raw and bare | Teen Ink

raw and bare

July 5, 2019
By haleylevan GOLD, New York, New York
haleylevan GOLD, New York, New York
13 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Sometimes the pain is unbearable. When she wakes up in the mornings, still fuzzy and numb from sleep, it is almost as if it is a regular day, and she is a regular person, both ignorant of and indifferent to pain. But then it all comes rushing back, the tearing of her heart, the burning of every nerve in her body, the numb, steady ache afterwards. Sometimes it’s hard to believe. She has no family- no mother, no father, no sister- only herself. She is alone and that threatens to break her. 

That night, a night particularly unbearable because it marks a year since Juliana was taken from her, Sophia is sitting in the bathroom by herself. The white light of the bulbs above the mirror seem too bright, almost garish in a way, and she feels herself squinting in an attempt to block it out. The pain today is different than the pain every other day; instead of the familiar, constant ache, she feels rather a sharp pain, like a red hot iron pressing against her heart, against her organs and everything inside of her until she is burning, going up in flames. Tomorrow she will be nothing but ash and smoke and dust. 

That doesn’t frighten her anymore. Long ago she learned how to deal with pain, how to view it as an old friend, even. Or a relative, rather- someone you didn’t really want to see but had to see anyway, and by then you were so used to it that it hardly mattered. Hardly made a difference. 

But tonight, tonight the pain is intense, bright like the lights up ahead. She puts the lid of the toilet down and sits, burrowing her face into her hands. This life, what was it really? A constant circle of losing people- losing friends, family, loved ones. This was a life that took and never gave back, took until all you had was yourself and then you didn’t even have that. In the end, all there was was dust and shadows. In the end, you were always left with nothing. 

But she had known that all along; it wasn’t as if someone had deceived her, had told her that life would be different. It was her own fault, really, that this had come as a shock to her, this many years and so many losses later. She should have expected it by then. But childishly, foolishly she had continued to hope, had continued to believe, with nothing but her own naivete to sustain her. 

After Juliana’s death, Sophia had locked herself in her room for days, listening to no one and ignoring everyone. Those days, all she saw was the back of her closed lids, dark, black nothingness. And in those days, she had been sure of nothing, not even what day it was, or how long it had been. At some point, someone had been sent to get her- Valentino, Samantha, James, Kaly- she never knew who, since she just ignored them, pretended the incessant knocking was a figment of her imagination and that it would disappear soon. It always did. 

Once, after sitting still for what felt like hours while ignoring the sound of someone calling her name repeatedly, she told herself that if they called again- just one more time- she would finally go out and let herself be comforted by her friends. Silence met her and she felt, childishly, she knew, angry and frustrated- even more so than before. She had felt unreasonably angry at her friends, who were only trying to help her. They had been for however much time had passed since Juliana’s death. And here she was, sitting stubbornly behind closed doors, refusing their help. Refusing to be helped. It was stupid and unreasonable and illogical but she couldn’t help herself. Allowing herself to be comfortable, she felt, was a luxury, a pleasure she shouldn’t be given, shouldn’t partake in, considering what had happened to Juliana, and her mother, and her father. How could she be so selfish as to think only about her own comfort when they hadn’t even been allowed to enjoy the most basic pleasure- life.

The author's comments:

inspired by A Little Life

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