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I read over the first question of my math test. I refuse to think about last night, or the night before. I refuse to look down at the sleeves that cover my bloody, scar stained arms. My battle wounds. Instalment.
Are there supposed to be black splotches on the page? I feel dizzy.
I look up; I want my head to stop spinning.
The board reads: Math test, one hour, no standing, no talking.
I look back at my sheet. It’s your fault. She’d be alive if it wasn’t for you.
Before I can stop myself, I jump up from the chair; knocking my pencil and paper off of the desk.
“Briana may I ask what on earth you are doing?” Mrs. Macdonald asks, tapping at her desk in agitation.
“Um.” Suddenly, HER face was everywhere, on the walls, on the students, on the floors. They all are surrounding me, closing in on me.
II dash towards the door. I can feel every eye in the room on me.
The knob won’t turn. My hands are drenched in sweat.
“Briana.” I know this voice. I would know it anywhere.
I don’t turn to Nick. I can’t imagine what is written all over his face.
Finally, the knob turns and I dashed out before the walls and the faces can touch me.
I move down the hall, as soon as I reach my locker, I swing it open. My eye catches a shiny silver square on my top shelf.
I take a sip of the flask. It burns. I drink until the burning stops.
I can feel emotions racing in my head. My body hurts. I feel eyes on the back of my head; I turn swiftly. SHE’s right there.
I say her name. It’s nothing more than a whisper, but a whisper that I silenced months ago.
Just if I could talk to her one last time, just if I could make sure that she knows how much I love her.
I reach out, and my heart swells up. It swells with something it’s not allowed to even think about. Hope.
As soon as it doesn’t happen. As soon as I confirm to myself that she isn’t right there in front of me. My world will shatter, once again.
But I didn’t get a confirmation. I reached out for a shoulder and I touched a shoulder.
Had I lost it? Had I slipped over the edge? Was this how it felt to be insane?
If I could have her back, I’d take it.
But then I realised that it wasn’t the person I had lost only 6 months ago. It was never her.
Standing in front of me, witnessing my break down, Nick stood with my hand on his shoulder.
I dropped my hand.
I tried to respond. I felt mute.
“Briana breathe.” Nick’s face was ghostly white.
I tried to obey him. I tried to take a breath of air. Nothing. My lungs were blocked.
The walls around me wouldn’t stop spinning. The floors were spinning. I tried to focus on Nick’s face. He started spinning.
I put my hand on the lockers. The world was going black. I closed my eyes, slowly slipping away from the locker and into a set of sturdy arms.
Was that someone calling my name?
“Briana wake up. Briana please.”
“N-Nick?” I was with Nick? What was going on? Where was I?
“Briana? Briana, are you okay? Are you awake?”
“Sh-She’s gone. She’s really gone.” Forever.
“I love you Briana” I heard in a faint whisper.
I must be dreaming. Why would Nick being telling me that he loved me?
I opened my eyes, the sun was shining down. Was I outside?
“Please don’t leave me Briana. Please don’t give up.” Nick whispered in my ear.
Give up? Give up on what?
“N-Nick I’m not dying.” Well, at least not in the literal sense.
“Shhh... I know Briana, I know.”
His finger ran up and down my cheek. It felt nice, comforting.
My eyes focused and I could make out Nick’s face. His eyebrows were scrunched up and his lips were in a straight line, he was worried.
I didn’t like looking at his face; it hurt me to see him in pain. Instead I looked around. We were outside of our school. My head was positioned in his lap.
“I’m sorry Nick.” I’m sorry for being such a bad friend.
He didn’t say anything. His fingers moved back and forth over my cheek.
For the first time in six months, I felt safe.
I began to gain full consciousness. I pushed on my arms and he helped me sit up.
“Nick, you left math class... What about the test?” Nick never ditches class, especially not on day when there’s a test.
His dark blue eyes stared into mine. “Briana.” The way he said my name made my cheeks go red. I was blushing, and I never blush.
His fingers turned into a caress over my face. I felt our heads moving closer together.
I could feel his breath on my lips. My heart was racing.
I heard the loud school bell, causing Nick and I to flinch back.
His cheeks burned red. What just happened?
Nothing. Nothing was happening. Nothing was allowed to happen. Nick was all I had left, I couldn’t risk our friendship, it meant the whole entire world to me.
“I should... I should um go find Daniel, he’ll be looking for me.”
Nick’s face fell. My heart fell with it.
I saw a couple people from my math class throughout the rest of the day. Not one person brought up my breakdown, not even Nick.
I wonder what Mrs. Macdonald will make of it. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.
Daniel isn’t in my math class, but obviously people are talking behind my back. When I walk towards him, I can’t make out the look on his face.
“What’s wrong with you?” He asks when I’m in hearing distance.
“What do you mean?”
“Your little freak-out in math class? Yeah I heard about that. What the hell Bre.”
Oh. I understand his expression now. He was angry at me.
Angry? Shouldn’t he be comforting me? Shouldn’t he be making sure that I was alright? Isn’t that what a boyfriend is supposed to do?
“I’m... um I’m sorry.” Should I be apologizing?
“Yeah, whatever. I’d straighten up if I was you, I don’t date freak shows.”
I closed my eyes. I tried to say something in response, nothing came out.
I reopened my eyes, but to an empty hallway. He had already left.
I get home from school feeling sick. I don’t normally fight with Daniel. Not because we always agree, but because we never really care enough to fight.
I’m not sure if that’s why I don’t feel well. It might have to do with the fact that I dashed out of math class this morning. Or maybe, that I came within inches of kissing my best friend. Who knows really?
I got into the house and I immediately headed for the bathroom. I slammed the door behind me and swung open the sink cabinet in the same second. I pulled out the blade and the bottle of alcohol.
I gulped down three long sips and rolled up my sleeves. There was no room for any fresh cuts; instead, I ran the blade across my old scars, reopening the wounds. With each slit I made, I felt the pain of my memories take my breath away. Maybe this is what it feels like to die.
I was swimming in self misery when I heard a knock. It was only faint meaning it must be from the front door.
I stood up slowly, rolling down my sleeves to hide the cuts. I took one step but fell to the side, I grabbed onto the sink for support.
My head wasn’t working straight. Who knows how much I had drank.
Should I answer it? Well really, the whole world could think I was drunk, I wouldn’t care.
I took my time going through the house, I tripped often and I tried to avoid falling on my face.
I opened the front door, half expecting there to be a police officer with handcuffs waiting for me. Or maybe some robber with his gun already pulled. But instead, I opened it to see Nick’s solemn face waiting for me.
I was speechless. Nick never visited without an invitation, or at least a phone call. If nothing else mattered, our friendship did.
I stared at him wide-eyed. If I speak, will I slur? If I move my arms from across my chest, will he see the blood that I could feel staining my shirt?