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The sun gleams off her pale skin, making her eyes glow, her long legs wrapped around my waist. It takes my breath away. I turn in my bed restlessly. The image is so clear, her wet hair falling low over her shoulders, drops of water falling off her eyelashes and her smile. That smile. The image is almost unbearable to think about, yet it's all I can think about. She looked, as always, like an angel.
I believe she really is an angel, I used to call her my angel not too long ago. That was when she was okay, when she was happy, when this image was caught in my mind for the first time. I shut my eyes tight and try to push the thoughts away that have haunted me for months.
I force my mind to go blank, and slowly but surely fall into a deep and unpleasant sleep. I dream the same thing I've dreamed for months...
"Stop it!" She yells, laughing and crying at the same time, "It's annoying and my sides are beginning to ache".
"Never," I reply playfully, tickling her just above her hips, knowing that's the place where she's the most sensitive. She squirms in my arms and then pouts, trying not to laugh from my tickling. Eventually, I stop and hold her tight, she kisses my lips and whispers, "Forever".
"Forever," I repeat, staring into her sparkling blue eyes and kissing her nose. She then sits on my lap and rests her head against my chest. I stroke her hair, feeling like the happiest man in the world.
Another image. It's me walking out my front door and her running towards me from the house next door. She flies into my arms and I pick her up and twirl her around. We're saying hello after she'd been away for three weeks.
The last image. I see myself holding her as she sobs after the news of her father's death. I then see the police parked outside her house a few months later, after there had been a robbery there. She had been attacked during that robbery and she was left scarred after that. That was the beginning of her self inflicted scars...
My dream fast forwards to a few months later. She's lost the colour in her cheeks and we're fighting for the umpteenth time. She gets upset over such stupid things, things she shouldn't get upset about. She tries to leave once again and I run after her, begging her to stay with me. "I don't know if I can handle this anymore," part of me thinks, "No, I love her and I will help her through her depression," another part says.
Another two months go by and she's become more unpleasant . She refuses to stop cutting, it hurts me to see those scars on her arms, and there's nothing I can do about it. She yells at me and complains if I do the slightest thing wrong.
"I'm trying to get better," she keeps telling me, "The medication is nearly out of my bloodstream, we can go back to the way things used to be.
The day comes when I realize we can never go back to the way we used to be, I've lost my love for her. "I'm sorry, Rachel, I just can't anymore."
She sobs, "please I'll make it better, I'll fix it, I'll do anything".
"It's too late, you can't change me," I reply sadly.
"I'm begging you from the bottom of my heart, if you have any love for me at all, we vowed 'forever', please, please, please," she cries.
"I'm sorry," I say again.
? I hear her sobbing, then she says angrily, "No, you're not sorry.You're heartless, you're leaving after everything, knowing what I've been through? How can you live with yourself? You're a pig!"
I should have known better than to do what I did, she always said such fiery things when she was angry. I interrupt her, "Rachel! I was just thinking about staying with you and now you go and call me names and say I'm heartless!" I say angrily. "How am I supposed to love someone who keeps hurting me?"
"No," she pleads, "I didn't mean it, please don't do this to me."
"It's too late," I say, "I'm sorry".
All I hear after that is her violent sobbing, eventually she says shakily "Okay, goodbye".
Click. The phone goes off.
She texts me a few days later asking me to come back, she says she's suffering without me. I think she's just being dramatic, "She'll get over me," I think to myself. I feel horribly sad and miss her a lot, I think it's just because we were together for someone. I reassure myself that I made the right choice. "I'm not the right guy for her, I can't handle it," I think.
She texts me again a week later complaining that I just threw her away and don't even talk to her, she calls me heartless again. I feel anger washing over me, hard and thick. How dare she call me heartless? I'm not the one that yelled and screamed at her over nothing for months. I type the two words I vowed I'd never say to her. "F*ck you!"
There is no reply after that, I figure she'd decided to ignore me and carry on with her life. I still love her but I know if I stay away from her long enough, the love will fade away.
I come home one day to see an ambulance parked outside her house, as I drive passed she's being carried out on a stretcher with an oxygen mask over her face. It was the first time I'd seen her in two months and, even with the oxygen mask on she looked beautiful. I walked up to her sobbing mother and asked what had happened. "The medication... The robbery... the attack... the loss of her father... the break-up... it.. it all got too much for her. She snapped," she cries, covering her face in her hands. I stare at her, trying to figure out what she means. "So.. why's she being taken away? What's wrong?" I ask, confused. "She... she stabbed...", she can't finish the sentence as she's crying too hard.
I walk up to Rachel, lying in the ambulance on the stretcher. Her eyes are closed and her chest is moving a little up and down as she breathes weakly. I pull the blanket off her, to find a bandaid covering a huge hole just under her breast bone, where she'd stabbed herself. I gasp, tears fall down my face and onto her cheek. Her eyes flitter open as she feels the drops. The paramedics bring more bandages and medicine to clean the wound. I wait for them to tell me to go away but they don't. I hold her hand as they drive to the hospital. Her sobbing mother sits in the front.
Rachel's eyes, half open now, stare at me with a mixture of emotions I wish I could identify. Her heartbeat is slow and weak, I hear the dull beeping on the monitor. I stroke her hair and more tears fall when she sighs and closes her eyes with a hint of a smile on her face. She holds my hand weakly in hers. The paramedics try to stop anymore blood from leaving her body but they fear it's too late. Her heartbeat gets slower and slower, her eyes fluttering every now and then. I cry, squeezing her hand and whispering her name. I had not lost love for this woman. How could I ever? I feel her hands twitch against mine, I look up at her to see her staring at me. "I love you," she chokes out. I lean close to her, tears pouring faster down my cheeks.
"I love you too, you hear me? I always have and I always will."
I can tell that's all she needed to hear. Her lips twitch into a faint smile, I hold both her hands in mine, her fingers curl weakly around mine. I watch the monitor as her heart slows, just as we pull into the hospital. The paramedics remove all the cords and wires from her body. I cradle her in my arms, stroking her hair like I'd done so many times a few months ago, as if this was a natural thing and nothing had changed. Eventually, her body goes limp in my arms, and I press my face ?against her chest and cry, I hold her for hours, just like that. Everything comes back to me, all the memories, the love we had, and the day she sobbed, trying to get me to stay. The day I'd told her I "didn't love her anymore". I feel a deep pang of guilt in my chest, knowing that if I'd stayed this wouldn't have happened. I stare at her flawless face. She looks at peace now, like a sleeping angel.
I wake up, sweating, and in tears. I sit up and next to me, just for a second, I see her face. I don't just believe she's a real angel, I know she's a real angel. I caused her to snap, she couldn't deal with all the pain. I feel so guilty. I lie back down, I whisper, "I hope you're happy and all the pain is gone, my angel."