The Practice of Letting Go

The Practice of Letting Go

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closed The Practice of Letting Go

Post by Jack Dyllan on Thu Jun 09, 2016 8:16 pm

Losing Max had been hard for a few reasons. Part of her thought that if her life were ever to resemble something that was both normal and happy, it would have been achieved only at his side. She did not take to people well, did not let other people rise above her, having always been looked down upon. She tried not to lend power to any person or idea until it stopped asking and started earning. Max had only ever done the latter.

But now that he was gone, much of him was beginning to fade. She found herself wondering what conversation he could have about work that would actually keep her attention. She could remember that her job was spider-killing but could not think of his counterpart. She could remember his face but not the feeling in her stomach that had led her to finally break her silence. She could remember feeling something but she could not remember what it was.

Through instinct rather than experience, she reminded herself that this did not mean she had not cared for him. He had earned a regard from her unlike many people in her life, had compelled her to be safer and happier to ensure a dynamic not be broken. But she was getting to the part of her life where she moved on, and it was quicker than it had been with Ari, or Nemo. She reminded herself that it probably had nothing to do with Max himself. Probably just had to do with the practice of letting go.

One thing she could remember was something she had not given much thought while he had lived at Layabout Lane. Forced as they were to marry, they had shared a bed, and now her bed was oddly cold, oddly large, oddly… lonely. She remembered the feeling of stretching out and accidentally slipping her foot between his ankles, and the electricity that shot up her leg and into her stomach from this touch. She remembered waking up and finding his arm stretched across her stomach, nose tucked under her chin. She remembered nights, particularly strange nights that she had not really experienced before, where she lie awake, knowing he was awake next to her, and the space between them fizzled with something, and she waited in anticipation for something that never came.

These moments had been pinpricks of embarrassment in her life as a false wife. Because they had not been in the verbal contract she and Max had stuck in regards to their marriage. They had agreed to a piece of paper because it was easier to keep the house as it was. They had not agreed to any… extracurriculars, or added benefits or whatever. But now those pinpricks of embarrassment were the moments that played on repeat, that would not be banished from her mind, try as she might. They stung and jolted and fizzled still.

When Charlie visited, she liked to relax on the couch and let bad soap operas play in the background while she talked about her trip. Jack had taken to letting those soaps play in the background of the house, as a distraction from kid’s cartoons, and as a nice little way to keep Charlie around even when she wasn’t there. One topic in particular arose quite often in those horrid programs, and it was this topic that suddenly began pervading her mind, until one night she found it could go no longer without an answer.

Why she ended up there, she didn’t know. Some twisted part of her felt like she might have gone to Vito if he still… existed? Simply because he had those answers and there was not much embarrassment between creation and creator. No topic too awkward when you shared a matching self-inflicted scar. She could have never broached this with Nemo, as fragile as his mind was, and the only other person she could maybe approach… yeah, she had earned her right to ask Albus Potter any awkward questions.

Anyone else she was either too close with, or could not afford to embarrass herself in front of.

The nice thing about being apart of a very exclusive poker group – you knew where to find certain people. Certain roommates.

That was how she ended up on Oliver’s doorstep well past dark, certain he would not be in because of… well hope and intuition. (If she were a psychoanalyst she might point out that she had run into Oliver earlier in the week and polite conversation had prompted him to mention a particular night in which he and Alice would be gone) but for whatever reason it was, she was soon to find out she was right.

She had no excuse for visiting. No actual question in mind. Just some strange burning desire to be with someone who might guess what was stewing beneath that mop of red. So she knocked on the door, waiting for @Ariel Damien Greyback to answer.

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closed Re: The Practice of Letting Go

Post by Ariel Damian Greyback on Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:43 pm

With a heavy plop, the cork was relinquished by the almost excessively long-necked bottle of wine. A pointed tongue-tip pressed past the thin, pink lips that were curled into a small smile beneath a dark strip of moustache. His nostrils quivered as the smell skirted aloft, filling his mind with the promise of the evening that would stretch ahead of him. His fingers reached to anchor the stem of the glass, their twins grasping the body of the bottle tightly before lifting it up to glug the scarlet liquid inside. He exhaled, relieving himself of the pressures of the day as the sound of the wine leaving the bottle filled the silence of the kitchen. Slumber had taken the only noisemakers left, the others having gone out for some sort of dinner party shindig that their werewolf roommate could neither remember being invited to nor declining.

The oven was on, the house filling with the smell of cooking. He had spent the listening to the most recent jazz album he’d picked up from the basement music shop in London that he rather liked frequenting and it was on again. He’d made too much, of course. It was a hangover from being taught to cook by his mother, who had always made sure that, if nothing else, he and his siblings had always had something to eat. When they had been just them, mother and son, they’d gone weeks one winter without any heating bar the flames that she could conjure but they’d not wanted for food. They’d warmed themselves with pies and stews and cuts of meat that he’d stolen off of the market stalls, ones they could never hope to afford.

Tonight, he had puzzled over going Italian, although he’d mucked around in the afternoon with different salad ideas that he’d packed up in boxes for Alice to eat for lunch in the coming week. She’d appreciate it, he hoped. In the end, he’d put the cannelloni he’d originally been going to make on the backburner. Instead he’d elected to make a curry, instead. A lot of what he had in the cupboard would be on its way out by the end of the month so he knew a trip to the specialist supermarket was in order. In the meantime, he could use up what he had and make a cracking curry – if he could say so himself.

He was midway through by the time he had started the wine. Everything was more or less done and he was, as mentioned, contemplating just how much he had made. It was freezable, at least, so if he couldn’t be bothered mid-week when his roommates inevitably went out again he could always throw it back in the microwave. At that thought, Ariel Greyback brought the glass to his lips and took a long drink. He drew his fingers through the front of his hair and gave a heavy sigh after swallowing, conceding that, just maybe, it was time for him to venture out into the world properly again. The music shop hardly counted.

Just as he was beginning to wonder where exactly counted, he heard a knock on the door. Turning, Ariel set his glass down and flicked his wand in the direction of the record player, turning the speakers’ volume down. He frowned down the hallway at the front door and sighed again, sorely hoping that, whoever it is, wouldn’t take very long. He set his wand done, faintly concerned that perhaps that would be a mistake, and trudged down the hall to the door. He took a few minutes to fumble with the lock but in the end he wrenched it open and his entire being froze when he saw who it was.

And instead of saying ‘hello’ or something sensible like that he asked,

“How do you know where I live?”
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closed Re: The Practice of Letting Go

Post by Jack Dyllan on Wed Jun 15, 2016 2:02 am

Jack almost left about six times in the space between her door and the cracking of the door, actually taking a step away at one point, hand lingering on the door frame, staring at the sidewalk she had just escaped. Because... what was she going to say? She had a penchant for improvisation, a side effect of her inability to be responsible enough to put forethought into her actions. Even with all that practice, she could not foresee herself having anything to say that actually explained herself, explained why she was here.

As she stared out, she caught sight of her sleeve and couldn't help but give herself the once over. Knowing she was about to see Ari, and the changes that had overtaken him since she knew him as a sixteen year old boy, and since she had last seen him, it struck her how much she had changed, even just recently. Her red hair had been darkened a bit from her time spent in the underground of the Ministry, her Quidditch practices taking place after dark in recent weeks. She was muscular still, but had become a little slighter after the bouts of not eating and neglect she had endured in the past few years every time she went off the deep end. She looked tired, and that mischievous look was merely a shadow. But there was something coming back to her, some flushed quality, some attempt at rediscovering life.

But it was interesting to think... Every cell in the human body save for the neurons in the brain were entirely replaced within seven years. She and Ari were practically new bodies, but their minds had not changed.

So if the most important part had not changed, why was she here?

The door opened and there he was. Yep, some facial hair, yep a little more tired, yep not as scrawny as she last saw. Changes. Changes. Changes.

Big ones. Ones he didn't expect.

Fortunately, he gave her a question she was able to answer. "Poker nights. We've done a few here. I remembered you were staying here."

She didn't want to ask if she could come in. She was worried he would say no.

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closed Re: The Practice of Letting Go

Post by Ariel Damian Greyback on Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:57 pm

Poker nights. Right. That made sense.

Only, it wasn’t a poker night. Jack probably knew that Ollie wasn’t in. That was a Jack sort of thing to know. Which meant, unless he was grasping at straws, she wanted to see him.

Maybe she was lost.

Inhaling hesitantly, as though if he breathed properly it would give away the fact that he really, really hoped she wasn’t lost. She was probably lost, he tried to convince himself as he pushed the door open a bit further.

“I made curry,” he offered, stepping to the side, cocking his head towards the kitchen. “Come in, if you want.”

He left the door ajar, giving her the opportunity to rethink doing so if she wanted, and hustled back to the kitchen. He drew his fingers through his hair again as he strayed back to his wine and wondered whether he was actually losing his mind. Of all people to find on his doorstep…

Well, at least Jack wouldn’t try to kill him.

He reached up and opened the cupboard, bringing down a glass for the redheaded witch. He eyed the curry bubbling away on the top and he bit his lip before slashing open the bag of pitta breads with his knife.

He also took out another plate, setting it next to his own, and pulled out another set of cutlery. He exhaled and closed his eyes before reopening them quickly and casting a hesitant look over his shoulder.

“Is everything alright?” Ariel found himself asking, reaching for the bottle to slosh some wine into Jack’s glass. He frowned a bit, taking the glass and holding it out to her. “You’re not … in trouble, are you?”
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closed Re: The Practice of Letting Go

Post by Jack Dyllan on Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:38 pm

He offered to let her in and she felt some of the tension building within her, the tension of her lungs refusing to move as they held air in baited anticipation, released, spilling out of her. She felt her jaw click as she nodded, the smell of his cooking already wafting through the air and out into the night sky, enveloping her. Cooking had never been something she had any talent for. She managed to get a few signature dishes out that the kids enjoyed, but beyond that, there were a lot of take out boxes in her refrigerator.

"Thanks," she said, nodding. She was hyper-aware of his amendment, 'if you want'. She did. It was just a little odd to admit it, however indirectly.

She followed him through the house, which would have been more familiar-feeling, had it not been for the alien perspective from which she was now perceiving it. The house somehow looked so much different with the back of Ariel Greyback looming in her vision before her.

That was what this whole night was about though, wasn't it? Familiar circumstances viewed through new perspectives.

They reached the kitchen and Ari set to busy work, having now only made eye contact with her for no more than a moment. She glanced about the kitchen, not wanting to sit, not wanting to stand, not wanting to make a decision but not wanting to look indecisive. She leaned against the kitchen table, watching him work.

Was she alright?

She would have laughed if there was not a tinge of worry in his voice, making her realize that he probably thought something was horribly wrong for her to suddenly break her silence with him. He held out the drink and she mouthed a thank you as he continued on. "No," she said, shaking her head, sipping the wine generously to help her out here. "No, nothing like that. Just been thinking - though you could consider that trouble - no, I'm fine. No more trouble than usual."

She tapped the opening of the glass and partook again. Wine was not a drink she chose typically, a drink she only shared with company who preferred it. A drink that had been a staple of Satan's.

"So," she began, rubbing the stem of the glass between her fingers. She really should relieve some of his suspense, assure him with her reason for being there.

"How have you been?"

Or that.

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closed Re: The Practice of Letting Go

Post by Ariel Damian Greyback on Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:56 am

No trouble. Ariel almost didn’t believe it. Jack Dyllan, not in trouble? He half wanted to bluntly ask why on earth she was stood in his home, then, if she wasn’t caught in some sort of horrendous life or death situation. He wasn’t the sort of person she visited on a whim or just because she thought she’d check up on him. He was the sort of person in the periphery of memory, languishing there as a half-thought, a half remembrance. He didn’t even know if it was a memory that brought pleasure. No, scratch that. It wasn’t. He wasn’t. Interactions between them always ended in heartache.

And how had he been? It was a repetitive question – one they asked too often of each other. It was always born in that same tone of awkwardness, too, as though both were reluctant to ask just in case one had terrible news for the other. For once, Ariel felt as though he wasn’t on the verge of heading back to prison or anything like that. His life had steadied somewhat. The ship no longer felt as though it was going to go down into the pit of Davy Jones. He … he wasn’t quite happy but there was a contentedness in life that made him feel like, maybe, he was getting it right. Finally, anyway.

“Not bad, I suppose,” he considered after a mouthful of wine. “I’m pretty sure there’s an Ollice wedding on the cards. They’re happy. I … I’ve got a steady job now – for my sins. A mate and I who apprenticed in carpentry we, um, we started up a company. I was doing odd jobs all around the town and he thought we should sort out something to make it pay a bit more. So, yeah. That’s good. We pay tax and everything, would you believe it? His sister’s working on some website so that Muggles can use it. I dunno quite how that works but the plan is to take on some apprentices ourselves and really grow the business, get our name out there and sort of … I dunno, make our way, I guess. It’s quite exciting, actually,” a smile had curved its way unwittingly onto the werewolf’s face, a flash of pride in his eyes and belief, too, that this would work. He’d not even told Ollie, really, beyond the basics. He’d certainly not allowed himself to be this optimistic about it. He didn’t stop to wonder why, of all people, he’d chosen to be optimistic around Jack.

“What about you, anyway? You’re always busy. Something interesting must have happened, lately, eh?”
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closed Re: The Practice of Letting Go

Post by Jack Dyllan on Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:41 pm

Jack allowed herself to be absorbed into the now. Typically, Jack tried to remain present, keeping thoughts of the future in the back of her head and thoughts of the past reserved for nightmares. Tonight she had slipped from that default and it was the thinking of the past and the future, the what ifs and why nots that had turned her into a woman possessed. She had to reel it back in. She had already gotten herself into this sticky situation and it was time to maneuver out.

If that would even be possible.

The liquid in her glass had diminished more quickly than was probably appropriate for a catch up with an old friend. But, alcohol soaked as she had become in recent years, one glass of wine wasn't going to do anything more than relax that permanent tension that had collected in her shoulders.

The smell of his food was somehow a domestic comfort and a lonely reminder, a mingling of fond memories of family dinners and the bitter taste is meals prepared for one. Her own lonely meals were not nearly as elegant as his smelled. But the thought that this thoughtfully prepared meal had been destined to be portioned into leftovers was a little haunting to Jack. She had become accustomed to her own trend towards solitude, but it was a strange and complicated reminder that solitude was not a condition unique to her.

Loneliness was the one illness that could be cured through sharing it. Huh.

He outlined what he had been doing, a bit of a deviation from her actual question, but she was in no position to push. She continued to sip from her wine, once again recalling Ariel's fine palette, and found her eyebrows rising at what seemed to be a chance in the blonde and his luck. She lowered the glass and the ghost lines of an appreciative smile found their way onto her face. Her compassion for werewolves had found its root in her friendship with him and had only grown from there, so she knew just how hard it was for werewolves to find steady income, misrepresented as they still were. If anyone could have broken that, though, she had believed it could be Ariel.

"That's fantastic," she admitted, nodding her head. "Really great." She fumbled to raise her glass, suddenly deciding that a silent toast was probably best.

Her own answer was probably more boring and more convoluted than he expected. She lowered her glass and tapped on it thoughtfully. "Not as much as you might expect, actually. Busy keeps things from happening to you. No real deviation from practice, work, kid wrangling, etc. Um," she cleared her throat. "My roommate moved out. The one that helped me out with the whole marriage law stuff. Yeah. Went to America." She took another drink, now at the bottom. Well, where did all that go? "Yeah. Got a nanny of sorts. That's really all for me."

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closed Re: The Practice of Letting Go

Post by Ariel Damian Greyback on Fri Jul 29, 2016 2:02 pm

Ariel didn’t really think that that was all there was to Jack’s life. He felt he knew her better than that, even if time and space and disagreements had sent the paths of their lives in opposite directions. He wondered why they converged once more when they did and wondered if they would stop meeting at crossroads and eventually tread the same ground, go the same way, together. But that was the dreamer’s option, that little bit of him that still loved her holding out hope.

Love. Right.

He could’ve scoffed aloud – but that would’ve warranted an explanation.

He glanced her way and picked up the bottle of wine, crossing the room to refill her glass. He wasn’t sure if that little bit was so little – not even a little bit, not even at all.

“So you thought you’d break up that interesting routine to come and see me?” He asked not unkindly, raising a brow at her as the wine sloshed into the glass – less this time, though. He didn’t want her to end up plastered.

“You miss him, I take it,” Ariel deduced, returning to the wok to push the curry around. Nearly done. He turned the rice off. That was definitely done – and by the looks of it, not claggy. Success!

Ariel picked up his own glass and took a sip, then another just for good measure.

“I’m not saying pour your heart out to me,” he hedged, “but, um, you should talk about it with someone if it’s bothering you. Burying yourself in work never helps. Alternately,” he turned off the flame beneath the wok, deeming everything ready. “You could also pour your heart out to me if you fancied. Y’know, you don’t have to but … the option is there. I don’t want you to think you can’t. Err, not that I’m the best person to lay out emotional turmoil on but … well, I’ll listen, basically, if you want me to. But let’s eat, because I’m not being very eloquent about this thing.”

Like his mother before him, Ariel had no idea how to adequately sort out portion sizes. He didn’t think he ever would and this was affirmed to him by the mountain of rice that he put on their plates. This was followed by the most generous helping of curry going and he put both plates down on the table before fishing out the papadums he’d taken great pains to make earlier in the afternoon and the tray of onion bahjis and chicken pakoras. Had he overdone it? Yes. Completely. Had he just been intending to fill tupperware and eat the sides on his own while watching Netflix? Totally.

“At least you won’t starve,” he commented, sitting down opposite her. He handed the redhead a spoon with a half-smile. “I hope this is alright. It probably will be. They’re not as spicy anymore, my curries, that is. Alice isn’t that fond of spice so I’ve toned them down quite a bit but I have cream in the fridge if it’s still a bit much. Anyway, dig in.”
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closed Re: The Practice of Letting Go

Post by Jack Dyllan on Fri Jul 29, 2016 5:37 pm

Jack felt a little more vulnerable than she would have liked without the wine glass to distract her now idle hands. Ah, so that accounted for her quick draining of the glass. Well, that and the, y'know... the alcoholism.

It once again came swirling towards her, all at once.

You are in Ariel's house- well Oliver's anyway -with absolutely no reason or excuse except for the fact that he seemed to be the only person to ever have any sort of feelings of attraction for you- well there was Albus -of course there was Albus but it was hardly fair to bring up these confusing feelings now, way after the window of opportunity had passed- oh, and your window of opportunity with Ariel hasn't passed? I didn't close that window-

She shut up this inner argument, reminding herself that she did best on her feet, without a plan. You know, when she wasn't thinking. The improviser in her could navigate her way through this.

But still, she had come with a reason, an odd, embarrassingly open one at that. She didn't know the phrasing, or the answer she wanted, or if Ari was even qualified. But she was being forced back to square one, again, and she was going to at least get some context before she continued on.

He filled her drink, and his doubts about her motives became evident. Her eyes met his briefly, and she felt that cooling effect come over her face as she locked out emotions and subtext, refusing to let him in. She shrugged. "Yeah."

Yeah, sure, why not. Totally normal.

And then he went on to presume her reasons. At the first mention of him, the coolness slipped from her face and her expression widened to show surprise at the recollection. That truly was not a subject she wanted to broach, nor was she ready to broach it, nor did she want to discuss it with Ariel. But she had barely formed the word no on her lips when he plunged forward, presenting her options in case she had not considered them. With no window to jump in and assure him she was fine, she found irritation being born in her belly, her jaw setting deeper each time he did not allow her the opportunity to inform him that she was fine, thanks.

And then, it was time to eat. She stared at him, completely at a loss that she was not even allowed her side, and raised her glass instead, a touch of anger in the movement that delivered half of the contents into her throat - and, yeah, she noticed the change in volume.

Silently, she took her seat, her jaw still working, her eyes resembling daggers more by the second. Food in front of her, Ari informed her she could tuck in, but she waited for him to take his first bite before she said-

"So, we almost dated, and then you called me a monster. What was that about?"

Yeah, she was a little angry.

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closed Re: The Practice of Letting Go

Post by Ariel Damian Greyback on Fri Jul 29, 2016 8:21 pm

Did he choke? Yes, just a little bit, because he’d put that little episode to bed. Or, at least, he thought he had. He looked down at the curry, suddenly feeling as though he could have gone without dinner. Or maybe he should’ve gone out for dinner, instead. He sorely wished he had a time turner. He didn’t know quite where he’d go back to – that point in time or earlier in the afternoon when he’d decided to stay in once Ollice had gone out. He swallowed the mouthful of curry and reached for his wine glass, washing down the straggling bits of rice that seemed hell-bent on staying with him like some mad personification of all of his guilty feelings.

The glass was set back down with a clink. He put his fork down, too, and wondered if getting up and retreating to his room – or even to the back door for a cigarette – was an appropriate course of action. But of course, he smoked so very little now that he didn’t think he had any cigarettes to speak of. That one was out of the window. Also, he’d let her in. She wouldn’t just leave if he ran away. Also, above all, it wasn’t very good him to just up and run off. It wasn’t exactly in his nature. Well, until it came to her, of course. He’d been scared, hadn’t he? And he’d never known what to do with fear.

“Isn’t it a little hypocritical of me to throw the m-word around?” He asked gradually, glancing up at her. “I don’t remember calling you that but I was a kid, Jack. It was years ago. I’m not defensible but it was a different time …” He sighed, tapping his finger against the wine glass. When he worked at the Ministry. When he’d been a little bit more idealistic. When he’d wanted to make positive change in the Wizarding World. Before everything had happened. Before his life had fallen apart.

“I shouldn’t have …” he shook his head and picked up the bottle of wine, topping of her glass before spilling a generous amount into his. “Jack, I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did but by the time I stopped being pig-headed about it, it was already too late to apologise and try to understand. I’d thrown it all away and I was too proud to admit I’d done wrong by you so for some unknown reason I decided to marinate in my own misery and regrets about … about us,” he swallowed, reminding himself that there was no ‘us’, “and … I just … that was it. I’d made my bed, treated you like shit after all you’d done for me, and I deserved to lie in it and be miserable so … that’s what I did, I suppose.”

“And it’s too late now,” he continued, picking up his glass, “but for the record, I regret what happened. Every day. So… I was a prat, basically, and you were always too good for me anyway so it was fine, wasn't it? Equilibrium and all that. I threw away you who, friend or more, was the best thing in my life so … so yeah. I’m still a prat, mainly for explaining all this now, I guess. Five years too late, eh? I should’ve listened and I didn’t and I lost you before I even really had you so … who was the monster really, hm? Never you,” he swilled the wine. “Always me.”
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