I couldn’t believe that I didn’t think she wouldn’t notice my shakes from coming off a high. That could have been very dangerous for her, if I’d been in a worse mood than I already had been. I threw myself down on my bed, cursing myself for my stupidity. I couldn’t let Annaleigh be in danger from me. Going to her apartment had been a very stupid move on my part.
The best way to protect Annaleigh from my lifestyle was if I avoided her at all costs. I hated knowing I’d unintentionally hurt her when I’d left, I had caught sight of her hurt expression before I had left. It bothered me that I even cared; after all she had been Sophia’s friend, not mine. When I’d visited her the one time in the hospital, I’d witnessed myself just how despondent she was, I didn’t want to add to her depression any more than I already had. Lord, knows I have given her enough hell to last her an entire lifetime. Maybe I could somehow fix the damage I’d caused by staying away from her for good. Though, that was easier said than done, when I’d felt a draw to her that I’ve never felt with anyone else. I would look out for her and make sure she was okay, but I couldn’t risk getting close to her. I’d seen firsthand just how treacherous women could be, not that I thought Annaleigh was like that. Not all women went behind your back and cheated on you just because they could. Annaleigh had never been so heartless.
A resounding knock on my door interrupted my thoughts, and I dragged myself out of bed and over to the door. I hoped it wasn’t Annaleigh so that I wouldn’t have to hurt her any more than I already have. Opening the door, I found my friend James Walker standing there.
“You’re still using” he said in way of greeting while glaring at me. I shrugged my shoulders, moving back so that he could come in. “I thought you said you were going to quit?”
“I might have lied” I replied, turning away and going back to my bed in the corner of the room. I had gone to school with James, and grew up not too far from each other. He was the one person from my past that I could still trust, not to cause me any harm.
“I think you have a bigger drug addiction problem than you told me you did.” James said looking me up and down. I knew I looked rough; I was going through withdrawal and was starting to feel sick to my stomach. I needed another hit and soon, if I had any chance of getting rid of this feeling. I shrugged again; I didn’t really feel like arguing with him, he knew it would be pointless. But he was right my addiction had grown to be an outrageously huge problem, and it was starting to completely take over my life.
“Does it really matter?” I ask “It’s not like I couldn’t stop if I wanted too, the problem is it makes me feel far too good.”
“That’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told yourself” James said, shaking his head, his dark hair covering his eyes. “You need help, you won’t be able to quit on your own.” I scowl at him; I didn’t need to be told that my addiction was ruining everyone’s life beside my own. No one cared what I done, my own family wouldn’t talk to me, but that wasn’t because of my addiction.
“Your family needs you whether they admit it or not” James said and I shook my head.
“Right, which is why they visit me so much.” I couldn’t help the bitterness that filled my voice. “They kicked me out of the house and told me not to come back until I was completely sober.”
“They don’t want to see you dead from an overdose, despite their issues; they love you and don’t want to bury you like they buried Sophia.” James growled and I wondered if it had been my Mom who had sent James here. Up until today, I hadn’t seen him in a few months.
“Let me put it like this I” I growl, growing more and more irritated with his presence. “I don’t have a problem. I don’t need help!” James shook his head in disbelief before muttering: “Spoken like a true addict.”
My muscles were starting to cramp and the sick feeling came flooding back. I needed to get James out of here; I didn’t need him to see just how bad I was feeling. I needed another hit immediately, but I wasn’t about to throw it in James’ face when I knew he was only trying to help me.
“I don’t want to bury you; you’ve been my best friend for like ever, I don’t want to give that friendship up. If you keep on doing what you’re doing, I’m walking away and I won’t look back. I can’t handle seeing you destroy yourself.” James said, staring at me. I was starting to feel guilty; he was only trying to help. And whether or not I could admit it, I did have a drug problem and I did need help, but I needed more help than he could ever give. Besides I wasn’t sure I would be able to give it up, I had been addicted for far too long, and it was starting to take its toll on my body. I had lost a lot of muscle definition over the years, I didn’t look anything like I used too. Anyone who looked at me could tell I had a drug problem.
At some point I would either kill myself or admit that I had a drug problem which brought my mind back to the gun in the restroom. Could I still go through with it? Was I really so miserable that I could take my own life and not care about what it done to my family and friends. Could I somehow find the strength to break away from my addictions and become whole and healthy again?
My drug addiction was like a massive boulder weighing me down and only getting bigger the longer I used. Did I have the strength it would take to split the boulder in half, and destroy it? I wasn’t sure, I’d never been particularly strong in any aspect, but thinking about now it made me wonder. It would take superman to move the burden that was my addiction; I wasn’t even remotely like a superhero. I was more like a super villain.
“You’re wasting your time” I tell James after a moment of silence. “I can’t change; I will only continue doing the one thing I am good at: hurting those I love.” James shook his head.
“You don’t want to change; you’ve gotten so used to your drugs you don’t know what it’s like to live without them. If you don’t find the strength, your family is going to have to get used to not having you. I don’t think that’s something you want.” He wasn’t saying anything I hadn’t heard before, but like I said it was far too late for me, my addiction would eventually kill me and I couldn’t change it. In that aspect, I was the weakest of the weak.
James didn’t stay long after that, he knew it would have been pointless, once my mind was made up, it couldn’t be changed. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t just let me be, they knew my addiction made me who I was. I couldn’t change things, and quite frankly I wasn’t sure that I wanted to change. I’d heard about how hard it was to get through withdrawal, I couldn’t do it.
Lying back on my bed, I stare up at the ceiling, contemplating whether it would be better to take my life now, or wait for the drugs to run their toll. Any option I looked at right now though, seemed like the cowards way out. Sighing, I tried to think about a time when I wasn’t depressed and that I wasn’t ready for life to be over. it took a while but I remembered how Sophia used to laugh, to love with everything she was. It hurt to think about how some jerk decided she wasn’t good enough to continue living life. I’d heard enough about the two boys who had pulled the shooting off to understand that they’d been bullied and abused all their life. I wondered why if they were so miserable, why they took other people out instead of killing themselves. It wasn’t right they made other people pay for their misery. The boys probably weren’t thinking about the families of those that were killed. If I could I would kill them myself, just because they had added to the misery I was already feeling. This time I didn’t think I could ever fully recover from it.
Dragging myself out of bed, I pause when I hear the sound of harsh sobbing coming from next door. I frown and look at the wall, until I hear Annaleigh cry out for Tommy not to kill her, and for Rodney to leave Sophia alone. The agony in her voice broke my heart. It was obvious she was still suffering effects of the shooting weeks later. Maybe I could put off my demise for a little while longer, because it was more than obvious that Annaleigh needed help. I wasn’t the right person to help her but I would do what I could for her, and then walk away because after that she didn’t need me.
Scooting out of bed, I go over to the door, and exit wondering why I was even bothering to check on her. I’m sure I’d hurt her feelings when I had walked out earlier. Still from the way she was crying it didn’t sound like she was okay. I hated leaving her like I had; I hated hurting anyone without a good reason. I had a good reason earlier but that didn’t make me like myself very much. In fact, hurting her only made me hate myself that much more.
Leaving my door cracked, I wondered over to her door, and knocked softly. The sounds of her crying slowed down considerably. I knocked again, wondering if she would bother answering the door.
“Annaleigh, I can hear you in there” I say gentling my voice, so that I wouldn’t scare her. “Let me in and we can talk.”
“You don’t want to talk to me!” I heard her sniffle even as I heard her roll towards the door.
“About earlier, I just had something going on that you wouldn’t want anything to do with.” You’re a drug addict why would she want anything to do with you? Even my thoughts were as bitter as I was.
The door opened and her eyes appeared in the crack between the door and the wall. The sight of her red rimmed eyes tore me apart; she shouldn’t ever look like this. It made me want to go hunt down the boys responsible for messing her up like this.
“Let me in, I promise I’m not going to act like I did earlier” I promise though I knew I could promise no such thing. I heard the wheels scrape against the wood floor as she moved back and opened the door wider and let me in. stepping through the door I walked over to the beaten down couch and sat down. She shut the door behind me and flipped the lock.
“You mind telling me about what’s got you so upset?” I ask, getting right to the point. She shrugged and looked down.
“It’s always the same thing, Tommy and Rodney and lately Sophia’s been in my dreams too. I relive the shooting over and over again. I wish I could have gone back and made sure they didn’t kill anyone.”
“How” I ask “They were looking to hurt people that day, and nothing short of a bullet would have stopped them.” I state looking at her, with her black hair falling down to her shoulders, her red rimmed eyes. I wondered how anyone could hurt this angel. She was perfectly formed, with her bright green eyes and long black hair, she was a beauty queen. She would a great wife to someone someday.
Frowning, I shake my head to clear my thoughts; I don’t know why I was thinking along those lines, because I could barely think to the next day, much less what the next few years would hold. Well, considering my habits I really didn’t expect to survive too much longer.
“I still see them in my mind, their expressions were of pure evil, they were enjoying the screams and seeing the blood of those injured and killed” Annaleigh said her voice breaking as tears flooded down her face.
“I’m sure you’ll probably see it for a long time” I hated how much she was clearly hurting, I wished I could do something to help her but other than talking I wasn’t sure how to help someone who clearly had post-traumatic stress.
“Have you ever thought about talking to someone?” I ask unsure of what else to offer. Our memories weren’t exactly the same, I didn’t suffer from the same kind of memories that she did. She heaved a heavy sight then turned her green eyes to look at me.
“How could I afford it? My disability hasn’t started yet, what little money I had went towards food and other things that were necessary. I don’t have anything left over for seeking help.” I had known her situation was bad considering the apartments she was staying in. I just wasn’t aware of how bad they were.
“The states not willing to help you?” I ask, wondering who I would have to talk to about Annaleigh. She deserved much more than what she was getting. She snorted back a laugh.
“The state’s a joke.” She muttered as she rolled towards the window. “They don’t really care about helping yet another disabled person. I’m sure I’ll eventually just get lost in the system.”
“That really sucks.” Even as a drug addict I had better options, I wondered if the state made a habit of forgetting about their disabled persons. The strength she was already showing me made me admire her. Not everyone could take the situation they were put in and handle it the way she had. If it had happened to me I’m sure I would have turned out exactly the way I had. Hopeless and a drug addict. I couldn’t see her ever turning out that way, and I admired her for it. Even if she was tempted I couldn’t see her giving in. Someone with her strength deserved to have the world handed to them, too bad it couldn’t be me.
Annaleigh shrugged again, before replying. “It is what it is. I’ll just have to make the best out of it.” that was the difference between me and her, she was positive while I was in the deepest darkest despair of negative. It wasn’t a great place to be but I couldn’t change it. Or James would say that I didn’t want to change it so I suppose that was true. I claimed that I didn’t have the strength to change my situation but then I’ve never really tried. It’s in the toughest situations that you find out how strong you truly are. I guess if I could find a way to give up my drugs, I’d find out exactly who I was.
“Why do you accept that?” I wondered, honestly curious. She looks at me funny. “Why do you take everything at face value?” I clarified.
“I don’t know. I guess I just don’t see a need to constantly fight for everything, when it probably won’t make in difference in my situation.” Annaleigh answered turning away from the window. I wanted to ask her how after everything she had been through she wasn’t bitter. She never got really angry at Rachel, when Rachel had bullied her. I couldn’t understand why she just let Rachel walk all over her and done nothing about it. Of course now though that kind of made sense. Annaleigh wasn’t one to cause trouble. She would go out of her way to avoid any kind of trouble, it was just who she was.
“Rachel would have backed off and left you alone if you had stood up to her.” I said watching her scowl. I had known that she couldn’t stand Rachel for obvious reasons. I had at the time wondered why but I knew now it was because Rachel truly wasn’t a likeable person. I regret ever getting involved with her in the first place. In a way she was a big part of my depression.