At The Edge Of Hopelessness

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“Are you sure you want to go?” Alesha asked Leah as she sits on her bed. Leah rolled her eyes and sighed, “For the tenth time – yes, I am sure.” Leah replied. Alesha shrugged, “Alright, ” She replied short. Being Alesha’s best friend since third grade, Leah doesn’t need to hear the words from Alesha to know how much she disproves her idea of attending Emmett’s twentieth birthday party in Mississippi. She put the black fitted dress on her bed and sat on the bed in front of Alesha – who was going through Leah’s jewelry box. Alesha glanced at her friend sitting in front of her, but she doesn’t say a word and keep looking for matching earrings for Leah to wear.

When Alesha didn’t speak, Leah rolled her eyes. “I know you think it is a bad idea, but how can I not go when he himself invited me? And also, I completely over him, ” She waves her hand dismissively at which Alesha raised her eyebrow as she looks at her friend. Leah knows that just lied to her friend and she also knows that Alesha doesn’t buy her lies. “Leah, you are going to hurt yourself, ” Alesha said to her. “I am sorry I am being so blunt to you right now, but you need to hear this.” She continued, “Emmett made it very clear last year that he isn’t into you – he even has a girlfriend, for God’s sake. His girlfriend is arranging the party – a party that his girlfriend is throwing for him at her father’s beach house.” She emphasized.

Leah sighed and got up from the bed, “Well, I am not the only one going – everyone Emmett knows will be there. Austin is going as well – then why is it so bad to go when he invited me?” She tried to reason. Alesha rolled her eyes, “Your brother isn’t in love with Emmett, Leah, and besides that Austin and Emmett are best friends – of course, he will go. And please – he didn’t actually invite you, you just happen to be there when he told Austin about the party and he asked you out of courtesy – not because he really wants you there. I hardly doubt that he will be expecting you to be there.” Alesha’s words were hurtful for Leah.

Leah scowled, “Alesha if you can’t support then don’t undermine me either. I am just going because he invited me and we will be staying there for a night – I am sick and tired of college and work – I just need a weekend of fun and that’s what I am going to do – I am going to have fun at his birthday party.” She replied to her friend. Alesha waved her hand in the air, “Fine, but don’t come crying when you see Donna and Emmett together.” Alesha said hotly before she walked out on Leah.

Leah blew her cheeks out before she picks her bathing suit from the bed in her hand before putting it back and sitting beside the unpacked small bag she is supposed to take with her. Alesha and Leah often have such fights – it was regular for them. They will be fine – Leah knows, but Alesha said to her lingers in her mind. Alesha has been warning her for the longest time to try to move on from Emmett. Leah knows that Emmett doesn’t feel the same for her – he made it clear when he politely turned her down last year, but still, she had a hope somewhere in her that one day Emmett might see how much she likes him.

Leah doesn’t know when she actually fell for Emmett. She can’t tell the time when she realized she was in love with him. She can’t tell the exact day either. Her love for him piled up a little bit little since they met when she was nine and he was ten. He has always been caring for her. He has always been supportive, gentle, and warm to her that she could help but plunge into his loving nature and before she could process – she was in love with him.

Her brother, Austin knows about it too, but he doesn’t know that Emmett had turned her down once – Leah asked Emmett not to tell him. She knows how much best of the friends they are – she doesn’t want to ruin it. Alesha can judge her all she wants, but she doesn’t know how much Leah tried to forget about him, but how could she when he was always around – being the personable Emmett he is around her. Leah is unaware of how she will stop but she knows she will have to. She doesn’t blame her best friend either – she must look crazy, but that’s how she feels for him.

Leah lay on her bed while she stared at the ceiling. She just couldn’t get Alesha’s words off her mind. Leah was being too desperate. Where she wants to stop loving Emmett, she also wants to see him. She runs her fingers through her hair – even she doesn’t know what she really wants. She blew her cheeks out and picked her phone from her side and dialed Alesha’s number. She couldn’t stay mad at her best friend – she had to talk to her. After a couple of rings Alesha picked up, “I was waiting for your call, ” Alesha spoke first. She paused and sighed, “Listen, I am sorry – I shouldn’t be so mean to you. You are my best friend and I should be there for you, but you are been so stupid.” Alesha complained.

Leah chuckled and rolled onto her stomach, “I know, ” She accepts before she groaned tiredly, “What am I supposed to do, Alesha? How can I forget him?” Leah asked her softly. Alesha was silent for a few seconds before she replied, “I know it is hard, babe. I know.” She spoke softly. Leah could feel her eyes getting stung by the glossiness of her eyes, “I have tried everything. Maybe – just maybe if I will see them happy together. I might realize how I have no place in his heart. I know it will hurt me, but maybe my stupid heart wants to learn the hard way, ” She replied. Alesha wanted nothing but to embrace her friend in a tight hug. They both were silent for few seconds before Alesha broke the tension, “So, how many bathing suits will you take with you?” She asked. “Take the sexiest ones – let him know what he is missing.” She added causing Leah to laugh.

“Why don’t you come with me as well?” I asked her. “What am I going to do there? It is your brother’s best friend’s birthday – I don’t even know him.” She replied. Leah twisted my lips, “Please? I will get bored and also, I have seen some of Austin and Emmett’s friends – they are hot!” She raised her eyebrow suggestively. Alesha was quiet for few seconds before she continued, “I am listening, ” she said. Leah chuckled, “It will be fun. His birthday celebration is at midnight – the party will go on till the morning. It will be so fun if you will be there as well. Please, come with me?” I asked in a small voice. “Damn, some fancy-ass girlfriend he has got.” She comment which Leah ignored and kept asking her till she agreed.

Leah opened her eyes as she heard the children playing in the playground just outside the school. She didn’t realize she was so deep in memories. She blinked and blinked until she could feel the glossiness of her eyes fade. She sighed as she recalled her phone call with her best friend almost five years ago. If only she would have listened to Alesha that day – if only. She gulped down the gulp she felt in her throat when she heard her office’s door open, “Ms. Reed, Mrs. Pattison is on the call right now. She is asking you can move her today’s appointment to tomorrow. Elf isn’t feeling so well today.” Leah’s assistant, Andrea asked. Leah curled her lips into a small smile and nodded, “It is alright. I will see Nate tomorrow. Ask her to give my love to him, ” She replied. “Okay, ” Andrea replied before Leah heard her door softly closing.

Leah has been working for a non-profit organization for children that go through trauma. She couldn’t complete her education to become a licensed psychiatrist after the incident five years ago, so she started to work for this firm where she just talks to children and try to make them feel better. She loves her job – it makes her feel better as well. It was difficult for her to continue living after the incident. She struggled to survive each second and after almost two years she started to get used to the changes that were caused to her due to the shooting that took place at Emmett’s twentieth birthday party. Since Elf was the last one to be there – she was free early today.

Leah traced her fingers over her wristwatch. Her fingers felt the Braille dots. Austin is supposed to take her cemetery today at four and it was thirty past three – there was still half an hour for her to spare. She stretched her hand out to feel the table beside her on her right and stood up slowly with the help of it. She searched for her white cane over the table that she folded and put on the table. When she felt it under her hands – she picked it up and unfolded it as she once again heard the door of her office open. It wasn’t Andrea this time. It was from Austin. She could smell the rosewood scent he uses. She smiled, “Aren’t you early?” She asked.

She could imagine him smiling, “Yes, I got a half-day today, so I thought I should come earlier. I thought you would be busy.” He said. Leah slowly walked closer to her brother. She didn’t need to use her cane in her office of her house – she knows where exactly what is and at how much distance it is. She had it all measured. She stopped a few feet away from him, “Yes, my last appointment was postponed at the last minute, but it’s good since you are here early anyway.” She replied. There was a pause before she heard him sigh. It wasn’t a regular sigh – she knows this one too. He was going to propose something. Leah even knows what exactly. Leah chuckled and softly shook her head, “We go through this each year, Austin. Yes, I have to go to the cemetery today. You know I go to their graves every day for a week before the anniversary. I will do the same this time as well, ” She answered his unspoken question. She could imagine Austin thinking before he replied, “Alright then, I will buy you ice-cream after that, ” He said. Leah grinned, “Deal, ” She replied. She imagined a broad smile on her brother’s face – she can only imagine since she can’t see – not anymore.

The car ride to the cemetery was quiet as usual. Leah sighed and rubbed her palms together, “Austin, can you believe it will be five years next week? It is still so fresh on my mind.” Leah asked him as usual and as usual, he didn’t reply – he never does.

Leah can hear silence. She has heard so many of those. She can hear the awkward silence. She can hear the pity silence. She can hear the angry silence – she knows all of them, but Austin’s silence is void. It has been five years and she is still trying to figure out his silence – it is pitch black – just like her sight. Austin’s silence has gone empty – she doesn’t hear them nor can she feel them and that scares her. Her brother has gone quiet – too quiet that she is afraid he might get lost in it and might never find his way out – or maybe he is already there. Maybe he is lost.

The car ride was filled with the silence – Austin’s silence. The car came to stop and Leah was welcomed by the smell of roses. She smiled as she remembered how the entrance to the cemetery is decorated with different kinds of roses – or so she has been told. Austin once told her about them when she asked why could she smell the roses when they first come to visit. She unfolded her cane and stepped out of the vehicle. She could feel a few small rocks beneath her feet indicating her to be careful as she walks. She closed the car’s door behind and as usual, she didn’t hear Austin get out of the car. I don’t think he has visited the cemetery after the funerals.

Leah was surprised when she heard the door of the car open. She smiled as she felt him walk closer to him until he stood close enough to her to smell the lilies. Her smile dropped as she realized that he wasn’t coming in with her as she thought – he came out to give her lilies she bought on the way to the cemetery. She sighed, “Why don’t you come with me?” She asked only to be answered by complete silence. She sighed and nodded her head, “Alright, I will not take long. I will be right back.” She said and slowly walked toward the entrance as she tapped her cane on the ground ahead of her.

As soon as she entered in – she did what she always does. She took her shoes off and step on the fresh and crisp grass. She held her shoes in one hand and her cane in her second while she clutches the lilies under her arm as she walked while counting her steps. She walked a hundred straight then seventy-eight steps right and finally twelve steps left – she was finally there. She recognized the smell around her grave. She breathes in the sweet air and sighed before she spoke softly, “Hey, Alesha.”

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