he said he had it.
“What’s wrong Shane?”
He was buckling the straps of the second brace, “Nothing.”
I didn’t give up yet, “Is it because I’m leaving?”
He finished up with his brace and since it was difficult for him to reach his boots I moved down there and tied his laces.
I then watched as he moved his legs over the side of the bed again, his legs sticking out stiffly in front of him. He held himself in the sitting position.
I scooted behind him and wrapped my arms around him, “Shane, what’s going on?”
He shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know. Just everything sucks.”
“Shane, I love you, please don’t forget that. I’m here for you always.”
Shane nodded quietly and then put his arms through his crutches and stood up. I got up in front of him and even though I was going to walk out with him he said, “You don’t have to go out there with me.”
I wrapped my arms around him and leaned my head on his chest, “I’ll miss you so much Shane.”
He nuzzled his face in my hair, “I’ll miss you too. Call me when you’re at home today. I love you.”
I stood back some and looked at him. His eyes were dark and sad and I tried to sound cheerful, “Shane, I will see you again soon. I love you too.”
Shane seemed distant and I felt somewhat sad about it. I think it was his way of protecting himself and I didn’t know how to make it better for him.
He shifted some, “I have to go.”
I nodded and smiled but felt tears in my eyes. I tried very hard to not let them out. I moved away from him and he turned to go.
He looked at me once more, “I love you Anna.”
I wrapped my arms around myself and just looking at him right there in the room I felt my heart get so heavy at his distance and obvious struggle with my leaving, “I love you Shane. Have a good day.”
He nodded and I watched as he walked out, carefully moving one foot after the other, somewhat dragging even with the braces on.
It was strange. I didn’t know what was going on with him, and when I laid back down, tears started streaming out of my eyes. I thought about the evening before at the old house. I didn’t know if Shane’s behavior had anything to do with this. I felt guilty in a way. I had exposed him to his painful past and maybe had stirred some emotions in him which were hard to deal with. I felt so much for him but my love for him was overshadowed by this pain and worry I felt for him. As much as I tried to sleep again, I couldn’t. I thought about the different possibilities of Shane’s behavior that morning. I worried about him and I felt bad for leaving.
After tossing and turning for about two hours I heard Jenny and the boys get up and I decided to get up too. I showered and got ready and by then Jenny had come back from taking her boys to a friend’s house. I came into the kitchen and Jenny greeted me cheerfully and we sat down at the table together.
Jenny poured us some coffee and then asked me curiously, “So did you actually go out to the old house?”
I nodded and told her about the experience.
Jenny eventually asked, “So he told you about the things that happened out there when they were kids?”
I nodded, “It must have been a horrible childhood for them.”
Jenny sighed, “It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure.”
“You said, Jordan had been through some counseling, right?”
“Maybe it would help if Jordan would talk to Shane about counseling sometime?”
Jenny shrugged her shoulders, “They pretty much don’t talk about any of that stuff. I don’t know if Shane would listen to Jordan.”
I told her that I was worried about Shane and that he had dreamt again, also how he had acted distant in the morning.
“I think he’s really struggling inside right now. I’m just worried about him.”
“Jordan got some relief from the counseling. Do you think it would help Shane?”
“I don’t know. He said he won’t talk to strangers about all the things he had been through. How did it help Jordan?”
“Well, for one, it helped him see that it wasn’t his fault what all happened in that family and it also helped him not to feel so worthless and guilty. He carries a lot of guilt when it comes to Nick and Shane, because he couldn’t really help them when they were all children. He saw all these things happen, sometimes he thought it was because of him or Scott that Nick and Shane got punished, and he was a young boy himself and couldn’t do anything about it.”
“Maybe they need to sit down and talk with each other about all the horrors of their childhood.”
Jenny sighed, “I don’t know, but I’ll talk to Jordan about your concerns with Shane and what you told me. Maybe they’ll have an opportunity to talk sometime. We’ll keep an eye on Shane. I know you’re very worried about him.”
“I am. Thank you Jenny.”
I left Morgan City about eleven that morning and got home at about one. I dumped my things in the hallway and right away called Shane at work.
“Webber’s construction, this is Shane, how can I help you?”
“Shane, it’s me, hey baby.”
“Anna, you’re at home?”
“Yes, I got home about 15 minutes ago. I hung out with Jenny a little this morning and left their house at eleven. How’s work going for you?”
“It’s going all right. It’s busy. I can’t really talk right now.”
“Oh, no problem. Do you want me to call you tonight?”
“I’m going to the gym with Cody after work, I won’t be home until about eight or so.”
“Okay, I’ll try to call you about nine or if you want to call me, that’s fine too.”
“I love you and miss you already”
“I love you and miss you too.”
We finished our conversation. His voice had been low and indifferent, not a lot of emotions in it. I sighed and looked over at Jay’s urn. I walked over to it and put my hands around it. I had set a photo of Jay next to the urn and with my hands on his urn I started talking to Jay. I told him everything that worried me with Shane and how much I loved him but how painful it was. While I talked I started crying and my tears were just flowing freely. I missed my brother a lot. He would have stood by my side, he would have given me advice when it came to Shane, he would have listened and he would have held me when I cried. I missed Jay so much in these moments and a feeling of loneliness overcame me. I had Shane but he was in Morgan City and also had left this morning with an unexplainable heavy heart because of the way Shane had been so distant.
The rest of the day I ended up making some phone calls and I felt a bit better by the afternoon. I called Cindy and Al. The plan was to bury Jay’s ashes in Ponchatoula in two weeks and even though it made me sad to think about it I also was ready to get it done soon. I needed closure on this so I could focus on Shane and my relationship.
I stayed in that night and was somewhat waiting for Shane’s call but I didn’t hear from him. At around nine thirty I decided to call him.
Jenny answered, “Hello?”
“Jenny, it’s Anna. How are you? Sorry I’m calling so late.”
“Oh no problem girl. You want to talk to your man?”
“Yeah, if he is there.”
“Let me check real quick. He’s in his room.”
There was a rustling noise and I heard Jenny talk to Jordan in the background.
After a few moments Jenny came back on, “Anna, he’s out sleeping. I said his name like twice. He’s out like a light.”
I was disappointed, “Oh, okay…do you know if he had a good day?”
“As far as I know. He went to the gym with Cody after work, had dinner here and went to bed soon after. You made it home all right today?”
I talked for a moment with Jenny and finished our conversation. Jenny said she would tell Shane in the morning that I called.
I was tired too and made my way into the bathroom and my bedroom. I had slept in my bed alone for the longest time and I was used to it. In the past I had never really let guys stay over at my place too quickly. I really didn’t remember when the last guy had stayed at my place before Shane came into my life. Everything with Shane had happened so fast and it still felt somewhat unreal. I sat in my bed and glanced over to the side of my bed thinking about how much I missed Shane next to me. I thought about him sleeping in Morgan City and I was hoping he had a good night without nightmares. I missed him next to me.