The Art of Falling

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Chapter Three

It was loud, continuous and hella annoying.

“I’m sleeping!” I yelled, pulling the duvet over me.

The door swung open and my bed dipped slightly.

“I swear you’re a kid half the time, despite the fact you’re 25. You can’t be asleep if you’re talking.”

“I’m sleeptalking and I’m not a kid.”

“Sure; whatever helps you sleep at night,” Ellie paused, “Your dad called...He said that you need to take a walk.”

I pushed the covers down and leant my head against the wall and pulled the duvet across to the other side. Ellie kicked off her shoes and did the same.

“Who’s he to tell me what to do? I’m 25 for god’s sake. A fucking adult. But no. I need to be told when I need to take a goddamn walk. Would he like to come over and help me brush my teeth as well? He’s controlled me ever since I was a child. A child! And now that I’ve finished university, he thinks he can control me again? It’s partly thanks to him that I had you know what.” I grumbled, crossing my arms. Ellie squeezed my thigh.

“I know. But you’re stronger for it.”

“Yeah. I know I’ve said it a million times but thank you. It was thanks to you and....that you know...”

I squeezed my eyes shut as a frog appeared in my throat. Ellie gave me a side hug, leaning her head on my shoulder. We stayed like that for a few moments as I tried to collect myself. Despite the fact it had been two years ago, the pain was still there. Faded, but there.

I rubbed my eyes and took a deep breath,

“Woo,” I fanned my hands in my face, “Okay. I’m fine.”

She patted my knee, “The anniversary is coming up. I’m assuming you’d like to visit him. Do you want me to come along?”

“You can if you want. You don’t have to though.”

“I’ll come along. I need to have a word with him.”

I raised my eyebrow at her. She ignored me.

“You know, you don’t have to go on a walk just because he said so right?”

“Mhm. Hence why I’m not going to go.”

She sniffed and wiped an imaginary tear from her cheek. “My little girl is all grown up.”

I pushed her. “Go away. Don’t you have a job to get to?”

“One day you’ll realise how much you need me,” she huffed, picking herself off the bed.

“Bye! Have fun.”

“I will.”

She walked out before popping her head through the door, “You’re in charge of dinner tonight.”

“Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Bye!”

I yawned and rested my head against the pillow, staring at the ceiling. He’d always been there for me. Been my rock. My confidant. My best friend. No, my brother.

If Daniel hadn’t decided to break up with me, if I hadn’t decided to go to the cafe that day and drown myself in tiramisu, hot chocolate and homework, we wouldn’t have met. Ever since he...he...left, tiramisu and hot chocolate were ruined. I laughed bitterly. Closing my eyes, flashes of the time we spent together flicked by like a slideshow.

I wished I hadn’t yelled at him. Hadn’t been cross with him before he left. I should have been happy. I should have given him a happy memory of me. Not one of me yelling. Of me slamming the door in his face. Of me crying hysterically.

A lone tear slithered down my cheek. Now, I couldn’t even say sorry. I held back a sob and curled up into a ball. I pulled the covers over me and desperately tried to hold back the tears. If I could have a wish, I’d wish I could turn back time.

* * *

Father: Have you gone for a walk yet?

I wrinkled my nose and pushed the phone away from me. I didn’t want to talk to him. Let him be mad. He can’t do anything. I’m an adult now. An adult. I chanted in my brain, trying to boost my confidence. Despite being 25, he still had control over me as embarrassing and as worrying that sounded. Yet, I couldn’t escape it. No matter what. If I got the job though, I’d be able to be financially independent of him and start to break free of the bonds which held me.

Five minutes later, a message came through.

Father: How dare you ignore me

My finger hovered above the message, metally debating as to whether or not I should answer. I bit my lip. If I didn’t, what would happen? What would he do? Would I be powerless to stop it? Would my mother? I took a deep breath and clicked on his contact. I could do this. I quickly blocked him before throwing my phone onto the bed, my mind reeling from what I had just done. I’d blocked my father. My blood father. I rubbed my nose and groaned. I shouldn’t have done that. There were definitely going to be consequences. I had better prepare myself.

I got out of bed and trudged over to my set of drawers. Picking out a hoodie, some leggings and a black t-shirt with the quote ‘shut up’, I quickly got dressed. After brushing my teeth and washing my face, I pulled up my hair into a ponytail and ran into the kitchen. I quickly took stock of what I needed to buy including any toiletries or clothes before grabbing my wallet and some shopping bags in the closet.

If my father blocked my credit card, I had better have enough food and money to last me until he unblocked it. It was embarrassing that I had to rely on my parents for money. People my age were already financially independent from their parents but not me. Oh no, my dad wanted to keep me in check and control me. I angrily shoved my feet into some trainers. If I stocked up for a couple of weeks, my wages from the pub and the bookstore should be able to cover me for a little while. I just hoped to God I would get the job. Heaven knows I need it.

* * *

After loading several shopping bags into my car, I closed the boot and got in. I had already withdrawn £500 at the ATM from each of my credit cards. Now, I had to top up my tank. If my father is going to block my bank account, I might as well use as much money as I can. If I didn’t get the job, I needed to be prepared for the worst.

I pulled up in front of Shell and quickly refilled my tank. Usually, I paid at the till but this time I decided to pay at the tank. Following the machine’s instructions, I pressed a few buttons and entered some details. However, when I had to pay, the transaction wouldn’t go through. He was quick. I gritted my teeth and took out some notes from my wallet. The machine quickly sucked them up and spat out my cash. I pocketed it and got into the car. Thank god I’d done the shopping and extracted the money beforehand.

* * *

A shrill ring cut through Ellie and I’s discussion on my father and my financial problem. Well, my ranting about it. I picked up the phone.

“Hello? Is Miss Connor there?”

“Speaking.”

“Oh. Good evening Miss Connor.”

“Good evening. How may I help you?”

“I am calling on behalf of the Knight’s Enterprises. This call is just to inform you that you have passed the first round of interviews. The second round of the interviews will be taking place on Friday the 8th of April at 3 pm. Will you be available then?”

“Oh. Thank you. Let me just check.” I walked over to the fridge and flipped through the calendar to 8th April. Nothing was there. I turned around to make my way back when there was a loud clang. I spun around again, to find a sheepish Ellie on the floor with a saucepan discarded on the floor, rubbing her head. Are you okay? I mouthed. She nodded and picked herself up. Satisfied that she wasn’t injured, I held the phone to my ear and walked into the hallway.

“Hello?”

“Sorry. I dropped the... uh.. calendar. I am free then.”

“That’s wonderful. Please could you arrive five minutes before the interview?”

“Sure.”

“Thank you. Do you have any questions?”

“Um, will this interview be the last one?”

“Yes, I believe so.”

“Okay, thank you.”

“No problem. Is that all?”

“Yes, thank you.”

“Okay. Good evening Miss Connor, we shall see you on Friday.”

“Good afternoon to you too.” I jumped up and down, throwing my hands in the air. My financial problems are solved! Ellie walked in before slowly walking away backwards.

“I was neve-”

“Ellie! Watch out there’s a-”

She tripped over the throw blanket, lying haphazardly on the floor. A loud crash followed as the vase toppled over onto the sofa before rolling onto the floor, its fragments scattering everywhere. Great. I rushed over to Ellie, careful not to step on the broken ceramic pieces.

“Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Are you okay? Ellie?”

I waved my hand in front of her face, Ellie just stared vacantly at the ceiling.

“Oh my God. The blanket killed you. I’m so sorry Ellie. I should have warned you quicker.”

“What...are..you doing?” Ellie murmured, blinking at me.

“You’re alive!” I threw myself over her, pinching her cheeks, “You’re alive! The blanket didn’t kill you.”

Ellie groaned from underneath me.

“Sorry. Sorry. Are you okay? That’s a dumb question. Um, do you want some ice? Should I call an ambulance or bring you to A&E?”

“What are you talking about?” Ellie slurred.

“Err...you fell down? Don’t you remember?”

“Not really. I do know I have this massive headache.”

“Would you like some painkillers?”

“Please.”

I jumped up and ran to grab an ice pack. Wrapping it in a hand towel, I hesitated. Ellie seemed like she had a concussion so was it a good idea to give her some ice? I quickly searched it up; however, there wasn’t an answer available. Great. I put the hand towel and ice pack away before walking back to Ellie. I crouched down.

“Ellie?”

No answer.

“Ellie?”

She opened her eyes and blinked, “Hey...Aa”

“Right well I think you have a concussion and the symptoms given on the internet show I might be correct. I would give you painkillers for the headache but I don’t know if it’ll make matters worse. Like it probably won’t but I don’t want to risk it. If you have a concussion, I don’t want to move you and bring you to A&E in case I might worsen your situation. So, what I’m going to do is call an ambulance and go from there.”

“Ohay.”

I dialled 999 and waited to be put through.

“Hello. What service do you need?”

“Hi. I need an ambulance. My friend tripped over a blanket and banged her head pretty hard. I think she may have a concussion and I’m scared to move her in case I worsen the situation.”

“Okay. I shall send one over. Could I have your address please?”

I rattled it off for her.

“Thank you. I’m sending one over. How old is your friend?”

“Twenty-four.”

“Does she have any medical conditions we need to be aware of?”

“Um. She has asthma?”

“Okay thank you. Any allergies?”

“Um, penicillin.”

“Is your friend awake right now?”

“Um...Ellie?”

She didn’t answer.

“I don’t think so. She’s been going in and out of consciousness I think.”

“Right well the ambulance will be over in five minutes or so. Is there any chest injury or serious bleeding?”

“I don’t think so. Is she going to be okay?”

“Yes.”

A loud knock sounded on the door.

“Is that the paramedics?”

I stepped over Ellie and walked towards the door. I peered through the peephole, three paramedics were standing in front of the door, a stretcher and a first aid kit in hand

“Um yeah.”

“Good. Your friend will be in safe hands now.”

“Thank you!”

She ended the call and I unlocked the door.

“Hi!”

They nodded their heads in greeting before walking past me. Working in silence, I hovered nearby. Within minutes, they had done a quick check and loaded her on a stretcher.

“You might want to clear the mess,” a paramedic said, tilting her head to the ceramic, “Your friend will be okay. You can visit her during the visiting hours. They are from nine till eleven in the morning and four till six in the evening.”

“Can I not go with her and you in the ambulance?”

“You could but then you wouldn’t be allowed to stay as it is past visiting hours.”

I pursed my lips. “My friend has a concussion so wouldn’t she need help and stuff?”

“I suppose you could bring some clothes as she will have to stay overnight.”

“Okay. Can I travel with you?”

“Unfortunately, no.”

I wrinkled my nose. “Okay. Which hospital will you be bringing her to?”

“The Mile End Hospital.”

“Okay. Thank you.”

The paramedic nodded her head at me before walking out the door. I checked the time. Quarter to seven. Right well, I could dish out the- shit. I ran to the kitchen. Smoke was billowing out from the saucepan.

“Shit.”

I turned off the heat and tossed the saucepan into the sink, running cold water over it. Great. Now I have to make dinner again. A waste of spaghetti bolognese if you ask me.

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