Genre: Angst, Hurt/Comfort
These Quiet Times
These quiet times
That I like best….
I’ll catch you falling
When you least expect
(These Quiet Times, Shady Bard)
She doesn’t talk much these days. At least, not here. It makes her think too much of what she’s lost; what would have been, what should have been.
She doesn’t play with Sammy much like she used to, either. Sometimes she struggles even to look him in the eye. But it’s not that she doesn’t want to; she just can’t. So she just sits on the bench and watches. And thinks.
It’s easier for JD, she thinks. He still has his child. His, not their child. It kills her because she used to consider Sammy as hers, but what stops her now that burning jealously that settles underneath her ribcage where her heart used to be.
She’s lost. All the time she feels like she falling, falling through some bottomless pit and she can’t find something to hold on to. She and JD haven’t spoken much since she died. Because the first words that seem to find their way to her mouth are some variation of how the hell could this happen to us. How could that happen to her?
It’s been a few months now. Four, to be exact. But she thinks that whoever decided that time’s a great healer should have his ass kicked, because from where she’s standing, time only seems to be making it worse.
She didn’t realise that she wasn’t paying attention until Sammy’s little voice snapped her out of her reverie. She looks at him; he’s frowning back at her.
”Are you mad at me?”
Elliot blinks at him. ”Sweetie, no. Why would you think that I’m mad at you?”
Sammy fidgets nervously in front of her. “You don’t play with me any more. And you didn’t take me to Chuck E Cheese like you promised. And when you bring me to the park, you sit on the bench.” He frowns and looks at the ground. “Do you hate me?”
The feeling of guilt runs through her like a river. She frowns, and gestures for the little boy to sit beside her on the bench. “Sammy…. I’m not mad at you. And I don’t hate you. I love you. It’s just that…” Elliot sighs heavily, wondering how she can explain something like this to a five-year-old. “I get sad sometimes, and I get angry. But I’m never mad at you, okay? I’m sorry that I made you think that. I’m not mad at you. I’m just sad.”
Sammy goes quiet. “Do you miss Baby?”
”Yeah. Yeah, I do.”
Elliot’s mind flashes to the months before it all. She remembers sitting Sammy down and telling him that he was going to have a new brother or sister. She remembers how excited Sammy was that he was going to be Big Brother Sammy. And she remembers taking Sammy into the NICU to meet his new little sister, putting his hand through the door in the incubator and answering his questions about why she was so small. She sees it playing in her mind, like she could physically be there. She sees Sammy first holding his little sister’s hand, and JD taking the photo of his two children. And she remembers the look on Sammy’s face when JD told him that his little sister wasn’t there any more.
For a while, Elliot just looks ahead at her, but not at anything in particular. She doesn’t even realise that she’s crying again until she feels Sammy hug her. And she wonders what’s wrong when a five-year-old somehow knows what to do to try and make her feel better, when at times she can’t figure out what to do herself.
”I’ve missed you, Mommy-Elliot.”
She hugs the child back, something she hasn’t done in a while. And she realises just how much she’s missed him too. None of this is his fault. She knows that, she’s known that all along. And she knows how wrong her hostility towards him has been.
”I’ve missed you too, Sammy.”
When the embrace between stepmommy and stepson is over, Elliot wipes some of the tears away from her face and looks down at the now smiling child.
”How about,” she says, a smile of her own creeping across her face (it surprises her that she still knows how to), “I push you on the swings like I used to, and then later, I take you to Chuck E Cheese like I promised?”
Sammy grins, and when he does he’s his father’s double. “Yeah.”
Sammy jumps off of the bench at the same time as she stands. As they’re walking towards the swings, Sammy grabs Elliot’s hand, just like he would before the world fell down.
Elliot thinks that she’s found something to hold on to..