Derek took his sweatshirt off and threw it against the living room wall. He was hot and couldn’t breath properly.
“I’m not ok!” He proclaimed to his best friend Laura. The words felt foreign as they left his lips. “I’m not made for this.” Tears started to role down his cheeks. “I shouldn’t be here.” He admitted solemnly.
Laura’s mouth fell open in surprise. she wasn’t prepared for this. He had just walked into the apartment with no warning of a break down. She was ill prepared. She took hold of herself and sighed.
“What do you mean by, you shouldn’t be here?” She asked.
He looked down at his hands as if he could will the perfect sentence together. “I don’t know… if I can… if I can… stay.” His answer hit Laura straight in the gut. Derik leaned his back against the wall and lightly floated to the floor. He placed both hands against his face to hide the tears.
Laura got off the couch and sat directly in front of him.
“like move out?” she asked.
“No,” was all he answered.
Laura looked up at him angrily. She knew what he meant. She was upset he even had the guts to admit to it. “why are you so down.” Was all she asked.
It sounded like such a simple question to Derik. Like the answer could be short and sweet. “I don’t know.” He admitted. “I can’t even begin to tell you. It’s everything, and nothing. Everything is off. The world is getting to be too much. It’s like everyone took all the good inside me and twisted it. Every time I smile or speak it’s like a mirage. Like another person is speaking for me and I’m asleep somewhere in my mind.” He hit the back of the wall with his head like he was trying to shake something loose. “I can feel everything.” He admitted.
“How so?” Laura asked needing him to spill his guts. He would feel better if he spoke. Derik never spoke like this. He needed to get this off his chest. Once he did, he would go back to his old self and that would be that.
Laura needed back her best friend. She was having the worst day. She needed to vent over pizza, it would make the bad feelings go away. Derik was good at getting rid of her fears. He was her rock. The person she went to for advice. She needed to get him through this so she could get him back.
Derik continued speaking about his emotions, trying to drain them out of his body like a cysts.
“It’s like anything and everything ever done to me was slowly breaking away until today. Until this moment. Now it’s as if everything is moving and I’m standing still.”
Derik knew he wasn’t making sense, but he didn’t know how to put into words all the feelings he felt.
“I’m always being put down or talk down to or even spoken of by people talking to me.” Derik looked up at the ceiling not daring to look Laura in the eyes. “like the other day, you told me I was nothing, no one, just a number. Do you know how heartbreaking that is? To know you’re nothing.”
His confession was hurting her. She wasn’t expecting the target of todays topic would be her. She took a breath, mostly to stop herself from yelling. Laura grabbed Derik’s face and brought it down to hers. “I was referring to work.” She confessed. “your taking my words out of context.”
Derik slumped in his spot as he heard this. He felt terrible for using her as an example, but he didn’t feel like he took her words out of context. At the time, it made him feel useless and unwanted.
“It didn’t feel like that for me.” He admitted. He was beginning to get tired having to over explain himself.
“You need to stop making a big deal out of everything.”
She didn’t know why she said this. Derik never spoke like this before. He was usually chipper and uplifting. She chalked it up to hunger and a horrible day. A horrible day she wanted to talk about very badly.
Derik made Laura’s words sink in. He never used to be over dramatic. As a teenager he was so happy. Not a care in the world. Everything would just role right off his shoulders. He would think, maybe they had a bad day. Maybe they where just joking.
Now he felt the reality of their jokes, and the weight of their bad day. He felt everything, he felt it all. The sensation inside him was as though his soul was retreating inward, his heart was broken.
His body was getting tired, and he want to crawl under his covers and sleep.
Laura looked him up and down. He could tell she was losing her patience with him. “Snap out of it.” She said grabbing his arm. “You have to get over all of this.”
She got up shaking her head in dismay. She grabbed the pizza flyer and pretend to read it. She had known what she wanted since this afternoon, when they both realized they had no other plans for the night.
“I know…” Derek said. “But what if… what if I’m not!?” He got up and grabbed his sweatshirt off the floor, mainly because he wasn’t sure what he should be doing with his hands.
Laura looked up from the flyer and rolled her eyes at him. “This,” she said waving her hands up and down, “will pass.”
“How? Derik asked. “I have felt like this most of my life Laura. I’m 35 years old. When will it finally pass.” The honesty of his words hit him like a punch. He wasn’t sure it would ever pass. He would never be ok and that was not what he wanted. He needed to heal. All he saw was darkness in his future. That was not a future he wanted to live in.
Derek closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. He prayed the tears would stop and role back up into there hiding place. The darkness behind his lids felt amazing. Suddenly he wondered about death. How would it feel to die? Would it be quiet or cold? Would it be dark and beautiful?
The thought calmed him, like a hug. He could feel a calm wash over him as his tears began to subside. Suddenly he had answers to all his questions. He just knew.
His face began to cool off as he took in as much air, his lungs could hold. His heart started to slow and the hair on the back of his head lowered.
He knew what he had to do. He needed to pretend, as he always did and get this day over with. Tomorrow he would finally be able to rest.
Laura saw the color coming back to his cheeks and was happy he was finally calming down. “Are you feeling better?” She asked hoping she could find a way to change the topic onto her.
“yes.” Derik replied. “Must of just been a bad day. Did you pick the pizza? I’m starving.”