I don’t bother to take showers all that much anymore. I don’t have the energy to, and I no longer care about what others thought of the stench.
I down a cup of coffee and a bite of toast before I comb out my hair, toss a slice of gum in my mouth and trudged my way to school.
My friends rarely talk to me anymore. I had shut them out a long time ago, and they no longer have the energy to fight with me. They have left, and that is exactly what I deserve.
Tears well at my eyes, but I swallow them down. I swallow down the cries for help, for someone to notice the hurt in my eyes and the cracks in my heart.
Lunch comes around, and I take my normal seat at the table. Nobody bothers to sit with me anymore, and the only other person to share my table is an odd, new kid named Annabelle. She had bright blond hair and scars on her arms. I knew what they are because I, too, have those scars.
I don’t bother to strike up conversation with the new girl. I don’t deserve a friend, and it isn’t like she wants to be friends with me. She never glanced at me once, and I find, as the days go on, I don’t care.
The school day is over before I knew it. Instead of walking home, I decide to take the bus. I am one of the first people on, and I take my seat towards the front of the bus.
I sit alone.
Outside it’s grey and dark. Clouds cover the blue expanse of the sky, and they swirl with energy. I watch as fat droplets of rain begin to splash against the ground, and eventually the window is filled with rain.
The TV is loud, and it drowns out my thoughts until all I feel is nothing. It’s certainly better than feeling that pain and anger in my chest; so I welcome that feeling of nothing until that is all there is.
When my mom comes home, she sits down on the couch beside me. We sit there together for what feels like days. I feel her hand slip into mine and we lay there together, knowing that the thoughts and feelings are mutual.
Eventually, her head rests on my shoulder.
“You’re getting so bony, dear.” My mother mumbles to me, and I make no sound to acknowledge the statement.
We sit there, watching the nightly news.
“I’ve missed you.” I suddenly say, and I feel my mother’s sharp inhale. Then she’s shaking, and all I can feel is the chilled drops of tears on my shoulder.
“I’ve missed you, too.” Is all she said before we hold onto each other.
Under all of the empty feelings, and the cracks in my heart and the clouds in my head, I see a light in my vision. We cried deep into the night, and eventually, we fell asleep like that.
I wake up that morning. I sling my backpack onto my shoulders and went to school.
During my third period I am called down to the therapist’s office. Before me I see a woman with dark hair, large, circular glasses and a floral dress.
“Hello, miss Jackson. I am Doctor Fare. Please sit down.” I stare at her for a few moments, trying to gauge what she wants. There is a manilla folder with my name written on it.
The chair is comfortable and warm. I sit back into it, staring at my hands.
“Your parents divorced last year, right?” Doctor Fare questions, and that’s when I look up at her.
“Yeah.” I answer, wanting to shut this conversation down before it gets anywhere too personal.
“How are you feeling about that?” I look away nervously, shrugging.
“I don’t know.” The answer is moderately truthful. I have no idea what to feel anymore, so I feel nothing at all. The room remains silent for a long while, and I eventually speak up again.
“He left, okay? It doesn’t matter anymore.” I say, my brow furrowing together. I feel tears welling up in my eyes, and I did my best to blink them away.
“It seems it matters a lot, though.” Doctor Fare presses gently. I inhale quickly, biting at my lip to keep the sob down. I remain quiet, focusing on my hands.
I feel alone, and anxious and I didn’t like how this woman seems to look past my boundaries.
“You know, my dad left when I was young, too.” I stop chewing on my gum for a second, listening to this doctor.
“I was nine when he left. I didn’t understand it, though. We were a happy family. I had a younger brother and sister, and when he left... I was expected to pick up where he left off. It hurt a lot.” The doctor says to me. It sinks in that she probably understands everything that I am feeling.
“He left me when I-I needed him most. I-It’s like he didn’t care.” I stutter through my words, but I don’t care. It is like the dam has been broken, and this woman is what is catching all of the water.
“It’s stupid, but I wish he would come back. I wish our family could be happy again.” I mumble, a hiccup soon coming. I rub at my eyes before looking back up at her.
“Sometimes things change, and sometimes those changes are hard.” She says, shifting in her chair. I look up, seeing that she is leaning forward, hands on her desk.
“I know it’s hard, dear. But you have to keep pushing, and trying, and taking care of yourself. You have to have the courage to live for yourself. Don’t you want that?” Doctor Fare asks, her voice gentle and warm. It reminds me of the warmth within my home.
I really miss my home. I miss the home of the past.
“...I don’t know. It’s like... It’s like there’s no reason to live. It all seems so... bland and hard.” I answer truthfully. I am afraid to look up, to peer into her eyes and see the disgust. But all I see wais s warmth and support.
“It doesn’t have to be like that.” Doctor Fare says, her eyes searching my face. I am so sure my eyes are red and puffy, and dried tears stain my cheeks. I feel so empty, yet so fill with emotions that I don’t know what to say.
I tell her so and she nods in understanding.
“We can work through that together.”
I sit down at my usual spot during lunch. Annabelle does as well, and I feel appreciation for having that silent companion sitting with me.
As I eat, I keep glancing over at her. Her dark, brown eyes keep meeting mine, and she gives a shy smile. I feel my heart flutter in response before I smile back.
I go home, feeling worthless and guilty and alone. I keep it together until I’m in my room, and once I’m there, I let myself go. I shake as I cry, lying in my bed and clutching my pillow.
All I feel is hatred for myself. All I feel is this deep, unsettling cold that I seem to bathe in, and all of a sudden, it’s surrounding me, drowning me. It’s so cold, but I welcome it with open arms.
I think of Doctor Fare’s words.
You’re never alone.
I’m tired of feeling like this. My heart aches, but I know the answer of what I need to do the instant I wake up.
The house is quiet in the morning, and my head is just as quiet.
The kitchen is warm as I step inside of it. I grab a knife, staring at the blade. But I grab apples from the fridge and start to cut them up.
The whole house began to smell of apples and yeast, of the love that my mother and I so desperately needed.
I am ready.
My mother eventually comes out of the living room, her eyes rimmed red and her hair a mess.
We share that breakfast, and I can feel the bones of this house begin to heal. It will take a long time before this house will truly feel like home again, but I believe we can get there.
At school, I open up to Doctor Fare. Her smile is warm and understanding, and we talked about the depths of my emotion, or sometimes, lack thereof. We talk about everything.
When lunch comes around, I wait for Annabelle to show up. She walks into the lunch room, her eyes on the ground and her hair in her face. Eventually, she glances at me as I stare her down.
My breath catches in my throat, and at that instant, I’m not sure if I can do it.
But I am ready.
I sit down beside her and I open up to her. I give her my heart and soul, and she takes it with a gentle hand.
I am ready to live again.