Coming Home

By: Pixie Sloane

Date: 9th Jul 2021

Iím walking. And it is busy, and with each foot thudding to the floor, I can feel the other foot follow, and it is only the physical sensation that reminds me that I am there, that reminds me that this is happening. I feel like I am being pulled to the present and also pushed away from it, I feel strange, a feeling I havenít experienced for a long time. I can see the people around me, I can see JJ and Asher daring each other to do stupid things, I can see Noelleís derision dripping from her as we walk through New York, but Iím not present. I am not there. I am void.

 

“Vhodka… Vhodka?!” I pleaded into the telephone, waiting for her to answer, hoping and praying that sheíd answer.

 

I looked around me, and there was blood everywhere. Everywhere.

 

Not an hour ago, I was in the middle of the ring in an excruciating match with one of the best to ever do it, Elena DeDraca, for a chance to be the number one contender to the Project Honor Legacy Title, on top of the world.

 

And now it was crashing down. Like a round of TNT had been laced into the foundation of the very fabric of the universe.

 

“Martha, sorry, I am kinda in the middle of somethi-” she starts, before screaming at somebody off camera angrily. “Can I call you back?”

 

Her voice tries to resume calmness when she addresses me, but I can tell sheís fried.

 

“Itís him. Heís here. Iím hiding.”

 

I look around me, I see parts of my ring gear that I ripped off, sitting amongst the growing circle of blood forming at my feet. Iím shaking, my hands are trembling with the viscosity of somebody with a neurological disorder, and I canít seem to shake it off. The phone is pressed to my ear and Iím trying to make out what is going on in the background. Vhodka doesnít press the issue, doesnít probe, doesnít ask if I am okay, she simply utters a command.

 

“Fuck that place. We can look after you when youíre home. Come home.” She hung up.

 

I let the phone slide from my hands, and fall into the pile. I was starting to dress myself in outdoor clothes when I saw a shadow in the reflection of one of the lockers, and I jerked my head to meet the new arrival.

 

“Pixie Dust..” That saccharin voice. He stepped closer to me.

 

The boys are crossing through traffic, and JJ has caused a car accident, but I donít react, it barely registers, we keep walking, we keep moving. Building after building passes. I keep my bearing to Noelle and assume that she will take us there.

 

I SEE PICTURES IN MY HEAD

A WORLD WHERE THE SUFFERING’S DEAD

AND THEY CAN’T FIGHT OR UNJUSTLY ARREST

ANYBODY, FOR THE COLOR OF THEIR BODY

 

He had his hands around my throat, his eyes were glowing red and angry. Bloodshot. The skin hanging around his features was wrinkled, like overstretched fabric had been let relax and it wouldnít return to its original form. His moustache was thick, with varying shades of black and grey, and his hair was whitening now. It was almost five years since I saw him before he started showing up at Project Honor shows.

 

I wasnít sure if it was my newfound notoriety that led him to find me, or if he finally thought I was worth something, but in this moment the reason for him being here was irrelevant.

 

Project Honor had made sure he was banned from the arenas, they had done their part to stop him harassing me. Yet somehow, here I was, alone. The pressure he was applying on my throat was intense, I could feel throbbing in my temples, I could feel myself going weak.

 

Each time I started to wilt, he would release the pressure just enough to allow some oxygen to enter my brain and for me to remain conscious.

 

“You donít get it, pretty girl, do you?” He snarled. “When you left, you ruined everything. Your poor mother, sheís ruined. And itís all your fault.”

 

As he emphasized his sentences, his face would come closer to mine and I could smell the alcohol and cigarettes on his breath, which wasnít as bad as the feeling of being throttled around the neck but it exacerbated things.

 

“Sheís a husk. A vegetable. Sent the damn bitch loopy. Now she donít know the day of the week. Now she donít know her damned name. And its all.. your.. Fault.”

 

Noelle seems to have stopped and weíre stood before a large tower, Asher and JJ have somehow managed to reach us and theyíre talking excitedly about something that happened in an alleyway. I donít ask because I am afraid of what I might find out.

 

It barely registers in my mind that this is the place. I came home, but in my head, I am not home yet. I am still there. Still suffering.

 

It feels like something profound is happening as we linger in front of this building, staring up at endless floors of dim yellowed lights that bleed out into the night sky. They feel blurred, like I canít quite focus on them.

 

MY MUM THINKS I’M ON HEROIN

AND MY DAD JUST THINKS I’M GONE

BUT THEY DON’T KNOW FUCKING ANYTHING

SAY “YOUTH IS WASTED ON THE YOUNG”

 

I sit on the floor, sobbing. Helpless. How did this happen, again? How could I make sure it stopped once and for all? I would need to explain it all to JJ, to Vhodka, to Vincent, to someone, because if not, itíd never end. I donít remember why he left, what I said or did that made him let go. I was sure that it was going to end in a way that would further exacerbate the trauma that I live with every day but my memory goes blank, I probably passed out.

 

I look around me, trying to will my body to work, trying to will myself to get up from the floor and take myself to get help. Iím reaching for my bag, because my phone is there and I can call someone. Anyone. The police, ambulance, something. But it isnít there. It is gone.

 

I am starting to feel faint again, but the convulsions from my body are jerking me awake. Everything is sideways.

 

DROP A HAIRDRYER INTO MY BATH

SHOCKS LIKE THAT MAKE ME LAUGH

IT’S FUN TO LAUGH WHEN YOU’RE SAD

BE HAPPY, COME ON LET ME BE HAPPY

 

“Are you fuckiní listening??” Noelle barks at me. Looking around, I can see that weíre in a lobby, and there are people looking at me expectantly. I try to bring myself around, to pay attention, but I canít. Sheís furious with me, and tells me to just follow JJ instead.

 

My eyes lock onto his feet and he keeps telling me to walk on my tiptoes. Iím confused by it, but I do it anyway, focusing on making my feet follow his.

 

On the flight back, I couldnt stop thinking about his hands around my throat. I didnít care about the Project Honor Legacy title that I just failed to earn a shot at. I didnít care about the Noble Championship that I didnít get to defend. I sent a two-line text message to Christian DeMarco before I boarded the flight to Wisconsin, and that was the end of it.

 

I couldnít imagine a world where this man would continue to torture me, blame me, try to make me feel some kind of guilt or shame over the fact that apparently my mother had lost her one good marble and had finally fallen into the loony bin. But that was the reality, if I stayed, I couldnít be protected. And I trusted Vincent and Vhodka, which was unusual because it took a lot for me to trust people. But these two, I could tell that they were good people and they were looking out for me and that if they said theyíd make sure I was safe if I came home, then I would be safe.

 

I was struggling with it all, with the why. What did he hope to achieve by making my life difficult? Was he jealous of the rapid success I got? Did he want a piece of it? I mean, we were never a wealthy family, but Iíd heard he was claiming some kind of policy against Momís mental health so I donít think he needed for anything.

 

He always was a sadistic, mean son of a bitch. So maybe there was no use trying to dig deep into the subcutanea to find reason for all of this. What if I just fought back? What if I didnít stand for it?

 

But hereís the thing. Everybody regresses. When youíre around a person of authority from your childhood, whether it be a parent, guardian, former teacher, you regress mentally to the person you were. I canít stand up to my stepfather, because I still feel like a child when he is around me, he commands an aura of power over me that I cannot control.

 

WHY DO YOU WANNA GO TURN BACK TIME?

COME AND TAKE A RIDE IN MY PSYCHOTIC MIND

WHY DO YOU WANNA GO TURN BACK TIME?

COME AND TAKE A RIDE IN MY PSYCHOTIC MIND

 

I am suddenly jolted back to reality with Vincent Black in my face. He wants to know why we are in the FIGHT! Tower, what we are doing there.

 

My expression remains blank. I donít know. I wasnít on board with this decision, I am trying to tell him with my eyes but heís not really paying me the kind of deep introspective attention that I need to get my thoughts across. Heís simmering. Like, angry but keeping a lid on it. I can feel that he might explode at any moment.

 

Heís frogmarching us like an army of wayward cats through the building and we had the opportunity to see some of the sights along the way, but eventually we end up in what looks like a transplant of the apartment we left in Parts Semi-known. A smarter, less fucked-up version of clown vomit.

 

“This door remains locked until its time. Youíll know what to do when the light goes green. Thereís enough food to last.”

 

Thereís a door for my room. I smile because I havenít always been that fortunate, and then walk through it.

 

Everybody is so focused on what the future holds, theyíre all transfixed, worrying and planning. The unknown is fascinating to them. Theyíre all going to be disappointed. There is no freedom that awaits them, nothing that hasnít already been iterated on endlessly. We are wrestlers, they are wrestlers, they will fight one another and get paid. Itís prizefighting.

 

Put it into perspective. When someone has their hands around your throat and you feel like you are about to emit your last ever breath, youíll never sweat the pressure of a big occasion again. I felt renewed. I was safe in here, I couldnít get out, which meant he canít get in.

 

Is this home?

 

It sure felt like it.