My BoyMy Boy
Some boys are like puppy dogs. They’re that handsome best friend you’ve known since you were a little kid, always at your side. You’re safe in the knowledge that they’ll never leave you, never do anything to hurt you, will always remain loyal. With them you are comfortable, secure, content. You find them charming and sweet, if slightly irksome.
Some boys are like a school history lesson, taught by a teacher with no love for their subject. They are bland, boring, and undeniably dull. They’re filled with endless facts that you would normally find interesting, fascinating; but instead they just come across as insipid, lifeless, dead. There is no feeling, no passion, no nothing. Just simply.....emptiness.
But my boy? My boy is my dream.
He is my everything, my only desire. He has this way of making me feel like I’m the only person in the world, like I’m the only one that matters. The love we share is raw, passionate, and fuelled by fire, like a beautiful star burning bright against the blackness of the midnight sky. I am filled with an unbearable ache every moment I am not with him, every second I spend away from him. He is romantic and gorgeous and amazing.....and completely irresistible.
But my boy is not only my dream. He is my nightmare, too.
He is the class’ bad boy. Teachers fear him, girls adore him, boys admire him. He is popular, cool, part of the ‘in’ crowd. “You’re lucky,” they tell me – the luckiest girl in the world. Because I got the boy that no one else has ever even gotten close to.
But no one knows what he’s really like. Only I do.
I wish I didn’t, though.
He can be evil, intense, cunning. Even the smallest thing can set him off. The anger is always there in the back of his eyes no matter how much he tries to hide it, a hardness that I try to look past; but when the hardness flickers into a raging flame of anger, you know you’re done for.
His venomous tongue can cut you into a thousand pieces, shatter your world and fill you with complete self loathing with just a single torrent of hateful words. The words should mean nothing to you, because you know that he doesn’t mean them, not really. No single person could contain that much bitterness towards you in their heart, that much scorn and disgust....could they?
Evan’s hand is intertwined with mine as we mooch through a lonely, cobbled street on the outskirts of London, crunching through the winter snow. The icy air brushes my cheeks, causing them to flush a deep rose red, and my woollen scarf is wrapped tightly around my neck in an attempt to keep out the bitter December chill.
“I love you,” Evan tells me, pulling me closer.
The glow inside me brightens. Because he really must love me. We’ve been together two years now – and although we got off to a bad start, we’ve pulled through. It’s been months since anything’s happened.
You see, Evan has a few anger issues. No.....had a few anger issues. He used to lie. He used to cheat. He drove my friends away. He called me names, told me awful things about myself.
Why am I still with this guy, you ask? Because I love him, of course.
And although things were rough, we had some pretty amazing times together too. Like when he took me on the London Eye for my birthday, and waited until we reached the very top before he kissed me for the first time. Like when he turned up on my doorstep one morning before school, bearing a dozen red roses, shy smile in place. And like when he finally opened up to me about why he did what he did, and finally agreed to see a counsellor about his problems.
All because he loves me.
I smile. “I love you too.” And I really mean it.
I snuggle into him as we turn into a nearby alleyway, shivering slightly against the icy wind that is whipping up my chestnut locks.
Evan touches my cheek and then we’re kissing, his soft lips like melted chocolate against my own, smooth and perfect. I wind my arms around his neck and his hands slide down to my waist, and slowly the bitterness of the winter day ebbs away and I lose myself, becoming one with him.
We suddenly hear a shout of glee behind us – “look, it’s snowing again!” – and break away.
I peer up and find Evan looking straight back at me, like he’s seeing through to my very soul, his eyes piercing and blue; tiny flakes of snow decorate his lashes, like miniature diamonds glittering in the weak sun. His whole face is alive with happiness, and it’s in that moment that I know I’ve made the right decision sticking by him, because he is by far the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
I bite my lip and he smiles, until the child shouts again, causing me to look up.
I know that voice.
I’m right – it’s Ben. This time the five year old’s excitable squeals are muffled by the scarf that his older brother, Sam, is attempting to wind round his neck.
Regret tugs at my heart when Ben glances up and studies me, as if trying to work out how he knows my face; and then a look of recognition dawns in his eyes. He taps his brother’s arm, points a chubby finger at me and says, “Sam – isn’t that Skye?”
Sam looks up in surprise, searching through the thin layers of mist which hang in the air, his mouth breaking into a wide grin when he sees it really is me.
Sam and I, we go way back. Best friends since the first day of nursery in fact, when I shoved a handful of wet sand down his top and he had to make do with the only spare t-shirt there – a cute little pink number bearing the words ‘Mummy’s Little Girl’. Not that he minded. I think he quite liked it, really.
But over the last few years we’ve grown apart, probably because of Evan, now I come to think of it. According to a few of his friends, Sam had had a bit of a crush on me back then.
And Evan didn’t like that.
“Skye! Hey!” We reach him and I can see that he’s beaming from ear to ear like a Cheshire cat, until he clocks Evan beside me and his face falls – but soon he’s grinning again, eyeing my flushed cheeks and chattering teeth. “Cold?” he enquires cheekily.
“Just a little.” I reach forward and hug him instinctively. “Hi, Sam.” He smells of mint, of freshly mowed grass, of summer; just like I remember. “It’s been a long time.”
We pull back and he shrugs, his smile a little sad. “Yeah. Too long.”
He has definitely gotten the surfer-dude look down to a tee; sandy blonde hair, green eyes, tanned skin. What happened to the weedy little Sam that I knew?
We chat for a few minutes more until Ben gets bored and starts to tug at his brother’s sleeve. “I want to make a snowman,” he says.
Sam ignores him, but I remember that Ben always was a rather persistent child. “Sam, come on,” he moans, kicking the snow with his feet. “You can talk to your girlfriend later. Let’s go.”
I feel Evan tense beside me and Sam turns a dark shade of crimson. “Maybe see you around sometime?” He asks.
I nod. “Hope so.”
He walks away and swats Ben’s head playfully, telling him he’s ‘a right little pain’ as they carry on through the alleyway.
Aw, Sam. I miss you.
I turn to Evan. “Right. Fancy a hot chocolate at mine?”
He doesn’t reply.
“Oh come on, Evan....we have marshmallows,” I tease, remembering they’re his favourite.
He is staring rigidly after Sam and Ben as they round the corner, disappearing from sight. “Boyfriend, huh?” he says quietly.
I laugh. “Oh, don’t worry – that’s just Ben.” Suddenly, I catch sight of something glinting in the snow where Sam and Ben had been stood.
I lean down and pick it up. It’s a mobile.
“They must have dropped it,” I tell Evan. I crane my neck in an attempt to catch a glimpse of them, but they’ve disappeared into the fog.
“SAM!” I holler.
Suddenly, unexpectedly, I feel someone tightly grab my wrist and drag me towards them, causing me to stumble backwards through the snow.
“Get off!” I tell him, startled. His grips tightens. “I said, get off!” my voice is sharper this time, more panicked, but it seems to have no impact whatsoever.
“You like him, don’t you?” Evan asks bluntly, and then louder, “Don’t you?” He snatches the mobile out of my hand and hurls it into the distance.
I am shocked. “Who, Sam? No, of course not. He’s just an old friend. You know that.”
Evan pushes me, hard, and I find myself falling head first into the snow. I re-emerge, cold and angry, my face and beanie hat dripping. I stare at him, outraged. “Don’t you dare,” I snarl, “do anything like that to me ever again.”
But he isn’t listening.
All at once he’s shoving me against the wall of the alleyway, his breath hot and heavy in my face; and I remember hearing a series of screams, telling him to get off, begging him to let go.
The screams are my own.
The last thing I remember is him hitting me.
Over and over again.
I awake in a room with whitewashed walls, lying in a metal framed bed with scratchy white sheets.
I sit up with difficulty and let my eyes adjust. Purple bruises decorate my body, lingering on my arms, my chest bone; and I can feel that my left eye is swollen, my lip tender to touch. There is a searing pain in my ribs, and when I clench my teeth it feels like a thousand heavy rocks are being thrown at my jaw, crushing it.
I am uncomfortable, aching, exhausted.
I see my Mum lying in the chair next to my bed, fast asleep, curled up in a ball; and she looks so vulnerable that I can’t bring myself to wake her. She needs to rest anyway, I can see that from the dark circles that sink deeply under her eyes, adding to her age massively.
I look around as if searching for some sort of explanation from one of the nurses – but they seem oblivious to my confusion and carry on checking complicated looking machinery and talking comfortingly to other patients, kind smiles plastered onto their faces.
I hear Mum stir beside me. She blink a few times, her eyes adjusting to the bright light, and I see the pain etched into her face, looking like all of the life has been drained out of her. She is tired, lost, broken – many characteristics that my Mum is normally immune to.
Straight away she looks in my direction, and I can see that there’s no hope in her expression, no expectance – just a dullness that makes my insides churn. Only when her eyes lock onto mine do I see a glimmer of the happy woman, the ‘you-only-live-once’ woman that is truly my mum. She is smiling, laughing, crying; she is hugging me gently, kissing my nose, telling me I must never scare her like that again, not ever.
She beckons to one of the nurses, telling them that I’m awake. The nurse checks the drip that is feeding the veins of my wrist a thin, clear liquid, and slides a thermometer into my mouth, recording my temperature on her clipboard.
The nurse fetches a friendly looking doctor called Dr. Martin who asks me a series of questions; ‘Can you remember your address?’ ‘Your age?’ ‘The name of your school?’ The list goes on. And finally; ‘can you tell me what happened to you? Why you’re here?’
No actually, I can’t.
“Concussion,” Dr. Martin concludes. He tells me that I’ve been here all night in a comatose condition; they’d had no idea when I was going to wake up, if ever. I was in an accident – somebody hurt me, abused me. That somebody left me in the snow, and Dr. Martin doesn’t know how long for, except that it was for too long.
A boy found me, replaced my wet jacket with his warm and dry one, and called an ambulance.
Apparently, I owe him my life.
I am being treated for severe hypothermia, and I have two broken ribs and a fractured jaw. They are doing everything they can to make me better; my bones will heal, my bruises will fade, and they have already restored the warmth to my body.
Dr. Martin leaves, assuring Mum that he’ll be back soon to check on my progress and until then just to talk to me, keep me awake.
She nods, smiles, and turns to me. “How are you feeling?” she asks, taking my hand.
I nod. “I’m okay. A little shaken, but…..I’m okay.”
“Oh Skye, I’m just so glad you’re okay – you wouldn’t believe what I’ve been going through. I thought....”And then her smile slips, and I know what’s coming.
“Who did this to you, Skye?” she says, her voice cracking.
I’d love to tell her; I would. I want to wipe the pain from her face, give her someone to blame for doing this to me. Give myself someone to blame for doing this to me.
But I can’t. Because I don’t know.
I can’t remember.
My eyes slide from hers and to the nightstand, where lies a large bouquet of red roses – and next to them is an envelope with my name on it. Mum sees me looking, picks it up, and passes it to me. “Somebody gave it to one of the nurses,” she tells me. “Said to give it to you.”
I open it, expecting some sort of ‘get well soon’ card.
Instead, I find a letter.
I’m so, so sorry. I will hate myself forever for what I did to you. I did go back for you, honest. But you were gone. I don’t know who found you – but they got you here. That’s all that matters.
I hope you’re okay.
We can’t carry on like this. It’s damaging us both. A fifteen year old girl shouldn’t know the horrors that you know, the hate, the darkness. You’re amazing and I love you to pieces, but I can’t risk hurting you again. I couldn’t bear it.
I want you to move on. Find another boy, a boy who won’t hurt you like I did. You deserve him.
My last promise to you is that you’ll never see me again. I’m leaving. Starting a new life somewhere different, getting some proper help.
I wish you all the best.
I love you, Skye. Always.
My heart freezes. Suddenly, somehow, it all comes flooding back; Evan hurting me, hitting me, punching me; and then everything going black.
Every single little detail is invading my mind, poisoning me, memories that should only exist in the worst of nightmares.
I shove back the scratchy sheet, yank the drip from my wrist, ignoring Mum’s cries and the pain that fills my body, attempting to cripple me. I half-run-half-stagger through the corridors, shoving past anyone that gets in my way, dodging concerned nurses that try to grab me, calm me. I reach the entrance and charge outside into the darkened car park, peering around frantically, the tarmac like blocks of ice to my bare feet.
There’s no one there.
The rain is lashing down in angry sheets, drenching my white hospital gown, my hair, my wounds. It has washed away the snow, the magic, any remaining memoirs of my perfect day, leaving behind only a trail of dirty brown mush.
I see someone round the corner, their hood up, and my heart leaps.
It’s just Sam.
Only then does the paper slip from my shaking fingers as I slowly slide to the floor, collapsing against the wall. A ragged sob emerges from my chest, a terrifying sound that even I didn’t know I was capable of. I am yelling, screaming, cursing. I love him. No matter what he’s done, I love him. I need him.
Sam is beside me, holding me close, rocking me back and for. “It’ll be okay,” he whispers. “I promise.”
But it won’t.
That was all two years ago, now. True to his word, Evan never showed his face again.
It took a long time for my heart to heal. Even now it still feels a tiny bit empty, yearning for something I no longer have.
Because yes, Evan was right. A fifteen year old girl shouldn’t have known the evils that I knew. But I also shouldn’t have known that much love, that much happiness.
I’m dating Sam now. Turns out he was the one who found me. He got home and realised he’d dropped his mobile and went back for it; and instead found me, thrown against an alleyway wall, unconscious, my lips blue from the cold.
The doctors said ten minutes more of lying in the snow and I could have died. Sometimes, now, that doesn’t sound so bad.
Sam’s great, but I’ll never love him the way that I loved Evan. No one will ever come close.
He’s long gone though. His friends; his family; not even the police could find him.
Nowadays, he only exists in my dreams.
And in my nightmares, of course.