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The Heartbreak That Never Happened

By @Krystalyn_Fountain

The moment I walked into school, everyone was staring at me—and I knew they knew what I’d done. The fact that word had gotten around so quickly doesn’t surprise me. What does is the fact that I had only spoken to one person about this. My brother. He’s the only one who knew what happened that summer day, just two weeks before school started up. I cross my arms over my chest as people start jeering at me. No words. Just looks. Looks that make me want to sink into a hole in the ground, wallowing in my overwhelming sense of panic that threatens to eat away at my very core. It was a mistake. A stupid mistake. And now I have to live with it.

“Hey!” I raise my hand as I spot my best friend of ten years. 

“Oh, hey.” She doesn’t even look at me.

“Tia?”

“What do you want?”

“I…” I can’t even find a way to respond. The anger leaves me breathless.

“Leave me alone.” She walks away from me without looking back. “Don’t talk to me again!”

“O-okay…” One mistake.

I shove my hands into the pocket of my oversized hoodie as I make my way to breakfast. People move out of my way. They can’t even stand to touch me now, huh? I keep my head down. Whispers sound around me, but the words don’t reach my ears. I don’t need them to. I don’t want them to. I walk through the line to get my food. The same as always: Apple juice, chocolate milk, muffin. There’s something comforting in the repetition. Something familiar, even as I can feel the people glaring at me, breathing down my back, just waiting for me to make another mistake. Not that I would. Never again. Not after what happened to him. 

I sit down at my usual table, which is unsurprisingly empty. I set my food down. I look around. No one will meet my eyes. No one will even try. I’m alone. That thought hits me like a cannonball, tearing a hole through my very being, leaving behind only the guilt and the fear. It’s not my fault. That’s what I tell myself, but deep down, I know it’s not true.

No one gave me the gun. I took it for myself. No one pulled the trigger. I moved my own finger. No one aimed the gun at the love of my life. I leveled the gun. No one made me shoot him. I did that on my own. I watched as the bullet tore a hole through his chest. I watched as he fell to the floor. Then I dropped to my knees. I pulled him into my arms.

“Why?” He asked me. Even as I’m sure he felt the life draining from his body, he had to know. “Why?”

“Because,” I met his eyes. “This way I will never lose you to anyone else.”

“Lose me…” He coughs, blood trickling from the corner of his mouth. “You’d never…”

“Now I know that that is true, love.” I set my hand to the side of his face and rubbed his cheek with the pad of my thumb.

“W-wait…”

“Shh.” I leaned down, kissed him, my tears dropping onto his face. I could taste the sharp metallic taste of his blood. “It will be okay.”

I held him in his arms and watched the life drain from his eyes.

“I’m sorry, my love. I wish there was another way.”

My brother was the only one who knew. The only one I told. And he told everyone. Oh well. I look around the cafeteria, finding him. I meet his eyes and smile.

I guess that he will be the next to go then, now won’t he?

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