Chapter 22 – First Contact: Page 15

Chapter 22 - Page 15

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  • kuku

    Oh poor Rafa honey, stranded on the wrong side of the fence and not knowing what to say and probably kicking yourself now. Elan being so painfully polite and composed (seeming) and distant here. “Have a good afternoon” – ouch.

    • Roxabel Victoria Pérez Egaña

      As if Rafita could have a good afternoon after such a weird meeting… </3 poor Rafita mío

      • In “polite society” a certain inflection of tone can turn a friendly “good afternoon” or “good evening” into a glove loaded with a brick.

        • Oooo oooo! Like Spock in one of the new movies when he says “Live Long and Prosper” but it is a HUGE “Fu*k You!”

          • Haha, I remember that. Elan isn’t really the fuckyou intonation type. He is really trying hard to be polite and appear cool with it all.

          • Roxabel Victoria Pérez Egaña

            Well, afterall he’s always spoken like this. He’s a walking encyclopedia XD

          • There is deliberate intent and then there is emotion seeping around the edges. If Elan is trying /too/ hard to be polite that effort can color his words as surely as if he wrote a jolly ol’ “F.U.!” in the sky with fireworks, screaming whistles, and a marching band.

  • Red

    OMG! Rafa”s loneliness is causing me a chestpain. I can’t breathe.

  • Lleyn

    Rafa looks as if he wants to tear that fence down to get to Elan, and at the same time, as if it is the only thing holding him up. And oh, Elan, putting up a brave face and being -polite-? Now, that is almost rude, except you are trying to be kind (“I know you are taking good care of … [Murakami].”) Oh, and also, nice shoes, Elan.

    • Elan always wears nice shoes, usually Italian too. It is the one rich carry over that he keeps.

      • Lleyn

        I guess everybody has a weak spot ;) And Elan wears them so well, too!

  • Lisa Parsons

    Why is Elan doing this????

    • Simple, from his perspective Rafa rejected him over the phone. He is abiding by Rafa’s wishes. Also, he has reason to believe that Rafa and Jake are an item. It is a mark of Elan’s strength of character that he is civil toward Rafa at all. I read that he is in fact bitterly hurt and pissed as hell. That said Elan is acting on assumptions. This is the curse between these boys.

      Rafa and Elan each have a profound problem with assumptions. Rafa makes all kinds of assumptions about how good Elan has it as a rich kid. He can’t imagine how or why Elan could want to stay in that crap-tastic neighborhood. He pushed Elan away after the shooting precisely because he assumed Elan was safer in his rich boy’s world. Rafa’s protective instinct is admirable but misplaced.

      Elan makes assumptions about Rafa’s behavior from a glance. His sense of worthlessness won’t allow him to believe that Rafa truly loves him and so he interprets everything Rafa says and does through that “can’t possibly love someone like me” filter. Simply put both lads have personal issues that come between them.

      They rarely talk with each other. Rather they talk at each other without listening. In the real world this relationship has a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding as long as they continue to behave this way. It will take something drastic to get them talking and then it’ll take their having the self-awareness to realize what they are doing wrong. It will demand courage from each to make a decision to overcome their limitations. They will have to make a conscious commitment to their relationship and work to overcome the barriers between them. Is it possible? Easily. Is it probable? No, but that is what makes this story an unexpected adventure. I read every page with hope. It is desperate hope that love ultimately prevails. Hope that even in the real world there can be happy endings.

      • Well, it doesn’t help that Elan heard people talking about how much of a playboy Rafa was BE (BE = Before Elan), and Rafa never did or said anything to disabuse Elan of that image. ^_^ Even right before the shooting Rafa was pretty much siding with Jake over Elan. So we cannot blame Elan completely. ^_^ But yes, they need a really long honest talk. ^_^

        • Yes, this is what Elan is thinking most, what happened right before the shooting.

          • I enjoy that you’re willing to confirm some speculation. Some writers (*cough* Alex Woolfson *cough*) seem to take perverse delight in watching the fans scratch their heads.

          • Heh… Gryphon and Starr got him to sign a Mitch card for me and the wording of his note is driving me insane! He is SUCH A TEASE!!! It could mean ANYTHING!!! -_- But I am promised some good Mitch before this chapter ends.

          • You were promised some good Mitch? Doki, you read about how naughty my brain was in the TYP forum. It’s so hard to behave with comments like that!

          • LOL. Well he told me to ‘shhh’ so I haven’t told anyone the wording he used. Do you know how hard it is for me to keep quiet on something Mitch related??? I wanna spill so we can go into crazy theories on just what Alex meant by using that word.

          • Okay, after that comment I’m going into crazy theory mode wondering what that word was. Given how I’m already struggling against inherent naughtiness to remain polite the guesses I make likely won’t be fit for prime time TV.

          • ^_^ Alex is such a tease, but we wouldn’t have him any other way. ^_^

          • D. Garrett

            yep. doki is askin for it big time donald! whats holding u back? i think it would have been immensely entertaining. and u KNOW doki will have a comeback. lol.

      • If anyone asks me to explain EMR I’m just going to give them your email.

        • I don’t know whether to feel ridiculously flattered or embarrassed. =3

          • pssssst. Ridiculously flattered. Covering your face to hide pleased as punch blushes. ^_^

          • LOL, I’m the sort to blush at the drop of a pin and hide my face when I feel embarrassed.

          • Lleyn

            Hehehehe, oh, let me add to your flambarrassment (or are you embattered?): This comment was gold!

      • JesBelle

        Because loving someone means letting them be in a position to hurt you.

        The natural course of their relationship was diverted by that bullet. Now self-doubt and insecurity and, most of all, fear has had a chance to take hold. However, these are two very mindful young men. I have every faith in them to figure this out.

        • Lleyn

          And it will be so entertaining to watch them at it!

      • Lisa Parsons

        Hopefully when Elan comes to get Murakami, Mura will have a plan: run and hide under the bed so Elan has no choice but to talk with Rafa, which will end in them making passionate love.

        Mura: Nope, not happening. I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying right here, and so are you, buddy! This is your home.

        • D. Garrett

          or i could see murakami struggling against elan until he puts him down then repeating over and over so they are forced to be together. or murakami fights with elan so much that elan gives up on taking murakami, but makes arrangements to visit him. when rafa is there of course.

          • Lleyn

            Or Elan needs Rafa’s help to catch Murakami and they accidentally “bump” into each other (I still believe that they can overcome a lot of their obstacles if they would just -touch- each other).

            Or Murakami doing a typical cat-disappearing trick, forcing Elan to visit Rafa again to get him… And again… and again… until they talk with each other! (Bit like Lisa Parson’s plan, but repetition doing the trick ;)

          • D. Garrett

            i think the accidental bump is a good idea, leading to a forceful, passionate kiss. this would force them to remember the intimate moments they shared and motivate them to overcome their obstacles.

          • Lisa Parsons

            Cats really don’t like moving to a new home, so all of these scenarios are very realistic.

          • Lisa Parsons

            Orrrr…Rafa and Elan have to team up to try to catch Mura, and in doing so, become entangled with each other as someone suggested…

      • DayiaKnyte

        I still have to give Rafa points for wanting to talk to Elan.
        Rafa was very clear that wanted to explain to Elan the whys of his not wanting him to come back and that it wasn’t a conversation to have over the phone; it had to be face to face. CONVERSATION … this meant Elan would have had the opportunity to question Rafa.
        Instead, Elan hung up on him (with a sarcastic reference to the song Free Bird) and now, weeks later he gives Rafa this prim and proper oh so politically correct speech.
        Rafa and Elan do have issues … but I can’t help but feel that Elan is being cruel. Passive Aggressive or not … it’s still cruel.

        And yes, themice, your are correct. I am not liking Elan much right now. In fact, am beginning to think Rafa is better off without someone that can dismiss him so easily. Rafa has his faults, but he did nothing to deserve Elan’s sarcasm and frigid behavior.
        In truth, I hope he gets a little mad.

        • Be careful what you wish for …

          • Lleyn

            Uhm, uhm, can Rafa get mad at someone else than Elan, pretty please? I mean, him yelling at Jake to f*** off, preferably in Elan’s presence, now, that would be a really useful explosion of anger.

          • Oh, gods above and below don’t let Rafa explode at Elan. Elan will shut down like NORAD on high alert. I totally understand Rafa’s feeling lost and how, as a physical personality he might have to yell to get his feelings out but Elan will not respond as Rafa needs. The only good possibility to come out of an encounter like that is that Elan listens no matter how horribly he feels inside. He would shut down but Rafa’s words might stick with him. Still, SO not the ideal way to get everything out in the open. That said, the writer in me thinks, “huh, that might just work.” ARGH! *head-meets-keyboard*

            NO, no, yelling equates Rafa with abuse and only drives a wedge deeper in Elan’s heart. Someone yells at me and another little piece inside dies. I don’t know if I can bear that happening to Elan even unintentionally.

          • D. Garrett

            uh oh! oh noooooo. she waz jokin the mice! right?!

          • Maybe.

          • JesBelle

            Wow, so much going on here. I don’t think Rafa should yell at Elan, but Rafa’s been thinking of Elan as something just a little too good to be real. It has allowed him to believe that he can and should make decisions about Elan’s life. No matter how pure Rafa’s motives, it denies Elan’s humanity just a little bit. An argument doesn’t have to be loud or violent. It doesn’t have to mean not listening, either. The way I see it, when Elan gets angry, he actually starts to unpack all this stuff he keeps locked inside. A good, healthy disagreement could actually clear the air. It could also make Rafa see Elan as a strong, quirky, fallible man who doesn’t want or need Rafa to build walls around him, even to protect him.

            I don’t see Elan using big words to be condescending. He uses the correct word to convey his meaning whether it is in common parlance or not. It’s a habit common to people who have gotten more language from books than from conversations. I think Elan would consider it far more demeaning to Rafa to explain things in small words as if Rafa lacked understanding. People who try to use language in games of one-upsmanship always use the fancier, more archaic term in an effort to seem more knowledgeable. Elan only uses big words when they more precisely convey his meaning. The thing about mating for life was definitely a dig, but Elan doesn’t use his vocabulary in that way, as far as I can tell.

            I also don’t think that Elan came back to the neighborhood in order to put himself in Rafa’s way, at least not consciously. I think that inevitability is something he has been steeling himself for. I think he came back because Miss Libby, George, Scott, Carlise, Carlos, and his students were there — all of the people who made him feel like an integral part of a community for the first time in his life. Why would he give that up? This is his neighborhood now. This is where he belongs.

            D.B. is right. These two are not talking. Anything that knocks their words loose would better than the torture they are inadvertently putting each other through. I don’t see any point in choosing sides, though. They are both clinging to current misery out of a fear that the misery they both think is inevitable will be worse.

          • Ramen! Er, “amen!”

          • I usually let interpretations alone, but I can say definitively Elan isn’t talking down to Rafa. That is his everyday language, as he described to his dad in Chap 16 using his vocabulary in context actually raised the vocabulary scores of his students (I got this from real life as my sister teaches to inner city students and speaks this way, her students scores jumped 50% vocabulary in a short time, a vocabulary stat that hadn’t budged in YEARS — too bad the other teachers resent her for this, but that is off-topic).

          • Thank you for this and some clarification is good for story in order to preserve character integrity. Sure, every good story is a personal experience with readers developing their own private interpretations but sometimes speculation can distract from or worse, hijack the story down a path that is ugly and ultimately destructive. It’s a fine line to walk for a writer but sometimes necessary.

          • Lleyn

            Can I just say (being way too late to the party as usual), that this discussion in here was / is really awesome, has broadened my perspective on things and really adds to the comic. There aren’t many web comics out there which feature such thought-out, polite and balanced comments, so kudos to all the contributors in here!

            As to who is in the wrong here, Rafa or Elan: Does it matter, ultimately? Everyone has their flaws, everyone is human and allowed to trip up / be terrible once in a while. It’s not for us to say how things should be, it’s for them to work out whether their love has a chance to survive. They both need to step up their game, can we agree on that?

          • D. Garrett

            Ramen! ahem. amen. lol! :P ;)

          • D. Garrett

            i treasure input from the author. its like looking at a beautiful painting in a museum or gallery with the painter right next to u telling u what he / she thought when they created the painting. or explaining some detail of it that may have never occurred to u otherwise. its a wonderful insight.

          • I treasure it for that reason. Yes, artists want people to form their own interpretations but I find more and more that I want to know what the artist thought. What was behind Mona Lisa’s smile, I wonder?

          • D. Garrett

            i can answer that for u. i thought everybody knew this already. mona lisa was a talented stand up comic. but she made little coin from her hard work. anyway the night before di vinci painted her, she had a really good set. they were both laughing and giggling throughout the painting session. mona lisa tried to stifle her laughter, but at best she kept her smallest smile. since she couldnt completely remove the smile from her face, di vinci gave up and just painted her with it. this was a closely guarded secret. but since we are all friends here, i have shared it with u. ur all sworn to silence! on a public internet webcomic forum! lol. he he.

        • JesBelle

          Getting mad might help. It might snap him out of his mindset of Elan being somehow more fragile and in need of protection than he really is.

        • It is my experience that anger shuts down conversations. You mention how Elan shut Rafa out and you’re right. How do you think he’ll respond if Rafa so much as raises his voice?

          This kinda reminds me of those old black and white films where the heroine obstinately shuts the hero out until he finally has enough and kisses her. She slaps him. They stare at each other for a long moment before falling into each other’s arms making wild, passionate love. Wouldn’t it be cute if a more masculine version of that happened between these two?

          • Elan probably would shut down. He is sensitive to yelling or any form of intimidation right now because of his father and has internalized that fear. Rafa has always been gentle with him, to the an extreme.

          • I think about Elan’s mom when I consider how to approach him. Gentle, soothing, and reasonable. Mom treated him like he had a brain even as a little kid. Elan will listen to reason even when he is hurting horribly inside. Rafa needs to up his game if he hopes to reach Elan right now.

            As for why he should? I read comments about how Elan was being cruel and passive-aggressive toward Rafa. Bottom line yes, this is the effect of his behavior but Mouse has been very careful to show us what leads to this behavior.

            Elan is acting on the assumption that Rafa and Jake are together. Rafa approaching him is 1. extremely painful, and; 2. a reminder of his reputation as a lothario. How would you feel about a boy you felt strongly about hitting on you repeatedly all the while flagrantly bedding the neighborhood? I would feel insulted and toyed with. Elan’s passive-aggression is an indicator that he can’t bring himself to completely cut Rafa out of his life. He feels bitter and angry and yet some little voice deep down keeps hoping. It’s agonizing and this says absolutely nothing about deeper and more pervasive issues plaguing Elan.

            Elan is a survivor of years of parental abuse. If you will, please remember the phone call you mentioned. Elan had just been strangled by his father and Rafa took the same patronizing ‘I know best” attitude toward Elan. He used the same exact “I’m looking out for your best interests” line as Daddy Dearest. For an abuse victim this is a shutdown moment. Those words tied Rafa and Arthur Singer together in Elan’s mind. Rafa has no clue about the abuse because Elan never told him. Also, Rafa never asked; he /assumed/ life as a rich kid was sunshine and roses for Elan. Now that I think about it perhaps the desperate hope Elan feels for Rafa is the same kind of desperate hope he feels toward his father. The hope that maybe, someday father will love him.

            This matter is much more complicated than stubborn passive-aggressiveness. I dearly love the attention and care Mouse has taken in showing how seemingly innocent assumptions can snowball along with the toxic effects of lifelong abuse, into disaster. My hope as a fellow survivor is that Elan and Rafa navigate the emotional minefield and eventually find love. It gives me hope that I too will find love.

          • DayiaKnyte

            And that is the part that I don’t get. Rafa has been gentle with him, prodding him instead of pushing him.
            Outside of his Uncle, Rafa seems to be the first person, since Elan’s mother died, to be genuinely concerned about him as a person.
            So it is just killing me that Elan is beings so obviously cold and condescending. You would think Rafa at least earned enough respect to not be ignored like he has.

          • Lleyn

            I’m… not sure I’d be able to take them seriously, if Rafa and Elan were to do that. Though, a good reconciliation after a fight would warm my heart. One with hugs and kisses and whatnot…

          • Oh, I agree! I only enjoyed a facetious moment. Thank you for the thought-provoking chat!

          • DayiaKnyte

            Elan has made it clear he doesn’t care how Rafa feels.
            After the digs he made at him at the park I really do wonder why he bothered referring the agent to him.

            The problem with those old films … is in today’s world it would be considered sexual assault and battery.
            I don’t see Elan taking anything forced on him well at all.
            Yet, it doesn’t seem to bother him to force Rafa into a situation where Rafa is not allowed to speak his feelings.
            You know, Elan at least had his Uncle to talk to and vent his feelings. Who has Rafa had to pour his heart out to?

          • I agree that Elan has pushed Rafa into an impossible position and that is why something must give; likely when Elan visits to pick up Murakami. As for who Rafa has to talk to how about Carlise? If she wasn’t busy with her own life she would sit both boys down and have a “come to Jesus” talk that might have them cowering in a corner by the time she’s done.

          • DayiaKnyte

            The only argument I have about Rafa thinking Elan has it better is this,
            Rafa may not know how bad Elan’s personal life is, but to me the biggest push for Rafa wasn’t money or how affluent he thought Elan was; he was more concerned for his safety … something Rafa could not give him. He was always worried Elan might come to harm and Elan did. Not only that but he almost died because of people that Rafa had been involved with.
            Why would he want Elan to come back to that?

            That said, I love idea of a third party stepping in and laying it down. Carlise (because she knows both of them) or she with Rafa and Elan’s Uncle asking him what he is doing.

          • You bring up excellent points. I love chats like this as they strike me as a good book club! Anyway, I won’t argue your point about Rafa wanting Elan safe as that is quite clear in the story. Rather, I think about the deeper and more pervasive element that both boys exhibit.

            There comes a point when Elan makes a decision and Rafa accepts it. They can argue to this point and Rafa can continue to have misgivings but after Elan has made up his mind, Rafa needs to find peace with it and move on. Elan likewise needs to acknowledge Rafa’s fears for his safety and answer them in such a way as to satisfy Rafa that he has thought things through carefully. Have you noticed something? They have not come close to having this conversation.

            Rafa doesn’t know that Elan’s father tried to strangle him. Elan doesn’t know that Rafa kicked Jake to the curb long ago. They are both laboring under assumptions. They don’t communicate!

            Elan grew angry because Rafa never said, “Don’t you think it is safer if you stayed where you are?” He said “I have your best interests at heart.” He “decided” for Elan. After what he went through with his father, Arthur that was too much for Elan.

            In the meantime, has Elan once asked Rafa about his reputation as a lotario? Did he ask what was going on between Rafa and Jake? Did he ask Rafa what he wanted for their relationship?

            The lack of communication between these boys is criminal and it has led them to profound misery and heartache. I hasn’t spilled over to their friends but I suspect eventually Carlise and Elan’s Uncle(more likely, Gerard) will notice and they will step in. Until then my hopes are pinned on Murakami. Murakami brought them together once. He can do it again.

            DayiaKnyte, thank you for offering so many thoughtful, intelligent, and passionate opinions. It has been a great pleasure chatting with you. I look forward to more soon!

          • DayiaKnyte

            Thank you for validating my opinion.
            I really understand where Elan is coming from; but it doesn’t excuse all of his actions. I understand that he is hurting, and his LIFE over the past few weeks was more traumatic then Rafa’s.
            But I also feel that between the two, Elan is being more passive aggresive.

            While others have tried to explain, you have done the best distillation of the cause and effects that have played out in both Rafa and Elan. All your point are valid. I just think to many people are so wrapped up in the emotion that they are far more willing to excuse and forgive some of the actions than they would be if the same scenerio was playing out in their own life or to them personally.

            I base this assumption on my own life. I have made mistakes in my past based on being in a bad situation, and while it explains my actions, it doesn’t excuse them. They were still wrong choices and I hurt and alienated people that cared for me. The fact I was doing nice things for other people doesn’t obsolve the hurt I caused those individuals either. The fact some people were understanding and forgave me AFTER the fact doesn’t make the actions right.

            If Elan doesn’t start treating Rafa diffrent real soon, then it will be more difficult for me to view him in any kind of sympathetic light.

            One last set of observations:
            1. You are correct in that Rafa doesn’t know that Elan’s father attacked him. You’re not the first person to bring this up. What I find ironic is it was Rafa that taught Elan how to defend himself. (Took me two hours doing a power read to find this ONE panel).
            http://elanmeetsrafa.com/the-comic/chapter-break-8/

            Had it not been for Rafa, that scene with his father could have been worse.
            Inspite of Elan’s disbelief in his abilities, Rafa’s insistence was a better person then he gave himself credit for is the one that gave him the skills and courage to actually stand up to his father both mentally and in the end physically.

            2. As I have said in previous posts … unlike real life … we get to rewind and read what happened before to make sure we remember it correctly.
            I plan on doing an actual reread … but the quick review makes Elan’s actions more deplorable to me.

            Having to do the power read to find that refrence it was interesting.
            While iy is true that Rafa may not have talked as much as he should have, it was more about not telling Elan how he really felt. Yet he shared his experiences with his family, childhood, promises he made to his mother, etc …
            Rafa wasn’t perfect, but he never hid his past, who he was, and attempted to talk to Elan on more than one occasion to find out what he was thinking.
            Elan was always making assumptions about how Rafa really felt, putting stock into rumors without getting Rafa’s side of the story and shared NOTHING about his past with him.

            Rafa let Elan into his not so perfect world, and Elan returned the favor by never sharing any details about him or his life; telling Rafa to be rid of Jake for his own good ,etc …

            That is why I am being so hard on Elan and giving more credit to Rafa.

            Again, thank you for your compliment. And thank your for your well thought out comments and replies. Many people do the TL:DR and I find it annoying.
            While brevity is best in some cases, there are times when a well thought out opinion needs more than a quip or quick quote.

            Once again … our conceversation is a testament to themice and the story they have written. (Though I do hope there is some regular interaction between Rafa and Elan soon, this cat and mouse game has gone on for some months in story time and almost seven month in real time since the infamous phone conversation – seven months of saddness and frustration with no end in sight).

          • Amazing, I enjoy the depth of thought and consideration you put into this response. Too, to go back and verify to make sure you had your facts right. I am duly impressed! Now, to your points about Elan.

            I appreciate your approaching the characters and story from a vantage of real life, as that is how Mouse seems to write the story. Indeed, in my life I have made exactly the kind of passive-aggressive mistakes Elan has made and for similar reasons. Thankfully, I had patient friends willing to sit me down for a come-to-Jesus talk… several times… ahem… anyway, the point is that you are quite correct; while what happened to Elan might explain his actions and lead others to ultimately forgive him, he is responsible for his actions. The captain is responsible for the actions of his ship and crew, as it were.

            I approach the story more from a writer’s perspective. I make a habit of examining each character thoroughly as well as circumstances in the story. It lets me approach things from a broader perspective. My observations aren’t to excuse the actions of characters; far from it. Elan and Rafa are far from perfect. You might read how many times I want to Gibbs smack them — and then give them cookies. I see how much they love each other and how their respective actions hurt one another and contribute to their mutual misery. I blame them equally in this respect because in relationships it isn’t about who is right or wrong; it’s about helping each other through the travails of life. If they aren’t willing to help each other then no amount of love is going to overcome.

            Thank you once more for the marvelous feedback. Your words made my morning.

          • DayiaKnyte

            You are right when approaching it from a writer’s viewpoint.
            Themice is writing a story about flawed people making the mistakes people do. The fact everyone commenting can relate to both Rafa and Elan shows how good the writing is.
            In truth, as much as I am disappointed in Elan right now, it would have been far easier to write a story about two perfect people. Easier, but far less engaging.

        • Lleyn

          The problem is that Rafa right now bears the brunt of Elan’s passive aggressiveness, without being able to use his own rather active aggressiveness (see the go he had at Jake). What I think these two need to have, is one of those ‘heated’ discussions like the one they had before they kissed for the first time.

          But, DayiaKnyte, are you quite sure that Rafa really wants to talk to Elan? When he saw him again, being back in the ‘hood, he was so angry he did not dare speak at first, and when he did, it was a not too kind comment on the birds Elan was feeding. Telling another person what they are supposed to be doing (i. e. stay away from the dangerous ‘hood), is not the same as talking to them, no matter how much you argue your case.

          And Rafa seems to be rather torn between his desire for Elan and his desire to keep him out of danger, since both are opposed to each other in his mind.

          • “And Rafa seems to be rather torn between his desire for Elan and his
            desire to keep him out of danger, since both are opposed to each other
            in his mind.”

            Yes, that is the opposing desires that is tearing Rafa in two ultimately guaranteeing to be unhappy.

          • At some point Rafa needs to get it through his pretty dome that Elan is a grown man who is responsible for his own choices in life. It isn’t for Rafa to decide whether or not Elan stays in the hood. Rafa is ultimately wrestling against himself with about as much success.

          • Elan needs to be the one to tell him this, point blank, instead of stewing.

          • I concur and for more reasons than might seem obvious. Not only is it more effective if Elan does it but it is good for Elan directly. He needs to be able to stand up for himself and enunciate clearly what he wants. He needs to be able to establish and defend boundaries without trauma and drama.

          • DayiaKnyte

            Rafa wanted Elan to be safe. He was shot and Rafa thought him dead for the longest time. Everyone starts a conversation with a point of view. Rafa’s was he didn’t want Elan to come back and he wanted to tell him why face to face, not over the phone. Elan denied him that right.
            As for commenting about the pigeons being rats … it was a fair comment and not a direct insult to Elan. Elan’s response was to chastise him, talk down to him (thus the need for Rafa to look up a word later), and talk AT him instead of talking TO him. That response was worded in such a way to be insulting and leave no opening for a response.
            Did Rafa want to talk? If he didn’t why go find him?
            The better question is, “Why would Elan purposely go back and put himself in a situation to run into Rafa face to face if he had no intention of being civil?”

          • D. Garrett

            his comment about pigeons being rats with wings was one to devalue something elan appreciated. so elan defended his reason for caring for them. it was a subtle attack imo. it would have been much friendlier to say: “hey elan! im shocked to see u here, but u look great!”

          • The phone call happened after Elan’s father tried to choke him, which Elan believes truly is that *his father tried to kill him*.

            Think about that, his father tried to KILL him. The random act of violence which he doesn’t remember as clearly as Rafa does was awful, but domestic violence usually leaves the victim thinking “what did I do? this is my fault!”

            Hanging up was wrong, but he had a tenuous hold on life and knew he couldn’t take one more ounce bad news (because he was sure it was bad) or he would break. He almost did, but pulled back out of it.

          • DayiaKnyte

            I mentioned this briefly in a longer post, but it has bearing on your comment.

            The irony of his father trying to kill him is that it was Rafa’s insistance that Elan was capable of defending himself AND teaching him how to do so is what gave Elan the mental fortitude and physical skills to stand up and defend himself from his father at that crucial moment.
            http://elanmeetsrafa.com/the-comic/chapter-break-8/
            While the, “What did I do, this is my fault!” plays out … it is obvious by Elan’s actions and parting comments to his father that his ability to defend himself empowered him to start moving beyond being his father’s pawn.
            Rafa did that for Elan, not knowing those skills would save a son from his father.
            While true at the moment, I would think enough time has passed that Elan would acknowledge the empowerment Rafa gave him and talk to him if simply to find out why he was so scared for him to return. Rafa said he could explain his reasons … Elan wasn’t cool with learning how to fight, Rafa insistend because he had his reasons and it might just have save Elan’s life. Again, after so many months, can’t he give Rafa some credit for thinking he might have some valid points in not wanting him to come back?

            For someone that adored his mother for being open and forthcoming and despises his father for being judgemental and secretative; he has been more like his father when it comes with how he treats Rafa. From never being honest with Rafa about his past when he was living with him to casting judgment on who Rafa is a person; when all Rafa has shown from the beginning was he had Elan’s best interest at heart. (after doing a power read to find that one panel – I still feel this statement is true).

          • D. Garrett

            far be it for me to argue with the author. i must be wrong here. i stand corrected. and i am probably more callous than i was aware of. i suppose that is good to know.

          • Actually I might have been answering another reply, just trying to explain the situation of terror domestic violence is.

          • D. Garrett

            well, i appreciate the explanation. i attributed elans hanging up as his not allowing another person to try to control him. u clarified that because of his fathers attempt to try to kill him he couldnt handle anything else upsetting. also u said his hanging up was wrong, where i felt it was okay. so i guess ill have to take elan off the pedestal i had him on. i pretty much blamed rafa for the failed reconciliation of their relationship. but i see now they both are at fault.

          • People in that kind of trauma don’t think that clearly. Elan experienced a shut down. Too much bad crap hitting him too fast. All he could do was raise shields and evasive action.

          • Haha, love the star trek analogy.

          • That’s me, Trek nerd able to recite dialog from the first 79 episodes of the original series from memory. Does it show? Does this bussard ramscoop make my butt look fat?

          • I don’t know if it was right or wrong. He definitely didn’t have the mindset to defend himself against what Rafa had decided on. And he was not going to reveal what had just happened. He doesn’t tell anyone for a very very long time because he is ashamed of it.

          • Domestic abuse of any kind can be extremely hard to talk about even if one isn’t ashamed of it. :-( Especially for people that internalize everything. I know for some it is just a case of “things have always been this way, what do you mean it isn’t normal?”.

          • You speak great truth. This is how it is for me. Even now, after decades of counseling and working with others who struggle with abuse trauma there is a disconnect between what is considered normal and healthy versus the norms of living in an abusive environment. It skews one’s perspective; his expectations. For me attracting attention at all is terrifying(I know but my web presence is very different from my personal presence. Friends at home comment on it — sometimes wagging fingers… ahem). Anyway, Showing vulnerability is not only terrifying but dangerous in the minds of abuse victims. Volunteering information is giving others ammunition so speak about oneself as little as possible. Shattered trust is horribly lonely. It is feeling alone in a crowd. It is terror of intimacy. That Elan was able to sleep in the same bed as Rafa shows how profound their relationship was. It also explains Elan’s terror. Better to keep Rafa at arm’s length than to let him in where he can do real damage. Better to believe the worst in case it is true. A vicious and self-fulfilling prophecy.

          • OH! Durr…This makes sense. Yeah, the comments get out of sequence and things get confusing. Please disregard my confuzzled comment above. For the record I support Mouse’s perspective completely. As an abuse survivor who counsels other survivors I can absolutely see how Elan, having just survived what he saw as his father’s attempt to kill him could not handle any more bad news from Rafa. It was a shut down moment. Was it right? I leave that for readers to decide. In my opinion Elan did what he had to do to keep his sanity. Shut down is like tripping a circuit breaker. A human being can take only so much.

          • Okay, I’m confused. It might be cold meds so please help me to understand. I read Garrett’s reply mentioning how Elan loved the birds and next is a clarification about the phone call. Where does the phone call come into “rats with wings” and why did Garrett admonish himself for being callous? I scratch my head. Meep?

          • D. Garrett

            np. and im female. ( Y ). <—boobs! lol. :P :)

          • HA! I typically avoid pronouns for just this reason. Augh, cold meds! I’m sorry D. Garrett and thank you for clarifying with such good humor.

          • D. Garrett

            hope you feel better soon. *hugs you & pats ur back. tucks u in bed with a cup of lemon tea.

          • Thank you, lemon tea smells good about now.

          • JesBelle

            Nice rack. ( @ )( @ )

          • D. Garrett

            why tyvm. u 2. whoa. huge nips!!

          • I’m with D. Garret on this one. Elan cares for the birds as if they were his children and Rafa’s first face-to-face words to Elan in months is to insult the children. Gibbs smack! Can I, please?

        • D. Garrett

          well when the phone call happened in the webcomic, it was apparent we were on opposing sides on this issue. elan has had people supposedly protecting him all his life and taking away his opportunity to choose. at that point in his life he wasnt having another person tell him what to do for whatever reason. so he hung up. if i had been of a similar situation, i would have likely done the same thing. just because i was fed up. rafa certainly didnt know that elan had been controlled his whole life by his father. so he wouldnt know that that is the last thing he should try to do. it was an honest mistake. and later he proves he learned from it. by not trying to give anymore bullshit orders. elan feels like he didnt mean much to rafa, rafa has moved on with jake, and that he doesnt want him in his neighborhood. as far as elan is concerned, everything is over. so why would he be warm and fuzzy seeing rafa again? in my opinion he was civil. just unfriendly and cold. and given what he believes at this point i dont really blame him. i do want rafa to persevere and ultimately discuss things over with elan. they belong together.

          • Strand them in an elevator for 12 hours.

          • D. Garrett

            that would create an awkward situation vis a` vis the need for a bathroom. dont know if there is another way for them to be “trapped” together. unless carlise does it somehow. *shrugs :7

          • Sacrifices must be made in the name of love. If isolation doesn’t get them talking then perhaps a mutual imperative to do the pee-pee dance will. =3

          • D. Garrett

            the mental picture just fills me with giggles! but hey. that could work!

  • JesBelle

    I know this story isn’t nearly so dire, but Rafa grasping that fence reminds me strongly of the final scene of “Bent.”

  • This page should be titled “walls.” Elan throws up a wall of formality to block Rafa and Rafa is held back by a chain link fence. In both cases these walls can be defeated. Elan can simply drop his and Rafa can clear that fence easily. This, and yet they choose the comfort of their walls. Lovely work, Mouse. Poignant, painful, heartbreaking. I must Gibbs smack them! Must. GIBBS. SMACK…!!! I want to Gibbs smack them so hard my hand hurts! GRRR…!

  • D. Garrett

    Elan is distant, cold and professional. he got to the point, made arrangements for his cat, and concluded the conversation quickly. *sobs…. its just so sad! and realistic! i luv it! i hate it! fix it!

    • Lleyn

      *lol*

  • bronakopdin

    noooooo

    why didn’t you speak >_<'

    and Elan… why… are you so cold…. T^T

  • Dragon

    This makes me so sad. ;(

  • I AM R U

    Forgotten my log in again ^.^;;; Getting up to date after exams, click through to this page…and BAM! Right in my feels. Watch them crumple to ash along with Rafa’s heart…

    Ok, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, I’m perhaps a little bit more of a Rafa fan, and I semi-want to whack Elan across the back of the head… I sort of get where he’s coming from (because every time I read this page, I think “omg that’s me, that’s what I’d do and say!”), but at the same time I think its just coming from a place of pain and pride – especially that “good afternoon”, that was cold… Elan has been listening to the wrong people about Rafa, and shutting him out/down like this, while an effective defense mechanism, makes me want to grab him, and make him actually talk to Rafa, instead of pulling down the cold/aloof mask of pretending he doesn’t hurt as much as he does…

    Annnyway, I will shut up >.< I'm very tired, fyi! But! Loving this page, loving it loving it!!! Makes me tear up a little, its so close to the numerous times my SO and I have had fights XP