The Wrong Type of Redemption

18 Ten AM


18: Ten AM

Evidently, Mia could tell Jerry wasn’t thrilled about the news she would be leaving soon, so she urged him to go with her to the gym. Urge was a nice way of saying she ordered him to follow her.

*So what’s going on between you and your father?* She asked as they walked along the sidewalk.

Jerry shrugged. He didn’t really want to talk about it. But he needed to, right? *I’ve…let him into my apartment. We eat together, we’ve…kind of talked about stuff…sometimes we don’t.*

*Sounds like you’re trying… And saying nothing is as powerful as words.*

Jerry shook his head.

*It’s not? Why?*

*I’m… I…I can’t stop…getting turned on by him,* He signed.

*O. K.* Her face was unreadable.

Jerry ran his hands over his face, before he signed, *I think when Eric beat me in the head, it really did some crazy shit.*

Mia nodded agreement then caught herself. *Sorry.*

Jerry just laughed.

*Does it feel the same as when you were with Gerald?*

He rubbed the back of his neck. How could it? Philip was older, more mature. Gerald had slept back to back with him since birth. Gerald had been his protector. They even finished each other’s sentences as if they shared a mind.

*At first, I just wanted to make the old man suffer. I wanted him to be in pain. I got off on that.* He groaned closing his eyes not wanting to look at her. *I know it’s wrong but-*

She popped him on the side of his head to get his attention. He jerked back in annoyance to look at her. *Have you told him how you feel?* She asked.

*Kind of. I was cruel.*

*Maybe it’s all that pent up frustration and rage from five years ago finally coming out.*

*Maybe… I know you said to let him back in my life, but I can’t.*

*Because of Gerald.*

Because the things he makes me feel conflicts with my loyalty to Gerald. Jerry didn’t answer for a long time. He just walked along side of her, before she moved to get in front of him, making him halt in his steps.

She signed. *I think you should let him in your life, but little by little. Nothing drastic. Nothing permanent. Just see where it goes. Forgiveness is a process. Not just forgiveness for him, but for yourself. That is the most important step, because before you can properly forgive him, you should be able to look yourself in the mirror.*

*Easier said than done.*

*Then how about instead of hiding behind that beard, face yourself and look at yourself, not your twin. And start talking to Jerry in the mirror. Tell Jerry that you miss him and that you want to be him. Tell Jerry that he’s a fine man, worthy of forgiveness. Talk to Jerry. Not Gerald, not anyone else. Try it. And speak highly of yourself, it can only help.*

Jerry frowned, rubbing his forehead as he remembered what he said to his father last night.

*What?* Mia asked looking up at him as if trying to read him.

*Sometimes…I wonder if I really loved Gerald like that…*

Mia’s face lit with shock but she just watched him.

*I was a cry baby…always picked on because of it…Gerald always defended me… Because of that I stuck to him like glue…more than before. And when I stopped crying, trying to be the big boy my father always said I should be, Gerald would do things…* It felt so wrong telling her these things and yet he needed to get the whole truth out. *Things that made me want to never…leave him.*

*Things like what?*

He just stood there staring at the concrete, not sure where to begin. *It wasn’t bad stuff like the things he did to our mother…* But to a kid, it was bad enough. *I went to him for everything…so of course he knew all my fears and weaknesses…* He paused mid-sign, feeling as if he betrayed his twin.

Mia rested a small hand on his forearm.

The gesture encouraged him to continue. *My biggest fear was the dark…so sometimes if I didn’t pay him enough attention he’d hide my laptop in the attic or basement.* Jerry had always imagined monsters lurked in those places. *Since dad was the one to buy it for me, I’d run to him and cry saying I didn’t know where Gerald hid it, but I knew. Dad would get so angry because my computer was expensive.* Jerry groaned remembering how his father would punish Gerald each time with extra work on the ranch. *Every time I ran to our father, Gerald would jump out and scare me several times a day. It made me tiptoe around every corner and pass every room cautiously.* It had made him jumpy as hell. *So I started following him around, to keep an eye on him so he couldn’t hide and scare me. I noticed the more attention I paid him, the more he coddled me…like a reward. I always depended on him before, however it grew to the point I didn’t want to leave him. But I think it was mostly out of fear.* Sometimes Jerry remembered hearing voices when he thought he was alone, like someone calling to him. Much later he learned that the vents in the house carried noises and Gerald had used them to scare him. Sometimes he thought he heard scrapping sounds against the walls. Scared, he went running, crying, and of course it was always Gerald who found him first to hug him and tell him it would be alright. He understood years after Gerald had died and all that stopped, that his brother did those things to make sure Jerry remained fearful. *He would say things like you need me, Glitch. Or we have to stay together, forever. After awhile it became natural to think I lived for Gerald because he lived for me. As we got older…it morphed into something more…physical. Gerald always made it seem like my life was nothing without him…And in truth I knew I always wanted my brother beside me…but…but…*

*But you never felt you had to depend on him all the time, you just did because you didn’t want him to make you cry.*

Jerry closed his eyes feeling disloyal.

Mia tapped on his arm making him look down at her. *Do you know what imprinting is?*

*Like baby ducks?*

She grinned slightly. *Exactly. Every creature living goes through some form of imprinting when they’re young. It’s a type of conditioning…brain washing in a sense.*

Jerry groaned.

*When we’re younger, we are far more impressionable and susceptible to our environments and stimuli that eventually shape who we become. I don’t know if Gerald knew what he was doing because you were both young, but it sounds like…*

When she didn’t finish, Jerry signed, *Like?*

Looking conflicted she continued, *Like he was conditioning you. Without knowing Gerald, seeing him first hand I can only speculate. It also sounds like he was dependent on you depending on him… *

Jerry shook his head no.

*J, think about it. How young were you when you started clinging to him because you were scared?*

*Maybe before I was five…*

*And about what time did your father get you that laptop?*

*Around eight.*

*Around that age, you were probably learning to wean yourself off Gerald in favor of the laptop. But by then, Gerald was accustomed to being needed all the time. Was it around that time he began terrorizing you?*

Jerry sucked in a breath. Agony welled up in him. *Gerald was my fault.*

*J…No!* She grabbed his arm to keep him from turning away. *You were young and frightened, you didn’t know you were shaping your brother’s behavior. Plus, there is no real evidence that is what did it. If he was hurting your mother, its possible he had psychotic tendancies.*

Jerry froze. *I never said he hurt her.*

*You didn’t have to. I saw it in your face when you mentioned he did things to her.*

Chills ran over Jerry’s skin.

*J, tell me, were you the only one he tried to control?*

He didn’t say anything but she seemed to see the answer.

*Did he manipulate others, not just you, to get love and admiration from them? And if they didn’t show him that adoration, he’d do malicious things? Has he ever felt guilt or empathy? Did he act like he was invincible? Stop me if none of this registers.* She gave him a knowing look. *Was everything he did self-serving?*

*No. He did it for me. He did it to protect me! He loved me!*

*He mentally tortured you. Love doesn’t torture. Why hurt you if he’s protecting you?”

Jerry’s face drained into his toes. *Then why’d he kill himself if I was just a puppet for him to toy with?*

*I never said you were.* Mia’s face looked so apologetic. *He may have truly had a connection to you. I don’t know if it was love, but there was definitely something there. Like that dependency we talked about. He may have been more dependent on you than even you realized. You may have been the only thing anchoring him from going completely over the edge. But I could be wrong, J.*

Jerry just stood there thinking over everything he remembered from his childhood. *There are still a few gaps in my memory from when Eric beat me, so maybe I’m remembering it wrong. Maybe I’m over thinking it-*

*You loved him despite it all, even if you were afraid of him.*

*I do…or did…I don’t know anymore.*

*Do the things you love about him outweigh everything else?*

Jerry nodded.

*Despite everything he did to you, do you forgive him?*


*Then don’t question the rest. And don’t make excuses for his bad behavior. Now it’s time to dwell on Jerry. Find out what Jerry wants for the future. Come on, let go work these emotions into a punching bag.* She grabbed his hand, leading the way like a pixie herding a giant.

At the gym, Jerry worked out with Mia. She continued to tell him things that might help him. He held the large heavy one-hundred pound bag while Mia punched it.

Just as Mia was going in for another strike, Alejandro who’d kept his distance for a good hour, passed behind her and grabbed her ass. “Mami!”

Jerry let go of the bag and was about to haul the man to the ring when Mia got between them, pushing Jerry back.

“You’ve deprived me of my favorite ass for too long. It’s time for a refill.” Alejandro laughed, reaching for Mia’s butt again.

Jerry pulled back his arm and shoved it into the guy’s nose. He felt when the bone gave way and knew he broke it.

“Son of a bitch!” Alejandro roared.

“You fucking touch her again and I’ll do worse.”

“Shit!” Someone came running.

“He’s bleeding!” Someone else called.

A slim arm came around Jerry’s neck before he felt legs circle his waist. Mia was on his back, her hands began signing in his face.

*Stop before they send you to jail*

*I could care less about jail. He was going to grope you again.*

*I’d rather him grope me than have to counsel you behind bars.*

He growled turning to see Enrique and Dale walking up and shaking their heads.

“J,” Dale turned to him and then looked back to where Mia was on his back. Then he smiled slightly. “Is she supposed to be trying to hold you back or something?”

“Something.” Jerry grunted.

“Like a feather trying to stop a truck. I’ve seen you play on the field. She doesn’t stand a chance.” He laughed. Then he sighed. “But seriously, J, I know you were just protecting Mia, there were enough witnesses. However, if Alejandro presses charges then it could be a problem.”

*What’s he saying?* Mia signed.

*Alejandro might press charges.*

*Tell Alejandro if he presses charges, I’ll call his family.*

*How is that a threat?*

*Just tell him.*

Jerry relayed the message to the bleeder.

“Bitch.” Alejandro spat at Jerry’s feet.

Jerry stepped forward but Dale put his hands up while Mia pulled his hair as if pulling the reigns on a horse.

“Whoa, J! I think you should call it a night.” Dale said, “And don’t come back for a while. You know the rules.”

He did. Fighting without permission meant he couldn’t come back for a month. But it didn’t bother him. He only came because Mia made him. And with her leaving, it was likely, he wouldn’t come back.

Enrique looked apologetic as he said, “Take Mia home will you?”

He nodded walking toward the women’s locker room. He stopped at the entrance where Mia jumped down off him.

*They kicking us out?* She asked.

*No. Just me. Get your things, I’m sending you home.*

Jerry grabbed his own things and met her out on the late afternoon street.

*What was with that threat?* Jerry asked. *Will his grandmother come after him with a ruler or something?*

Mia laughed. *No. Nothing so simple. His family is very anti-police so he’d be wise not to even talk to them.*

*Anti-police? Why doesn’t that sound good?* he asked knowing Mia grew up in the same neighborhood as Alejandro.

*Because its not. But I’m not getting into it.*

*Why? Do they run drugs or something?*

She just shrugged. *I know enough not to tell you. It’s safer. Just know, even though Alejandro isn’t really a part of the business the police don’t have love for his family and vice versa… So if Alejandro actually called the cops, his family would start to question his loyalty. Good thing all we have to worry about is his ego.*

*That’s bad enough.* *Agreed.*


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