Mental Gymnastics

Story created by Eccho25 ∙ 11 September 2023

It's easy to possess and direct someone physically. But the real challenge is helping their mental state. The mind and body are the most integral duo when it comes to making what you want a reality. So it's only right to teach someone that fact if they don't know it. Especially when they don't know why their mind and body aren't cohesive in the first place.

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  • Mental Gymnastics

    Chapter written by Eccho25 ∙ 04 October 2022

    It's easy to possess and direct someone physically. But the real challenge is helping their mental state. The mind and body are the most integral duo when it comes to making what you want a reality. So it's only right to teach someone that fact if they don't know it. Especially when they don't know why their mind and body aren't cohesive in the first place.

  • “Great job, Gina!” Ms. Rhodes says as the rest of us applaud, “Outstanding form!”


    Gina gives a dramatic bow before getting back in line. Showoff.


    “Ok, we’ve got time for one more performance,” Ms. Rhodes says, scanning the line to decide who’s going.


    Don’t say me. Don’t say me. Don’t say me. Don’t say me.


    “Tana!” she announces.


    Oh, thank God.


    “Remind your mother to order you another leotard. That pink streak is an eyesore. You’re up, Passion.”


    I hate when she does that.


    “U-uh, Ms. Rhodes,” I say, raising my hand, trying to figure out an excuse not to do it,


    “If this is another doctor’s notice where he couldn’t find any paper, so he had you personally announce it, his objection is overruled. On the grounds that I said so. Now, let’s go. The sooner this is done, the sooner I can do my yoga.”


    Goddammit. There’s no getting out of it, then. Might as well just get the humiliation out of the way. But let me at least do something I’m at least halfway decent at. I step away from the line and head to the uneven bars.”


    “Excellent choice,” Ms. Rhodes says as pity applause follows.


    I reach the low bar, taking a breath in an attempt to clear my mind. Ok. It’s just me. No one else is here. I’m all alone. Just here to do my standard routine. Nothing fancy. Nothing outlandish. Just something quick. Something simple, land, leave. Easy. Just a quick Shaposhnikova into a Tkatchev, a Shootover with a Pak Salto, Markelov, Double Tuck, done.


    I hop and grab onto the low bar, perching myself up to a handstand. I then give two swings before leaping onto the high bar. After catching it, I turn my body and give one swing before releasing and catching again upon reversed soaring. Ok, so far, so good. Keep it simple. Just like that. Release. Catch. Swing. Swing. Flip. Catchitcatchitcatchitfuckingcatchit!!! There we go. Swing. Hold. Twist.


    Ok, big finish. I can do this. I can do this. I’ve done it plenty of times...But those were flukes. I can’t do this! This was stupid! Why did I think I could do this?! No. Stop. They weren’t flukes. Three times I’ve done this. I can do it a fourth.


    Swing. Swing. Swing. Release. SHIT!!! I let go too late, briefly throwing me off. But my form almost automatically fixes itself and I’ve regained the momentum I’ve lost, allowing me to go along with my Double Tuck and land. I slightly lose my balance upon my dismount, quickly catching myself. Stupid! You’re so stupid! It was right there! You fucking had it! Everything was going perfectly! And you couldn’t stick the fucking landing! The easiest part! You clumsy, worthless, mindless, fai-


    “Nicely done, Passion!” Ms. Rhodes announces as another round of pity applause follows, “Beautiful display of body control. Nothing short of perfection.”


    Alright, tone it down a bit. It was ok at best. Didn’t even stick the stupid landing.


    “Ok, that about wraps it up,” she says, “Your parents should be out right now as we speak. Probably best not to keep them waiting. Stellar performance, girls. I really mean it.”


    The girls collect their things and head out the door, conversing with each other as they take their leave, while I take a seat at a nearby chair. Ms. Rhodes stands at the door, saying her goodbyes,


    “Bye. See ya next week. Outstanding footwork, Mikah. Enjoy your weekend. Later. Excellent focus, Cammie. Farewell.”


    Eventually, everyone takes off, leaving just me and Ms. Rhodes. She closes the door, starting to hum to herself until she spots me. She gives me a shocked look before saying,


    “Oh, hey, there. You need another ride home?”


    I nod my head.

    “Alright. Just give me a moment to shut everything down and we can go.”


    “Oh, and...thanks.”


    She looks confused before the sudden realization of what I’m talking about sets in and she gives me a grin before walking over to me, stroking my hair before saying,


    “No problem.”


    She then caresses my face before cleaning up. Afterwards, she cuts out the lights and heads over to me, sitting on the chair nearby.


    “Amazing job today,” she says, “You’re one talented little tike.”


    “Thanks,” I say, knowing she’s only saying that to be nice,


    “So you wanna tell me about those last few swings and that dismount?”


    “You saw what happened. I just slipped up. You always say that mistakes are fine.”


    “Yes, mistakes are perfectly fine. Integral even. But that’s not what I’m talking about. And you know that.”


    I turn my head away in response.


    “I know that wasn’t your voice,” she continues before placing a hand on my shoulder, “You know that wasn’t your voice. We both know that your performance was immaculate. Timing: sharp. Focus: incredible. Landing: though you lost your balance a bit, it was still great.”


    “Wouldn’t be saying that if you didn’t assist,” I reply, holding my head in my hand,


    “Yes I would. And so would you if you didn’t have these thoughts clouding your mind.”


    “Hate to break it to you, but those thoughts are a permanent part of my life.”




    “You read my mind and saw my performance. You know exactly why.”


    “Yes, but do you?”


    I don’t answer.


    “I understand it’s hard to accept. Something like that is never easy to come to terms with. Especially in your mid teens. But you need to understand your own turmoil in order to overcome it.”


    “You don’t understand,” I say back, trying to hold back my tears, “Sometimes you just need to admit that you’re just not good enough. You’re not as good as you think you are. What comes naturally to others requires a bit more learning for you. My turmoil is my own doing. No one else’s. It’s why I’m here.”


    “And whose words are those really?”


    Once again, I remain silent, not wanting to answer her question.


    “I see...then how about you let me understand?”


    “What do you mean?”


    “I mean, how about I walk a mile in your shoes for the weekend? Just to get a better understanding.”


    “Ms. Rhodes, I appreciate you for trying, but from the bottom of my heart, I just could not let you do that. Please, just take my word for it, you’ll regret it before you even take a step in the house.”

    “But I wanna help you. You have potential to do great things in life. You could take this world by storm. I just want to ensure that you realize that vision. And a little challenge never scared me. If anything, you’re fueling me with those remarks.”


    I sigh before saying,


    “I guess you’re right. And you’re sure about this?”


    “More sure than anything I’ve ever been sure of in my life.”


    “Ok, fine. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. But before we do, you wanna do your ‘yoga session’ before or after you spend the weekend in my shoes?”


    “What’s with those air quotes? I’ll have you know I’m well versed in the art of yoga.”


    “Just like how you can hear my thoughts, I can hear yours if I really wanna. Do you really expect me to believe you’re doing the Balasana for stretching your back and nothing else?”


    “I don’t appreciate your insinuation.”


    “I just wanna know if you wanna get it out of your system before or after. During would just be too awkward.”


    She chuckles before leaning closer to me, saying,


    “Who said it had to be?”


    I lean back, chuckling back, saying in a teasing tone,


    “You could get in trouble.”


    “What? We’re just talking about yoga. Plus, you can’t get in trouble if you don’t get caught.”


    I playfully shove her, saying,


    “You’re so gross.”


    We both share a laugh before she stands up.


    “So you in?” she asks,


    I stand up in front of her, saying,


    “Let’s do it.”


    “Alright, you know the process.”


    I nod before standing completely still and close my eyes, waiting for her to start the process. I hear the sound of her hands rubbing together eventually shifting into electricity sparks as the room heats up a bit. After moments of the various noises, the sound of friction between her hands stops as the crackles of electric volts near my ears. I then feel her hands upon my temples, causing me to vibrate as the volts course through my body. I try not to shift from the slight pain as she starts entering my mind.


    But just as soon as it started, it ends. The sounds of volts are no longer heard. The room’s cooled down a bit. And her physical presence is no longer felt. I open my eyes to see that she’s gone. My gymnastics teacher is now a part of me.


    “And here we are,” I hear her say, “I’m always shocked to see how organized your headspace is.”


    “And I’m always shocked to see how heavy my body feels,” I respond,


    “Hardy har har. You’re so funny. Now, my phone should be in the equipment room in the top drawer. Use that to call Kimmi to get you home.”


    “Wait, why can’t you just take over and do it?”


    “When you first sit down and forget to get something and someone else walks by, do you get up and get it or do you ask them to get it?”


    “I hate that you’re right.”


    “And I love being right.”


    We laugh as I head in the room and retrieve the phone. I unlock it and go to her contacts, scrolling to the name Kimmi before calling and waiting. After a few rings, I hear someone say with a mouthful of food,


    “What’s up?”




    “Uh, hello, there, Kimmi,” I reply, not sure how to react.


    After a few moments, she says with a clear mouth,


    “Who’s this?”


    Before I can answer, I feel Ms. Rhodes take over before making me say,


    “34 18 47 16 23 22 34 18 32 24.”


    She then relinquishes control as I hear Kimmi say,


    “Ooooh. Well, first, this code is just rude. And second, I’m on my way.”


    “Thank you so much,” I reply,


    “Alright, see ya in a bit.”


    She then hangs up and I put the phone in the drawer.


    “Before you ask,” she starts, “Are you really going to lie to me and yourself and say that you would’ve memorized those numbers?”


    “Fair enough,” I reply, “What do those numbers even mean, anyway?”


    “It’s past your generation, but what I will say is that that was our way of texting.”


    “Heh, oldie.”


    “I’m just eight years older than you.”


    “Doesn’t change the facts.”


    “Alright, just remember this in about five years since twenty is apparently the new eighty.”


    “Sure. Hopefully, you’ll still be able to hear me by then.”


    We laugh again before heading outside to wait for Kimmi. After five minutes, a car pulls up and parks next to Ms. Rhode’s car.


    “That’s her right now,” she says, taking control and standing up before making me walk to her car.


    When we get to her window, Kimmi rolls it down, saying,


    “So this is how you spend your time off the clock? Your own perverted version of Duck Duck Goose with your students?”


    “So what if it is?” Ms. Rhodes says, making me lean on the window, “You gonna tell me how to have fun now?”


    “Well, when your version of fun has you spending your time deep inside of teenagers, most would call that the perfect time to give their two cents.”


    “Oh, come on, when you say it like that, it just sounds gross.”


    “And that’s the beauty of this ability of yours. No matter how you phrase it, it sounds just a bit gross.”




    She gives up control as I walk to the other side of Kimmi’s car, getting into the passenger’s seat. Once I’m inside, Kimmi pulls out her phone before saying,


    “So little lady, where to?”


    “305 Manchester Rd.”


    “Alrighty, just sit tight and we’ll be there in a jif.”


    Ms. Rhodes, who is she?


    ‘My roommate,’ Ms. Rhodes replies, ‘Lived with her for about two and a half years now. She’s such a sweetie.’


    And she knows about...this?


    ‘Oh, yeah. As you can imagine, the first time she discovered it, she got a bit...excited and started to question her world view. Then we talked about it and she soon learned to come to terms with it. Wish she stopped asking me to pull pranks, though.’


    So you can come to a resolution by just talking?


    ‘Yeah. That’s how most issues should be solved.’


    Get ready to say goodbye to that.


    ‘Don’t count me out just yet. We haven’t even gotten started.’


    Ok. You’ll see what I mean.


    Kimmi inputs the address and drives off, following the navigation. I bring my arm to the car door, leaning my head on my hand as I wait for Kimmi to reach my house. I’m perfectly content with waiting in silence, but judging from past experiences with Ms. Rhodes and Kimmi looking like she’s desperate to say something, it’s probably best that I break the ice.


    “Almost unbelievable how insane the world is,” I say, grabbing Kimmi’s attention,


    “What do you mean?” she asks, keeping her eyes on the road,


    “You know, it’s just weird how the world can give someone this kind of power. Just when you think you’ve seen it all.”


    “Yeah. I’m just glad the right person got a hold of that power. The wrong hands could have you going through something completely different.”


    “Amen to that.”


    “Yeah, it’s just so assuring to know that someone’s so responsible with this kind of ability. It’s almost too good to be true.”


    “Right. The amount of people who’d just abuse it is almost scary.”


    “Exactly. If only there were a way to have such disturbing people get their just deserts. Then the world would be a better place. Just ridding the world of the gutter minds. Doesn’t help that I know a couple of ‘em. Kinda tall, boring clothes, scar on his left che-”


    “I’m not possessing your relatives to do unspeakable things to themselves, Kimmi,” Ms. Rhodes intervenes, taking control,


    “Oh, come ooon,” Kimmi pleads, “It’d be so much fun to have him get what he deserves.”


    “Kimmi, I said ‘no’. That wouldn’t fix the past, now, would it?”


    Kimmi groans before pouting and saying,


    “You never let me have any fun.”


    “Only because I love you,” Ms. Rhodes replies, making me feel awkward,


    “Still a child you’re talking through, friend.”


    “Fair point. We’ll talk more about it on Monday.”


    Well, that took a turn. Why would she wanna wish something terrible on her relatives?


    ‘That’s actually something that’ll help me later on, Passion,’ Ms. Rhodes answers, taking me off guard, ‘Just keep this in mind when the time comes.’


    Help you with what?


    ‘You’ll see what I mean.’


    Moments pass and I finally make it to my house. Kimmi parks the car, saying,


    “Alright, we have arrived. I’ll be here first thing Monday to pick you up, Lexi.”


    “Sounds like a plan,” Ms. Rhodes says, taking over, “Please don’t forget about my car, though. I just paid it off.”

    “Not to worry. I’ll get Simon to help me with it.”


    “You’re the best.”


    “Back at ya.”


    We step out of the car before shutting the door, waving at Kimmi as she drives off, waving back. She seems nice.


    ‘Ok,’ Ms. Rhodes starts as I turn around and walk towards my house, ‘It’ll be just like the last tournament. I’m not gonna do anything unless it’s absolutely warranted. And I’m only gonna be talking to you.’


    And that’s why I hated when you stepped out right as it ended. If you didn’t, you’d get a taste of what you’re walking into.


    ‘Trust me, I can handle it. I deal with strict parents all the time. There’s nothing she can say that I’m not fully prepared for.’


    Hang on.


    I open the front door and just as expected, mom’s sitting in the living room, reading a book. Before I can even walk forward, I hear,


    “I told you I was coming to get you.”


    I step inside and close the door, saying,


    “It was closing. There was nowhere else to go.”


    “Sorry to inconvenience your delicate little feet. I know it’s quite the concept for you to grasp, but I’ve been busy. I would’ve made it over there in a few minutes. But thankfully, you decided a ride with a total stranger was the best option.”


    “She wasn’t a stranger. She was a friend of my teacher.”


    “Ah, yes. A ‘friend of the teacher’. That makes so much of a difference.”


    “It was someone I trusted because she’s a friend of someone else I trust. What’s wrong with that?”


    “Absolutely nothing if you don’t want there to be. I mean, here I am, being ridiculous, caring about your well being. And you’re just handing out your trusts to anybody without even calling me to at least tell me where you were.”


    “I don’t have a phone.”


    “Shouldn’t stop you from using one of your friends’, but of course, you didn’t think to do that.”


    “The only friend I have who takes gymnastics class is Natalie and her phone was dead.”


    “Well, you could’ve used your teacher’s. Or her ‘friend’s’.”


    I don’t say anything.


    “Yeah, don’t have a smart response for that one, do you?” she asks, placing her book down, “Funny how you had all those answers, but you still couldn’t think to do the basic thing. Bet you’re glad to still have to turn to mommy for answers when you’re lost.”


    ‘What the-’ I hear Ms. Rhodes say.


    Mom stands up from her chair, saying,


    “Oh well. You’re here now. Guess that’s the important thing. You wanna take a turn on the chair? I warmed it up for you. I mean, you clearly need it with all those cartwheels and trampoline jumps you do that you insist takes effort.”


    “I’m actually going up to my room,” I answer,


    “Hm. That’s new. Well, I’ll let you get to it. After all, you must be exhausted from all that jumping around at a glorified playground.”


    She walks past me, patting me on the head before heading upstairs.


    ‘Ok, we need to talk about that,’ Ms. Rhodes says, “That was just not ok.’


    Whatever happened to it not being a big deal? I thought there was nothing she could’ve said that would’ve been too much for you.


    ‘I meant with strict parents. Not these types.’


    Yeah, when it comes to being strict, she’s kind of a cut above the rest.


    ‘Hold on, Passion, you don’t actually think that that’s what being strict is, do you?’


    What do you mean? She was just worried is all. Sure, her phrasing could be better, but at the end of the day, she’s right. I could’ve called her on your phone.


    ‘Oh my-...Passion, I need to tell you something, but first, get some water. You’re actually exhausted.


    Um, ok.


    I do as instructed, heading into the kitchen and grabbing a cup before filling it up with water.


    It’s only natural that she got upset. Mothers do tend to show nurture in different ways.


    ‘Passion,’ Ms. Rhodes starts as I take a sip, ‘Let me ask you something: when your mother speaks to you like this, is she usually that passive aggressive?’


    Sometimes. Yeah, it’s annoying, but it’s just her way of showing her perspective.


    ‘By demeaning you and something you’re putting your heart and soul into?’


    She didn’t mean that. It was just a heat of the moment thing. It hurts, but I’ve learned not to take that stuff to heart. Everyone knows how physically taxing gymnastics are.


    ‘Passion, you’re in denial.’


    No, I’m not. I just look at all sides of the story.


    ‘Ok, then. I guess you wouldn’t mind telling me what you’ve learned from that ‘scolding’, huh?’


    To call her and let her know of my whereabouts whenever I can.


    ‘Or else what?’


    Or she’ll be upset.


    ‘And you see nothing wrong with that takeaway? Of all the reasons she could’ve instilled in your mind, she chose to go with that one. That doesn’t raise a flag? The fact that she has you prioritizing her own temper above your own well being?’


    Ms. Rhodes, I assure you, that instance was just that: a singular instance. You only saw that one. Trust me, there’s plenty of events where she’s stuck her neck out for me.


    ‘Need I remind you that I’m on the surface level of your consciousness?’




    ‘So every time you lie, there’s an overwhelming sensation of doubt that’s there because you know it’s a lie, and in turn, I feel it, too. So while you say that there’s nothing wrong with the way she treats you, there’s an aura of doubt that says otherwise. So I ask you again, do you honestly feel that there’s no issue with the way she speaks to you?’


    I don’t reply. I consider the other conversations I’ve had with my mother. Her shutting down my advances on trying to compete in gaming, her calling me lazy almost every time we come into contact with each other, the differences in response when other people do something wrong as opposed to me. Why is it that other people can make mistakes with no issue, but I’m in the wrong if I do? Why are there different reactions with other people as opposed to me?


    ‘You’re not gonna like the answer to that question, Passion,’ Ms. Rhodes says,


    What do you mean?


    ‘Your mother’s just a toxic human being. She doesn’t care about anyone but herself. As long as she’s on top and her reputation is squeaky clean in the eyes of others, then everything else is secondary. That’s not parenting. That’s not being strict. That’s just narcissism.’


    What? No. That’s just...You’re just...No.


    ‘Remember, I’m in the education field. This kind of thing has come and gone through my doors for years. I know a sick parent when I see one. Honestly, the fact that you had your uncle sign you up for the class should’ve been a huge red flag. Not to mention out of all of the shows you’ve performed in, she’s only shown up to one.’


    No. No, that’s not her. She’s sweet, she’s nurturing. She cares about everyone...She cares about me...Right?


    ‘When was the last time she’s legitimately told you she’s loved you? And no, not in the joking way, where she did or said something dumb and just gave a half hazard ‘I love you’. I mean, the legitimate one. The one you get when you head off to school, when she heads off for work, or when you head off to bed.’


    I try thinking of every time I’ve stepped out of her sight in those instances. I try hard to think of a single moment where those words have been uttered. Nothing. All I remember are snide  remarks to where I’m going to,


    “Have a nice day at the worst place on Earth; I still don’t know what I need to do to get through to you that sometimes kids are just mean. I mean, get over yourself.” she’d say with a snicker as I headed off for school.


    “Night, baby. Hope the Boogeyman doesn’t snatch you up and eat ya.” she’d taunt after I told her about my nightmare when I was eight.


    “Off to go flip around in that little get up, I see. It’s amazing how teenagers these days really want that kind of attention from boys. But whatever. It’s your decision if you wanna present yourself that way.” she’d huff before I headed to the gym.


    “Oh, you were sooo...good...Yeah. Good. I mean, you weren’t that Lindsay girl. I mean, that girl had moves. It’s a wonder how you two ended up in the same class. At least she could stick a fricken landing...I’m kidding. Geez, so sensitive.” she said after the first time she saw me perform.


    Oh my God...Oh my God. She...she hasn’t said it. All she does is demean me...Laugh at me...I’m just a clown to her. She doesn’t...She doesn’t...


    I sit down on the chair at the table, bringing my hands to my head as I try to collect my thoughts. I’m really nothing but a joke to my own mother. Nothing I do holds any value to her. Do I even hold value to her? Do I hold value at all?


    “I’m sorry, Passion,” Ms. Rhodes says.


    I look up at her, standing before me in her semi-physical form. She leans down, wiping a tear from my face before continuing with,


    “I know this is too much to take in. It’s not easy finding out that someone you’re supposed to hold to a high regard thinks of you like this. Especially when they’re supposed to be a family member. But that shouldn’t be what you think of yourself as. You’re an exemplary gymnast, you’re smart, you’re beautiful, your innovation is unmatched, and you’re a pretty tough cookie. Not everyone can say that they’ve sprained their ankle and still performed. And you can say you’ve done it twice.”


    I chuckle at her remark, sniffing and saying,


    “I mean, I wasn’t gonna let months of practice just be tossed in the wind. Especially if it’s just a little sprain.”


    “See? With ambition like that, who cares what anyone else thinks of you? You are even better than you think you are. On the mat, in your mind, at life itself. Don’t let other perspectives guide you. Even when it comes from relatives.”


    I’m so glad that I have this woman in my life. Having her as my teacher is the best thing that ever could’ve happened to me. I embrace her in a hug and she reciprocates, rubbing my back as I hold her tight.


    “Thank you,” I say,


    “Sure thing,” she replies, patting my back and breaking the hug, “Now, here’s what I want you to do, you’re gonna find other activities to do outside of school and outside of gymnastics. Take some time to yourself. Grab your friends and go to the movies. Go to an arcade. Stare at the lake for a while and think. It’s actually really nice if you get there at the right time. I might take you some time. Just spend as little time as you can here.”


    “Um, ok. But why?”


    “The way your life is now, you’re either working or spending time in a toxic house. That’s not good for the human mind. Remember that interaction with Kimmi?”




    “Well, I went through something similar with her. Just last year, I had her realize how terrible her uncle was to her as a kid. But what I failed to do was tell her the importance of letting go. Letting go of her anger, letting go of her need for reparations, letting go of her uncle.”


    “Oh, no. Wait a minute, are you saying I should-...”


    “While it is integral, anger is still a dangerous aspect of our minds. Like fire, it shares its importance with the others, but if you hold onto it and let it run rampant, the only outcome is destruction and pain with no proper resolution. And spending time here with her will only have your anger fester. You need an outlet so it won’t get out of hand. And once you’re able, well...”


    “I’ll need to say goodbye?”


    “It’s the only way you’ll truly prosper. Like I said, I see nothing but big things happening for you in the future. You just need to cut out the negative mindset holding you back. And from what I’ve seen and heard, this is what you need to cut out.”


    Cut out my mother? Can I actually do that? This is someone who I’ve spent the majority of my life with. Someone who’s provided so much for me. Do I actually just walk away? As I ponder this, Ms. Rhodes brings a hand under my chin, saying,


    “Remember, a house doesn’t make a home and relatives don’t make a family. ‘The blood of the covenant is thicker than water in the womb’, after all.”


    We share another hug as I fully digest everything she’s saying. I need to do this. For my own sanity. For my own happiness. To keep balance within myself. I feel her slowly fade back into my mind, leaving me to come to terms with everything I’ve been shown and told. I can do this.


    “I thought you said you were going to your room,” I hear mom say, “Was it such a hard day that you just can’t walk a few feet without getting tired?”


    As she chuckles at her own “Joke”, I take a breath, trying to find the words to say.


    “Passion, I’m just joking with you,” she says with agitation in her voice, “You gotta learn how to recognize one. Don’t be boring.”


    “I-...I didn’t find it that funny,” I reply, looking up to see a look of shock on her face.


    She’s not the only one. I’m surprised I let that slip out.


    “What was that, hun?” she asks, leaning on the counter with a hand on her hip.


    I’m speechless. What do I do? She clearly heard me, so I can’t just say I didn’t say anything. Why did I-


    ‘Relax,’ Ms. Rhodes says, ‘This is the first step in getting where you need to be. Your feelings matter. And she needs to know that. So just tell her how you feel.’


    “Well, I’m sorry you can’t take a joke,” mom continues, “But it doesn’t make jokes less funny. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it should be outlawed. You really need to grow thicker skin.”


    I try to say something in response, but the words just won’t come out. I’m really about to talk back to my mom. This isn’t happening.


    “Actually,” I start, surprised that I’m even saying anything, “There’s a word for when someone makes a ‘joke’ and no one’s laughing but them. And that’s called bullying.”


    “Wow,” she responds, “So, what, you do a few flips and all of a sudden, you’re just a hot shot? Let me tell you something, I don’t know who you think you are, but I won’t tolerate this disrespect in my household. You’re under my roof, living under my rules. I’m paying the bills, I’m keeping this roof over your head. I’m putting clothes on your back. I’m putting food on the table. So don’t you DARE come in here and speak to me like that!”


    “Congratulations, you’re doing the basic things a parent would do if they don’t want Uncle Sam banging on their door. You know what parents don’t do? Parents don’t make ‘jokes’ at their child’s expense. Parents don’t toss their financial contributions in their child’s face. Parents actually support their children without comparing them to other children. Parents don’t belittle their children’s achievements and skills. You know, unless they just don’t wanna see their child ever again once they’re gone.”


    Silence. She doesn’t have anything to say. All she can do is stare at me. After moments of deafening silence, she slowly nods before heading back upstairs. Oh my God, I can’t believe I just said that. I did not want that to slip out. Holy fuck.


    ‘It’s what she needed to hear,’ Ms. Rhodes says, ‘She needs to know that one day, you’ll grow sick of her toxicity and leave. I know it’s hard, but it’s what needed to be said.’


    No, you don’t understand. That last I said, those were almost the exact last worst my father said before he left.


    ‘Oh, I’m...I’m so sorry. I di-”


    No. It’s ok. Maybe that’ll be the wake up call she needs. She needs to learn how to be a better person. And if two people she supposedly holds near and dear to her heart saying the exact same thing doesn’t do it, then she’ll just have to figure it out for herself.


    ‘You’re right about that. So what are you gonna do now? After that, she’s probably gonna get worse.’


    Well, with that being the case, I think now’s a good time as any to take your advice. Time to catch up with some old friends. Something tells me they’re gonna be quite happy to know that my schedule’s finally open.


    ‘Sounds like a plan. Mind if I tag along?’


    Well, other than the fact that you’ve still got me for the weekend, we are agreeing that I need to spend more time with friends, right?


    We share a laugh before she says,


    ‘You’ve got a point there, little lady.’

No more chapters.

Pan157 ∙ 09 October 2022

love it, can't wait to see what they get up to and any more adventures that Ms Rhodes has

Pan157 ∙ 04 June 2023

I feel i should say that this is my favourite possession story ever. it's so wholesome that i would really love to see more of them.

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