Chapter 1: [SS: Writer’s Block]
Chapter 29: [SS: The Picture]
“How do I get you eating more?” Jiyong questions after we get back from his parents. There was a lot of celebrating. Everyone wanted to look at the pictures. Jiyong is going to carry them around. “You barely eat.”
“Sorry. I didn’t trust it. I should’ve made a full meal here and brought it.”
Jiyong brings me into the kitchen. he pulls out leftovers for me to eat. Having him care for me is… He’s comfort. “Protein shakes?”
I frown. Those are hard to come by. Most contain my allergens. And I have to assume the rest are contamiated. It’s safer. I bite my cheek as Jiyong places the plate before me. “Sorry.”
“We need to figure it out. Name it. Anything.”
I take my bite thinking it over. High calories…? Carbs. Fat. “Maybe I can aim for morning milkshakes.”
Jiyong nods. “See if you can find a protein powder to include. You really need to boost.”
I sigh. Ice cream that’s safe for me doesn’t contain a lot of calories. Food set for me is consider “healthier”, so they lower the calories. I need to scan my options. Improve the amount of calories. “More gravy.”
“That should help.” Jiyong grins at me. “Eat more at a meal. Or eat more meals. Create cookies or cake. Munch constantly.”
I sink. As if I don’t. I still need my nutrients. I can’t switch out all my vegetables for cookies. I need more than just calories. “I’ll figure it out.”
“Less exercise…” Jiyong reviews me. “Do you? I mean more than the casual dancing around the house. Should I get someone in here cleaning up? An assistant? An cleaner?”
“It’s fine. I won’t deep clean. It shouldn’t need it anyway. And when you get someone in here to do it, I can go elsewhere.”
Jiyong rests his head on my shoulder while I eat. He’s staying with me. “This was worth passing on work.”
“Do you think the child will want to follow you on to the stage?”
“Or hide in the shadows?” Jiyong starts pacing the kitchen before me. “And if they’re not a writer? I’d be shocked.”
“The child doesn’t have to be like either of us.”
Jiyong sighs. “How?”
“We’re one of a kind, Jiyong. The child will be too. I don’t know what their verison of one of a kind is, but it will be special.” I push an empty plate forward. “And we’ll love them as that verison of one of a kind.”
“I will in a moment. Let me check on Kevin.” I put the plate aside and check in on my child. Kevin looks exhausted lying in bed. He didn’t undress. He needs to before he goes to sleep. “Kev?”
“I called them Halmoni and Halboji and… They just… Smiled. As if… I was allowed to.” Kevin covers his eyes. I’ll guess he’s crying. He hates when people see him crying.
I pat his arm letting him let it go. “Reminds you of…” Them.
“I miss them. But I also don’t. Because… I miss the idea of them. I miss having Grandma and Pop Pop, but they… Weren’t…”
“Yeah. They probably miss the idea of you too.” I rub his arm. It gets me a head on my lap. “That’s the thing with toxic relationships. You end up missing the idea of a relationship, your hope for it. But if you think it over carefully, you know it’s not safe to go back.”
I kiss and pet his head. Kevin was given allowance as the oldest grandchild. “I can’t say how great Jiyong’s parents are. They aren’t the same as the ones I had. We won’t see the same issues.”
“I wasn’t yelled at. I spilled my juice on the carpet and they just… oh, that’s an accident. I got it. Go sit down. Everything is fine.” Kevin cries. “Halmoni just… Yet me watch as she solved everything. Jiyong smiled at me while things were fixed. And I… I wasn’t yelled at.”
“I’m sorry.” I hold him. “I’m so sorry.” There was no escape. And this was an accident that worked out in our favor. Everything was just…
“It wasn’t you, Mom.”
“Don’t act like I was perfect.”
“Mom is perfect.” Kevin snuggles against me. “Mom has always been perfect. I’m lucky I have Mom.”
I pet his head. He’s calming down. To be treated as… It was an accident, clearly an accident. But I know how my father responds. Yelling is the first and only step. Well… He would also add in hitting if… So maybe it wasn’t the only step.
“I need a shower.” Kevin whispers.
“You can wash your face and no one will know about this.” I kiss his head as he sits up. “I’m lucky to have you as my child, Kevin. I wish you didn’t have my history. I wish I was able to escape the abuse earlier. I wish there was a way.”
“I don’t blame you, Mom.” Kevin stands up looking like a young man not a skawny kid. When did that happen? “I wouldn’t change you for a thousand happy families.”
I laugh. “That’s not how that idiom works.”
“You know what I mean.” Kevin grins. I can see where the tears streamed down his cheeks. “I’m taking a shower. Can we sit together tonight? Read?”
“Or write. I’ll see.” I watch as my child hides in the bathroom.
I wipe the tears awaywhile going on a search for Jiyong. He’s reheating the stew I made yesterday. “Hungry?”
“You’re eating more.” Jiyong points at the chair. “I’m making you something.”
I look at the stew. “How about I work on breads? That should help me boost.”
“Good. Make plans how you’ll eat more.” Jiyong points at the chair again. I sit down properly this time. “Whatever you need is available to you.”
“Gaining weight has always been a difficulty for me.”
“Don’t care. You need to do everything you can to increase your weight.” Jiyong pulls some of the stew into a bowl for me. “Kevin alright?” He places the bowl before me.
“Fine. Taking a shower. He wants to read together tonight.”
“That sounds like a nice evening.” Jiyong taps my bowl. “Eat. You’re going to eat the entire time we’re reading.”
“Okay.” I can read or write and eat. Should I write? Or read? Hm… Both sound good.
Chapter 31: [SS: Almost Done]