Family Stuff does suck though
Thu May 9, 2019 11:34

Heinrich was surprised by how accurately Evelyn’s words matched his own thoughts about their respective recent sleeps. But when she added the reason for her poor sleep of late, Heinrich couldn’t help but turning his head to look at her directly in frank, open-mouthed shock.

Professor Brooding had said there were other students here with less than amazing families. He hadn’t even disbelieved her. He just hadn’t expected to run into one and find out about it without . . . he didn’t know. Employing legilimancy or something.

Which he (a) couldn’t do, and (b) would probably feed his bad wolf, so he hadn’t expected to know when he found such a person.

Well, he supposed he still didn’t. She just said family stuff was messing with her sleep. It could be normal family stuff. Not all of his family worries were related to the one really bad thing.

He looked back out at the ocean. “Yeah,” he agreed, with two parts sympathy, and one part bitterness. “Family stuff is corrosive. Not good for sleep.”

He hesitated a moment at her thanks, not sure he had done much of anything to earn it, but if she thought he had, it was polite to be gracious. “You’re welcome.” It was one of the few phrases he’d learned early on as a contraction before he knew what contractions were, and that they were generally more appropriate for casual conversation than academic writing. And since he prioritize excellence in academic writing in English over casual conversation, and he wasn’t yet skilled enough in the language to easily switch between forms, it was one of the few phrases where he actually conformed to a more informal phraseology.

He fell silent for a little bit, thinking about his own family stuff more than wondering about hers, but curiosity was there. Did she have parents with bad wolves, too? He wondered if that was too intrusive to ask. He wasn’t sure he wanted her asking that of him, so it probably was. So he didn’t.

Instead he just stared out at the horizon and remarked, all too casually, with a feigned indifference like opening up to anybody who wasn’t a teacher was something he had any kind of experience doing.

“I have not slept well since moving to America either.” He almost left it at that. Let her draw her own conclusions about why that was. The culture. The language. Uprooting his whole life to the other side of the planet. But she had told him, so it it was only fair to reciprocate. “Family stuff.” It was a nice vague term she had used. He liked it. It encompassed all of the problem, but gave nothing of the details away.

He stared out over the waves, and added, for accuracy, “Most family stuff. English also make problem. I lose sleep from English, too.” He grimaced out at the ocean. Idly, he picked up a small pebble and tossed it off the cliff with the force of tightly bottled frustration finding a pinpoint outlet. “You think English be the biggest problem. Living in a place, not speaking same language. English should be the biggest problem.” He hugged his knees tightly to his chest, mirroring Evelyn’s pose.

“English is not the biggest problem. English gets better. English can be fixed.”

He suddenly wondered if that was why Hilda hated the language so much. Why she refused to work at learning it. Did she want English to be her biggest problem? Was she just pushing all of her anger and resentment for everything else at English because it was the easier target?

Did Hilda hate English so much so that she wouldn’t need to deal with the underlying reason of why she needed to learn it? If she fixed her English then she’d have to face that it wasn’t new vocabulary and grammar rules that she was really angry at.

It was that Mom and Dad were never the people they thought they were. Hilda might be aware of that, but she hadn’t accepted it. She suspected it, but didn’t believe it.

And English was her scapegoat until she did. And he did understand why she was so furious with the language and it had nothing to do with weird verb placements or letters making the entirely wrong sound (or being ignored completely, begging the question of why they were in the word in the first place). No, she had every right to be mad because, with work and effort and practice, English could be mastered but . . .

“Family stuff can not be fixed.”

And that just didn’t seem fair.

  • Okay, I'll give you that much. Evelyn Stones, Thu May 9 01:29
    OOC - Not necessarily a content warning, but this does include the thought processes of someone who very much is not thinking rationally and is not reflective of abuse survivors' culpability. IC -... more
    • Family Stuff does suck though — Heinrich, Thu May 9 11:34
      • Do you think family just sucks as a whole? Evelyn Stones, Thu May 9 17:21
        Evelyn thought it was sort of funny to hear Heinrich stumble through some of his sentences, and then also come out with words like corrosive. She supposed that was part of his Aladren nature, but she ... more
        • He was surprised again when Evelyn, a native speaker, called English a problem for lacking enough words. But then, she seemed to want to use them for things he didn't use German for either. Talking... more
          • *nods* Parents stink.Evelyn Stones, Fri May 10 00:28
            Language was hard, and Evelyn didn't doubt that at all. She also looked forward to the distraction of something that was totally possible (unlike her academics), and totally not family related... more
            • Like Hilda's eggHeinrich, Sat May 11 21:03
              "Eier, bitte," Heinrich translated her, feeling kind of strange going the other way. Usually he translated for a person who didn't understand English well, not for someone unfamiliar with German. It... more
              • Exactly like that, no differences at all.Evelyn Stones, Sat May 11 21:36
                Evelyn repeated Heinrich's German words as carefully as she could, committing them to memory for practice later. Hilda was in her house and she thought that might help, too, although she hadn't... more
                • Should be shiny and tasty but just a smelly messHeinrich , Wed May 15 11:47
                  Heinrich nodded in understanding that her brother likewise would not remember the ‘family stuff’ she was going through, which probably meant her situation was resolved as best it could be as well. At ... more
                  • Everything is a smelly mess.Evelyn Stones, Wed May 15 15:44
                    Heinrich's grammar seemed to be suffering, either from emotion or from prolonged use, and Evelyn reaffirmed to herself that she would learn German. She was only 13, so by the time she was an adult,... more
                    • Agreed. We need some flowers.Heinrich , Thu May 16 13:31
                      She’d seen her parents bad wolves. In retrospect, admittedly, but she’d seen them. Heinrich wondered if that made her better at this, or just unluckier. It was kind of hard to imagine someone being... more
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