“Guys, I want you in defense,” I command and soon after point to my brother. “You right behind me.”
He mock-saluted me and laughed while replying, “Aye-aye captain! Always at your service!” He leaned closer to me and dramatically whispered into my ear like it was a very precious secret. “You don’t have to tell me that. You know I’m not going to leave you anyways,” he playfully pokes his tongue out.
I slap him upside-down his head. “No joking right now, Seb. This is serious.”
Now looking back to it; I regret hitting him on the back of his head. I regret not letting him do whatever he pleased for the last time. I regret that day. I regret my choices.
And he had to pay for my mistakes. I want to pull him close to me and tell him ‘I’m sorry.’ But sometimes not all your wishes are bound to happen.
Minutes before that small conversation we had, I was blooming with joy. It was our chance and our shot at the annual football match that the whole world watched. We were so close to our victory. I was like a match burning with fire mightily as I strode across the field.
Until it happened.
The fire on my match began to die out until it was soon non-existent. It was gone. Ka-boom. And just like an empty matchbox. I felt hollow and empty as well.
I stopped eating. I stopped playing. Hell, I stopped living. I was like a dead person walking.
Everyone’s had a fair share of painful and worst moments. But I never thought mine would be as painful as that. Never ever. Not for the girl who was known to have a perfect life- at least.
To add fuel to the fire that was non-existent, people added onto it. For so many days, I received pitiful looks- sympathetic looks telling me to be strong. But how could I be strong if they kept pointing out my mistakes?! How could I stay strong if I was being brought down?
I knew I was on the edge by then. I just knew.
Suddenly, all the images flashed into my mind until I couldn’t take it anymore. I tried to reach out to them but I was so helpless-
“Sam!” a voice calls out to me. I couldn’t have been more grateful. I don’t know how much more of that I could last for. “Sam! Wake up!”
My eyelids flutter open and I lift myself up from the bed. The sudden movement causes me to become dizzy and I held my head and shut my eyes until it disappeared. It took me a few minutes to calm down and even then I could feel the tears streaming down my face. I hated crying in front of people but I was so vulnerable and helpless at that time, I couldn’t care less. I didn’t even look up to see who was holding me or calling to me.
I was that pathetic.
“Stay strong, Sam.” His words echoes into my head and I find myself desperately wiping the tears- to please him. To reduce the guilt.
The hand continues to stroke on my back and it feels good- especially at a time like this. I’ve never had a hand to hold up onto before. So this is kind of new. A good new.
Finally, my breathing’s back to normal and my tears have dried out. I know its been way over a couple minutes since I’ve been crying now. After a lot of debating in my head, I look up to see who’s been holding me all along.
It’s Cecilia. Her eyes are shut as if she couldn’t bear to see me this way. I gulped. This was what I feared; everyone would be afraid of me. No one wanted to be near a person who had a messed up life. It’s ironic really how much someone’s life can change so drastically- from perfect straight to miserable.
Several moments of silence later, she opens her eyes. Big mistake. I could see the terror and pity in it. Two things I absolutely loathed. I shift away from her as quick as possible, almost like a predator would do to a prey. She looks a bit hurt and once again I wanted to take back my actions, but I know I can’t. Not before I clear my own head first.
I looked down at my pills. Why had they not work? Yes, the doctor told me that it might stop working when your body develops a tolerance for it and that I was going to need to take more if that ever happens. But seriously, now? Out of all of the moments in my life, now? While I’m in university?
And worse thing, this had never happened to me before.
“I need to go out. Freshen up a bit,” I tell her in a quiet voice, my voice hoarse due to the crying. “I’ll be back in half an hour.”
Without waiting for her response, I head out, grabbing my watch before leaving and adding in a small voice. “I’m sorry to wake you up, but please don’t tell anyone about this?” I plead, looking straight into her eye. I know I sound like I’m going to cry again, but that’s how desperate I am. How pathetic and weak I am.
She nods dumbfounded and at a loss for words. I give her a solemn, yet grateful expression and go out- making sure to take the keys along.
From the doorway, I see some security cameras which move a whole 90° and I form a plan in my
head to avoid them. It works and I manage to escape. At first, I didn’t know where to go. This was a new place to me, but then I remembered the abandoned area earlier today.
I scurried over there. My watch said the time was five in the morning. I was glad about that, because that meant I could stay in here for half an hour and then probably get ready and wash my face (I know I look like a mess) to look a bit more like a human.
I walked- quite numbly and deep into thought- till I reached. It was the exact same as I left it and I slid down the wall. I was done with crying and I don’t think I could cry more even if I wanted to. I just held my head in my hands as I kept thinking.
The memories were too painful for me to handle. They were like a weak spot for me- a delicate one from which I would break by just one touch.
Sometimes all you want is nothing, silence, and space. Three things no one seems to understand. Sometimes you feel grateful that they’re there, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you’re broken to a point where you couldn’t care less because whether they were there or not- you blocked them out.
I was the one in the latter option. Too broken to comprehend. The wounds hadn’t healed yet, but I knew he wouldn’t want me to give up my life for it. I gave up my dreams, yes, but he wouldn’t have wanted me to do more damage than it already did.
That was all he’d let me do.
I take a deep sigh in and close my eyes. Maybe I shouldn’t have stopped that therapy, maybe I needed it. Maybe I was going crazy.
Cecilia thought I was.
Immediately, her face came into my memory and my heart clenched tighter to the point I thought it’d break. It hurt- a lot. Just as much as it would if this would happen to me and another friend back home. And they were really close. Like I said, they were family.
I don’t when it happened, or how deep into thought I was that I didn’t notice someone’s presence in there. More specifically, Cecilia’s...
I didn’t dare look up. I was afraid I’d see the same emotions running through her eyes as before.
Her hand came on top of mine. “I figured you’d be here,” she whispers.
I nodded because I didn’t know what else to do.
“Do you want to talk about it?” She asked.
I shook my head- no.
“Okay,” she paused for a while. “Let’s get going now. We’ll get late.”
I looked down at my watch. I spent way too much time here than I realized. It’d been an hour already. I let her help me up and silently we strode to our rooms before I realized something.
“How did you get past the cameras?”
“The same way you did,” she chuckled and I ended up laughing with her.
At that moment, I had realized that I had Ceci- and I could trust her. And in the past two days, she had become closer to me than I could imagine.
She was part of my family. But I still knew I wasn’t ready. I’d tell her everything when I was.
When we were laughing, everything seemed alright. But sometimes you’ve just got to accept that it’s not okay, it’s not alright, and you’re breaking inside.
Like a flower would lose every petal of its slow by slow until there’s nothing left.
I saw Alex to the corner looking at me weirdly. I ignored him just like I ignored every other thing that day. It wasn’t one of my best days. Go figure.
Not after the incident this morning.
Unfortunate for me, I’m not very good at hiding my emotions and though I said I’d clean up well, there wasn’t much I could do about my bloodshot eyes. I stayed distant from everyone today- even Ceci.
First it was Brad giving me the weird looks, wondering what was happening but now it’s literally everyone. To me, at least.
I was scared. Terrified even after what happened today. The feeling was horrible- almost as if it’s something monstrous was trying to choke the life out of you. Not very pleasant, let me tell you. And I thought they were gone. I assured mom they were gone.
Oh crap, mom...
She doesn’t know about this. What will she say?!
I was too full of questions that when I heard his voice, it startled me and I jumped up a bit. He had that concerned face and asked me, genuinely, “Are you okay?”
Those three words. Whenever someone said it to me, I cringed. They’re three horrible words, you know. Full of pity and sorrow.
I gave him a blank look in reply- completely expressionless. I just stepped aside and attempted to walk away when he caught my wrist and pulled me back towards him.
“What’s wrong?” He repeated, sounding more firm than ever. His grip on my wrist was tight but not tight enough to hurt me or anything.
Once again, I held an emotionless face, yanked my hand back from his grip and walked away. While I was walking though, a wave if dizziness hit me and I immediately leaned onto the wall for support. I blinked my eyes rapidly, to get rid of the feeling but my head still pounded. Perfect.
Don’t miss the sarcasm.
“Hey! Cecilia!” I called out. I looked to her right and left. No signs of Sam. Why am I feeling so disappointed?!
She raises an eyebrow as she looks up. I must be looking like a mess, running over to Cecilia with my books in my hand while I’m calling her from a mile’s distance. From the corner of my eye, I can see girls adjusting their hair and blinking their eyes rapidly so I could notice them when I walked past. Way to attract the crowd, Alex. Internally, I’m smirking; I still haven’t lost my charm.
Or maybe I have, Sam doesn’t seem to notice me at all. Right, Sam. Back to the situation at hand...
As soon as I reach her, I don’t beat around the bush and just come out straight at it. “What’s up with Sam?” I ask.
Suddenly, her shoulders slump down. “Nothing. Just leave her alone, really. She can’t deal with you at the moment.”
Then it clicked in my head. “She’s mad at me for yesterday, isn’t she?” I assumed by myself and shook my head. “Crap. Fine, I’ll even go say sorry!” I raise my arms up, but Cecilia isn’t amused. In fact she looks at me dead in the eye and with a serious expression.
“You better leave her alone, Alex,” she warns, “at least for today.”
What is up with these two girls?!
What happened? What I did couldn’t have caused such a big damage, could it? No, this is definitely something else. Question is: what? What did I do- or someone else. Immediately, my hands fist up as I think of someone else hurting Sam. Earlier today, when I saw Sam, she looked lost and completely in her own world. I didn’t even miss her bloodshot eyes. She looked different.
“What happened, Ceci?” I asked.
“Nothing, just nothing.” She stood up from the table abruptly, “Excuse me, I need to go find Sam.” Without a word, she scurried off leaving me and Brad with confused and concerned expressions.
“Do you think they had a fight?” Brad finally spoke up. He was still looking at the now empty place where Ceci was a few minutes ago.
I shook my head. “No, she said she went to get Sam. I think something happened to her.” Brad and I left it there- the conversation open to theories. Meanwhile, Brad and I just shook our heads to clear our thoughts off. “Two days in and we’ve already got drama in our lives...” I comment.
“Well, it happens. They’re girls. What did you expect?”
“Rainbows and unicorns,” I reply sarcastically and roll my eyes. “Let’s just get going to my team’s table and have a chat there? What do you say?” I offered.
“Sounds cool,” he shrugged.
We walked over to my team’s table. I do get asked to sit by them, if that’s what you’re wondering. I get asked every single day, but for some reason, I’m more excited to sit by Ceci, Sam, and Brad than sit with them. I’ve done the mistake of going through the stage of popularity in high school and I wasn’t planning to do it again.
“Sup, guys?” I bobbed my head at them and fist-bumped each one of them.
“Nothing much, man. You?”
“Nah,” I just waved it off.
“Wassup, Brad?” Mason called out, noticing him. Now, it’s not like Brad’s a nerd or has any social problems but he still preferred staying alone than with jocks. You see, Brad and I go way back.
Best friends from the age of four. We both managed to come into this university. And we both made the same mistakes- including popularity. He was like me. He was- and still is considered- my brother. We were inseparable.
We tried to stir up some conversation, but my thoughts kept on wandering back to Sam. Well, I did have that personality in me to get worried about someone I cared about. Then why is Sam your priority before Cecilia? My inner voice continues to annoy me. I groan as silently as possible when I decide that enough is enough. I got up from the table and excused myself with something like need he bathroom or something and head out, concerned for Sam.
I looked everywhere and fifteen minutes had already passed. I looked into the library, classes, dorm (it was locked, so there’s no way she was in there), and even the lockers! But I obviously didn’t check the bathrooms, not the girls ones. They were usually filled with girls and their make-up bags or girls with their tears. So, no. Just no.
“Where in the god damn world are you?” I muttered more to myself.
I was about to give up and just sit down when the very person I’d been looking for emerges out of a room. She looks horrible. She looks even more lost than ever.
It breaks my heart to see her like this.
“Sam,” I call out softly. She turns around, the usual mischievousness and bright light replaced with a dull one. My hand automatically reaches out to her and she flinches before it comes into contact with her skin. Her eyes drop down to the floor and I quickly retract my hand. “Are you okay?”
The question rolls off my tongue so easily, but I don’t miss the painful expression she had on her face. She looks like she’s about to cry, even with her face down, and she’s completely red.
“I’m sorry- I didn’t mean to-”
“Stop.” Her firm voice demands cutting me off from my ramble. Even when she was sad, she had that strong and determined voice. That brave voice. She may think that the brave face is a facade but to me, it’s who she really is.
“Okay,” I tell her softly, my voice in a whisper.
And that’s when I realize where she’s actually coming from.
The nurse’s office.
Her eyes widen and she goes past me, bumping shoulders in the process, and hurries along, while I’m still a bit dumbstruck with my mind exploding with the amount of questions I have to ask. They’re so many that I feel the pain of her hit only after she’s out of sight.
I have a very good mind to get into the nurse’s office and ask for what happened to her, but I’m pretty sure that’s confidential information and there really is no point in trying. I give up on the thought but the questions don’t cease to exist.
Sam, what are you hiding?