FLAME

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Trouble in paradise


Have you ever felt useless in life? When someone you love is in anguish, you know they are in pain but you don't know why and therefore you don't know how to help them. How does that feel? How does it feel to watch them drown from aside? You don't know swimming and there is no one you can approach to help. Every time you see them crying alone hiding from the world, do you feel that splitting pain in your heart? Do you feel worthless standing in the shade watching them not even able to wipe their tears? Because that was how I felt whenever I saw Jay.

I thought everything would be fine the next day after that controversial argument with Vian. I mean it was not like we never had arguments all those years. Jay and Vian were the ones who fought the most. Even then we never left each other's side, and I guess that was why we were never able to be mad at each other for so long. But I realized how wrong I was when I saw Vian in school.

Jay was quiet all morning. He didn't talk unless he needed to. He looked like he was in a constant state of thinking about something and I didn't know how to get it out of him. He still didn't talk about what exactly happened that day at his home.

We reached the school in awkward silence and waited for Vian under our favorite tree where I met him first. Jay moved slowly away from me and leaned on the tree trunk. Within a minute or so I could say that his mind slipped away from the present.

It was sad for me to look at him like that. He wasn't ready to talk yet, and I don't know how to help him without him allowing me to. Jay used to be a closed person. He never shared things like his personal life and his problems with anyone that easily. Everyone thought that he was a happy person with no problems. He was the pillar of our friendship. If we didn't know better he could have fooled us too. But eventually, he learned to open up to me and Vian. He shared with me most of the things... things he thought that Vian might not understand.

But this time it was different. I could feel it in my guts. He built up a wall around him and locked himself inside. I don't know how to break it. Hell, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to. Because even if I did, I don't know how to help him. I felt hopeless standing there staring at my best friend who was losing his mind slowly.

After a minute or so, I realized I was looking at him so long. I sighed deeply and tried to focus on looking for Vian. I saw him walking past us with Hazel towards the school. I must have missed him while looking at Jay. But why didn't he call me? In confusion, I ran towards them calling his name. They both stopped and turned to look at me.

"Hey haze, Hey V," I greeted them while rapidly breathing because of the running.

"We were waiting for you. I guess you didn't notice us. Did you think that we went inside?" He must have thought that we waited for him near the locker inside the school like sometimes we do. Because there was no other explanation for what he did after years of going to class together.

"No, I saw you." He said casually like it was a usual thing for him.

"What?" I was shocked and confused.

"I told you, Ava, I don't want to do anything to do with him anymore. And the fact that you are hanging with him is not helping me," he said in annoyance.

"So you want me to abandon him too?" I was angry and didn't like the way he talked.

He didn't say anything back. So I wanted to give him one last nudge before I give up and go to Jay. I left him alone without saying anything.

"V, What is wrong with you? We are best friends. Friends don't abandon each other. Jay needs you now." I tried to convince him.

"You can talk to me when he is not with you. Otherwise don't bother." saying that he left with Hazel without looking back.

Suddenly everything around me felt weird and unusual.

Hazel didn't say a word about anything and left with Vian which was weird because I thought we were friends. Vian and Jay, both had bigger fights than this but they never walked away from each other. So Vian doing all this felt weird and deep down I was scared but I don't know why. Looking at the disappearing back of Vian, I sighed and turned around to look for Jay.

He was standing in the same position where I left him. I called him by his name, but he didn't seem to hear me. So I went near him and shook him by grabbing his shoulder out of the trance he was in.

"Jay,"

"Oh...Ava," He was surprised and looked here and there like he was just realizing his surroundings.

"Where's V?" He asked me.

"He went inside with Hazel. He is still angry." I said with a sad look expecting Jay to do something. After all, he is the mature one among us.

"Okay." But that was all he said and started walking towards the school. I wasn't even surprised anymore. I sighed and walked along with him.

All-day long, Jay looked like he was lost. He looked like he didn't care about anything. He left me behind once or twice for our class and lunch. So I followed him like a puppy everywhere.

I knew he wasn't doing that deliberately. His mind was just occupied. There was no space for anything else, so he was unable to see or mind the things around him. That includes me and Vian. He didn't realize that Vian wasn't even with us.

I noticed Vian looking at Jay during classes and when we were eating. Hazel and Vian sat alone at a different table. Jay didn't have a single bite, and that made me lose my appetite. I dumped the lunch in the dumpster followed by Jay and followed him out of the dining hall. I saw Vian dumping his lunch when we were about to leave the hall. Somehow that made me smile.

I knew he was concerned too. But I just couldn't figure out all this drama. What is that he is trying to achieve doing all this?

I was in my Art class, the final class for the day. I was so worried to leave Jay alone, and I can't wait to leave. He assured me that he would be ok but still, I couldn't stop regretting my decision to leave him and attend this useless class.

"Hey," I heard a voice beside me. I scrunched my face immediately after I saw who it was.

"Hi, the name's Ryan but you already knew that." He said with a wide smile and offering his hand to shake. If it was any other day I would have thought that his smile was beautiful and would have considered shaking his hand. But he just picked the wrong day to flirt with me.

"Ooookay," I said with an uninterested look and turned my head away in confusion.

"I noticed that you didn't look alright. Are you okay?" He asked me in a concerned tone. Again I would fall for it if it was another day.

I moved my chair away indicating that I wasn't interested in anything to do with him but I didn't know he could be persistent. He moved his chair near me again ignoring my action.

"What the hell do you want? Did Jackson put you up to this? Even if he did, now is not the good time. I won't be patient as before." I threatened him holding my pencil pointing towards him like I was about to stab him with it.

"Wow... wow." He raised his hands above his head in surrender.

"It wasn't like that... I mean..." he looked surprised by my action and stammered trying to find the right words.

"I think you need to move." I motioned him to move away from me with a glare. He didn't even hesitate. He moved his chair away from me without thinking twice but his eyes were on me for the whole time which I didn't care about.

Immediately after the bell rang, I ran outside looking for Jay. I only saw Vian and Hazel talking and laughing which made me feel bitter. Nevertheless, I walked to them and asked if they saw Jay. Part of me wanted to interrupt whatever the hell was going on there.

"I don't know," Vian said casually shrugging.

I was in a very bad mood that day. I don't know if it was because of Ryan but Vian's answer didn't make it any better. Even though I was worried, I let Jay go to his music class alone because I knew Vian will be there and I believed that he will keep an eye on him regardless. Now I am angry at myself for being so stupid. Had I known if this was the case, I would have gladly skipped my class and be with him.

"What is wrong with you?" I angrily shoved him and ran towards the class to find Jay.

I couldn't find him there. I ran to every other room in that building but I couldn't find him anywhere. I even went to the Principal's office and took a peek through the window to see if he was there by any chance but he wasn't there too. I went to the school ground where he used to play basketball and to the boy's changing room without any shame looking for him with no gain. I went back to find Vian where I saw him before to ask for help but I couldn't find him there as well.

I was worried and scared thinking that something wrong might happen to him.

Suddenly a thought popped into my head. 'Maybe he went home.' I ran all the way dripping in sweat and breathing rapidly. All the way my mind played all the chances of getting him hurt making me cry. Everything I saw what his father did to him, I couldn't get it out of my head. I was thinking about all those kinds of bad things while looking for him.

I was about to go to my home, but something inside me told me to walk to his home first. So I ran towards his house hoping that he wouldn't be there. I don't want to believe that I will find him there but just in case... I went there to check.

While I was running like hell thinking that something might happen to him, I saw him sitting inside an ice cream parlor on the way to his house. The one we used to go usually, the one that was Jay's favorite.

Suddenly stopping on my tracks made me stumble and I fell to the ground. Looking at him quietly eating his ice cream made me sigh in relief. I am sure it's vanilla ice cream, his favorite. I closed my eyes for a moment thanking God which made the pooled tears on my eyes fall.

I slowly stood up dusting my dirty dress and I saw some abrasions on my left palm. I must have landed on my palm when I fell and I couldn't move my wrist. It must have sprained or something.

Without giving a second thought about all of those, I walked into the shop and sat near Jay.

"You found me," Jay said noticing me sitting beside him.

"Of course," I said with a bright smile hiding everything I felt a few moments before. Worry... fear... sadness...

"I am sorry I didn't let you know. I didn't know I was here until I realized where I was." He said without looking at me.

I was able to understand what he was trying to say. He must have actually walked to his home and came here when he realized where he was going. I could say that it has something to do with his parents and I can see that he misses them besides everything that happened.

But what I don't understand is, why? Why after everything that happened and why after all these years? He wasn't like this before. Even I wondered how he could live without thinking about his parents as he did. What changed now?

I slowly took his hand between mine and leaned my head on his shoulder. "Please talk to me, Jay," I said trying to hide my croaking voice. I just couldn't bear seeing him breaking down like this.

He pulled his hand and his body away from me.

"Please let me help. I can't bear to see you like this. It kills me." I said trying to make him look at me.

"You can't help me," he said fidgeting his fingers.

"I can try," I said in a hopeful voice.

"How could you? When you are the problem." He finally said looking at me with tear-filled eyes.

I never thought that I would hear those words from Jay in my life.

When you try your best but don't succeed

When you get what you want but not what you need

When you feel so tired but you can't sleep

Stuck in reverse

The tears come streaming down your face

When you lose something you can't replace

When you love someone but it goes to waste

Could it be worse

Lights will guide you home And ignite your bones

And I will try to FIX YOU.


Enjoy reading - T



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