Breathe

Breathe

A Story by Lucy Morningstar ♥
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A short story that is based on a dream I had to tide everyone over until the next chapter of Rift is up. ***Please See Author's Note***

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Breathe, Lucy, just breathe, I said after splashing cold water over my face in the bathroom at Pearson International Airport. My plane was leaving in just under three hours and I hadn’t even gone through customs yet, hell, I hadn’t even checked my bags, and there were a lot of them. I looked at myself in the mirror, using my fingers to brush my hair back into a ponytail before deciding that it probably wouldn’t be too comfortable when I got on the plane when I was trying to rest, and I brushed it back down again before shaking it out and walking out of the bathroom.


My parents and siblings had decided they all needed to be there to send me off, and surprisingly, my core group of friends were there as well. Annie and Kassie couldn’t make it because they were working, but Kassie had taken me out for drinks a few weeks beforehand to say goodbye, and Annie had determined that the only proper way to send me off was to have a marathon of our favorite show before I left, and that suited me just fine; I was terrible at goodbyes. Jack, Luke, Charlie, Kelly and Toby all stood beside my parents, most of them awkwardly staring at the ground with their hands in their pockets unsure of what to say. Toby was the only one who looked at me head on, though his eyes were filled with sadness and worry; this would be the last time I would see him for a while, there was so much to say, but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to, and I don’t think he would either.


“Do you have everything you need?” my Mom asked, pushing my hair back from my face and pushing my glasses up on my nose.


“Everything is exactly where you put it in my backpack, Mom. It’ll be ok,” I said, hugging her tightly. I couldn’t let on that I was just as terrified as her or she’d never let me go.


“A year is a long time, Lucy, are you sure you want to do this?” my Dad asked; the last time I’d gone to England it had turned to s**t faster than I could say Quidditch, and that was just a 3 week trip, not a year where I would be living and working there. Dad and my stepmom, Liz, had rescued me from what I felt was the trip from hell 2 weeks before I was supposed to come home.


When I had applied for the yearlong job and internship at the Argus, a newspaper that served Brighton and Hove, I never imagined that I’d actually get it. It had started off as a joke, something I had just done out of boredom rather than actual interest, but as time passed and emails kept coming in from the editor, my excitement and hope grew, though no matter how many times my parents or Toby told me that I was a great writer I would never believe them. Or rather, I wasn’t a good enough writer to earn a place at a prestigious English paper.


“Raise a little hell for me, ok?” Charlie said, being the first of my friends to come forward and give me a hug goodbye.  I’d known Charlie for going on 10 years, and in that entire time span we had only fought once, though it hadn’t lasted long. We were like twins, thinking and acting almost the exact same way, mostly leading to trouble but never the bad kind; Charlie was, to put it simply, my oldest and best friend. His girlfriend Kelly stood beside him, holding his hand, and I smiled. Take care of him, ok? I mouthed to her silently and she nodded before attack hugging me.


“Don’t go anywhere alone at night,” Luke offered his own brand of advice, and I smirked.


“That’s common sense anywhere, Luke,” I laughed before moving on to awkwardly wrap my arms around Jack, who gave me an awkward, lopsided smile and nodded. Toby stood silently off to the side; I looked at Mom, unsure of what to do before she looked at him then back at me, nodding silently. I shuffled awkwardly over to him before throwing my arms around his neck and hugging him very close to me.


“I’m going to miss you so much, Luce,” he said, burying his face in my hair.


“I know, but I bet I’ll miss you more,” I said, feeling the tears begin to form and fall onto his shirt.


“It’s going to be a very long year,” Toby hugged me tighter and took a deep breath.


“No kidding,” I cried, “I don’t know if I can do this, Toby.”


“You have to leave if you want to come back,” Toby quoted my favorite song by Hedley before releasing me enough so that I could wipe my eyes, “You have to go have some adventures for me.”


“I’ll bring you back the sorting hat or something,” I laughed.


“I don’t care about any of that, just bring yourself back safely and promise me that you’ll be safe and that you’ll call me when you get there.”


“I promise,” I said, pulling away to look at him one more time. I could see the sadness in his bright green eyes, and realized it would hurt him just as much as it did me when I walked through the gate. I tried not to think about it as I went and hugged each of my siblings, offering some bullshit words of wisdom to the younger ones and putting my little brother in a headlock before giving him a big hug.


“I love you,” my baby sister Grace said as I picked her up; I hadn’t ever been away from her for more than 3 weeks in her short 6 years on this earth, and it was almost unbearable to think that I wouldn’t be able to give her a hug every day or cuddle with her on the couch and watch Frozen until next year. Unfortunately, the job just barely paid enough for me to afford to live over there for a year, and I wouldn’t be able to come home for a visit even at Christmas. I handed her carefully to Dad and wiped my tears before grabbing my bags and checking in. When I had checked everything and was bag free save for my carry-on, which contained my laptop, iPod, and some snacks, I turned back to my friends and family and went back to give each of them a hug. We walked silently to customs, taking as much time as we possibly could before I needed to head to my gate.


“I’m so proud of you, kiddo,” Mom said, tears pouring from her eyes before she gave me one more big hug.


“I love you, Momma,” I said, taking a deep breath and inhaling her scent one more time, a small comfort that I would allow myself on the plane and so that I would not forget while I was gone. Whenever I was sad or upset when I was young, I’d always go curl up in Mom’s bed or borrow one of her sweaters and just breathe in, pretending she was there hugging me until she got home and I would actually receive a warm hug.


“Be safe, bunners,” Dad said, smiling at me and calling me by the nickname he had called me since I was a baby, “I guess you’re not a little girl anymore though, and you’re growing up. You won’t be my bunners anymore.”


“I’ll always be your bunners, Daddy,” I said, crying even more than I had before. Luke, Kelly, Charlie, and Jack all took their turns hugging me one more time before I went to step through the gate. I turned back once more, allowing myself another look at the people I cared about most; Toby looked right at me before casting his eyes to the ground. I dropped my bag and ran back to him, hugging him again, kissing him softly on the cheek and looking into his eyes one more time before running through the entrance to customs. I looked back at people I cared about and smiled at Toby one more time before heading behind a wall where I would no longer be able to see them and going through security. I had said everything that needed to be said, and now it was time to go.


I passed my time at the gate looking through pictures on my BlackBerry Playbook, smiling at the faces of my friends and all the adventures we’d had in the weeks leading up to my departure. The plane was showing a silent film that I had absolutely no interest in, so I plugged my headphones into my iPod and continued flipping through the same pictures until my plane landed at Gatwick Airport.


It was a short train ride to the train station in Brighton, where a driver was waiting to take me and my mountains of luggage waited to take me to my apartment, which the Argus had kindly furnished for me before I arrived. It was nothing special, but it would do, and if I was being honest with myself, I preferred the smaller living space; it reminded me of my room back home. I pulled out my laptop, making sure to Skype both of my parents and Toby before heading to my room.


I tossed my bags onto the floor near the small dresser before tossing myself onto the queen bed they had so kindly provided for me; I rolled to the edge of the bed and unzipped my one bag so I could take out the blanket my grandmother had made for me when I was a baby and wrapped myself in it like a burrito. By the time I opened my eyes again, it was the next morning.


The next few days consisted of getting my-self settled in; I walked around Brighton, went to the Laines and bought some new outfits for work, and went and had fish and chips at Dad’s request. A week after my arrival, it was time to head to the Argus bullpen and start writing.


My boss took me on a tour of the building before tossing me to Opinions, the section I had written for when I was a student at Laurier. There weren’t many people that occupied the section, but I got on well with all of them, even being invited out to have drinks at the pub on the corner after work that day. I was so glad to be included, even if I felt a little awkward amidst these people who had known and been working with each other for years. They made me feel welcome, like I was one of them, and that was all that mattered to me.


Within a few weeks, I was officially part of the gang, and happy to call them my friends. We went out almost every night after work, singing and playing drinking games in the pub until we could no longer stand and had to either stumble or cab home; I’d had them all over for dinner a few times, even gone to a few concerts with some of them, but it never felt the same. With each passing day, I missed my friends back home even more, and the thought of them tugged on my heartstrings.


When Christmas came, I was on Skype nearly every hour of the day that wasn’t already occupied by sleeping, eating, or writing. Toby kept me occupied telling me about his time at college and updating me on the progress of the game he was designing, my baby sister told me all about the latest movie she was in to, and my parents would recount details of their lives and how things at work were going before telling me how much they loved and missed me and wished I could be at home with them. Mom wanted to make sure I had a Christmas tree, and called my friends Max and Jane from work as reinforcements to make sure I would go and get one; both sets of parents told me how they had mailed my gifts weeks ago to make sure they’d get here on time, and while at first I was upset that they had wasted so much money on shipping, I was glad. I missed them so much, and though it wasn’t the same as having them there, when the presents had finally arrived, they smelt like home. I cuddled into the sweater Liz had sent for me with a cup of my favorite tea from home, preparing to spend my first Christmas alone.


The next few months passed in a blur; with the success of my articles, my schedule was constantly filled. I barely had enough time to sleep and bathe, let alone do anything else. I penciled in quick Skype calls with my parents and Toby in between assignments, and though it never felt like long enough, it was all I had time for. My heartstrings tugged just a bit more than usual, but it was what needed to be done, and soon enough it was my last day at work. Not too long after that, it was my last full day in Brighton.


“I can’t believe you’re coming home soon. I was so tempted to get on a plane myself and come over there,” Toby laughed on Skype the morning before I was due to leave; I could see he was tired, but he always tried to stay up to talk in the morning, as I was usually swamped during the day and was too tired at night to get more than a few quick words in.


I’ll be back before you know it. Are you going to come to the airport tomorrow with everyone else? Luke said he, Jack, and Charlie were going to come pick me up because my parents will be busy with work,” I asked, desperately hoping he’d be there when I stepped out of customs.


“I’ll be there, I promise. I miss you,” he said, and I could tell he was smiling.


“I miss you too, Toby. I can’t wait till tomorrow,” I said, and after our usual conversation, we said our goodbyes and expressed how much we couldn’t wait to see each other the next day.


I decided to make the most of it, exploring the city before meeting up with my friends for a going away party. It was an unusually busy day down by the Brighton Pier, but it was sunny and warm, so I guess people wanted to take advantage of it. After spending the day at the beach and watching the waves, I left to go meet up with Max, Jane, and a few other people from work at our favorite pub. I plugged my headphones in and started walking, cranking up the volume on my favorite song before stepping out onto the street; there was no sidewalk for a couple blocks, and keeping to the shoulder always did the trick. Just as I had stepped onto the curve by the pub, a bus came roaring past me, screeching to a halt just up the street. If I’d been one second later, I would’ve been hit by that thing I thought to myself before walking into the pub. Max and Jane sat at a table in the corner surrounded by our coworkers; everyone looked so happy sitting around and drinking together. I decided that rather than spoil their fun I’d just go home and call them from there; it would’ve been terribly sad had I gone to the table, I mean, we would’ve just spent the night reminiscing and I didn’t want to cry more than I was already going to.


I spent the rest of the night packing and drinking wine, making sure everything was in order and the way I had found it when I’d arrived here a year ago. Thank goodness I wasn’t bringing back many souvenirs or I would’ve had to buy boxes, I chuckled to myself before zipping up my bag and heading to bed.


The train was very quiet the next morning, with only two other people in the train car besides my-self. When I got to the airport, I had no trouble finding my gate and getting through customs, though nobody seemed to take notice of me and I was seemingly waved through without a problem. I could pick up snacks and was ignored when I tried to pay, so I just walked away with them, despite feeling increasingly guilty.


The flight back was quiet; I wasn’t bothered by the flight attendants once and drifted to sleep quite easily despite my nerves and excitement. I pictured my friends, my Toby, standing at the gate waiting for me, all with big smiles on their faces, forcing a smile to spread across my own face. When I got off the plane, my bag wasn’t there but I was too excited to care. I ran through the gate, expecting to see the smiling faces of my friends, but there was nobody there. Perhaps they are late I mused, sitting on a bench outside the terminal with my carry-on and waiting for them, but three hours later, they still weren’t there. I checked my phone, but there were no messages. I walked casually up to the window of a cab and asked him how much it would cost to get me back to Waterloo, but he didn’t answer.


“Excuse me, sir, did you hear me? I need to get home, and I know it’s going to be expensive, but would you be able to tell me how much? I might need to get some from the ATM if I don’t have enough,” I said smiling, but there was still no reply. I was usually very level headed, but I was starting to get frustrated; all day, people had been ignoring me or waving me off like I didn’t matter and usually the lack of social interaction wouldn’t have bothered me, I liked to be alone, but I was desperate to get home and see everyone. After all the cabs but one had left, I decided to give it one more go.


“Can you take me home please? Every other cabby has ignored me so far, and I really just need to get back to my own bed,” I said, exhausted and ready to beg.


“Are you sure that’s what you want, sweetheart?” he asked, turning around to face me.


“Of course! I just got back from a year in England and haven’t seen my family since I left,” I said happily.


“You might not like what you see is all,” he said sadly before turning around and starting to drive. It took less time than usual it seemed to arrive back in Waterloo, and when I got home, all the lights were off; I didn’t begrudge Mom the sleep she so desperately needed, so I decided to just crawl into bed and see her in the morning.


I woke up feeling refreshed and happy the next morning, waltzing out to the kitchen to greet Mom while she ate breakfast. Mom was sitting at the table staring at her coffee; her eyes were red and puffy, her face was swollen.


“What’s going on, Momma?” I asked, sitting across from her at the table, but she didn’t look up. I got up from the chair after a few minutes and went to give her a hug, but she didn’t say a word.


“Why are you crying, Mom? I’m home, I’m safe, it’s ok!” I said, but again no response. Her phone started to ring soon after, and she looked at the screen quickly before picking it up; it was her friend Diane. Mom and Diane had been friends for years and talked almost every day, and I hoped Diane would make her feel better.


“How are you this morning, Marie? Do you need me to come over?” I heard Diane ask, sounding sad.


“I still can’t believe it, Diane. I haven’t slept since…I just…I think I’m still in shock, you know? My body hasn’t registered what happened yet,” Mom said, wiping tears from her eyes.


“It’s only been 2 days, Marie. I would be surprised if you slept at all for a long time,” Diane said, and I could tell she was crying.


“What the hell is going on?” I shouted, trying to get Mom’s attention, but she wouldn’t even look at me.


“Could I come stay with you and Mark for a few days? I can’t be here right now,” Mom cried.


“Stay as long as you want. We’re here for you, ok?” Diane said before hanging up the phone; when she did, Mom’s head fell against the table as she collapsed into a fit of sobs.


“This is really starting to weird me out. What the f**k is going on?” I shouted, Mom still completely oblivious to what I was saying, “I’m going to Toby’s house, I’ll be back later. Hopefully you’ll be better by then.” I walked away and was about to call for a cab, but that same cab driver from last night was sitting right where he had been when he dropped me off last night.


“Why are you still here?” I asked, sliding into the back of the cab, “It’s kind of creepy.”


“I figured you’d need a ride,” he said, starting the car and driving to Toby’s house without even being told where he lived.


“Are you stalking my friends or something? What the hell is going on?” I asked, getting out of the car as quickly as I could.


“Go see for yourself, dearie,” he said, turning the car off and staring at me in that way that old people tend to do, like he was world weary and knew more than I could ever possibly imagine.


I walked up to the door and knocked, but nobody answered. I tried again, same thing, so I sat on one of the chairs on Toby’s front porch to wait. A couple minutes later, Toby’s little blue car pulled into the driveway and he stepped out, walking as quickly as he could to the house.


“Hey there, stranger, fancy seeing you here!” I said, flirting playfully like I usually did, though all I wanted was to attack hug him. Toby stopped, turned towards me, then continued into the house. I slipped in the door after him and followed him up to his room; he didn’t even turn on the lights, just immediately sat on his bed, burying his face in his hands.


“I’m here, Toby, it’s ok!” I said, walking over and sitting on my knees behind him; I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and kissed him on the cheek, but he still didn’t look up. “Not you too! What is with everyone?” I muttered, moving from behind Toby to sit in front of him on the floor.


“He can’t hear you, sweetheart,” suddenly, the cabby was standing in the doorway, his hands in his pockets.


“What do you mean he can’t hear me, I’m sitting right here!” I shouted, my frustration finally coming to the surface. I immediately felt bad for shouting at the old man, but right now, I didn’t care much about him.


“Do you really not get it yet?” he asked.


“Why is everyone ignoring me?” I shouted, kicking angrily at something on Toby’s floor. He looked up for only a second before returning his head to his hands


“Use your brain and think! Or better yet, listen,” he said, motioning to Toby.


“You promised me, Luce. You promised…” Toby sobbed; I could see the wet spot forming on the carpet where his tears fell.


“I’m right here, you odd duck. I’m here,” I said, grasping his hands in mine but getting no response; I turned to the cabby, my eyes full of tears, “You need to tell me what’s going on. No bullshit, no lies.”


“I think it’s best if I show you,” he said, holding out his hand, which I reluctantly took. We walked back down to the cab in silence, “Take a nap honey, it’ll make you feel better.” Soon after, I fell asleep.


When I woke up, we were at a graveyard; there was probably 20 cars parked at various locations around the graves, and there was a crowd of people all standing around one spot.


“Yeah, a funeral, what’s your point?” I said, getting out of the car.


“Do you need me to come with you?” the cabby asked.


“Whatever floats your boat, big guy,” I said, walking over to the funeral. I could hear a priest speaking over the grave, but didn’t recognize anyone until I had pushed my way through the people at the back. Mom and Dad sat together at the front, his arm around both her and Liz as they cried and wiped their noses with Kleenex, Toby sat with Luke and Charlie, both of them with a comforting hand on his shoulder as he stared into the ground; Grace sat on the ground with the rest of my young siblings, tears in all of their eyes.


“What the hell is this?” I asked, tears pouring from my eyes as I came to realize what was going on.


“On your last day in Brighton, you were walking across a street with your headphones in. You didn’t hear the bus coming,” the cabby said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a handkerchief and handing it to me, “the doctors did everything they could, but it…it wasn’t enough.”


That was why everyone had been ignoring me, how I had been able to get through customs without issue and why my bag had gotten lost; it wasn’t because of some idiot at the airline, it was because they were shipping all of my things back with my body. I dropped to the ground, unable to stand as tears poured like waterfalls. Mom was going to be alone, even if she had people like Diane to be there, it wouldn’t be enough, I knew it; Dad had lost one of his kids, Grace had lost one of her big sisters, and Toby…I took another glance at him, but I couldn’t handle the look of dread on his face.


“Get her out of here,” said an unknown voice, though it sounded like my Gramma, who had died 3 years before.


“Gramma?” I asked, standing up with the help of the cabby.


“It’s ok Lucy, I’m here,” she said as I ran into her arms, sobbing against her shoulder like I used to when I was little.


“I’m so scared, Gramma. I’m too young to be dead,” I cried, and she patted my back comfortingly. We stood there until the funeral was over, and I watched as everyone I loved drove away, though my friends and my parents had stayed. Each of them threw a long stem rose into the grave before walking away, with Toby staying behind just a moment longer before tossing in an entire bouquet and going to meet up with Charlie and Luke, both of whom helped him to the car. I was glad, at least, that they would be there for each other, be there for him, now that I couldn’t be.


Nowhere to go, the cabby just drove around for hours with me sitting in the back seat and sobbing into Gramma’s shoulder. All of those silly childhood lessons I had been taught about looking both ways before I crossed the street floated through my mind in between thoughts of my family and of Toby, which only made me sob more. I couldn’t bear the thought of what the consequences of my stupidity had done to them, couldn’t fathom the images of them sitting and crying because I hadn’t listened to the most basic of childhood lessons.


“Take me back home,” I said after I had managed to stop crying for a moment; the cabby looked unsure, but with one look from my Gramma, he drove in the direction of Waterloo and didn’t look back.


I got out of the car slowly, walking  up to the door with Gramma at my side, “I imagine that I don’t need to open doors now.”


“You can just walk right through,” Gramma said, showing by example. I’d seen ghosts do this in movies but it felt weird to be doing it myself, “You probably didn’t realize you were doing this when you came back here. It’ll take some getting used to, but you’ll get the hang of it eventually.”


We walked into Mom’s dark apartment and sat in my room; I looked around at my former life, almost tempted into smiling when I saw the picture of Toby and I at prom, or the small picture of Mom and I sleeping with me on her chest when I was a baby. No matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t smile, and I could feel tears forming in the corners of my eyes.


“You’ll see them again someday,” Gramma said.


“I wish this hadn’t happened,” I cried, “I wish I could’ve told Mom, and Dad, and Grace, and Liz, all of them…I wish I could’ve said I loved them one last time. I wish I could’ve told Toby everything I needed to tell him…my friends…they’ll never know how much they meant to me.”


“They know, honey.”


“But I…”


“I understand. When I…passed on, all I wanted was to tell you all how much I loved you one last time. I’m sorry it has to be so soon for you.”


“You were sick, Gramma. You needed peace.” We didn’t say anything after that; instead, I fell asleep, or whatever the ghost version of sleep was. The next morning when I woke up, I walked into Mom’s room, desperate for that comforting smell one of her old sweaters or her blankets would offer. I sat on the edge of the bed and pulled the blanket up to my nose, taking in the smell before I would inevitably have to go. When I stood up, Mom was standing in the doorway, looking sadly in my direction; oh how I wished she could see me or hear me right now.


“I love you, Momma. Everything will be ok,” I said, walking up to her; to my surprise, she looked right at me, and wrapped her arms around me, “Momma, you can hear me? But that means…”


“I know, baby girl,” She said, patting my head as I realized what had happened, “My heart couldn’t keep going without you; seems like it gave out. I missed you too much.”


“I missed you too, Momma.”


Breathe Lucy, just breathe. 


© 2014 Lucy Morningstar ♥



Author's Note

Lucy Morningstar ♥
This was a dream I had the other night that I've decided to write out as a short story now. Everything I've got written down here is how it happened in my dream as well, with some details added and changed (such as names). I'm actually quite surprised I remembered it in this much detail, but no matter.

I hope you all enjoyed it ^_^

My Review

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Featured Review

Your dreams are so stable compared to mine. I might be riding a taxi, but it could be full of mice with sharp little teeth cutting at me, and then the scene fades and I'm outside somewhere where it is foggy.

Your own story reads out like a full drama. Well done !

☑VOTE
Voted for you in the Dreamer's Competition.


Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lucy Morningstar ♥

3 Years Ago

if only my dreams were more positive lol I rarely have good dreams; it's almost exclusively things l.. read more
dw817

3 Years Ago

Yep, I agree. Most of my dreams are weird. Not all of them get written out either as they are too st.. read more
Lucy Morningstar ♥

3 Years Ago

hehe I know those feels.



Reviews

Your dreams are so stable compared to mine. I might be riding a taxi, but it could be full of mice with sharp little teeth cutting at me, and then the scene fades and I'm outside somewhere where it is foggy.

Your own story reads out like a full drama. Well done !

☑VOTE
Voted for you in the Dreamer's Competition.


Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lucy Morningstar ♥

3 Years Ago

if only my dreams were more positive lol I rarely have good dreams; it's almost exclusively things l.. read more
dw817

3 Years Ago

Yep, I agree. Most of my dreams are weird. Not all of them get written out either as they are too st.. read more
Lucy Morningstar ♥

3 Years Ago

hehe I know those feels.
Why must all your dreams include some sort of tragedy Luce?
I honestly don't know what to say to this one.
You are right, just breath, just breath.

Posted 3 Years Ago


Lucy Morningstar ♥

3 Years Ago

No words? Woah, it must have been feels-y.
I honestly have no idea...it is strange, to be sure.. read more
Great as always Lucy! I'm glad to be able to read your work.

Posted 3 Years Ago


Lucy Morningstar ♥

3 Years Ago

thanks so much for taking the time! i know its long so it means a lot that you read it ^_^
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Added on May 22, 2014
Last Updated on May 22, 2014
Tags: dreams, nightmares, death, breathe, nobody can see me, why, writing, author

Author

Lucy Morningstar ♥
Lucy Morningstar ♥

Ontario, Canada



About
Im not quite sure what to write here, so I'll just go basic, organized, and boring. Though I assure you I'm not boring lol. Name: Now that I'll Never tell ;) Age: 21 Eye Colour: Deep Blue Hair .. more..

Writing