photo album -remy-

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    Natalie Sterling
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    photo album -remy-

    Post by Natalie Sterling on Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:34 pm

    Nat had been snooping through an old junk closet when she came across the photo album. It must have been put there by accident, because usually her mom kept her millions of photographs well organized within was was practically a small library of scrap books and albums. Most of them were of Nat and Mollie as little kids, but this one looked even older than that.

    She took the album into the living room and plopped down to look through it. It was indeed older than most of the ones in her mom's collection. Most of the pictures in it looked like they were from before Nat was born. There were a couple pictures of Mom and Dad, looking young and usually silly. There were a bunch of pictures of clio Nat didn't recognize at all. And there were a decent amount of pictures of her biological mother, Solange.

    Nat had no memories of her bio mom. It felt strange even thinking of her as a mom, but it felt equally strange thinking of her as "Solange." All Nat had of her were pictures, and the assurances of everyone who'd known her that she'd been an amazing clio. It wasn't fair, Nat thought, that everyone else got to know how amazing she'd apparently been.

    Nat loved her parents. Her...real...parents, the ones who'd raised her. She'd never trade them for anyone. But she always wondered what if...if things had been different...what would her life be like, if her bio mom hadn't died?
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    Remy Sterling
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    Re: photo album -remy-

    Post by Remy Sterling on Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:21 pm

    "Ohhh Naaaat" Remy asked in a sing-song voice as she walked into the living room. She and her youngest daughter had a planned dinner date downtown since she'd come home to visit for the weekend and Hadley was working late.

    When she turned the corner she caught sight of Nat sitting on the couch, hunched over what seemed to be one of their photo albums. Remy smiled. She loved pouring over memories with the girls even more than she loved looking at the pictures by herself. It was fun recalling some of their favorite moments together.

    "Oooh, what do you have there?" she asked excitedly as she walked over. She scooted on the couch next to Nat.
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    Natalie Sterling
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    Re: photo album -remy-

    Post by Natalie Sterling on Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:38 pm

    When Nat's mom called her name, her first instinct was to slam the album shut and hide it under a pillow or something. As if she was doing something bad (she wasn't, for once) and had gotten caught. She didn't, though, and instead scooted over so that her mom could sit.

    "Oh, I uh, just found this old album in the closet," she said, her voice quiet. Again, like she was doing something wrong. She wasn't. She looked back down at the album, which by now she had pieced together wasn't her mom's, but her...other mom's. Bio mom's. "I was just flipping through it."

    It was a rare glimpse into her bio mom's life unfiltered by her parents' feelings and memories. The real her, or at least as real as Nat was ever going to get to see. Candid shots, posed photos, pictures of men and women that Nat didn't know the names of, who must have been her bio mom's friends. Would her mom-mom sitting beside her know who they were?
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    Remy Sterling
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    Re: photo album -remy-

    Post by Remy Sterling on Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:10 pm

    "Can I see?" Remy asked as Nat drew up, away from the photo album laying on the coffee table. She leaned down, and felt a little familiar pang in her chest as she realized why Nat had seemed to draw into herself when Remy had come into the room. Somehow Nat had stumbled upon a box of Sol's things, because Remy knew this particular album was usually housed there. She wondered if Nat had known the things she was rummaging around in belonged to her biological mother, or if the photos had come as a surprise.

    Remy looked over at Nat, who seemed cornered. Like she'd been caught doing something she wasn't supposed to. It made Remy sad that she felt that way--Remy had always tried to normalize Solange, had tried to make sure Nat wouldn't feel uncomfortable talking to her about her biological mom.

    "This is a good one," she said, smiling and pointing down to a picture of a young Sol and Hadley. Sol was grinning brightly into the camera. One of her hands was behind Hadley's head, two fingers poking out like bunny ears. Even Hadley was smiling, despite himself--he'd hated every picture he'd been forced to take, but loved Sol and Remy enough to sit through them. "Your mom was always laughing."

    Remy wasn't sure if Nat would want to talk about Sol--she'd always been very sensitive and private about her more emotional feelings, but Remy would obviously answer any questions the album brought up. And share stories, if Nat wanted to listen.
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    Natalie Sterling
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    Re: photo album -remy-

    Post by Natalie Sterling on Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:36 pm

    Nat looked down at the photo and made herself smile. It was a funny picture, just...just...it was sad. The whole thing was sad. Sad and unfair.

    "Were you and her really close?" she asked after a moment. They'd been sister-in-laws and obviously had gotten along, at least based on everything Nat had heard. But she didn't know if they'd really been close friends, or if they would have been friends at all if it weren't for Dad. As she looked at a few pictures of her bio mom fencing and rock climbing, she had a hard time imagining the two of them having much in common.
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    Remy Sterling
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    Re: photo album -remy-

    Post by Remy Sterling on Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:55 pm

    Remy smiled. "I wasn't cool enough to be best friends with her," she said honestly. Sol had always been very adventurous and on the go, and just...cool. "And I think she thought I was stuck up, to be honest," she added with a laugh. "But I loved her. We loved each other." It was true that they had never been extremely close, but Remy had enjoyed the times they spent together. She had a lot of happy memories that included Sol, especially after Mollie was born and Sol started visiting more often.

    She could tell Natalie was sad, and that hurt more than Remy's own sadness at losing Solange ever would. She couldn't read Nat's mind, but Remy, too, thought how unfair it was. She did not regret a moment of her life as Nat's mom, but how unfair that Nat would never get to know Sol. It broke Remy's heart into a million pieces.

    "You remind me a lot of her, you know," Remy said. She kept the emotion from her voice, hoping that it would allow Nat room to express a little of her own.
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    Natalie Sterling
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    Re: photo album -remy-

    Post by Natalie Sterling on Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:16 pm

    "Yeah, Dad always says that too," Nat said, flipping another page. She had a hard time imagining how she was at all like the beautiful woman in these photos, sword fighting and climbing mountains and hanging out with groups of friends. Cool, her mom had said. And, always laughing. Nat wasn't either of those things. "What, uh, what kinds of things did we have in common?"
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    Remy Sterling
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    Re: photo album -remy-

    Post by Remy Sterling on Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:40 pm

    Remy let out a laugh. "I bet he does," she said, shaking her head. She looked over at her beautiful, trouble-maker of a daughter who was studying the pages. "You are just like her," she reaffirmed.

    "Look at this one," she said, reaching across Nat to point at a picture. It was of Sol, hunched over a sword in concentration. Remy wished she could have captured the moment in more than just a photo, that she somehow could have recorded in live-time Solange working in her shop. But the photograph would have to do. "This is exactly how you look when you're lost in your music." The passion in Sol's eyes was pure and unadulterated, just as Nat's would get when she was lost in the piano.

    "She was talented. Passionate. Smart. She was also very kind, Nat. She had a big heart--just like you do." Nat could have a rough exterior--she got into trouble, sure. But she loved so hard. "And she got into just as much trouble," Remy added, raising an eyebrow and smiling. "You've always written your own rules, Nattie. Your mom was the same way."
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    Natalie Sterling
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    Re: photo album -remy-

    Post by Natalie Sterling on Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:44 pm

    Nat shifted uncomfortably, as she often did when receiving compliments. Instead of meeting her mom's eyes, she instead focused on the photo she'd pointed out of her bio mom making a sword. It was admittedly a really incredible photo. Is that really how I look when I play? she wondered. Sometimes she couldn't help but feel that it wasn't that she was a lot like her bio mom--it was that her parents wanted her to be, and so had convinced themselves of it. But she could never tell them that.

    "I thought Dad was the one who always got into trouble, not her," she said, shifting the focus of the conversation off of herself. She knew her mom had been trying to be nice and sincere in the other things she'd said, but it just felt too awkward to address any of them.
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    Remy Sterling
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    Re: photo album -remy-

    Post by Remy Sterling on Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:33 pm

    "Do you think someone raised solely by your father could get away without having a little bit of the trouble maker gene?" Remy asked, a smile on her face. "Different trouble than your dad got in, yes," she told Nat, "but trouble all the same. They had...different moral compasses." Remy obviously wasn't going to tell their daughter about Hadley's true trouble-making ways in his younger years, but she was still honest.

    "I wasn't around for most of it, of course," she said. "Your father would be able to tell you more stories." She paused for a second, and sighed.

    "I'm sorry, Nat," she said softly. Nat's eyes were still trained on the album, her hands were moving, sliding from one picture to the next. Remy knew she was trying to keep herself busy, trying to keep her gaze from Remy. "I know it's hard." Nat hated talking about her feelings, but Remy couldn't help but wish she could somehow get through to her.
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    Natalie Sterling
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    Re: photo album -remy-

    Post by Natalie Sterling on Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:03 pm

    Different moral compasses, huh? Sounded a little bit like her and Kinley.

    Mom wrote:"Your father would be able to tell you more stories."

    "Hm," was all Nat said to that. Asking her dad for bio mom stories straight out of the blue sounded like a recipe for disaster. Most of the time he had no issues telling fun anecdotes about their childhood, but other times he got really emotional, and besides those moments he was never emotional so it was always really jarring.

    Mom wrote:"I'm sorry, Nat. I know it's hard."

    "It's not--" Nat began, suddenly defensive. She stopped herself, though. She had no real reason to be defensive. "I mean...I dunno. I don't know how to feel about it all."
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    Remy Sterling
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    Re: photo album -remy-

    Post by Remy Sterling on Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:28 pm

    Remy nodded. "It's okay to be confused," she told her. She didn't want to sound condescending, but she was a mother, after all. "I know it's unfair. And I know it's hard to talk about, but I just..." She sighed. "I hope you know you can talk to me. And to your father. About this, about anything."

    Remy remembered the box. "Actually, I do have one other thing," she said. Remy got up and walked over to the hall closet Nat had gotten the album from. She lifted the box and brought it into the living room, placing it on the coffee table before sitting back down next to Nat.

    "You found the album in here, right?" she asked. "If you want, you can go through this. We don't have to talk about it, not if you don't want to. But these things belonged to her, all of them." It was one of the boxes Remy had saved from Sol's apartment. Hadley had been too torn up to go through anything. "It's not a lot, I know. But if you want to know about her, this is a good place to start."
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    Natalie Sterling
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    Re: photo album -remy-

    Post by Natalie Sterling on Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:41 pm

    Mom wrote:"It's okay to be confused. I know it's unfair. And I know it's hard to talk about, but I just...I hope you know you can talk to me. And to your father. About this, about anything."

    Nat held back a sigh. Of course she knew she could talk to them, she just didn't want to. Not about this, anyways. Not about such an emotion-laden topic. Nat didn't talk candidly about her feelings if she could avoid it. Not to her parents, not to her sister or aunt or uncle, not even to Kin. But she still wanted answers...

    When her mom disappeared for a few seconds and returned with the box of her bio mom's things, assuring her that they didn't need to talk any more about it, Nat was genuinely surprised and maybe--maybe even a little touched? Her mom so, so rarely understood her, but now it was as if she had read her mind.

    "Thanks, Mom," she said after a pause. She hesitated, then gave her mom a little hug before quickly pulling back away. She wasn't much of a hugger, but she wanted her mom to know that she really was grateful for her understanding.
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    Remy Sterling
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    Re: photo album -remy-

    Post by Remy Sterling on Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:13 pm

    When Nat hugged her, Remy felt like she was going to melt. She savored every second of the quick hug--they came so few and far between from either of her daughters, but especially from Nat, who had stopped coming to Remy for hugs and kisses at a very young age. "I love you," she told her as Nat pulled away from her (much too soon).

    They sat in a moment of quiet as Nat stared at the box, not saying anything. Remy felt her shoulders sag a little. She knew what she had to do.

    "You know, I think I'm just going to order us some pizza," she said. "I have some work I need to get done since your dad is out of town, and I kinda put it off until last minute." She smiled at Nat, though she felt a little sad. She had been looking forward to the alone time with Natalie, but she could tell Nat really wanted to go through Sol's box. "How about I order your favorite?"
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    Natalie Sterling
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    Re: photo album -remy-

    Post by Natalie Sterling on Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:44 pm

    "Oh, um, okay," Nat said. She looked down at the box of things. Mom's things. Right now she wanted nothing more than to tear through it and examine every single item it held, to see if any of it could tell her anything more about her bio mom and where she'd come from.

    She looked up. There was a little bit of sadness behind her mom's smile. That's right, we were supposed to go to dinner tonight. She looked back down. It wasn't like the box was going anywhere. It would be here when they got back.

    "Though, I was kinda feelin' that barbecue place downtown," she said, absent-mindedly pulling on a frayed thread on her shirt sleeve. "But if you're too busy with work pizza is fine too."
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    Remy Sterling
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    Re: photo album -remy-

    Post by Remy Sterling on Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:01 pm

    More kind than troublesome, Remy thought, as Nat offered to go out to dinner despite her obvious itch to go through Sol's things. She loved Nat, more than she would ever know.

    "I do have a lot of work," she said, apologetically. "But the barbecue place will be there tomorrow night. Maybe your dad can come with us." She leaned over and kissed Nat's forehead before getting up. She smoothed out her pants and smiled down. "You okay in here? I'll come back when the pizza gets here."

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