It's just the way it is
How did I find myself to be so pitiful and vulnerable
And I lay my head upon an empty heartbeat
I'm alone and I'm miserable
It's just the way that it is and it's hopeless now
I'll never leave the prison inside my head
No one will ever understand the way it feels
To shut out the emotion that drives me back to you
Best laid plans.
“You have to be strong little bird…”
Her father’s words echoed in her head. A memory, long since forgotten or stored away deep in her mind. But it was a memory that now felt so real, so apt to where she was and how she felt. She could almost remember it all, even the smell in the air of the freshly cut grass. The spring air hit her lungs. But she was miserable, crying. Her heart was broken. Her father had just come home from the vet, having taken their dog, a dog that was old when Sierra was born. But now, ten-year-old Sierra was in her front yard, on her knees, tears streaming down her face. Rosa was too young to understand, and while Rico and Diego felt sad, they both refused to show it. Opting instead to bury it beneath some macho male bullshit.
Sierra on the other hand was crushed. Her heart felt like it was about to explode from her chest, her hands were shaking, laying flat against the ground as her father stepped forward from the car. His black hair was trimmed short, left a little longer at the front to comb over and cover the thinning edges that a few years later he would tap out to and shave away. He dropped to one knee in front of her, his hand reaching out and taking his forefinger, placing it under his oldest daughter’s chin, bringing her face up to look him in the eye. A small smile on his face, he looked warm, kind, loving.
She moved forward wrapping her arms around his neck, letting out all the tears she had. He stood up, holding her tight, his hand rubbing her back. Diego went back inside, unable to see his little sister crying, unable to deal with the beloved pet’s death either, but not wanting to do anything so publicly. Oscar placed Sierra down and shook his head.
Oscar: “This is probably as good of a time as any Si…”
He paused, clearing his throat before wiping away a tear with his thumb.
Oscar: “We all have limited time here, whether that is a pet, a wild animal, friends, family. We all fade away…”
His voice was soft, warm, kind. But the meaning behind it, to teach a lesson about mortality. Sierra swallowed hard and tried to keep it all inside.
Oscar: “What is important, is that we remember them….and to do that...you have to be strong little bird…”
And that’s what Sierra was. Strong. The lesson always stayed with her. Her brothers ignored the feelings, any emotions at all. Keeping them locked down. And it worked for them. Sierra on the other hand, she empathized with her mother, her sister, she brought all their anger and sadness into herself while never giving any of her own. It was a one-sided relationship. And now she was the one who had to do everything. Organize everything. For her father. Her mother tried, she couldn’t keep it together. Diego and Rico ignored it, using the excuse that they were “too busy”
Sierra moved across the kitchen, an armful of boxes weighing her down. She dropped them on the table with a thud, she let out a sigh and took a deep breath before opening them. Envelopes in one, and in the other the custom made cards to announce the funeral date and time as well as the date and time for the wake. Sierra put her hands on her hips before scanning across the table looking for something. Her eyebrows narrowed, she looked on top of the table, then under it. She threw her hands in the air and heard music, it was coming from down the hall. Rosas room.
Sierra made her way down there, a quick knock, nothing. Another knock, again nothing. Sierra rolled her eyes and pushed in.
Her sister jumped, shaking her head as she stood up, she had been sitting on her bed, staring down at a picture of the family, lost in her own world. Sierra gave her a small smile as Rosa came back to reality, her hands still clutching the photograph. They all looked so young. Sierra had black hair, still carrying baby weight from Jade’s birth. Deigo and Rico had braids, and Rosa….Rose had no tattoos and was an awkward teenager. Flanked on either side by their parents who looked younger but still like their parents.
Sierra: “Sorry, but have you seen Dad’s address book?”
Rosa swallowed and looked away nervously. She wanted to say something, but kept it restrained, she cleared her throat and reached behind her, grabbing the little leather book before handing it to Sierra. Sierra wanted to ask why she had it, but instead gave Rosa a small nod, turning on the balls of her feet, but she stopped, something caught her eye, Sierra flipped open the book, a page was missing.
Sierra: “Rosa...where’s this page?”
Rosa: “I don’t know…”
Her younger sister shook her head, pursing her lips together and folding her arms over her chest.
Rosa: “I got rid of it….”
She stopped, pulling out the book to have a look at which page it was, she flicked through and swallowed hard before running a hand through her hair. It was a page with their uncles address on it, now missing.
Sierra: “You know I can just get his address another way...this plan wasn’t going to work…”
Sierra shook her head and turned towards the door, Rosa threw her hands in the air, reaching out to grab Sierra by the arm and turn her around.
Rosa: “You’re not going to actually invite him are you?”
Sierra: “He’s family Rosa”
Rosa: “Family?. Family? You know what happened. You know why he shouldn’t be there. Not after what he did. After he agreed with them, those people.”
Sierra: “Those people were your grand parents”
Rosa: “THOSE PEOPLE HATED MOM AND TREATED HER LIKE SHIT…”
Sierra stopped and looked down. Rosa was right. While their grandparents had always been kind to them, they had always treated their mother horribly. When they passed away it was all brought to light, including their Uncle’s auctions in agreeing with them, a wedge that was driven between Oscar and his brother, one that had never been healed. Sierra swallowed hard and took a deep breath before looking up at Rosa, a tear in her eye.
Sierra: “I get it, I do. But….think about it this way. If you and I had a fight, and I passed away, and we never got to see each other, apologise, repair that break...would you want a chance to say goodbye?...to make it right?”
She smiled at Rosa, her younger sister, who had, believe it or not an even more fiery temper than Sierra shook her head.
Rosa: “I wouldn’t deserve it...neither does he...but….I guess I can’t live with the guilt either…”
She reached in her pocket, pulled out the piece of paper and handed it to Sierra. Sierra reached out and took it before leaning forward and pulling Rosa into a hug.
Sierra: “Be strong...little bird…”
Champion vs Champion.
Sierra: “Yo, be honest, did any of y’all actually think that Jen was actually going to beat me for this?”
Sierra Williams, PWS Apex World champion, holds up said title belt. A smile on her face that is half mixed with an arrogant sneer and a turn-up of her lips, she chuckles pulling the title back down onto her shoulder, adjusting it.
Sierra: “I told you all didn’t I? I told you all she didn’t deserve the shot at me, I told you all that I was waiting for one of you to step up and when none of you did I had to go find my own damn challenger. The only reason Jen got the title shot is because she happened to shoulder-check me in a hallway. That’s it, that’s all she did. She didn’t get it by beating anyone of note, she didn’t get it by being the best and by coming for me. Cause god knows it wasn’t given to her because of talent, drive or her goddamn win-loss record. But then again, none of you can say that, because none of you stand out from the pack, you trade wins and losses, in a constant state of inactive mediocrity. And I am begging one of you to step up and give me a damn challenge.”
“A challenge that for two hundred and forty-eight days I have been lacking.”
“That’s right, for the last eight months I have been YOUR PWS Apex world champion, I have beaten everyone they have put in front of me and I asked for more. I am the second longest-reigning world champion this place had had. I beat Malachi and Alexis’ records and I am zeroing in on Mack. I have brought eyes to the product and I have helped improve the business or professional wrestling for PWS Apex. But, do I get a thank you for being a dominant champion? Willing to defend my title and pick fights against people who aren’t even deserving in some cases? No, of course not.,:”
She growls and throws her hands in the air in an obviously annoyed manner. Her hair flowing down from under a black bandana as she rolls her eyes and refocuses forward.
Sierra: “Why would I get any respect around here? It’s not like I am the fucking world champion or anything. And here’s the thing, I have dealt with this shit all my life. But the sad part is it has taken me so long to realize that I am fan-fucking-tastic and I refuse to let people treat me otherwise. I refuse to hear all the whispers and let them lay. Like, me not being a good enough world champion, people promising to end my reign, like the carpenters said, excuse me but...how did that work out for ya? What’s next? Is some asshole going to say I only won this title because Mack was having an “off night” like maybe like he “wasn’t even there”? Could you imagine?”
“But that is the kind of ignorant bullshit people like me have to deal with. No matter where I go or what I do I am always having to punch up, I’m always having to claw and scratch and climb up the mountain with punk ass bitches trying to drag my trilingual ass back down. So let me get my feelings on all that out in the three ways I know how”
“Fuck you, Vete a la mierda and va te faire foutre…”
She smiles and puts up the double birds before clearing her throat and continuing
Sierra: “But, moving on from all that, I have to say I’m actually impressed with the match I have been offered up. I get to jump in the ring with a fellow champion. The current reigning defending United champion. Cleo Phillips. And I’ll be real with you all, I do respect Cleo Phillips. I respect someone who has been able to be the Collateral damage and United Champion. I respect someone who was able to beat Nick Madison and Miles Kasey. I’ll applaud you Cleo, you’re a bad bitch and you have also been smart enough to show me respect. So, I’ll repay the favor.”
“I’m not going to take you lightly Cleo. In fact, you are a hell of a lot more talented than the last few challengers I’ve had for my world title. You have hustle. You get in the ring and throw all of yourself into every single match and that kind of attitude will lead to success girl, I ain’t gonna lie. But, it’s also going to lead you to something else.”
“It’s going to make you crash and burn.”
“Of course, I could just be making an assumption, you know, like you did a year ago, when you decided to comment on my life, my family upbringing. Talking about how nice it was and how I’m not like you because you have been fighting all your life. Talking right out your ass. You think you know what kind of life I had? Yeah, I have older brothers who watched my back, a younger sister who looked up to me, a loving mother and father. But, you really think it was a fucking piece of cake with six people living in a two-bedroom house that clearly wasn’t up to cose while having to go and help out in the family business?”
Sierra pauses and waits.
Sierra: “Spending every weekend in a broken down gym setting up a ring, tearing it down, while all those little Canadian bitches would get to go out with their friends. Yeah, I had a fucking lovely upbringing, bitch. So, Nah Cleo, I’m not going to make assumptions about you, your wrestling style or who you are, and how you grew up. I will however deal in facts. And fact, I’m the world champion, fact, you keep bumping your head on the glass ceiling instead of breaking through.”
“Shit, atleast you don’t bump your head on the bottom side of some rich dudes desk like Heather Haze does...but she probably gets paid more…”
“You have found a nice little area for yourself in this company. Collateral damage champ, United champ, bouncing up and down in wins as much as your effort. And I’m sure you’ll get ready to come at me with a long as list of interesting quotes and even a little respect and close it off with your usual catchphrase. But Cleo, honey, sweetie, in this case the only thing that you’re about to SET, OFF….is my bullshit detector. So Riot, champion versus champion….I ain’t letting you make my world title reign look like shit...so buckle up, pull your big girl pants up and lets scrap…”