May 25, 2017
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"Sometimes my thoughts and fears become a ball of blankets and tears,
because sleep is all that I can do to forget anymore."

Valerie opened the door to her home, sighing as she walked inside. She dropped her keys into the glass bowl and dropped her purse onto its hook. The door was closed quietly and Valerie continued her way to her room, shedding her coat and shoes through the dim hallway. Work had been tough, and it was even tougher that day seeing as she barely made her way out of bed, through her routine and out of the door. Her thoughts and anxieties were swimming around in her head like sharks and any sort of medication or "relaxation methods" would not work today. Her tired feet took her to bed, and once they reached their destination, Valerie's entire body flopped onto the cushy surface. She buried herself in the covers and pulled her phone out of her back pocket. Her friend Gabe had been trying to reach her and up until this point she had ignored him.

Hey! Are you coming to Jesse's party?
Lena said she wouldn't mind another female there lol
I'm guessing that’s a no?

Sorry :( It's acting up again...
I don't think I'm gonna be able to go. Send them all my love and apologies :(((

Awh :( Feel better
You need me to come over? If it's getting this bad I don't want you alone. You know what happened last time

Valerie looked away from her phone and over to the hole in her wall that was put there nearly 3 months ago. She had been meaning to fix it or put a poster over it, but she didn't have the time.

Maybe that would be a smart idea...
But I don't want you to miss out on the fun or anything

I'll be there in 5
Do you want the emergency sadness kit?

Yes please...

The emergency sadness kit was something that Gabe and Valerie had made up after her anxiety and pent up feelings had gotten so bad that she punched the previously mentioned hole through her wall. It was comprised of several large blankets, snacks, movies and a menu for every takeout place on this side of the city. Stuff that would at least distract her for a while, but not necessarily take away the depression. The melancholy feeling would never really leave, it would usually just become less of a weight on her after crying for a while or pushing the feeling away constantly.

A knock on Valerie's door signaled that her best friend was there.

Door is unlocked. I'm in my room, hiding in the blanket and pillow hoard that is my bed.

Gabe took this as the 'ok' to open the door and make his way to Valerie. He again knocked on her bedroom door just to make sure that she was cool with him coming in.

You can come in.

Gabe opened her bedroom door and closed it upon entering. He had two large tote bags in tow, one overflowing with blankets, the other was filled to the brim with snacks both sweet and salty.

"I'm guessing you're not in the talking mood?" He inquired, cocking his head to the side much like a confused puppy.

No. I think if I talk I might start crying and I really don't want to cry right now.

"That's alright. I understand. May I sit next to you?"

You may

Gabe sat down next to Valerie and unearthed the blankets from one of the bags. He tossed all of them onto Valerie, burying her completely in the fluffy material. A muffled laugh could be heard from beneath the covers.

Now why'd you go and do that?
You're silly.

"I am silly." Gabe laughed. "After all, I did come here to cheer you up!"

Yeah you did. Thanks.
Can we watch a movie and order some takeout or something? Please?

"Of course, Valerie. Where do you want to order from?"

The girl unearthed herself from the blankets and pointed towards the bag. Gabe grabbed the plethora of menus out of the tote and handed them to her. She sifted through them, eventually organizing them by type of food and further into price. Of course Valerie didn't really know what she wanted, but she found that sorting the menus helped her decide. Did she want Indian food? She skimmed through the menus. She decided not after looking through the food items. Italian? As good as gnocchi sounded right now, she had Italian for lunch that day. Chinese? Japanese? Thai? Nothing was peaking her interest. 

"Did you find anything yet? I'm guessing no, because almost every menu is in the 'no' pile."

Valerie shook her head and sighed.

"What about the poke place down the road?"

A grimace washed over Valerie's face like a small child that was offered vegetables.

If I wanted to eat raw fish, I'd get sushi. Not deconstructed sushi in a bowl.

"Fair enough. Do you just want to go down to the supermarket and get fried chicken and ice cream? That's usually your go-to sadness meal."

She considered it, but then that meant she'd have to go outside. Then once she got there and checked out, Deb the really nice cashier lady would know she was sad. Either that or people would ask if her and Gabe were dating. Valerie really didn't want to deal with those kind of judgmental looks and questions while this was going on. She just wanted some food and distraction.

"I'll let you borrow my hoodie afterwards."


Whenever she had the chance, Valerie would steal Gabe's sweatshirts. There was just something about them that made her happy when she was down. Maybe it was because they felt like a really long warm hug or his hoodies always smelt really nice . . . like campfire smoke and the woods. Gabe laughed and shrugged off his hoodie. He tossed it over to Valerie.

"Get on your shoes so we can go, grumpy pants." Valerie smiled a bit at the nickname. He always called her that when she'd get really indecisive because her brow would furrow and she'd get this cross look on her face.

Alright, not so grump

Valerie climbed out from under the blankets and put on Gabe's sweatshirt. The sleeves were a bit too long so they covered her hands, but that was okay. She wandered out into the hallway, leaving Gabe in her room, and picked up her shoes and coat off of the floor. Valerie made her way back into the room and put on her shoes. She set her jacket on the bed and looked up at Gabe. She nodded as if to say "I'm ready to go!"

"I assume you're ready?" Gabe smiled and ruffled Valerie's hair, causing her bangs to fall in front of her face. Valerie responded by huffing in frustration and nodding. She hated when Gabe did that. It made her feel like a child, and it didn't help that he was like 6'3". She flipped her hair back into place and followed Gabe out of her room and to the door of her apartment. Valerie grabbed her keys out of her bowl and her wallet out of her purse. Gabe gave her a kind smile and opened the door for her so she could step out the door and begin their short journey to the store. Giving him a weak half smile, she stepped outside and ushered Gabe out. She locked the door and made her way towards Gabe's car in the driveway. He nodded and unlocked the car, catching up to her and sitting in the driver's seat.

"You want some music?" Gabe asked as she climbed into the passenger seat next to him. She nodded and pointed to her phone.

"You can DJ your music if you'd like! You know I'm cool with anything." Gabe smiled and started the car. As he pulled out of the driveway and started the short drive down to the small grocery store in town, Valerie plugged her phone into the car, playing some of her favorite music that she knew Gabe would appreciate. She was a sucker for old rock music, anything AC/DC was her favorite. She watched Gabe sing along and jam out like the goofball that he was, and even though normally she would've joined in on the shenanigans, she just wasn't feeling it. However, she did have a huge smile on her face while she hummed along to the music and watched Gabe enjoy the music. Eventually the two reached their destination and parked outside of the store.

Inside, the store was lit with fluorescent ceiling lights and the air constantly smelt like floor cleaner. There were aisles of boxed and canned foods, cleaning supplies, spices and any soda or candy you'd ever want. The walls that did not have the entrance were lined with different counters and stations for things like the bakery, deli, butcher, and that weird guy who ran the fish counter. Over by the deli, there was a small restaurant-like station where you could order grilled sandwiches and fresh french-fries. Valerie made a bee-line over to the counter and had Gabe place the order for the fried chicken. 

While they waited, the two decided to peruse the aisles and see if there was any other food that  peaked Valerie's interest. She grabbed some pre-prepared mashed potatoes and green beans to go with the fried chicken so she was eating an actual meal rather than just eating foods that made no resemblance of a meal whatsoever. Gabe helped out by holding the basket for her. He knew what it was like to be depressed like how she was right then, and he would do anything to cheer her up or help out (even if it consisted of unhealthy food and binge watching entire seasons of a show in a night). Eventually they retrieved the fried chicken from the counter and the two made their way over to the freezer aisle for the ice cream.

Gabe had been standing in front of the pints of Ben and Jerry's that usually Valerie would go for, but for whatever reason the gelato was calling her name. Looking over, Gabe noticed that Valerie stared intently into the freezer, trying to figure out which one that she would choose. He smiled and shook his head, scanning over the frozen dessert in front of him. He picked the Cherry Garcia, and even though he tried to find a different flavor to try, nothing other than his favorite interested him. As he closed the door, he nearly dropped the pint upon hearing the first words Valerie had said since he had come to hang out.

"Should I get salted caramel gelato or strawberry?"

Her voice was hoarse and quiet from not using it pretty much the entire day, and sounded much sadder than her usually happy demeanor. Although he had heard her voice when she was in one of her moods before, it was usually muffled by tears and interrupted by loud, broken sobs. This really hit home for him, even more so without the crying. He realized that her depression wasn't all tears and sadness; It was also silence and numbness taking over her emotions. Even though she still smiled and had other emotions, they were dulled by the depression. It loomed around her like a giant grey cloud, never really leaving and only becoming smaller or straying farther away for a time.

"Uh, strawberry?" Gabe coughed awkwardly and tried not to seem like he was surprised. Valerie could see right through it though, but she understood. She grabbed the container of strawberry gelato out of the freezer and put it in the basket that Gabe was holding.

"Is that all you want?" Gabe asked. Valerie nodded, going back to not speaking. Gabe nodded slightly, following Valerie as she made her way to the cashiers. She pulled her wallet out of her back pocket, walking into the only open till of the nearly empty store. Gabe put all of their items onto the conveyor belt and smiled at the cashier. Valerie was watching the total accumulate on the screen in front of her. Her hands were wrapped around her wallet, her slender fingers tracing patterns on the fabric. Thankfully, the regular cashier woman was on break at the time, so no questions about how she was doing or if her and Gabe were a couple. Once the cashier was finished ringing up the items, Valerie paid for them and Gabe gathered the two bags filled with food and sweets. Valerie gave a polite wave to the cashier as she exited the store and made her way to the car. Gabe followed behind her. When the two got to Gabe's car, he put the groceries in the back seat before sitting in the driver's seat and taking off. Music filled the air during the short drive. Playing the music, at least to Valerie, avoided the need for conversation. She could just sit back and listen absentmindedly while Gabe was focused on driving. 

Once they arrived home, plates of food were prepared and Netflix was put on the bedroom TV. Valerie took her plate into her room, Gabe following close behind. She slid all of the menus off of the bed; They would be picked up later. Valerie made herself comfortable and started nibbling on her food. Gabe sat next to her and did the same.

"Which movie do you want to watch tonight? Deadpool or Fantastic Beasts?"

You pick. I don't know which one I want and I've made enough decisions today.

"Deadpool it is, then!" Gabe selected the film and started it. 

As time passed, Valerie became more comfortable and came out of her head. She truly relaxed and ate a proper meal. Eventually, she leaned on Gabe's shoulder and began to doze off. Gabe didn't really mind; As long as she was relaxed and feeling better he didn't care. He made sure that she was asleep and gently got up from where her was sitting. He tucked her in and made sure that all the odds and ends like menus and empty containers were picked up from around her room and either thrown away or put where they belonged. Before Gabe left, He gazed over at Valerie's face. She was calm and a small smile rested upon her lips. Her mood had most definitely improved since he first came over. Gabe knew that if he hadn't been there for Valerie, she probably would've done something that she would regret in the future (Perfect example, the hole in the wall). He looked at his watch; It was nearly three in the morning. His roommate Jack would have a cow if he didn't come home soon, so Gabe figured it would be a good time to hit the road. With a final glance at Valerie, Gabe left her to sleep and get some rest. But, not before leaving her a text to read when she would wake up.

Remember, today is a new day. You don't need to worry so much. Just call me if you need anything.

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