Saturday, September 23, 2006

Jeff: Still getting ready for Saturday night

Supper last night was a little strange.

First of all, 'Daddy' was home. His name's Jack, and I haven't written much about the guy because he's never around. I'm not sure what he does but apparently it keeps him away for weeks at a time. He got home yesterday just an hour before supper. I get the impression him being there was supposed to be a big surprise, and a real big deal for Brianna, because everyone was watching me with these big expectant eyes when I came downstairs.

Stepping into the dinning room, I was still thinking about everything I'd written and about this thing with Colin tonight and about my sister, so didn't really notice that Jack was there. When his smile slipped I felt a little sad for the guy, but wasn't sure what to do. This awkward silence fell and I knew I'd just blown something big. Linda was the first to speak, and her voice was chilling. "Aren't you going to say hello to your father?" she said, or something like that.

"Um. . . hello?" I said. His big smile slipped and he looked both sad and annoyed.

"How about a hug?" he asked, spreading his arms wide, and his voice was half-pleading, half-commanding.

And I suddenly knew what I was supposed to do. I don't know where it came from. It's not something even Mel would've ever done, or Mandy, but for some reason it felt right for Brianna. Forcing the biggest, bestest smile I could fake, I let out this big "Daddy!" and threw myself into his arms. "I was just kidding, Daddy!" I insisted, looking up at him. "I'm just so happy you're back!" I didn't want to overdo it or anything, but had the feeling that that simply wasn't possible.

Well, that broke the tension and we dug into the kind of meal that I could've only dreamed of back home. It's not like we had family time that often, what with Pop working all the time, but I usually tried to get the guys and Mel together whenever I could. Then it was all about grabbing what you could before anyone else stole it, and slagging each other off, and it was all loud and we fought and it was fun and real. Last night wasn't. Last night was weird. Last night was all about . . . Brianna. Me. It's like I was on stage or something. Jack kept asking me about what I'd been up to, and everytime Linda tried to say something he's gently but firmly ask her to sush and ask me to go on.

What the hell was I supposed to talk about? It's not like I'd been up to anything for the last three weeks. But it became clear that short answers weren't going to be enough so I spun it out and turned into a bit of a chatterbox. Thing is, the more I chatted on and on and on the happier he seemed, and Linda as well, for some reason. It's like I was reassuring them that I was okay or something.

Let's just say it suddenly made me really happy that I had plans to go out tonight. God, by the time I escaped back to my room I was exhausted. Didn't have any problems getting permission to go out tonight either. Jack seemed a bit disappointed but I gave him a little pout and big eyes and he ruffled my hair and said of course I could go out. Didn't tell them I was meeting a guy of course. Mel would've been proud. She tried that shit often enough with me.

Mel. Yeah, I never finished that off, did I. The reason I brough her up. Because everything went a bit crazy on Friday and I didn't say why. See, after Colin asked me out--and I said 'yes'--I was feeling pretty messed in the head. I barely noticed the ride home, wondering what the hell I was thinking. Then I got to my room and checked the blog and....

I didn't take Art's news about the cabin well. He might not've seen Jeff, but if Art's got a double and Jake's got a double than it's damn well likely that someone is out there right now living my life as well. And believe me, that's pretty fucked up when you think about it. Worse, it meant that I probably wasn't going back--there couldn't be two Jeffs, could there?--I was trapped as Brianna... I'm Brianna, a girl, this is my life....

And suddenly all the stress of the last month came bubbling up, and all the loneliness, and the loss, and the being a girl thing, and Colin asking me out was just the icing on that cake, and I just kind of collapsed to the ground in tears, but I didn't want to cry out because dealing with my 'mom' would've been even worse, but I so desperately needed to talk to someone and hear a friendly voice....

I called Melissa. I called my fifteen year old little sister, and when she answered the phone I was this total sobbing mess on the other end. It's a miracle I didn't tell her I was Jeff. And I guess she recognzied the number because she went "Bree?" and "Bree, what's wrong?" and her voice somehow made it worse but also settled me down a bit.

Honestly, I'm not sure what we talked about. We talked for hours. Seriously. And by the end I felt a hell of a lot better. If it hadn't been for her there's no way I could've made it through the weirdness of last night with... 'Daddy'. And if it hadn't been for Mel there's no way I could've sat here half-dressed getting dressed for a date that starts in a few hours, without going crazy again. But I am here, with my hair wrapped in a towel up on my head, looking at websites trying to figure out how to wear makeup and what kind of clothes I should wear, and it feels really weird and really wrong....

And so what if it does? This is my life now. I'm sick and tired of sitting around with my head down, too scared to talk to people, scared of doing anything. Yeah, I'm going out on a 'date' tonight, or whatever fourteen year olds think counts as dating.

I'm damn well going to have fun, too.

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