Chapter 49 - home

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POV Ethan

*

"Can you help me ?" Mao asked as we were both getting dressed to go to tonight's Sam's basketball match.

I turned around after finishing putting my pants on, and there she was, in only her underwear, sat on the bed, looking completely exhausted.

"You're alright?" I asked her.
"I just can't do it myself, I don't have enough strength..." She replied, looking at her hands, ashamed and tears in her eyes.

They were frustration tears.

"Hey hey hey, look at me." I said, getting on my knees in front of her and taking her head in my hands.
"It's okay. You don't have to be ashamed or anything with me. You don't have to hide or pretend to be someone you are not or feel something you don't."
"I can't even dress myself..."
"So what ?"

She didn't responded.

"So what, Mao ? I'm here, I'll help you get dressed, it doesn't matter to me if you can't get dressed by yourself !"
"Yeah so you can see me in my underwear..."

I froze.

"Never say that again." I told her, in a much colder way I wanted it to sound.

She said nothing and kept looking at her hands.

"I know you're in pain. I know you have less strength everyday. I know sometimes you can't go up the stairs by yourself. I know sometimes you can't take your shower alone. I know sometimes you can't get out of bed or brush your teeth or paint your nails by yourself. But I'm here to help you for all of that."

I stoped talking a few seconds to take her chin with my hand and make her look at me in the eyes.

"Have I ever took advantage of that ? Have I ever took advantage of you ?" I asked her.
"No..."

I nodded.

"No. And I'll never."

*

I was driving Mao's mother's car while she stayed at home. Mao wanted to have this special moment with her brother alone.
And when she say alone she means her and I.

"Is he going to be an only child ?" Mao asked me at some point.

Her head was pressed against the window and her gaze lost in the darkness of the night.

"No." I simply said.
"It's not like you never existed. It's not like your mother only gave birth to one child. It's not like you will disappear in our heart and in our memories. Your face will not disappear in the pictures you've taken. Your songs and all your piano sheet music will not disappear."

She nodded.

"Sam will always be a little brother. He'll always have a big sister. No matter where she is." I told her, putting my hand on her shoulder for a few seconds before focusing back on the road.

*

Mao is afraid to be forgotten. She's afraid that after her death she'll just disappear from everywhere.

But she is wrong.

So wrong...

There is things you can't forget, simply because there's things that can't be forgotten.

Parents.
Siblings.
Friends you learned to love.
Friends you grew up with.
Lovers.
Teachers.
Places you've been.
Places you grew up in.
Pets that stayed with you for a long time.
Memories.
And I could keep going for ages.

Mao came in my life unexpectedly. She came with her big smile and her weird love for rainy days.
She brought so much happiness in my life I can't even explain.

Me and Grayson. (Or Grayson and I, whatever.) We were alone, far from our family and stuck in a endless routine.
At that time, all we were doing was, filming videos, postmating pizzas, pancakes and burritos every day, play Fortnite at our house, sleeping, and thinking about more videos ideas.

The more days and hours passed and the more I couldn't handle it.

Something happened in my mind that I will never be able to explain.
I was so fucked up mentally, even Grayson had no idea on what to do.
I don't know if the right word is depressed, but it was something like that.

I loved filming and posting videos and living by myself. But something was missing and I could feel it. I knew something wasn't there and I couldn't tell what it was.
And that realization, that you have no idea what's going so wrong in your life, can really eats yourself alive.

But after Grayson and I met Mao, she became automatically friend with him, for a reason that nobody can explain.
They just had this instinct connection.

When Mao became more comfortable around us, she forced us to go on adventures, she taught us more and more about the world, people and nature. She taught that it's important to care about ourselves a little bit more than we usually do. And that it's not selfish to focus on ourselves.

Mao took me out of my "depression" state, slowly, without forcing me.

Gray and I realized that we were in a unhealthy routine.
He realized that I wasn't in that state of mind because of him but because of the world we lived in.

And without Mao, I don't know what we would be like today.

Life is just so beautiful around her...

I don't know why I think of all of that right now and maybe this sound very cheesy, but I don't care.

I don't really know how to explain this... But, like, in Jersey, Gray and I weren't really at home, and, the thing is, in LA, we weren't neither.
We were basically flying from one to the other without finding a reason to stay.
Sure we had family and past on one side and friends and career on the other, but in both sides something was missing.

But now... Now, when I look into her eyes, I know.

I know I'm alive.

I know I'm home.

Because Mao, no matter where I am, if I'm with her, I feel like I belong there.

Is that weird ?

Is that weird ?

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