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“Don't cry, I'm sorry to have deceived you so much, but that's how life is.”
Do you ever wonder what it’s like to fall in love? I feel like love is a forgotten memory, something that's always in the back of your head that hardly reaches the surface. I still remember my one and only like it was just yesterday.
As the day begins, I saw another flaw in myself. Not something big that anyone could notice, like a small pimple or a long nose hair. Today's flaw consists of an extra pound breaking my perfect weight that I’ve kept for months.
As I’m getting dressed I hear her, “Wow, put on some weight haven’t you.”
I don’t reply.
Then she speaks again, her voice shrill and full of anger, “You’d be more attractive if you lost some weight.”
I want to scream at her to go away, but my family would hear. So I plug my ears and pretend I can’t hear her.
“Fat! Fat! Fat! Fat! Fat,” she yells at me until I’m crying.
I do the only thing that makes her quiet, even if it’s just for a little while. I go into the bathroom and make a small patch of cuts to add to the ones on my stomach. She finally stops yelling. I hear my mom calling me for breakfast, so I clean myself up and head downstairs with a fake, but believable smile.
“Ah, there’s my beautiful girl,” my mother says as she places a plate of toast and eggs in front of me. “So how did you sleep?” she asks.
Still frightened from this morning, I reply with, “Alright, I slept like a rock.” And before you know it, it’s time to go to school.
One of my friends from school picks me up in her blue Bugatti, and off we go. Damn, I need a cigarette. I started smoking in freshman year, and I can proudly say now as a junior that I still haven’t quit. My mom got me nicotine patches. I refuse to stop, so they sit in the back of my underwear drawer, I never even opened the packaging. At least my mom cares.
Once we arrive at school, everyone notices me. I’m known for being the pretty, smart, peppy girl. I do my best academically and I’m a cheerleader. Having a large social life is important to my family, so I try to have as many friends as possible. But in all honesty, no one really knows me. I’m a really private person and there's so much going on in my mind that just no one sees.
The bell rings and the day starts. Class is usually easy, except today someone has been following me everywhere. I don’t know who they are. I just stay quiet about it.
The final bell of the day finally rings, and I get to go home. Cheer practice has been canceled for the week due to finals, so I’m excited to have a day off.
I get a text from my mom, “Have to work late :( There's plenty of food in the fridge. Cook yourself some dinner.”
I take the bus home. I’m looking forward to having the house to myself. When I get home, the door is unlocked. Maybe it’s the cleaners?
“Hello? Is anyone there?” No reply. Maybe Mom just forgot to lock the door this morning. She can be really forgetful about that kind of stuff. So I shrug it off and walk into the kitchen to look for some snacks. As I turn to the fridge I see them, the person who was following me all day. I scream for help, but before I even finish I feel a sharp pain in my chest and can no longer breathe. Dropping to the floor, I feel an overwhelming warmth in my chest and I lose consciousness.
My eyes open. I’m in an ambulance on my way to the E.R. My shirt has been cut off revealing a kitchen knife in my chest. I lose consciousness again. When I finally awaken, I’m in the intensive care unit with a tube down my throat controlling my breathing. My mother is next to me holding my hand.
“Honey, you have a collapsed lung. You’re lucky to be alive,” she says to me.
I try to respond, but even breathing feels like pure fire.
“Shhh, don’t talk right now darling. They say you were stabbed between the third and fourth rib on the right side, puncturing the lungs, and causing them to collapse and fill with blood. Thank God the neighbors heard you scream and called 911.”
I just smile to relieve her. The person who hurt me is behind her, just smiling. I see their eyes, black and cold as ice staring into me. I try to speak. I have to find out why they did this to me. Then they disappear.
“And there is more we need to discuss. The doctors said they found several self-harm scars and new cuts on you. It broke my heart to hear this. The doctors suggest a mental health clinic. It’s called Sunshine Valley and you will be staying there once you get the okay.”
I can’t do this. I can’t stand her eyes on me. I feel worthless. If only she knew why. God I’m so pathetic. I can’t help but cry. Why do I have to be such a baby? My mom just holds my hand. I can tell she’s trying not to cry as to not upset me.
A nurse walks into my room. “Okay hon, it’s time to take a nap. I think you’ve learned enough for now.”
I continue to cry as I drift off. The next couple of weeks go by slowly. I feel numb and broken.
Then the day arrives, the time to go to Sunny Valley. I enter in a wheelchair. I’m not strong enough to walk. I am using every bit of my energy to not cry as my mom leaves. The nurse takes me into a separate room with her, undresses and examines my body and makes notes about my cuts and other markings. Then I’m taken into a room with a bed, white walls, and a window that won't open. And this is where I stay.
I leave for therapy and food then return to my room. I keep this routine up for three weeks before I see him, this handsome, rugged gentleman. He stands at around 6ft tall with messy black hair and eyes so blue I swear I see the ocean waves within them. The first time I see him I can’t believe it. How can someone so kind, so dazzling, be here with me, a 5’1” dirty blond with sewage brown eyes?
“Care for a cigarette, darling?” he asks.
I can feel my face light up and turn ruby red. “I would love one,” I reply. And my God would I! I haven’t had a cigarette in what feels like years. He takes me into the courtyard and we share one that he must’ve stolen from the nurses.
“I’m not here because I’m crazy, by the way,” he says, cigarette dangling in the side of his mouth. “I just fell in love.”
I feel like I can tell him everything: the screaming woman, the attacker, everything. However, I keep it simple to protect myself and say to him, “I was attacked and when I was in the ambulance they found my cuts.”
He stays quiet. I think I might have made him uncomfortable, but he speaks after a long period of silence. “I was in love with someone. She told her father, and I got sent here for it, so I could be treated. My feelings for her have now faded.”
As the weeks go by, I find myself falling in love with him. Every day we go out to the courtyard together. Then one day I tell him, “I think I've fallen in love with you.”
He replies, “I feel the same way,” and proceeds to kiss me.
It felt like every moment in my life was leading up towards this. I was finally someone's, but it didn’t last.
I went to therapy like normal, but this time I told the therapist about Him and about everything. It felt so freeing, until she told me, “We don’t have anyone like that in this facility. The age cut off is 18.”
“No! You must be joking. I sit with him every day in the courtyard. He knows everything about me.”
“You sit by yourself every day in the courtyard.”
Everything was a blur, and I couldn’t stop crying. “HE TOLD ME I WAS HIS EVERYTHING! HE IS THE ONLY THING THAT HAS EVER MADE MY LIFE OKAY! HE MADE THE VOICES STOP!”
She handed me tissues and proceeded to say, “Voices… do you hear voices?”
“Yes!” I yelled at her. “I don’t even care if I’m seen as crazy anymore!” I then broke down. I couldn’t breathe. I had reached my limit. I was taken to my room and had a lot of tests throughout the next two months. He was with me every day making sure I was okay for this process. “I just don’t understand why I’m the only one to see you.”
Then one day it happened, I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Upon further investigation into my attack, it turned out that I had hallucinated the whole thing. I was prescribed with Seroquel to make my hallucinations go away. The day before I started taking it I laid next to him. I knew I was never going to see him again. I told him I would never forget him and fell asleep in his arms.
I woke up the next day alone, and I’ve been that way ever since.