The Holes in Our Heart

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Summary

Ophelia Woods thought a summer lifeguarding job would be easy...Until a child drowned and died under her supervision. Now she has to decide if she can live with the guilt forever or if she should take

Genre:
Drama / Romance
Author:
Stephanie Harper
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
14
Rating:
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:
16+

Untitled chapter

Chapter 1

I think it might feel like floating, the feeling of my soul drifting away from my lifeless body.

I’m dying.

I’ll be dead by 6 am tomorrow morning.

I look at my reflection in the mirror one last time before heading for the front door. Today will be the last day I attend school. I don’t really want to go but there are some things that I need to do before I go.

People think of suicide as such a gruesome or horrific act.

Other people consider suicide pathetic.

I personally think it’s beautiful.

Before I had planned everything out, I wasn’t intent on committing suicide. I just wanted death to sort of... come upon me.

I’d walk by myself in the dark at night and fall asleep with candles burning. I’d run red lights and partake in reckless activities.

The problem with that was that the waiting game became too much.

I was waiting for something to happen and nothing was happening.

Since then, I’ve taken matters into my own hands.

I have three containers of prescription drugs and a bottle of alcohol waiting for me under my bed.

I walk along the sidewalk to school. Normally I drive to school but my car has been acting strange lately. My mom is gone for the next three weeks to visit Spain with her “boyfriend”. I used quotations for “boyfriend” because I’m not sure what exactly he is to my mother. He has a wife and kids of his own but he uses “traveling for his job” as an excuse to spend time with my mom. They go away for weeks at a time sometimes. This has been going on for about a year. I’m not really sure how my mother is able to be content with a man who is married with children. In fact, I can’t even stomach it.

It makes me sick.

I want her to go back to the way she was before my father passed away. I want her to feel things again... Like emotions. She seems hollow now.

She lets a wealthy, married man fill up her emptiness with vacations and presents.

She lets him soothe her loneliness.

I wonder what my father would say to her if he could speak to her right now.

He probably wouldn’t even speak,

he’d just look at her.

His eyes were never able to hide disappointment.

In the days before he passed away, I failed a math test. He had stayed up with me studying the night before and I still brought home a scorching 56%.

He didn’t say anything...

He just looked at me with these disappointed eyes that I’ll never forget.

I reach the high school campus and walk into the hallway. It’s a sea of faces. I used to try and see which faces I recognized in order to know who to wave to and who to smile at.

Now, everyone looks faceless.

It’s just blurriness and I don’t care to try and decipher who’s in front of me.

At some point you just realize that nobody really cares about you.

They just do certain things and say certain things for acceptance or appearances.

Especially in high school.

I’m sort of popular in my high school.

Everyone knows my name “Ophelia Woods”.

I hear people say my name all the time.

Because of “popularity”.

But I don’t know the majority of people that know me.

My friends are shallow… like a trio of plastic triplets.

Veronica, Shannon, and Clarissa.

They are hard to talk to and they don’t really know the real me at all.

When we talk, it’s about dieting or shopping or our boyfriends’ idiocies.

I tried to talk to them about my mom before but they were confused about why I was upset because my mom’s “boyfriend” has provided so much for my mother and I including new cars, a nicer house, and an abundance of excess spending money. They made me feel guilty and wrong for seeing a problem with my mom’s behavior. Maybe I am wrong.

Who knows. Who cares.

Everyone has their own life to focus on.

I shouldn’t waste what’s left of mine, judging my mother or anyone else for that matter.

I wait for my friends by the science lab and water fountain. That’s our morning meeting place. As I stand there by myself, I see Matthew Turnpike walking to his locker. He sees me too.

Our eyes connect.

I can feel his rough hands on my waist, fingers digging into my skin.

I can feel his thick alcoholic breath slapping me in my face.

I can still feel how hard he was through his pants as he pushed himself against me.

I can still feel his urgency. And his irritation at my unwillingness.

I turn away and let him get back to what he’s doing.

When he walks by he smiles and nods, nonchalantly. As if nothing happened.

I’m still not sure how he does it.

He acts like he never forced himself on me and he probably feels no remorse about it.

In fact, by now, he probably forgot that night ever even happened.

For me, it’s something that has replayed in my head over and over again ever since.

In my nightmares.

Veronica, Shannon, and Clarissa approach me.

We all exchange hugs.

Veronica crosses her arms and huffs. Whenever she does that it means that she’s about to break bad news.

“My mother is such a bitch,” she tells us, “She just told me that I can’t use the beach house for my birthday party next month.”

“Oh my god are you serious?” Clarissa asks. “Maybe we could do a shopping spree instead?”

“Or a spa day?” Shannon suggests.

They all look to me for a response.

I struggle to come up with a suggestion, knowing in the back of my mind that I won’t even be alive for Veronica’s birthday next month.

“Well... What’s Brad doing for you?” I ask. Brad is her boyfriend.

“He’s taking me to dinner at a surprise restaurant and probably buying me some pieces of jewelry like he does every year. Whatever. I’m not really concerned about him right now. I need some ideas for what to do with you girls.”

I shrug, “Well I don’t have any ideas but I’ll brainstorm during our first class and get back to you.”

“What’s wrong with you today?” Shannon asks.

“Yeah,” Clarissa chimes in, “You’re being really fucking weird.”

“I’m sorry,” I say trying to brush them off. “Anyways I’ve got some things to give to you all.”

“Presents?” Veronica squeals.

She’s so immature.

“Sort of like presents,” I say opening my bag.

I hand Shannon a stack of folded clothes. My favorite lace blouse, my lucky denim jeans, my best strapless push-up bra, and a thick white winter sweater that I know she’s always wanted to steal from me.

“You’re letting me borrow these?” she asks.

“No, you can keep them,” I tell her as she stares down at the clothes in amazement.

I hand Clarissa a sealed bucket filled with every nail polish I’ve ever owned. There’s about fifty bottles of polish in all. The collection includes every shade of pink you can imagine. I had a feeling Clarissa would be excited when I handed it to her. She immediately starts digging through to find a color to use in her next trip to the salon.

I turn to Veronica and hand her my charm bracelet. The really expensive one that my mom’s “boyfriend” gifted to me a few months ago. Veronica saw it when I’d received it and scorned me for being unhappy about my mother’s decision. She loved the bracelet that much.

“It’s yours,” I tell her.

We all hug and part ways for our first classes. I find my way to English and take my seat in the front row. Mr. McConnell writes the title of our lecture on the board and then opens the window to let some fresh air in. He pushes his glasses up on his nose and starts talking about the symbolism in the play “The Crucible”. I can’t help myself from tuning him out.

Mr. McConnell is one man who I know is good. He can be a tad boring but he has always given me an open ear when I had things to discuss academically or otherwise.

He’s even let me complain to him about Ryan before.

Ryan is my boyfriend. Of course.

It wouldn’t have made sense for Ryan to not be my boyfriend. We were pushed together by our friends and we stayed together because of the convenience and security of it all.

We were never very compatible but because we’re both agreeable, the union worked pretty well for both of our benefits. We relied on each other mostly for appearances. We went to school dances together, double, triple, and quadruple dates with my friends and their boyfriends, and it just made sense. It made high school easier for a little while, knowing that we had partnership in each other to affirm our image and balance things out.

We were never meant to make it past high school though and that was evident to the both of us from the start. Or at least to me.

“I’m collecting essays now,” Mr. McConnell announces.

He reaches my desk and sees that I am empty handed.

“Stay after class, Ophelia.”

I nod.

When class ends, he sits at his desk with his arms crossed. “It’s unlike you not to complete assignments, Ophelia.”

“I know, it was a mistake,” I respond.

“You have to start thinking with a college mentality. College professors won’t be so forgiving.”

He doesn’t know that I won’t be attending college.

“I’ll give you until next week to get the essay done and submitted, alright?”

He doesn’t know that by next week I will be gone. But I nod anyway.

“Are you distracted because of that knucklehead Ryan?” he asks.

“No… no, Ryan hasn’t done anything. I’m just…”

“Just what?” he asks.

“Nothing,” I mumble. “I’ll see you later?”

He stands up and walks towards me with concern in his eyes.

“Is everything okay, Ophelia?”

I nod and fake a tight lipped smile because I’m not good at lying.

“I’m concerned.”

“Don’t be concerned,” I respond. “I’m fine.”

He lets me go and I leave his classroom.

When I walk out I see Ryan, standing there by the door, waiting for me.

He smiles at me and waves.

He has such boyish charm.

And he’s so tall for his personality.

He’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

I wish what we had had been real.

I hug him tightly. I hold onto him longer than usual.

“How was class?” he asks me.

“It was okay,” I say, smiling weakly.

“What’s wrong?” he asks.

“Look… there’s no easy way to say this but… we have to break up.”

“What? Why?”

“I just… can’t be with you anymore.”

He stares at me, dumbfounded.

“I know it seems out of the blue but it’s not really… I’ve been distant from you for the past few weeks. I don’t think you noticed but I was gradually trying to create space between us.”

“Well I didn’t notice anything!”

“Of course not… because you’re oblivious.”

“Is that why you’re ending this?” he asks. “Because I don’t notice things about you? I’m sorry.”

“Please don’t apologize,” I whisper. “Please. It’s not your fault. We had a good relationship. It’s just time to let it go.”

“Ophelia--”

“Just let it go,” I tell him, “Trust me.”

I turn to walk away from him taking each step as slowly as I can.

A part of me wants it to have been true.

I want to believe that the high school sweetheart dream was real.

Maybe all the time he and I spent together wasn’t all in vain.

I reach the exit doors to the building and turn around to look at him one last time but he’s already walked away. I have four more classes left in the school day but I’m not going to those. I’m finished here. Forever.

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