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By Your Side
I'm lying on my bed. I don't want to get up, go to school, face the scrutinizing glances I know people will throw my way.
There's no point anymore.
This is the only place where I feel safe.
Time has almost stopped for me. I've gone beyond feeling. I'm just...here, trapped in this abhorrent sensation called reality. “Reality bites” is an understatement. It should be something more along the lines of “Reality cuts off your head and maims your soul until it can no longer be repaired”.
I'm not going to accept it, if I can help it. Accepting it would only make it worse—what happened is undeniably worse—and I'd rather live in blissful oblivion than let go. I'm going to act the same, dress the same, laugh the same. Nobody will see the inner turmoil wreaking havoc on my very soul, tearing away at me piece by piece and pooling in the pit of my stomach.
I won't allow them to.
I can hear the whispers.
They follow me everywhere, mocking me, sympathizing with me, pitying me. Thoughts whispered intentionally, hiding under the shadow of a single breath. They haunt me, making the pain all the worse—
I wish I could say something to help her.
I wonder if she has any friends. Where are they now?
It's always the same. They're hitting me from every angle, sinking into my pores. Nobody rises to the challenge that is presenting itself, nobody says anything remotely comforting—they don't even try. Who would want to be friends with me, anyways? I am a ticking time bomb, prepared to detonate on anybody who bothered to try, or so they seemed to think.
Their avoidance is only causing the time bomb to tick faster.
Glass lays shattered all over my bedroom floor. That's what my life is, what my heart consists of. Shattered pieces.
Nobody was going to bother to help put it back together.
Not in the way it was supposed to be.
My eyes are locked on a single photograph, mapping out joyful expressions and carefree laughter lying beneath the glistening, diamond-like shards. It shakes me to the core, causing me to wish pointlessly for a return to what was and feel the need to vomit all in the same breath. Hope of a future is in that picture, a future that will never be realized, a future shattered, damaged irreparably like the glass on the floor.
It mocks me, making me want to cry out and ask questions that, in all likelihood, will never be answered. It happened, finito, end of story. This picture is one of the few things that remain, an echo of the past, a glimpse of what could have been.
I wish I could bring myself to look away.
“How are you today, Kelly?”
“That's good. Have you been putting the steps to acceptance that we've discussed into practice?”
“I've started to pack away the pictures.” And then burn them.
“That's good! What else have you done?”
“I've packed up the sweater.” After I cut it into tiny little pieces.
“I think you're on your way to recovery, Kel. I'm so proud of you, and I know your parents will be, too.”
Even though my life is such a lie.
I found a letter in a book today. Funny. I thought I had gotten them all.
I don’t want to read it, but a magnetic force centered in my optic nerve tells me otherwise, and I feel my emotions rearing out of control as I read the memory.
I like you.
Boy, if we weren't already past that pleasantly nerve wracking stage, our lives would be astoundingly different. We'd probably still hate each other, or some shindig like that. And that wouldn't be fun. Because you're one of the most intriguing and unique people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting and I'm actually rather sad that we got off to a rough start.
It's a good thing we eventually righted ourselves, though ;).
I miss you. I'll be back soon.
Describe the weather for me. I miss silly old Canada.
Not nearly as much as I miss you. But you already knew that.
I gotta head out, now. Dad's going on about seeing “David” and whatever and this crazy hotel makes you pay a Euro for every fifteen minutes of internet. I suppose it's alright, but there's only like, two computers, and the wait's longer than you would ever guess...
I’ll always be by your side.
I try to convince myself that I want to burn it like I burned the others as I slump to the floor, but I can’t stand the thought that it might be the last one.
A little girl invited me to her birthday party. She said sorry for it being such short notice—the party is tomorrow—and that I didn’t have to worry about a present. Her expression was almost sad, but at the same time begging me to come, and I couldn’t find it in me to say no. It had been so long since I had visited, ever since the accident; I thought I was staying away because it would help me exorcise my demons, so to speak. I would get better if I never had anything to do with them ever again.
What a lie.
I’m going to consult my mother, ask her what to do. There’s no way I can follow through with this. It would jeopardize everything I’ve been working towards these last few months, destroy the facade I have worked achingly long to build. There’s no turning back if I go. These past weeks will have been for nothing. I can’t go.
I just can’t.
I’m standing outside a foreign door, hand poised to knock, one day after I received the invitation. The door had been recognizable at a point in time, but now it was as unknown to me as the French language was. This was once home. This was once happy.
It wasn’t any more. I doubted that it ever would be again.
Before I could knock, the door opened, and the brown haired, green eyed little girl flashed me a big, gap ridden smile. She’s nine today, one year away from double digits. She’s grown a lot since the first time I attended one of her birthday parties, and certainly more than the last time I was here. It’s been too long, and I feel myself teetering on the edge of losing it, but she wraps her arms around me in almost a desperate hug, holding on like I’m the very air she breathes. I look up, and see her mom approaching us tearfully from the kitchen. There are sounds coming from the living room, laughter and shouting, but we’re all oblivious to it. It’s only seconds before her mom reaches us, joining the hug. I can hear her sniffling in my ear, the only evidence of her tears, and the little girl is shaking.
“Welcome home,” is whispered in my ear, but I’m not too sure about that anymore.
I’m not too sure about anything any more.
“Thanks,” I reply quietly, and the little girl’s mom lets me wrap my arms around her as I begin to sob minutes later, unable to help myself.
I know my mom will be wondering where I am, asking why I didn’t head straight home from the party like I told her I would. I couldn’t help myself. I had to come here, sort my thoughts out, try to expel the evil spirit holding my life captive and making it hard to breathe.
It wasn’t meant to be this way, I know it wasn’t. I kneel down beside a stone, a simple stone amidst dozen of others, and I trace the name on the gravestone with my eyes. This is unfamiliar territory, unnatural; this never should’ve happened. What’s more, it should be easier to pick it all up and walk on rather than linger behind, wishing vainly, hoping fruitlessly that something will change. I’m willing to beg for a change in circumstances, plead for a different outcome.
Anything other than this.
Solomon Carter Wickstrom. The name feels awkward on my tongue, maybe because I never say the full thing. Solomon Carter Wickstrom. What are the chances that this could happen to you? Why did you leave? Why won’t I wake up from this torment that’s holding me captive, tying my stomach into knots and making me feel so very weak?
I’ll do anything to hold him again, though it’s no longer a possibility.
I’ll sell my soul if it means I can leave this behind, let it go, though I’m not entirely sure that I want to.
The words from the last letter echo in my mind.
I’ll always be by your side.
And, for the first time in months, I can feel him there.