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Bandaids For Bullet Wounds

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 “The past is never dead. It's not even past.” 

William Faulkner


Sonya sat at the table, holding her head up with her right hand as her elbow rested on the table and she stared ahead at the letters, that arrived the day before in front of her. Tapping her feet on the ground and biting her lower lips.

‘What did he know?’ Sonya thought to herself. ‘He’s just some random guy who butted into my conversation.’

Eddie’s words were going over and over in her mind. She hadn’t been able to stop thinking about them, even knowing he was wrong wasn’t enough to push them out of her head. Especially as his words had her worried. That anyone could be so open and honest and content with walking out on someone in need, someone who was in a bad state and thought it was the right thing to do to the point where he practically advocated it. She wasn’t even sure if she was angry or concerned about what he said and how comfortable he was with the idea of walking out on someone to save himself from destruction with no idea or care in the world for what that could do to them or how badly it could end up destroying them.   

That made her think about Toadie, worry about him.

Every day had become a struggle. She could barely make it through the day or a single conversation without bursting into tears and had gotten to the point where she was living on her nerves. Constantly worrying about what she was saying, about the impact her words might have and being scared that she could make everything worse and if she tried to fix it, that she could slip back into old habits and fall to pieces to the point where she might not be able to recover this time. She was completely out of her depth – she’d been through so much over the years but this time, she was dealing with something she had no experience with. Where she had no idea how to recognise the signs that something was wrong or how to deal with it and the aftermath especially as it wasn’t something, she was expecting to hear nor could have ever prepared herself for.

Hearing those words. Coming to a realisation about everything that had happened and what Toadie had been keeping from her shook her to the core. Placing her in a position where she felt like she’d been thrown straight into the deep end and couldn’t find a way out without dragging Toadie down with her but needing to appear like everything was fine. Toadie had been the only person not to see her in that state and she was relieved. She didn’t want him to think for a second that she had been affected by what happened, what he'd been through. As far as he knew, she was alright and she wanted him to keep thinking that because she was scared - that if he thought or knew otherwise, he might slip back into old habits too.

She didn’t even know why she felt this way – Toadie was okay. He’d learnt from his actions. He’d moved forwards and seen his behaviour for exactly what it was. He was there with her and Nell and Callum and they were happy and a family again and it was good but a part of it just didn't feel real.  

It went from Toadie pretending for months, putting on an act so she thought he was okay to her putting on an act so that he thought she was okay.

It was a mess.

That was what made those comments so awful because deep down, there was some truth in it. Something that made her realise that everything that happened to Toadie, what he’d been through had such a simple solution but it essentially required her to confront reality in a way she didn’t know how to. If Toadie had known when to back down, when to walk away and put himself and his welfare first, he never would have lost himself to those people, to their problems and to her. None of this would have happened if he had followed that advice. But at the same time, she couldn’t help but feel that, if she or anyone else was to put themselves first while Toadie was in that state, if they had walked away from him, what that could have done to him. That was essentially what she did. 

She put herself first, she walked away when things were at their worse and it led to all of this. 

She nearly lost him forever.

It made her angry because she realised there was no good outcome here. No one would benefit here. Walking away would be okay if the right person does it but they will need to live with the damage that comes about from walking away. 

Sitting there, she tried to take her mind off everything and reached over to the letters and started looking through them. The letters ranged from bills, both electric and water, council notifications and upon flicking to the last letter, she paused.

Miss Sonya Mitchell
30 Ramsay Street, Erinsborough
Victoria 3000

A handwritten envelope slipped out her right hand as it started it shake. She’d know that handwriting anywhere. It was from Alicia Miller – Troy’s mother. Someone she never thought she’d hear from and who she never wanted to hear from. Placing the palms of both hands over her mouth, she took several deep breaths before picking up the letter and removing it from the envelope, holding it in front her as she started to read. 

Dear Sonya,

I don’t even know if you’re going to read this. I expect you’ll probably see my name and just instantly throw this in the bin, which I won’t blame you for and is something I will completely understand. Honestly, I won’t pretend for either of our sake that I understand how you will feel reading this but there are some things that I want to say to you. That I need to say to you. Both in this letter and in person, eventually if you would give me a chance.

I don’t know where to start to be honest. There is so much that I have to say and I don’t want to prattle on so, I’ll just get right to why I am contacting you now, after all these years. You see, a few months ago, I was diagnosed with cancer and recently, I was informed that I might not have as long left as what I originally believed. I don’t know how long that is but I know it’s limited and I wanted to make amends. Explain everything – answer any questions you might have and possibly see Callum too, before it was too late. I’ve always wanted to meet him but I knew I wouldn’t have been welcome before but that maybe now, things might be different.

I know I have no right to ask you for anything, not after how I treated you. After the things I said. It isn’t an excuse but I was in denial. I couldn’t believe Troy was capable of –

Her nerves got the better of her and she scrunched the letter up into a ball, standing up and walking over to the bin and throwing the letter in before she looked around. She was on the brink of hyperventilating as a single tear fell down the side of her right cheek and she brushed it aside with the top of her index finger before placing her hand on her mouth as her lips started to tremble. Realising she needed to get out of there, she ran out the front door in a hurry, barely closing it behind her as she took off down the street.