At some point in our lives, there’s a time where you wished you could go back and fix the mistakes you’ve made. Travelling back when you were in elementary and wishing that you didn’t treat your teachers as if they were your mothers. Back to when you reached middle school where you wished you listened better during classes so that you did not have to look dumb at your year first-year high school. Also, fixing the mistakes where it left a mark on your heart. Wishing that you could rewind the time and live once again.
A cold wind blew from the west, while leftover dead leaves from trees flew up into the sky, indicating that fall was about to end. There was no sight of snow, though the constant decreasing of the temperature states that winter was near. Honking cars where heard just around the corner yet the silence around me killed the noises in my ears.
Somehow, sometime I remember running away. So many times I’ve run away from the reality that I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve hurt people. Though I’ve run away from the scene many times, that didn’t erase the memories that were marked in my head. It only made things worse because the guilt, sadness, and anger stayed within me.
I wasn’t so sure if I ran away this time though. Though I remember walking out immediately after seeing Jessica, I wasn’t exactly so sure why I even stopped this time. Better yet, I ask myself – why? For years the darkness consumed me. But when I felt her hands hold mine, it was like as if someone had transferred their life to me. It was warm, gentle feeling. Just having her fingers wrap around me. I turned around seeing Jessica panting for air and at the same time trying to regulate it.
“Please… wait” she panted. She stopped but still kept her hand on mine, as if she didn’t want me to run away.
I remember hearing those same words. Except they came from Nicole’s. I remember seeing her crying face while calling for help. But what did I do? Nothing. I ran away. That’s what I did. I was a coward. Now, why would I even want to wait right now?
Shaking my head, I shook her hands off me and said “Don’t follow me”
I continued walking, running. Is this what I plan on doing for the rest of my life? Runaway? The wind hit my face like bullets but the cold didn’t bother me. I was numb. Why would even a murderer like myself feel anything anyway? The tears continued down and I quickly wipe it away with my leather sleeves. I hated crying. It was my weakness.
Loud footsteps followed mine but I didn’t care. I continued at the same fast pace. Jessica kept calling after me but I ignored her. Unfortunately, I reached a dead end. Turning around, I could somewhat notice the quick small smile that played on her lips. Was she laughing at me?
“Why the hell are you following me?” I yelled, my voice echoing through the back alley. It wasn’t that much far from the school but it was nearly an abandoned street.
Jessica wrapped her arms to herself, feeling cold. “I-I… I wanted… t-to check on you” she stuttered.
I laughed. “Why would you even be here? Are you wishing for a death wish? Didn’t you see what I did to her? Didn’t you see me? Did you not see me use my fist to punch her? Did you not see the monster within me? Huh?!”
Her eyes started to pool. I didn’t know why. Was it sympathy it?
“Y-you’re my friend” she whispered after a while. She looked down, not wanting to meet my icy glare. Her lips started to shake too.
I sighed, took a deep breath since I didn’t want to get mad again. I was her friend. She considered me one, but how long will she last?
After doing a couple more breathing exercise I approached her. She seems to be taken by a bit because she took a step back while I walk towards her. Like what happened to me, she got caught behind the fences.
“I won’t be responsible if happens to you, Jessica. I’m warning you”
She barely whispered an okay but still, she stayed.
We really didn’t do anything after. I sat on the ground while she sat a meter away from me on a rock. Her hands were in her pockets. I had handed her my jacket since, after ten minutes or so, her whole body started shaking. I had also taken out a cigarette and lit it. It was the only way for me to calm down.
Jessica seemed to get affected by this because she would cough every time I release a puff of air. She wouldn’t’ cover her sleeves though. Didn’t she hate the smell?
“You know if you don’t want to breathe it just cover your nose,” I said.
“I didn’t want to be… you know.” She said, not really sure what she meant but okay. I guess she didn’t want me to think I hate her or something? Whatever.
Glancing at my watch, I looked to see that first period had finished. It was the first day of the school week and we had skipped already. I remember skipping with Jessica last week, on our afternoon classes. Now I wondered if she actually cared.
“You know you skipped so many classes right?” I asked.
She nodded slowly but still kept her gaze on the floor. Then after, her head snapped up. “I did?”
I snickered. “Yes, idiot. You skipped with me last week remember? Now you skipped again. That was like 2 days in a row.”
Her eyes widen and I laughed at her reaction. After settling down, I manage to ask “How’s… how’s Nicole?”
“I took her to the infirmary.” she stated.
Shaking her head she answered “Some of her friends helped me out. She’s okay though”
“What did you tell the nurse?” I turned towards her and notice that she was biting her lips.
“Umm… that she just got into a fight but… “ she paused. “I didn’t tell her that it was you. She didn’t ask anymore though. The nurse said it’s understandable since Nicole always gets into fights”
“Oh” was all I could say. I guess she kinda saved my ass today. “Thanks” I smiled.
A moment passed, just silence filled in between the two of us. Sometimes lost vehicles would come up in this back lane and would ask us where this is. Other students, mostly the goth and emo ones came here just to get away from their teachers. They were huddled together, trying to keep the warmness in their group. But they didn’t see us, we were too far away from them.
“I guess you’re wondering now,” I spoke softly, looking at Jessica. She looked up at me but no answer came out of her mouth so I continued.
“I..” I sighed then began to tell her.
I was the new kid, the new girl in town. The place we moved in was really big, and it scared me how the buildings were really tall. Every time I would look up into them, I’d feel as if at any moment I would get stepped on. Keeping hold of the person that took me in since I was thrown away, I made sure to grip their hand tight and not get lost.
The bags were taken into a modern house, surrounded by many more. My owner was quiet. She turned out to be my aunt. However, she was someone who had high expectations and strict rules. So, I did my house chores on time, did my homework when needed, and followed the orders she would give.
But then I was lonely. I didn’t make any new friends at my school. They think I’m a geek and always smart-mouthed them. Then there was this day when I came to the gym. I heard people laughing, followed by yelling, and other sounds. Peeking into the gym doors, I saw a group of boys playing a game, in which I soon learned that it was basketball. I’d watch from far every day, secretly learning their moves and tricks. Then I would try them out in the back of our house. It took me a lot of pleading to get my aunt to buy a basketball.
One day, as I was about to open the gym, I noticed that there were no players. No one was playing. It was very quiet. I waited for a while and then thought about practicing there at that moment. After a few struggles, I decided to go in. So I did. It was a different feeling compared when you’re practicing in a small space in our backyard. I had more freedom. There was more sweat in my body, and more water bottles wasted. I don’t know how long I was playing by myself until I heard someone cleared their throat behind me. Looking through my shoulder, I notice the boys and an old man beside them.
“You are not allowed here, did you know that?” The old man spoke in his authoritative voice.
“Yes. I’m sorry” I said then bowed my head down, ready to leave. But one boy, in particular, spoke up. He had a black hair and lots of freckles near his nose. He was tall and really skinny. I thought maybe he didn’t eat that much.
“Oh come one coach! Did you see how she played? She could join the team.” He said smiling. A couple of ‘yeahs’ were heard from the other boys but most just laughed.
“Her? She’s a girl though” One said. Then they all laughed except the boy.
“This is a boy team, Kevin,” said the old man. He motioned me to leave, so I did. When I got out of the doors, I heard it swung open again, followed by the same boy who spoke earlier.
“You’re a really great player did you know that? But I noticed some mistakes you made”
“Oh,” I said.
“My name is Kevin by the way. Hey, maybe I could help you fix those and teach you more. It won’t hurt to be your friend, right?”
I smiled and shook his hand “Sure”
Since that day we became friends to best friends. We played every day after his practice. I learned that he was 5 years older than me, basketball was his favorite sport and that he had no parents except a younger sister. They were both taken in by a foster home. I admired him for his love for his younger sister. He always talked about her, and I can’t help but to wish to have siblings as well. He said he’d do anything for her; he’d work hard so she wouldn’t feel alone when kids ask her where her parents are. Sometimes I’d invite him to play with me during the weekends, but most of the time he’d reject. He said he needed to take care of his sister. I understood so I didn’t get mad.
I was practicing by myself in a park, not too far from our house. I discovered it after walking around the neighborhood one time. They had a basketball court, and I was happy that they had one. Sometimes, aunt would nag me about how I spend too much playing outside. She got furious with me yesterday that she hit me. I was mad so I decided to get up early and spend my time here.
“Sarah!” I heard someone yell my name. I look around the park, seeing no one but other kids.
My name was called many more times and the sound got closer until I saw Kevin walking. However, he wasn’t alone. He was holding someone else’s hand.
“Hey! This is my little sister by the way. Nicole.” he gestured towards the younger girl who’s a little bit shorter than me and has the same black hair as Kevin’s.
She shyly waves at my direction and hides behind her older brother. Kevin chuckled and moved over “Come on Nicky. This is Sarah. She’s a year older than you so there’s no worry”
I smile and introduced myself “Hey Nicole, I’m Sarah. How are ya?”
“Cool,” I said.
After we walked over to the bench and started telling stories to each other. Nicole was a short, quiet girl. She had that aura that would sometimes be mysterious and cool. It was funny. I used to think she’s pretty, though she always hid in dark clothes.
I learned that she was bullied at school about how she dresses. She was in the same class as me, but I just never notice. We became friends, really close friends. Until that day...
Nicole and I were in junior high and Kevin were now in his second-year high school. He was the oldest among all of his classmates because he got in school, late and repeated many classes. I don’t know what happened but he started becoming distant. He started getting angry at his younger sister and started to hang out with his old classmates. He started drinking and smoking too.
Because I admired and look up to him so much, I followed his steps. Aunt started hating me and even threatened me once that she would kick me out if I continue. I became like him. I started hating Nicole too because she would always warn me like her brother.
Then one day, we decided to sneak out in the middle of the night. Kevin and I got dressed. We were going to get more cigarettes and marijuana from the seniors. There was also a fight between two groups. We left Nicole sleeping and headed out.
I watched the older kids and Kevin drink, dance, and party. I stood there with one bottle in my hand. It was obvious that I was the youngest. I was in the corner watching them. The fight doesn’t start for two more hours. It was also the day when one chick came up to me and kissed me drunk. It was the day I also lost my virginity to her and some other boy. It felt good, I thought. To be free.
Then the main event of the night came. People surrounded them. It started. There was a lot of punching, kicking, and blood. The first time I became a witness to such fight. It excited me, but also at the same time scared me. Kevin was cheering near the front. There was even a referee! I continued drinking, I don’t know how many bottles consumed me. But I didn’t care about being light-headed or if the girl before was whispering naughty things behind me and feeling me up. My eyes was focused on the game.
Until one guy decided to chicken out and took out a gun. Everyone gasped. When he shot in the air, everyone started panicking. They started running away. But I didn’t. Cause I remember seeing Kevin running towards the guy to stop him. So I followed him. We got into the mess. I kicked the guy from behind and he fell. But before Kevin could grab the gun away, someone kicked it. Another person got it and he chuckled evilly. Tossing it back to his mate, who was the owner of the guy. In the corner of my eye, I could see Kevin being surrounded by more guys. They started beating me up. So I got furious. The guy who had the guy was watching Kevin, laughing at his work.
Looking around me, I see people covered with bruises who were lying unconscious on the ground. Then a black shiny thing caught my eye. I took it and snapping it open. It was a knife. Ready to launch at the gun owner, I missed. He had noticed me, ready to point his gun at my face. But because I was smaller, I had an advantage. I ducked and kicked him in his thing. He fell. Then I took the gun ready to shoot him when he stood up.
‘BANG’ the noise echoed through the empty street.
Blood poured out of his heart. His eyes widen. His lips trembled.
The guy moved just before my eyes.
I shot him
I shot Kevin
My best friend
“I’m sorry…” he cried. Then his last words were “Take care of my little sister please”
And he wasn’t coming back
One of Kevin’s friends had called Nicole already. I did nothing but stood in front of best friend’s dead body. His eyes were open but there was no life in them. When Nicole arrived, she didn’t know what to say. The shock was an understatement. I watch her body fall to the ground, her hands covering her now teary-eyed face. She cried for a long time.
The police came, taking everyone who was a witness. I was part of it. The police grabbed my hand roughly. I could hear Nicole calling me, but I was yanked away
“Please wait!” she yelled.
But no, it was too late.
I was already inside the police car.
I was crying by the time I was telling Jessica the story. When I look at her to see her reaction, she too mirrored my face. She cried but not as hard as mine. And when she look to meet my eyes, she smiled. Then she came closer and brought me into a hug.
That’s when I’ve completely broken down. The walls that I’ve built for the past years came crashing down as I pour all of my emotions into her.
“I’m sorry,” I said softly. This caused her to hug me tighter.
Both of our bodies were tangled together in an embrace. We were crying and comforting each other. After I pulled away and Jessica handed me a napkin to wipe my eyes.
“You have a drool Jesse” I laughed slash cried. I wipe it off her mouth before wiping it on my shirt and wiping my eyes.
“Thank you,” I said while returning her the napkin. She smiled and nodded. Even if she was crying and her hair was a mess, she still looks cute.
I don’t know why I felt like it, so I asked her “Can I kiss you?”
Her eyes widened and all of a sudden her face was red as a tomato. “I… uh.. um..” I laughed at her nervousness. Instead, I pulled her, letting her sit on my lap while I hold her from behind.
“Don’t worry. It’s just a friendly kiss.” I said.
She looks at me, deciding whether she should or not. But I didn’t give her any chance to think. I pushed my lips into hers, feeling the same warmness and soft lips that I felt before. It was magical. It wasn’t a moving together lips type of kiss. It was just a long peck until I pulled away and laughed at her redness.
The kiss was sweet.
It was bittersweet.
Because I knew for me, it wasn’t just friendly a kiss.