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Empty Shells

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“This empty shell holds nothing but the echoes of what was.”   

Jenim Dibie

 

“You alright?” Leo asked, recognising that something was wrong.

“Yeah.” Jimmy responded, faking a smile to reassure him.  

Leo nodded and walked to the bedroom, closing the door behind him as Jimmy remained seated on the couch, looking to the side of him where he had placed the photograph of him and mum that had been taken several years earlier. For over an hour, he’d been looking at the photo and every time he did, he became more and more sad. Everything was suddenly clearer and reality was sinking in. He heard the bedroom door open and Leo walked out and headed towards the elevator.  

“Have you ever lost anyone?” Jimmy whispered catching Leo’s attention as he turned to face him.

“Um…”, Leo was confused before looking at the ground for a few seconds before making eye contact with Jimmy. “Yeah. Yeah, I have.”

“Does it ever stop hurting.” Jimmy questioned.

“Depends…”

“On what?”

“The person and the timing, I guess. It’s an individual thing. Some people deal with it and move on and other people…” Leo replied softly. “Why do you ask?”

 “I was just thinking about mum.”

“What about her?”

“I miss her.”

“She’ll be back soon.”

“That’s not what I mean. It’s just…” Jimmy stopped abruptly, standing up and walking onto the balcony, with his back to Leo.

“It’s not the same anymore. She’s not the same anymore.” Jimmy whispered sadly.

“People change, Jimmy.  Sometimes they do selfish things and hurt people or sometimes they grow, they learn to trust and let people in, like your mum. She’s in a much better place now, isn’t that a good thing?”

The suggestion that Amy was better than ever made Jimmy’s blood boil. He'd suspected that Leo hadn’t understood or even realised what happened but to hear him actually confirm it was to much.

“NO!” Jimmy screamed out, turning quickly to face Leo. “She isn’t different because she’s grown as a person or because she's more trusting. She is different because of you. All of this – everything that has happened to my mum is YOUR FAULT! YOU DESTROYED HER!”

“Excuse me?” Leo replied stunned at the accusation.

“You did! Mum will never say it though, she’ll never blame you for this but I know its true.” 

“Jimmy…”

“You know, when my dad left, mum was really upset. She was heartbroken and she was struggling, she didn’t want me to see it but I knew she was but it never changed her. She was still my mum and she was okay, eventually. Then Kyle… she was devastated when he went back to Georgia but it was different. She was sad and went back to insisting she could do everything herself but she was still alright. More upset than usual sometimes but she didn’t change. She was still my mum.” 

"She’s still your mum now, Jimmy.” Leo said, attempting to reassure him. 

“Is she? She’s out all night, she gets drunk to the point where she doesn’t remember anything, she latches onto to everyone around her, she’s ruined so many friendships… And look at what happened with Nick. She put him before everyone, she put him before me. She’s never done that before and she didn’t even care that I didn’t want to be around him. She’s a completely different person now.”

Jimmy paused to take a breath before looking at Leo.

“Did you know that she hasn’t even spoken to Sonya in like a year? Or that she ruined her friendship with both Toadie and Sonya?” Jimmy asked bitterly.

"No.” Leo whispered as he shook his head and looked at the floor.

“She thought Toadie was in love with her and Sonya found out. All she had to do was tell Sonya that she didn’t want to be with him but she didn't. She let her think she and Toadie were going to be together and just threw years of friendship away for nothing more than a suspicion. That’s... That is NOT my mum!”

Jimmy stormed off towards the elevator, pressing the button before turning around to face Leo, who was still in shock over everything Jimmy had said to him.

“She was never like this before you came into her life. She was a good person who got hurt and sometimes let the wrong people into her life but it never changed her. She never became what she wasn’t. I just want my mum back, I want her to be the person she’s always been and… that’s never going to happen and it’s all because of you and you don’t even care.”

Jimmy's voice had started to break up and he walked directly into the elevator, staring at Leo on the verge of tears as the door closed.