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Light Behind Her Eyes

(A/N: The lyrics at the bottom are not mine. They’re from a song called Light Behind Your Eyes by My Chemical Romance. All rights go to them. Alysa’s life has been changed by them, not to mention mine. I figured it was only appropriate to add them at the end. Thank you, Gerard, Ray, Mikey and Frank.)

It was an ordinary day. That one sentence causes me to scoff bitterly. That’s how it starts all the time, doesn’t it? There was nothing to prepare us for what would occur a half hour later. No one ever thinks, “Oh, when we get in this car, someone will be killed!” No one ever does. We just think it’s a regular day; nothing tragic is going to happen. That’s what we all think. That’s what I thought. Until. Just… until…
I cracked up and fell off my bed, then laughed some more at my klutzy move. I just laid face down on the carpet and laughed. Finally, I regained my breath and sat up. Alysa beamed. “Wow, Finny!” I nodded and grinned. She held out her hand. I took it as she hauled be back up onto my resting place. She coughed some as I sat cross-legged, clapping her hands as we talked. “So, then, afterwards, Frank is like, ‘Quinn. You know this puppy is like, freaking gorgeous, right?’ I just kinda nodded and looked over, seeing Mikey and Gerard playing rock paper scissors.”
“Oh no,” she groaned, still smiling. I laughed and continued.
“Yeah, well, whoever lost had to chop off one of their fingers.” Alysa snickered and let her face fall into her hands. Mumbling through them she said, “Finny, you are not normal!” I chuckled and replied,
“Well, what do you expect?” She looked up and nodded.
“True, true.” Her eyes sparkled. “You have the most awesome dreams!”
“That’s because if you spent a minute in my mind, you’d be creeped out to the max. Both of ours, to be exact.” She sighed and our conversation was interrupted by her phone buzzing. She took it out and read the text she got. After a minute or so, she huffed angrily. But not too mad, because Alish never gets mad. She looked up at me with a sad smile. “Well, Mom says it’s time to go.”
“Dang it,” I muttered sadly. Disappointed, I got up and walked to Mama in the kitchen. “Mom, Alysa’s mom got a text saying it was time to leave.”
“Alright, I’ll be right there. You two load up.” We nodded as we sauntered out to the car. After a moment’s silence I breathed, “Well, it was fun. Thanks for coming over.” She nodded.
“Yeah, it was fun.” She trailed off into quite. We climbed in the car and we didn’t talk. We sat there and reminisced on the three years we’ve known each other. Today was June 7th, the last day of school for everyone at Nolan. For us, the eighth graders, it was our very last day of junior high forever. Forever. We’re never coming back. Never going to see those mundane faces that we’ve come to love. I just can’t believe our middle school career was at an end officially. It made no sense to me. Middle school, over? Never to walk into that building again? No, not possible.
During those three years of middle school, I’ve met some pretty amazing people. There was Ashton, who always was able to talk sense into me, the one I could laugh with. Tyler, a drug addict with a terrible past. Chris, a loyal friend. Ashley, someone who was always open to talking with me. Jenna, the one that was shy and quiet and untrusting at first, but grew on me. She’s been a friend that I can tell anything to. She understands it when I have to just cry to her for no reason. Jenna has been compassionate to the end. Amaya, who has a wicked sense of humor and an amazing talent for drawing. And of course, Alysa Nicole Ness. Thinking of her just makes tears well in my eyes. She met a tragic end that day.
But Alysa.
Boy, she was a character. She remembers when we met in the 6th grade play as “awkward flatware”. Alysa never judges. She was always there when I needed it. She understood things when others wouldn’t hear it. Alysa’s stuck with me through hardships. I’ve been just as loyal to her. She’s got an amazing talent for writing, and the same scorn for Ms. Gilbert.
Our friendship never wavered. I knew at times I could get annoying, but she didn’t let that take our friendship away. We’ve never fought, but fought against others together. She lets me cry into her shoulder, or bury my face into her arm when I get so freaking scared. I know sometimes I can cross the line. Alysa goes quiet and that’s when I realized just what I said.
I know I’m not perfect. She’s the one soul that never ever left me, when others would. Dang it, I could ramble on and on. But our friendship means so much to me.
And it’s coming to a heart-wrenching halt.
We’re parting ways to different high schools, and most likely choosing different career paths. It’s unlikely I’ll ever see her face again.
Alysa is a literal firework. She is spunky and rambunctious and downright weird, but so, so amazing. She has a secluded side I’ve never seen until now. She’s trusted me enough to share it with me, and my heart aches for her. No matter what she says about herself, I know she’s perfect in every way. Don’t give a crap about what others say! She’s smart and amazing and beautiful and crazy and talented and just so amazing. Alysa is amazing, no matter what other people think.
If you can’t tell, she’s the best friend I’ve ever had, and I cherish it every second. Our three years together have definitely been an adventure, and now it’s coming to an end.
I was snapped back to reality when Mom’s car door slammed. I jumped and wiped away tears I didn’t know were forming. Alish then let out an anguished sigh. We met eyes. Her dark green eyes were no longer shining with the excited sparkle I knew was there. Instead, it was pure depression. For a second I was shocked. I was usually the one to cry so easily over these things. On the outside, Alysa was a freaking rock. She’s amazing at hiding her emotions. I, however, can be read like a book. But once in a while, she’ll unveil her true feelings. This was one of those times.
I gave a slight nod to her and she drew out her phone. It was like we knew what each other wanted. One of the passions we shared very deeply was music. She’s got me hooked on a few different genres. Country, 80’s pop and rock, and alternative rock. I scooted closer as she handed me an earphone. I knew this car ride back wouldn’t be a talkative one. We expressed our feelings through music.
Just as I thought, I’m Not Okay started playing. I closed my eyes and leaned back, letting the voice of Gerard Way take over my thoughts. During those last twenty minutes we would spend together, my heart felt like it was being ripped in half. Alysa was the most amazing person I could ever know, and I felt as thought we’d never see each other again. When Helena came on, I let tears flow. Eventually, I found I was leaning against her shoulder. She was petting my head like she always does because she can’t think of a better way to comfort me. But to be honest, that was enough.
I looked up at her just as Light Behind Your Eyes started playing. I was half-surprised to see tears rolling down her cheeks. It was silent. We were both remembering the amazing times we had together. Finally, I said, “Alish, please, please don’t forget me.” She replied, voice rasping, “Don’t worry Finny. How could I?” I was comforted but I continued to cry silently.
That’s when tires squealed. Horns honked. Mom shouted. A hard wham! rang through our ears. The car rolled. And rolled again. I held onto Alysa, clinging to her for our lives. Whatever was to happen in the next second, I wanted to make sure she would be safe. That’s the moment when everything went utterly black.
I woke up, shivering and sweating at the same time. The first thing I saw was the roof of our car. I was so shocked I could barely make a sound. What the heck happened? It felt as though I was trying to corral all my thoughts in my brain. Breathing slowly, I began to recall what had happened-a minute? An hour? A day?-ago. I remembered the honking of another car. I remember Mom driving. I remembered… My thoughts trailed off as I breathed in again. What did I remember? Then, it all came back to me, in one heart-stopping moment. Alysa was at my house. We got in the car and listened to music. That’s when another car came careening into us. I had blacked out. Where was—
I didn’t even finish my thought as I began to try to move. A sharp yelp of pain escaped me when I tried to move my leg. Both my arms were freed, but my leg was trapped under a seat or something. There was very minimal light falling down through the shattered windows. How late was it? Hesitantly, I tested my voice. “Alysa?” It cracked and I sputtered, choking. Something wet dripped down my chin. I wiped it up and found it was blood. After that little episode, I called out again. “Alish?” No response. “Alysa?” Nothing.
My blood ran cold. Before my mind could start freaking out, I breathed and said, “She’s probably just not conscious. She’s just knocked out or something.” Trying to assure myself, I tugged my leg again. A burst of pain shot through it but I moved it around until I could get it out from under the seat. It wasn’t broken, thank God.
Just then, I caught my name through the dead, stifling Florida air. “Quinn! Quinn!” The voice sounded hysterical, in tears. My mother’s voice. “Here! We’re here!” I shouted weakly. I still haven’t heard any sound from Alysa. I looked over, but my vision was cut off abruptly by the roof that caved in so it separated the two seats. Yeah, the roof went all the way down. How had this happened?
“Alish!” I exclaimed again, my voice coming out raggedly. Again, I spat out blood. I listened intently, but I could hear no sound coming from her side of the car. No rustle of movement, no crying, just nothing. If I wasn’t in this situation and she hadn’t answered, I would have collected my thoughts and tried to find the best possible way to handle the situation. But seeing that I’m stuck in a car that just flipped over and my best friend isn’t responding to my voice, naturally I’d be freaking out.
No answer came from the other side. No sound whatsoever. My muscles tightened, heartbeat quickening. Hot tears ran down my face. I was sucking in fast, eager breaths, as though I felt it would be my last.
Alysa wasn’t answering. Alysa wasn’t there. No response. She didn’t reply! What happened? Why? Alysa, where are you? Please, please answer me! “Answer me!” My cry rang through the car. I hadn’t realized I shouted until I did. It was silent after that.
My body went rigid as I gritted my teeth. Out of stress and shock and so many other things, I started to shake. Physically shake. My breath came out in ragged, short gasps. Alysa, Alysa, Alysa, “Where are you?!” My shriek bounced against the wrecked car and painfully echoed into my ears. I shivered.
I tried to move and figured both my arms and legs were fine. I just couldn’t move around. I was so squished I was unable to completely turn in the seat.
Vibrating more, I glanced out the window. Night had fallen. I tore my gaze away and clutched my stomach, willing the pain to go away. For a minute, my heartbeat went down, but it spiked dramatically again. The normal rhythm of my heart turned into extreme pounding against my ribs. I shook even more and dug my nails into my palms, squeezing my eyes shut and waited for this terrifying episode to be over.
The loud clunk! of the door made me freeze. I was able to curl up in the seat a bit but my head was facing the other direction. “Hello in there,” an official-sounding voice called. In the back of my mind I knew I should’ve said, “Yes! I’m here! I’m alive!” But instead I croaked, “Get Alysa.”
“Are you hurt?” The voice, male, said again.
“Get Alysa,” I whispered again.
“Are you able to move?” he intoned. I didn’t answer the question.
“Get Alysa.”
“Ma’am are you able to move?” My body was wracked with violent shivers I couldn’t control. I tried to move but it took just too much energy. It’s not like I was hurt on anything, it was the initial shock. Alysa wasn’t responding. That could only mean…
It felt as if I was frozen to the leather seat. My brain was numb. Why hadn’t she answered? Alysa didn’t answer me. What did that mean? That meant that either she was unconscious or…
I dismissed the thought immediately as I felt strong, cold hands grip my waist. I tensed but didn’t try to move against them. The fresh, surprisingly chilled air forced its way down my lungs and I chocked when I was sat on the hard ground. I still hadn’t opened my eyes yet but felt firm hands hold the back of my neck as I chocked. Soon, I gasped for breath and laid against the beaten car. The strong hand never left mine as I finally opened my eyes. The bright starlight dazzled my eyes as I looked around. The person that took me out of the car turned out to be a paramedic. I gave a confused, defeated look into his eyes. He reached for my face again to clean up the blood that I just realized was there but I shrunk back. “No, no, please don’t!” He sighed and said soothingly, “It’s okay, I’m here to help you.” My eyes flicked from him to the car nervously. My heart started to pound rapidly again, faster than it should. I was still shaking again, but this time I shook violently, confused and hurt and shocked. “Where’s Alysa?” I rasped. “Someone else is getting her out, sweetie,” he replied softly. Someone else? No, no. What are they doing to her? Don’t hurt her!
Adrenaline rushed through me, causing my heart to beat faster. You know how some machine guns can shoot bullets really fast? Like there was a video of a gun shooting 600 rounds per minute. That’s the equivalent of how fast my heart was racing. I tried to get away from his grasp to go help Alysa. They were going to hurt her! I just knew it! I was hysterical, mind reeling with stress. The shaking and stomach pains didn’t stop.
“No! Stop!” I heard the paramedic call after me, but I skidded around to the other side of the car, reopening a long gash along my jaw that had just closed up. I crashed against the street but looked up, wanting to catch a glimpse of my best friend. Where was she? What happened to her? I couldn’t see the other person he was talking about that would take her out. I didn’t see anybody. Every other single soul on this planet disappeared as I laid my eyes on Alysa. She was sprawled against the road, blood surrounding her. Her eyes were closed. She was just unconscious, right? Right? Right?
I moved closer to her and wiped tears from my eyes. “Alysa,” I rasped. No answer. “Alysa!” Nothing. “Alysa, wake up! We have to take you home! Get up!” She didn’t respond. I looked closer and saw no rise and fall of her even breathing.
That’s when it hit me. “Alysa…?” My blood ran cold. I chattered uncontrollably as I croaked, “Alysa, get up. We need to leave here.” Not a noise entered my ears. “Alysa! Please! Come back!” I broke down in sobs and grasped her hand. It was already cold. “Alish! Alish, wake up!” The more and more I sat there in her blood, the more anguished I became.
Alysa, dead? No, no, no. That’s not possible, is it? Weren’t we talking just ten minutes ago? Weren’t we? She can’t be dead! No, not now, not yet! Why, why? “Alysa Nicole Ness, get up! Get up!!” I squeezed her hand, waiting for the squeeze back. But it did not come.
“Alysa, I need you! Please, don’t be dead! I have so much to tell you!” I stopped talking to sob uncontrollably and finally said, “I need you with me! I need you to help me, Alish! Why did you leave me? Why do you do this to me? Please, I don’t know how to go on without you, Alysa! I need you back! Please, answer me! Get up!”
But it wasn’t possible. I knew Alysa Nicole would never come back. I would never see those green eyes sparkle with amusement. I would never here her jubilant call in the hallway, “Finny!” I would never share anymore life-lasting memories. Never again would I perform with her. We promised each other we would meet on Broadway again! She promised me! Alysa can’t go back on a promise! She’s changed my life in so many ways. I would never be able to read those literary masterpieces she’s written. I would never hear her rant on and on about how much she despises Dylan. I’d never again have a shoulder to cry into. I’d never have a friend that will never leave me. But Alysa said she’d never leave me! Why did she now? She said she would never forget me. But I’m sure now she has. I’d never have someone as loyal as her. I’d never have another person in my life that I trusted as much as her.
Alysa, dead? That made zero sense. We’d never see each other ever again. It couldn’t be, though!
I fingered the sword around her neck. So many memories we’ve shared were now lost. Gone. But it couldn’t happen, can it? I’ve never had such an amazing person in my life as her. She’s gotten me through so much. And now, she’s left me.
Alysa was…

Be strong and hold my hand.
Time becomes for us, you’ll understand.
We’ll say goodbye today
And we’re sorry how it ends this way.
If you promise not to cry,
Then I’ll tell you just what I would say
If I
Could be with you tonight.
I would sing you to sleep,
Never let them take the light behind your eyes.
I’ll fail and lose this fight,
Never fade in the dark.
Just remember you will always burn as bright…

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WhenYouCantSleepAtNightThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Sept. 6, 2013 at 5:54 pm
I looooove it ;D
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