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“Mary Jane. Can you loosen up?” Cicily asked me.
“Really, Cicily? You want me to loosen up? How the hell can I loosen up? My best friend is dead because of me! What do you want me to do? Dance around the school and whistle nursery rhymes?!”
Cicily cocked her head to the side and raised her eyebrows. “Your best friend? MJ what in the world are you talking about? Melissa’s sitting right there.” She pointed to a car that was parked at the very edge of the parking lot. A girl with red hair and freckles looked up at me and smiled.
“Melissa!” I shrieked. I could feel the hot tears streaming down my face. I thought she died from the car accident. I started walking to her car but she walked out and began to back up. It seemed that the closer I approached her, the farther she backed away.
“Melissa, wait.” I pleaded. Melissa stopped moving. Her eyes widened. She opened her mouth and let out a horrific scream. Flames began to fill the lot. I could hear sirens wailing.
“Oh my god, Mel. You’re on fire!” I yelled. I inched closer but she held up her hands.
“Don’t. MJ, don’t come near me. I hate you. You’re the reason I died. You’re the reason I couldn’t have a life. You’re the reason…you’re the reason.” She chanted.
“No, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to.” I whimpered.
“LIAR! You were jealous of me! Of my life. That’s why you took it away. I’m dead thanks to you. Goodbye, MJ. Thanks so much for taking away everything that meant so much to me. I appreciate it.” Melissa shouted. The smoke from the fire clouded the whole lot. Melissa disappeared beneath the dark clouds and laughed bitterly.
“Nooo, Mel. Please. Don’t leave me. Mel. Mel. Mel.” I yelled.
I opened my eyes and gasped. I looked at the clock on the small table beside my bed that read 4:04 AM. I sat up and wiped the sweat and tears off my face. I wasn’t going to get enough sleep tonight, I thought. Again.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Mary Jane!” Mrs. Cruz shouted. I sat up and opened my eyes.
“Huh?” I asked. I looked around as my eyes focused on my surroundings.
“Mary Jane, if you sleep in my class one more time, I’m going to have to suspend you.” She yelled. I watched her face turn a bright red as I stared at her blankly. “This is the fourth time you’ve done this and-”
“Sorry, Mrs. Cruz.” I interrupted. “I haven’t been able to get a lot of sleep lately. This will be the last time, I promise.”
“It better be. I can’t have my students sleeping in a SAT prep class. How are you going to get into a good…” Just then, I couldn’t hear her anymore; my mind blocked out her words.
I felt something pulling at me. My heart began to beat rapidly and my breathing became irregular. What was happening to me? I began to choke and watched as the whole room began to spin. My hands flew to my head, though a smoldering sensation filled my arms. I was burning.
“Help, someone!” I yelled. The students in the classroom looked at me with horror. “Please. Everything’s on fire. Put it out, put it out!”
Why wasn’t anyone helping me? Couldn’t anyone see that I was burning?
I heard someone whisper something but I couldn’t comprehend the blurred words. The voice was unfamiliar to me.
All of a sudden I was blinded. I could see nothing but darkness. The pain then began to subside but I could feel myself violently shaking. I was sucked into the darkness and the last thing I heard was a loud thud as my head fell against the floor…
“Unhh.” I groaned. My eyes fluttered open. Where was I? I looked around. My surroundings were foreign to me. The walls were a slight shade of crème and were practically bare with the exception of a small painting hanging near the door. My eyes landed on the small machine positioned at the side of my bed. I listened to the low, steady noises that were coming from the machine before my eyes landed on the various colored wires that were strapped to my arms. Oh. Oh. I was in the hospital. That explained the bleach like smell that almost always made me nauseated every time I had a check-up. I slowly sat up in the small cot that was presumably my bed for who knew how long. I coughed. My throat was unbelievably dry. I looked at the small table besides the machine and poured a glass of water. I drank it up and poured another glass. Before I could drink it up, the door swung open.
“You’re up.” The man in the white cloak said. He rushed to my side and rested his hand on my forehead. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m fine, thank you.” I whispered. My throat was still a bit hoarse. I cleared my throat and asked him who he was.
“Sorry, we didn’t have a proper introduction. I’m Dr. Hart. I’ve been assisting you since Friday.” He smiled.
“Right. What’s today’s date?”
He laughed. “It’s the 14th of February. You’ve been here for two days. Happy Valentines Day.”
“Ditto…am I that sick?” I asked. I didn’t think it was that serious.
“No, not at all. You just had a panic attack. You were still weak when you regained consciousness on Saturday.” He said. “After I finished examining you, you fell right back asleep. You’ve been asleep for two days now.”
“Oh. Where are my parents? They must be worried sick. I had to have a panic attack the day of my brother’s recital. What a rotten sister I am!” I exclaimed. I heard the machine speed up.
Dr. Hart laughed again. His angelic face made me relax. “Don’t worry. You’re family’s all here. They’re waiting just outside. Your brother hasn’t left ever since he came here. You’re lucky to have a brother like him.”
“Thanks.” I said, yawning.
“You’re still tired? After two days of slumber?”
I laughed once. I wasn’t in the mood to laugh. “What was the cause of my panic attack?” I asked him. I stared into his emerald eyes. Sympathetic emerald eyes.
He cleared his throat. “Yeah. I need to talk to you about that but I’m sure you want to see your family first?” He inferred.
“No, please. I want to know before I see my family. I’m not very patient.”
“I see. Well, the other doctors and I concluded that the panic attack might have been a result of a lot of stress and pressure on your part. Your parents said you’ve been taking up a lot extracurricular activities and don’t come home until seven and you hardly rest. You know that’s unhealthy for you. A girl of your caliber should at least get eight hours of sleep.”
“Yeah, I know. I can handle it, though, Doc. I only take 4 classes after school.”
“So I’ve been told. But your parents told me that you’ve taken up these classes recently. Is there a motive behind this?”
“From the glint in your eyes, I’m guessing my parents have already made a conjecture about why.”
Dr. Hart halfheartedly smiled. I knew my parents told him about Melissa. Melissa, who was forever gone. Melissa, who I only had memories and dreams of and nothing more.
“Very smart. I’m sorry for your loss but I don’t think you’ve fully recovered from it.”
Of course I didn’t fully recover from it. It was my fault. My god forsaken fault that my best friend perished. She wasn’t meant to die. I was. Me. The one who was actually driving the car. The one who didn’t watch where she was going. I could feel my eyes sting but I blinked back the tears. I couldn’t cry. Not now. I had to be strong.
“And I saw the cuts…” He said, interrupting my crestfallen thoughts. I froze. No. No. No. He saw the cuts!
“Doc, it was just one time. I swear. I just wanted to see if I could eliminate the pain!” I could feel my heartbeat rising.
“I believe you, Mary Jane but you should know its policy for me to recommend you to a therapist. You need to talk to someone about your issues because I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve had spells like this.”
“Only once or twice before but it wasn’t as serious. It was probably because of dehydration. I’m fine, really. Getting a therapist is pointless and a waste of money in my case.”
“Mary Jane. I’m a doctor. I think I would know if you were really fine. I doubt it was dehydration, sweetheart. You’ve taken on too much and I’m presuming you haven’t talked to anyone about what you’re going through. I think it would be best if you get a therapist. And I assure you, you’re in no means sick, you’re just as any teenager should be. If you began to see this therapist I think it would greatly improve your health as well as your mental stability.”
I sighed. I didn’t want a shrink. There was nothing wrong with me. “My parents…what do they have to say about this?”
“They want what’s best for you. They think if you can talk to the therapist about your problems, you’d be your usual self again. However, they didn’t want to confirm anything until they got your permission.”
I sighed again. “My family means the world to me, Dr. Hart. I wouldn’t want to inflict any pain on them…okay, I’m in. When do I get to meet this all-curing shrink of mine?”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Two years later and here I was remembering that very moment. The moment that was the beginning of the end for me. I looked over the edge and watched the cars speeding by, the huge skyscrapers that lived up to their names, the streets filled with pedestrians drinking their coffee, conversing on their cell phones and living their lives. For the first time in ages I felt complacent. This was my fate. And even though I knew it wasn’t a practical way to end my problems, it was still an end to them. I closed my eyes and smiled.