Ache for You (Trapped in Three Hill Book 1) (3 page)

              I dread getting up. I dread moving on because I can’t risk the moment that I stop.

              The moment that I breathe and my brain pretends that it forgot, the gloves come off, and once again I’m just a fuck up that one passes without a second thought. I am worthless and numb. I swallow the pain and invite it into my lungs. My stomach. I wretch it up and taste it all again.

              Every moment, and I always end up stuck on the worst of what happened, because as friends we never got past it. You don’t get to finish your story when the heroine is dead. There is no way for our story to ever end, you ruined it. You left me to take care of all of the finale arrangements. The explanations. I try so desperately to find a conclusion, but I’m distracted and full of procrastination.

              I don’t want to know how this story ends. I don’t want to push past this one horrible moment. I don’t want to stop rewording and deleting what happened because it is the last moment that I have left.

              I see you in my face again, brown eyed, green haired and vibrant. A total bad ass. My every memory of you right now is perfect. You are in high definition, and I keep zooming in, loving the way that you smile, and your eyes soften as you take me in. You are an angel. Perfect. Innocent. Tasteless. Sarcastic. Cruel and mean as shit. I backtrack. 

              That’s the shit that I miss. The sounds, the breaking glass and the touches you can’t take back. How could you do this?

              How could you bolt before the movie ends when you have already paid for your ticket? I never thought you would do this. Your light was infinite. Your eyes never ending with a hidden sadness.

              I didn’t get it. You never gave me the chance. You assumed I would be the bad guy and say as you predicted. Did you think that I would just tell you to “Get over it?” What kind of a friend would do that? What kind of a friend do you think I am? What kind of a man? I would have saved you in a minute. Faster than even that. Why couldn’t you just let me do that? Let me have it. That’s the moment that I most want back. The tension and the distance I never wanted to begin with. The awkwardness. All of it. The lies and the bullshit. Your sad excuses. Your voice.

              The fucking sound of your voice. I can’t hear it now, and I don’t want to be able to. The memory wouldn’t do you justice. I know. It would be a sad and pathetic copycat. Not even an echo. Fuck I miss you.

              Can you just come back now? Resurrect yourself and crawl out of the dirty ground? I promise that I won’t hold what happened against you. I won’t even mention it for a good month or so. 

              Seriously, though, can you just come back now?

  
Waking Up in the Middle of It All - Flo

 

             
What am I supposed to say?
No, I can’t just come back right now Mal. Death is kind of permanent; you know?
I fucked myself over. I am royally screwed. I no longer get to be the storyteller of my own tale. Now it gets to be told by someone else. Whatever girl you meet who is kind enough to draw your heart out and make you feel. I don’t want that to happen, just so you know; I never wanted it to happen. I wanted you all to myself.

              I’m still a selfish asshole.

              I’m scoring 152 on the creep scale right now. I’m busy leering at you and watching your smile fall. I’m falling in love with your frown. Did you know that I was in love with you?

              I never told you. I couldn’t tell you. That would have gone against everything that we had worked so hard to hold.

              Our friendship was made of gold. I would text you and you would call.  You lie down and I remain standing still. I watch your skin fight back against the chill. I hate this bloody peace garden more than you will ever know. The soft wind whistles against my skin and bones. You have no idea how much I miss the way that your golden skin used to glow.

              My palms are in fists for you. I’m angry at myself. I’m angry at you.

              I’m wearing the same clothes I was wearing when I left town: black skinny jeans full of holes and a long sleeved shirt with seagulls all over the front of it. I needed to be inconspicuous. I bought a fresh bag of clothes and I left my Old beater at the mall because it guzzled gas better than you could guzzle down a bag of cheesy balls. I loved that about you, the fact that you could be a slob one second a male model the next, but like everything else that I had come to know quite well, I had to let it go.

              I had to let you go. I suck at goodbyes though, so I didn’t let us have any at all. It was just too painful.

              I rented a Honda™. It was white and I think it was a newer model. I didn’t really care about the finer details to tell you the truth. I just wanted out. I almost chickened out. I felt like a hideous troll almost as much then as I do now. I dyed my dark hair seaweed green a couple of months ago. All because of you, everything in my world is because of you.

              Mal, my old buddy.

              My old pal.

              What happened to you? You look like hell.

              Your silky black hair is all sorts of askew and you’re dressed like some sort of piss-stained old dude. Your yellow jersey is stained with the aforementioned cheesy balls. A top that goes perfectly well with the black sweat pants that cling for desperation at your ankles.

              Socks and sandals are never a good look, Mal. Not even for a man as beautiful as you.

              I stroll closer to you, hands in the front pockets of my jeans. Glancing around, there is no one else here that I know.

              Hundreds of people attended my funeral as a mock show of love and support that my parents fell for, and continue to fall for. They cried over my casket, which was over course, tastefully closed.

              They refused to bury me in a normal cemetery with other dead and careless assholes I could have an afterlife full of strange ghosts and the midnight ghouls but instead, I only have you.

              I have only ever had you. Does that make me sound ungrateful? I’m not, just so you know.  You were never worried about me, or concerned with protecting me because you thought I was the bravest woman that you had ever known. That’s what you always said, and I never believed you. I still don’t. You thought that I could take on the entire world; I could barely take on you. Is that what you want Mal? The truth?

              Oh crap, someone is coming now. A dude I don’t know.  He stops right next to you. He’s tall with a beard and bright eyes that scowl.  I roll my eyes at the clouds as the two of you start to exchange insults.

              “He’s just trying to help you.” I shout even though I have no way of knowing if this guy is really trying to do so. Crossing my arms and twirling around, I pretend that I’m in a super-cool music video. I dance by myself to the sound of you laughing out loud at yourself.

              I pretend that this isn’t real.  I pretend that I’m asleep, or just plain freaking out. This cannot be real and yet it is—quite painfully so.

              Three Hill is more than a one horse town. I watch men strolling around in business suits, holding briefcases baring gold plated initials.

              A lot of people use these walking trails.

              I never noticed before now, I turn around. The suits the men are wearing are deep brown, totally crisp and professional.

              “Geffen’s knows his time is limited when it comes to this case file. It won’t take long and I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of the week we have him blown out,” says suit number one. Suit number two chuckles and the two men continue on their way.

              I close in on the first of the tall trees now, shading a large building meant to serve as a washroom and change room for those venturing out onto the lake itself. I look around: no one is in a swimsuit.

              People are sitting on picnic tables, wearing dark jeans and all the layers needed to keep a warm-blooded person from getting cold.

              I walk further away, secluding myself. I reach my hand out to grace a low-hanging tree branch but I can’t feel it, even if I touch it. My fingers just touch oxygen being sucked in the opposite direction. I keep trying but I’m never quite tall enough to reach it.

              I push my green hair back; the wind moves it annoyingly against my skin. How can I still feel that?

              I don’t understand.

              It makes no sense.

              I turn back to look my best friend, the former reason for my existence.

              I truly believed that. Mal is the only person who has ever made me regret being such a bitch. He’s still on the ground, the only difference is now he has once again been completely abandoned. 

              “You can’t hear me and you’re not supposed to know that I can hear you.” I mumble, moving nice and slow. I drag my ankles. I want to make as much noise as bloody possible. These flip-flops are so uncomfortable.

              I speak to Mal. “I can feel your laughter and your smile, even though I don’t see any trace of it now. You are a ghost. I can feel you touching my waist and waiting for me to turn around. You were always right behind me, no matter where we were or what we had gotten up to, at school, at the mall. You were always there when I turned around. You had an intoxicating presence about you that I crave now. Even when we were fighting, I was laughing, I’m laughing now. How is that possible? How do you make me so happy and so bloody miserable?”

              I’m empty without you.

              “I don’t know how I got here to tell you the truth. I just kind of wonder around aimlessly now.”

              I am bored as all hell.

              I kneel down beside you.

              “I’ve been following you since the news broke; I have nowhere else to go.  I can feel that stupid coat you left in your Chevy™ and I can smell your precious smell: man and engine oil. I don’t know why you always smell like engine oil. I’ve never been able to figure that out. Is it your cologne?”  I laugh out loud. The boy doesn’t move.

              “You have never been the best car guy in the world, but you were a great pal, weren’t you? I’m supposed to gone now. I am gone now. I am dead. I am cold.  I should allow myself to be only a memory, fading into the snow that is sure to fall soon, and not a ghost haunting you, stalking you and watching you. You’ve fooled yourself into believing that you are invisible somehow. You have never been invisible. Do you not see the way every female in town looks at you? You’re a God damn tree dude. Totally made of muscles”

              You are beautiful Mal.

              You glow.

              My voice breaks, I wish I could yell. “I said I’m sorry didn’t I? For what went down. I said it in my head not out loud. There’s hardly any point in me speaking now, you couldn’t hear me anyhow. I’m a whisper, a ghost. I don’t matter at all.  I’m sorry for letting go. I regretted jumping before I even hit the ground. I wasn’t going to hit the clouds. I know that sounds beyond stupid now, but jumping off of Buffalo falls was no easy feat you know? It took lady balls.”

              I breathe in and out. My words tremble “God, I am such a tool. I should have just got back into my car, called you and talked it out. But instead I had to take the scenic route through all that life-altering bullshit that morons like to spew. I had a choice. I chose not to feel because my feels had gotten overwhelmed.”

              I just couldn’t control myself. Not around anybody else and especially not around you.

              “I wanted to kiss you and hit you, and I wasn’t allowed to do either and both would have introduced me to your girlfriend’s new shoes.”

              “I can’t even remember her name right now. She is not what or who I dream about. I did not kill myself because of you.”

              Don’t even go down that route.

              I won’t let you. 

              “I was seriously ill, okay, Mal? Sick straight down to the bone. My insides were flipped inside out.  I didn’t just jump off a cliff so that I could stop thinking about you, I mean yeah I was pretty much down for anything that would stop me from missing you. I wanted to stop loving you.”

              I wanted to feel normal. I wanted to smile. I wanted to be able to breathe in and out without a weight crushing me down, holding me underwater. I was afraid to drown.

              I killed myself because I didn’t know how to talk my feelings out.

              I felt like I was going crazy, with anger taking control of me and filling my body with rage. I didn’t know that there was no undo button on mistakes this size.

              The damage that I did to myself was not collateral, it was fatal. I’m sorry Mal. I am so sorry for leaving you and for not being woman enough just to talk to you and talk it through.

              I fucking miss you, too, and no, I cannot just come back now. It doesn’t work that way Mal. Anyhow. What the hell are you wearing right now? Seriously? What the hell is wrong with you? I can almost smell the man-stank coming off of you.

              Would a shower kill you?

              Ha, too soon?

              Sorry, not sorry.

              Whoa boy. Settle down. No need to kick my headstone! That’s is some pricey marble you just scuffed up with your stupid sandals. You better be going back to school tomorrow! Hello? Mal?

              Where are you going now?

              Mal?

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