"You only cry for help if you believe there's help to cry for." - Wentworth Miller
It's been 763 days since I was raped. 541 days since I overdosed. 416 days since I last saw Derek.
Do you know when you have been repeatedly hurt and it stops hurting?
Imagine being shot, several times. Your body becomes numb to it, you stop feeling any pain. The adrenaline takes over.
That's how I felt this year, fuck, I'm not hurt, I'm not angry.
I'm utterly, uselessly empty, I feel nothing, complete void.
I'm constantly on autopilot mode, I do things because I have to, not because I care.
I don't want to die, I just wish I was never born.
Talking to other people is exhausting, I have to put on a mask, I have to pretend I care and understand them, I no longer do. I can't help it, I want to feel everything but my mind has shut down. I know it's a coping mechanism but I don't know how to change it, and if it's worth changing.
I swear on everything precious I lost, feeling something is better than not feeling anything at all.
"Is everything ready?" my mom asks and I nod as I pack everything. First-class on Monday.
Life is an endless routine, then we die.
"I'm going to miss you so much, it's going to be horrible without you here!" she says as she pulls me into a hug and I stand there mindlessly.
"I know but I'm going to come whenever I get the chance, and you know the campus isn't far." I force a little bit of enthusiasm in my voice. It's tiring to put on a mask every day.
Dominic and Shanice are in that college but I haven't talked to them in months. Shanice kept blaming me for...
I can't think about him.
I sent him letters for months, consistently, I went to all the visits until one day I stopped. It became clear De-, he doesn't want to see me.
I brush away my thoughts because I tried to not think about him too often, no need. It's over.
I just hope I'm in the same dorm as Nicole.
My major is business, I used to love it, now I chose it because it's what I'm best at when I don't pay much attention.
After I'm done with the baggage, I pick up the phone and call Nicole.
She picks it up fast. "Hey, Ronny. Let's get a coffee," she says and I agree.
We hang up after deciding where to meet.
No, not that coffee shop, another one. It's crazy to think they never found that man, I assume he just left town.
I spent several months not leaving my house alone, I was terrified of him finding me.
I used to think he killed my innocence, no, he killed me.
I died that morning.
I haven't told anyone what happened that morning, I hate to admit how guilty I still feel but what's even the point now? I'm 18 years old.
Rapists rarely pay for their crimes. Reporting him wouldn't make me feel any better. It wouldn't take back what happened.
I haven't used drugs since I left for rehabilitation. I don't need them because I already feel nothing. I guess all that cocaine finally settled in my brain.
I miss the euphoria it gave me, but not the withdrawal that made me want to kill myself.
I go to my room and I take out the pack of cigarettes hidden under the bed and I take a few cigarettes and the lighter.
My mom knows I smoke, she is tired of telling me to stop, she just asks me to stop smoking under her roof.
Yeah, I never said I gave up smoking.
I lit the cigarette and bring it to my lips, slightly between them. I take a big breath and I inhale the addictive toxic smoke and I keep it in for a few seconds, really focusing on it.
I lean out of the window and I finish the cigarette. I throw the cigarette butt on the lawn.
I change my clothes and apply a bit of makeup so I can look more alive and have people stop asking me if I'm ok when they don't care.
I sit next to Nicole as she orders a cappuccino, and a black coffee for me. This is our new hangout place since Louis left us... she didn't make it easy for him.
"I miss him..." Nicole says as if she was reading my mind.
"Louis?" I ask to make sure it's not about that particular idiot with blonde wavy hair and icy blue eyes.
"Y- yeah," she mutters as she fidgets with her phone, then she looks around to see if the cappuccino is done.
Something tells me she thought about James before answering.
We agreed to never speak about him again but sometimes I just feel how much she wishes to open up.
It's been a year and I now understand how hard it is to let go.
"I didn't want to cheat on him, I-," she takes a big breath of air and I want to take her hand and reassure her everything is going to be fine, but it will never be fine.
"But you did," I cut her off with a bitter tone.
I know I'm not perfect, but Louis didn't deserve that, no.
"Veronica, trust me, I don't know what went through my mind," she speaks slowly as she checks the time on her phone, slightly impatient. "I was so obsessed with Him, I truly thought he was the one."
I doubt the one could ever hit you.
I ignore my slightly judgmental thought and I let it slide, I know she was just a teenager. We all were.
Although being 18 doesn't change things that much, I always thought it was going to be the time of my life, now people suddenly expect me to be an adult when I lost my teen years which were supposed to be the best years.
"I hate to ask you this, but since I'm your friend-" We get interrupted by the waiter coming with a cappuccino and a strong black coffee.
Just something to keep me awake and alert, otherwise I'd seem dead inside — which wouldn't be far away from the truth.
"Thank you," we say to the waiter which looks around our age.
"You never talk about- you know who, and I know you want to."
I look at Nicole and I feel a lump in my throat and I try to quickly swallow it and gather my emotions.
Numbness is the way I deal with things, I ignore it happened, sometimes it comes naturally but sometimes...
It just gets the best of me.
"Don't." I stop her and she seems taken back by my authority.
"It's been a year and I know he never replied, yet, you still send him letters." She tugs her hair behind her ears and it seems to be something she does when she is nervous.
I am annoyed by her perseverance, but who the fuck told her I still send him letters?
"Dominic told me."
She read my mind, again. What does it mean that Dominic told her? How? So, Dominic has been lying to me, claiming that he hasn't visited Derek and... Derek is accepting his visits.
But he is ignoring me like I don't matter. He couldn't even bother to send me at least one letter.
And fuck, I can't even resent him. He saved me, I ruined his life. I don't think I could ever hate him.
He could do the worst to me and I would still love Derek Forster, as pathetic and unworthy I sound.
This keeps me up at night because I know hating him would be easier than loving him.
I suddenly realize my eyes are glassy and I blink the tears away as I look at the waiter just to not see Nicole's face.
"I'm sorry, I'm stupid. I shouldn't have brought that up."
No, it's better, so I can confront Dominic since he has been lying to me for thirteen months.
"That waiter is actually pretty cute." Nicole changes the subject but it fails miserably.
Good way to change it.
"Then get his number," I mumble almost paying no attention.
"No. I'm focusing on myself. Screw boys. I mean, not Derek, he is great." I spill some of the coffee and she realizes what she said then she quickly covers her mouth.
Is she ever going to stop?
"Yeah- he was great," I mutter to myself as I stand up to grab more tissues to clean the coffee table.
"But, for real, I'm all for self-love this year. We should have fun, we should love ourselves!" I nod and pretend to agree with her as I clean the part where I spilled a bit of coffee.
It's great, just seems impossible for me. Maybe for her it is going to work but I barely get out of my bed.
I still struggle to leave my house because of that monster, I don't know what I'm going to do in a new town, a fresh college.
The waiter comes to our table when he notices we finished our drinks and we thank him again.
"I know this is slightly inappropriate, but I thought you are really cute and-" He slips me a note with his number on it and I look at Nicole confused.
Then he leaves with our empty cups.
"Oh my God!" Nicole exclaims with a surprised smile on her face and I chuckle.
"What just happened? You are stealing my guys," she jokes and I smile.
I'm not serious all the time, I remind myself.
"I'm not taking this. Weren't you all for self-love this year?" I tease her and she smiles.
"He can give you a bit of love if you know what I mean," she winks and I instinctively turn around to check if the waiter boy is near but he is cleaning another table.
"Idiot." I smile but then I quickly think of Derek and it fades.
I haven't been with anyone since him.
We get up to pay and she leaves a small tip, but I don't take his number. Instead, I just leave it on the table and I see the waiter's eyes wandering around checking if I took the note.
His expression is filled with disappointment.
We arrive at Nicole's house as this is the last day in this town, although we aren't going very far... we won't live here anymore.
I wonder what our dorm is going to be like, or the professors.
I look around as I wait for Nicole to open the door, then I notice her mom is home.
"Hi, Mrs. Gilbert!"
Her mom barely looks at me and she mutters something inaudible, but I assume she greeted me back.
As we go upstairs, Nicole stops me before we walk into her room." Ignore my mom, she is always moody and you are way too formal." We enter her bedroom and Nicole instantly throws herself on the bed then she notices my wary expression.
"She likes to pretend she is still young," she chuckles and I smile. I know their relationship is rocky.
Nicole looks in her old highschool backpack. "Can you believe we graduated?"
What I can't believe is that I didn't fail my junior year, I was barely going to school, then I tried hard to study in my senior year. I guess it helped that I was almost always a perfect student.
"I don't even know if I'm ready for college."
"We will have SO much fun," Nicole exclaims and I nod, still unsure.
She leaves to the bathroom and I notice a cardboard box opened near her desk, I stand up to take a glance and I instinctively look behind me.
I know she wouldn't like me looking through her things but she would do the same to me.
It seems like she is either throwing this box, or putting it somewhere else far from her eyes.
I open the box and I recognize a few of the stuff James gave her, like a teddy bear with a cute note "I love you." He wasn't always bad, I guess.
I can't believe she kept all this stuff for a year, I wonder if she is throwing them-