The Lingering Scar This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 26, 2012
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For the past year I have felt the regret and guilt as I stare at the black guiltless screen of my phone. Debating whether I should call her or keep this breach in our friendship. But how can I? I know she remembers, the images imbedded in her head like a never ending horror movie, where she is the star of a most unwanted role.

The taste of hair spray and the overwhelming smell of perfume fill my lungs threatening to suffocate me. I have spent almost a week fantasizing about my outfit, playing it over and over in my head. Now as I shimmy into a skirt, black tights, my favorite red boots, and a black sequined tank top, I begin to feel the anticipation that always comes before a party. Sophie is on her second hour of straightening her long golden hair. She is overpowered with a sense of happiness and excitement. It was only two weeks ago in the middle of our boring history class that I had finally convinced her to come. When I see her reflection in the mirror I know tonight will be a great night. We dance around my room with the radio blasting, waiting for my brother to come pick us up. When the knocking on the door finally comes we are so excited that we do our “happy dance” all the way to my brother’s brand new black GT mustang. He blasts the radio until talking and yelling is pointless. We soar through the town without any cares in the world. When we at long last arrive to the mansion our anticipation and excitement can hardly be contained. The colors and music of the party sweep throughout the neighborhood. As we emerge from the safety of the mustang’s back seat, we are immediately swallowed up into the countless amounts of drunken people.

My heart increases by at least fifty beats when I see him. His name is Jessie Smith and we have been in the same classes together since the third grade. Sophie says I’m in love and always teases me whenever I see him. As we walk through the huge giant oak doors Courtney is suddenly separated from my side and panic sending my senses haywire. The smell of smoke and alcohol are circling in the air, the beat of the music bouncing off the walls, Jessie makes eye contact with me and my mind and heart seem to dissolve inside my body. I seem to have lost all ability to move. He walks toward me and takes my hand. All sense of responsibility and cares drift from my mind as he leads me to the dance floor. I forget the people, the overpowering smells of alcohol, the worries, and the most awful, where Sophie was.
We danced for at least two hours before collapsing from exhaustion on a nearby couch. Only then did I remember Sophie. My senses are once again sent berserk, but this time I did not get distracted. I look and look on the dance floor, outside by the pool with floating red cups and couples making out, and in every room in the three story mansion. I finally gave in to reality and didn’t know what else to do but sit on the side of the pool and just weep by myself. I didn’t care that I was soaking wet and freezing all I cared was finding Sophie.
Jessie and my brother eventually figured out that something was amiss because they both came out to where I was balled up on the floor. Jessie once the one who comforted me while my brother went to ask people if they had seen Sophie leave. I would have done it, but Jessie wouldn’t let me up, which was probably for the best. Everyone had a different story or recollection of the events of the night. Someone finally went and found Sam, the kid who lived here. He was so wasted that no one could understand anything he said. Finally Jessie was able to wake Sam up long enough to find out that the mansion had a guest house off behind the pool. As we ran to the guest house I almost passed out. Not from exhaustion but because I couldn’t believe what I had done. I had promised her that nothing would happen and we would be together the entire time. I had been so caught up in time with Jessie and hanging out with people I hardly knew that I had forgotten about the one person who truly mattered. Jessie ended up having to carry me to the guest house because my body had shut down. As we opened the door the overwhelming smell of alcohol hit me in the face, only setting in the reality of my actions. Sophie was laying half in and half out of the covers. Mascara had left long black lines down her face and red lipstick was smeared across the side of her face. I could only imagine what had happened before I collapsed on the floor next to her bed.

Although she can't say she knows many people here, she still is able to have a good time. She is a little nervous and worried, however because it has been awhile since she last saw Beth. A guy with jet black hair and piercing blue eyes flashes her a dashing white smile and she immediately forgets to be worried or go look for Beth. He starts to walk towards her from across the room and hands her a drink. They chat for a while and she begins to have a headache, but continues to talk because she doesn't want to seem like a light weight. No one notices the girl with golden hair passing out on the couch or the boy with jet black hair carrying her out the giant oaks doors.

The smell of vomit overpowers her. She doesn't really remember who gave her the drink, only that her head felt a little fuzzy after downing it. She is somehow outside with a guy she has never seen before. The rush as she is swung into the nearest room. Now she is in a bed with a blue comforter stained with cat urine. She can still hear the distant notes of music and smell the faint aroma of alcohol and smoke. Her head is throbbing and her ears are pounding in her head. before the darkness overcomes everything she looks into his piercing eyes wishing that Beth was there. Attempting to push thoughts and reason out of her mind.

Confusion clouds her memory; she hears voices calling her name, the creak of the door being opened. The rush of relief comes over her, but diminishes the second she notices that she is in a bedroom. She sees Beth lying on the floor with Jessie standing over her trying to wake her up. She feels a wave of nausea sweep throughout her.

The next morning I vividly remember everything that happened after Sophie and I woke up. She began to scream, yell, and curse at me. I didn’t know what to say, I knew that everything was all my fault, but the hurt and defenses start flowing out of my mouth like a waterfall. I had lost all control and stomped out of the room like a three year old. I considered going back but turned towards Jessie’s car. We rode in silence the whole way to my house. He kissed me good night after walking me to the door. I couldn’t even be happy for myself because I was so overwhelmed with sadness, regret, and guilt. I couldn’t even fall asleep.

The next day at school was literally like @#!*% . Sophie and I have every single class together. At the beginning of this year we had sweet talked our counselor into letting us be together because Sophie and I suffered from separation anxiety. We laughed for weeks together because our counselor actually believed us. I wish it could be like that again, the inside jokes and random laugh attacks that filled our everyday life, but the looks Sophie shoots me from across the room tell me it will never be the same. She walks right past me as I try to talk to her tearing me to pieces inside. I sprint to the bathroom and lock myself in a stall. I cry as I realize this scar will always be a reminder of what happened that fateful day. It will be a scar that is always present, a scar that will be impossible to hide.

I stare back at the screen of my newly polished phone. No scratches or scars, the way Sophie once was. I wish I could grip her hand, squeeze it gently, and comfort her, the way things used to be.

I remain silent, knowing anything I say will simply be cliché, and will bring no comfort to her. I take a deep breath and dial the number; the number that has been forbidden for so long. I hold my breath as palm trees sway in my chest. The endless dialing tone dissolves my sliver of hope. Finally the voice that has haunted my dreams for the past year comes through my scar less phone.


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