College Crush

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Lily knocks on the door and peeks her head in.

“Hey,” she says.

“Hey,” I respond.

“Frank took the kids to the park. Do you want to hang out with me? Like, go for a walk maybe? Something along those lines?”

“Sure. Why not?”

“What are you up to?”

“I’ve been sitting here trying to get some work done but my brain isn’t really working.”

“Why do you think that is?”

“Probably because I keep thinking about everything else under the sun aside from what I’m supposed to be thinking of. I can’t really control it either.”

“Everything under the sun, like what?”

“Like… isn’t it so shell-shocking to think about the fact that we only get to live this one life… and you sit back sometimes and think about how THIS is how you’re living it. We only get older and we just keep aging everyday… we’re going to keep aging until one day our bodies are too old to function anymore, and then we will die. I mean… unless some other random form of death happens to us instead, like a car crash or a serial murderer or something… THIS is how I’m spending my one life. Days of nothingness. Emptiness. Loneliness. And what’s worse is that I don’t even know how to fix it.”

“That is really dark, Lori. Do you always think like that?”

“Yeah. Kind of.”

“You can live a fulfilling life, you know.”

“Well, what would make life feel fulfilling? Because some people would say having children does that, but I’m not entirely sure that is true. I would fuck up the mind of any child I brought into this world because I would be a shitty mother and that type of thinking would just sit on my conscious.”

“That isn’t true… motherhood naturally changes a lot of things about a woman.”

“I don’t see it changing this,” I tell her, pointing at my head.

I’m instantly triggered, thinking about my own mother. The way she was before she passed away. I remember writing a note about her when I was about to finish my senior year of high school. It was cruel but it was honest in my opinion. I had plans of sharing it with her but I never did.

I flip open my laptop and search through the history of my word documents to find it. There are so many things I started writing up without completing… things dating all the way back to high school.

So many first lines, first paragraphs, first chapters…

I find myself opening up all of these stories and ideas that I know I won’t be able to finish anytime soon.

The first doc I open is filled with a bunch of scattered thoughts:

The fewer fucks you give, the happier you’ll be. Lately, I just don’t care about losing friends anymore.

Attractive people find me attractive…? That’s still weird to me I guess. I never thought I was ugly or anything but I don’t believe I’m anything special either. Imagine actually being a girl who knows how pretty she is. I bet the world is an oyster for a girl like that.

Is it normal for me to be this disgusted by the male gender? I had to cut him off… he just wasn’t a person I wanted to have in my space anymore. But I told him he’d be fine. “One day you’ll make some girl happy. You’ll know just what to say and do. Because I showed you.” He said he didn’t want to make some other girl happy. He wanted it to be me.

I said,

“That sucks”

Depression is a dark abyss. I feel like I used to have real feelings but they just like… withered up and disappeared. I don’t know what’s real.

“What are you looking at?” Lily asks.

“Nothing. Just some bullshit I wrote down in high school.”

I click to open the note about my mother and hand the laptop to Lily to read it.

She thought she’d find peace in love.

She thought she’d meet “the one” and that her heart would finally begin to repair itself. All of its shattered pieces would remarkably find their way back together.

She thought she’d find peace in success.

Struggle through college for a reliable degree, snag a dependable job in her field. Financial woes thrown out the window, concerns for the future eradicated… comfort and coziness in the stability.

She thought she’d find peace in motherhood.

A redirection of her attention and affection towards a brand-new beam of life which she could help sculpt and guide. A chance to relive her youth vicariously through her spawn… not make the same mistakes and provide for her child everything that she never had herself.

She thought she’d find peace in God.

The omnipresent, all-powerful, supernatural Entity up above the clouds. She held onto the hope that although it felt as though she was sending her anguished words up into an empty sky every time she sat down to pray, God truly was up there listening, collecting all of her anxiety and trepidation.

But she wasn’t peaceful. And she knew.

The only way she’d find her peace was through death.

The beauty of release. Relief. Permanent freedom.

Absence from mental agony.

An ending to this exponentially torturous game called “life”.

“Mom was not suicidal,” she responds as she finishes the last line.

“I know,” I mumble. “I think I wrote that note thinking that I was thinking of her but I was really thinking of… myself.”

“How old were you when you wrote this?”

“Seventeen I believe.”

I glance out the window and take a deep breath.

“You were so young to have written this,” Lily says to me, “It’s like a darkness has taken over your entire body. Your head. It’s so…”

“You don’t have to say it. I already know. It’s not like I’m doing this on purpose.”

I grab my cardigan and we walk downstairs together to go on a walk.

The outdoor air smells much different here than it does back home. Not that it’s better or anything. Just different. The sky looks different here for some reason too.

It feels like I’m in a simulation or something.

How could any place feel so heartfelt and family-oriented? So warm and welcoming?

“How long are you planning on staying here?” my sister finally asks, after we’ve been walking a while.

“I’m not sure... But I would never overstay anybody’s welcome. If you and Frank want me out of here, I can go.”

“No, it isn’t that at all. I’m just curious to know what you’re running away from.”

“Why do I have to be running away from something to come out and visit you?”

“You don’t. It’s just that the evidence and circumstances seem to be stacked up that way.”

“I honestly don’t know anymore. My life is just going in this really strange direction that I don’t understand anymore.”

“I know you hate to hear this from me but I feel like I should tell you…”

“Tell me what?”

“That I used to feel the exact same way that you did. Until I stopped blaming God and figured out what it meant to be a forgiving person.”

I cross my arms and scoff, looking away from her towards the mountains.

“It’s how I met Frank… I never would have met him if I was still the bitter, angry person I was before.”

“Different strokes for different folks,” I say to her, sarcastically.

“It’s the same stroke for everyone when it comes to this actually,” she responds flatly.

I shrug off her words and keep walking.

“One evil person is not the definition of Christianity. Pastor Partridge was supposed to lead us in the right direction but instead, obviously, he led us astray. That doesn’t make God’s existence any less valid. I had to find my way to God by myself. We all do.”

She reaches over to rub my back and my initial response is to push her away. But instead, I let her.

It reminds me of when we were really young, riding our bicycles. I crashed into some bushes and fell off of my bike and she did that very same thing. She gently rubbed my back. Didn’t say anything. Just stood there waiting for me to calm down and feel okay again enough to keep riding.

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