So you smile. Yes you don’t mean it but you look them directly in the eye and smile. It hurts every part of you to smile and act as if things are okay. But in reality things are not okay. You’re trying not to show that you’re holding on the ledge of a cliff 7 million ft up. Any moment you’re going to fall. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe I’ll just see you in hell. But who needs to know what’s going on in your mind. You always have a war going on in there, no one needs to get harmed by trying to get into your mind. You keep them at a safe distance. Laugh in front of them, show them you’re fine. That you’re not thinking of different ways to run away. They’ll leave you if they know how scary you are. So you smile and act like nothing hurts you. You smile and tell them it’s fine that they didn’t break you. You smile and go on with your life. Honestly it’s all you can do.
“Hey, can you please let me in?”
I recognized the voice and opened the door. I looked down at a little girl wearing pink overalls and had her hair tied up in the middle of her head. Her hands were on her hips and she had a lollipop in her mouth.
I moved out of the way as she walked in. She took off her worn out pink Adidas sneakers and sat on the floor cross-legged. I closed the door and sat across from her. We were both wearing Mickey Mouse t-shirts.
“What’s up?” I asked after she stared at me for 5 minutes. She always zoned out and had a habit of keeping her thoughts to herself.
“I want to ask you something?” she replied. I sighed and nodded to urge her to ask. There was never a day where she didn’t ask something and she had this need for the answer, so she never let you go until she was satisfied.
“Why are you so scared?”
I widened my eyes and looked at the little girl. Her head was cocked to the side and she was innocently eating her lollipop. She had no patience so she always bit into her lollipops before it was even time. She acted as if she didn’t know this question would bother me but I knew she knew. She always knew but put on a front that she was clueless.
I shrugged and she looked disappointed. She pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows. I bit my lip and stared at the floor.
“I don’t know, I just feel like I’ll forever have to watch everything fall apart constantly” I whispered. She laughed.
“You’re weird” she exclaimed.
“You wouldn’t understand, you’re only 5 years old” I retorted.
“Why are you so sad and tired. Don’t you want to have fun all the time?” she asked before I could recover from answering the other question.
“Well, you wouldn’t understand. Its not all fun and games” I replied.
“Yeah it is, like I’m a princess and in my kingdom, there’s nothing but fun and the only time I get sad is when my daddy or mommy yell at me,” she told me. I tried to hide my smile.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I asked. Her eyes lit up and she grinned.
“I want to be a hero” she exclaimed. I smiled.
“By saving people that need people to save them. I don’t mind how hard it is, I want everyone to be happy. My daddy says there are some evil people that make the world bad, I want to beat those bad people and make the world good again” she explained. I knew how she felt. I had a familiar feeling.
“My momma says I think too much” she said. I nodded. She did. She still did.
“But I don’t like to share what I think, people don’t understand” I continued for her. She nodded and I looked away trying not to cry.
“How is everyone treating you?” I asked.
“They say I’m ugly and fat so does my daddy but its okay they’re all a bunch of liars” she said. But I knew she was feeling pain from every remark. That she was starting to mold herself from a self-righteous brat to a sad and tired existence.
“You know, I’m not all that sad. I have friends that love me for who I am and I’m starting to feel happy a bit more nowadays. I’m hoping I guess. Listen, it’ll be your best friend at one point. Don’t let go of hope.” I rambled on. She sat there listening to me.
“But you’re not okay” she whispered. I nodded. She gave me a grin with her front two teeth missing.
“I want to go to Disney World and meet Mickey Mouse,” she told me. I giggled because I did too.
“I probably will soon, princesses get what they want.” she continued. I nodded. She stood up and brushed off her overalls. She was reckless and worried too much. Yet, I envied her. I ruined her.
“I gotta go, my daddy will have a fit if I don’t go home now,” she said as she hugged for a long time. I stood up and opened the door.
“It was nice seeing you, I guess”
No, it was never nice seeing your past self.
She stopped in her tracks and looked at me with a grin.
“I hope I don’t end up like you” she yelled and ran away. What a little piece of shit.
“But you will, regardless” I whispered to myself as I closed the door behind me.
The first day goes alright. You dig your fingers in your palm and tell yourself it’s for the better. You’ll be fine and happy at the end of the ride.
The second day is stressful but you tell yourself that you got this under control. That you’ll be fine.
The week passes and you thought you were okay but you realized deep down you were still freaking out. But you tell yourself it’ll go away.
Then you do something daring like going to a social event and you indulge and people force you to get out of your comfort zone.
The next day you’re about to eat lunch but you remember what happened the night before so you put it down and tell yourself skipping a meal won’t do any harm.
Then you finally eat and you tell yourself throwing it up won’t be a big deal it’s just a one time thing.
And then you watch yourself being controlled by the voices again and sooner or later you’re hiding and wishing you didn’t exist. And like every other time you feel like you’re stuck.
What do you do then?
Sweetheart, give yourself three days. Three days to wonder. Three days for them to know how it is without you in their lives. Three days to know how much they don’t appreciate you. Three days to know how much better off you are. If they don’t show you that they care after three days, that’s when it’s time to walk away. You will never need someone as much as you need yourself and god I hope you know there will always be someone out there to be able to treat you right. And yes I know how it feels to have feelings for someone and think you won’t be able to have those feelings for someone else. But you’re so worth someone that loves you and makes sure you know how important you are. So three days, that’s all you have to give up when you feel like you’re chasing after someone that doesn’t take the fucking time to look back and wait for you. Three days.
He was listening to music and reading a book late night when someone knocked on his door. He groaned as it was his only night off for the week. He owned a tattoo parlour down the street and it needed a lot of maintenance. But it kept him happy. The hot girls did too, but only for a while. Until she crossed his mind eventually. He was tired of his feelings so he set them aside as much as he could. He opened the door and saw it was her standing at the doorway. She was drunk, he could smell it off of her. And she was always crying when she got drunk. He moved out of the way as she staggered in.
“My, my, look who’s the drunkie tonight” he teased. She plopped on his couch and sighed. She started sobbing and he sighed.
“water?” he asked. She looked up and nodded until she started throwing up. He groaned and went to get the mop. This happened more than once.
He gave her his clothes and let her use the bathroom as he cleaned up.
She came out and sat back on the couch. She cried a bit more.
“I fucking miss him. Why’d he have to leave?” she cried. His heart broke. Not because she was talking about someone else but because she was completely utterly sad and he couldn’t do anything about it. Her husband passed away in a car crash a year after they got married. Damien did nothing but be by her side as she cried for nights and couldn’t get out of her bed. She started getting back to work. It had been a year since then. But there’d be nights like these where she’d drink herself silly and appear at his doorstep. He didn’t want her to be sad anymore. She slept peacefully on the couch and he laid on the floor, wondering why someone like her got the bad end of things.
“Where the fuck are you running off to now?” he exclaimed. She looked back at him and started tearing up.
“I can’t stay here, Damien” she whispered.
“Why not?” he asked.
“Because I can’t go back to being in love with you” she replied. He looked at her and they stayed silent. They were at the airport. She was leaving to another city. Or well she tried to. He watched her the past six months finally getting back on her feet and completely leaving the alcoholic life. They were spending nights watching movies and going to different places. He was content with what he got. She realised she was falling for him. She didn’t want to go back to that. She loved their friendship.
“But I love you” he told her. She looked at him confused.
“I told you during your wedding, my feelings have been there since then” he confessed.
“I thought it was just a spur of the moment thing” she admitted. He shook his head.
“I don’t know” she mumbled. He walked towards her and slipped his hand on her waist, and put his other hand on her cheek. She closed her eyes and they kissed. They had finally kissed.
“I think it looks hot, to be honest” he commented. She pouted towards the mirror.
“I don’t know,” she mumbled.
“Babe,” he started. She rolled her eyes.
“Okay, okay. I love it” she finally said. He smiled in triumph. She grinned.
“Mom, James keeps teasing me”
They both looked at their daughter, who looked angry with her flushed cheeks. It reminded him of her when she got angry.
She laughed at how annoyed their daughter looked and then their older son walked in looking annoyed. Their daughter, Jillian was 4 years old and their son, James was 6. She started falling for him again as time went on and decided it was time to leave again before she’d get hurt. Before she ran off to another city, he caught her and confessed that he was in love and that she needed to stop running. She let herself go and eventually they got married and had kids. They visited her first husband’s grave every year and he was fine with how she was always going to love him in some way. He named their son after her first husband. She was weary but she realised he genuinely wanted to.
The kids stopped yelling and looked at their mother’s wrist. It was two J’s for James and Jillian with flowers all around it. They both started fussing over it and finally left the bedroom after a while.
“I love them so much” she told him.
“I love you, Almeda” he said. She shook her head and tried not to cringe at how much they went through to get to this place in life.
“I love you too, Damien” she replied.
They both looked at each other and she knew it was time to stay forever.
I was in grade 6. Suddenly it hit me that I didn’t want to live. Funny, I was so young and still a child. Unbelievable really. You would never understand the feeling unless you went through it yourself. So the first attempt was at the end of grade 6, I tried suffocating myself. It didn’t work. My mom caught me and I told her not to worry. I was just being silly.
It was grade 7 when I started hating myself for everything I was. I wasn’t enough. I told a friend and she told the teacher. The teacher took me out of the class and asked me questions. I lied and told her I was alright.
Then I moved to another school in grade 8. See, every time I moved I changed my persona. So I became loud and seemed like I wanted to be friends with everyone. In reality I was just planning to kill myself. I was cutting because of how much I despised who I was. Someone named Robert held my hand one day before the start of summer and told me I mattered. I stopped believing him when he stopped talking to me a year later.
It was in grade 10, things started going downhill even more. I don’t know how it started but I was purging and I loved it. Skinny, my best friend finally appeared. No one knew and to be honest I think everyone wanted me to lose weight. It was my secret and funnily enough it kept me from trying to kill myself. Until the summer before grade 12. When I almost died in a hospital.
It was in grade 12, when I lied and said I wanted to fix myself. I wanted to not be broken. But in reality I didn’t know what it felt like to be okay. Where I told my friends some of my secrets. Where prom was just a hassle rather than a night of memories. Where my birthday didn’t really matter. Where I broke down more and more. I lied to everyone and told them I would be okay when we went to university.
It’s now. Now. I look around me every day and I try so fucking hard to seem okay but in my mind all I’m thinking about it is pit of darkness that was always there. I try to talk about it but all I get slammed with are words of hope and I know they’re filled with love but the words are useless to me. Maybe I was always supposed to be dead.
“Oh my god, this dress is amazing on you” her mother cried.
She looked at her mom and beamed.
“You honestly look so beautiful” her mom continued.
She blushed and shook her head. Her friends were giggling and she could hear everyone in the church waiting for her.
“Okay okay, you probably need some time to yourself, let’s go girls. I’ll see you at the alter baby” her mother said. Everyone in the room walked out and she took a deep breath. She looked at the mirror and smiled to herself. She was in love with the wedding dress but not as much as she was in love with the man waiting to be her husband. Her father was to come in a few minutes to take her down the alter. She was nervous. Would he want to be with her forever? Or will he look at her and run away before she gets to him? She took deep breaths. Someone knocked and she told them to come in. She wasn’t looking at the door as the person walked in. She heard the person stop for a second and she wondered why they weren’t saying anything. She finally was done looking at her hair and turned around.
“Damien?” she exclaimed.
“Hey,” he mumbled.
Damien and her talked to each other here and there after she left, a few years later she invited him to her wedding. He didn’t respond and she didn’t have the time to make sure he was coming. But seeing him at her wedding, made her happy. He cared.
“You look amazing” he said after a while. She grinned and twirled. He looked sad and she cocked her head to the side.
“You okay?” she asked.
“Do you love him?” he suddenly questioned. She smiled really widely thinking about the man she was about to marry.
“God, I love him so much” she answered. She realised there would be no way he’d leave her after they got married because he loved her for everything she was and made sure she knew it.
“Oh” he said. A few years ago she’d have killed to see him look so affected by her, but at the moment she was too in love to notice his feelings. She thought he was being her best friend. Suddenly she hugged him.
“I’m so glad we got to do so much together. You will always be my best friend, Damien” she whispered. His heart broke in pieces but he hugged her.
“I love you” he whispered. Soft enough so only she could hear, soft enough so she could act like she didn’t hear it. She smiled up at him sparing him from embarrassment. Damien nodded and smiled back. He left after a while and later watched her walk down the aisle. She was in love, he knew that. He was also in love but he wasn’t the boy she was in love with anymore. No other girl could love him like she did. She practically skipped towards the groom. Damien felt everything falling apart as they said their vows and kissed. She was stunning, and he wished he made her the centre of his world when she gave him the chance.