13 - The Blame Game.

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"That's an interesting conclusion, Sadie; pinpointing your frustration at your own situation then to past incidents with someone else entirely, who wasn't even around at the time," said Karen, interrupting to make her observations known.

"I think that was the point though. If she was there like a sister should be, she would have been able to talk me through all that shit. There was no one else for me to talk to about it at the time. I needed her and she just wasn't there. She was my sister, and I loved her, and she just vanished. She was off living her irresponsible, carefree life somewhere else, probably with a bunch of equally irresponsible, lowlife deadbeats she'd met along the way; and I was the one still at home, taking care of her child and her family who clearly she didn't give a fuck about, with no time to actually deal with my own shit properly."

"You sound as if you felt betrayed and abandoned by her, and that maybe you were a bit jealous of her freedom," Karen suggested thoughtfully. Damn, she was good. 

"That was exactly what I was feeling, though I doubt I would have been able to articulate like that. Back then I was always so patient and understanding of her choices. Everyone else had their own opinions about her — usually bad — but I could always appreciate why she left. She was a kid and she wasn't ready to look after another kid inside our house which was mad as hell. I got it. It was shit situation to be in, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. But Madden was hers, and I was there to help. The others, too. She didn't even try to make it work."

It felt liberating to speak about Bree so openly, and not have to worry about what I said or how I said it in front of others who might get hurt by my honesty. "I think I knew I resented her for leaving us, and for abandoning Madden. I would never have left her the way she did all of us. But now I'm wondering whether a bigger part of that resentment was just my jealousy. She was free, and I felt more chained down than ever."

"Do you still feel that way now?" asked Karen.

"Not at all. I love Madden and I've worked fucking hard for so long to get us to where we are today; and shy of being rich and not having to worry about money, I'm proud of the life I've been able to provide him with. I don't really let myself think about Bree to even feel that same jealousy anymore. On the odd occasion that I do, I just feel disappointed that she isn't around for Madden. I think that's probably where most of my resentment comes from actually. Just that she isn't around to see him growing into his own independent, intelligent, sassy little self. I couldn't care less that she doesn't give a shit about me. That part of it I've well and truly moved on from. But I see this beautiful kid every day, watched him grow and explore his world and who he is in it, and I couldn't be more proud of him. And she will never experience that with him. She just never wanted to. It's so unfair on him, and nothing I do can ever fix that," I said.

"Why do you think you need to?" 

"Because I'm not his mother." The words came out before I even meant them to, and the tears started welling in my eyes instantly. Trying to understand who I was to Madden and how he saw me, especially as he grew older, was something I regularly struggled with. 

Karen remained silent for a while out of respect for my tears before saying, "Do you want to be?" 

I took a moment to think about it, more for show than anything else. I really didn't need to. I instinctively knew the answer to that question. I've been mulling it over in my head repeatedly for years now. I was there when he was born, and I loved him as I imagine I would any child I actually gave birth to myself. I just never knew whether it was my place to feel that way, or whether I was even allowed to want him to be mine.

"I couldn't imagine anything I would ever want more."

"How do you think he feels about you?"

"I don't know," I said between sobs. "I don't really like to think about it. I mean, he's always called me Sadie like everyone else. When I had to start enrolling him in kindergarten and school, I always said to them that I was his aunt and that he's lived with me since he was born because his parents have never been around. It was always a difficult conversation to have, and I tried my best not to have it in front of him, probably more for myself than for him." I sighed. This topic always defeated me.

"Honestly, if I could change anything in my life to make it perfect, it would be that he was my son, and I was his mother." I'd even forego getting the only other two men in my life I have loved just as much and my only real girlfriend back if it meant being able to be Madden's mum.

"This is definitely significant, and it will have to be something we talk about in more detail soon. But I do think it's important that we continue to go back and explore what was happening at that time with Ruben and Camden, just to keep processing everything sequentially. So before we got derailed a little, you were talking about your dilemma in who to choose."

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