4. Subconscious Cruelty

“A dream is a wish your heart makes.”

~Walt Disney

I was reading Aaron’s e-mail over and over. I read it quite a few times actually, but failed to find the reason that had led him to send me a message. Why was he hoping that things would have changed?

He was always ironic but that mention of the panic attack was absurd! It’s been a long time since I last felt that annoying grudge and the cold sweat that was covering me from head to toes when I was in large places. Agoraphobia wasn’t sending shivers down my spine anymore. I had started to figure out what was causing that phobia and I was sort of dealing with it, too.

Since I did not want to appear as the rude and mean little “sister”, I decided to send a quick e-mail, that would sound  as polite as possible.

From: Leda Anagnostou

Subject: Hello to you, too.

To: Aaron Preston

Date: 8/8/2014, 20:43

Good evening Aaron.

Thankfully you had the dignity and the kindness to inform me that you’re coming. I’ll try not to be at home when you’ll arrive.

Have a safe flight.

Leda.

Aaron had a mysterious and magical way to always push my patience to its limits. He was always ignorant, arrogant and rude to me. Nonetheless, there was no logical reason to talk to me in such ironic and bad terms.

But he never seemed to bother about that and that’s what was truly getting on my nerves! Because when we had first met I was astonished by him. I could not blame me for that. His height of six feet and three inches, his muscular body, his black hair and blue eyes simply made him irresistible. I could even claim that he was handsome, if I didn’t know what lay beneath that camouflage.

A few months after we had met, he started showing his real self. And I started noticing that he was irritable, with lots of mood swings. I even started finding defects on his flawless face. Or at least as I thought it to be at first. There were three little yet visible scars that spread from his right brow to his eye. I was claiming that the most possible explanation was that he had got into a fight, because of his character, or that he had “gained” them after so many years of practicing Kung Fu.

I had never asked him of course, since I didn’t want to gain some similar scars.

I was so absorbed in my thoughts, Aaron’s e-mail, my answer to it and what we would cook with Jim in a few minutes that I truly felt surprised when I got another e-mail from the person for whom I was feeling that special affinity!

From: Aaron Preston

Subject: Kindness and honesty…

To: Leda Anagnostou

Date: 8/8/2014, 20:50

…those are your characteristics! Especially your honesty Leda! It can truly hurt a man’s feelings!

It would be better though if you would be at home, so we could have a psychotherapy.

P.S.: Careful what you wish for, kiddo.

A.P.

I know exactly what I want and wish for “brother”, that little, the judging voice whispered in my mind. Even if I wanted to be kind, I couldn’t help it. After all, no one can tame their thoughts. Why would I be an exception?

But since I did not want to continue that electronic conversation, I got downstairs and entered that safe place; the kitchen. In the meantime, I had called Jim. He would be at my place in twenty minutes so I thought I should start cooking.

I had decided that we would travel with the taste of a classic, yet safe Indian recipe. Chicken Tikka and Raita. Cooking was always bringing on the surface that artistic part of myself. Not to mention that it was boosting my mood.

So I started thinking that what was meant to happen, would happen anyway, no matter what I wanted. That was exactly the case with Aaron. I would not spoil the evening with my best friend because of my step-brother.

A few minutes later, the bell rang and I hurried to answer the door. This evening would be quite interesting to say the least!

I opened the front door and came face to face with my enormous, dusky and terrifying, if you ran into him in a dark alley, best friend. Jim and I were friends pretty much from the womb, so I knew that those terrifying looks where simply a way of defending himself. Honestly now, that man had the warmest smile on the planet! And I considered myself very lucky to be able to see that right now.

“Brownie!” he cried out and took me in his arms. At that moment I felt like I had started to shrink. What was going on with me and those huge people around me?

“You’re late!” I scolded him. “The raita is ready and the chicken needs at least an hour to be roasted, so roll up your sleeves,” I went on.

“You can’t image the traffic at the ring road, Leda. Not to mention that I was trying to persuade Mandy to come with me,” he replied once we entered the kitchen.

“Where is that blonde, little monster anyway? I was calling her all day long and she wasn’t picking up,” I said to Jim.

“She was with George. You know, that DJ friend of mine,” he said when he saw the puzzlement in my eyes. “They went swimming and she would later keep him company at the club tonight,” he continued, smiling sneakily.

“What don’t I know?” I asked him instantly. The only answer I got was another sneaky smile and a nudge on my ribcage, where Jim knew I had a tattoo. My mum’s name and the date of her death, written in Latin. Amor II.IV.MMIV… At first I had thought to have it after I turned eighteen in order to cover the stitches I got there. Because I was inside the car, when my mum died. But when the years passed and there was nothing on my ribcage to remind me of the accident, I thought that maybe one day I’d forget about what had happened. I didn’t want that. My mother was the closest person to the definition of “love”.

I did not want to lose that trace of light and optimism.

Since I didn’t want to make us feel blue, I focused on cooking and the harmless issue of Mandy’s and George’s dating.

“I think they’re perfect for each other. Mandy is so grounded and practical, and George seems like he’s always on seventh heaven,” I said.

“That’s exactly the problem. What if Mandy falls for him?” Jim asked me nervously.

“Chill. Mandy knows that George is working in clubs and that there are many temptations around him. She won’t take it seriously,” I replied.

“Leda, it’s the first time I see her talk about a man like that. And I know George. When another blonde whistles, he’ll run after her,” Jim told me while he was swirling a knife towards me.

“Calm down, you demon barber! I don’t want any blood inside my kitchen,” I said calmly and took the knife away from him. “Don’t worry about the Blondie. She took her lessons from someone else,” I went on.

“If you’re referring to yourself, stop right there. We’re talking about a trillion of second chances,” he stated.

“Please, that’s all in the past. I am not planning on ruining my summer. It’ll be ruined anyway,” I murmured. Jim was very discreet about Aaron’s matter and apart from the date of his arrival, he didn’t ask anything else.

Once our meal was ready, we went in the living room to enjoy it. I made myself comfortable on our red couch, while Jim went straight to the DVD player. That was our ritual for the past six years, when we were having movie nights.

“I got it,” he yelled and threw me a DVD case.

“You can’t be serious! Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire?” I asked.

“It’s perfect, you silly. Summer nights and camping at the beginning, return to the daily routine, loves, fights and… The return of Voldemort!” he said in a theatrical way.

“If you’re implying that Aaron is Voldy’s alter ego…” I started laughing.

“I said nothing. You mentioned that English college boy,” he laughed, too. “Have you noticed though that they have the same vicious look?” he went on.

***

It was an awesome, summer night, with tasty food, wine, a nice movie and the company of my best friend. We were talking for hours about our masters, our vacations and our problematic personal relations.

While we were still laughing and feeling a little dizzy, we cleaned the living room and got the kitchen back in order. Thankfully, my dad and Anna hadn’t returned yet to see what had happened in the house. I had decided that Jim would spend the night at my place, since it was almost midnight and he had drunk too much to let him drive.

Exhausted and dizzy as we were, we went to sleep without much talking. And when Morpheus took me in his embrace, two black eyes appeared in my dream. Michael’s eyes. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t get away. Only when those eyes were right in front of me, their color changed. It became a dark blue. And Aaron’s face took shape in the darkness of my mind.

© Victoria Moschou. All Rights Reserved 2016-2017.

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