The week had passed by and I was recovering from the initial shock of getting those nightmares once again. As scary as that sounds, I was getting used to them. No, I never will stop gasping and panting for air if those dream come, but at least I’ll be expecting it.
It was so hard to sleep this past week. I’d stayed awake for hours to the end in the fear of having those nightmares again only to find myself getting ready for classes without an ounce of sleep.
My eyes looked puffy and I could no longer concentrate in classroom without feeling like I could just doze off any second.
“Hey, Sam,” someone shook me. “Sam!”
I rubbed my eyes and blinked them open. “Yeah?”
“Sam, you have to get some sleep,” he stated. Now, I never thought this day would come, but yes, Alex was actually being pretty considerate and kind about this whole situation. Even if he and Brad didn’t know what was going on, I’m pretty sure I was giving them the clear signs of something not good.
I had yet to talk to mom about this whole thing and I was planning to do it today. Before, I start failing the exams that are really necessary for me. University is very important to me and I was not letting sleep take that goal away from me.
I had my mind set on talking to mom after I was done with this day. Saturdays were off, so I was good as Saturday was tomorrow, so I wouldn’t have to stress out or anything for the day after. I’ll have a nice, peaceful talk with my mother today to clear this mess out.
“Yeah,” I laughed, but it came off sleepily.
“Sam,” he sighed. “Get up.”
“Already?” I questioned, however it was muffled.
“Sam, keep your eyes open.” This time it was a different voice, more feminine. It was then that I realized that I was half-sleeping. No sleeping, Sam, you’ve got a test after this.
Oh, crap, the test.
I shot up on my hair and took a deep breath with my eyes wide open. “Please tell me one of you has the books for the test?” I prayed silently. Cecilia pressed her lips into a thin line and shoved the book towards me.
“Thank you! God, Ceci, you’re a life saver,” I told her as she waved it off as if she was a great person making me roll my eyes.
I flipped through the pages quick making notes as I went along. Thankfully for me, there weren’t many pages to study and I managed to complete right before the bell rang and we had to go to our next class.
“Phew!” I wiped the imaginary sweat from my head dramatically. “That’s a load off my shoulders.”
“Oh crap, we had a test?” Brad butts in after seeing my book. Is he like blind or something? Cause I do remember just stating that we had an exam and I was studying like a maniac for the past twenty minutes. How he didn’t notice that is beyond me.
“How did you not notice I was studying?” I narrowed my eyes and looked at him in disbelief, voicing my questions out loud.
“I don’t know,” he pouts. “Maybe cause you look the same studying and without.”
“I don’t even get what you mean,” I stated after thirty seconds of trying to comprehend what he meant.
He gives me a flat look. “It doesn’t take a genius to know. You look dead either ways.”
My jaw dropped open and I shoved him lightly after punching him jokingly on the shoulder and feigning hurt. Cecilia and Alex were too busy laughing as well. “I’m very alive for your kind information.” I sat up straighter on my chair and fixed my imaginary tie whilst laughing.
Okay, being myself feels nice. After, I hate to admit, looking dead for the past week, I think a genuine laugh out of my system felt amazing and more like myself once again. Alright then, Sam, no more being dead. Time to look alive and stop making my past seem obvious.
“I might not as well be after that punch though,” Brad mutters still rubbing his shoulder from my impact while I smirked and stuck my tongue out at him. What? I still like to consider myself as a kid, thank you very much. And I shouldn’t be saying this, but I punched him because I knew it would hurt. Not much but enough to get him trying to cease the pain for the next forty five minutes. And, yes, I did time the boys after I punched them.
Stupid? Too bad.
“Got beaten up by a girl, bro?” Alex teased and I gave him a stern glare which shut him up. That was good because he would have been “beaten” up by a very specific girl who happened to punch his best friend just a few minutes as well.
“Anyone forgot that the bell rang?” Ceci reminded and my eyes flew to my watch that was wrapped around my wrist. Eyes widening, I grabbed Ceci’s hand and made a run for it.
“See you guys there!” I yelled back at the two boys we left behind. I’m just so wicked, so they’re going to have to come in late now. Cue the evil laugh.
Yup, it certainly does feel amazing to be back. I think it was just this morning that I decided to act normal once again. But, hey! I’m not complaining because it was the best decision I made in the last seven days.
“We’re here!” I practically screamed out as I entered the classroom, causing Cecilia to mutter profanities under her breath because of my outburst and face palm. All eyes shot up to see the two people who just barged in the classroom.
“Ms. Anderson and Ms. Ramone!” the teacher exclaimed in shock as we apparently interfered in her saying something, “you better not do that again or you’ll have six essays to do the next time and will be rewarded by a ‘0’ in your test. Sit down and make sure that doesn’t happen again.” She warned.
We both gulped and nodded solemnly. When, Ceci caught my eyes she gave me a ‘what was that?’ look and I just gave her a guilty expression. What? It wasn’t like it was planned... it just sorta... happened. Okay, oops?
“We’ve got a test today that as you all know-”
“Sorry we’re late!” Brad and Alex entered in a rush, beads of sweat dripping off their foreheads. The teacher held a furious expression, having being interrupted for the second time.
“Mr. Ramone and Mr. Chase?! First, these two girls and now you?! Do you I have to repeat the rules for this year? No coming in late! This is your last warning! Am I clear?!” The teacher gave them a good scolding and I was trying my best to suppress the smile that was currently finding its way onto my face.
“And there’s nothing to smile about Ms. Anderson!” the teacher called out to me, probably noticing the grin on my face. Damn it; I was busted. “This is serious! All four of you!”
The grin dropped out of my face as fast as lightening. The last thing I want was to be expelled a few days into the university.
We all nodded and sat down quietly. Well, there goes my only shot at being in good terms with the teacher.
“Move faster!” the coach commented as he walked past a very frightened, non-athletic guy as we continued jogging in our place. “Quick! Quick! Quick!” he stopped at a guy who visibly gulped as he realized the teacher was in fact near him. The color drained out of his face and I actually started fearing for him then. Slowly, the coach went close by his ear, “Does that look like fast to you?” he asked in an eerily, and menacingly way.
The guy shook his head vigorously and did it even faster although it was clear that he couldn’t take much of it any longer. Then, the coach came over to me. He examined how fast I went and showed a sign of approval. “Good job, Anderson,” he approved with a nod and stony expression and moved on to the next one.
I released a breath I didn’t know I was holding and relaxed a bit. It was completely normal for a person to be frightened of such a strong and strict man. He made it seem easy to just pick someone up and squash the person with his gigantic fingers! Okay, fine, I may be exaggerating, but that’s beside the point.
After fifteen more minutes of the same exercise, he held up his hand to stop all of us and all of us sighed in gratefulness. “Okay, so for today, we’re going to be playing volleyball. I’ll be selecting a few and you guys can line up here, then we’ll split you into two teams.” For some odd reason, the coach’s eyes were on me as he said that. He looked as if he were thinking about something, more specifically, figuring it out.
Great for me. Note the sarcasm.
What baffled me the most was when people whooped and fist-pumped into the air, whispering how they could finally get some free time and that it was their first time playing volleyball during classes.
“Samantha Anderson.” And that was my cue. I lined up beside him and patiently waited for a few others to come in. I knew the basics about volleyball, but it wasn’t exactly my strongest forte.
Alex was among the chosen and I was happy and annoyed by it. Happy because that meant that none of us would end up in a hospital due to the constant bickering towards us and annoyed because, well, he was Alex. His middle name was annoying. And his first name was jerk.
Alex didn’t look very happy either. In fact, he looked beyond pissed. I sighed, now mentally scolding myself for thinking that Alex had a good side to him. Well, he was nice to me the whole week... You know what? Never mind.
The game had started and too say it was going bad would be an understatement. I missed only a few passes while I couldn’t say the same for Alex. He was undeniably horrible at the game. Not to mention, his face was bright red due to the embarrassment and I could only be glad that high school taught me a few things about this sport.
“Okay, that’s it! Melissa’s team wins.” Coach announced. The team we were against cheered and gave high-fives to each other and I just ended up laughing as I thought about how horrible we played as a team.
“Class dismissed. You may leave now,” Coach informed and not even a single soul wasted their time standing in that place for a second longer and soon the whole room was empty.
As I left, I saw Alex and Brad walking together and I ran towards them to catch up with them. Once I was nearing, I quickly thought of a plan of maybe scaring one of them. It was sudden and unexpected from my side honestly, but I ended up jumping on the backs of both Brad and Alex. Alex stumbled and Brad fell down at the sudden impact.
It was all too hilarious to watch. Alex grumbling about how insane I was and trying to recover from the shock I gave him with Brad still on the floor muttering curse words under his breath and lines such as ‘dogs should be kept on a leash’. Now, of course, that earned him another punch on his shoulders but that didn’t stop the amused expression I had on my face.
Many people even stopped to look at us. Now, I get that we looked weird, but someone ought to tell those people to mind their own business.
“Let’s get moving before we get another scolding from another teacher for the second time today.” Alex glared at me as if it was all my fault- this situation and that one. Hey! I’m innocent! Look at Brad! He’s the culprit!
I gave him a innocent expression and shrugged my shoulders before walking in the opposite direction, because it was only then that I realized that my class was on the other side and I didn’t even have to walk with Alex and Brad. Oh, well. I’m just being plain, old me. After a very long time. Yes, a week is long. No comments.
The rest of day went fairly normal until all classes were finally over- at least, normal until I reached my dorm. I was a jittery mess after that. Shuddering at the consequences of not telling my mom beforehand, I silently prayed to god to keep me alive throughout the whole call and with a lot of courage, pressed the dial button. Ceci had gone out with Brad for a walk outside, so I was all alone for this one. And I didn’t know if that was a good thing or bad.
“Hello?” the voice called from there.
“Hey, mom,” I began softly, a smile appearing on my face. I hadn’t talked to her all week. And that was a first. The longest I’d been without hearing her voice actually.
“Oh my goodness!” she squealed excitedly, “Samantha!” I mentally glared at her for saying that, but she quickly corrected her mistake. I loathed the name ‘Samantha’- too girly for my own good. I could hear her screaming at the other end and then faintly heard my dad’s voice.
“Emily! Stop acting like a high school love struck teen!” my dad reprimanded from behind. Oh lord, someone help my parents. “And is that Sam? Give me the phone! I want to talk to her!”
“Uh-uh.” I could literally see my mom keeping the phone out of dad’s reach and shaking her head at her. The scene was all too familiar- except, it used to be me and dad teamed up against mom for getting the phone.
I laughed. “Mom, just put it on speaker.”
“Thank you! You’re a genius, sweetie!” my mom praised me for my intelligence, but then added, “Well, you’re my daughter. Of course you’re a genius!”
“Oh, mom,” I shook my head dramatically and face-palmed. “Are the boys around?”
“Nope, they just left. Like literally just left. Like right now. Around few minutes max. Like right before you cal-”
“Okay, I get it, mom.” I cut her very long rant. She could go forever if that was the case. “Right. So, mom, dad. I have something to tell you both.” I turned serious and I’m pretty sure mom and dad noticed the seriousness laced in my voice.
“Honey, if everything alright?” my mom’s voice came out very soft and concerned. She knew when to act playful and when to act caring and I appreciated that.
“No,” I told her truthfully. I was going to be completely honest about this. She didn’t say anything and waited for me to continue, knowing that there would be an explanation following as my dad sensed the same.
“Mom, dad, my sleeping pills aren’t working on me anymore...” I put it on bluntly, trailing off at the end, pretty unsure of what else to say. I heard my mom gasp and my dad said something I could quite decipher, but I don’t think I was meant to hear it either.
“Honey...” she was at a loss of words- it was evident.
“It’s just that I got too many nightmares. It all started on the second day of University. It scared me off when they all piled up on the first time, but I was terrified about what Ceci would think. She’s been amazing to me so far but I just don’t want anybody to know... I’ve escaped that place and hoped to escape reality and start fresh, but this isn’t helping mom...I just...I don’t know what to do, mom,” I told her as I held my head in one hand while my other hand helped me press the phone to my ear.
“Oh, god,” she finally breathed out, worrying for me. “Do you want to see a doctor, so she could prescribe more medicines to you?”
“That’s the thing, mom. The more effect the sleeping pills has, the more drowsy I would feel throughout the day. I don’t want that to happen.”
“Well, then, Sam,” she paused for a while, I think to share a look with my dad or ask for a suggestion, “How will you stop the nightmares? I can only suggest that you keep the sleeping pills in case and use them when you have to.”
It was a good question, but it was one I didn’t know how to answer. I wanted the nightmares to stop, but they couldn’t without my sleeping pills. And I wanted to stop taking the pills. But they were my only escape. But mom’s suggestion wasn’t bad.
“I don’t know, mom,” I felt like crying but nothing would come out, so I just sat there with a pained expression as if I didn’t know where to start.
“Sweetie? Your dad and I just talked about this and all you have to do is just take this into consideration. That’s all we ask. Honestly,” she took a deep breath in, “we think you should continue with your therapy lessons.”
“But, mom... I hate that place.”
“Just consider it...” she pleaded.
“I will. Don’t worry,” I reassured. “Mom?” I asked after a minute of silence.
“Will they ever stop?”
“The nightmares, mom. Will they ever stop haunting me?”
She sighed from the other end and left it for my dad to answer. “Darling, just believe in yourself and everything will turn back into place eventually. I promise.”
But I don’t know if I should believe him. Many people say that if you can’t fulfill your promise, don’t make them. Many people like my dad. So, if he promised, it must mean something, right?
Maybe there was a spark of hope left after all- waiting to be saved by me, myself.
The only problem was that I had no idea where to start.
It was so when I remembered this one quote dad always used to tell me when he used to read his journals when I was ten with Seb. I remember those days vividly. I used to sit atop his mahogany office table and fiddle with my tests ,whilst Seb colored into his book, as I watched him work and when I used to smile, he used to give one of his hundred-watt smile and stare at me while saying, “Stars can’t shine without darkness and you both darlings, are my stars. But, remember, no matter how dark the moment, love and hope are possible.”
I don’t think I ever understood how much those words meant until now. Those words had a double meaning and it was now that I was touched by my dad’s wise words. Whether it was an original or not, I didn’t know, but for the first time in two years, I felt like that quote was actually all I needed.
Hope and love was there with me all throughout; I just didn’t realize it.