By Zoë Amber
The sun hits my face, it’s brighter than I remember. It’s even better than I remember, it’s more calming now. I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt the sun on my skin, I can’t remember what it’s like to be tan or even sunburnt. I’d rather be sunburnt on the bottom of my feet than to never see the sun again. The warmth that the sun brings reminds me that there’s still a chance, still a whole world out there I haven’t even seen. The sun is a symbol of life, a symbol of the life I could have.
It felt different driving on the road, I remember leaving on this road and now I get to go home on this road. It’s kind of ironic how this road led me to somewhere I never want to go back to, but it’s always leading me to somewhere I never want to leave. The roads are quieter then I remember, less people coming to and from.
“Are you excited to go back to school?” My father filled the silence, as he usually does. I shrug, as if he can see me as he’s driving. My mother sits in the passenger seat, her hair as golden blonde as it comes. Her hair is practically out the window and it blows through the wind. My eyes linger out the window, I thought about everything. My social life probably disappeared a couple months ago when I left.
“Are you okay?” I didn’t shrug this time.
“Yeah.” I knew if I said anything different the car would somehow end up right back into the parking lot. Somehow, some way I knew exactly what I needed to do, I know how to never go back to that ********. Lie, and when in doubt lie some more. I remember the group therapy sessions, everyone had a story that was way harder than mine. I was a sixteen year old who tried to drown herself because she was getting bullied. The other girls were getting beat or raped. Mine wasn’t even relevant to everyone else’s.
People say that bullies are actually jealous of you, well that’s what they used to tell me atleast. They used to throw things around like, “they’ll stop eventually,” or “when you graduate you’ll look back and laugh.” The thing is, I didn’t plan on making it to graduation. I didn’t plan on laughing about someone who made sure I have a miserable life, I didn’t intend on laughing at that. I didn’t want to laugh at that because that meant it was all of nothing, every sacrifice I made was for nothing. Every choice I made leading up to that night was for nothing. All the letters I wrote to the people I cared about were for nothing, all the goodbye letters didn’t actually mean goodbye.
I remember the feeling of the water filling my lungs, as humans’ natural instinct is to survive. You try to hold your breath, you try not to let the water in. It only takes roughly about forty seconds for an adult to drown. Those forty seconds determine life or death and for me, those forty seconds were actually only twenty because by the time my parents busted through the door I was still alive, hardly. If they would’ve waited at least ten more seconds I would’ve been dead, and this whole situation could have been avoided, this could’ve been the end, it should’ve.
Just forty seconds, that’s all it takes. I’ve endured what felt like forty years of hell and yet it only takes forty seconds to end it all. Just forty seconds to make every ounce of pain go away.
Sparklers only burn for two minutes, as a kid on the fourth of July we would run through the front yard chasing each other with sparklers. Our parents usually yell to be careful, or don’t burn each other. We never stopped to admire the beauty of the light burning the sparkler, we never realized how peaceful it was. We would just chase each other, then when they burned out me tossed them in the grass. We tossed them aside like it was nothing, like the sparkler was nothing. That’s what it feels like to be a human, once that fire burns out, once the fire in your soul burns out, it’s over. You get tossed aside like a sparkler that’s done burning.
As we pull in the driveway everything seems different, everything looks different. Things probably didn’t change, I just never took the time to realize the angle of the gnome that sits on the edge of the porch. I never realized the Jasmine bush protruding from the side of the stairs.
“Polo missed you.” We sat in the car for a couple of minutes, it felt different. While I was there I couldn’t wait to come home but being in my driveway didn’t make me feel better, it didn’t make me feel better. It didn’t make me feel like I was better, the whole time they were trying to make me better, but maybe I can’t be better, maybe I can’t be fixed. Maybe that’s the inevitable ending, people can’t be fixed, but I know that’s not my ending, no, that’s just my beginning.
“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” No, I have no idea if I’m ready to fall back into my life. I plaster on a fake smile.
“Yes.” My parents look at me, they’re not preparing me, they’re preparing themselves for the worst. They opened their doors but I sat there, it was like I was glued to the seat. I was scared to walk inside because I knew that as soon as I did everything would be the same, everything would happen again. Yes, I have coping mechanisms, I know my life matters, and I know that everyone loves me. That doesn’t stop the thoughts from creeping in, just because you think you’re better doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. You can relapse even if you don’t use drugs.
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