Jump to content
Kelby Matos

I remember the time I knew what happiness was

Recommended Posts

Kelby Matos

January 15th, 2039

 

It had been almost a month since Christmas, and the term was beginning to get in the full swing of things again. On Christmas day, Kelby had sent home an owl with a message that said ‘Happy Christmas!’ along with a decorated frame with her favorite picture of her and her mum. While Elizabeth and Kelby had a grocery list worth of issues between them, it didn’t mean that the girl didn’t love her mother. It was love with the deepest feelings of resentment underlying every interaction; words between them were strained and uncomfortable, but Kelby couldn’t find it within her to hate the woman that had birthed and cared for her, whether she wanted to or not.

The next day, the owl came back with a return scribble of ‘Happy Christmas to you too!’ with twenty euros, some hand sanitizer, and a book on ‘The Importance of Self-Defense’ by Malcolm X. Heindell. Though Kelby wasn’t ungrateful, she frowned just slightly as she looked through her loot, examining once again to see if there was some heartfelt gift or letter hiding beneath everything else.

The euros were nice enough, but Kelby spent most of her year away at a boarding school that did not let her off of school grounds unless it was on some odd field trip in the middle of nowhere. Well, she supposed they did go to Disney World that one time, but she chalked that up to Fjord being an absolute nutter.

The hand sanitizer was a lovely addition, one her mother knew she used often, but it felt a little cheap to be added to a Christmas gift. Kelby had always felt odd about those gift packs she found in the stores with the bundle shampoo and conditioner. Was it supposed to signify to someone that they were not clean? If that were the case, she probably should have sent the twenty euros back to her mother to purchase one of those for her dormmate.

At least the book showed some thought, and Kelby happily indulged in it, grateful that it focused more on pictures of the techniques than it did the actual words part.

After Christmas had passed, she quickly forgot about any complaint she fostered as time went on as it always had. Her friends eventually came back, the Dueling Chamber opened its doors once more, and classes resumed as if there was never a pause in time where all of that hadn’t exist. Her routine was back to normal, and Kelby only thought about her father a handful of times within those few weeks. In her defense, most of those thoughts revolved around her little brothers, wondering if they had a pleasant holiday, if they missed her, if they asked where she was. She thought about it once – perhaps she could write them, but she knew that her father would send the owl away with scorn and anger.

The gifts she had managed to order for her brothers (through her mother) lay discarded on her bedside table, hidden under a shirt she couldn’t bear to move. Just the thought of seeing the gifts and remembering that she was no longer wanted was enough to make her heart feel as though it had been ripped to shreds. There was no way she could look at the book she had gotten Diego or the firetruck she had picked out especially for Cristopher and not feel like the world was falling apart.

So she hid it in hopes that she could hide the thoughts from her mind too.

And it worked, for a little while she supposed. It worked enough to get her through the holidays and back to a place where distractions could take over her mind and keep her from the downward spiral that were her thoughts. Kelby though she was safe, though she made it to that point where it would hurt less.

She was wrong. She was so very wrong.

On January 15th, Kelby received a package from her mother with a note in the most pristine handwriting Elizabeth Driscoll had ever produced. That was her first sign that something was very wrong. The second was the handwriting that was very different on the package addressed to Kelby.

Her eyes scanned the note quickly as her heart dropped deep into her abdomen.

‘Darling x,

Your father sent this. Just got it. Forwarding it onto you.

Lots of Love,
Mum’

Kelby read the note again. And again. And again. Over and over until her eyes were sore, and she was sure that she didn’t misread a single word. Her father sent her a package? Her father who renounced her and told her that she was no daughter of his when she picked magic over his solution.

Her body froze while her heart raced. One second, she was holding the box close to her chest, and the next, it was falling... down... down... down until she heard the crash of it hitting the floor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kelby Matos

January 18th, 2039

 

Three days later, and the box was still stuffed under her bed.

Each night, Kelby snuggled under her comforter with two pillows propped behind her neck in the hopes that she could distract herself enough to sleep for just a few hours. Every time she closed her eyes, she couldn’t stop her curious mind from guessing what could be in the box. What could her father, who had wanted nothing to do with her for the past five months, possibly send her for Christmas after everything that had gone down between them? The package was heavy, and it rattled when she shook it. Kelby kept telling herself she would open it this time, but this time turned to next time, again and again as her nerves got the better of her.

Finally, at two o’clock in the morning when each of her dormmates were sleeping, Kelby got the courage to open the box. She pulled on the wrapping gently, careful not to tear the address in case she needed it later. Diego and Cristopher’s gifts still sat on her bedside table, hidden from view to keep the reminders away. But maybe with this olive branch, she could finally send them on to the two little boys who had been born into a war.

She hoped.

When the paper was finally off, Kelby slowly opened the box, anticipation rustling through her stomach as she tried to imagine what this could possibly be. Inside sat four individually wrapped gifts with two cards sitting on top. Three of the gifts were pristinely wrapped while one looked as though it had been through the ringer before it arrived to her. As for the cards, one was very clearly her father’s rushed handwriting while the other resembled something a child might have written.

She reached for that card first, like she was a bear after hibernation who was famished.

Kelby opened the envelope quickly, ripping it at its edges as she exposed the card written in bright blue crayon. Sinking deep into her bed, she couldn’t stop her tears as she looked at the picture of squiggly marks that she was sure Cristopher spent hours on to make it ‘perfect!’ Though they made no sense to her, she knew that her little brother considered himself an artist in the loosest sense of the world.

It was the most beautiful image she had ever seen.

Opening the card outward, her eyes soaked up Ariane’s careful writing with Cristopher’s mimicries below. There were letters backward and upside down, some of them gigantic while others tiny; it was very evident the card was the work of a three-year-old, but Kelby smiled anyways.

‘KELBY!

TE AMO!

VISITAME!

Te extraño!!  

❤️❤️ CRISTOPHER + DIEGO’

Underneath, there were three squiggly people. One big and two small, the symbolism of their family.

Kelby tried to calm herself, steadying her breathing and squeezing her blankets. One moment, she thought she would be fine, and the next, a canal burst open within her as she started sobbing and couldn’t stop. Sneaking down the steps to the Gryffindor Common Room, she clutched the card in her hand as she let herself finally cry freely. It was nights like these in the early morning hours where Kelby questioned again and again if she had made a mistake. Was it worth her happiness if she destroyed her family?

No one seemed to have the answer.
--

Spanish Translation: I love you. Visit me. I miss you

 

Edited by Kelby Matos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kelby Matos

February 2nd, 2039
 

It had taken her weeks to stop bending that card over and over again to ensure the words didn’t disappear. While her stepmother’s careful writing may have conveyed the messages her half-brothers wanted to say, it was really Cristopher’s scribbles and drawing that made her heartache appear each time she gave herself a moment to glance at it. Her brain was so fixated on those actions, she couldn’t bring herself to do more. The toys that she had bought for them laid under her bed now next to the box, waiting for her to send them to her mother to send out, but for some reason, Kelby couldn’t bring herself to do it. There was something coiled deep in the pit of her stomach, entwining with her fear and controlling her decision without the first year even understanding what was happening.

One….

          two….

                     three weeks went by before Kelby could bring herself to try again. She knew it was foolish to wait as long as she had, especially when this was the olive branch she had been waiting for after months, but she couldn’t bring herself to push through when something about this whole situation felt wrong. Her father had not written her once since the gigantic fight that threatened to tear them all apart like obliterated fragments floating in the wind. But now that Christmas time had neared, he thought it was wise to send not one, not two, but three gifts?

There was something odd going on, and Kelby still could not bring herself to understand what exactly it was. Though her mind attempted to fuse those pieces together, it went far beyond Kelby’s scope of capabilities to ever fathom a scheme as intricate as one of her fathers. She had learned early on not to trust anything that didn’t go Ricardo’s way because it always turned out to be a trap.

Kelby tried to write her mother about it, tried to look at the older woman’s twisted point of view in hopes that her mother might understand more, but she was so caught up her new fiancé (blegh), their correspondence hadn’t been helpful in the three weeks of lag time that Kelby allowed herself.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

‘Dear Mum,

I think Pap
í's acting strange. He hasn’t written to me in ages, but now he’s sending me presents. What do you think?

-Kelby’

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

‘Kel,

Your father is trying to extend an olive branch. Take it.

Richard and I have finally moved in together. It’s a cozy little flat at the west end of London with lots of structural integrity. Rich’s got a daughter who lives here
part time. Her name’s Laurel. Little older than you, but I imagine you two would probably like doing each other’s make up and the like. Richard’s between gigs right now though, he’s a band manager (how lovely!), so all we can afford is a two bedroom flat. That means Laurel is staying in your room when she comes, and it might be cramped when you come for summer hols. Do you think that school of yours would let you stay over summer like you did winter? It would be such a convenience while we are settling in here.

Oh, and I gave your father the new address. Not to worry.

Love you.

- Mum’

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

‘Mum,

First of all, are you seriously telling me that you decided to move in with someone…. And gave up my bedroom? Who is this Laurel girl? How do you know she’s not stealing all my stuff? I haven’t even met these people, and you are just…

Whatever. If you’re happy, whatever.

Hogwarts is closed for summer hols. I can’t stay no matter how much I would want to.

I just don’t understand how you could have watched everything he did when he came to visit and then tell me to take his olive branch? I thought you said you were always on my side.

- K’

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

‘Kel baby,

Oh
honey, they are wonderful people. You’d absolutely love them. Richard was managing all these stellar bands, but when we met, some things kind of went downhill. He’s just getting back on his feet, and everything will be perfect again. Laurel is a sweet girl too. Very girly, likes to play dress up. I’m sure you two will get along swimmingly. As long as the engagement keeps going well, she will be your SISTER soon.

That’s right! I mentioned I was engaged? If not, SURPRISE.

The wedding is in a few weeks. We were going to write to get you pulled out of that school of yours, but your education is far more important than your dear
ol’ mum. Don’t worry, we’ll send your lots of pictures. We are eloping to HAWAII.

Oh Kelby, it’s such a dream. I wish you could be here but keep making me proud at that school of yours. Though… in the future, do you think we could avoid talking about what you are studying? The owls are hard enough to explain, and I don’t know how well Rich will take it.

Anyways, I guess I’ll see you in July! Exciting. Can’t wait. Your mum will be a married woman again.

And honey, of course, I’m always on your side. But I also just want you to see the mature option here.

xoxo, mum’

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The last letter pushed her over the edge, learning that her mother didn’t even want her only daughter at her wedding. It was enough to send Kelby into a whirlwind of hurt and rage, ripping the letter and kicking the box of gifts. It took her a few seconds of rifling through before she found the second card her father had sent; this one hadn’t been touched by greasy fingers of a little boy who loved his sister. This one was neat and pristine, just like her father had always been, and Kelby was ready to finally get the answers she deserved.

Edited by Kelby Matos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kelby Matos

February 2nd, 2039 (cont'd)

 

The rip of the envelope paper was harsh against Kelby’s ears as she stomped down the stairs from the first year dorm, through the common room, out the Fat Lady’s portrait and to some deserted corner of a tower where she could sit by herself. Already, chills pulsated down her spine causing her to shake as if she had drunk four cups of coffee within the last hour. As soon as the ripping commenced, opening the envelope up enough to let her reach inside for her card, Kelby instantly regretted it.

Sealed tightly in a little envelope, she could convince herself that it didn’t exist. If she avoided it long enough, Kelby knew that one day she could forget that her father had ulterior motives for everything he did. If she could only close her eyes and pretend…

Kelby was too far gone for that. Curiosity overwhelmed her as her legs moved faster, seeking purchase on a ledge directly in front of the stairway to the owlery. The corner was dark and isolated, enough so that she didn’t worry about anyone seeking her out, but not far enough into the depths of Hogwarts that she would get lost in the endless labyrinth of hallways and staircases.

There were few times in Kelby’s life that she could identify as pinnacle moments; moments would define her development, growth, and future. These moments that stuck with her, bruising her heart as they broke her or making her feel as though she was ten feet tall with the ability to conquer the world. The thing about moments like those where they were hard to identify until the repercussions from the choices sent her reeling; her life turning into a disaster zone as she recuperated.

For the first time in her life, Kelby was able to identify a moment as it was happening, and though it should have comforted her that this could be a defining moment, all she could do was breathe deeply through her nose in an attempt to keep her nausea at bay. Tears gathered in her eyes before she even pulled the card from its envelope with the knowledge that this would be something that destroyed her. With her father, it was always destruction. It always hurt when she closed her eyes and realized she was a mirror image of him – a miniature tornado, following his path no matter how hard she tried to swerve it, destroying everything (and everyone, she always gulped as she added) in her path.

Kelby Matos was a literal disaster. It seemed to be a family trait to cause destruction to every good thing that ever happened to them.

Like a band-aid, Kelby tried to make the mature decision to rip off the sticky part before she could torture herself more than she already had. She yanked the generic card out of its holding and quickly skimmed the basic Christmas greetings scrawled across it before she opened it. Inside, more generic messages with the names of each family member written neatly underneath.

Was it… just a card? Had Kelby been panicking over nothing?

It wasn’t until she picked up the discarded envelope that she realized a folded-up letter waited for her inside. The deep sigh of relief she allowed herself after opening the card had been wasted when she realized the real anxiety-inducing component hadn’t been touched.

Willing some of that Gryffindor bravery the hat thought she had possessed, the first year yanked out the letter, unfolding it at its creases before she could chicken out and let more weeks pass. Her hands were trembling, making the letter practically unreadable as she struggled through, each line getting increasingly blurry as her mind struggled to translate from Spanish to English.

--

‘Dear Daughter,

I hope this letter finds you in good health; though you have yet to come home from your decision, I know it is only a matter of time until you understand why I discouraged this choice of yours. I assumed you would see the downfalls of your decision by now, but seeing as I have not heard from you, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. It is clear that your mother isn’t parenting you properly seeing as you so freely make decisions without having anyone to answer to, so I have decided to take it to the courts. I intend to gain full custody on the premise that your mother is an unfit parent. If this decision goes through, I will be pulling you out of school immediately and moving you back to Peru where you belong.

I have already submitted the paperwork, so while this may be a slow process, I plan to expedite however I can to ensure the proper decision gets made immediately. Please write back with your last day of school for the year, so I can ensure that you will be home when I fly to London this summer.

Warm affections,
Papí

--

As soon as she finished reading the words, her world turned cold and numb. This was it. She let herself get too comfortable at Hogwarts, and her father found a way to ruin it all again. It took everything she had to keep from screaming as she stayed sitting on that ledge for hours staring blankly at the sky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kelby Matos

700th post is for herself because Kelby is an independent lady ❤️

 

 

STEP ONE: SHOCK & DENIAL

The view from the owlery was expansive, majestic, exhilarating, but Kelby could not find it within herself to appreciate it. As the sun gently sunk into the distant horizon, she felt absent, unable to appreciate the beauty of a sunset like she normally would. Kelby’s eyes were blank, not holding their usual spark, while waves of thoughts plowed through her so quickly, she was unable to process a single thing. It was like a sensory overload, an error in computing, the blue screen of death.

Kelby Matos felt absolutely numb for the first time in her life.

It was foreign to feel this way; for the first twelve years of her life, apathy did not exist in her dictionary. Everything had always been an extremity for Kelby – she either loved with every fiber of her being or detested with little remorse.

There was no numb. No in the middle. Kelby had always been black and white in her ideas and thoughts and feelings, so the sudden emergence of being grey made it worse. How had she let herself fall into this situation? Why did her father have to take away everything she ever loved? Couldn’t he just forget she ever existed and allow her to live happily with the one choice she had been given the chance to make herself?

No. Never.

STEP TWO: PAIN & GUILT

Kelby wasn’t quite sure how long she sat on that ledge staring out at the Hogwarts’ landscape. It felt like hours, as if her whole day was wasted staring without actually accomplishing anything. She wondered briefly if her roommates would notice the fact that it was Saturday, and she hadn’t done a deep cleaning of their room. She didn’t have it in her to comment on Kay’s dirty laundry scattered across the floor or the mud that may have been tracked in by a cat or human (since everyone thought she was that dumb). Her usual platform in the Dueling Chamber would be taken over by others, and she wondered if the dueling officials would even notice a staple of the Chamber had gone missing. Would they even care?

A pang in her heart was enough to tell her that she was kidding herself if she thought that she was that important. No one would care if she left, and if they did, it was her fault for facilitating friendships that she knew wouldn’t last.

STEP THREE: ANGER & BARGAINING

Darkness had begun seeping into the corridor when Kelby finally managed to sort through any thought that was more than self-pitying. As she managed to move past the part of her mind that blamed herself, she was finally able to see the real issue at hand.

None of this was her fault.

Standing from her spot with a numb behind and tingling legs, Kelby half-limped to the Gryffindor tower, clearly a woman on a mission. After yelling out the password, a strong ‘billywig’ still echoing from the first year, the portrait swung open, allowing Kelby to stomp through the common room, up the stairs, and to her dormitory. Not even caring about the mud and the dirt and the dust that likely gathered on the floor, Kelby laid down on her stomach as she rustled under her bed, finding the presents she had concealed for almost a month. She had thought that it would be easier to pretend they didn’t exist, but now, she was too angry to care. Her immaculate robes became crumpled as she stayed on her stomach, reaching for the biggest box and ripping the paper.

It took her just moments to see it was the newest iteration of the PlayStation.

The paper of the next box gave way with an overzealous rip, taking only one motion to show that the second present was a laptop.

Her stomach sunk.

Kelby knew what was wrapped in the last box before she even touched it, but she still unwrapped the paper to be sure. Her hands held the newest smartphone that had just dropped on the market.

The gifts would have been considerate in any other setting if her father didn’t already know. But he did. Kelby had been sure to tell him how magic interfered with technology, meaning that she couldn’t bring her cellphone or laptop to Hogwarts. It was one of the things he was vehemently against, but with her mother allowing Kelby to make her own decisions, there was nothing for the man to do about it.

This was the most backhanded thing he could do to manipulate her.

She hated him. She hated him more than anything. 


It was in that moment that Kelby finally realized she would not go down without a fight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.