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Mental Health Check-In (Pennington)
Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:45 pm
The Headmaster sat at his desk with a tea service and two cups. Included was a basket of fresh baked cinnamon scones. He had head about the bad news Prof. Alexander Pennington had just received from his partner and now Arthur was a little worried. Professor Pennington had had some problems the previous year, but after a stern chat, he gave the professor a second chance.
Arthur was now worried that the professor would fall into his old, and very bad habits after the bad news. He had sent a message to Pennington to come an join him for afternoon tea. Arthur's crup slept in his basket next to the headmaster's chair as Arthur argued with one of the previous headmaster paintings. "We're not going to accuse him of anything. We're just having a conversation. And don't any of you say a word." Arthur went back to reading his pile of owls while he waited for his fellow professor and second in command.
Re: Mental Health Check-In (Pennington)
Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:33 am
The thing that movies and books never tell you about a break up is the amount of crying that takes place. Now this type of crying is not pretty, you don't quietly sob into your shirt as a single tear rolls down the individual's cheek. The cries of someone fresh from the break up is the sound of a heart breaking a thousand times over, continually echoing across space and time, for only the one with the broken heart to hear. The tears are endless, flowing free, like a waterfall that continues to etch it's mark on the face of the wounded. Alexander had up until this point never experienced the tears and sobbing that came with a broken heart and now he would do anything to never have to feel like this again.
Three days ago, Alexander Pennington woke up thinking that today was the day that his boyfriend of three years was finally going to propose to him, at some lavish, expensive dinner that Samuel, his partner, was adamant that they needed to do that night. Pennington remembered feeling the butterflies that had taken up residence in his stomach flutter as he looked in the mirror at himself on that day. After almost four years together, Pennington could only assume the best as he walked out of the Castle and disapparated from the premises. Alexander appeared a second later in a little village in the heart of France where "The Dragon's Heart" was located. The Dragon's Heart was a midsize building that appeared to pop out of a fairy tale, thatched roof and all. Alexander strode into the building and quickly located the table in the back of the structure where Samuel was sitting. Alexander quickly noticed that the usual candles that stood in the middle of the table were not lit, which should have served of the first red flag of the night. Alexander frowned slightly, but decided that the candles were not the most important of the night and walked himself over the table and sat down.
"Hey Babe, I've missed you today" Alexander said as he reached for Samuel's hand and leaned in to give him a kiss. Samuel, who had a sad look on his face from the moment that Alexander had stepped into the building, turned his face, so that Alexander's kiss landed on his cheek instead of his lips. As Alexander sat back down, Samuel proceeded to pull his hand out from under Alexander's and return it to a resting position on his lap. Samuel opened his mouth, preparing himself for some type of speech, though thought better of it as the waiter placed two crystal glasses on the table that were filled with some bubbly red drink. Alexander reached for the glass and placed it against his lips as Samuel began to speak.
"Hey Alexander. I have something I need to talk to you about."
"Okay Shoot." Alexander said as he placed his glass back on the table. Alexander felt this flood of emotion rise in his chest. Part of it he still recognized as his butterflies, which began to pick up pace. Alexander was surprised he was not floating with the strength that their wings were beating. However, Alexander began to notice another feeling, one which began from the moment his lips landed on Samuel's cheek and seemed to be growing with the swallow of soda that he recently had. This feeling was panic.
"Alexander. I don't know how to say this. We've been together for almost four years now, which is a long time. The longest relationship I have ever been in. You were everything to me, however I'm no longer happy. I look and see how happy you are around me and recently realized that I no longer feel the same way about you. I tried to make it work, for a long as I could, because I wanted to feel the same way. I'm sorry." Samuel monologued as tears began to flow freely down his face. He looked devastated to be breaking this news to Alexander, though internally, Alexander was confused why Samuel appeared so upset. If he was so upset, why was he breaking it off. Alexander looked around the crowded restaurant at all the people who looked like their were enjoying their meals with people they cared about. In this moment, it felt like his whole world is was crashing down and the whole world was continuing as if nothing monumental had just occurred. Slowly, Alexander turned back to Samuel and took another swig from his glass (was his mouth this dry prior to Samuel's confession? He couldn't remember.) and felt himself began to stammer out some type of response.
"O..ooo..okay. Is there something I did wrong? Is there someone else?" Alexander choked out through gasps. (He felt a panic attack coming along, however remembered his mother's rule to remain composed around strangers) Samuel stared at Alexander with a look of pity mixed with sadness.
"No Alexander! You were a great boyfriend. And there is no one else. I just am no longer happy. You loved me and cared for me so well, I couldn't have asked for a better boyfriend. I just can't be in the relationship anymore."
Alexander heard his words, but had trouble processing what Samuel was saying. If he (Alexander) was amazing, why was he leaving? The discrepancy caused Alexander cognitive dissonance and in turn make the feeling of an impending panic attack worsen. As if in slow motion, Alexander rose from the table and began to make his exit from the restaurant without another word to Samuel. He had just made it outside of the building and was beginning to apparate when he felt a hand on his shoulder, which grounded him.
"Hey where are you going? Why did you leave?" Samuel asked with a worried expression on his face. In truth, Alexander did not have an answer for either of those questions. He was not sure where he was headed or why he needed to leave at that moment, only that he needed to before he passed out in front of everyone. "Can I have a hug? I really need one" whispered Samuel through heavy crying and short gasps for air. Alexander, who felt empty inside turned to Samuel with a numb expression and replied with slight venom in his voice,
"Do you want a hug because you think I need one, or because you want one?" Samuel indicated that it was for himself, because he was sad and hurting inside for this decision, and embraced Alexander for much longer than necessary for the man who broke his heart. During the embrace, Samuel turned his mouth to Alexander's ear and stated "I don't hate you." like those words were supposed to bring Alexander comfort during this earth shattering event. Alexander muttered,
"After almost four good years, I would imagine not."
Samuel chuckled at Alexander's words and placed two short kisses on his mouth. Alexander broke off the kisses, knowing that if he didn't, he would never leave this moment as a whole person. Turning away, Alexander took two steps and turned on the spot and appeared in a clearing on the edge of the woods, less than a mile away from the restaurant where his whole life just changed. Alexander sunk to his knees in the clearing, no longer able to stand and hold back the panic attack that had been trying to consume him over the last twenty minutes.
Present Alexander Pennington has no recollection of how long his past self remained in that clearing, however he feels like it was a few hours of just hyperventilating, crying, and screaming. That was about a month ago, which has proved to be one of the toughest months of his life. Pennington always prided himself on his "strength" after his battle with alcoholism, and now the only thing he feels is empty, hopeless, and weak. He hated weakness, however it enveloped him like one of Hagrid's coats. Alexander found himself continuing to go throughout his day, however no longer found the joy that he once did with his life. He spends his days waking up, getting ready, teaching classes, and returning to his room to stare at the ceiling until the light fades from his window, allowing the darkness to carry him away to another day. Occasionally he would break up his day with a good cry or yelling at a student, who did not deserve the anger that was meant for someone else. Which Alexander assumed was the reasoning for a summons from the Headmaster. Alexander knew that he was not acting like a proper Deputy Headmaster, however he found it hard to care at the moment. He wished he cared, but instead he felt nothing but emptiness and hurt.
Regardless, Alexander found himself approaching the Headmaster's office on a Saturday afternoon, because he was mildly afraid of losing his job if he didn't and reciting the password (cinnamon scones) that allowed him to approach the door. Alexander knocked twice and waited for a response from beyond the door that signaled their meeting was about to begin.
Re: Mental Health Check-In (Pennington)
Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:34 am
Professor Kalamack heard the knock at the door and cautioned the other Headmasters, "Don't say anything. I will handle this just fine on my own." He shuffled his letters in order and called out, "Come on in Alexander. Have a seat, please."
He gestured to the seat across from his own and waited for Professor Pennington to sit down before he himself sat. Arthur didn't say anything yet. He simply poured a cup of tea for Pennington and placed it in front of him. Then he poured himself a cup of tea and placed the teapot back on the tea service. He pushed the tray between them to make it easier for either to reach the sugar cubes or cream. The odor of strong Earl Grey wafted out of the steaming teacups as he dropped two sugar cubes in his teacup.
Professor Kalamack moved the cover from the basket on the tea service to reveal fresh baked scones. The scent of cinnamon competed with the scent of the tea. He picked up his teacup and sat back in his chair. "Alexander, I'm sorry for your recent troubles, but we need to talk."
He sighed sadly, "I understand that you are hurting, but the students, or at least most of the students, don't know or understand what you're going through." He sipped his tea then sighed slightly. After a moment he continued, "I'm a bit worried about you. Do you want to talk about what happened? Rant? Vent? Anything? Feel free." He gestured to the tea service, "Have some tea and scones. Let go. Nobody will judge you here." He glared quickly at the paintings of the previous headmasters as if warning them to stay quite and not to judge.
Re: Mental Health Check-In (Pennington)
Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:41 pm
Professor Pennington heard muffled voices and shuffling, which he assumed was from the pictures shifting in their frames and the current Headmaster telling them to mind their business. As Deputy Headmaster, Alexander had recently been spending a lot of time with the Headmaster and had begun to see him in a new light. Not that he had ever thought of the Headmaster in a negative light, but something more like an untouchable, unreachable person whose status was something that Alexander could never fully understand. At times in the past, Alexander wondered if his respect for the Headmaster bordered on fearful. It reminded him of the way he viewed Professor Dumbledore when he was a student at Hogwarts. However, after getting to know him Professor Kalamack, he had begun to see a new, human side to him. No longer was he shrouded in mystery, instead he was someone that was far more relatable. And most importantly, he seemed to care about Alexander as a person, as well as a teacher at his institution. After a few moments, the door swung open and Alexander heard the Headmaster welcome him into the inner chambers.
As always, Alexander was in awe of the Headmaster’s office, which he assumed had not much changed since the beginning of Hogwart’s creation. The room was large, with different levels and two grand staircases the descended from the reading nook that was located above. The walls were lined with moving portraits of all the past Headmasters that had ever graced the halls of this institution. Around the room, in cabinets and on tables, stood objects, for which Alexander knew a few and what their uses were for. Sitting in the middle of the room on one side of his magnificent desk sat Professor Kalamack, who gestured for Alexander to sit in the seat located on the other side of the desk. It was at this point that Alexander became hyper aware of the way he was dressed, compared to how he usually presents himself. Alexander prided himself on always looking his best, with crisp shirts, buttoned vests, dark wash jeans, dress shoes, and slicked back hair. But looking at his reflection in the glass front of a cabinet, Pennington saw someone whose shirt was creased and not properly tucked in, a vest that was buttoned in the wrong holes, and his hair that was coming undone. Alexander tried to smooth down his hair nonchalantly as he sat down in the chair and accepted the cup of tea that Professor Kalamack poured for him. Alexander took a bit of the scone and sipped on his tea while Professor Kalamack began the conversation.
“Alexander, I'm sorry for your recent troubles, but we need to talk. I understand that you are hurting, but the students, or at least most of the students, don't know or understand what you're going through. I'm a bit worried about you. Do you want to talk about what happened? Rant? Vent? Anything? Feel free. Have some tea and scones. Let go. Nobody will judge you here.”
Alexander’s mind began to flood with a slew of emotions and cognitions, some of which came and went too quickly for him to fully register what they were and where they came from. At first, he felt bad for taking his frustration and sadness out on the students, who had no idea why their Deputy Headmaster was being an unbelievable twat. However, at the same time he felt like all the happiness has been sucked away, like he had been personally assigned a Dementor to follow him around. Alexander also felt anger, not towards Arthur, but towards Samuel and the whole situation. It’s worth noting that Alexander is not one to trust easily, so for him to trust Samuel with everything was something that he had never done before in his life. Alexander grew up a Ravenclaw in a family of Pure Blood Slytherins, they hated him for being different, therefore he learned at a young age that the only person he could count on was himself. However, when Samuel walked into his life, he eventually saw someone who loved him for him and wanted what was in the best interest for both. It was then that Alexander’s cold heart began to melt, and he began to see a future that involved more than just himself.
Which is one of the main reasons why he was so angry and sad at the same time. For the first time in forever, he saw a future with someone else and had begun to plan accordingly. He made room in his flat in London (Which he did not get to visit all that often, because he responsibilities were here at Hogwarts), however he did it because he wanted a space with the guy that had flown into his life, like a leaf in the wind. He saw himself getting married, adopting a few crups, and growing old together. And all that had been squashed in less than a minute with no repercussions for the other individual involved. And for all Pennington knows, Samuel is living the life without any regrets. But the feeling the came over him the most was sadness, at the idea of letting go. Alexander has been trying since the break up to continue doing what he needs to do and being a pillar of strength. Letting go in front of another person could be seen as a sign of weakness, and Pennington wasn’t weak. However, there was a part of him that also realized that he was afraid of letting go, because if he did, he would no longer hurt or mourn the loss of his partner, his best friend.
“I’m afraid that if I let go, I won’t be able to stop myself. I have been trying for weeks to keep myself composed, yet the emotions wash over him at the most inopportune times. Which is unfortunate.” Pennington paused for a moment to take a sip of his tea and stead his breathing. Alexander wondered if Arthur could see his tea cup shaking in his hand. He placed the cup back on his saucer and placed it back on the desk. For a brief moment, Alexander gazed longingly at the cup, wishing that it was filled with firewhisky instead of the dark amber liquid that was currently in there. Pennington clearing his throat and turned his gaze back to Arthur.
“Well I suppose there’s no need to hide it from you. Samuel left me, out of nowhere. Everything seemed fine, but one day he decided that he was no longer happy. He stated that he no longer loved me the way that I loved him and we were done. He moved out of the London flat the next day. One day my life was filled with laughter and love. And the next day my home and my heart are empty. All I have left of him are some whisky glasses he left behind, along with a dress shirt. After four years, that’s all I have left.” Alexander let out a small miserable left that hung in the air between the two men.
“He told me that he didn’t hate me. That HE didn’t hate ME. Like I had done something wrong. Like I was the one that had broken up with him. And then he asked for a hug because he was sad and kissed me twice. HE KISSED ME ARTHUR. HE BROKE MY HEART AND THEN WAS THE SAD ONE. WHAT THE BLOODY HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THAT.”
Alexander did not remember standing up, but when he stopped screaming, he was pacing around the room, gesturing like a mad man. Tears streamed down his face, from both anger and sadness. Alexander wiped them away and returned to his seat. However, no matter how many times he wiped the tears, they were replaced quickly with fresh ones. Alexander could feel uncontrollable sobs beginning to build up in his chest. He closed he tear filled eyes and tried to take some deep breaths. After a few second Alexander opened up his eyes and addressed Arthur once again.
“I had everything figured out sir. I knew what my life was supposed to be. I thought I knew at least. Now I don’t know anything. It feels like my whole world has split open and I’m going to fall into the abyss. And honestly part of me wants to. I don’t want to live in a world or a life without Samuel. What do I do?”