Mending Heart

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Chapter 14

I Am Not Okay

“It’s okay that we’re not perfect. It’s okay that we all have problems. It’s okay to cry, to show emotions.”


The tricky thing about depression is that it’ll hit you when you least expect it.

It took me a while to admit to myself that it’s not normal to spend all weekend in your apartment with the curtains drawn and Netflix playing in the background. Or that when you meet your best friend for coffee and they ask you how you are, the appropriate response isn’t to burst into tears.

Yeah – that last one went over really well with Megan who would not stop calling me every hour for an entire week after that incident.

Unfortunately, depression doesn’t just knock on your door and announce itself. No – it’ll creep up on your gradually, and then all at once until you don’t know how to function anymore.

Getting out of bed in the morning becomes a struggle, you begin to make up excuses about being busy to avoid seeing your friends and family, and most importantly you wake one morning asking yourself what do I have to live for.

No – I am not suicidal. I want to live, more than anything. I’m just having a hard time finding the will to do so at the moment.

Most days are manageable, but then something happens and I just can’t bring myself to get out of bed for three days because I’m so angry and hurt.

Take this past weekend for example.

And for what? A lying cheating scumbag?

Apparently.

I wanted everything I was feeling to just go away. Not even the weed and alcohol could make me feel better. All it did was numb the pain for the moment, until the next morning when reality came crashing down again.

Then after the self-pity, came the anger. Anger towards myself for allowing someone that isn’t even a part of my life anymore to have such a hold on me, and anger towards the world for being happy while I was miserable.

And then of course there was Ethan.

Sweet, gentle Ethan who was the perfect gentleman even when dealing with my crazy shit.

Having a full-blown breakdown with tears and snot running down your face in front of your boss and the guy you’re sleeping with is not how I imagined my night going.

I thought for sure he would be gone by the time I woke up this morning, but he once again managed to surprise me when I woke up with his arm still wrapped securely around my waist and his hand aimlessly playing with my hair.

Maybe he wasn’t so bad after all, I thought. Maybe he was worth getting to know rules be damned.

Hearing the water in the bathroom shut off, I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to face him.

I had insisted on putting on my big girl pants this morning and going into the office, but Ethan said he would tell them I was taking a personal day. Who was I to deny a day off work?

When I heard the bathroom door open, my head snapped in that direction and my eyes ogled. A very wet and half-naked Ethan stood in the doorway with a smirk plastered across his face.

“See something you like, Cupcake?” His lips twitched upwards as he slowly approached the bed.

“Pst!” I snorted. “Some coffee and breakfast would be nice.”

With you on the side as dessert.

“As much as I would love to spend the morning with you,” He replied, beginning to get dressed. “I have a meeting at seven this morning.”

Glancing down at my phone, it was already half-past six. “Looks like you’re going to be late.”

He shrugged buttoning up his shirt. Once he was fully dressed, he sat down beside me on the bed. “Look McKenzie... about last night,” I stared at him expectantly. Looks like I’m not getting out of the about last night speech. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Rolling my eyes, I said, “Yes Ethan. I’m fine.”

Some days are just harder than others.

He continued to eye me skeptically. “Have you thought about maybe talking to someone?”

“Talking to someone?” My eyebrows furrowed together in confusion.

“Yes.” He gently took my hands into his. “Like maybe a... a therapist.”

“A therapist?” I asked snatching my hands out of his. “I don’t need to see a therapist.”

“I think maybe, that would help you work through some of this.” His eyes pleaded with me.

“Work through some of what?” My eyebrows knitted together. Sure - I was a little depressed, but so what? So are millions of other people in this country. “I’m sorry to break it to you, but you don’t even know me. And for you to even suggest that I need therapy? You’re out of line.”

“Because you won’t tell me anything!” He exclaimed. “No matter how many times I try to get you to open up to me, you won’t let yourself tell me anything that isn’t some generic made up bullshit you thought of on the spot.”

“Because it’s none of your damn business!” I snapped, throwing the covers off and standing up. Although the spotty vision was back, Ethan didn’t need to know that.

I really should eat something, I thought.

A glint of anger flashed across his face before he quickly masked it. Ethan briefly looked down at his flashing phone, and then back up at me, “Look McKenzie – I have to go, but have dinner with me tomorrow night.”

Holding his gaze, I sighed. “I’ll think about it.”

The truth was, I wanted to say yes in a heartbeat because spending time with him felt effortless. However, I wasn’t ready to let him know that.

Not yet anyway.

Grabbing his keys wallet off the nightstand, he stopped in front of me and leaned down to kiss my cheek. “Call me if you need anything.”

Nodding, I stood my ground and watched him close the bedroom door behind him.

............

After Ethan left, I took a long cold shower in an attempt to wake myself up and look more lively. It definitely did the trick in waking me up, but it also left me freezing cold and in desperate need of a pair of sweats and fuzzy socks.

When I walked into the kitchen, I found Zoey sitting at the island munching on some waffles and smiling down at her phone.

This girl is always eating.

“Morning,” I said, heading straight for the coffee maker. Luckily, caffeine addiction runs in the family, and there was a fresh pot of coffee already made.

“Look who finally decided to come out of hibernation!” Zoey smirked, bringing a steaming mug up to her lips.

“Ha-ha. Very funny.” I rolled my eyes, reaching for the sugar.

“Did I say something that wasn’t true?” She challenged.

“Eat your breakfast and shut up.”

“And she’s back!”

As I waited for my own waffles to come out of the toaster, Zoey spoke again. “Are you going to tell me what happened on Saturday that had you in such a... mood?”

Of course, she didn’t magically forget the past seventy-two hours.

I was conflicted on whether or not I should tell her. A part of me wanted to get it off my chest, but I also didn’t want to tell her because she should be worrying about eighteen-year-old girl things – not my hot mess. But, I also know that if I didn’t tell her she was never going to let it go, and I would risk her moving in with me permanently.

As much as I loved my sister, I loved my privacy more.

“I ran into Justin while I was at Nordstrom’s.” I busied myself with brushing off the non-existent lint from my sweater.

“And?” She asked expectantly.

“He wasn’t alone.” I refused to meet her curious gaze as I took a seat across from her. Cutting a small portion of the stacked waffles, I took a large bite.

“Well, who the hell was he with?”

“His girlfriend – Erika.” It took every bit of willpower I have not to roll my eyes at the mere mention of her name. She had always been so friendly every time I’d visit Justin’s office. Little did I know she was actually screwing my husband behind my back. “Who is about eight months pregnant.”

“You’re lying!” Zoey shrieked, her mouth agape.

“Nope.” I shoved another forkful of gooey maple syrup-covered waffles in my mouth.

Frozen waffles taste so much better when you haven’t eaten in two days.

“I’m gonna kill him.” I heard Zoey mutter under her breath. “I knew there was a reason I didn’t like him.

Dislike would be an understatement. As a matter of fact, I could think of a couple of other adjectives to describe their relationship – or lack there of.

“Anyway,” I shot her a look that said let it go. “It just took me by surprise, that’s all.”

“Well, no shit Sherlock!” She snapped. I’m pretty sure she was about to reach across the island and throttle me, but she opened and closed her mouth a few more times before a sympathetic look overtook her. The angry creases on her forehead quickly disappeared and were replaced by a frown. “I’m really sorry Kenz.”

“It is what it is.” I shrugged, taking both of our plates and walking them over to the sink. You live and move on, there was no sense in dwelling on it anymore.

Until the next time you go into a depressive episode, the annoying voice in the back of my head reminded me.

“I’m staying home with you today.” Zoey declared.

“Nice try,” I laughed, turning on the water to wash the dishes. “But you have school.”

“And?”

“And you have to go to school.”

“It’s senior year.”

“And?”

“And there is this thing called ditching that I know you used to do all the time back when you were my age.”

She had me there.

“Touché.” I flashed her a smile over my shoulder. “Well, my little rule breaker, what would you like to do today?”

The truth is, I was not okay and I don’t know when I’ll ever be. But for now, nobody needed to know that.

__________________________________________________________________________

Kenzie is obviously struggling with her mental health, and her view on it is not a healthy one nor one that I approve of. However, this book is about character development and growth so before you judge her too harshly, wait to see how the rest of the book plays out.

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