The Freedom That Paper Gives

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How can I help?

CW: The following episodes heavily surround themes of bipolar disorder. This includes but is not limited to; depression, mania, not eating, self harm and suicide.

If you feel uneasy around subjects surrounding depression I would advise that you skip the next couple of chapters (chapters 12-16). You will not miss too much in terms of plot. Check out my insta or Tumblr for a break down of those episodes.

And with that Byron left the kitchen and went upstairs.

Kamila looked to the dishes and got to work clearing them up. Things had been becoming increasingly harder with Byron recently, she knew it was a mistake telling him she had a crush on him but that was a year ago and she only told him because she was over it. She understood Byron could never see her in that way and frankly she didn’t want him to because that wasn’t him. Now the thought of kissing Byron made her skin crawl, it would be like kissing her brother. And now they both seemed to overthink every action they did around each other, she didn’t want to sit too close to give the wrong impression, but not too far away as to make it obvious she was panicking. She noticed he didn’t hug her as much as he used to, and she missed it because Byron gave the best hugs. She didn’t want to make it look like she was making a move on him and he was worried that he would be leading her on. Now Kamila only saw Byron as a brother and best friend and wished it could go back to how it was when they first met each other, both of them obsessing over art and sculptures and different types of paints. She loved the way Byron saw the world, it was all beautiful to him and he could make anything seem beautiful to anyone. She loved the way he was romantic but in a fictional way, to him true love lied in nature and friendships and family as opposed to partners. She loved the way he wasn’t obsessed with romance like everyone else seemed to be. Mostly she loved the fact that he wanted to be her friend rather than just get to know her to ask her out like nearly everyone else seemed to do.

But Kamila hated the way she couldn’t say all these things to him any more without him thinking she meant it romantically. She hated the way no one but Marie seemed to understand that she really had no feelings for him any more and all she wanted was their friendship back.

Kamila sighed as she put the food Marie hadn’t touched in the fridge. She just wanted their friendship back. Was that too much to ask?

Byron knocked on Maries room and didn’t wait for the answer he knew wasn’t coming. He went in and sat at the foot of Marie’s bed. Her room was dark and heavy, the curtains drawn, washing everywhere, old glasses of half drunk water on the bedside table. Marie herself led in bed facing the wall, stuck in her own head barely noticing Byron had entered the room. She hadn’t washed her hair in a week, but at least she was washing. At least she was going to class and doing the bare minimum of the work required. Byron hated seeing her like this, he preferred her manias to her depressions because at least some aspect of Marie was present in her manias. But when she was in a depression she was a shell of herself, no feelings at all. She didn’t eat, sleep, talk. At her worst she wouldn’t wash or drink or move, but this wasn’t her worst.

Byron hated thinking about seeing Marie at her worst, it was the worst time of his life last year. He had never been more scared. There was no trace of herself, she was someone else, she was no one. They had known each other since they were seven, they knew things about each other that no one else did and ever would, but he didn’t know her then. Even now he was scared to sleep in his own bed and slept outside the door so he would hear if she got up in the night. Because he was scared she would try again, he was scared she was even thinking about it, even considering it. And that thought scared him more than anything else. But he couldn’t let her know he was scared, that would make her feel worse, he would just have to be there for her.

Byron followed everything her doctor told him to do, he made sure she ate and took her medication and was hydrated. He spoke to her even though she didn’t answer. He made sure she went to every therapy session, did all the exercises at home. He promised himself Marie would never get as bad as she did last year again, but seeing her now it made him feel like he had failed. But she wasn’t as bad as she has been he told himself, she’s getting better slowly.

“Hey Marie, Kami told me you haven’t eaten anything. You don’t have to if you don’t want to but maybe tomorrow you could have some breakfast. You don’t have to leave your room, and I can have Oscar cook you anything you want. But like I said you don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

Marie didn’t move, didn’t even make an attempt at an answer but Byron wasn’t expending her to. But he carried on regardless.

“You will never guess who came to the door. Percy.” Byron was struggling to maintain a casual tone, but he had to. “He came all the way from the cafe because he’s worried about you. Don’t worry I told him you were asleep. But you know he’s worried, your phone hasn’t stopped going all afternoon because he’s been messaging you. And he’s going to message you every day because he wants you to know he’s there for you. But I can tell him not to if you want me to.”

Again Marie didn’t move, he knew she wouldn’t be checking her phone any time soon anyway. Byron carried on speaking, trying to keep his tone as if this were a normal conversation.

“He also said for me to tell you that he’s enjoying your book and he can’t wait to read the end of it. I didn’t know you were letting him read it. But I guess you wanted an English Lit students opinion and we all know better than to ask for Blake’s opinion. I hope you showed him the artwork I did, I want to get his opinion on that as well. It was nice to finally meet Percy, well not under these circumstances but still. Maybe when your better we can invite him round, you mentioned that he’s like us. And I think Oscar will want to meet him, you know what he’s like.”

Marie was again still. The only movement coming from her breathing and Byron couldn’t tell if she was asleep or not. But he didn’t expect any change at the mention of Percy’s name.

“I’m going to leave you now for a bit, I’m sure we will all be in at some point before we go to bed. If you need anything let us know.”

Byron looked at Marie one last time before leaving the room and sighed when he didn’t see any change. But he knew he had to be patient, Marie was going to get better in her own time. He just wished that it wasn’t this hard to see her this way, knowing that he could do nothing about it.

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