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A teenage boy storms into his room, slamming his door hard enough behind him to rattle the trophies on his wall. He runs his hands roughly through his hair then kicks his dresser, scuffing it. His hand finds the closest item within reach, a skateboard, which he grasps tightly as he carries it out to the backyard. Within a yard of an old oak tree, he stops, inhales deeply, and slams the hardwood against the old bark. He constantly slams the board until it chips and splinters, then finally breaks. The tree sways and blows in the wind as if being brutally battered by baseball bats. In his pocket, his phone vibrates, his girlfriend calling to beg him for forgiveness. He takes his phone out of his pocket and hurls it as far as his strength allows him to. It isn’t enough; he throws the board aside and starts pounding the wood. He doesn’t stop, but his knuckles are peeling showing the blood his hands hold. Blood trickles down his knuckles and drops on the soil like rain falls to the Earth. Every punch precise and powerful, no pain registering on his face just a scowl with his brows pulling together. The sound of a dull thud mixed with the sight of skin connecting with rough bark put a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. As I get closer, I start to taste the salt in my mouth, feel the heat radiating off of his body, smell his sweat and see his blood discoloring his knuckles a copper red. His shoulders tense and low as if preparing for the fight of his life. The saddest, horrifying, most disturbing image I have ever witnessed in my entire life forever to be etched into my memory.
I set a hand on his back, his reaction is not what I expected, and he turns around calmly as if a friend tapped him on his shoulder.
“What do you want Naomi?” he asked his breath sounding rough.
“Jack, I just wanted to say that I’m your friend. I know what you’re going through and I wanted to say that I’m here for you.” He didn’t look relieved when I said that so I kept wondering if what I said was right. Just as I was about to pat him on the back he sighed making me withdraw my hand.
“I know it’s just…I don’t know what to do. I’m usually so strong but now I feel so vulnerable and weak.” I could tell not from his voice but from his body language and the facial expression he wore. His eyes had dark circles around them looking as if he hadn’t slept for days. Usually Jack was all grins and hugs, now he looked like a corpse, no color in his cheeks, no life and spirit in his eyes.
“This is something you’ll overcome and now you just need time. Time will heal all wounds.” I tried to keep my voice level but it was so hard for me to see him like this. Just seeing his face, so different from the Jack I know, shattered my heart like glass.
“Hey?” he sounded different his voice sad and pure.
“I know you’re right and all but I need to handle this in my own way.” he sounded so alone. I just wanted to take him in my arms and protect him but I knew that was impossible.
“I understand.” I tried to keep my voice level but he turned me away when he needed someone the most.
It was one of those moments where so much time passed by that you could capture it into a photograph. Jack’s face innocent like a child’s, the sadness so easily revealed in his eyes. The thing I absolutely loved about Jack was that his eyes never hid anything; his face is like an open book. The atmosphere so quiet except for the rustling of tree leaves off into the distance. The air smelled of summer, a world of melting ice cream cones and pool chlorine. The sky looked liked Michael Angelo’s canvas bursting with reds, purples, and golds. I could feel the heat but it was from Jack. The feeling of thorns in my hands meant that I was too still and had to start moving again. All I could taste was the crisp clean air. Jack looked better than he did half an hour ago. I left him, and told him that he knew what had to be done. Finally, I got that cheesy lopsided grin from him and I knew he’d figure it out. His grin may not be alive but it is full of life.
The next thing he did shocked me so much. He picked a vibrant red rose from nearby and gave it to me.
"Naomi, you have always been there for me and i want to thank you." He looked at me from under those delicate eyelashes with those beautiful jade green eyes and my heart skipped a beat. I took the rose from him and was about to leave when he grabbed me, pulled me into him for a hug, then gave me a kiss on the cheek. Blushing really badly, I slowly walked away smiling to myself while Jack's eyes watched me go.