Chapter 7. Woe is Me
“Miranda… You should eat a bit.”
I purse my lips so I can’t retch at the mere thought of food. Dirty locks of dull brown hair veil my gaze. I shake my head and stand up, not looking at mom.
The door closes behind me and I’m in my bedroom, alone. Finally.
It’s been two days since the assault and I’ve barely interacted with anyone, much less eaten anything. The visit to the station was… drab and painful. I had to recount several times what happened. They told us they know who did it, some guy named Thomas Lance. They say he’s a regular juvenile delinquent.
I say he’s a hopeless mistake and should be constantly locked up.
My breathing hitches and I hold myself against the wall.
Calm down, calm down… That’s it, breathe.
I haven’t showered since then and I stink. Nor have I done anything really, except mope around and stare at the wall or ceiling for countless hours. But Amy’s got it worse than me: she’s in the hospital. It got to her much deeper. She’s under calming medications and her neck is stitched. From what I know, she’s having sessions with a psychiatrist.
I should go and see her. But… how can I face her? I failed her when she needed me. I didn’t protect her as much as I should have. A hero would have. What does that make me? Maybe I’m not cut out to be one… No matter how much I imagine myself as one of them.
A sigh escapes my lips and I let myself fall onto the bed. I turn around and stare numbly at the dirty white ceiling.
Mom says I should busy myself. But everything’s dragging me down. It’s like I’ve put on unimaginable weight tons! Even walking exhausts. Comics aren’t appealing enough—scratch that, not even appealing—right now. And if comics aren’t, nothing else will. Superheroes are my guilty pleasure. My go-to hobby.
But now my mind’s a ghost in a heavy body.
The door opens and my mother’s face peaks through. I just move my eyes, not even my head, before sighing.
“Miranda… You should get out.”
“Don’t want to.”
My mother inhales loudly and walks up to my bed. She sits next to me and caresses my hair for a while, with a tender look in her eyes. My heart constricts a little bit and shame inexplicably floods my chest. I look down at the eiderdown and start fiddling with a loose thread.
“How about I take you to see Amy?” she offers, smiling. “You need each other in this.”
I take a deep breath and close my eyes. Amy… I’m letting her down again, ain’t I? I should really go see her… I want to be there and help her, but I’m so numb. It hurts inside and all over, but it’s also… empty. There’s barely anything in my thoughts. My chest, there’s nothing in it except pain and sorry, and a weight pressing down on my sternum. My father was the first criminal to ruin me, but I got back up and fought my way through life. And now there’s another one… But I won’t let him destroy Amy.
“Yeah, I’ll go.”
My mom grins and drops a kiss on my forehead. She then heads to the closet and picks out a pink shirt and skinny jeans and lays them out at my feet.
“You should take a shower, dear. Your hair… it shows,” she says with an apologetic look.
It pains me and I don’t know why. I’ve always loved action, yearned for it… But now I’m slower than a sloth and number than anaesthesia. I sigh and will myself out of my bed, lazily picking up the clothes.
I duck into the bathroom, hitting my arm against the door. It stops me in my track and I growl at the culprit.
“Are you all right?”
“Yeah, stupid door.”
I close it harder than normal and turn to the large mirror on the wall. Yeah, I look pitiful. My hair is greasy and falls in ugly locks, my eyes are red-rimmed (for crying too much, for Batman’s sake!), the stench coming from me would chase most away… And I keep wearing this sad face, which is unlike me. Mom’s right.
It’s time for me to face my mistake and be there for my friend. I failed her once, I won’t do it twice.