One step. Two step. Three.
Jared is currently helping me up the stairs since I refused crutches.
I've finally been released from that awful hospital, and I couldn't be happier. But the problem is, now that I'm out, where the hell do I start?
Jared hasn't had a lot of injuries, his hand is still healing. He insisted on helping me get back to the house on his own.
Jared and I live in one of the richest suburbs of this entire town, our parents renting out apartments right below one another. It's a privilege really, but so is walking properly, and as I look down at my bandaged knee, I can only help but think; what's the point of living here, when you can't even do the things that you used to?
I can't walk properly, I can't think straight, I can't even look at a building that high anymore.
"Cece?" Jared asks me, "You sure you can make it to the concert on Friday? You're not in the best state-"
"I'll try to, Jared." I said as we reached my apartment floor.
He walked me to the door once again, carefully, slowly. I opened it, and was immediately blown away at the scenery.
A ton of balloons greeted us, and Jared tried his best to fight them away so we could get to the living room. After a whole hoard of balloons and fighting for our lives, I saw my parents by the couch , their grins all the way to their foreheads.
"Cecelia! So glad you're back!" My dad stood up to hug me, making sure not to squeeze me too tight because he was scared of the pain I might feel.
"Thank you, dad." I hugged him back, and sat down in front of them, Jared next to me.
"So, how are you feeling?"
I sighed. It was the same question I had been accustomed to hearing every of the month. It didn't hurt to say the same lie I used to, because I wouldn't want them to worry about me.
"I'm alright." I murmured, "What's in your hands?"
My mom fiddled with the pamphlet in her hand, "So we thought you and Jared would do well at this place."
Jared and I traded glances.
She handed me the pamphlet, and I took a chance to look at it.
Welcome to Sunnyvale Safe Haven!
Here, we will make sure your child has an unforgettable summer. A summer full of surprises, fun, and most importantly, healing.
Hope to see you soon!
I looked at the pictures. The place was located in the mountains, and I felt a small shiver up my spine. It looked so warm and cozy, the teens on the picture having fun. But that didn't faze me. They were up to something, they always were.
"What's this for?"
"Well, dear..it's a great chance to feel like yourself again! I mean, they have various games and spas and basically treatment for people just like you-"
"What do you mean people just like me?" I asked, Jared's hand tightening around mine.
"Sweetie, you're suffering from trauma, and I thought this place would be great for you and Jared."
"Me?!" Jared let go of my hand, "Why am I going?"
"Because if you go, that's how Cece is going to agree to going too." My father spoke, "We already spoke to your parents and they agreed to it."
"But, that is so not fair!" He stood up, "I'm fine!"
"Right, sure you are." My mother scoffed, "You've grown angrier, and obviously you need to work on that. And Cece, you haven't had your golden smile in a while, so this place might be the place for you to heal from the... accident. There are experienced therapists there too."
My father smiled, "Will you go there? There are so many options there, you should go and have fun, learn, grow..."
"Fine, I'll think about it." I muttered, "Can I please go to my room now?"
"We need an answer by tonight, because it starts on Monday!" My dad yelled as Jared led me to the bedroom.
"Gosh, your parents are super persistent." Jared laughed as he swinged his legs back and forth on my desk.
I just stared at him, then at the wall. My mind was covered with a lot of questions, and a lot of thoughts. Some were good, and the rest were just bad.
My parents were right at some point. I wasn't myself, I knew that. But to go to a centre in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of kids that I don't even know? Now, that's just not a plan.
But at the same time I need to heal. Get back out there. I can't be confined to these walls forever. These walls may try to contain me and protect me, but sometimes...you just don't need protection.
"I think we should go." I murmured, looking back down at the pamphlet.
I stared up at him, the pamphlet in my hand. He looked confused, and I was probably more confused than he was. But I was sure. My words were real. And there was no way I was backing out.
"You heard me."
Jared went home.
My parents hugged me ever so lightly and I looked at the pamphlet once more. I knew they were happy, and I was too. Maybe something different could happen, or maybe not. But I was ready to find out.
"Tyrone, can you leave us alone for a minute?" My mother asked my father.
He nodded and kissed my forehead, going straight to his room.
My mother sat down. She stared at me and caressed my cheek.
"My daughter is stunning, you know that?"
"And she needs to know, that it is not her fault. Not at all."
"But, how do you know that?" I whispered, a teardrop falling, "It's my fault I can't even do the things I used to. Track, run, hike, climb- it's all my fault."
"It's not." She smiled, "And you're going to see that soon."