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Getting Better

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She reached towards what was in front of her as if it was a figment of her imagination. She realized it wasn’t when sparks raced through her fingertips, up her shoulder and into her heart, setting off a bomb to break it. “What…what the hell are you doing here?” Her words trickled off her lips like water flowing down a stream plop, plop, plopping on the rocks below.

“I didn’t fall into a pit and die, Jas. I went away. I went to get better.” Familiar faces of former friends blurred like creating a new colorful crayon by melting smaller pieces together. He had finally come back and Jasmine had to face him. When he left, every cubic inch of the halls were filled with the piercing whispers and chitters of her peers. Staring. Pointing. Laughing. Wondering what had happened.

“You missed Junior Prom…you left me.”

“I know.” His reply came to her as a shock. The few words of remorse he spoke lacerated her skin like a thousand piranhas feasting. “I know I need to explain.”

“I just need to know why.”

“You don’t need to know why, you need to know everything.” Spirits came to take away the ringing in their ears. They swooped in from above and hushed, hushed the hurried tones of teenage angst, taking along any judgment with them. “It felt like nothing had ever gone right. I could feel my soul ripping from within me, dividing who I was and who I wanted to be. The adhesive that held me together began to wear out and the last strands of it that wouldn’t let go quivered. It shook me like a hurricane rumbling through an abandoned town of hopes and dreams. I could feel it rip away all that I wanted; forbid anything from getting to me. It ate at my soul and gnawed on it. I couldn’t hear what I wanted to hear anymore; couldn’t see what I wanted to see. I stood still while everyone around me moved and moved and moved and moved. But I stood still. Always still, always there. Never moving, I was.

Have you ever felt so low? So low that the lower you got you couldn’t get any lower but you went lower anyway? So low that the lowest wasn’t the lowest but the lowest was you? I lost everything, I lost what I loved. I lost any hope in anything good and anything good lost hope in me. I was a lost cause, a lost puppy. Couldn’t find my way home, couldn’t find a home. A home wasn’t a home, my home wasn’t a home. Who would want to live with daddy and mommy dearest? Never there, never home. The home that they built up and buried to the ground with screaming and hitting. That was not home. That was hell. Rocking in bed every night with my blankets and pillows tossed on the ground into a pile a mountain high. Rocking and shaking with my eyes stapled shut tight. No light could come in, no tears could come out. My hands on my screaming head. Pulling, tugging, scratching at my scalp and hair. Praying for the monsters to leave.

The monsters that destroyed my family. The monsters that destroyed my life. The monsters that destroyed every last inch, every last kilometer, every last mile of happiness that surrounded me. The happiness that fluttered around me like a thousand butterflies flying. They say that when a butterfly flaps its wings, a hurricane happens a mile away. That hurricane hit me and it hit me hard. It hit so hard that it decided to stay because I was such a great target. Such a great target to hit. Bull’s-eye. It won. It ate at me and ate at me. It always ate at me and never left me alone.
My eyes stung from looking at the light. My stomach did a back hand spring every time I smelled happiness. Smelled flowers. Smelled trees. Smelled honey. It wouldn’t go away, the feeling that I felt. The feeling that I felt, it wouldn’t go away. It just never friggin’ went away!” He started to close his eyes shut tight and rock back and forth where he stood. He closed his eyes and rocked, rocked until his facial muscles relaxed. He unclenched his fists and put them back into the pockets of his dark blue hoodie. Jasmine stood there in front of him, not saying a word. Just stood there looking, watching, waiting for him to continue. He opened his eyes and stared at Jasmine’s. Her big hazel eyes that made her look like a doll stared back at his eyes. His eyes that barely had any life left in them. The mob of teenagers around them was quite too. Quiet like a cold winter night. Not even the wind whistled in between their bursting hormones. They watched Jake as he stood there breathing. Breathing in the fumes released from everyone around him.
“It just never friggin’ went away.” Jake continued, not fearing that the others were listening. Not fearing what the others were thinking of him. The boy who had it all, or so it seemed. The boy who they thought was handsome, perfect, a king. But that was not the boy that stood in front of them. The boy that stood in front of them was no longer handsome, but a scarred, greasy haired boy. He was no longer perfect…no longer a king. “So, I got up from my chair by my window. I looked at the remains of my life, all piled into one room. This was my life, my life in a nutshell. My life in a pistachio. Was this really all that I had? Was this really everything that I ever owned? I got up from my chair by my window and I stood by my door, staring down my old teddy bear from my childhood sitting on my bed. Staring at him like he was the cause of my misfortunes. Staring at him like he would come alive and say to me, ‘Jake, all your wounds will heal with time.’ I stared at him and said goodbye to him in my shattered heart. I opened my door; opened the door to the rest of my burdened home and closed my eyes. I stood there leaning against the last hopes I had of pure happiness. I walked and I walked. I walked and I walked. I walked until I couldn’t walk anymore. Then I sat. I sat and stared at my black, old, muddy Converse All Stars. I stared at it like I stared at my teddy bear. But they both did not come to life. They both did not say to me, ‘Jake, all your wounds will heal with time.’ No, they did not. Somehow I met someone that I wish I did not meet but I cannot take back what I have done to myself. I cannot take back the decisions that I have made. I can only embrace the person that I have become. Somehow I met someone that I wish I did not meet but that someone rescued me from the misfortunes that I had faced. The lies that I had witnessed. The expectations that I had to live up to. Somehow I met someone that I wish I did not meet but if I did not meet that someone, that someone would not have saved me. I left to get better. I left in hopes of never returning. I left in hopes of finding something to fix my scars, but there was not a Mederma skin care scar cream for life. Somehow I found my way to survival and learned to live through the psychotic happenings of life. I left to get better, I left to fix myself.”
“Did you get better? Did you fix yourself?”
“No.” Jake put his hand on Jasmine’s face and walked away for the final time. He had explained to her what he hoped she would understand so that she could tell everyone else. Tell everyone else that he was not a king and that they should not have expected him to be. Tell everyone else that he was fixing himself; that he was getting better.



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