Why did I keep letting him apologize? I must have been some kind of masochist, because I knew he would only hurt me again, when he was coming off a high. Still, there was something about him, that was broken, that was crying out for help. If Sophia were here, I know she’d be pleading for me to try too. I wasn’t sure exactly what I could do though because you could only help someone for so long before they either messed things up again or got better. In my heart, I deeply believed Gaelyn was too far gone, but that wasn’t going to stop me from reaching out to someone in need. Who knows maybe his brokenness could somehow fix the brokenness that I felt on a daily basis.
I must be crazy falling for a man who had more drug problems than a hell’s angel. But there had always been something that drew me to him, I wanted to help him, beat his addiction, because a world without Gaelyn wasn’t much of a world at all.
“I appreciate that Anna” Gaelyn spoke up “You don’t know just how much I appreciate it, but I don’t know what good it would do. I’m beyond messed up, I mean that’s kind of obvious since I’m a junkie.” He laughed but it was empty sounding, and it made my heart ache knowing, he hurt without anyone willing to look past his addiction to see the young man behind it. I wish I had the words to tell him that would make him listen to me. But if he was determined to let his life come to a crashing end, there wasn’t anything I could do.
“You may not think there is any way possible for things to change, but if you want it that bad, you can change things.” I say pausing as I watch his face. I see the sadness that seems to be deeply entrenched within him. I may not know everything that he’s been through, but apparently it’s enough to leave Gaelyn, a deeply damaged and deeply depressed man.
“I want it but the damage has already been done, and I can’t take that back. Sophia would be ashamed of the person I’ve turned out to be. We always talked in the past about drugs and how we would avoid them like the plague.” He laughed but it was filled with bitterness and self-recrimination. “Look at me I’m the biggest junkie in our hometown.” A tear drops from one of my eyes as I watch him struggle with his emotions. It was clear that this was not how he had wanted his life to turn out. I could plainly see just how much self-hatred he faced, and it was enough to make me hurt even more for him.
Yes, he put me through hell during my school years but now I understood why. Because the family that I thought I had known, weren’t at all who I had expected them to be, because of them Gaelyn was the broken person standing in front of me. I had thought being unwanted was bad, but that didn’t even compare to the crap Gaelyn had gone through. For a moment I wish that I can stand so that I can offer him some kind of comfort.
“Before you think about taking the easy way out, remember if you need to talk about anything you can come to me” I assure him though I had the feeling that he was tired, he was ready to quit. I hope I can make him see that he shouldn’t give up on life just yet.
Gaelyn gave me a weak smile, and weak though it was, it still managed to make my heart race. I wonder if that man even knew what he done to me. His friend James’ while good looking and friendly didn’t affect me anywhere to what Gaelyn did.
“I mean it when I say I’m bad news” he says breaking me out of my thoughts. “Someone like you deserves the best that life can offer.” I snorted and laughed.
“Have you seen me? No one wants to date a girl in a wheelchair. Besides if you remember correctly, I’m the girl no one wants.” I looked away feeling a sharp pang tear through me, his harsh words hurt even now. Out of the corner of my eye I see Gaelyn grimace, and I didn’t like it, his face should never have anything less than a smile.
“Anna, I can’t even begin to tell you how sorry I am.” He started and I looked up into his eyes, surprised that he appeared to be as sincere as I have ever seen him. “I should never have spoken those words to you, knowing that you already have trouble with acceptance in others’ eyes. Don’t you see how wonderful you are? Everything you’ve gone through hasn’t made you angry. You want to help bullies to make better decisions that picking on kids smaller than them. You’ve looked in the face of evil and though it’s nearly destroyed you, you still fight on a daily basis. How many nights do you wake up with nightmares because of Tommy and Rodney?” I shrug; it seemed almost like every morning I woke up in a pool of sweat because I dreamed I was back in the halls of Rose County High School.
“You have a strength that most people only wish they had, so you can’t tell me, that you don’t have anything to offer a decent man. If they can’t see the beauty that you possess then they are not decent and they don’t deserve your heart!” Gaelyn’s words brought tears to my eyes; I wish he could see the man I saw in front of me. If he could he would see than he was anything but worthless, he was very special in his own right.
I gave him a small smile, my heart hurting for the man that stands beside me. Gaelyn was quickly becoming my own kind of drug, and no matter what kind of poison spewed from his mouth. I must have been some kind of masochist, considering I would only be allowing him to hurt me further if I kept in contact with him, but at the same time I couldn’t allow him to try and take his own life without letting know just how much I cared.
I had the feeling, tonight would be the night he would attempt to take his life, but if there was something I could do, I would do it.
“Maybe you don’t see it, but you’re strong too” I tell him turning away from the hallway so that I was facing him. “You’ve made it this far with your depression, you haven’t given up yet.”
“That days coming sooner than you think” Gaelyn mutters looking down at the floor, my heart beat harder at the thought of him no longer being here.
“Please don’t” I say sounding helpless, I didn’t want too but it couldn’t be helped. “I realize that you probably don’t care what happens to you, but I do. I don’t want to have to go to your funeral, when I know I could have helped you.” I could see the shock in his eyes, I don’t think he had expected for me to plead for him to not commit suicide. If no one else would show this man that he meant something to them, then I would.
“You shouldn’t care for someone like me!” he says and I see the pain in his eyes. The thought of someone actually caring about him hurt him, which told me more than words could ever say about what his true family was like.
“I’ve tried telling myself that, but I don’t seem to be able to listen to me.” I laugh “My heart knows that you’re a good man despite your many mistakes, if anyone can beat this you can!” Gaelyn gave me a small smile.
“You sure know how to lift a person’s spirits.” He commented. I shrug.
“I’ve spent most of my life getting put down; it’s not much harder to lift someone up instead. I don’t ever want to be like the people who raised me.” that much was true, I didn’t want to be anything like Kelly Mead or the Fishers, they’d made my life unbearably hard but I had somehow gotten through it. Looking back at Gaelyn I see the frown on his face.
“I wish you didn’t have to go through that” he says seriously “You could have been emotionally damaged from all the hell you were put through.”
“You know what they say about what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” My life experiences had certainly done that.
“I wish I could be like you and not let life get me down” he mutters. “But like I said I’m not the strongest man.” I hated that he put himself down; he clearly didn’t see the same person that I saw standing in front of me.
“Why don’t you come in and we can talk for a little while” I suggested upon seeing the other residents sticking their heads out of their doors. Gaelyn paused for one moment thinking. I wondered if he was going to turn me down, but instead he nodded, he disappeared back behind his door for a second before returning and stepping out of his apartment. Locking the door behind him, he followed me into my apartment.
I rolled myself over to the couch, where Gaelyn had sat down. I was glad that he had come over, even if it was just to talk, it meant there would be a few minutes more that he wasn’t considering taking his life.
“I really am sorry about what I said earlier” Gaelyn said after a moment of silence. “I had no right to say something that cruel, I would have liked to say it wasn’t me talking but that would be a lie.”
“It was the drugs talking” I say understanding him better than I ever have before. People say a lot of things under the influence of drugs or alcohol that they wouldn’t necessarily say.
“There you go again” Gaelyn shakes his head “is there anything you won’t forgive or find an excuse to forgive?”
“Not really, with you it’s not that hard. I guess I’m just lonely and being around someone I’ve known for years helps. Because my former foster parents aren’t going to come around much.” I look away from him, I hate admitting to him just how lonely I really am. I didn’t get out very much and when I did, I didn’t trust anyone around me to help me because of the neighborhood I live in. He sighed and leaned back against the couch cushions.
“Someone as beautiful as you shouldn’t be lonely. You should have guys waiting in lines at your door waiting to ask you out.” I blush lightly at his casual use of the word beautiful. It was nice of him to think so, but I didn’t agree. Gaelyn seeing the blush on my face grinned. I found myself staring at him, his smile and the way it lit his eyes, had me feeling breathless. He might have been coming off a high but if he kept that smile on his face, I was sure to die from cardiac arrest.
As if sensing my thoughts, his grin spread even wider. I blushed hard the longer I look at him so I turn away, but not before hearing him laugh.
“I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you blush before.” He chuckles the sound like a beautiful melody to my ears. There was a difference in the man sitting on my couch and the one that had been talking to me in the hallway.
“I don’t embarrass all that easily” I mutter avoiding looking in his eyes.
“I might have to find some ways to bring out that blush more often; it does wonders for you beautiful lady.” Gaelyn said, and I shook my head; when he turns on the charm he can quiet easily bring a girl to her knees. It wasn’t all that surprising that I was falling for him, he had his moments where he could be kind, or he could be a jerk. Somehow though I feel like I’ve learned more about him than I ever knew before, he wasn’t exactly who I had always thought he was. Somehow after this day I knew that things would change between us, I couldn’t tell you exactly what it was, but something was different.
“You make me want to be better” Gaelyn said suddenly bringing me out of my thoughts. I just look at him, surprise written on my face. “You’ve been through complete hell in your life, and you don’t let it become an excuse to become bitter or angry at the world. You make the world look like a better place than it really is, not to mention you actually make me want to quit what I’m doing and get sober.”
“Why don’t you?” I ask quietly “Because if you need help I’ll do whatever I can. Even if it means cleaning up your vomit.” He chuckles.
“You’re right though getting clean won’t be easy, and I know enough to know that I won’t be able to get through it alone.” Gaelyn said with an all too serious expression on his face. “I’ve been hiding behind my addiction for far too long, because to be frank it’s not just because of my family, I’ve dealt with other tragedy.”
“I don’t care. If you want to talk about it, I’ll be here, I won’t judge you. Look at where I am” I say looking down at my wheelchair “I’m not exactly in the position to judge your mistakes when I’ve made plenty of my own.”
“Beautiful lady, you obviously don’t see how special you are. But you’re like the brightest light in the darkest of nights. I just hope that my darkness won’t make your light go out. I know how hard it’s going to be, I won’t lie, I may say more crap that hurts you before it gets better. Just know that I don’t want to hurt your any more than I already have.” That being said Gaelyn stood, and walked over to me and bent down and pressed a gentle kiss to my hair before heading for the door.
I watched him go, wondering what I have just gotten myself into. Whatever it was, I knew it would be worth it to see Gaelyn rid of his drug induced looks. I followed him to the door, and as I started to shut the door. Gaelyn had a way about him that made you feel more special than you really were. I wouldn’t trade anything for the time that we got to spend together.
After that it was like we become inseparable. Whenever he wasn’t working, or feeling at loose end, he would end up spending time with me in my apartment. Of course, we didn’t always stay at the apartment; we took walks around the neighborhood. He would help with my grocery shopping and then he would help me put the food away after we had bought it.
Most days, he was clean but I could tell he suffered from withdrawal, and my heart hurt for him. I knew it wasn’t easy dealing with an addiction like he was, and I could hear through the walls what it caused him to do. I wanted to help him stay clean, but it was something he had to want for himself first.
The more time I spent with him, I began to realize that I was slowly falling in love with him. He was doing his best to fight his addiction, and be the man that I believed he could be. The nausea got so bad that one of our other neighbors suggested Gaelyn go and get some cocaine to take care of his problem. Gaelyn had shaken his head no, and I was proud that he could stand up and say no, when it meant his suffering could come to an end.
One day after work he came over and lay on my couch while I sat beside him, and talked about the future. I didn’t really myself going anywhere other than where I was because after all, what could a handicapped person do? Not much, or so I thought.
“There’s so much you could do” Gaelyn said as he brought his fingers up to his head and rubbed absently, silently telling me he had a headache. “You don’t have to live in the box that the world puts you in. You can be so much more. You could be an artist, a writer, run a business from home, it doesn’t matter that you’re handicapped, there are still plenty of options available to you.” I roll into the bathroom and grab a washcloth and wet down before taking it back to Gaelyn and letting him place it over his eyes.
“What about you? What do you want to do?” I ask as I turn my wheelchair to face him.
“I want to help people overcome their addictions” Gaelyn replies “It takes a lot of strength and support to beat this, and quite frankly, I wasn’t even sure that I could; thanks to you though I’ve come pretty far.” I blush and look away; this man really knew how to make my heart beat. I wonder briefly if he even realized that I was starting to fall in love with him. Little did I know that things were about to take a turn for the worst.
We talked for a couple more hours, before Gaelyn decided he needed to go back to his apartment and rest, so that he could look at least half way human for work the next day. Rolling over to the door, I open it and let him out. I open my mouth to say goodbye when I see the blonde woman waiting at his door.
I frown when I see the beautiful blonde that stands in front of Gaelyn’s door. I scowl when I see her face light up when she catches sight of Gaelyn. Ignoring the feeling in the pit of my stomach, I slam my door a little harder than I expected. Rachel had been the last person I’d expected to see waiting for Gaelyn. My feelings about her still hadn’t changed. I still thought she was stuck up, and better than everyone else. I scowl at my closed door, if it was one thing I could admit, it was that jealousy sucked.
I didn’t see what he saw in the life draining woman, I’d never liked her but that was beside the point. I didn’t think Gaelyn even talked to her anymore. The longer I sat there I began wonder what Gaelyn even wanted me around for. Sure, he said those things that flattered me, I just wondered if he meant them or if he was trying to get me off his back.
Whatever the case, I should probably back off, because I couldn’t compete with someone like Rachel, who already had a history with Gaelyn. Maybe it was my insecurities making me overreact but I couldn’t dispel the strong feeling of hatred towards the other woman. She had made my existence miserable, and yes I am sure it’s petty but I never want to see her again.