The events of the dinner of July 14th are a mystery to me as well. If you were to ask me what the reason was for my body being crumpled up like a receipt sitting at the bottom of someone's wallet on my cold bathroom floor, I would stare at you blankly. I would furrow my eyebrows and my mouth would open and close, trying to provide an answer.
"My mom and I had a small... dispute" I would haltingly say, "we both got carried away, that was all."
That is not what happened. That doesn't begin to describe what happened.
When I woke up on the evening of the 15th, I was unaware of the state of my house, where my mother was, the day it was or the time it was. I was too preoccupied with myself.
My sobs wrapped around my throat and strangled me, barely letting me suck in enough air. The cool bathroom floor provided no comfort, but my limbs were so limp that they couldn’t drag myself to my bedroom. I laid there, my body crumpled into a ball, my chest heaving up and down and my muscles so tense they felt like they were going to shatter into a million pieces.
The world around me, however, didn’t want to listen to my crumbling emotions. The sun that was just barely peeking over the sea provided a wonderfully lit display of all of the happy people running around the beach. There were a variety of people, all of them mocking my emotions. Young children laughing with their siblings and splashing in the waves, couples grinning at each other and exchanging kisses, teenagers drinking God knows what out of cans, girls shrieking and guys roaring while videoing each other.
This could all be viewed right outside my window. It felt like a higher power taunting me. I imagine they laugh as another glance towards the beach makes my sobs more forceful, and makes me bend over so hard I hit my head. As my head smashed against the cold floor, a loud BANG was emitted, but seemed to come from my window. I whipped my throbbing head around, to see the shadow of a hand quickly disappear.
“Hello?” I called out, trying to stand up but remembering that I was too weak. I wiped the fresh tears from my eyes and attempted, unsuccessfully, to make my voice sound steady as I said, “who’s there?”
“I-I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have knocked,” the voice belonged to a boy, probably 16 or 17, around the same age as me. The sound of shuffling sand followed soon after his words, leaving me alone yet again on the floor.
Screw this. Screw all of this. I’m so pathetic.
It took every nearly-shattered muscle in me to pull up my body by using the window pane, and my feet soon found the floor which allowed my knees to extend. I took a deep breath in and out, it was a good first step. I didn’t have to call after him. It really did not matter where he went, he would probably be happier with his frie-
“Come back. Please.” The words were said before I could stop myself, but they were useless anyways. It seemed like I was talking into the nothingness, no one on the beach even glanced in my direction. I scanned the scenery, looking for the mystery boy, before looking directly below my window, and seeing footsteps that led around the left side of my house. It was really so simple to follow him. I wasn’t even on the second floor, it was maybe a 5 foot drop at most.
“Honestly, he’s baiting me. Who shows up to someone’s house and knocks on their window then mysteriously disappears” I nodded to myself and opened my window, sticking one leg out of my window while placing my hands in the middle of my two legs and swinging my other leg over, “he left me a direct path to him! I’m not supposed to follow it?” I pushed myself out of my window and started to wrap around my house, “besides, anything is better than crying on my bathroom floor like a moron”
The thumping music coming from the teens made my head throb even harder, blurring my vision and making the footprints less visible. My tongue felt like it was taking up all of the space in my mouth, and it felt like there were dumbbells placed on my eyelashes. My throat had a dry, metallic taste that traveled through my body, evolving in my stomach and making it feel like someone had taken an enormous spoon and mixed all of my insides.
I couldn’t faint. Not right now. Mystery boy needed to be found. I needed to find him right this very minute. The world won’t go black. No. I won’t let it. Mystery boy. Mystery boy. Find him.
I woke up, again with my back pressed against the cold floor of my bathroom. The memory of what I had just done was like watching a movie on a dirty CD; random skips, voices not matching up, and overly pixelated images. I tried to open my eyes, but the dim light coming from above was enough to blind me.
“Come on. Sit up” the voice felt like it was coming from a thousand miles away, but my throbbing head told myself to obey. I brought my feet closer to my body and let my knees rise while I planted my hands next to me and tried to grip the floor. Straining, I pulled myself up and hugged my knees to my chest like a toddler.
“Who are you?” I asked, slowly opening my eyes.
The person turned on the sink and put a washcloth under it, “I um… I knocked on your window. Mystery Boy is the term I believe you used?” he forced a chuckle, “put this on your forehead. I know you don’t have a fever but it should help you come to your senses,” he said, bending down on one knee and handing it to me.
By some miracle the washcloth stopped the throbbing in my head and let me catch my breath, “You’re in my house. I need your name so I have a reason not to call the cops” I said, trying to get a good look at his face.
"Erm... okay. My name is John" he cracked his knuckles as soon as he said it.
"You're lying Mystery Boy" I said, "If you make me some chicken noodle soup, I won't press any further for any more information about you."
"Just let me stay Luna"
The fact that he knew my name startled me, "why do you know my name?"
"I go to high school with you. English, period 3. You twist the ring that sits on your pinky finger three times before giving any presentation"
I slowly scooted myself slightly further away from him. What if he had followed me? What if he had found my address and then knocked on my window to see if I would respond? It wouldn't make much sense, but neither did anything about the series of events that had occurred in the last 24 hours, so I wasn't ruling any theories out.
"On Friday we were assigned as partners for some group project. We had a good time. I don't even remember what the project was, but you told me to come over. Something about your mom and her boyfriend." Though his voice seemed calm, his body wasn't. His hands were shaking furiously and he was obvious trying to prevent his teeth from chattering by gritting them.
"If you know that I twist my ring three times before I give a presentation, you must know what I said. Please tell me. I don't remember last night and I think I need to" my desperation was so obviously reflected in my voice, which I would normally never allow myself to do.
"Alright. You said that your mom and her 'seventeen hundredth boyfriend' were coming over Saturday night. You said that you would rather do anything else because your mother's boyfriends are typically, and this is a direct quote from you, 'workaholic douchebags who probably make up for their daughter's mental instability with money rather than love and were definitely the kind of parents to be on their phone while their child was at the park sticking sand up their own asshole'"
I shrugged, "I don't know if that's true. I don't remember anything from last night. I was probably right though, seeing as that description was the most perfect encapsulation of my mother's boyfriends"
Mystery Boy turned around for a second and gave me a momentary look of pity.
"Tell me what I said after that"
He hesitated for a second before continuing with his story, "You told me to come over on Sunday night. You said you might not look like the best version of yourself, but you told me to come anyways. Something about... um... comfort in my presence"
It was true, I did feel more comfortable with him around. He had an innocence about him, a face that told me that I wasn't alone when I was with him. I was alone when I was with my mom, or her boyfriends. I was alone at school, even when with my own friends. I was not alone with Mystery Boy.
"You texted me last night in hysterics. I can show you if you'd want me to. It has... very specific details about last night. It also said that if you didn't feel like listening to your self written narrative the house would be a reminder of everything that had happened"
I grinned at myself, "I know myself way too well. Alright then, help me up then John Doe" I said, reaching out my hands.
He took them, and the first thing I noticed was how warm they were. They felt like two glowing orbs of heat while I was stuck in Antartica.
"Do you mind holding my hands as we walk around, I might still fall or something"
"Yeah sure, whatever you need" he pressed his lips together and smiled at me. Though I tried to mirror his actions, my lips were cracked, and so they hurt when I tried to widen them.
"I guess we gotta look, right?" I asked, holding on to the door knob waiting for Mystery Boy to nod.
When he did, I slowly turned the knob. It creaked and the chime that hung off of it started to bang against itself, letting out a tune that was not at all pleasant.
The sight of my house was a nightmare.
Fragments of the glass vases I had broken laid on the floor, and the flowers that were scattered all over the floor hadn't been rehydrated in less than 24 hours and had still already started to wilt. The flowers seemed to look up at me and say, 'you know this is your fault. All of it is. That is why we're dead. That is why we have turned this dreadful shade of gray, and why you do not know where your mother is. We had a life to live, and now we're dead, because of a ridiculous fight with your mother that got beyond out of hand."
Tables were turned over, shattered plates, cups, and bowls were scattered across the floor. Pages of books had been ripped out, and more than one window had been left open.
"Oh God. Oh Jesus Christ" I collapsed onto the floor, trying to suppress my tears my blinking very quickly.
"It's okay Luna" Mystery Boy said, sitting down next to me, "It'll be okay"
I took slow breaths in through my nose, resting my head on his shoulder, "thank you Mystery Boy."
"Eli. Thank you Eli. Most of my friends say they have to leave as soon as I tell them about my resentment towards my mom. They make up some excuse about why they have to go just as I start to trust them enough to confide in them" I let out an unintentional whimper, "but not you" I whispered, "thank you Eli."
The rate of his heartbeat slowed, and his breaths became less heavy before he responded.
"You're welcome Luna" he whispered back.
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This is a good story, Sabrina. I like how you build up to the meat of it. Your descriptions are vivid and interesting. You started the story a little choppy. "The events of the dinner of July 14th are a mystery to me as well," I am not sure why you have "as well" in this sentence. It implies someone else finds the events a mystery, or there is something else that is a mystery. It could be cleaned up a bit. The story was very engaging and I enjoyed reading it.
You described the feeling of being depressed at the beach really well.