Anonymous asked: Hellooo (: How are you feeling ?
I’m good :) how about you?
you have been tragically absent from my life.
please return so I can once again make something beautiful.
My brother is a manic depressive.
He was diagnosed when he was seventeen after he had a particularly bad meltdown that landed him in the hospital, his wrists covered in bandages and needles stickking out of him. His wrestling match with death woke our family up, made it clear that the delusions that this was just a phase were in fact, delusions. It’s sad, how sometimes it takes someone who means the world to you almost dying to open up your eyes.
A manic depressive is just another word for someone with bipolar disorder. People throw that word around like it’s nothing, but trust me, when you know someone who has it, and has it bad, it’s not nothing. Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that cauuses unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to do anything normal, really.
The weeks before his attempted sucicide, things were differfent. For as long as I can remember, he’d have these epiosdes, so diffrent from his norm that it was unsettling. For a couple weeks, he’d be a supernova. Suddenly doing more than usual, talking like if he didn’t get every word off his lips this very minute the world might explode, so wired that he barley slept. You’d think that would be a good thing, but it wasn’t. He’d wear himself out. And around the time he truned fifteen, he’d start bring girls home. I rarley saw a girl more than a few times before it was someone else. Or, he’d have the exact opposite. Depression like you would not believe. He wouldn’t eat or come out of his room. He couldn’t concentrate on anything for any amount of time, and if you poked just the wrong butotn, he’d explode. Scream, yell, cry, say things that no boy should ever say to his family. Or anyone, for that matter.
None of us really knew what was going on, not even Jace. Dad cried a lot, his fingers rubbing the bridge of his nose like he had some itch he couldn’t get rid of. A small mannerism that surfaced once Mom bailed on us. Neither of us thought there was anything seriously wrong with him, plus, I was young and grew up around his wild mood swings. I clearly remember Dad repeating over and over, attempting to reassure me but really just trying to reasure himself, “It’s just a phase, Avery…he’ll get over it. He’ll come back, he always does. Soon this will all go away. Don’t worry, don’t worry.” And it did go away. For a few months, we’d have our Jace back. But it always came back. Until the night I found him passed out in the bathroom, blood everywhere…yeah, things changed after that. We found out he was sick. Got help. Pills and a shrink helped reduce the intensity of the episodes until you could barley tell they were happening. We were sure he was back, and back for good. And the doctors reassured us that he was okay.
But he wasn’t. He isn’t.
It happened again.
And today, the day my brother is on the brink of death agian, 20 years old now, still in a mental state that we should have seen as critical, my whole entire life is about to change.
The moment the car screeches to a halt just across from the ER entrance, I am jumping out of it, mumbling something incoherent to Dee, who had been gracious enough to drive me here. But thank-you’s and formalities don’t seem important to me at the moment. Instead, my mind is wrapped around a simple thought, a thought that drives me faster still through the empty streeet, across the sidewalk, through the sliding glass doors and into the cool, air-conditioned atmosphere of the hospital.
Get to Jace. Get to Jace. Get to Jace.
I slow down as the doors close behind me, quickly searching the room for the reception desk that will hopefully give me some tidbit of information to soothe the frantic thoughts bouncing around in my head. With the desk in sight, I force myself to slow down and at least pretend that I am not having a mini-panic attack. It takes every single ounce of my effort not to leap across the room, throw the woman against the wall and demand to know where Jace is. But I am in control, and I can handle this. Right?
As I approach, the receptionist looks up at me through thin rimmed glasses. Her lips are pursed and those pale grey eyes assess me, instantly judging and sending off a hostile vibe.
“I’m looking for Jace,” I say, my voice coming out stronger than I feel.
She sighs slightly, using her pointer finger to push her glasses back and then placing her hands on the keyboard and moving her eyes to the computer screen. “Last name, sweetheart?” Boredom and contempt lace her voice, clearly saying “why am I talking to a stupid teenager?” without actually saying it. Annoyance creeps its way up my spine and makes me grind my teeth. Over the counter people are supposed to be open and friendly, not firdgid and condescending. I wonder if they chose their doctors with as little care as they choose their receptionests.
“Lane. Jace Lane.”
“And what’s your relationship with Jace?”
“I’m his sister.”
“One moment please,” she says, without looking up. Her fingers expertly fly across the keyboard, typing faster than I could even on my best days. I don’t look away from those eyes, still infuriatingly calm behind the glasses. With all these emotions bubbling inside me, it’s hard to believe that everyone isn’t having a panic attack with me. Seeing people, living their own lives, acting like my whole entire world isn’t balanced on a knife that’s so close to falling off the safe end and onto the sharp end, almost pisses me off. I just don’t understand how anyone could be in control of themselves right now. All I want to do is run through the whole hospital, ripping doors off, maybe a few heads in the process, until I find him. Until I can see with my own eyes that he’s breathing. Or not. But, we’ll just say that he’s breathing. For the sake of my sanity.
Tapping my foot impatiently, I wait for her to talk.
When she finally does, it’s the same tone that makes me want to make a fist sandwich with her face and the wall. “It appears Jace attempted suicide, dear.”
Wow, you’re really good at deduction, aren’t you? Not to mention people skills, I think to myself.
She continues, “No one is allowed to see him until he’s stable. You can wait over there. Someone will get you when we know anything.” She nods her head to my right, in the direction of the waiting room.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath, let a little bit of my feelings show behind the mask I’ve gotten so good at keeping up. “I just want to know if he’s okay.”
“That’s still to be determined. Now, can you please wait in the waiting room so that when they do know if he’s alright, they can find you? Thank you.” And with a nod of the head, both my worries and my presence are dismissed.
Reluctantly, I turn around to start the long journey to the other side of the room. The waiting room in itself isn’t exactly a room, it’s more of another section to the over-all room. At least, I’m assuming that it’s the waiting room from the assortments of forest green chairs carefully placed all around it. The walls are the same standard white as the rest of the hospital, the tiles the same boring white tiles with little flecks of green in them that just reeked of a textbook design. Between every few chairs, there’s either a plant or a table. The tables are littered with magazines that no one is reading, and the plants are a sorry excuse to make this dreary scene look a little more homey. Or something. A TV hangs in the corner of the ‘waiting room’, offering a soft buzz as background noise. There are a few people waiting anxiously in the seats, people who are probably waiting for news, just like me.
It feels wrong, walking into this hospital, knowing that Jace is in here somewhere, edging toward death. Not even a day ago I had been talking to him, everything normal. Or well, it seemed that way. I think back to the last moment I’d spoken to him, this morning right before Dee had picked me up for school.
I was going through the motions of waking up in the morning - washing my face, choosing clothes, taking a shower, you know, the mundane things. I’d just finished up showering and had gone down to the kitchen for breakfast, hair twisted up into a towel. Jace was plopped on a chair in the make-shift dinning room (basically just a table shoved in the corner of the kitchen), slurping down spoonfuls of Rice Crispies. When he saw me walk in, he’d snorted with laughter and had to cover his mouth to keep the cereal from spilling out.
Immediately self-conscious, I looked down to make sure I hadn’t forgotten to put my robe on or something. “What?” I asked, even though I couldn’t help a small smile that pushed the corner of my lips up. I loved it when he laughed.
He grinned at me, eyes lit-up with amusement. Using his fork, he pointed at me. “You look like a bee-hive.”
Okay, it really wasn’t that funny. Maybe it would have been, if he’d been, like, two, but he was twenty years old. Kind of pushing it. Still, a real smile broke out on my face and I laughed with him. “You’re a dork.”
He shrugged and returned to eating his cereal, a smile still lighting up his face. I watched him for a few more moments, a little bewildered by his amusement, before I made my own bowl of cereal and sat down beside him.
“What’s got you so smiley today?” I had urged.
He shrugged again, looking up at me with eyes that twinkled. I couldn’t help but smile at him. “I don’t know, Ave. I just…I feel so free. Like today, things are finally going to change for me. I’m invincible.” It hadn’t been the first time I’ve heard him say this, so I didn’t cause any sort of alarm. But now, looking back, I see it should have. Yeah, I’d heard him say that…three years ago. Back when he still was hyped up on drugs and women and so strung out on his emotions that he probably didn’t even need the drugs. But, for whatever reason, his words didn’t make me worry for him. They were just words. I should have seen that the thing that was going to change was his life. That being invincible was really about not being invincible at all. Why didn’t I see it?
Not even forty-five minutes later, all dressed and ready to go for school, when he said something strange again, did he strike me was not okay. Before I leave, I always give both him and Dad a goodbye kiss. I’d already given Dad one, who was plopped on the couch watching our small television, and went to grace Jace’s cheek with a kiss. Just as I did, he gathered me in a bone-shattering hug. Surprised, I hung there limp for a second before tentatively wrapping my arms around his too-thin (thinner than usual, even - why? Why hadn’t I seen this?)frame. He buried his face in my hair and whispered, “Love you, Avery. Forever.”
Touched, I smiled and hugged him tighter, only a little perturbed by his sudden adoration. It’d been a long time since he’d hugged me this hard. “You, too, bro.”
He finally let me go, and I grabbed my back pack and turned to leave, waiving bye.
“Bye, hun!” Dad.
“Bye.” Jace. His voice quiet. Soft. His last goodbye.
But I hadn’t known that then.
Rude Receptionist Lady clears her throat, pulling me out of my revere. I realized I’ve been standing here, immobile, for the few minutes it’d taken me to run through my morning. Too wrapped up in my own thoughts, I didn’t feel embarrassed. I just took a deep breath and headed toward the chair closest to me, ready to lose my mind for a while.
Just as I’m about to sit down, a voice calls -“Avery!” My name fills my ears, spoken by a voice that I’ve grown up with, and crushed by the same emotion that has it’s icy fingers locked around my heart. Fear. I turn toward the voice, ready to drop into the soft arms of comfort, ready to let my tears fall on the shoulder of hope.
I lay eyes on the man who said my name, take in his lanky frame, look into his black eyes that mirrored my own. He’s wearing a Dr. Pepper T-Shirt that looks like it’d been washed a million times, which it probably has been. Over that, he’s wearing a jean jacket that clashes with the dark jeans he’s sporting. Dark hair hangs in his eyes, the same hair that he’s passed on through the family. He raises a hand to move it out of the way, so he can meet my eyes. He looks out of place and socially awkward with his arms hanging by his sides like they don’t belong there. A small sense of comfort warms my body.
“Dad.” I’d been so focused on getting here, finding out if Jace was okay, that I’d completely forgotten about the phone call that had informed me of his condition in the first place. Dad tries to smile at me, his fingers fidgeting with the end of his jacket nervously. After a few moments of relief, his sense of calm crumbles. As I watch, his face falls, his eyes glisten with unshed tears.
I start to say something, anything to take that look out of his eyes, but I don’t know how to form words that can make that kind of pain, that worry, go away. And maybe it can’t go away. Maybe nothing can make this easier, or maybe even bearable. Some things can’t be put back together by just a few words, so I don’t say anything. I try not to waste my time with the impossible.
He opens his arms, and I take the few steps it requires to fold myself into him. We hold each other tight, tight enough to keep the pieces from falling apart. I can hear him quietly sob, and I just hold him all the tighter, whispering into his chest.
“It’s going to be alright, Dad.”
I’ve always hated the smell of hospitals. That sour antiseptic smell that tries to cover the fact that lives have been lost in this building. Sure, some lives were saved, too…but nobody really thinks about that. People have died here. People who had friends, family. People who would be missed. The whole attempt is futile, though, because no amount of disinfectant can cover up the feeling of death. Sometimes, it even adds to it.
Hey, call me melodramatic, it’s true.
Sitting with Dad doesn’t make me feel any better, either. After we let go, we’d sat down in the forest green chairs, and stared at the textbook style tiles and the white walls. We’ve also taken on silence, which doesn’t make the time go by any faster. He’s clutching my hand so hard that I’m sure bones are breaking, but I don’t protest. Sometimes you need to crush someones hand in order to get rid of memories. I still have haunting images of the last time I’d been in a hospital, waiting for news. Images that try to swim to the surface now, but the defense system I’ve had three years to build does it’s job.
I remember his face, though. I remember the way he looked at me when I walked in through the door to his hospital room. The way regret was written in his eyes. Whether it was the regret from surviving or from trying in the first place, I don’t know. I had hoped it was the latter, but now, I realize it’d been the first option. I remember how his arms were carefully placed on top of the sheets that wrapped around his body. How the thick layers of gauze made cocoons of his arms, wrist to elbow. How deathly pale he was. But, I also remember the way he smiled at me. Like he was glad to see me. I wonder if I’ll ever see that smile again..
I force that thought away as quickly as I can, burring it somewhere in my head where I won’t happen upon it again. Thoughts like that aren’t good for you. It starts out with just a simple thought, but then it spreads, taking over like a weed left un-pulled in a beautiful garden until everything good is choked and all that’s left are thoughts like - what if I never see him again? Will I ever hear that laugh again? What the hell am I going to do without him? How on earth am I going to live without him? It’s not healthy, a lesson I learned the hard way. It’s just begging for insanity to take residence.
A pretty large part of me wants to burry my head in Dad’s chest, curl against him and just let all my fear, anxiety, and worry loose. I want to feel him hold me, the one piece of my family that is ever normal. I want to be comforted. But, I’m not a little girl anymore. I can’t just collapse in his lap and expect him to take away all of my pain, all of my bad memories away. Now, I’ve got to stand up on my own. Even though a good portion of me doesn’t really care about that, the other part of me, although smaller, has a louder voice. And I’m not going to break down. Like I’ve done ever since Mom bailed, I’ll be strong enough for the both of us.
Strong enough that we’ll be able to get through this. In one piece.
Dad rubs slow, comforting circles into that place where my thumb meets the rest of my hand, not clutching it so hard anymore. I can hear him take deep breaths, and looking at him, I can see how close he is too unraveling. And it isn’t that he’s trying to hold up a strong front, because Dad wears his heart on his sleeve. Years of being crushed down mentally (by my mom, but that’s a story for a different time) has left him weak, without anything to protect him from life’s hardships. So the look in his eyes is purely what he is feeling. And it’s almost catatonic. His mind is not here, in this room, but somewhere far away, and from the look of things, it’s somewhere where thoughts do not exist and everything is just silent. Just another way to go numb. For a small moment, I envy him. Maybe in la-la-land time doesn’t tick by in years instead of seconds like it does here in the real world.
Lucky me, my mind doesn’t have a room where I can just check in and check out to the rest of the world. So it wanders. Thinks about things. Like how many green flecks are on the tile below me. (Fifty-three.) Like who made the shoe I was wearing, and what was going on in their life right now. I imagine they’re rich, living a lavish life in a over the top house up on a hilltop somewhere with a 10-car garage and a bath tub they could play baseball in. Or maybe not. Maybe the person who made my shoe is poor as dirt, lives in a studio apartment and spends the moments they aren’t making shoes dreaming of what it would have been like to be a rockstar. Or a doctor. Maybe they live in their dreams, living in a world where life didn’t only exist on whether or not they could afford to pay tomorrows bills…or maybe a machine just made the stupid shoe.
Risking a glance at the clock, I find that only a mere 3 minutes has passed. Three minutes. Mentally, I stab whoever made it so that time passes slower when you most need it to speed up. Time, time, time. Would you like me to say it again? The concept of time seems to be something that my body is overly aware of - how with time comes the constant shift in emotions, the knowledge that anything could happen in the next two seconds, and the ever-pressing realization that with every tick of the clock we are getting closer to our deaths. I shiver.
I’m not scared of much in my life, but that five letter word never ceases to chill my blood. The idea that I could simply stop existing, that I would no longer have thoughts running through my brain, that whatever made me, me, would be gone from this earth, leaving me just an empty shell, absolutely terrifies me.
Triggered from something I’d thought, an image fills my head. I immediately try and shove the thought away, Jace’s face turned toward me, his drenched almost-black hair contrasting with the white tile his head leaned against. Eyes that roll in and out of focus, mouth hung slightly open. It’s this, this look on his face that is more startling than the brilliant red that paints the floor and side of the tub. The look of death slowly creeping in, making it hard for him to maintain consciousness while draining the color away from his skin. Draining everything he is. It’s that look that causes the scream to gurgle in my throat and send me heaving into the hall way.
I shove that memory away, gasping for air as pain ricochets through my chest. My hand automatically presses against the place where my heart is, as if maybe that could seal the old holes over again. It can’t, though. Oh well.
The pain puts everything in perspective for me. It takes the simple fact that I’ve been spending the last half hour of my life trying to push back and yanks it to the front of my brain.
Jace could die.
I know that the first thing that should come to mind is absolute terror. I know that I should be shaking with the thought of my life not existing without him. And it’s true; that all scares me. But before I can dwell on any of that, there is a question that nags at me. A question I’d rather not think about, probably shouldn’t think about it, but curiosity is defiantly killing this cat.
“Hmm?” He looks down at me, reverting from his blank stare at the ceiling to cast a fleeting glance my way.
“How did he do it?”
He stops breathing, starts up again, slightly faster this time. I know what’s going on in his head. I’ve been there before. I can just see the images flashing in his mind, reflecting in his eyes with a haunted look. He isn’t looking at me anymore. And I don’t think he has any intention of responding.
“I can’t, Avery.” His hand is squeezing the life out of mine again. His words are breathy. “I can’t.”
“Please, I need to know. I don’t want to be surprised when I walk in there.” I nod my head in a random direction, not sure where there is. I look into his eyes, pleading more with my eyes than with my voice. The puppy dog face does not grow less effective with age. At least not when you have a little girl face like mine. “Please, Dad.”
Distraught or not, he still has the sense not to look at me. It’s quiet for a while as he gathers his thoughts, decides whether or not he can make himself say the words on his mind. Finally, he whispers, his voice barley audible, “How can I say it out loud when I can’t even think it?”
“I don’t know.” I bite my lip, guilty. I’ve always been a bleeding heart, and seeing someone like this automatically makes me feel horrid. Especially when it’s my own Dad. I want to tell him it’s okay, he doesn’t have to tell me. But I know, and I’m sure he knows, that he does.
He takes a deep breath and let’s go of my hand. The sudden blood flow making my flex my fingers. He rests his elbows on his knees, leans forward and rubs the bridge of his nose. Free of his hold, I’m not sure what to do with my hands. I take to clasping them together in my lap.
“Don’t make me do this, Avery.”
By way of response, I don’t respond.
A minute later, he takes yet another deep breath and says, “I’d just gotten home from work. Around six-ish, and,” he takes a shaky breath and closes his eyes. I don’t want to imagine what memories are re-playing behind his closed eyelids. He opens his eyes again, and meets mine. Pain is written all over him, in his face, posture, everything. Again, I regret asking. I want to take back my question and that look on his face with it. But it’s too late. “I went to check on Jace when I got home, like I do every night. And,” He pauses, no doubt searching for words. I watch the emotions play over his face, first pain, then fear, now horror is widening his eyes and relaxing his lips. So I can’t see anymore, he drops his head into his hands and starts rubbing the bridge of his nose yet again. I know that he doesn’t see the hospital anymore. His voice shakes.
“And I found him, on the ground. Clammy, convulsing, his lips…his lips were blue. I saw…” He exhales, “I saw…the syringe was still in his elbow. Empty. His eyes…Oh, god. He was shaking so much…” His shoulders heave as he begins to cry a little violently. Sobs rack his body, making it impossible for him to go on. In an attempt to soothe him, I put a hand on his back. A small comfort, but it’s all I have. I just whisper to him that things are going to be okay, reassure him that soon it’ll just be a memory. Maybe not true, but what else is there to say?
He takes a trembling breath and lifts his head up again, eyes red and puffy from crying. With the sleeve of his jacket, he wipes his away any leftover tears. “I’m sorry, Ave.”
I don’t say anything. Whether it’s because I can’t find the words or I am simply unable to talk past the lump that’s formed in my throat, I don’t know.
Neither of us talk for quite some time. I try to watch the TV, anything to distract me, but the news just doesn’t catch my attention. I want to get up and start pacing, walking from one side of the room to the other, and back again. Anything but sitting here, drowning in my thoughts, in my memories. The waiting, the silence, it’s killing me. I feel like screaming, pounding my head against the wall. It’s so hard, so freaking hard to keep the memories at bay. I don’t want to think about him. I don’t want to remember the good times, or the bad, because I can’t handle thinking that all I have with him is a past, and no future. But I don’t do any of those things. I don’t run, or scream, or hurt myself, I just sit there. And fidget. Try not to think.
But we all know that you can’t not think. The harder you try not to think the more you think about. So, despite my protests, a flood of memories crash over me. Both the good and the bad. His 13th birthday, how excited he got over his new Play Station Two, crawling into his bed after I had nightmares, falling asleep in his arms, walking in on him in that same bed with some girl I didn’t know, doing things that I’d only heard people talk about, all three of us laughing over a breakfast of Frosted Flakes, that smile I love so much on his face, the late nights we’d spend together playing cards, watching movies, talking about nothing and everything, Dad finding a batch of pot in his bedroom, him storming in the house at two in the morning, screaming his head off when Dad asks him where he’s been, watching Dad teach him how to cook an omelet, that smile again, it’s all I can see. And then, just a glimpse of him, in the bathtub with blood again, before I decide it’s enough and get up. I practically run to the reception desk. Vaguely, I hear my dad call my name. But I just keep walking.
At first glance, all I see is the same woman who I’d talk to before. No way I was going to put up with that again. But after another moments consideration, I see that on the other side of the desk there is another woman, more of a girl, with a blonde ponytail bobby and a kind face. She’ll probably be more cordial, I venture. She drops a stack of papers to straighten them out, the sound making a soft thud. I take the few extra steps that will lead me toward the younger, more promising receptionist. “Excuse me?” I ask, trying to keep the hysteria in my mind and out of my voice.
She looks up and meets my eyes, a warm smile lighting up her face. Ah, that’s better. Looks like this hospital does know how to hire after all. “What can I do for you, honey?”
“I need to know if my brother is okay. Is there any way you can check for me? At least give me some sort of idea.”
That same warm smile is still on her face as she says, “What’s your name?”
“My name’s Avery, but my brother’s is Jace Lane.” I don’t know how I sound so calm, when my heart is beating frantically in my chest and my hands are shaking. I press my palms together in an attempt to hide it.
She does the same thing the other woman had done, looked at her computer and going through files or whatever until she found the one on Jace Edward Lane. And as she reads that file, her smile fades. She tries to put it back to it’s original gleam when she looks back up at me, but it just looks plastic. It’s more of a grimace than a smile. “I’ll see what I can do,” she says, and gets up, smoothing her skirt. She walks through big wooden doors that look like they’d be extremely heavy, but she swings through them like it’s nothing. Either she’s superhuman, or they’re light.
I wait there, awkward, nervous, Rude Receptionist’s eyes boring into my back. It’s one of those moments where you want to put your hand on your hip, tap your foot and keep looking at your watch, just for the hell of it. I’m honestly surprised that she took the initiative to help me. I’d come over here looking for a distraction, and instead I found answers. I smile to myself and try not to think about that in the next ten minutes I’ll know if I’m going home to a half-way empty room.
theres more, but it’s not finalized. meaning, I might throw it out. :P so. yeah.
I can hear your heart beat.
The sound is resounding in my ears,
and your stomach is dropping right down to your feet,
as you’re stopping to think, stopping to think about all of your fears.
I can see your face flush.
It’s getting to your head.
You’re world is spinning and your eyes are tinted red.
Yeah, you’re so wrapped up in this rush.
If I take you by the hand,
will you follow me to a place where there’s nothing but me and you?
If I take you to a place where you can bury your toes in the sand,
will you finally tell me that you and your games are through?
I don’t know what I can count on.
‘Cause you’re so wrapped up in this rush.
Yeah, you’re so far gone.
Whoa. My very own little lush.
I can feel your temperature drop.
You’re searching for something you’ll never find.
You know you should take some time away from it all, but you just can’t stop.
You’re in need of a fix, but a fix is only a state of mind.
I can sense the fear in the air.
For once you’re thinking about someone other than you,
and incidentally, you have no idea what to do.
Because you can’t find it in you to believe, or maybe even to care.
Because you’re so wrapped up in this rush.
If I take you by the hand,
will you follow me to a place where you don’t have to chose?
If I take you to a place where the world isn’t so bland,
will you finally realize that we have nothing to loose?
I don’t know what I can count on.
‘Cause you’re so wrapped up in this rush.
Yeah, you’re so far gone.
Whoa. My very own little lush.
I used to feel your heart beat.
Beating next to mine.
But now you’re lost in those few moments where you’re losing your mind,
and I’d love to fill that hole in you sweet heart, but I know I’m only next in line.
Cause I can see your face flush.
As you’re getting that rush.
Oh, what a sad little lush.
What a sad little lush.
Good question. I am blonde haired dyed
Brown, unseeing blue eyes and someone
who always looks a little bit misplaced. I
am loud on the inside, but quiet on the
outside. People think they know who
I am, but how can that be when I don’t
Even know? I can’t keep a beat and my
hair never does what it’s told. I am full
of potential talent, but I don’t know
how to use it. I try so hard to fit in, but
find that I am forever different. Boys
make me nervous and I don’t know who
would cry if I died and who wouldn’t.
I overthink but am sometimes insightful.
I may be all of these things but who I really am
Still eludes me.
Noah is glaring at me. His warm brown eyes are burning with anger, or maybe annoyance. Probably both. I don’t usually do anything to deserve such a glance from him, but here I am, shrinking beneath the weight of his gaze.
“Why are you mad at me?” I ask, chewing at my lip uncomfortably.
“I can’t believe you would even say something like that.” I expect his voice to be flat, but it comes out so full of emotion it chokes me.
“What? It’s true.” I manage.
“No, it’s not.” I can feel his eyes on me, but I’m not looking at him. I’m looking anywhere but at him. At my feet, bare against the lush cream carpet. At the poster of The Bravery on the white walls. Anywhere but at him.
“Yeah, it is. That’s all that ever matters to anybody. No one wants to be with an ugly girl, no one wants to hang around someone who is hard to l-“
“Oh, shut the hell up, Holly! It’s not true!” Out of the corner of my eye, I see him throw up his hands in exasperation. He makes a sound in the back of his throat, kind of a growl and kind of a groan. I look at him now, look at the familiar planes of his face. His blonde hair does that thing that most guys would kill for, swishing to the side perfectly. The lines of his face are usually soft, but anger has made them hard. His eyebrows are pulled together, his pink lips pressed into a thin line. Anger looks good on him.
“What would you know? You’re beautiful. Perfect, really. You can’t say anything about…” I pause, not sure how to complete my sentence. “…about what it feels like to be outside, looking in. About what it feels like to look in the mirror and hate what you see.”
He’d been laying down, his hands behind his head as he stared holes into the ceiling, but now, he sits up. He’s eye to eye with me now. I look down at my knees, pulled against my chest. Call me a coward, I don’t want to see his eyes and whatever emotion would be screaming at me through them.
It’s quiet for a long time.
When he does speak, his voice is soft. “You don’t understand, do you?”
Now it’s my turn to be angry. Irritation wells up in me, filling me up like a hot air balloon, his words the fire fueling me. I look up and meet his gaze. What I see there just makes me more mad. He’s no longer mad. No, now he has this weird mixture of shock and pity and confusion.“I don’t understand? No, Noah, you don’t understand. Just this once, will you get off that pedestal you think you stand so high on and actually try to put yourself into my shoes?”
He turns so were face to face, running his hands through his hair. He doesn’t get mad, doesn’t start yelling at me. Just takes a deep breath before turning those caramel apple eyes on me. “Holly, will you just listen to me for a second?”
“No.” It comes out weaker than I want it to sound, and I turn my face. Stare at the ground and try to force the tears that threaten to break free back into their cage.
Soft hands, soft like a girls hands should be, grab my face and turn my face so that once again I’m staring into his eyes. They’re full of a sorrow that I’ve never seen before. Some of my anger slips away.
He says, “It used to make me so mad that you did this to yourself. That you hated yourself like this. Now it just makes me sad.”
I make a sound, a snort and a laugh, and spit my next words out. “Screw you.”
“No, Holly, listen to me.” He starts to wipe away the tears on my cheeks, but I turn my head away from him. I get up, suddenly not wanting to be here. As I head for the door, I feel his soft hands on my arm again.
“Please, Holly, wait.”
I’m chewing my lip again. Tears stain my face. “What do you want, Noah?”
He looks at me, and I look at him. I hate the expression on his face. That sad look, like I’d just broken his heart. It makes me calm down. Brings peace over me, like jumping into a pool on a hot day.
“I just…” He takes a deep breath. “It just pisses me off that you think that this,” he uses his hand in a sweeping motion to gesture to my face, “is what makes someone beautiful. Is what makes you beautiful. It’s not. There’s something inside, something that shines through you. It’s not whether or not your face looks right, of whether your hair is always falling in just the right way, but…how you act. A girl who always looks perfect but acts like a total bitch isn’t as beautiful as the girl who doesn’t look like a super model but is the sweetest person you’ve ever met.” He watches me, watches the look on my face. His next words are so soft, so sweet, that it dries my tears. “I just want you to realize that you’re beautiful, Holly.”
Blood warms my cheek and my chest swells. I wrap my arms around him, bury my face in his chest. Hold him tight. “I’m sorry that I accused you of being an arrogant dick.”
He rests his cheek against my hair, a laugh shaking his body. “You never called me an arrogant dick.”
“I was thinking it.”
“I forgive you.” He kisses the top of my head.
“Love you, Noah.” I say, because I mean it.
“I love you too, Holly.”
There’s something about his arms around me, and the way he talks, the way he moves, that comforts me. Makes me feel like home. It’s kind of funny how just a few words can make you so angry at someone, and just as few can make you forget it all. It’s not much, but it’s enough. Enough to make you forget your insecurities, your worries..even if it’s just for a moment.
Looking back on the days,
When a broken crayon was your disaster,
You’re wondering why,
The world just keeps on moving faster.
Life goes by in the blink of an eye,
With every step forward,
You’re taking two steps back.
This is war, love, we can’t cut you any slack.
All you wanted was to grow up,
Your wish came true,
And now you’ve got both feet planted in the past,
Wondering how long you’re going to last.
See how far you’ve come?
You’re standing on shaky ground,
But at least you’ve made it somewhere.
At least I’ve made it this far.
You’re feeling lost.
You had no idea that what you did would come at such a high cost.
The loss of everything you worked for.
You have it all, but you just want more.
For now, forget your sins.
Because you know that the truth always wins.
Breathe fast, breathe slow.
Breathe because it’s all you know.
Breathe because it’s all you know.
You think you’ve got it all figured out.
But you can’t figure out what the world’s all about.
You can still smile, even though you just gave away everything you adore.
You had the world but you just wanted more.
For now, lay your head back down.
And maybe, you can get the hell out of this town.
Breathe fast, breathe slow.
Breathe because it’s all you know.
Breathe because it’s all you know.
You’re drowning in your anger.
You ignore her as she tells you that you’ve become a stranger.
You don’t feel a thing as she walks out the door.
You have everything but you just want more.
For now, forget what you did wrong.
Because you know, you’ll always come out strong.
I’ll never know
Why people feed off
Won’t I ever,
It means to be
This can’t be
all that is left
beside my many
Why does everything
Always come down to
Nothing but utter
Can you maybe,
Tell me why I