Time To Let Go

Annabelle has been thinking about everything Burt and Pearl had said about trust and love. She has something she needs to tell Robin.

These are previous posts in Annabelle’s story:

Who Is She Waiting For?

Why Is She Waiting?

Where Is He?

What On Earth Was He Thinking?

Do You Think He Is Coming Back?

Why Are You Worrying?

Secrets And Darkness

Coffee And Croissants

Just Friends

Tears

Frustrated

His Letter

Strained Relations

Blackwood Gossip

The Older Sister Act

Complicated

Getting There

Dinner Conversation

We Need To Talk

Hurting Ourselves

We Hide What We Hate About Ourselves

Not So Easy

Wounds That Don’t Heal

“Chris, do you mind if I borrow this album?”

“Claws is one of their best albums, probably the best. You want to listen to Mildew? Do you like grunge Annie?”

chris collectionAnnabelle’s face had distorted into a deep frown, “I used to like it. It’s not really my thing nowadays. I’m guessing you must though, to have three of their albums.”

“I like all sorts. I went through a grunge stage. But I have a huge collection of CDs. You can borrow anything you like.”

“Thanks. It’s just this one. Chris, I’m going to take Robin to the lake. It’s so pretty down there. It will be a nice place to talk.”

“I hope it goes well Annie.”

Robin and Annabelle had caught the bus up to West Creek and had walked together down into the valley below the town. They were more sheltered from the wind as they descended and could feel the autumn sun on their backs.

“Can I ask you a question?”

“Of course Belle. Ask me anything you want. I don’t want to keep anything from you.”

“Did you think that I started, you know, after Lucy was born?”

Woman by tree scratching arm“Belle, it was hard to be sure. I thought you had some huge itch or something at first. I think the first time I realized something was not adding up was when we were at my parent’s home in Wiltshire. You knocked that china milk jug over and there was milk all over the rug. You seemed to get so worked up about being clumsy. I saw you scratching your arm over and over. I don’t know if you remember, but I told my mother you needed some fresh air. I took you out for a walk round the estate.”

“I remember knocking the jug over. Your mum’s face was a picture.”

aloe“I don’t think she noticed your arm because she was so concerned with asking Penny to sponge the rug. But you were drawing blood. Mum didn’t see it. You didn’t seem to see it yourself. But you were doing some strange stuff back then after your head injuries. I didn’t know what to do. Do you remember me making you put that aloe vera ointment on your arms?”

“Yeah. It really stung.”

“That was the first time I ever saw you do something like that. I didn’t know what to make of it. After Lucy was born, well you know what you were doing to yourself. It frightened me Belle.”

“I know it did. Robin when I met you, I was so happy. I didn’t feel how I had felt before. It’s really hard to explain,” Annabelle took a deep breath and held it for about twenty seconds, “will you look at this Robin?”

Taking the CD that Annabelle was holding out and immediately recognising the name of the band, “You want me to look at one of Dean’s albums?”

“Track 3, 4, and 8” said Annabelle before she turned away.

strange kind ofRobin cast his eyes down the lost of song titles: 3. STRANGE KIND OF PURPLE 4. YOU BRUISE SO EASILY 8. HER CLAWS KEEP GROWING. Robin swallowed hard. “Belle?”

“I hated him for writing about it. It’s so obvious when you read the lyrics. I’d begged him not to tell anyone. He kept pleading that he wanted to take me to a Doctor or to hospital. I told him that he had more to hide than I did. I told him I would tell the police about everyone I had seen with cocaine or heroin, or the girls the guys had fooled around with, some of them were so obviously underage. We argued about it a lot. When he put those songs on the album, he was warning me that he couldn’t stand it any longer.”

“You were self-harming when you were with Dean? Is that because he was violent?”

Domestic Violence Between Couple“I kept on pushing him. I was so glad when he finally hit me. I’d wanted it to happen for years. I didn’t leave him because he hit me. I’d wanted a reason to leave for a long time, but that was what I needed to break free.”

“What are you saying Belle? Was it because of Dean that you started harming yourself?”

“No Robin. I started when I was thirteen. Dean used to believe what I told him, that I was clumsy, that I bruised easily. I lied to him. But you can’t keep hiding it from your lover. We were on the road all the time, in tour buses. I didn’t have a lot of privacy. The urge was so enormous. It was when Dean and I were finally alone that I would give in. He freaked out when he understood what I was doing.”

“Thirteen? What about your parents? Didn’t they know?”

annies parents“They had no idea. No idea. I used to blame them you know. But I am long passed that. Stupid really. Dad’s always been a bit direct. He can be a bit brutal with his words. He’s like that with everyone. I used to think back to when I was a child, but there’s not a lot I can complain about. But they were both stressed out all the time and always arguing. Screaming at each other. Screaming at me. They didn’t have time for us kids. And I am the last of six children Rob, by the time I hit a rough age, they were past caring. There was something going on inside me that nobody noticed.”

Robin’s face looked disturbed, as if he was trying to debate what Annabelle was telling him, “Your folks aren’t the warmest are they? But six kids would have been tiring. And your Dad said you were a bit of wild child, always in trouble at school.”

annie teen.jpg“I think I just wanted to kick against the rules. I never liked school. I’d get in trouble for messing about in class. I was plain. I was thin. But nobody was to blame. I was the one who didn’t tell anyone how I felt. I bottled it up. I don’t know why but I just became more convinced that I was especially ugly, especially stupid, especially clumsy. It hurt somewhere deep inside believing that. Nobody was telling me that, but I was locked into thinking that. I can’t explain why it hurt inside. But the hurt built, and one day the pain inside was so great, that lashing at my arms actually brought some kind of relief. I know it’s stupid, but that’s how it started. Nobody else’s fault. No point playing the blame game.”

“You can’t have kept all that to yourself for all these years? Who else knows?”

dean and annie“For a long time it was only Dean. You know Robin, Dean kind of rescued me. He was the first person who made me feel good about myself. I wasn’t pretty, but neither was he. He made me feel pretty. I craved that attention. It wasn’t love, we were too young to understand love. But it did feel special. We were wrapped up in each other. He wrote me a song not long after we met, it’s on their first album. It’s really beautiful.

“You were seventeen then weren’t you? Just a baby! It must have been serious between you, for you to give up going to college when they were signed to their label?”

“I never wanted to go to college. It would have meant more failing, more feeling stupid. Dean gave me a chance to escape.”

Robin looked confused as if he was trying to make sense of what Annabelle was telling him, “But you ended up in a toxic relationship – or so I always thought.”

dean and annie1.png“For a long time it was turbulent, that’s true. But there was also a lot of special. He was my first boyfriend Robin. He said he’d fooled around with girls before me, but when his parents went away and he had me stay overnight, that was the first time he’d had proper sex. You know the both of us without any clothes at all. He was so nervous he didn’t notice until we were holding each other afterwards. He thought he’d injured me during sex. I didn’t say anything. I said he didn’t hurt me. But if made him think he had to be more gentle, and he always was. Always so gentle and careful for a couple of years.”

“A lot changed though hey. You’re making him sound like a saint, but he ended up giving you a black eye.”

“Dean wasn’t a violent person. When the band got their deal and started travelling, I had to go with him. I needed him. I hated home Robin. My parents were furious, but Dad said it was my life to ruin. But since I had been with Dean I hadn’t felt the pain that I’d felt before. I wasn’t hurting myself. But then it came back. It was exhausting. It built up and I couldn’t control it. Even though Dean loved me, I was unhappy.”

“Was Dean treating you right back then?”

dean on stage.jpg“Maybe we were past the most exciting stage, but he did love me, I know he did. It was because we were pretty much living together, although we were always travelling, that I couldn’t hide it anymore. He thought he could help me. He already had without realizing it. But it had come back. I never really knew why.

“So you had stopped when you met Dean? You are losing me here Belle.”

“When I was secure and felt he loved me, I didn’t feel as if I wanted to hurt myself. It was a couple of years after I met him it started again. Stupid stupid things. Feeling useless, feeling I was in the way, I thought I was going to lose him, seeing the beautiful women that were all dressed up in the venues the boys played at, the anxiety I felt when I saw the guys getting drunk and taking drugs, getting a letter from my folks telling me I was wasting my life and I’d regret it. Nobody else’s fault, but it was all I needed to start believing there was something wrong with me. I’d been in the habit for so long of relieving that hurt by hurting myself.”

“Ok, what did Dean do when he realized?”

annie pretty.jpg“He tried to love me more Robin. He really did. He started spoiling me. He was earning some decent money by then. He started buying me dresses and make-up. He paid for me to have my hair done. I loved it, I felt attractive. Other guys started to notice me. I think he became jealous because I was flattered and I liked the attention. He said I was encouraging them. We started arguing. I hated it when he was angry at me. I would take it out on myself. He would be in pieces thinking he’d caused me to hurt myself because of what he’s said. He was becoming more irritable, alcohol and drugs did  that to him, and tiredness – those boys worked hard, they never had enough sleep. He started to lose his temper more. It was all a vicious cycle, we were both hurting each other more and more.”

“I always thought that Dean was an idiot, the way your parents spoke about him. Even you told me you were glad to get away from him.”

“I was Robin. But Dean helped me escape when I had wanted to escape already for a long time. I couldn’t see a life without him for a long time, but by that point we were making each other miserable. Somewhere love had vanished, I think that was because of how much we hurt each other.”

“What do you mean he helped you to escape?”

old mag.jpg“The night we were arguing, it became so fierce. It was because of this stupid album. He’d mentioned me, not by name, but in an interview in a music magazine, he explained some of the tracks on the new album were about someone he loved who had a problem with self-harming. I had begged him and threatened him so he would not tell anyone and there he was singing about it on an album that went platinum in the end.”

“Was that Dean saying he had had enough?”

“He told me he if I didn’t voluntarily go to the doctor then we were through. I was so mad at him. I swore I would tell some reporter all sorts of things about him and the band. I was hysterical that night. He’s shook me to stop me screaming at him. He even put his hands around my neck at one point. I was provoking him, I kept telling him how much I hated him, I said he was already killing me, I said awful things. I pushed and pushed and pushed.”

“And he lost it?”

nearly.jpg“He just snapped Robin. He was full of adrenaline. But we were both completely calm after it happened. We sat down and together we decided that was the point of no return. He promised he would set me up. He did. He bought the flat in New York and had the deeds put in my name. He made sure I wasn’t going to struggle. It was through him that I got the job for Sony. I’d skipped college. I don’t know what I would have done for work, if he hadn’t helped me out. I knew the music industry pretty well after six years with the band.”

“I detest that he hit you. You know I do. But in some ways he’s sounding like a pretty decent guy after all. I have been hating him ever since I heard he hit you.”

unhappy“You can only say that now that you know how it feels to be pushed to your limit. I pushed him to his limit. He snapped. He and I both knew we could not go on like that any more. It was time to admit we had hurt each other too much. We’d both become unhappy with each other. Love and trust vanished. I had lied to him for so long, Not always directly lying, but hiding what I was doing. I had lived with that guilt for so long. I hated deceiving him. Love couldn’t overcome the hurt. It was time to let go. We both needed to be free of each other.”

“Annabelle, I am glad you are telling me this. You’ve never opened up about Dean before. But why are you telling me this? Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”

“Robin, if you had known that I had had this problem for so long, would you have done things differently? Would your decisions have been different?”

robin and annie docsRobin let out an enormous sigh. “If I had known, I think I would have pushed you into telling a Doctor. We spent so long in and out of hospital with you, but you were so terrified of what they would think about you hurting yourself. If I had known how long it had gone on for, I would have made you tell them. I know you would have hated it, but I would have supported you through it.”

“I feel terrible, that because I didn’t want to get proper help, professional help, that it has cost so much. It ruined things with Dean and it has hurt you so much.”

“What about now? Would you go to a Doctor now?”

“You know Robin, right now, I feel as if I am in control. I have been pretty good for a long time. No, honestly, I have. I couldn’t lose my job working for The Crabbes. And besides, I didn’t have the urge to hurt myself. I wanted to help Barbara. I loved her so much. And Ralph. And when I moved in with Burt and Pearl, they’ve been so wonderful, so good for me.”

“Are you saying you still wouldn’t go to a Doctor?”

chris and annie6.jpg“No, I am not saying that, it’s just that I’ve hardly hurt myself at all.”

“Hardly at all?”

“Robin. I, I did a few times when you went quiet. It was only after your dad called me that I stopped being so anxious. I really thought you had cut me off. But not since then. I have had a good friend who has helped me stay positive. Well, Chris actually. He’s been helping me a lot. We’ve spent a lot of time together. He even took me camping. He really helped me understand more about what you might have been dealing with. He’s given me things to think about. I really believe this is a battle I am winning at the moment.”

“I am glad you had him. Chris seems like a great guy. I think he wishes I would get struck by lightning, but that’s because he likes you so much. Belle, do you still think you can carry on like this? Whenever something hurts you, hurting yourself? What if something else happens? A car accident or if one of us gets real sick? I can’t do this Belle. I can’t agree to letting you deal with it on your own. I am not qualified to support you through this.”

robin and annie gaze1.jpgAnnabelle nodded. She pressed her forehead against Robin’s and then drawing her face back a couple of inches and gazing into his eyes, she spoke softly, “Robin, I will do whatever you want me to do. Anything at all. You are the most important person in my life. I will do anything to save what we have had together. I do not want to cause more harm than I already have.”

“I have harmed myself. You are not to blame.”

“I don’t mean the blame you for drinking and taking drugs. That was your choice. But I blame myself for the feelings that built up in you, that contributed to you making that choice. I feel that part of the reason you’ve hurt yourself was that I let you take the burden of me, all on your own. That wasn’t fair. I should have got help when I needed it. I’m willing to admit that. I can’t stand the guilt from feeling I have pushed you, I pushed you like I pushed Dean. I never meant to lie to you, but because I didn’t tell you that I had a history of self-harm, you didn’t know what a big problem it was.”

bereaved.jpg“I don’t want you to feel guilty. There were a lot of things that happened that were not your fault in any way. I had a huge shock when you were in that accident Belle. That was nothing to do with self-harm. Losing Lucy, that grief, that was unbearable. And don’t forget the pressure I had at work. Since I was twelve I have been an over-achiever. School, university, my career – it’s probably all chipped away in little ways. There were so many things that tipped me over the edge. I honestly think we both needed more support though.”

“I am sorry I stopped us both getting that extra support.”

“You know, I reckon we probably both needed Claudia – she’s as tough as steel. You can’t resist her willpower.” Robin laughed and then started to sing, “she’s as cold as ice.”

“We can’t undo the past. I think we may both have regrets. but we can’t go back, we can only go forward. Robin, do you think too much has happened? Is it time to let go? Do you think we could ever be really happy again?”

“I’m not ready to let go Belle. But I can’t do it on my own anymore. We both need help.”

______________

Another part coming soon…

Kim, the creator of Writer Side of Life has given us some great writing prompts. Several of them appealed to me, but I have only chosen one to work on for now, because I am still playing catch up with blogging, after my trip to Australia:

Free Creative Writing Prompts

I chose a prompt under the ROMANCE section: 3. Who is she waiting for?

kim's prompt
Photo by Thiago Matosfrom Pexels 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19 thoughts on “Time To Let Go

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    1. Yes…life can be. The test is how much you really trust someone.

      I am putting a lot of my own feelings into this. Not wanting to be burden to the man I love, so trying to hide the pain and the extent of my challenges. Trying to be discreet about Jack my ex-flatmate because he gets so angry when he hears about him.

      Never sure if exposing everything you have been hiding is going to make it easier or more difficult for the person you love to love you in return.

      Liked by 1 person

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