Day Four

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Chapter 13

There’s nothing wrong with living, in much the same way as there is nothing wrong with dying. Actually, the two are awfully similar- something many people refuse to accept. Both are states of being, and now that I come to think of it, death seems far simpler than living. Death is a permanent state of being, living is unpredictable and has no specific expiry date, making it, to me, far more dangerous.

I think back to a simpler time, when both my parents lived with me and I only knew Darcy. I remember once, over breakfast, I asked my parents why I was an only child. My dad spat out his orange juice, and mum bit through her burned toast so hard she made her tongue bleed. Both pairs of shot daggers at me, I was only a kid. I hazard a guess at an age, maybe ten? I was scrawny and quiet, with my only companion being Darce. I remember being sent to my room, and when I asked why I had to, my father smashed the glass with his orange juice against the table and shouted at me. Mother didn’t even look scared, as if she would do the same if I didn’t retreat to my bedroom as I was told.

It was only years later, that I learned from the neighbour I now have in my apartment, Maureen, that my mother had had a miscarriage after me- which was apparently the cause of complications with her previous pregnancy, being me. From then on, I distanced myself from my parents as much as I could, and they seemed to have caught on to the fact that I knew about the sibling I never had. They were never particularly great parents, very distant and unloving, but they taught me what I needed to know in order to get on with life in the real world and for that I should be at least partially grateful. I knew my rights and wrongs, but I never quite knew love. That was until I met Darcy and her parents- both of them very well rounded and homely. The father stayed at home to care for Darcy, while her mother worked at a local pharmacy. They lived on a large country farm in the warmer months and invited me with them every chance they got, until eventually I lived with them more than I did my actual parents. That made it easier for them to leave me, in the end. I was almost halfway through high school when they sat me down, on a sunny June afternoon, to tell me they were moving to America for a new job opportunity.

They treated me as more of a family pet, during that talk. Like a dog being left in a kennel, being cared and looked after for, just not by the rightful owners. It didn’t seem to affect them much when they told me they were leaving, certainly not like they were leaving their only child, alone, for years at a time.

That was when I decided I needed to give myself real challenges- like making more friends. Darcy, of course, stayed by my side throughout, but I forced myself to interact with strangers and seem approachable. Sure, it was exhausting for the first few months until a snowball effect emerged and people came piling towards me, trying to act amicable. But no matter how many people I befriended, it was always too quiet, too lonely, in the empty apartment my parents had left for me, like a tomb.

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