Treena was trying to convince me to go see Joy's parents for Christmas but I couldn't bring myself to do it. What do I want to hang around them for? They don't know their daughter is dead, so I'm not really "comforting" them. I don't plan on being here much longer so it feels pointless to get to know them. It would do nothing except make me miserable, cost me money and probably catch a cold from going from the balmy San Diego climate to the frosty Iowa one (the locals have all been complaining that this is cold for here... we should send them to Cleveland!) I mean seriously, if they want to see their daughter they should move out here. Sorry if that's rude. Maybe the next Joy will be kinder to them.
I was feeling lonely though. I mean, it's so strange, living with this secret - the "Joy is dead" one, not the "I'm secretly Simon" one. That, I'm used to. But being in a dead chick's body? That's starting to get freaky. Every minute of the day I'm trying to live my life and I just randomly remember: oh, a dead girl bought these clothes. A dead girl picked this body wash (I used up the bottle that was left for me but picked the same one again because I liked smelling that way and thought she'd appreciate it.) Everyone calls me by a dead girl's name. It sends a shiver up my spine. But I keep saying all this stuff, writing it out instead of holding it in, cause that way it feels more normal and I can maybe get over it. People die. It sucks but we're still here, right?
Gotta admit, it makes the next six months interesting? Like... I don't have to keep this life "safe" for someone else who is expecting it back later. The next person is probably gonna just clear the slate again anyway, so I can do what I want. Keep doing the job I want, save all the money I want... pick a different car... the big one is, move out, if I want to. I have to admit I've really come to like Treena and everything, but I'm a pretty independent guy and having a roommate is not something I feel like doing at this stage of my life. I've had some good success so I can afford a place of my own if I want to. But on the other hand having her around kinda keeps me in line. I figure if I was on my own, with nobody watching and judging me, I could really go crazy, and maybe not in a good way.
I didn't want to do nothing on Chirstmas, though, so I took my co-worker up on his offer to spend the holidays with his family. His name is Miguel, but we call him Stretch around the office because he's tall and gangly. All the guys have nicknames... mine is "Blondie." :(
His family lives out in Chula Vista, in a Mexican-American community. They're pretty assimilated, so there wasn't any really strange traditions... just good food. Mexican home cooking, mmm. And I also had to bring some "Church clothes" for Midnight Mass. That was a little awkward, because I guess I've got a bit of a strange relationship with God... like, I'm not sure I even believe in him, let alone know what to do with the fact that he gave me the body of a dead person. Still, I can pretend to be pious and virginal and all that stuff.
It was really nice to be around people. They made me feel very welcome and warm. I was worried that I would stick out like a sore thumb, but the family is half-white and many of Miguel's siblings and cousins have white spouses/partners/significant others.
We had a lot to drink, so Stretch and I crashed there, and ended up sitting up all night talking in his room, drunkenly. He said, "You know, around the office you have this reputation for being closed off."
"Oh, yeah?" I said, intrigued at what the others thought of me... aside from one middle-aged lady who works with us sometimes, I'm the only chick in the place.
"Yeah," he went on, "You know, you never come out with us, don't say much about your personal life... I know your family is far away because you happened to mention it, but that's about it."
I leaned back, "What would you like to know?"
"How long have you been in 'Daygo?"
"A few years..." I said, trying to recall what I know of Joy's past. "I moved here when I was... twenty-one, then I got a job out east for a year, and then I came back this summer."
"Why'd you get into real estate?"
"I like the money," I smirked.
"You don't strike me as a live-to-work kinda gal," he said. "I always thought you were just working to live."
"I'm a bit of a workaholic, sure," I said. "It gives me a lot of pleasure to have goals."
"And this is your goal?"
I thought about it for a second, and answered with a laugh, "More."
He smiled a bit. "How come you're single?"
"Who says I am?"
"Pretty girl like you, alone for the holidays? Come on."
"There was a guy, it didn't work out."
"Just one guy?"
"Just one recently."
"You a one-man woman?"
"Heh. Right now I'm a no-man woman."
"That's cool," he said, although I sensed he was hoping I would say something different.
"What about you?" I asked, turning the tables since I was starting to get uncomfortable, "No girlfriend?"
"Nah," he said. "I can't settle down."
I gave him a "pfft" on that one. The guy's so awkward and goofy that he should be happy with anyone who will take him, to be honest. But I was tipsy and he was charming me, so what do I know?
He seemed like he wanted to make a move, and honestly I don't know what I would have done. Let it happen for a sec, I figure, then pushed him away. It's nice to be kissed, but I really don't want anything. After Joey, and Joy's death, I just... don't have the energy for drama right now. But maybe that means I don't have the strength to say no, either. We'll never know because it didn't happen and I fell asleep alone.
And desperately wanting to touch myself, but I couldn't because any noises I made would probably disturb the guy, sleeping on the cot next to me.
Oh well. Had to save it up for when I got home. Hey, who says I need a man?
Sweetheart, try to rise above these horrific circumstances. I know it'll be hard, but you have to overcome the cloud that is enveloping you. I feel terrible for you.
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