Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction based on very limited experience and is intentionally dramatized.
Today is Saturday, April 30th.
I'm really glad today is Saturday and not Sunday because I don't think I could handle going to school tomorrow. For many reasons. I'm so tired but I really don't think I'll be able to fall asleep for another few hours.
Blake came over today to study with me and Yang because our big tests are coming up soon. Like really soon. No matter how many times Oobleck said that they were getting closer and closer it always felt to me like they were months away, but now it's only a matter of days. And I don't feel even remotely ready. I've been so distracted with so many things that aren't school and history and studying that I haven't made time to actually commit any facts to memory. But that's what makes Blake even more special to me! She knows it all and always helps me :)
When we set up this study-date yesterday I made sure to tell Blake to come later in the day so I could sleep. Every day of this past week was spent studying, in nearly every class! I needed a mental break. So I slept in today, and didn't wake up until almost 10:30! I took my time eating and getting myself ready to study – I told myself I was going to take it easy today – then I took Zwei for a quick walk. He looked disappointed when I told him we were turning around and we'd barely gone a few blocks, but I thought it would be best to keep it short since I knew we'd have to keep him outside the whole time Blake was here.
Blake came over at like 1:30 which was exactly when Dad, Yang, and I decided we were ready for lunch. We were all bent over looking in the fridge for something to eat when the doorbell rang and we all jumped. Dad bumped his head on the top of the fridge, and I'm still laughing thinking about it. I asked Blake if she wanted anything to eat but she said she wasn't hungry but then Dad said he found some tuna salad and we could have tuna salad sandwiches and then Blake got a really strange look in her eye – it was like her pupils got really big all of the sudden – and asked if she could have one too. Sometimes I forget how much she likes seafood. The four of us made sandwiches and Blake, Yang, and I ate on the porch since it was such a nice day out. It really felt like spring was here and ready to make everything better!
After lunch Yang and I gathered our books and notes and old quizzes and stuff and sat with Blake on the porch to study. We went through the old tests going over questions and quizzing each other on the material. I needed help with history, Yang needed help with math, and Blake didn't really need help with anything but asked us to quiz her on science and English. It went really well at first! But then we started getting distracted talking about other stuff, like school gossip and Jaune and Pyrrha and Weiss and Sun and a little about politics and then somehow Neo came up and then we went on to college and how Blake was going to Menagerie State. Yang practically grilled Blake about college prep and looking for colleges and stuff. I guess it's on her mind since she'll be graduating next year, but she's never seemed that interested in it before that I've noticed.
Anyway, after a few hours Blake said she had to go home so we packed up all our stuff and said bye and I gave her a kiss and she left. We didn't study as much as we were supposed to, but I still think I learned a lot more than I would have if I was studying on my own. Once Yang and I got inside though we saw Dad on the phone and he looked upset. He was facing the other direction but turned around when he heard the door close and his face was so dark and angry. As soon as he saw us I heard him say, "That's fine. See you soon." and then he slammed the phone back into the receiver. Yang said, "Dad, what's wrong?" and he said, "Nothing. I have to go to the grocery store. Can you girls clean up the kitchen and dining room before I get back?" We both said sure but asked him why and he said, "Raven's coming over for dinner." and he said it with such a nasty snarl that I actually got scared of him for a second.
Then he stormed off to his room to get ready to leave and Yang and I both looked at each other. I expected to see her looking like she felt as unnerved about how mad Dad was as me, but instead I saw her eyes bright and cheery and a grin growing on her face. She looked really happy, and I remember being confused at the time but now I guess I understand. I'm not sure I like understanding it though.
Dad left for the store and Yang and I split up the work so that I'd clean the kitchen and she'd do the dining room. There were lots of dishes left over from lunch that I had to clean and then I also wiped off the counter tops and the stove. I even cleaned the inside of the microwave! I guess seeing Dad so angry made me want to do a really good job so that it might make him happier when he saw it. Yang finished the dining room before I was even done with the dishes so she vacuumed the living room too. Maybe she felt the same way about cleaning up that I did. Or maybe she was doing it because her mom was coming over, and she wanted her to like it?
When Dad came back he looked a little calmer and Yang and I helped him unload the groceries from the car. There weren't that many – it looked like just enough for one really big dinner – but I did notice something in a brown paper bag that Dad made sure to take inside himself. Dad said we did a great job cleaning up and that we could go relax while he made dinner. I went to my room and read a book, and Yang took a shower.
Sometime around 8:00 I think I heard the doorbell ring and Zwei start barking, so I came downstairs. When I got down Dad was just letting Aunt Raven through the front door. She looked like she had just come from a business meeting or something and she was carrying a bottle of wine and I remember thinking it was strange that both Dad and Aunt Raven brought drinks. I went over and said 'Hi' and Aunt Raven said, "Hi Ruby, how are you?" and then handed me the bottle and told me to put it in some ice. I was like 'Okay' and went to the kitchen but I really had no idea what to do. We don't have an ice bucket for bottles as far as I know, so I was just looking around like 'What do I do with this'.
While I was doing that I heard Yang come running downstairs and she shouted, "Mom!" There was more talking but I couldn't hear it very well because I was in the kitchen and because Zwei was still barking every few seconds or so. Dad put him outside and then told us to go sit down for dinner.
Dinner was… weird. I can't think of another single word that would cover everything. It was weird from the very beginning. Dad and Yang brought the food out to the table – Dad's best lasagna with salad and garlic bread – and when Aunt Raven saw it she said, "Ah, yes, Summer's favorite." then she asked me to go get the wine. The conversation was pretty typical I guess. Aunt Raven and Dad caught up with each other – I think it's been almost ten months since I last saw Aunt Raven – and then she asked me and Yang what we were up to. It was like most conversations I have with adults, I just had this feeling that something was off. My stomach felt funny, like how I feel before I big test or a presentation. Yang talked to Aunt Raven a lot, but she never really returned the interest. Maybe that was just how I interpreted it though.
Soon enough it was over and I felt a huge feeling of relief wash over me when Aunt Raven said that she had to leave. Dad said he would walk her out and asked Yang and I to clear the table. Just like before we decided to split up the work, so Yang said she'd start on the dishes if I took care of the table. I finally started feeling like everything was okay and that tonight actually went well, and was wondering to myself why Dad was so mad about Aunt Raven coming over, but then they started talking on the porch.
I heard "Ruby's starting to look just like Summer." and then, "She is. I'm very proud of her. I'm also very proud of Yang. Very proud." and then, "Do we have to do this again, Tai?" and I just wanted them to stop talking or at least get off the porch and talk somewhere farther away. I didn't want to hear it, but I couldn't stop listening either.
From what I'm pretty sure I heard, and how I remember it, it went something like, "I really don't think it's too much to ask." then a little break then Dad said, "Summer vacation is coming up soon, and I think it would help her a lot. She's been through a couple rough patches lately, and she's going to have a really big transition not too long from now. I can't teach her everything she needs to know."
Then I heard Aunt Raven say, "I'm too busy, Tai. I wouldn't have the time."
And then Dad said, "She just wants you there. She just wants you to be even slightly involved. You saw her during dinner. She gets so happy and excited when you're around."
Then I heard Aunt Raven say, "It would be too much trouble. I'm too busy then."
Dad said, "Too busy for your only daughter?"
But all Aunt Raven had to say to that was, "I have to go now. Goodbye Tai. Thank you for dinner."
And I think I understood in that moment why Dad gets so angry when she's around. It's not about something between the two of them, it's about Yang. And how Aunt Raven won't even try to care. Dad doesn't understand how she can't care.
I don't understand either.
After I heard all that, all I could think was 'Thank goodness Yang didn't hear that.'
I was thinking that until I heard the water in the kitchen stop, and then I heard Yang running up the stairs.
And I felt my heart fall straight out of my chest.
Dad came inside and saw me working alone and asked, "Where's Yang?" and I said, "She heard you guys."
Dad's face changed in a way that I don't think I ever want to see again. He just said, "Shit." and started walking upstairs.
I finished clearing the table and washing the dishes, then let Zwei back in and gave him some food before I went upstairs. It was almost 11. When I walked by Yang's room I just heard her crying. It took a lot for me to keep myself from crying.
I've been trying to go to sleep for an hour already and nothing is working.
My mother is dead, and it hurts whenever I think about her, about how much I wish she was here so I could talk to her. But Yang's mom is alive, and she still can't do those things. I just can't imagine how painful that must be.
I'm so thankful that Dad is here. I don't know what we'd do without him. I love him and Yang so much.
I hope tomorrow is better.
P.S. - After like two hours of trying to fall asleep I went downstairs for a drink of water. Dad was sitting in his favorite chair in the living room reading a book. He said he couldn't sleep either. We talked for a little bit, mostly about Yang. I asked him about what he and Aunt Raven were talking about on the porch, and he said that he wants to have Yang spend the summer with her mom so they can have some time together. Aunt Raven always says she's too busy. He said that Aunt Raven has always been too attached to her work.
P.P.S. - The brown paper bag was in the trash. Dad had an empty glass next to him when I was talking to him in the living room. I didn't notice during dinner, but all the wine Aunt Raven brought was gone. She was the only one who had any.
P.P.P.S. - Maybe how Aunt Raven ignores Yang isn't the only reason why Dad is mad at her. Maybe there's something more personal. I don't think he's as willing to talk about it.
Author's Notes: I finally watched Volume 5. What an awful and disappointing season. Maybe in Volume 6 we'll get some insight into why Raven abandoned Yang. It isn't like it's been one of the biggest plot questions since V2, and it isn't like one of the main expectations for this season was that Yang was finally going to confront her mother and get some answers. But I guess we can all settle for a really poorly directed set of back and forth monologues that don't resolve anything.
Thank you for reading.
Keep moving forward.