I now understand why Scott and Bobbi are so close. They went through so much, so many dangers. I think if it was meant for them to fall in love it would have happened already, regardless of the age gap between them. But it becomes clearer to me that a very powerful friendship is binding them and I shouldn’t be such a pathetic shit and question her loyalty, when she never once gave me a reason to. In fact, she more than once showed me the real relationship between her and Scott. It’s not conventional, but I guess with the lives they both live conventional isn’t exactly the norm.
“I wanted you to know me, the real me,” she says wiping away the last of her tears. I look at her unable to put in words what I feel. There are so many emotions: pride that she is so good at what she does, fear that she might get hurt or even die, envy that she has the courage to do this, I still feel a bit jealous of her relationship with Scott. It seems unshakeable, strong. I wonder if the two of us will ever have something like it. I realize that she just exposed herself to me the way no one ever has before. It must have been difficult for her. She told me that no one knows about all her expeditions except her. And now me. I feel my heart swell at the thought that she trusts me that much. She opened up to me, even though it’s hard for her. She showed me the real Bobbi, the one only a few know. Maybe it’s time I show her the real Sam.
“Thank you for sharing this with me,” I tell her honestly.
“I wanted you to know me. To see why I don’t want you there with me. Not because I don’t care for you. It’s quite the opposite. But because I want and need you to be safe. I am sure that if you would give up I would too, Sam. I couldn’t leave you there. I love you,” she says and new tears threaten to spill. I gather her in my arms again and rock us both and kiss her head, whispering to her that I love her too. I knew that what she did is tough, but I only read the basics about the climbing itself. I had no idea how it felt like to actually be there. I still don’t know to be honest, but her story, it made me realize that this is serious and the way she talked made me understand that even though she’s young, she is a pro and knows what she is doing. But that doesn’t stop me from worrying that one day that might not be enough and she won’t make it back. I don’t know if I could make it without her. I know we are young and this relationship is new, but I feel closer to her than to anyone in my entire life. When she calms down I kiss her lips softly, pouring every last bit of love I feel into it.
“I want to tell you something too,” I say and she nods. “You know that my parents divorced, but I never told you why. My real father, Jacob Taylor, he was abusive with both me and my mom. At first he just insulted her, made her feel like she did everything wrong. Then he started slapping her over the face only to continue to actually hitting her violently. He always made sure to not leave marks where they would be easily discovered. For years she took it, because she didn’t want to hurt me, by making us leave him. She thought I needed my father, but I didn’t. At least not one like him.”
I stop and look at Bobbi. Her eyes are filled with new tears and the look she is giving me is one I can’t quite place. I take a deep breath. Wow. This is harder than I thought. But if I ever want a strong, healthy relationship with her I need to come clean, just like she did. Stop being such a pathetic shit, Sam!
“He slapped me a few times and kicked me even around mom, but it wasn’t that bad. But then, after I turned nine and he lost his job, mom had to work two jobs to pay the bills. She was barely home. Jacob didn’t beat me the way he did my mom, but he insulted me, called me good for nothing, useless, pathetic. Mom barely noticed because she was tired from work or tried to patch herself up after Jacob beat her. When I was ten mom got home early because the diner she worked at had to close early because the owners had a funeral to attend and gave the employees the day off. Jacob, like so many other days, drank his frustration away and I must have said something he deemed wrong and he started beating me. When he finished he left me in a pool of my own blood and vomit. When mom saw that she called 911. An ambulance took us to the hospital, while the cops arrested my father. Social services almost took me away from her too, but in the end our lawyer, who happens to be Clark’s sister, helped us. She was also the one who introduced my parents to each other,” I say ending my story on a happy note. I look at Bobbi and see her cry. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you cry,” I say honestly. I don’t want my childhood drama to ruin our time together. I don’t want to give Jacob this power.
“Sam, I’m so sorry. How could he do that to you, his own son? Please, tell me he is in jail or dead,” she says with a fierce expression on her face.
“He is in jail. Fifteen years. He did some other shit too and with the domestic violence charges he was screwed.”
“Good. But this isn’t nearly enough for what he did.” I hold Bobbi and tell her a few more of these childhood horror stories. It’s hard for me to go back, after I tried to forget, but she trusted me with her heart and I trust her with mine. I tell her about the times I was forced to watch my father beat my mother, about all the vile things he said about her, about the time he locked me in my room and forgot me there, about the time he gave me dog food to eat, because he spent the money he had from my mom for food on booze. I tell her every last detail of my horrific childhood. Bobbi cups my face between her palms and presses her lips to mine. When she lets go of my face she wraps her arms around my neck and pulls me close to her. We whisper to each other how much we love the other and promise to support each other no matter what.