29 - It's not my party, but I'll fucking cry anyway.

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Hey lovely readers. Just another quick caution: you'll find some challenging content in this chapter and the next, so please look after yourself when you read ahead if you are sensitive to assault.
I'm always here to speak to.
Ash xo

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The four of us were together again the following day at Madden's footy grand final. We had spent the rest of the afternoon reminiscing and generally catching up on each others' lives until the conversation turned to footy and there was clearly no going back for either Tanner or Madden. It was amusing watching a fully grown, adult man going toe-to-toe with a child about who was better and knew more about footy. Tanner may have been alive a lot longer than Madden, but Madden kept up with him, and he had his uncles and Poppy Ray to thank for making him as mad as they all were.

Madden, fully embracing his natural competitiveness, invited Tanner and Morgan to come to his game to prove that he was as good as he claimed to be. Luckily, they were available and happy to come watch, which I was grateful for because I know how crushed he would have been having to wait until the following season next year to prove himself to his new friends.

He might have been trying harder simply to show off, but it worked. The kid played a major part in aiding his team to victory. I hope Tanner and Morgan knew they'd have to be at every game from now on.

Tanner, in his last ditch effort to prove himself better than my eleven-year-old nephew, invited Madden to come watch him play in his own final in a couple weeks, which of course I was helpless to refuse.

I almost felt like I didn't need to go to my pre-scheduled appointment with Karen, but decided to go, simply to share the happy developments that had transpired since I saw her last.

"It felt so nice, being able to share so much of my life before Madden with him, and to have him meet some of the people that helped me through so much when I was a kid," I said, after filling Karen in on everything she had missed.

"Sadie, I've very proud of you. It seems like your bravery and efforts reconnecting with your past are paying off." It's not often you hear as an adult that you've done something to make another person feel proud of you. It felt nice. "It also must have brought up a lot of things for you from back then. The image at the park, for example?"

"Yeah, I guess. I mean it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Madden actually reminded me that there were a lot of good things about back then that I had simply forgotten amidst everything else that sucked."

"For example?" prompted Karen.

I began to explain to her my recollection of the first time Camden and I made love at the park, how attentive and considerate he was of my lack of experience, how excited I was to be with him that I barely cared about being caught naked in a public place. "It's really white trash, I know, to have sex for the first time at a bloody skate park; but it worked for us and it actually was amazing. Obviously, it wasn't always like that, but that night his touch was magical. Not terrifying like it became towards the end."

My consciousness floated off, thinking back to the night of the party.


A friend of Camden's was having a party. He was a year older than us and had finished school by then, but Camden had kept in touch with him seeing as he only lived around the corner from his place. I didn't know too many of the people there, and really wasn't vibing the backyard dope cloud and drunk ruckus that it was turning into. I wasn't planning on drinking, having driven us to the party, but it was the only way I saw myself getting through the night. Considering he lived only a few blocks away, I didn't see any harm in leaving my car there, having a few and walking back to Camden's house instead. This resolve was solidified when I saw him participating in the Pass-the-joint-Parcel game going round the circle, even though he knew I hated when he got high.

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