TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
"So, I guess it's like you hear; you act like, you know, same as him. I get drunk and beat people up. I don't want to, I don't mean to, it just happens, then I regret it."
Steve took a moment, then said, "Ghost, I know it sounds stupid or crazy, or, I don't even know. I feel like I still need to protect you from bad things like those kids back then - and now, but then why do I end up hurting you? Why? And how do I stop?"
Steve was openly crying now. Ghost held onto him, letting him get it all out.
"I don't know, Steve," Ghost said, as he rocked back and forth, holding Steve close. "I had no idea of all of that.Thank you for telling me that...for letting me in. I think I understand you better now, why you do things like you do. I can only be here with you and listen when you need to talk. I hope it helps you, but maybe you need to talk to someone who really knows how to help.
Steve nodded. "Maybe you're right. I do feel better, now that you know. It did hurt to remember all that. I haven't thought of that stuff in a long, long time. But, knowing maybe why I do things, doesn't mean I can just stop, but I have to try, somehow, because it's not working just going along doing it over and over.
I know I don't get drunk as much as I used to, since my wreck. That scared me so much, I promised I'd try to slow down, and I have...but, that didn't stop me from losing my temper and all that I've done since then to hurt you. I don't know why, or when...it just...something just blows up in me and I lose it. I don't want you to be scared of me all the time...always having to wonder when I might get mad or hit you again. I hate myself for doing it...I just hate myself," he sobbed.
"Don't say that, Steve. Don't ever say that again. It doesn't help to turn it in on yourself. It's dangerous to think like that. I don't hate you...I never could, even after...well...you're more than the things you do, Steve. That's just how the hurt you feel comes out. It's not who you really are, I know. I love you Steve, the real you inside.
Ghost kissed Steve, and brushed his tears away. They were quiet for awhile. Then, Ghost continued...
"Steve, when you came to pretty much live with me and my grandmother, that was when you were basically abandoned, huh? Your family was gone, you couldn't protect your sister, so when I needed you, you did all you could for me. That's the real you, Steve...the person you are, the good, kind protector, who feels so bad when others are in trouble. You need to rescue them...me, your sister, anyone you feel something for. Your caring soul goes deep, and I think the start of it was back then...and I wouldn't even be alive if you hadn't helped me." Ghost took a few moments, thinking back.
"You know, I came over to your house one time. Do you remember? It was after you saved me. It was just you and your father there, and you didn't really want me to be there."
Steve nodded. "I remember. I was ashamed for you to see where I lived. I didn't want you to see how it really was...and I was afraid he'd hurt you, too. That's why I hurried up and left with you. Later, he did say bad things about you...awful things...said I may as well go be with you. He didn't want me around anymore. So, that was it, the day I came to your house and I just stayed. I never went back." Steve smiled, "I'm glad y'all let me in."
"Yeah, me too, Steve, me too."
"So, what now?" Steve asked. He'd calmed down; everything was out in the open, now. He was done with his past...for now, anyway.
"Ya wanna go home? If ya do, I'm ok with it," Ghost said. "Either way, Steve."
"Well, thought you wanted to ride in an airplane," Steve said.
"Well, I think someday is maybe tomorrow. We'll go get our tickets and fly away." Steve was grinning, now.
Ghost wasn't sure what just happened. One minute Steve was crying and depressed, remembering the past, and now he was smiling and acting like nothing special just went down. It made him wary. He was glad Steve had admitted things to himself, brought it out into the open, but this was too fast a turn-around. He was afraid Steve was covering up his pain, by being too happy - a fake happiness.
He seems to be trying to turn the attention off of himself, and onto me again...
Ghost could feel another blow up, a crash of emotions coming. Well at least Seve was willing to try to figure it all out. He needs more help than I can give him. When we do get back home, I'll keep after him, urge him to find somebody who can actually help. So, he decided to just humor Steve, for now. After all, our trip isn't over yet. We still love each other, and have a good time together wherever we are...we'll just take one day at a time.
"Ok, Steve," Ghost said, as he headed back to the car. "Let's go then. Where's the next place that has an airport?"
"I'll look at the map," Steve said, following Ghost. "Ya really gonna go through with this?"
Ghost looked directly at Steve, and nodded. "Yep, I'm gonna do it, and so are you."
As they looked at the map, Ghost reached out for Steve's hand. "Steve, are you, ok? I mean really? After all that back there, I feel like I made you do something you didn't want to do. I didn't mean to make you feel bad...about me wanting in...for all those awful memories to hurt so much." He searched Steve's eyes for the truth.
"I'm ok, really. I'm not mad because you wanted answers. I guess I did need to open up, remember, and let it out. It was there all the time, lurking behind everything I say or do. Kinda like a dark cloud over me. I think it's lifted a little, now. And, I'm for real gonna talk to a therapist or somebody. I'm not gonna push it under any more." Steve took a deep, cleansing breath.
"So, I'm feeling a lot better, now, and that's thanks to you. You and that crazy positive attitude you always have. You gave me some of that...I guess, I hope," Steve said. "So, maybe I seem too happy now? I guess I do. It still feels like a roller coaster, up and down...and I don't know how long it will be up, and when it will come down again, and it will, well, maybe it won't be such a low drop off, anymore."
Steve took Ghost's hands, and squeezed. "For now, I want for us to just be happy, for however long, ok? And please try not to be always looking for something bad to happen. I wouldn't want that. Just...I want for now to forget the past, to just have fun for awhile. Can we do that, Ghost?"
Ghost nodded, yes. "Ok then, Steve, let's just keep on with our trip, and I know we can still have fun. All this serious talk is getting to me, anyway. So, where to?"
Steve looked again at the map. "We're the closest to Knoxville, I guess. We'll go there next."
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing