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Romance Coming of Age Sad

I feel empty. Not a different person. Just empty. A husk of someone who no longer has a past or future. One who barely lives in the present. I hear echoes of words. ”She’ll get over it.just give her time.She has to.” They don’t understand but I don’t have the energy to tell them. All I can do is stare. I’ve already been at the window for hours,pouring my soul out to the empty sky. Trying to disappear into the present. The others that weren’t there are already “over it”.They cry fake tears. For all they know,he was just a little boy and,yes,it was unfair,but tragedy is just another aspect of human life. I don’t want to be human sometimes. I want to leave all my feelings behind and just become something else. But no.I stay here, imperfect and flawed and hurting.

He was too young. Too young. His death was too cruel. He was so perfect. Energetic,blindly loving,innocent. His smile would brighten the room. He would listen to my problems,one by one,and after I finished just crack a joke and heal me better than any serious chat would do.Only seven and already aiming high as a therapist or philosopher…just like him.Now the house feels so dead. My mum thins, sunken in the past while I sit, staring at nothing for hours, processing his death. Maybe things would have been different if he didn’t die that way. No blood. No drunken screams.I really thought that Joseph was better than that. He’s gone now. I’m never talking to him again. Not now. Not ever. Not when I’m “healed” either.

That's all I can do. No-one to rely on.Not now that my closest, truest confidant is…dead and my best friend the cause. There. I said it. “The first step in the healing process” the jabbering, questioning, unfeeling people say. “You’re so rude!”they say. “Not attending your own brother's funeral!” That's not what my brother would have wanted. Not him. He would run away in boredom screaming, “catch me if you can!!!” like the tiny little rascal he is. Now I’m stuck. Stuck halfway between my reality and the whole,happy person I used to be. Not anymore.The sky is darkening now. The sun moves without me,leaving me behind. Everyone is going too fast. They’ve left me behind with my broken,slow processing and shattered heart. Slowly,mechanically,I move to bed and dream of nothing.

The early morning light hits my face and I lift,leaving my body,staying at the window.My body goes on,detached,mumbling thank you to cashiers and studying.Then the day is over and it returns to me,staring at the sky,so blue,so happy,even though so much has gone wrong. No. To it,and the others I pass in the street,it's a regular day.No world-shaking deaths.Their most serious feelings are mild annoyance and boredom.Not for me.I cycle through endless confusion,grief and numbness.That's what I am now.Numb.Detached.End of story.There is no realisation,slow acceptance,or recovery.A part of me will always be at the window,no matter how small it gets.I wonder if in another month they will even bother asking. I’ve been a witness to others lives for so long. A silent observer. 3 weeks off school. 5 of reduced homework.An eternity of grief.After those government set times,who will think I’m still grieving? Who will think I'm still alone? I think one day now,I will break after being strained by the weight of my grief for so long.But still I go on,barely alive,staring at an empty sky through a framed window.

Another day.Another day.Another day.Another day.Another day.Another day.Another day.

That’s all my life is,for so long.That's what I do.Slog on,hidden behind a thin facade of functionality. Until my disguise is ripped away.Another boy.Young,like him.Kind,like him.Small face,curly hair.It hurts to look at him.So for so many days,I don’t.Until he asks why. “You don’t look okay missus!” he says.Just like he would.And that's when I break.After a 2 months of not shedding a single tear.Now.In front of everyone.And now they know.They know.And nothing happens.Not for a while. Then someone else asks that question. “Are you ok?” I can’t lie anymore.So I say the truth,and walk away. There’s nothing they can do.

He comes again.So persistent.I shrug him off. “At least a way of contacting you?” he asks.Phone number.Soon my window staring is broken up with his constant calls. Do you want to talk about it? Are you comfortable with me? Are you sure? Eventually he just asks “wanna watch a movie together?” and I say yes,sighing.Only then do I start to notice how kind he really is.Soft,caring features.I silently watch the movie by his side.Its about a boy’s fight to keep his dog after his family can’t afford to keep it anymore.He cries at any slightly negative thing that happens.I observe silently, like a ghost. Not just the screen,but him. By the end of the heart felt movie,I feel a warm tingle of understanding. “Well, see you later!” he calls,almost halfway to the bus stop.I give him a warm smile and wave goodbye as the bus whips him away.

That night I window-stare but Felix is not the only thing I think about. The sharp edges of the pain have dulled a bit with time, and maybe, just maybe, the companionship after all of that.A spark of hope ignites in me,as warm and burning as the boy himself.

The next day he smiles at me in the corridors like always,but this time,I smile back.His eyes twinkle in delight.Just like his.And just like that,I’m sent back to the world of grief.At least at the neutral,empty window nothing reminds me of him.I run down corridors straight to the toilets.There,I find refuge.When I finally come out,tired and worn out,my teacher scolds me. “Why were you late?”

“I was crying.” I said.Straight to the point and honest,as always.

The teacher almost burst a blood vessel.

“Get over it! It’s been almost 3 months!He’s not coming back,and using crying as an excuse to miss half of my lesson! It’s a dishonour to his memory!”

My classmates looked around,shocked.Of course.To them,it's just drama,another thing to gossip about,a topic of conversation.I’m almost sick looking at the teacher’s face.I leave.I don’t even go to my other lessons,even though I’m such a dedicated student.No.I go home.To the window.And I sit there,unseeing,dysfunctional,destroyed on the inside for the rest of the day. I really thought I was healing but even at the slightest mention of him I fall apart.


It’s Alex.

I heard what happened.R u ok?

No. I’m really not.I haven’t been okay in 3 months.And I don’t think I will be anytime soon.Or ever.I throw my phone onto the bed and lay down.My eyes close and a dream comes to me,the first in 2 months,after I stopped having nightmares.

I’m being chased by a bunch of people,the ones that attended the funeral but didn’t really care,staring into space,or on their phones.Now,they run at me, rabid and wild.I’m carrying Felix in my arms and running for both of our lives.He’s staring at me and keeps on asking me why we’re running.I just keep going,hair flying into my face and hands slick with sweat.But…they’re catching up,and now I can see individual faces.Then I wake up,soaked in sweat.And I just lie there for a while.Maybe before my mum would have come up and urged me out of bed,but now she can hardly get out of it herself.I guess I’ll just stay at home.




R u okay?

Why aren’t you at school?


I ignore him,even though it hurts not to answer, because I know the questions that follow will be too much to bear.I have nothing to do that won’t send me back to thoughts of him,so I go to my refuge, the window.And I stare,and think,until my mind empties and the pain fades away.

On Monday I’m back at school.The halls take on a malicious air,with students whispering in corridors and stares focused on me. And then the headteacher calls me over. “You really have to pull it together!” as soon as he said that I was out.But this time he was there.He saw me dashing away and ran to catch me up.Caught. “Are you ok?” he asks,his face crumpled with worry. At least he actually cares. “No.” I reply,just like the day I met him.

“I don’t know why I asked. It's kind of obvious.” he said. I guess it really was.I don’t know why no one’s noticed yet.Maybe they really just didn’t care.But he did.Well,I guess it would be nice to finally have a friend after all of this.

“Come on,I’ll buy you some strawberry laces!”

I haven’t had strawberry laces in so long.They remind me of him.But now,they remind me of Alex. That’s one more thing I can do,other than stare out the window.

I’m not sure if it's the sugar or him that leave me with energy after that encounter. I’ve been listlessly slogging through life for months now,and now that cycle is broken in only a day? Too good to be true.But maybe,just maybe it was true.I think back to the flurry of emotions I felt when meeting him and smile.Even if it isn’t true, I’d rather delude myself with a fantasy than face cold hard reality. I might be coming back to life,back from the icy grave grief put me in.

I meet him again,this time at lunch, and he sits down with me.A warm rush of blood hops around my body.He’s like a fire.Warming,bringing hope,but I still don’t know if he’ll burn my life down. It doesn’t matter. All I have left is ashes,and now I finally get the chance to lift them up,I’ll take the risks.I’m already empty.Nothing else left to hurt.Why not?

We talk. I'm listening intently,soaking up what he says,every smile and laugh,his gentle frowns,his curled locks bouncing on his head. He's healing me without even trying.Just looking at him,I feel that spark of hope once again.Things are finally getting better,and I know it.

February 09, 2024 18:09

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1 comment

Sofia Odumboni
15:14 Feb 17, 2024

This is my first story on reedsy!


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