Thursday, December 3, 2015

Christmas Coda 36

Jesse and Rocky from Baby, it's Cold.




“God, my head,” I moaned.


Rocky, his own head buried beneath his pillow, muttered a laugh.


“How much did I drink?”


Muffled by down and flannel, he replied, “Too much.”

At least the bed had stopped spinning. That was an improvement. It had been a good party though. A great party from the bagpiper through the oyster shooters.

Speaking of shooters...


Why  did I do that?”


He didn’t answer. We both knew why I’d got plastered at the annual Christmas Eve party at Bella Louisa’s. The Christmas card from my father. The first word I’d had from him in eight years. So deck the halls, glad tidings, etc. Except…it hadn’t felt like that at the time.


And two Italian margaritas, three glasses of wine, an unknown number of shots and one Italian coffee later, it still didn’t feel like it.


I shuddered at the memory and Rocky heaved around in the bedclothes and put his arm around me, trying to draw me close.


“Don’t move me,” I begged. “I have internal injuries.”


He started to laugh, the heartless bastard.


“I think my skull is fractured,” I persisted.


He ignored my pleas for mercy and hauled me over into his arms. He was not the most comfortable pillow in the world, but he was warm and the velvety bristle of his jaw and nuzzle of his soft lips against my forehead felt kind of nice.


“I’m probably going to be sick on you,” I mumbled into his neck.


“You don’t have anything left to be sick with.”


I shuddered again. Moaned. Loudly.


Rocky’s chest jumped with a silent laugh. He nuzzled my forehead again and said, “You’re glad he’s okay though, right? You were worried after the attacks in Paris.”


“Of course I’m glad.” 


My father had moved to France eight years earlier to start a new life--and a new family. It still hurt. I still didn’t understand it. Oh, I understood starting a new life. But I didn’t understand why there was no room for me in that life. I never would.


I never would--and I had got used to it being that way.


But now he’d sent that card. Joyeux Noel. And a note. If I send you a ticket, will you come to Paris?


“I’m not going,” I said.


“I’ll drive. You can sleep on the way. You’ll feel better in a couple of hours.”


“I don’t mean Big Bear. I mean France.”


Rocky didn’t say anything.


I said with a burst of energy, “I mean, it’s too late. Eight years? If he cared he should have said something like…oh, say, four years ago. Four years ago it would have still meant something. Six years ago it would have still meant something.”


“Jess.”


“No, I mean it.” I opened my eyes and glowered into the soft gloom of the cocoon made by sheets and blankets and Rocky’s arms. “I don’t even know why he’s doing this now.”


“Come on, Jesse.”


I shook my head. Closed my eyes.


Rocky’s breath was warm against my face. He’d had too much to drink the night before too. But I didn’t mind. I was glad we were comfortable with each other now. At home with each other--even when we weren't at home. “He’s doing the best he can with the tools he’s got.”


“He’s an asshole.”


“He can be. That’s for sure. But he does love you. This is proof of that.”


“Is it?” I said bitterly. “Even the way he did it. A note on a Christmas card. Not even a phone call.”


“He’s afraid.”


“He oughta be afraid.”


I expected Rocky to laugh. Instead, his arms tightened and he said, “You’re okay, Jesse. I love you.”


I don’t know why but it made my eyes sting, made hot prickle beneath my eyelids. I shook my head, rested my face against the pulse beating at the base of his collar bone. Slow, steady, solid thumps.


Rocky said, “He’s afraid you’re gonna feel like you feel. He’s afraid you’re going to turn him down. He is an asshole, but he’s your old man. And if you want a relationship with him, you got to accept that and go with it. And if you don’t want a relationship, then that’s okay too. But…”


He didn’t continue. I opened my eyes, looked at him. “But?”


His green eyes met mine, “If what you’re thinking is you do want a relationship with him, but you’re still mad and maybe not ready to forgive him yet…well, you can’t predict the future. These last few weeks prove that.”


“Yeah, whatever,” I muttered because his words struck home, filled me with a vague dread. Now days the world seemed like a frightening place a lot of the time. Unsafe. Uncaring. Unknowable.


Rocky was smiling at me, his expression was wry with understanding, and I thought but not here. Here was safety and caring and acceptance. I smiled back.


“Okay, maybe,” I said. “I’ll think about it.”


“Good,” Rocky said. That time his kiss was brisk and businesslike. “Now I’ll make you a nice hot breakfast and we can get go--”


I moaned.










37 comments:

  1. I have heard the audiobook only yesterday. It is so very nice, that the two are now comfortable with each other.
    You have packed a lot to think over in this. I love it.
    I was always more sad about chancen, I don't took, than about things I did and which failed. Those are long forgotten.

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    1. Isn't that the truth? And strangely enough, I don't tend to feel bad about failures. I remember them with pride--that I tried. If anything they are funny to me.

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  2. Oh how cool to meet these guys again! It makes me smile (even though it shouldn't!) that every time we meet Jesse he's sick for some reason. :-D Luckily, every time Rocky is there to care for him, too. :-)

    I like to think that in the light of the recent events — and because he has Rocky's support — Jesse is going to give his relationship with his father a second chance.

    Thank you, Josh. This was wonderful.

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  3. Thanks Josh! :-) So many emotions going on.... While the situations, are quite different, Rocky didn't shut Jesse out completely, he gave him a second chance and look where they are now. I bet Jesse sure is glad he stuck his neck out for it too. Jesse should take his Dad's olive branch. Another may not come.

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  4. I do love these two. I listened to the audio just yesterday, too. So this is a great wrap up. Thank you!

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  5. Oh man, this was so gorgeous. Thank you, Josh! I look so forward to these codas. Always brilliant and beautiful.

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  6. It's so nice to hear from these two again...thanks, Josh!

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  7. Wonderful. As always. Your codas are such a gift every year. Have a wonderful season full of Joy & Love.

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  8. It was so nice to see them again, and having family in France I relate with the feeling of fear and, frankly, relieve, they are okay.
    Thank you for this Christmas coda. This is a great tradition!

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  9. Thanks Josh! :-) So many emotions going on.... While the situations, are quite different, Rocky didn't shut Jesse out completely, he gave him a second chance and look where they are now. I bet Jesse sure is glad he stuck his neck out for it too. Jesse should take his Dad's olive branch. Another may not come.

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    1. Different, but yes. The mechanism of forgiveness is always the same--and requires two people reaching out. :-)

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  10. Thank you, Josh! I did want to know more about these two. The coda is funny, and sweet and cute. I just love the codas you give us every year. :)

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  11. Count down to Christmas starts with your codas :-)

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  12. Lovely. Thank you. :)

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  13. It's good to know that the two of them are in a comfortable place now. :-)
    Jesse's dad seems to be the same kind of brave like Jesse himself when he tried to mend the relationship with a person he loved. One could say it runs in the family. ;-)

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  14. I love your codas, Josh! They always give me a few minutes to read, contemplate, smile and calm down - a great gift in times like this. Thank you!

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  15. Each coda is like dropping in on old friends during the holidays. I adore the visits. Thanks, Josh.

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  16. You codas are like crack for me...in a good, addictive way, though. I just reread this the other day because I was in the mood for a little holiday cheer. Thank you so much for these indulgences and all your other wonderful stories.

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  17. Thank you. This one is thought provoking. I'm wondering how often "holding a grudge" is mostly about not wanting to set oneself up for further hurt, for the potential of further hurt at least. I consider myself very forgiving, but there were times when I was not… and whatever might have come of those relationships now will not… Thank you for these gifts — entertaining, challenging, satisfying.

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  18. Wonderful! I needed to know how they are these days, and this was perfect. And just after I listened to the audiobook, so it's all still fresh. Thank you, Josh! :-)

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  19. serendipitous! i just read this couple's story two days ago. i'm happy to hear more from them. thank you for the treat.

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  20. Wonderful, thank you! I will be listening to their story very soon :)

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  21. “If what you’re thinking is you do want a relationship with him, but you’re still mad and maybe not ready to forgive him yet…well, you can’t predict the future. These last few weeks prove that.”

    This is really good advice that I think everyone needs at some point in their lives. Thank you for the Advent presents!

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