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Love Never Fails... Right?
Before Lynelle stepped foot on this earth and witnessed the stars her parents were one. They stood in a room before god both vowing to have and to hold each other from that day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until parted by death. Looking back at all of their photos there is no doubt in her mind that at one point or another they were completely in love with each other and planned on staying true to their vows, but it's obvious now that love has failed them.
Most would say that Lynelle is lucky and should actually be happy she never hears her parents yell at each other or fight, but what those people fail to see is that though her parents don't yell or fight, they also do not talk to each other at all. In fact, She often wondered if they even knew the other existed anymore. They no longer ask each other of their plans for the day, there's no longer the need for the make up days and they no longer talked about her sister's schooling or sit together at the family table. The only time she ever witnessed them talk is when they needed to discuss the bills.
“Oh great, another day.” Elle complained to herself as the sun invited itself onto her bare walls and into her eyes. She wrestled the pillow that lay on her bed until it was obvious sleep would not see her again until night. Still Lying down in her black comforter, she listened closely for the sound she heard every morning. The garage door.
It usually opened twice. The first time was of her father finally coming home from work. The garage door, loud and creaking would open up. It was then accompanied by large thumps of footsteps and a lousy slam of the door leading to the garage. The second one was followed by her mother, who nearly an hour later, left for work.
As usual, Elle's mother entered her room despite the sign taking over her bedroom door stating 'GO AWAY!' and turned on the light she asked her not to turn on every morning. “MOM!” She yelled from her bed. Her patience with this woman remembering things was waring thin. “It's bright enough as it is! You don't have to steal away the sun's spotlight.” she complained, burying her head deep within her pillow.
“Oh, sorry.” Her mother whispered. “I didn't know you were sleeping.” Her footsteps found its way to her dresser. Of course you didn't. You don't know anything about me. Elle thought to herself. “Here's your lunch money.” She said setting it down lightly and then she placed her lips on Elle's forehead. “I'll see you when I get home tonight if you're still up.” Lynelle said nothing, but nodded her head and watched her mom fade into the dark hallway without closing her door behind her. Like every day before this, she got out of her warm bed and battled the cold to close her door.
Already annoyed and slightly tired she reunited herself with her warm bed and laid there staring at the cold ceiling above her. She didn't need a clock to tell the time in the morning, because things were always the same. Dad comes home at 5:30 she told herself. Mom comes in unannounced shortly after, always turning my light on and leaving my door open despite my many requests, then shortly after that... “Ah.” she whispered to herself, “Right on schedule.” She could now hear her older sister from the room nearby curse at her mother and spew out words most children don't say to their parents. Their fights usually lasted at least ten minutes and at the most forty-five. She could hear her mother's footsteps escape her sisters bedroom and into the kitchen where she grabbed her cup of coffee and left for work at exactly 5:50am.
Lynelle laid there until she was sure it was at least 6:30am. It was silent in the house. If she didn't know any better she could tell herself that she was home alone. She dragged herself out of bed all the while hating every step to the bathroom which was across the hall parallel to the wall that separated her room and her sister's room. She entered the bathroom grabbing a face towel along the way. She drowned it in scorching hot water and placed it on her naturally bronzed skin. Looking at herself, she remembered all the days when she was teased by her black friends for being so light. Her sister, bronzed though she was a shade or two darker, was also teased. It wasn't a mean teasing just a fun laughter among friends. Elle pulled at her thick slightly matted hair and then decided it was time to go head to head with a comb.
After the fight with her mother, Athena buried her head into her pillow and let tears spill out onto the cotton below her. She felt sick. Not the usual kind of sick either. The kind of sick where you came to terms with the fact that everything you use to have both inside and out was gone. It's a cold and empty feeling. Then shortly after it's accompanied by pain and confusion.
Every ounce of pain inside, i pushed into my eyes and yet she couldn't see it.
She wrote out in the journal she held on her lap.
My heart called for her when she questioned my eyes and asked 'Are you okay?' and of course,
on cue, I said 'nothing.' and she let it go.
A tear rolled down her cheek as she stared at the writing on the page.
She let it go even though the pain in my eyes begged her to reach out and pull me in. She let it
go though I wanted her to beg to know what's going on deep inside. Maybe she doesn't see it?
Maybe I have masked my pain for so long that it's become a reflex of some kind. Maybe it
everything I want people to see.
She closed her journal and took in a deep breath. Her hand reached under her bed and pulled out the bottle of vodka she replaced every two to three days. She took it in, hating the taste of it and forcefully chugged more. It burned her mouth, her throat, and her heart to feel the need to drink to get rid of the pain. Then she hid her bottle from herself, her parents, her sister and the world.
Athena “AJ” Jasmine Torres was dug into her red journal. Her fingers traced the engraved letters, which were dug in with a knife by her best friends Ibby (Isabella) and Joseph. She hopped out of bed desperately trying to keep her footing still and walked toward the bathroom where Elle was getting ready to brush her teeth. She stared at Elle envying her small frame and lighter skin, but threw all of her feelings backseat.
Elle hated being in a room with her sister. She was always bitter and rude. Having a conversation with her was more like entering a battle zone, of which, you could not win no matter how hard you tried. Her sister wasn't always like this. In fact, it only started two weeks ago.
“I need the toothpaste.” Athena muttered angrily snatching it out of Elle's hands. “Why are you so OCD? Just squirt it on and brush.”
“Why does the way I choose to brush my teeth bother you?” Elle asked. Challenging her for answers.
“Because the way you choose to brush your teeth takes hours and I don't have hours. I WILL leave without you if you aren't dressed and ready in thirty minutes.”
Elle frowned. She quickly brushed her teeth to get away from Athena who ended up still finishing up before her. When Elle finished she walked into the kitchen where she spotted AJ watching some exercise show.
“Watching other people exercise isn't going to help you any.” She said smartly. Athena gave her a glance of death and turned off the television.
Athena wasn't fat, she just wasn't as model thin as her sister and mother. Despite the differences in skin color and body weight Athena and Elle's facial features were very similar. Twin-like in fact.
They both sat at the table and waited for their breakfast to finish. Their mother had left some pancakes in the microwave for them and the sausage in the pan was nearly finished.
“I think it's done now.” Athena announced. She placed some on both plates and sat down again. “Try eating quickly.” She meant it to come out as a request, but it came out more as a demand.
Elle purposely began eating like a rabbit. When Athena frowned she smiled and ate faster.
“Did Mom leave you lunch money?” Athena asked while chewing her food.
“Yeah, you?” Elle asked even though she already knew the answer.
The car ride was painfully silent. AJ and Elle said nothing to each other, never glanced at each other, in fact, they didn't even say goodbye. Sadly, despite their three year level differences they had more in common than they knew.
AJ's high school and Elle's middle school were nearly literally next to each other. The only thing keeping them apart was the library both schools shared. AJ parked the car in her usual parking spot next to Ibby, who usually gave Joseph a ride to school.
On Elle's way to her middle school she was, as usual, tormented with words from Lily. Lily bullied Elle for over a year now. Her innocent honey brown eyes deceived the world into believing she could do nothing wrong. Her dark brown, blonde streaked hair wrapped around the hearts of every guy Elle wished would simply notice her. What Lily didn't know is that Elle was the kind of girl who harbored feelings until she exploded and lost all self control.
Elle walked passed Lily ignoring her harmful words. She knew they were only the beginning to a day she wished would have never happened. She had no friends, and nothing to do all day, but hate life.
AJ on the other hand was greeted by her best friends Ibby and Joseph. They've been a pair since forth grade and have never left each other since. They were like parents to AJ even though they were just two years older than her.
Ibby's hugs were like a little piece of heaven. They washed away all of the pain, they made you feel warm and loved and the best thing of all is that they were free.
“I missed you so much.” Ibby whispered cradling AJ in her arms.
It reminded me of elementary school days. She would swing me on the swings when my little
feet couldn't reach the ground below me, she would get me lunch in the lunchroom and save me
a seat by her side even though it was against the rules and visited my class even though it drove
my teachers insane.
Ibby and Joseph had left town for two weeks so AJ had to hang around her other “friends.” You know what kind of friends I'm talking about. The kind that got invited to all the parties. The kind of girls who always back stabbed you, were never trust worthy and those kind of guys that pass around girls like they're secrets.
“I missed you too.” AJ said before wiping a tear from her eye.
“AJ!” Joseph yelled after finally getting off of his cellphone. “Hey kid!” He yelled lifting her off of the ground in a 'bear hug' of some sort.
“Let's not kill her now Joseph.” Ibby whispered carefully removing her from his muscular arms.
“So... You should come spend the night at Joseph's apartment with me this weekend. It'll be pizza night like usual.” Ibby said smiling as they all walked up the steps of their High school.
“Yeah, of course.”
They walked through the hallways of yelling jocks, easy girls and fast walking teachers. They walked through the hallways of smart kids sitting on benches arguing over problem thirteen. They strolled through the English classrooms where people silently read.
AJ could hear a buzzing of some kind. It frightened her at first, but then she noticed the light in her pocket after Joseph had pointed it out. Adam's name was spelled out in black across her phone's screen. She hid the screen from her high school parents. They knew nothing about AJ's secret friendship with Adam, her college boyfriend who supplied her with alcohol.
That of course came with a price. She hated thinking about the compromise, so she usually forced the thought of it to the back of her head. Her body ached with disagreement, her lips trembling with fear of what everyone would think if they found out. Her stomach and thighs were like a wide golden brown canvas splattered with blues and purples and sometimes reds.
The school day was long and tiring for Elle. AJ had left school after her third class to meet her boyfriend at the coffee place nearby. She walked there tossing thoughts around and bouncing around reasons why she should turn around, but she didn't turn around. She continued her journey until she sat in the chair he saved for her across from himself.
“Hey beautiful.” He said smiling. His fingers found their way to her wrist and wrapped around them tightly. “I missed you.”
AJ didn't say anything. She looked down at the table unable to look him in the eyes. A wash of pain came over her and she closed her eyes to rid herself of embarrassment filled tears.
“Look at me when I'm talking to you.” he said angrily. His hand forced her chin up. “Why do you feel the need to make me so angry?” His grip around her wrist tightened. She looked at him, her body began to shake with fear under his fingertips, as did her eyes under his glare. His grip loosened. “I just want to love you, you know that right? I don't want to hurt you.” He said kissing her gently on the lips. She said nothing. Frozen still.
Instead she searched through her memories of when Adam wasn't as aggressive. He was a sweetheart and would never do the things he does now. I could leave him she said to herself. She really wanted to leave him, but she knew she couldn't. It just wasn't that simple. She needed him.
“Did you enjoy the bottle I left you under your bed last night?” he asked. She nodded her head.
Elle's day at school was boring and uneventful. There was one teacher who hated her the most because Elle always had something smart to say in her classroom.
“Elle is there a problem?” Mrs. Hudgensons asked from her desk. Elle was obviously falling into a deep sleep.
“No” Elle smiled. “I just made a great discovery.”
“Oh really and what is that?” Mrs. Hudgensons asked uninterested in her story.
“I think I've found the cure to insomnia.” Elle said smartly. “Your class.” The classroom filled with laughter, but Mrs. Hudgensons was very angry.
“Go outside RIGHT NOW!” she yelled.
The drive home was just as silent as the ride to school. The house was empty when they went inside. A note was left on the fridge along with dinner inside. Athena set the oven before heading for a shower. She felt as though she had just plunged herself into a pool of mud. The hot water crashed into her skin and temporarily washed away her mud of shame.
Elle sat at the kitchen table and dove into her homework. She was always good with school when it came to grades. Elle wanted to blame the world for her loneliness, but it's not the worlds fault Elle was alone. She use to be very popular with a lot of friends before she removed herself and became very reserved. You'd never believe it now, but at one time Lily and Elle were best friends. The kind of friends other girls watched and envied.
Elle 1 ½ years ago (Seventh grade)
“Elle!” someone yelled behind me. I turned around to see Meghan more perky than usual. Though pretty, she wasn't exactly the smartest person in our group.
“Hey Meg!” I said trying desperately to match her excitement. “You're here so early!”
“I know, right? I looked at the time and thought it said 2:60 and I was like I'm SOOO late, but it was really 6:20” she said giggling. Yeah... I think I've made my point. I mean does 2:60 really exist on a clock?
“I know! I had the same problem.” I lied.
I walked around the school with her for what seems like hours of torture. She kept going on about her clothes, her sisters and guys. I literally wanted to shoot myself in the head.
“Nice outfit by the way.” she said eying my clothes before her gaze settled somewhere else. “Oh My!” she squealed.
“What? What's wrong?” I asked looking around for an answer.
“Look at that hideous jacket.” She said pointing to a young girl.
I turned around facing a girl wearing the exact jacket I owned at home. I was actually going to wear that jacket today, so part of me was laughing inside. I guess not wearing that jacket was one of the best decisions I made today.
“Yeah it's horrible. I can't believe she left the house with it on.” I said secretly feeling sorry for the girl passing by.
Meg's foot somehow moved itself from our position and found its way in front of the poor girl passing by. The girl fell flat on her face. I could hear her sob on the ground, her hand holding onto a bloody lip.
“You ought to watch where you're going.” Lily called out. “Is Sara here yet?” She asked joining the group.
“No, not yet.” Meghan said while shaking her head no. “Let's look for her.”
Meghan and Lily started walking and talking about a high school party they got invites to. While they walked ahead I helped the girl up from the floor. She stared at me with angry eyes.
“You guys are horrible.” She sobbed through her tears before pushing me away. It angered me that she was angry with me when I had done nothing to her. In fact, I was trying to help this girl even though it could ruin my reputation.
“Whatever.” I said rolling my eyes before pushing her back down. “See if I help you again.”
The poison was starting to set in. It was once on my lips, at reach to taste, but I was alive. Now the poison had settled in and I was nothing more than another one of those girls dead to feeling sorry for girls they pushed down and walked all over.
At one time I forgot about other people's feelings completely. I said so many hurtful things I actually ended up hurting my best friend Lily.
“I need your help.” Sara said in the bathroom. She finished up retouching her hair. When the queen asked for your help you didn't decline. “Lily is starting to look like a mess. Someone NEEDS to tell her.” She said while air kissing herself in the mirror. “If she continues down the road she's going people are going to think that just anyone can join this group.”
“What do you want me to do?” I asked fearfully. I didn't want to hurt Lily. She was my closest friend. We both hated bullying others and hated the group. She even spent the night at my house on a school day and we'd just make fun of ourselves and how ridiculous Sara was.
“I want you to tell her how fat she's getting. No guys going to like her.”
The words settled into my brain. I knew then that this whole thing wasn't about the way Lily looked. Lily was just as thin as Sara, in fact, she was more beautiful than Sara which is probably why Sara's boyfriend was trying to get at her.
I had a choice. We all have a choice in the things we do. We try to make excuses for our mistakes, reasons for things not being our fault, but at the end of the day we had a choice.