He sat in his room, trying to take in his surroundings, but his mind couldn't make sense of what he was seeing. Everything seemed so foreign, and had for so long that he wasn't even sure what exactly had changed. He hadn't taken a shower or brushed his teeth in a week, but he was convinced that there was nothing wrong with that. Fatigue suddenly came over him, and the half-eaten chocolate bar fell out of his mouth, next to the dirty tools he used in his chase after the dragon.
She sat in her room, trying to convince herself to do homework, but her mind wouldn't let her. She could only picture him, with all the self-inflicted wounds on his arms, and see his face, with those lowered, sunken eyes that screamed at her, rushing feelings of guilt and worthlessness through her body. Flashes of their argument clogged her mind, still vivid, not caring that a year had passed. She was certain that if she just talked to him again, just once, everything would be all right. All she wanted was to help, and she was convinced that the flickering light of hope inside her remained there for a reason. She picked up her car keys and went out the back door.
She found herself parking her car in front of his house, not exactly sure how she got there, She opened her car door to have a bitter wind strike her, sending chills careening up and down her spine, The cold was blinding, but this didn't matter to her, because the whole world seemed to be enveloped in a gray that she'd rather not see. She finally reached his doorway, and let herself in. Still in a daze, she walked up the two flights of stairs to his room, and opened the door. Spoons and syringes littered the floor. Candy bar wrappers were scattered everywhere, along with half-empty coffee cups and cans of soda. Ants ate almost everything, and what they didn't the rats and roaches would. You could almost taste the decay of life and ambition in the room. It was suffocating.
She walked closer to him, and the creaking floorboards woke him. They looked at each other, into each other's eyes, and for a moment she thought she could see into his soul. But his soul had disintegrated long ago, and all that was in him now was emptiness, with some powdery white dust taking up the space where his soul used to be. She left his house and cried the rest of the way home.
He fell back asleep. 1
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.