"I meet people in my daily life, people who seem to experience some change and some growth on a personal level, and that gives me hope." - Tracy Chapman.
It had been what seemed like an age since Lauren had been up this early, the sun was barely up and the gulls were just starting to squawk outside. She hadn't been sleeping properly of late, something about the seasons changing always threw off her body clock as well as her desire to leave the house. The holiday season, even around the outskirts of Forks leading onto the seafront had way too many people around for her liking. People meant noise. They meant litter on the dunes. They meant anxiety and people dragging her into unwanted conversations about so many run-of-the-mill topics. The weather wasn't that interesting, surely? What had happened to stranger danger? Even children were pottering around, buckets and spades in garish shades of primary colours in hand, chattering away to people they had never seen before.
She hooked her thumbs into the sleeves of the pastel pink, oversized sweater she was wearing, the early morning chill in her apartment causing goosebumps to rise over her bare legs and panty clad behind and made her way into the kitchen. The coffee pot had finally heated and she made idle work of pouring herself a mug of the substance she so desperately needed to even function at this time of day, well, at any time of day if she were honest with herself. She added milk and sugar and wrapped her hands around the hot porcelain, the sheath of wool making it tolerable for her despite the slight discomfort and shuffled over to her window seat. The cushions were a welcome comfort for her sleep deprived body as she sat back against them and looked out over her view of First Beach, the multi coloured pebbles shimmering in the sun's opaline light.
The apartment complex had been built a couple of years back, the locals weren't happy on either sides of the beach. The La Pushians and the older generation of Forks had appealed against it but government had approved the permits for the build, stating that 'the youth of the area needed cheaper accommodation'; cheaper was a joke, the price of one was about the same as a small property near the city but nowhere else could you wake up to postcard-like scene like Lauren could. The sea seemed to stretch to the heavens, the pristine waves clashing beautifully with the cobalt, cloud-free morning sky. This were Laurens safe haven, a little piece of the bustling world around her that was just that - /hers/.
She remembered back to when she was at Forks High, her and the others had always rallied to the beach at any opportunity they'd had - rain or shine, wine coolers and alcopops were also a common occurrence when they had gotten a little older, a little more rebellious. She remembered the first time her mum had found her stash hidden in the back of her closet, she remembered the way her dad had tried to calm her down before she gave herself an aneurysm. "She's eighteen, Karen. Calm down, will you. She's gonna experiment." he had winked at her from behind her and offered her an apologetic smile of a worn out, over nagged man. Maybe if she had behaved better, maybe if she had paid a little more attention she would have noticed the signs. Maybe she could have stopped him from hanging himself.
It had been nine years, nine long years since she had heard the shrill scream of her mother as she found her husband hanging from a noose forged from boat rope above their marital bed but it still felt fresh in her mind and in her heart. She missed him more than anything, more than anybody could ever comprehend but she couldn't move on. She couldn't "let go" like her peers and the handful of therapists she had seen had told her too. She hated herself every day she lived. She was selfish, a 'useless excuse of a daughter' as her mother had screamed at her as she pulled yet another half empty bottle of rosé from her hands. It was her fault.
That was probably why the meek twenty-something was the way she was. The dictionary definition of anxiety was a clean cut interpretation that didn't even come close to depicting the crippling condition that made day to day living such an exhausting task.
"Anxiety: aŋˈzʌɪəti/; noun. 1. A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. - "he felt a surge of anxiety" 2. A strong desire or concern to do something or for something to happen. - "the housekeeper's eager anxiety to please"" It didn't mention the attacks that made you feel like your heart were going to thump it's way right out of you chest or the way your head pounded so hard as each dispiriting scenario of anything and everything that could go wrong played out right before your eyes - it was more than unease, it was more than anybody could even begin to fathom.
Lauren knew she needed help, she had seen upteen doctors and therapists, each in their own way stating they were unable to help her any further and putting their variations of the 'daddy issues' diagnosis on in her medical records. She needed to find her own way to be happy again, people weren't to be trusted, supposed friends muttering about her despondency when they thought she were out of earshot, her mother blaming her for the suicide of her father until she had to drink to cope with having her around - until she drank her way into state funded rehabilitation. She couldn't let her guard down, it was near impossible for her to let anybody into the bubble of sanctity she had surrounded herself with.
She took a long swig from her mug and brushed her fingers through her dishevelled mane, the coffee ostensibly warming her from the inside out. Lauren sighed and bowed her head, the disrupted chestnut liquid settling back to its previous state as her golden tendrils fanned over her pixie esque features; she needed a hobby, or a pet or just /anything/ that would help her get out of the rut of grief stricken misery she had cast herself into.
It didn't take her long to shower and dress in her favourite garments - a pair of overworn denim jeans and another oversized sweater, a tattered pair of fuchsia converse on her feet; this time, the sweatshirt lacking the smell of bed and the pasta bolognese she'd eaten the night before, her hair dragged back into a messy bun. It wasn't catwalk worthy but it was more effort she had put into her appearance than normal. She sat herself comfortably in the front seat of her second-hand Toyota Corolla and slipped her key into the ignition, the purr of the engine bringing a rare smile to her usually melancholy features. "Today's mission: get a puppy." she muttered under her breath to herself as she checked her mirrors and backed out of her allotted parking space her iphones map feature reeling off directions to the local animal shelter.
A fifteen minute drive, that's all it took and she got here. She had done it. Lauren could feel her breathing start to get faster - her chest tightening like an elastic band had been shut around her heart with a volatile twang. "Breathe." She rested her head against her steering wheel, inhaling and exhaling in a slow succession. She was only in Forks, as little as a quarter mile from the high school she had once reigned as a popularity fueled Queen Bee yet she was struggling to get out of the car. "You can do this." she told herself as she used every ounce of strength she had to force herself out of her vehicle, all she had to do was walk a few more feet from her parking space on Wood Street to 'Forks Animals Friends' on Calawah Way.
She did it. She made it to the shelter and she made it inside. Exhaling slowly, she meandered around the different cages - all different breeds bouncing up to greet her, labradors and beagles and pugs, all vying for her attention and love. That's when she saw him, he wasn't a puppy but he was the cutest thing she had ever seen. His sandy fur soft and his head rested against his paws as he layed in the back left corner of his kennel. He was the only one that hadn't come up and woofed at her to gain her engrossment. She leant down, resting her weight on her toes to read the description on the plaque attached to the thin metal bars containing him: "Breed: Labrador. Age: 2 year(s). Sex: Male. Color: Golden. Size: Medium (30 lbs to 60 lbs) Shelter Name: Lupin. Shelter ID: 42339. Description: Hello! My name is Lupin, and I am at my front door with a wagging tail and a song in my heart. I am a shy boy who needs an equally quiet family. My bouncy nature would bowl over little kids. Being an only pet would be ideal. I would get all the attention and not have to share with other critters. I like car rides and a gentle leader for walks. I don't like loud noises; even squeaky toys startle me! Come by to see me. My tail is wagging right now!".
He was perfect and so was his name, whether the shelter employee who had named him had done so after a Harry Potter character or not. "H-hey!" she choked out as an employee walked past. "Hi, how can I help" she was pretty, her hair a caramel brown and tied back in a ponytail, her eyes a piercing blue. A wave of panic grasped Lauren but she powered through yet again, greeting the woman's courteous smile with one of her own. "Can I take him home?" the customer assistants grin broadened and she nodded before she affirmed her question. "Of course! We just have some paperwork to fill out and a donation is usually suggested. It helps us to continue with the care and upkeep of the animals here. Can be anything from one dollar!" She was chipper, like one of those bubbly girls you saw on advertisements for tampons. "Oh! Okay! That's fine!" Her own voice were an octave or two higher than necessary but she had done it, she had set her mind to something and she had done it. Maybe hope would prevail and things wouldn't always be an uphill fight for survival. Maybe she would be okay. She just had to take it one step at a time.iting here ...