chapter 11 || kai
This is already so cheesy. We’re supposed to write in these stupid journals for this stupid grief camp every day about anything we want. I don’t wanna pour my deepest secrets onto here so I guess that’s why I’m writing a letter to you that you won’t ever read.
If you were here with me, you’d probably agree with me. But then again, if you were still here, I wouldn’t have to attend this stupid thing and I wouldn’t be writing this either.
I really miss you Em. You were my best friend and you always will be. I bet you already know how I’ve been coping and I know you would hate it, but you aren’t here anymore. You can’t tell me that what I’ve been doing is wrong, because you can’t. You’re dead.
What hurts the most is the fact that you just left. Not even a goodbye, Em. I was your best friend for over 6 years and I didn’t even get a proper goodbye. I didn’t get a chance to tell you that I loved you and I fucking need you.
So my question is, why? Why’d you leave like that? I know your mom died and that your dad couldn’t cope with that so he left, but I was still here. My family was here for you. My mom loved you like her own. Ryder was here for you. And now, he’s in so much fucking pain.
And I can’t help him either.
How am I supposed to help someone who’s in the same rut as me? If I can’t even dig myself out, how the hell am I supposed to help him? I can’t let the same thing that happened to you happen to him either.
I can’t lose both of you.
I don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t help Ry, can’t help myself, couldn’t help you either. I wish you were here. You always knew what to do. Always the better of the two of us, weren’t you, Em?
I love you, Emma. I just wish it was enough for you.
I stare at the words I wrote down, reminding myself of what I did when I read her letter to me. Her letter to me involved a lot of anger when I was reading it. I refused to believe that she killed herself. She was doing so much better than when her mom’s death and dad’s abandonment was still fresh.
When that was still fresh, she fell into a spiraling depression. She isolated herself from the world, sitting in our guest room in full darkness, crying herself to sleep. She didn’t eat, she didn’t get out of the room, she didn’t do anything. It took weeks before she let us in to help. After a couple of months of everyday therapy, she was getting back to herself. I knew she was working on it, but I didn’t realize that she was still so depressed.
So depressed that she took her own life.
I could use a drink right about now. Every bone in my body is screaming for me to grab something, anything that will help me forget; to stop thinking. I need a release. I need something to fill this aching hole left in me; one I just dug a little deeper.
Thinking is the demon and my mind falls right into its trap.
“Kai? Are you alright?” a concerned voice asks. I forgot that I wasn’t alone. When she wants to, Callie can really make herself seem as if she’s not there.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Why?” I look over to the general vicinity of Callie’s bed. Her side of the room is completely dark already and the room is lit just by the little bit of light emitting from a small night lamp from my side.
“Kai,” she flips on the light, illuminating the entire room, and sits upright, “you were almost hyperventilating. And your voice is really husky too.”
Great. I can’t even control my damn emotions anymore. “Sorry, didn’t mean to wake you up. But I’m okay,” I lie. I am far from okay right now. Callie’s eyes land onto mine and with the way she was looking at me, I could tell that she didn’t believe me for even a second.
Callie starts to talk again, but before she can get more than a few words out, I cut her off. “I’m just gonna get some air.” I jump up from my bed, grabbing my phone from the side table and rushing out the door. I know the point of this place is to get analyzed, but I can’t stand that right now. I can’t take the judgment that inevitably comes with the analyzing.
The second the cool summer air hit me, I feel instant relief. There’s just something about the cold air that’s soothing to the soul. I take in a deep breath, letting the air almost wash out my insides.
Using my phone as a flashlight, I head down to the lake. It’s dark outside, but the moon and the stars provide a good amount of light that I eventually turn the flashlight off, taking in the natural light.
It’s comforting to know that there is this vast world in front of us with billions of people suffering in their own ways; with life being given and taken away at the same time.
I can’t help but wonder how many people out there are like Emma; like me.
I’m so lost in thought that I didn’t hear the “Hey,” which a voice from the darkness calls.
“Oh shit!” I exclaimed, jumping back and a hand flying to my chest. “Hayden?” I ask once the figure reveals himself from the dark and into the light.
“Yeah. Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you,” he says, looking back over the lake. He’s still wearing the same hoodie with the hood still up, resting his head against the trunk of the tree.
“You’re good. I didn’t realize that anyone was out here this late.” I take a seat beside him, pulling my knees to my chest and hugging them in tightly.
“Well, most people don’t have fucked up brains and can sleep like a normal person,” he retorts.
“Trust me, I know fucked up,” I deadpanned. “I threw myself at bottles of alcohol, downing a whole bottle within a few days.” I had saved up money from many summer jobs and babysitting throughout the years. Whenever I went to get a refill, I would buy in bulk. I had enough that it would last me a week and a half before I needed to hit another store.
“And you’re not an alcoholic yet, how?”
I pick up a rock, twisting it around my fingers before skipping it in the lake. “Don’t know, don’t care. I just want a bottle now.” I wish I had snuck some in somehow. I know I could’ve found a way.
Hayden chuckles dryly. “Don’t we all.” I wordlessly handed him a rock and he sends it flying. “Don’t we all.”
And so we sit in bliss silence, with nothing but the sound of rocks skipping on the water and the crickets chirping.
The next morning, right before our first official group therapy, I head over to Ryder’s cabin, needing to be with the only person left who understands me. The only person in the world who I trust not to pull the trigger on me.
I pound on the door, already hearing grumbling voices from the other side. It’s already 8 am, which means the boys should be awake by now.
“Who the fuck --” Hayden grumbles, opening the door. “Kai? Um, hi?” Hayden stutters once he sees me. He is currently standing half-naked, the only thing he has is on is his boxers. I give him a quick overlook, trying not to stare at his ripped body.
I knew this boy was a football player, but those abs? Damn. Who knew the boy underneath the hoodie was ripped?
“Hayden,” I say, nonchalantly. “I need to talk to Ryder.” I look him directly in the eye, not giving him the satisfaction that I was checking him out. If they realize that you were drooling over them, it gets to their heads. I’ve seen it first hand with Ryder.
“Oh, yeah. Of course.” He moves to the side, nodding his head towards where Ryder is, who is still in bed.
“And Hayden?” I say without turning around.
“Put on a t-shirt or something. You may have an impressive body, but there’s no need to brag.” I hover myself over Ryder’s body, staring at him to see if he’s awake or not. Most times, he could be wide awake and still act as if he’s sleeping. And he’s good at it too.
The door slams shut. “Damn, are you always this blunt?”
“Yes. Yes, she is. And it’s can get fucking annoying,” Ryder’s voice chimes in, eyes still closed. Guess this time he was awake.
“Move your ass over,” I demand, ready for his familiar warmth. “And you love me.”
He scoots over and makes some room for me. “You keep telling yourself that, Kai.”
Hayden looks at us weirdly while he pulls on a t-shirt. The same look that over half of the school gave us before Ryder and Emma started dating, sometimes after that too. “You guys are weird. Are you guys dating or something?” There it is. I never understood why people thought we were dating. Can’t a guy and a girl just be friends?
I look at Ryder, giving him the same look he’s giving me. “No. Never,” we say in unison. We’ve always been and always will be best friends.
That will never change.
The door opens again, this time Zack coming in. “Jayden wants us at the tree in 10.” He heads to his bed, grabbing something before looking over at me and Ryder, but doesn’t say anything. Hayden mumbles something else before following Zack out of the cabin, leaving the 2 of us.
“What’s wrong?” Ryder asks me once the door closes, still holding me in his embrace, his hot skin feeling cool against mine.
“I don’t want to spill my guts to everyone Ry. I can barely do it to professionals as it is.”
Ryder rests his head on top of mine. “I know, Kai. I’m not looking forward to it either. But, we promised to give it a try.”
And once again, the golden boy strikes. “I hate when you’re right.” Ryder laughs, snorting slightly. “Go get ready you big lump of clay.”
“I can’t if you’re sitting on me, turd wipe,” Ryder grunts, playfully shoving me off the bed. But I end up falling out anyways. And fall straight on my ass. Painfully.
I turn to look at him from my spot on the ground. “Ry! You actually shoved me off!”
“You should’ve seen your face!” Ryder cackles, rolling around in his bed laughing. He mocks my facial expression, which happens to be a mix of disbelief and confusion before going back to laughing. I hop up and go straight to Ryder’s nipple and twist it. Hard.
He mumbles a bunch of curse words, groaning the whole time. “Next time, that will be your balls,” I threatened.
“Jesus fuck, Kai,” he continues to moan. I chuckle at the sight of him withering in pain. Is it mean? Totally. Did he deserve it? Most definitely.
“Ry, Jesus doesn’t fuck. You know this,” I tsk at him, shaking my head. He was already pissed off, and this was not helping, but it’s so entertaining. “Now, get ready. We have less than 5 minutes to get to the tree and it takes at least 2 minutes to get there if we run.” I plop down on the other side of his bed, nudging him with my foot.
Ryder flips on his side so he’s facing me. “Go. To. Hell.”
“Right. After. You.” And with that, I push him off the bed. Once I hear him groan, I lean back against the wall, smiling to myself.