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Her heart pounding, she maneuvered the wheels of the Civic into the driveway as quickly as she could. Almost hyperventilating, she grabbed her backpack out of the passenger seat and ran into the house.
Her mother wasn’t home, as usual. Her brother was at soccer practice. It was just her.
She tried to keep her breathing in check as she headed up the stairs to her bedroom. It was ridiculous, that’s what it was. She kept her cell phone clenched in her right hand, scared it might vibrate.
She swung open the door to her bedroom. There it was. Her breath picked up when she saw her laptop sitting there on the cherry wood desk, so innocent looking. Looking quickly at the clock, the numbers 3:31 glowed out at her.
She sat down, breathing hard and logged in. With a few clicks she brought up her Facebook account. Her stomach was heavy, like there was a brick in the pit of it. There was her profile picture, a smiling, fair skinned girl with crazy black, wavy hair, smiling up at the camera in a beach background. She wished she could go back to those days.
Nineteen notifications. Slowly she clicked on the first one, which led her to the rest of them.
New message from Hannah Cameron: “Hey, Ella. Go kill yourself.”
Great. Eric Cobble had commented on that. “Can I get with you first, slut?;)” the next comment was from her “best friend”, Erica Barnes.
“Ella! I heard about your freak attack in chemistry! Poor baby. It must be terrible to need attention so badly you have to ACT for it!”
Her other “best friend”, Abby, had responded.
“El, you’re sobbing in the bathroom was pretty convincing. Did you slice your wrists after like last week?!”
“Or throw up your lunch!”
“Ella isn’t pretty enough, is she?” That was Erica again. “I think she needs to hook up some more…”
“She’s a freak. A loser. An idiot. Ella, just stop, ok? We don’t want anything to do with you, I’d rather you killed yourself then always TALKING about it, but just stop! Is it that hard?” Hannah again.
She slammed her laptop down, her tears brewing once again. She hated Facebook, but yet she couldn’t stand to not know what her friends were saying about her. Ever since she’d developed Panic Disorder, things had spiraled out of control. Her friends thought her panic attacks were a cry for attention. Abby had caught her cutting her wrists in desperation on time. Eric Cobble had decided to proclaim they’d hooked up. The worst part? Her best friends, Abby, Hannah and Erica had all switched on her, knowing she’d turned to a sophomore friend, Jess, for help. Whenever she ate lunch with Jess after a bad attack or a in a fit of depression, her “friends” got worse.
She couldn’t help it now. Tears sprouted out of her eyes like a water pipe that burst. Why couldn’t she just delete her Facebook and move on? Why couldn’t she just “quit” the panic and the depression, like Hannah asked? Why was it all her fault?
Tears came fast and hard now. She hadn’t done anything. Therapists, medication, she was working on it. Why didn’t they get it? Why were they torturing her over the internet?
“Go kill yourself” that’s what Hannah had said. Why didn’t she? She talked about it enough. Biting her lower lip, she kicked over her desk chair and reopened the laptop. Her page was still there, and people were still commenting.
“I give up” she whispered, a soothing sense coming over her. She gave up. She could do it now, with no one home. Tears slipping down her cheeks, she went downstairs and grabbed a bottle from the medicine cabinet. She looked around the kitchen. Was this the last time she’d see it? The brick in her stomach was growing, but she tried to ignore it.
Her phone vibrated, startling her.
1 new text message. Jess V.
“Ella, just delete your Facebook. I’ve been on it, I commented, put please…”
She shook her head at Jess’s text. She shut her phone and went back to her computer.
“Dear idiots” she typed, “ Especially Hannah. I am going to do it. I’m glad I’ll be out of your lame lives.” She deleted it, and then retyped it. She wanted their reactions.
Her phone let off a fit of vibrations. She ignored them. How much did she take to knock her out? She stared down at the tiny pills. The whole bottle had to do it, right? Should she fill the bathtub? There wouldn’t be any blood so….
She filled a Dixie cup with water, unaware she was crying. It was going to stop. Forever.
She shook the pills out into her shaking hand. This was what she should do, right? She stopped a second and closed her eyes. Yes. She had to…
She darted to her computer first. What were they saying?
Hannah Cameron: “Ha! No you won’t.”
Jess Valentine: “NO! ELLA, NO!”
Jess Valentine: “ELLA!”
Whatever. Jess didn’t care. She gripped the pills tighter and lifted the water to her mouth.
“ELLA!” A tearful voice tore through the house. “Omigosh, ELLA!”
Jess was standing in the frame of the bathroom, soaking wet from the rain. One braid had completely come out and the other was almost out. Her body was moving up and down with her breath.
“No” she cried, wrapping her arms around her so tightly she spilled her water and let her hand go of the pills. They hit the floor in tiny “pings”.
“I…I dunno your mom’s number” Jess said, still crying. “So I didn’t…but…”
She just stayed in Jess’s arms, sobbing.
“I’m here, El” Jess whispered. “Always.”