I was numb. I was desensitized to pain and sorrow. There was only one thing that could make me feel anything at this point. Water.
So blue. So free to move around and follow the wind. It was beautiful, it always had been. But as they say, beauty is pain.
And as I watched the waves wash ashore, I took a single step closer. The sand was warm beneath my pale feet and I could feel my heart racing. "Closer," the voice in my head beckoned. And like the good girl I was, I listened.
One more step as the waves pulled back into the ocean. One more step as the tides rolled back in. One more step. One more step. One more step.
Until finally, the water rushed over my feet, and I felt pain once more. The stinging and burning, so familiar, yet so new, to my flesh was back once more. And I felt alive.
Oh, how often the voice within my own head cast its taunting shadows over my thoughts. Over the years her voice would become louder and I would grow quieter. The pain that water gave me was the only thing that made me feel like my old self.
I was happy before my sister died. It must have been seven or eight years old then - roughly ten years ago. Her life was taken in less than a second.
Arya, my sweet sister, oh how much I miss you. We were two halves of a whole. And now you're gone, decaying in a glorified wooden box buried in the dirt. And I'm living the life you always wanted. For that, I am truly sorry.
If I hadn't frozen that day, perhaps if I had been faster, you would still be here. You made me feel human, and I haven't felt human since you left.
This pain and these scars are nothing compared to what you faced that day. I hold nothing but regret and guilt in my heart.
I wanted to scream as the tides came and left, punishing my feet and ankles with their liquid death. At that moment I heard a voice.
"Atilla!" The voice exclaimed with much fear and anxiety.
I didn't move. My gaze stayed fixed upon the setting sun along the pastel horizon.
"Get away from the water, Atilla!" The voice came again, now more demanding and concerned than before. "Stop it, Atilla! Move now!"
There was a raspy, almost sour, sound in the person's voice that I knew all too well. That must be mom, I thought. Her voice echoed thoughtlessly against the gentle breeze of the coastal air. It went in one ear then out the other.
At some point, her words simply became noises. The sunlight had me fixed in a dream-like trance, half paralyzed. In a matter of moments, but what felt like hours, that trance was broken.
I found myself falling backward. I can only assume that the force that pushed me was my mother's own hands. I collided with a loud thud.
"What were you thinking!?" She screamed. "You could have died, Atilla! Why must you behave this way?"
The tone of her voice was sharp and stern. To an unknown eye, one might have thought she was abusive, but in all actuality, she was just concerned about her daughter's lack of self-preservation. After all, I was all she had left.
Dad was dying, slowly, but ever so surely. Mom said she would be surprised if he even made it to Christmas. No doctors or specialists could figure out what was wrong with my father. Everyone said he was helpless.
After all, he looked helpless. His lips were a lightly tinted shade of blue, and his skin was pale and grey. He didn't eat and he didn't sleep. He rarely got out of his rocking chair because he had no strength left. His body was eating itself.
"What would I have told your father if something had happened to you?" My mother continued. "You promised me you would stay away from the water. What has gotten into you?"
"It's not what's gotten into me. It's what's left me, Mom." I sighed. I managed to get back up on my feet, only to see a look of utter fear spread across my mother's face. "Look, I'm sorry okay? I just wanted to feel what she felt."
My mother raised her hands to my face and stroked the scars that ran down my cheeks from the trails left behind by my tears. The scars trailed my cheeks down to my lips like a dried riverbed. Sometimes they would crack open and bleed, but that hasn't happened in a few months.
It was a part of my face that I had always been self-conscious about. Luckily for me, I don't cry often, so the scars weren't as bad as they could be. One way or another, they made me feel ugly. But, my mother thought otherwise.
She claimed that these scars were a symbol of strength, but crying was not strength. Crying was a sign of weakness.
Mother was right in other senses though. She claimed I was naive and reckless, and that was one hundred and ten percent true. Somewhere down the line, I had convinced myself I had lost my mind. I'm not quite sure when that happened, or even how or why, but the world is cruel, and my mind is loud.
"I digress," my mother stated calmly with a heavy exhale of breath. "It has been hard on all of us lately, I know that sweetie. Self-harm is never the answer. You can talk to me, Atilla, I hope you know that."
My eyes fell to my scarring and bleeding ankles. Deep down I knew she was right, she always was, but there was something deep within me that told me to ignore her and simply shake my head. And so I did.
The sun was almost gone by this point and the stars of the night sky slowly began to set in with all of their silver elegance and beauty.
"I know, Mom." I lied with a frown.
My mother had always been nice. She was very loving and very trustworthy. She did her best to make sure I was happy. She even bought a house on the beach because she knew how much I loved the view of the ocean.
But, she wasn't the kind of mother who listened to her kids. Everything had to be her way. There was no room for questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions. So, I sheltered my feelings from her. Mother made sure everything was about herself.
"Let's get inside, sweetie." Mom said. "Dinner is ready."