Earth is Worth the Struggle

Submitted into Contest #196 in response to: Write a story involving a portal into a parallel universe.... view prompt


Friendship High School Science Fiction

I have perfect friends here. They all spend all their attention on me and will always agree with my opinion. Not like the people back on earth.

One afternoon, when my friends had walked me home from a late Friday night dinner, I looked at myself in the mirror. I had a happy look on my face. It was so easy in this world to live and smile. I smiled and laughed nonstop with my friends and family in this world. I had never cried in this world. Back on earth, I had been crying every day. I used to get so tired from crying. 

I still couldn’t believe that  this smile on my face and my life here was not mine until a month ago. I had somehow slipped into this parallel world when I isolated myself in a pitch black room to avoid people on earth. When I first got here no one was opposing each other’s opinions, and it was so easy for me to live.

When I went into my bed, I didn’t know why, but I could feel my heart being squeezed from stress. Back on earth, I had been struggling from depression for years. My life was hitting me hard and I could never see myself getting better while my friends were moving forward to their own lives. One had already entered university, two had been accepted to multiple universities, and the other had left me for an education in a different country.

While I was thinking about my life on earth I started to doze off.

Suddenly, I noticed that I was in a world in pitch white, and all I could see was the color white. Wait… No way… Four of my closest friends on earth were looking at me, they were all surrounding me but were distanced 90 degrees apart, and I had to turn around to see each of my friends one by one. When I looked at my friends I quickly realized that they are not my friends that just walked me home from Friday night dinner. I realized it was them, the ones from earth. Even though the faces of my friends were exactly the same as the utopian world in a different parallel, I just knew it, I just knew they were the ones I had been depending on for so many years  that I forgot to appreciate them for how much they supported me.

I first saw Agatha in front of me. When I saw her facial expression, memories from the past had flashed back to my head. She was always kind and sweet as can be, but even if I had been hurt by someone, she never could take a side for me. She was so popular that she was a friend of everyone from school. And she never wanted to take a side for anyone. At that point I was very hurt from her decision. But we kept on helping each other with each other’s worries about school in general. After my depression had made me stay in a pitch black room for months, I found out that Agatha is now close with another person at school. I used to be her closest friend, and I had never thought that my place would not be reserved forever. I felt like I didn’t belong in this world and I was in a downwards spiral.

After my head’s flashback had ended I saw Agatha. She had her eyebrows clenched and had red eyes, I could tell that she was doing it to hide her tears. She had always kept her tears from us. That is why I have never seen her cry. Once I had asked her, “Do you ever cry?” and she had told me she doesn’t cry in front of anyone, not even her mother. That is why it shocked me to see her in such a state.

Noah was the only friend I had who was very calm and had so much empathy towards me that I told him everything about how I didn’t accept anything that goes around on earth. I was raised to be a very sensitive child. I was always crying when I saw the news. I even cried when I knew for the first time that people will die eventually. Until I was 9 years old I truly believed that my time with others will last eternally. But no one actually took me seriously when I told them this. No one, except for Noah. Noah had never made fun of me for who I was and tried his best in supporting me. I thought it was true love with Noah. I thought I could spend the rest of my life with him. But he never felt the same way he always helped me as a friend and will be beyond that nor below that. I found this out just before I locked myself out of the outside world on earth. He was still very worried but I never got around to contact him back.

When I finished reminding myself about Noah, I saw his face tense. He has the habit of not expressing his emotion so I just thought he didn’t care. But now that I look carefully, I can realize that even if he doesn’t show his sadness, his eyes are pitch black like my room that I kept myself in for months on earth. His eyes had no light as if to say the world has no hope. It was odd that his eyes didn’t sparkle since the whole entire space that we were in was white, you’d think he’d at least reflect the white world in his eyes. Although Noah and I had been looking into each other’s eyes, he had to go. He looked back and walked away slowly and slowly and I kept looking at him until he had disappeared into the white world like Agatha. I squinted my eyes to see if he’s still there but he was gone. 

That was when I realized that what I had thought was love was actually an obsession towards him to keep him from walking away from me. I had never thought that I loved someone until Noah came along but now that I think of it, I had never thought of dating him and going out as a couple. I just couldn’t imagine it. I just couldn’t let him go and I needed a reason to keep him around. 

After I realized my obsession towards Noah I realized Reva was still there.

 Reva had once been my closest friend. She had cried for me when someone was being mean to me, she had stood up for me to give me a fair try in school. She was always supportive, but sometimes her supportiveness had me shredded with insecurity. She told me where  I should change and how I could change. She never commented on my positive traits. But she did comment on my traits that always made me depressed. Ultimately, Reva had to go to another country to get into an university that she wanted so hard from a very young age. 

When I saw Reva standing in front of me, I could see that she was looking at me with sad eyes. But I couldn’t meet her eyes, she had turned around as if to hide her tears from me. And again she had disappeared into the pitch white world that seemed to be getting bigger and bigger.

Reva used to mean the world to me. She was the one I’d go to when I had something on mind. But she and I had drifted apart. Not on our own free will but because we had been apart from each other we couldn’t talk or laugh with each other like we used to. 

Malle had been my friend since I was 7 years old. We'd been supporting each other for 10 years straight. We’ve known each other for more than half of our lives. She had known me before I had depression. And I knew she missed my radiant smile and was trying to get my smile back for me. But I couldn’t smile. Not even a little bit. Every time she came around and started her attempt in making me smile, all i could do was make my mouth go up words and show my teeth with my eyes becoming a thin line. Although it sounds like my face would look very odd, I somehow got around with this smile-ish look.

Even Though I had a fake smile on me for many years, I was able to smile, the radiant smile. Malle was left in shock but seemed happy to see me smile again. She had a large drop of tear gliding through her cheeks. Her eyes seemed like she was saying goodbye to me, as if to say we will never meet again. But her mouth seemed to loosen from relief that I was able to smile.

I knew she would disappear but I didn’t want her to. I tried calling out to her to stay. But my voice, my voice, had gone. She turned around once and mouthed “Bye.” Her Large drop of tear had quadrupled and her face was all wet. I wanted to wipe her tears but she had walked away and disappeared.

I didn’t want this. All my friends were not flawless but still cared for me from their heart. I was so worried about my depression that I couldn't see the people around me. But now that I have realized how people cared, I didn’t have the dark fog that was growing in my heart for years. I thought life was just a disaster. I couldn’t understand why people tried so hard to live. But now I know. We try hard every single day because we want to live. Life on earth was a gift, an unappreciated gift for me. Though I had never appreciated the gift, now that I saw a glimpse of the true value of life on earth, I felt like I didn’t mind suffering from trying hard to live on earth. 

But it was too late. I was in a parallel world now. I had no idea how to go back to earth. The white world had started to turn black. And all my friends had disappeared.


Then I suddenly heard my mother’s voice for the first time in ages. “Are you not going to go back to school?!” I still didn’t understand what was happening. My “mom” in the parallel world would never yell at me, all she did was smile. But this Mom, the mom on earth was the one who raised me up. Although she was yelling at me, I could feel her being worried for me. 

I quickly grabbed my phone to check the date on earth. But before I could check the time on my phone, I saw messages that had just come. “My Malle 💕”, “Bestie Reva 👯‍♀️”, “🐧Noah🐧” and 

“Agatha Solumate” had popped into my eyes. I checked Malle's message first. 

“I had a dream about you. You smiled for the first time in ages, and it wasn’t the one you always faked out for me. It was that smile you had when you were happy… I really want to hear from you. Contact me Okay?” 

I couldn’t believe it so I had to check the other’s messages as well, and I realized all four of them had seen what I saw as well. 

Because I was sidetracked by the odd messages from my friends I hadn’t realized, but I was back on earth. The utopian world had vanished for eternity.

I quickly took a shower, dressed up and grabbed my bag with a slice of toast. Although my legs were not used to walking, I had used all my muscles to step forward once a time. Left, right, left, right. I was nervous of going back to school but I had realized earth is worth the struggle.

May 06, 2023 01:01

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Mary Bendickson
13:36 May 12, 2023

Welcome back to earth. And to Reedsy. Looks like you are already very popular.


02:54 May 13, 2023

I’m back on earth and I’m glad to be back. It’s my first time but it made me realize that people are very supportive. The earth is worth the struggle when there are so many supportive people.


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