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The Ghostly Lines of a Tragedy
They say every scar tells a story, each uniquely different from any other, whether it was from a small surgery, or a Marine taking a bullet for a brother. But mine are not heroic, or simple like a small surgery. No...anything but. I try to ignore that they are there, like the pain I caused never happened, like it was somehow just a twisted dream woven from the webs in the back of my mind. Some days, I somehow manage to trick myself into thinking that’s what it really is. But It’s been 8 months since it happened. I can’t hide from the past much longer. It’s catching up to me, I'm afraid. And scars, they do nothing but help remind us of the past…
* * *
I awkwardly sit down in an empty chair among the circle. I hate being the new-comer, the one who is suffocated into spelling every ounce of their life story while everyone stares at you...judging you. They determine whether or not you’re actually worth talking to, or just another one of “them.” An awkward silence soon falls, the only sound being the buzzing of the wide ceiling lights. Whether we want to be here, we all have something in common. We’re all teenagers, struggling against the problems life throws at us, though I think mine are a bit more severe. Soon a tall lady walks in with a look that meant business but, had deep brown eyes, which gave her a caring aura. Her light brown hair was tightly wrapped in a bun, and with the sound of clicking heels, she made her way to the biggest chair in the circle, and sat, so we could all see her. She clears her throat. “Welcome again to a new session…” she paused taking time to smile at everyone amongst the circle. Two or three actually smile back, while most just look away or pretend to be deeply engaged with their thumbs. “Before we begin I’d like us to meet our new group member, can you share your name please?”
“Chloe…” I say much lighter than I intended.
She studied me for a second, then smiled. “Pretty name, now why don’t you tell us why you’re here?” All heads turned on me, wanting to get a peek between that new “unopened door.” Well too bad for them, because this door is staying closed, locked in fact. I don’t do well being faced with a sea of staring eyes. My palms became sweaty. I moved my auburn hair out of my face and looked out the window, as if the rain intrigued me greatly; hoping she’d just move on. She didn’t.
“Chloe…why don’t you tell us why you’re here?” she said impatiently again. I looked up slowly, matching her brown eyes with my hazel.
“I'm not comfter---“
She giggled slightly and cut me off.“Dear, the first step to recovery is confessing, and telling the story, in which why you were put here, what had happened. All the other members have.” She paused, while everyone else nodded in response. Her face then changed from sweet, to more serious before she began again. “What is said in our therapy group, stays here. Your stories will not become gossip outside the walls, you can’t hide from this…’thing’ forever, and that is why we are here to help. Now please go on…”
She smiled again, giving me that look like she actually truly cares, with her eyes urging to go on. And for some reason, I fell under her spell. I took a long breath and began my story…
* * *
Loud roaring music blared through the thin walls, making the whole house shake. I tripped over the labyrinth of strayed legs in walkways and pushed through the crowd urging on, trying to find a familiar face. This was not easy an easy task. I could now feel the sweat and humidity levels rising, with the dancing crowd. I gazed around the living room, looking for my best friend Jazzy. The music was loudest here, with people screaming, yelling, and dancing. I could see hookups and breakups, the crashers and bashers, and the spillers. A large circle was crowded under the balcony; I looked up and saw the reason why. Dan was standing on the railing, whipping his hair back and forth to the song playing with no shirt on. Everyone started laughing down below and chanting “JUMP, JUMP, JUMP!” He let out a mighty scream and threw his body off the railing, only to be saved by the cheering sea people. Yup, Dan was totally drunk. But I guess this is the kind of stuff you’d usually expect at a wild unsupervised high school party. Me, being small petite, I used all my force to push through till I finally got to him. He smiled, “Hey! Little Chloe, what’s up?”
I couldn’t help but to let out a little giggle just at the sight of him. “Ha-ha, nice fall you took there. Don’t you think you should ease up on that though?” I said, pointing to the freshly picked beer can in his hand. He cracked a half smile and wobbily raised his hand and placed it on my shoulder, talking to me as if I was some 5 year old who just asked the most obvious question.
“Chloe, c’mon! This is a PARTY. You don’t come, and stay sober! Nah, we drink it up!” And just to emphasize his point, he chugged the whole can, giving a satisfying sigh “Ahhh” at the end. I gave him my best “Really?” look. “Oh, ease up Chloe. Have some drinks.”
“No way, I am not getting drunk. I’ m crazy enough without that! Plus, I promised my parents I wouldn’t; I can’t just come stumbling in through the door all drunk. They’d kill me!” I sneered.
Dan just shrugged. “Suit yourself,” he replied as he carried on.
I know I promised my parents I wouldn’t drink, but I honestly wouldn’t do it anyway. I have quite a drive home. Plus, I would never do that to my mother. When she was younger, she lost her sister, my aunt Ivana, to a drunk driver. I was only 5 when it happened, but when I saw her crying, and hugging me, I knew something was wrong. Something was very bad, and I didn’t want her to feel that ever again, I promised myself. I couldn’t hurt her like that.
A familiar voice in my ear soon shattered me from my thoughts, and made me gasp. “Hey, I know where she is-Jazzy.” I turned around and saw Nathan standing behind me.
“You scared me!” I said with a smile. He smiled back, with his bright blue eyes shining.
“Yah sorry, I was calling your name earlier, but I figured you couldn’t hear me with this insane music going on. Anyways, c’mon she’s outside with your boyfriend Ty and Dottie.” He grabbed my arm, and help guide my way to the backdoor and outside. It was peacefully cool, and the loud roaring music was nothing but a hum from another world through the door. Sure enough, sitting against the rock wall was Jazzy and her friend Dottie who greeted with me with a quick smile, but was soon interrupted with loud yells. I looked around to see Branden, a punk kind of guy, with long brown hair, almost pressed against Tyler growling words I couldn’t hear. I didn’t need any other sign that this was not good. Branden and Ty have never mingled well. Branden was my ex, from a long time ago. He clenched his fist and made a surprise attack. What they were fighting about? I would never know…
But soon, It got ugly and both were taking turns at throwing fists. Jazzy and Dottie jumped off the wall and gasped in surprise. “What’s been going on?” I asked them urgently.
They both shrugged. “I honestly have no idea, one minute we were all hanging out then me and Dottie just started talking just us then---” Nathan ran through us, brave enough to step in-between that mess. There like dogs, you never want to get in-between a dog fight. You may just become a part of it unexpectedly. Standing dead center between them, he created a full body barricade, spreading his hands out stopping the two.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, guys chill out. This is supposed to be a fun party, not some fighting arena. Now I'm pretty sure, you guys are old enough to handle this some other time on your own-” The two spit some nasty words to each other again, only fueling the fire. Soon enough, it was up in high flames again. This time Nate had enough.
“HEY!” he yelled. “Knock it off!” He shoved first Branden, then Ty, making them far enough apart, if one were to run, Nate would be sure to stop it. “Chill out and go take a beer or something or handle it some other time.” He stayed put inbetween. A heavy blanket of silence fell outside…it was very uneasy. They both just stared at each other, shooting daggers.
After what it seemed to be like hours, Branden finally broke away, turning around with a tense feel to him. As if it would solve his problems, he yelled in agony and punched the side of the house, cursing while making a large indent. I saw a small smear of blood from where he hit it, left from his hand. This didn’t seem to faze him however; he walked down the driveway, soon out of sight. Tyler swore under his breath, leaving to get into the car. I just stood there; utterly confused and unsure what to. I sighed, “Better go and try to cool him down…you know how he gets.” I hugged Jazzy goodbye.
“Sure you don’t want to take some drinks on the way?”She said, holding up a wine bottle she most likely stole from the parents’ stash. An image of my mother flashed through my mind once again, her crying into my father’s shoulder. No, I know what happens and I don’t want to take the chance. I promised myself and my parents I wouldn’t. And that promise is not worth breaking. I shook my head, and turned, starting to walk when a hand reached for me. It was Nathan.
“Hey, be careful alright? I honestly think something’s up with Tyler…yeah I know he just got into a fight, but there’s something up with him, something else, I just can’t name it. I honestly think you deserve better but---“ The car horn blared loudly, echoing throughout the neighborhood. A signal of saying, “LET’S GO.” I looked at Nathan again and nodded. When he let go I rushed to the car and got inside.
The ride was awkwardly quiet through the dark roads home. I peeked over at Ty, his jaw bone was tightly clenched and he was clenching the wheel with great force. It took me a while to notice that we were gaining speed, a lot in a short amount of time. I reached over and touched his shoulder gently and said with ease, “Why are you speeding? Slow down…” He quickly moved, leaving my hand to fall. A few minutes passed, and we were still gaining more speed. “Hey I know your mad about that fight, but stop speeding!” He looked at me, and for the first time ever, the way he did shattered my heart, he yelled and screamed at me with full blown fury. It’s hard to remember now, but he spit the nastiest things anyone’s ever said to me, all I could think of was “Where is this coming from?” I could feel that choking feeling in my throat, the feeling you get while trying to fight the tears…well I couldn’t hold them in much longer and soon they began to fall. I looked at him once more, closer now. And that’s when I noticed it…the first clue. His eyes were abnormally glossy. I turned my whole body violently in the seat, so my whole body was facing him.
“OH MY GOD! Tyler, are you drunk.” His brows knitted together, and his jaw muscle flexed. I glared at him. “ I know your drunk! And you do a hell of a good job covering it I do have to say, but how Stupid can you be?!?!”
“Chloe I-“I cut him off before he could give me some lame excuse.
“No Ty, pull over the car now! I'm driving! Just please stop!” I cried.
It only got worse… “NO CHLOE! Maybe if you weren’t too busy flirting…”
“Flirting??? I was not- Ok no this is no that is not what THIS is about right now! please let me drive please pull over,” I pleaded with him. His answer was only more rage and the numbers on the numbers on the speedometer were only going up. Down the road I saw headlights coming straight at us. I began to panic, “Tyler! Please your scaring me stop!” still no answer and the car was getting closer…finally I acted on impulse. I lunged across him grabbing the wheel. He swore and slapped me across the face causing me to let go, and then there was the blinding of headlights.
Next thing I knew, my world was being turned upside down, literally. The sound of screaming and braking glass rang through my ears, (and later through my nightmares) as I was airborne for an instant then, crashed into the black asphalt. Pain surged up through my body, but I couldn’t let out a sound, not even a cry. A warm sticky substance dripped from my head. I used all my might that was left to look at my hands. I regretted it. My arms were the worst of it. Deep red and cut up all over, with millions tiny pieces of glass stuck between the tissue of muscle and skin. I almost heaved when I could actually see parts of my bone showing. I tried feeling my head, it was cut open, and bad, Blood oozing out. I soon became light headed and crashed back down on the asphalt again, causing me to cough up more blood. The pain hurt so badly, All I kept thinking to myself was, “ I just want to die…” I failed my parents and myself… I took one last look of the scene. My car was upside down, on fire in fact, with Tyler hanging out of it. His face nose was broken, and half if his face was ripped, letting his jaw bone show, with only the skin hanging down from a small piece. The other car was out of my view. My eyes became heavy…and all I remembered then was giving into the darkness, willing it to take me away forever…but unfortunately it did not.
* * *
I took another deep breath…hesitating to begin again.
“Blinding white lights took over my view, but it soon began to clear, It didn’t take long to realize I was in the hospital. I looked around and found a nurse, who, by her name tag, was Rebecca. She came over to me, asked how I was feeling. But I didn’t care; I needed to know what happened; where Tyler was, if the others were okay. I will never forget the nurses face as she told me that Tyler, had died. Actually, the day before I woke up. She said he wasn’t as strong as I was, he couldn’t make it with his body being poisoned by the overdose of drinking. And that the others had died at the scene. I told her I was sorry, it was my entire fault. But I urged her to tell my parents, my mother mostly that I kept my promise, our promise.”Go on, call her please for me please…”
I knew she wanted to, and that she wanted to tell me something good, something else that wouldn’t crush my heart and make me hate myself forever but there was nothing better. She looked at me, and she too began to cry. I would never forget the last words she was about to say. ‘Sweetie, I don’t want to be the one telling you this, anything but, uh but the people in the car…they were your parents.’ And all I could do was just stare at her before I dove back into unconsciousness….”
I looked down at my shoes, shaking, fighting the circles glance. I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t finish the story…tears began to fall down my face, I didn’t want to relive the nightmare, and telling the story was bad enough. My tears began to fall harder, they wouldn’t stop. I got up and ran out of the room, hearing the echoing of my name behind me. As soon as I was out I pushed down my sleeves, covering the ghostly lines of a tragedy written all over my arms. Because scars, all they do is remind us of the past, and that is one thing I didn’t want to be reminded of, anything but.