Since Jacob’s funeral, Julius mourns in private. Whenever I come to his apartment to cook or straighten up, he is on the couch in the dark with Beanie. He has cried in his sleep twice and I’m always there to comfort him. I, on the other hand, have not mourned at all. I keep my composure and stay strong for Julius.
As the days pass, I begin to feel myself getting numb like I can’t tell the difference between day and night. I go to Jacob’s house with Julius to pick up some things and I find it hard to be in there. I was just here before Christmas, Laughing and talking. I trace my fingers over the counter where he kissed me and Julius watches. I know he knows there was something strong between us, but he can’t understand why I’m so calm. By the end of the week when he is getting back to himself, he becomes concerned.
I come out of my trance “Yeah?” I blink a few times and look at him.
“You aren’t eating your food”
I look down at my untouched pizza. I know I should eat since I’ve lost 10 pounds in two weeks. I threw myself into my school work and taking care of Julius. I don’t mind putting myself on the bottom of my priority list. A part of me has a mass of guilt. Guilt for having feelings for Jacob. I know Julius doesn’t hold it against me and we have put all out indiscretions in the past, but it still sits with me. Maybe I wouldn’t miss him so much if I didn’t kiss him or let him hold me. He was always there for me to lean on and now he is gone.
“I’m not that hungry” I get up and go into the kitchen. Julius follows and I know he is going to fuss.
“Krystal, I don’t like this. You don’t eat, you barely sleep.
All you do is homework and sit with me. You aren’t taking care of yourself. You have to talk to me.” He puts his hands on my waist
“I’m fine. I promise and I do eat. I’m just not hungry” That was my answer every time.
In the beginning, I had to stop myself from wanting to cry, but now, my eyes don’t even water. I feel nothing. I know Julius is just trying to get me to talk about it, but I can’t. I won’t. I just need to stay strong and eventually, I really will be fine.
Julius lets it go and kisses my forehead. I try to be happy enough so he doesn’t question my change, but I know it’s not working. I can see him staring at me sometimes and I know he notices how I rarely smile or how I sometimes just stare at the wall.
I know it’s good to mourn, but for some reason, I think I don’t deserve to. I didn’t know Jacob as long as Julius. I don’t have years’ worth of memories so why should I break down as if I did.
After I leave Julius, I head back my dorm and lay in my bed. I don’t talk or text anyone. Mya comes by and talks a little and she points out that something is wrong every day. I know she wants the best for me, but I just wanted to be alone. I’ve personally never had a friend die before and I just don’t know how to feel about it. Someone I talked to and laughed with is gone. I can’t talk to them or laugh with them anymore. I know that’s how Julius feels, but I feel a little bit of it too.
I go to class on Wednesday and I’m late. I take a seat next to some random guy and he takes the time to speak.
“Hi, you’re Krystal right?”
I nod “Yeah” I don’t really feel like talking but he doesn’t catch on.
“Are you okay?”
Even random are noticing my downfall “Yea, I’m okay” I look over at him and take in his handsomeness. He has golden blond hair and blue eyes. He has a strong jawline almost like amodel.
“I was just wondering because you never look happy when you come in here.” Why is he pushing the subject? Just be quiet random guy.
“I’m Eric by the way”
“Nice to meet you” I don’t look up from my paper.
“Nice to meet you too, Krystal, Can I ask you something?”
On the inside, I roll my eyes. “Sure”
“Is that your natural hair color?” I am taken back by his question.
I look up at him confused and he smiles. I look down at his desk and he has a Cosmo magazine with an article for Gay marriage on the page.
“Yes, it’s natural”
Eric proceeds to pick up a small handful of my hair and examine it. “I would die for this color.”
I feel something growing in me from his comment, a smile.
During the rest of class, he talks about hair color and my straight posture. As much as I don’t feel like talking, Eric’s voice takes my mind off my inner sorrows. After class, he walks with me to the cafe to get coffee. I really do commend him on his efforts to be nice to me even if I have barely replied more than 2 sentences to the things he says and asks. Maybe he sees something in me that I don’t see in myself at this point in my life. As we sit at the table in the cafe, Eric manages to pull a laugh out of me when he talks about the guy's butt in the coffee line.
I laugh because it is Christopher.
“You know him!?” He gasped after I tell him
I nod “He is my best friend, Mya’s boyfriend”
He frowns “Damn, he is straight”
After coffee, we exchange numbers and I head to my dorm. I feel a little hopeful that I will really be okay. My laugh earlier proved that I’m not broken or dead. I’ve very much alive, my emotions are just in a deep slumber not ready to be woken.
When I get to my dorm I lay down and check my phone and there is a text from Julius asking me to come over at 7pm. That gives me time to take a nap and try to relax. When I close my eyes all
I see Jacob’s headstone. My eyes flash over and I figure sleep is out of the question for now. I continue to lay there in the dark with the blinds closed. My stomach growls, but I don’t have the energy to get up and fix something to eat. I don’t have much energy to do anything for myself every day I shower, go to class, see Julius, and come back and try to sleep. Physically and mentally, I am exhausted.
At 6:40 I get into my car and head to Julius’ apartment. When I arrive, I sit in the parking lot for a moment. I do this every time I come over here now. I just have to be prepared to comfort Julius if he feels sad. I like being his rock, but who’s mine?
I open the door and to my surprise, Mya and Julius are sitting in the living room. “What is going on?”
Julius walks up to me “Sweetie, we need to talk to you about how you’ve been acting lately.”
“What? How I’ve been acting?” I was truly bewildered. “Are you guys trying to have an intervention on me?”
Finally, an emotion comes forward, but I don’t think it’s the one they want. I get angry. I drop my bag on the floor. Mya is sitting there calm. How long have they been planning this?
“Please Krystal, come sit down” He reaches for my arm, but I pull away.
“No. Why are you guys doing this? I’m fine.”
Mya chimes in “You’re lying. You aren’t fine. You aren’t eating. Julius, do you know she has lost 10 pounds from not eating”
Julius looks at me and I feel cornered. “Krystal, you haven’t been eating all week?”
I just want to run. I turn and head to the door but Julius blocks it. “No Krystal. I’m not letting you leave. You need to talk to us.”
“No!” I yell “Let me out of here. I don’t know what kind of friends you are. How could you do this to me?” I turn back around.
“How could you do this to me Mya? You’re supposed to be my best friend!”
She stands” I am being your best friend! I’m trying to help you!”
I feel my heart beating 100 mph. I feel the room closing in on me. “Please, let me go!”
Julius grabs me around the waist and I try to pull away. His grip is too strong though “Krystal, I know you are hurting”
“No. I know you are hurting and I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you have had to see me break down. I should have been there for you too. You lost Jacob too” He talks calmly but I don’t want to hear it.
I finally pull away hard only to fall on my butt. “Please, shut up!”
I see Mya crying and Julius has this pained look on his face. Neither of them has ever seen me in this state. I look up at Julius furiously.
“I’m fine” I get up and the room is divided, them against me.
He looks at me hard “Krystal, you haven’t even cried. You didn’t cry at the funeral. You are holding all these feelings in and it’s hurting you. I know how you felt about Jacob and I understand”
His words hit me like a truck and I don’t know how to process them. I feel a lump in my throat, but I push it down.
“Please, just leave me alone” I plead, wanting them to just let me be.
“No. I’m not going to leave you alone. I love you and I’m trying to help. I know it hurts, Krystal and it is okay to cry. You don’t have to be strong for me” His words seep into my skin and rage takes over.
“Stop talking to me like I’m some mental case. I hate you, both” I sprint to the door, but Julius catches me and basically tackles me to the floor. I thrash around trying to get out of his grip, but he is fighting to hold on to me.
“Let me go, Julius!” I scream loud. “I don’t deserve this. I don’t need to cry. I hurt you, I kissed him. Why should I deserve to cry? I didn’t know him as you did! Why should I get to break down? I did nothing special for him!”
Finally, the words I had been thinking this whole time come out.
“No, Krystal you do deserve to cry just like everyone else. You were his friend and he was yours! Just because you didn’t know him that long doesn’t mean you didn’t impact his life!” He yells as I hit his chest repeatedly. “Let it out, Krystal. It’s okay to miss Jacob. I know you loved him. He was there for you when I wasn’t and I’m happy that you got to know him, but he is gone and you have to let it out. You can’t keep this pain inside of you.”
He catches my wrists and pins them to my sides I breathe hard and I hear Mya crying as she watches me go through this. All I hear his Julius repeat the same words.
“Let it out, Krystal. It’s okay” I feel myself crumbling under his words. I want to run. I just want to run outside and let the freezing air numb me. Why are they making me do this? I continue to yell at Julius but I know I’m losing this battle. I feel so mad and I just want to take it out on Julius.
“I hate you!” I yell in his face, but he doesn’t react. His face stays calm. I feel the lump again, but this time it’s too late to push it out. “Come on Krystal, let it out.”
“No!” I clench my fists tight, still pinned on my sides.
I continue to scream it out, but it begins to come out as a sob and a mumble. I close my eyes and tears overflow.
“Jacob” I whisper as I start to cry hard. My tense body goes limp as I give in to my emotions and Julius loosens his grip.
“Good girl, let it out.” He says in relief.