Chapter OneA Chapter by Devon
The sound of birds outside my window wakes me up at what I’m sure is way too early on a Saturday. I open my eyes and slide out of bed, taking in the dark gray blur that lets me know the Sun hasn’t completely risen. On sleep heavy feet, I stumble over to my window and feel around for the ledge, trying to find the opening that the now very annoying chirping is coming from.
Found it. The abrupt silence fills the air and teases my sleepiness. Grabbing onto the edges of any piece of furniture I can find, I follow the light pink haze that makes up my bed and curl up into the soft sheets. I roll over and find the most comfortable position and close my eyes, waiting for sweet sleep to claim me. But it doesn’t.
After another five minutes, I still can’t fall asleep. The past month’s events fill my mind, instead. I think about Ben, his goofy grin when he pulled into my driveway in the clunker he just bought from some shady guy a few towns over. His green eyes, crinkled in a moment of laughter, as we loudly sung Bohemian Rhapsody on the way to Lucy’s Diner. The shattering of glass and the sound of my heart beating far too rapidly as that drunk driver slammed into us. The tedious weeks I spent in the hospital, getting used to the twist of fate that took my best friend’s life and left me blind. Trying to learn to live in a haze--a fog covering everything, leaving me only able to see one thing clearly: I was alive and Ben wasn’t. And it was my fault.
They never said anything, but I could sense it in the tenseness of their words; Ben’s parents wished their son was here instead of me, laughing and joking and being his goofy, bright self. I couldn’t agree more. Three days into my stay at St. Luke’s Hospital, the idea of everything I had lost finally began to overwhelm me. Ben, my sight, my friends, my life--they all drowned me in a sea of loss. And on top of losing so much, my mind was leaving me as well.
I thought that if I could somehow take my own life, use it as an offering or sacrifice to God, that I could take Ben’s place. I would jump out of the hospital bed in the wee hours of the night, barely able to find my way around the cloudy room. Running clumsily on bare feet into the cold bathroom, I would fumble around for the faucet of the bathtub and turn the water on, dunking my head under the rising coolness of the water. Breathing in the water as if it were air, I thought only of my mission: to give Ben his life back.
A nurse on graveyard shift walking past my room had heard the water running and ran in minutes later, finding me dead to the world, knocked out cold. She gave me CPR and saved my life, stopping me short of my goal. The doctors put me on some anti-depressant and anxiety medication, which I’m still taking. I don’t feel guilty anymore. I don’t feel like I have to trade places with Ben, I don’t even feel sad. I don’t feel anything anymore--I’m hollow on the inside, no emotions or deep thoughts. And lying there in bed, I realize that I’m ready to feel again. The idea of it is so tangible, it feels like I can reach into the air and grab it, pulling it back to me.
With one quick and wobbly motion, I’m on my feet running towards to bathroom, feeling the walls of the hallway for guidance. Once inside, I flip on the light switch and feel around for the medicine cabinet. I find it and open it with force fueled by determination. I scan the area of the cabinet until I get to a bright, hot pink haze. Hurriedly, I grab the pill bottle, colored hot pink so that I could find it easily, and take off the lid. I dump them all into one hand and eagerly feel the walls to find my way to the toilet.
I stand over it and I’m about to drop all the little, rounded pills into the water and watch them sink away, dragging my emptiness through the pipes with them. But then there are two pairs of hands restraining me, pulling me into them and away from what I so desperately want--what I need.
“Lilith, honey, put down those pills.” The voice belongs to my mother, and her tone is one of worry and urgency.
“Come on, Lil. Give the pills to me, don’t take them. We’ll find some way to help you...,” my dad says, his voice cracking at the end. What’s the big deal? I’m only trying to flush them; it’s not anything to cry over.
“We knew you weren’t thrilled with the situation,” Mom speaks for the both of them, because Dad is still crying. “But we didn’t think you would be so unhappy to... to... want to hurt yourself again, honey! Just give us the pills, we’ll find someway to make you better, I promise!” A wave of reality hits me, threatening to knock me down with its force. I finally understand why they’re near being hysterical. They think I’m going to try to kill myself again. And the realization hurts.
“I’m not trying to take them!” I scream this, pouring the first emotion that I’ve felt for the first time since taking the pills out for all to hear. “I’m not unhappy! I’m not anything anymore, don’t you understand?”
Their hold on me relaxes, but they still don’t let go of me. It’s as if they’re holding on to me with the notion that if they let go, I’ll fly high into the sky like a balloon--out of reach and never coming back down. They take their sweet time letting what I’ve just told them sink in, then dad clears his throat.
“Lil, give me the pills and we can find some other medicines for you that won’t make you feel like that. Okay?” he says, reaching his hand out in front of my face, thinking that I’m so disabled that I can’t even function without his hand right there, always by my side to hold and lead the way. I don’t want to take his hand this time, I want to walk alone. I want to be okay again. I want to just be me.
“You guys don’t understand! You don’t know what I’ve went through this past month!” I start to yell again, desperate to get out everything and convince them before they make up their minds. “I lost my best friend. I lost my vision. I lost a lot, and of course I was crazy because of it. But--but I’m okay now. Or I will be... I just need to feel again, I need to be able to be myself again, not some drugged up version of me. I need you to understand!”
“Okay, sweetie, we’ll take you off the meds. But just give us the pills,” her voice sounds exasperated, like she’s arguing with a small child about something silly. “You might need them, you know? Just in case--”
“Just in case, what, Mom? In case I’m crazy?” I’m just as tired as she is, but I can’t give up on this. “Well, I’m not! But you two... you’re driving me crazy! Take me to the doctors, fine. Let them run some stupid tests and study me. They’ll tell you I’m fine! Because I am! Jesus Christ, just let me have this! I need to feel okay again!”
Mom opens her mouth to argue, but then dad’s voice, strong and unwavering says, “Alright.”
Just like that he lets go of me and mom hesitantly follows. I turn over my hand and hear the pills reach the bottom of the toilet with a splash. Then, I reach for the spot where I’m sure the handle is and feel the edge of it on the tip of my fingers. I press down with all my strength and then turn to mom and dad.
A smile plays across my lips, a real smile. The first smile I’ve worn in what seems like decades. Its tell-tale, revealing what I feel in this moment: triumphant, magnificent, and unbelievably happy. And I vow to always wear my smile as I am right now, beaming and wonderful with every good and happy feeling imaginable radiating from it. Maybe being even more radiant than the Sun.
© 2012 Devon
Added on April 30, 2012
Last Updated on May 5, 2012
Seeing Through the Fog
AboutHi, guys! I'm Devon. I like to read and write, but I guess that's a given. :) I would REALLY appreciate any commentary/critique/reviews on my poems and short stories. ** All of my friends on .. more..
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