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It was then, just then, that those two words were first uttered from Tessa’s mouth, “Yeah, I’d consider you my best friend.” She released a friendly smile and slightly tilted her head just as she always did. Her hair echoed the grace of a waterfall as the straight locks of dark brown swayed back and forth.
Makayla smiled, “Good. My turn!”
“Truth or dare. Don’t be boring.” Tessa continued not pausing for an answer, “Dare? Okay, cool dare.”
“No, you chose truth. So truth.”
She sighed, “Fine, who’s your best friend?”
“Well you, of course. You know I feel like you always have my back you know?” Makayla paused, “Okay, truth of dare?”
Tessa didn’t respond. She sat in silence as Makayla repeated her question, “Truth or dare?”
“I’m-tired-let’s-sleep.” Tessa blurted out all in one breathe.
“You’re already tired? It’s not even twelve yet, whatever.”
They crawled into bed, pulled up the duvet, and said their goodnights.
The leaves had begun to fall, and reds and yellows had begun to emerge becoming more prominent with every passing day of November. Makayla approached a green wall covered with awards from all the sports she’d partaken in: track, soccer, softball, MVP awards, complete with her eighth grade diploma, and freshman report card. She certainly did not consider herself conceited, but enjoyed giving herself a nice pat on the back for everything she had succeeded in.
“I can’t believe I’m already a sophomore,” Makayla confessed to herself while fixing the pillow on her bed. She stopped at the mirror, “I’m so ugly.”
“Don’t think that. Everyone would kill to be you.”
Discontinuing her cleaning, Makayla’s body froze in panic until realizing it was only Tessa, “Oh, it’s just you.”
“You sound disappointed.”
“No, I just didn’t realize you were there.” Makayla continued staring into the mirror examining all aspects of herself. She half smiled, her dimples appearing, looking like small holes dug into her cheeks, “Ew, I hate those.” Her smile went back into hiding.
Tessa protested, “You’re gorgeous. I don’t know why you always say that.”
“Whatever.” Makayla looked away from the mirror continuing her tidying.
With everything in order –couch perfect, bed fixed, closet clean- Makayla waltzed down the stairs taking a seat at her desk. She started on her homework, digging through her backpack in search of a pencil. Her hunt was unsuccessful, causing her to venture back into her room.
She walked down the hall stopping at a small picture of her and a group of friends, “Why can’t this be now.” She let out a sigh and set the picture down.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Tessa snapped.
“Oh, sorry, I really didn’t mean it like that,” a lump got caught in Makayla’s throat as she palms began to sweat, “Just- I really didn’t mean it, okay?”
Makayla started walking faster, eventually arriving to her room, trying her hardest to ignore the presence of Tessa, but it was inevitable. Tessa stood in the doorway redirecting Makayla to the bathroom.
“I can’t believe you’d say that you want other friends, am I really not good enough?” As Tessa continued talking she grabbed a razor from the countertop.
Tessa clinched her wrist digging her nails into it and pressing the cool metal of the blades into her skin. As the blood drew up to the surface Tessa’s face softened, “I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Her eyes welled up with tears as she scurried to grab something to place over the wound.
Makayla just stood in silence finding nothing to say. Her face was completely flushed out as she slightly turned the faucet on to wash the razor blade. Her breathing sped up –inhale, exhale- she could feel her heart going out of control. In an attempt to slow her breathing, she repeated to herself, “In through the nose, out through the mouth.”
Eventually it slowed, and Makayla backed away from the mirror. She continued to her room, grabbing a pencil and waltzing back down to her desk. Taking a seat, she adjusted her posture and continued on her homework as if nothing had happened.
Days went by and although Makayla longed to rid herself of the picture engraved in her mind, there was the slightest bit of intrigue. She often contemplated this as she would walk through her house, passing the bathroom where it all took place. She weaved through the elaborate Christmas decorations in each room pausing at the door to the bathroom. A chill of remembrance and discomfort ran wild underneath her skin; she continued on into the kitchen eventually finding herself dozing off into a deep gaze at the stainless steel refrigerator.
“Wow, you’re really gonna eat that much?” It was Tessa again.
“Seriously? I haven’t eaten anything for like a week.” Makayla placed the food in her mouth, “You can be such a bitch sometimes.” Makayla threw her plate into the sink and marched up the stairs. Once she got in her room she immediately ran to the mirror, staring at her stomach, “I can’t believe people.”
“I didn’t mean it in a mean way. I was looking out for you,” Tessa’s voice appeared.
Makayla continued examining herself tears streaming down her face, “Yeah, but I think you’re right. I need to go on a diet.”
“I’m always right Makayla.” Tessa grabbed her arm, gently this time, and led her into the bathroom. Handing Makayla the razor Tessa softly said, “Try it yourself, it makes the pain go away.”
Makayla slid her hand on the tile, letting the offer sink in. As she contemplated her next move the words fought their way out, “Sure.”
“You won’t regret it.”
Makayla glared at the razor as if it would make it vanish. She knew she shouldn’t do this, and her conscience set in causing her to move slowly.
“Oh my gosh, just do it already.” Tessa grabbed the razor, “I’ll go first.”
Tessa bit her lip as she began slashing the flesh on her forearm. After three slits appeared deep enough to scar, she stopped, leaving the razor on the counter with slivers of skin left in between the blades. Makayla just looked at the razor knowing it was now her turn, but all she could do with it was clean the blade, and return to her room.
Plugging her headphones into her iPod, she scrolled to find “Icky Thump” by the White Stripes. What a chump, well my head, got a bump when I hit on the radio. Makayla allowed herself to doze off, but was awoken suddenly by Tessa throwing a tantrum echoing that of a young girl.
“Why, Makayla, why? Why me?” Tessa stomped and pleaded, flailing her arms.
“What are you talking about?”
Tessa pointed Makayla towards the mirror, and all Makayla could see was herself. She searched the span of the mirror, stretching a complete wall of her room. She noticed her green wall; her rug; her small, white love seat in the corner; her bed; and that’s where she lost it. There Makayla was sitting atop her unfixed bed with her legs crossed, but Tessa was no where to be found.
“See, I told you. Why, just why.” Tessa pleaded, no longer saying ‘why’ as if it were a question but simply stating it.
Makayla looked around, putting every effort in to find Tessa. Her confusion eventually blossomed into frustration. In one fluid motion she grabbed her alarm clock sitting aside her bed and chucked it at the mirror sending pieces of glass flying across the room.
“Makayla? What happened?” Makayla’s mom screeched from the kitchen.
Hearing her mom, Makayla scurried to pick up the shards, having nothing to use to accomplish this task other than her bare hands.
After no reply she tried once more, “Makayla! What is going on up there?”
Makayla could feel her mother’s footsteps growing closer and closer. In a whiff of pure instinct Makayla hopped up from cleaning the glass to lock the door, but she wasn’t fast enough.
Her mom stepped through the doorway, “Makayla, what happened?”
Struggling to find words Makayla blurted, “It- it- it was Tessa!”
“Tessa? Who’s Tessa?”
“Tessa. My best friend?”
“Honey- no, not again.” Makayla’s mom walked to the nightstand and scrambled through the drawers and its contents, “Makayla, where’s your medicine?”
“Mom, I don’t need it anymore I’m fine.”
“Honey, I really need to see it. Do you have the bottle?” Makayla’s mom continued searching the drawers. As she began feeling around, her breathe paused when her hand hit a small cylindrical bottle. She pulled it close to her face: Makayla Robinson, Lexapro 10mg, Take 1 Tablet By Mouth Every Day. She shook the bottle to hear the pills barely move at all for the bottle was full.
Makayla’s face sunk as she ran to her mom for a hug. They cried together and once their embrace came to an end Makayla’s mind became silent. She rolled her sleeve up and looked down at the inevitable. There it was: four large crevices dug into her forearm, dry blood encrusting the three freshest ones. The tears resurfaced as Makayla buried her face into her mother’s shoulder.