Alice & Andy (II)

Alice & Andy (II)

A Chapter by The Cheshire Cat

Alice, I’m so sorry.”

“We feel for your loss.”


“I can’t believe this really happened; I thought-”


She knows they don’t mean it; none of her friends ever really liked Andy, no matter how sweet he was, how gentle. How could this happen? Is it because of her? Yes, yes, oh, God, yes. It’s all her fault, isn’t it. She cries about it, finally cries again. And she thinks about the way he looked at her: first love, then concern, and finally blankness. It’s obvious to her she’s got a problem, but why did she have to take down the only person who ever truly cared about her down with her?


Idiot, she thinks. She saw the way he was doped up every day, just to keep himself silent for
her, always thinking about her first.

Heroin. God, how she hates it, hates dealers and drugs and everything in general. She wants to kill herself even more now, feels it’s all her fault. Drugs are so stupid, will end your life and cause your friends pain. She wants to tell everyone this, but no one will care. Might as well say depression is stupid, throw in a bit of hypocrisy to that brew.


At the funeral, she doesn’t cry. She doesn’t cry because most of the people there never gave a s**t about Andy, not like she used to, not like she still does. They throw roses on his coffin, pretty and clipped and thorny and dead. She throws a pack of cigarettes, bummed from one of his friends; they’re his favourite brand, Newports. Someone yells at her for being so insensitive, so she throws in her other gift: nicotine gum she had bought three months earlier and found discarded in his bedroom mess. And she walks away.


The same afternoon, she calls the suicide hotline as an unfunny joke on herself. She doesn’t say anything except, “It’s all my fault,” and the woman on the other line tells her no, no, no. So she hangs up and dumps the phone in the garbage; why should she lie when she don’t even know the truth?


At night, she falls asleep crying. In the morning, she sits on the swings in the park because school has been cancelled for a week of grieving. Then and only then, she thinks about asking for help.


She tries to count the people who will care. She ends up with no one. Not her parents, who throw yell and fight and throw things at each other. Not Mrs. Parson, her school counsellor, who never technically got her degree and mostly sits around drinking coffee and telling anyone that she was a real looker once, won a pageant, even. Not her friends, whom she pushed away a while ago. The only person she can think of is Andy, and how he would have listened sincerely.


After some more thinking, she goes home. This time, she doesn’t cry. Instead, she tries to smile at the mirror; the result looks cheesy and posed and completely forged, but it’s better than soggy eyes and a trembling frown.


She calls that hotline again, says she apologises for hanging up on them earlier. The voice on the other end, another woman, tells her it’s perfectly alright, that everything will be alright. There’s a few seconds’ pause, during which she hangs up. No one’s supposed to tell her that but Andy, the optimistic pothead. The contradicting statements make her laugh, a rusty sound from disuse. When did she last laugh for real like this? Can’t remember, probably a bad thing. This thought makes her stop laughing, start crying.


Why did I do this to you, Andy? she thinks. But there’s nothing she can do about it anymore, so she goes to sleep.


In the next five days, she calls the hotline five times, gets five different women. Each time, she hangs up because they remind her of how Andy always asked her what was wrong. She hangs up because she’s disgusted with their empty words and scripted replies.


The day after that, she calls them again. It’s a man that picks up, a smiling, laughing man. She’s dialled the wrong number, but he doesn’t mind; he laughs it off, asks who she was trying to call. When she tells him, he stops laughing. He asks if she wants to talk. She asks his name.


It’s John, he tells her. He thinks he knows the sound of her voice; when he asks if it’s Alice Dolan, she nearly hangs up. But then she knows who he is: John Alexander, one of Andy’s old friends before John moved for college. And she tells him Andy’s dead, knowing that John is most likely clueless. There’s silence, smooth and sad. It is then that she hangs up, doesn’t call the hotline that day. Today’s a Sunday; tomorrow she will go back to school like everything’s fine.


Except the next morning, someone calls for her; it’s John Alexander, asking in a soft voice if she’s okay, asking her what, how, who, why, making her break down again. Suddenly, she’s screaming at the speaker as if it was a person; tears pouring, throat raw, she cusses him out, apologises, and tells him, “Now isn’t a good time.” Then, that silence is back, but it quickly dies.


“I’m here if you need me, Alice,” he tells her. She hangs up.


Her mother yells at her father, throws a plate. She decides not to go to school and instead goes to the park again. Later, she calls John and gets his voicemail. She tells him everything, from her parents and fake friends to the cuts and Andy’s death. There’s a clicking noise, signalling time is up, and a recorded voice tells her that if she’d like to make a call, she should hang up and try again. Taking the voice’s advice, she hangs up but can’t bring herself to call again.


And she waits. The sun starts to set, but still, she doesn’t go home; after all, her parents are probably still going at it and her little brother is used to the fights, will be fine without her. All night, she sits at the park, occasionally moving from the swings to the equipment and back again. When morning comes and goes, bleeding into afternoon, she begins to walk without a clear destination in mind.


Just as she arrives at Andy’s house, John calls her back and it almost sounds like he’s crying. But then he clears his throat and tells her he’s so, so sorry, but that she should call the hotline and tell them she needs help, okay? Because if she does, he promises everything will be alright. There’s a silence, but it’s not
the silence; finally, she nods, knowing he can’t see it, and hangs up.

Sitting on his browning autumn lawn, she calls the hotline again; it’s the first woman that she told everything was her fault. This time, she doesn’t hang up.


~


In the end, she meets John face to face once, only once. It’s long after she moved out, long after her own college days. There’s that silence again, for the final time between them, then a hug, and they walk away: he to his wife and she to her brother and her boyfriend. Because there’s nothing to be said, really; they barely know each other, after all. Even if he did save her.


Years ago, they used to talk after that day in Andy’s yard; brief phone calls as to inquire how life was going, small talk and nothing more. That died away when John got married, when Ben and her brother moved in and she moved to Brooklyn. And life went on without that small contact to Andy.

It’s okay, though, because everything will be alright, is alright.

After all, Andy said so.

~


© 2010 The Cheshire Cat


Author's Note

The Cheshire Cat
alices part. the second and final chapter.

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Added on May 19, 2010
Last Updated on May 19, 2010
Tags: andy, alice, after, all, suicide, heroin, drug, abuse, emo, depression, love, help, john, overdose


Author

The Cheshire Cat
The Cheshire Cat

Kenowhere



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i am the cheshire cat, i live in a tall tree, i smile for you and disappear, i am the only me. more..

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