Bruised and battered, Stella sat slouched on the seawall staring out into the angry and dark ocean. She wasn’t sure why she felt so wounded, her plan had been successfully enough, but still she felt drained and tired and a little like she’d been in a fight. She couldn’t remember what she had said to Luke or the children or about the book for that matter. It was all kinda a blur. Like when she had to make that speech in junior high. She felt like she’d said something of value but she couldn’t really be sure. All she knew was that now, after it all, she felt low and let down. What had she expected to happen?
She could feel tears in her eyes and she suddenly felt so tired. So tired and sad. This was her life now. She had no home, no family, no friends, no lovers. No one. Just her. It’s how she’d always wanted it. Except now she wasn’t so sure. She felt scared, but free. No one would be making demands of her now. She’d never feel that ache of being wanted—and that need to get away. They’d always ask for too much. So much more than she knew she could give. And so she sat, tired. Exhausted. From all the energy she’d been spending.
She knew she wouldn’t feel the need to help now. She was here and they were there. And she was sure they’d each found someone else to need in replacement. This was her life now. Travelling aimlessly, following around some guy she didn’t like. What the fuck was the point? Her eyes were burning now, and she felt them hot with tears that she let fall down her face. Sometimes everything just felt so pointless, and her life, so meaningless among it all. And as today showed, she was no longer responsible for fixing anyone’s life. Noam had made that very clear to her. They were adventurers—she was an adventurer now, which meant that she wasn’t to get involved. They were there to experience and observe.
She understood what he meant but it felt really wrong. To not get involved, to not try and help, it just felt… off. Making a spot to lie down on the seawall, Stella gazed up at the grey cloudy sky and wondered what more she could do before they were flying out of Vancouver. Noam had booked them tickets to Tokyo almost immediately after they spoke with Luke, and it had felt to her like his rush to leave had something to do with her rushing need to help the community. It felt like he didn’t trusted her to let this go, and so they had to leave, so she would let it go. It bugged her that he didn’t trust her. Though he really didn’t have any reason to. After all she was lying there on the seawall, brainstorming ways that she could override his authority and do more. Regardless of this, she still wanted him to trust her. Even if he shouldn’t.
How else could she fix the lives of the people in East Hastings? The people felt happy to her in many ways, but the Rewriter and how he used people, and how people just let it happen, it just seemed so wrong. It made her so mad. How dare he treat people like that! He had no right. And as her mind carried on in this matter, her need to stand up to him grew.
Stella understood why she should leave things be—and she understood why she felt so compelled to fix things. She lay on the wall silently contemplating both sides of the coin that was flipping over and over in her mind.
She’d asked Noam to leave her alone after they’d talked with the reading group. He’d seemed more than happy to do so, perhaps because she could feel herself grow sullen almost immediately after she realized the result she’d dreamed of, she was not getting. He’d claimed that he needed to write and to reflect, so that he could begin sharing this latest adventure with the world. Stella wondered what he was going to say—about her—and about this adventure they’d had. She couldn’t shake the feeling that their story felt incomplete, unfinished, not nearly neat and tidy enough to make a good story as it was written now.
She’d read every single adventure Noam had written (though she didn’t plan to tell Noam that) and while they were always interesting, they never really ended neatly. And while she appreciated this aspect of his storytelling, she’d never considered how it would feel to live it. His stories had always felt separate from her, but now they weren’t, she was a part of them, and she didn’t know how to be involved while still maintaining her separation. She didn’t know how to not want to change the story, to make the ending more to her liking and in her favour, than it was now.
But how? How did she really want this to end? She’d been thinking on this wall, amid the falling snow, for hours now and she still didn’t have an answer. Her angry mind kept returning to the idea that the Rewriter shouldn’t be able to get away with it.
She wanted to confront him, to tell him off, and she did this over and over again lying on the seawall. She wasn’t scared of him and her furry rose to amazing heights within her. Once she’d rehearsed her attack enough times, Stella found herself faced with a decision, was she going to direct this furry out and towards the Rewriter, or was she going to do something else with it? She could feel the shame and blame jangling around within her, decades old, she was overflowing with it, and it needed to come out. Fueled by it, Stella aggressively hopped down off the wall, almost landing on a small white dog that was being walked by its elderly female caregiver. After apologizing to the dog and its caregiver, she directed herself towards East Hastings and began a purposeful march towards it. The story was not over, not if she had anything to say about it.
“Where are you headed, Stella?” It was Noam, his voice was behind her, and she could tell from the tone of it that knew exactly where she was going.
“Are you spying on me?” She was prepared to direct her furry at Noam. “Why are you here?”
Ignoring her question and her furry, he repeated, “Where are you headed, Stella?”
“I can’t just leave it.” She didn’t slow down or look back at Noam.
“You have to.”
She didn’t respond, and kept walking. These people were so terribly lonely and no one cared. No one saw what they were doing to cleanse their loneliness, and it made her so terribly sad. She could not just leave them to disappear, to fade away, to be used and discarded without anyone to notice. These people needed a voice, and she felt she was there to be the person to give them one. She was sure of it. She would and could save them.
He was beside her, and soon in front of her, and he said angrily, “No one, and I literally mean no one, needs to be rescued. By you or any one else. So get over it.” And he quite literally used his index finger to poke her in the chest.
Can you imagine how this angered her? Especially when she was angry? Stella grabbed onto the presumptuous finger and twisted it with her reply, “If that were true, what did I do for you in the hotel? Not save you, you asshole?”
“No, you did. But you didn’t need to. I would have been fine without you.” She twisted harder and he continued, “You just intervened earlier. Which I’m thankful for… really thankful for.” His body was sort of twisted now, like his finger, and he squatted low to the sidewalk, waiting for her release.
“I think you needed me to save you.” She pushed her insistence down on his presumptuous finger. “I think without me, you’d have been fucked.”
“Well, that is just like your opinion, man. But me, my opinion is that we don’t need to be saved. And I didn’t need to be. Not now, not then, not ever. I don’t need help.”
She let go of his finger, unsure of what to do with it. And, of course, he continued talking, uninhibited by his newly free finger, “See what I like to think is that we are each our own hero, and that a hero is someone who isn’t focused on the bad guys “out there”, and instead works on transforming what they don’t like “in here”.” Noam took his newly free finger and pointed at her again, jabbing her just above her left breast, at what she assumed was her heart. And he was totally serious. He didn’t seem to know how cheesy he sounded and she stood there smirking at him until her laughter took over.
He looked hurt for a moment. Then angry. Then his poker face arrived.
Why was she provoking him? The thought rose and fell for a moment before she was back to doing what she did—provoking him. “Sounds like the bullshit a selfish ass would tell themselves, so they don’t feel like a coward.” She was good.
Yes, she was. For Noam’s face changed again, and this time it stayed around. His face was scrunched, well, more his forehead, right between his eyes. It was scrunched in the most unpleasant way. A familiar way.
“You’re entitled to your opinion, Stella. But this is my adventure and I’m ending it now. Tomorrow, we leave Canada and tonight, right now, I need you to come back with me to the hotel.”
What did it matter? Just go back to the hotel and end this nightmare. Who cares what the Rewriter does? She felt sad and defeated and she now more focused on Noam’s change of energy. She felt ashamed for not caring more and caring too much, and that heat helped her reaction to be all the more powerful. She didn’t say a word, and began walking away, towards their hotel and towards East Hastings. Of course, as she had practiced many times before, she knew Noam would shout after her.
“Where are you going, Stella?” There may have been a fuck in there somewhere too, she was trying to not pay attention. She was focused on her response. She turned around, glared at Noam and said, “the hotel”. There was for sure a fuck in there somewhere, she’d planned on that. With that, she turned around and began strutting away, towards the hotel, many kilometers away.
“The car’s over on W. Georgia,” Noam yelled smugly after her, “if you’d rather not walk for an hour.”
Fuck, the car. She’d imagined ignoring Noam and walking ahead of him all the way back to the hotel. Now, she’d have to ignore him in the confines of the rental car. She imagined it, and it pleased her. It pleased her so much she ended up ignoring him all the way across the ocean.
I’ve never been so tired. The past two weeks have been excruciating. I’m happy for the work and I kinda like the story, but my character still feels uneven, and needs filling out, and I let the Sid know that. The role might suck, but it was a job. Plus I’m the star of the series and that is, undoubtedly, huge for me. Even if the show doesn’t go anywhere, I’ve still made the step up, and the next offer is likely to be a lead role too. It’s all good. It’s my time to be seen.
Malory’s a bit of a pain though. She’d never really been on camera before, so everything was very new to her. Maybe that’s why I’m so tired, from the babysitting. Still, she was good, and if she was good, it makes me look better. Helping her helps me. Plus she was pretty cute in a way that was more unassuming. She has the kinda hotness that creeps up on you slowly. It’s like each day I worked with her I got to find something new and hot about her and I’m finding myself very into the game. I can’t wait to sleep with her.
The wrap party is tonight… it seemed likely they’d hook up then. Apparently Sid had a friend who had a house on the beach somewhere.
She’s into me, I know it. She doesn’t act like it, yet there is something in her “acting” that said otherwise. She’s an interesting character. The scene last night was crazy, she was crazy. She’d been so cold, the snow was falling so hard, she couldn’t say her lines properly or be seen properly. She kept going, take after take, doing her best and flubbing her way through. We stood there so long I was giddy from the cold too and we giggled our way through some of the 20+ takes. She kept her cool. It was impressive.
I kinda hope the series does get picked up. The dailies looked pretty good, everyone standing around and watching them together each day. It was new being a part of something so passion-fueled and connected. It was a good group of people. The pilot won’t be ready for a couple of months at least while post works on it. It might be shit for all the control I have but I kinda hoped it isn’t. I kinda like Noam. I kinda like the crew. Mal is cool too. Maybe I’ll be uncharacteristically optimistic and let myself hope for the best, for Strange Adventures to be picked up.
Letting the moment pass, I focus back on picking her up. Smiling at the satisfaction of my next conquest, I relax deep into my sofa and close my eyes. A quick power nap is in order before the festivities get started.