Try to Remember

Shirley and Vanessa were like sisters. They were the kind of best friends who knew they would never break their friendship. Ever.
But Vanessa had a supernatural secret which she had never told to anyone. When she tells Shirley about it, the last thing she expects Shirley to do is hate her.
But that's exactly what she does...

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4. I Remember

 

 

I flutter in and out of unconsciousness and semi-consciousness like a lost butterfly.

Every semiconscious moment, I feel the mental pain of what Shirley was about to do to me.

Every unconscious moment, I walk in nightmares, which are mostly replays of today and that horrible day all those weeks ago.

And when I slowly but surely return to consciousness, I can’t help wondering who saved me from jumping out the window.

I can’t believe I was prepared to do that. A month ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of it. And I definitely can’t believe that Shirley drove me to it.

Would I have done it? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe I would have just slammed into the glass. Maybe I would have broken through. I was prepared to, to keep my secret.

My secret. My horrible, horrible secret. The fault of everything painful happening in the past month. Mentally, I am already cursing it, screaming at it, whacking it. Abusing it like Shirley did to me. Because if it wasn’t for it, I would still be best friends forever with Shirley. I would still be able to eat lunch in the cafeteria, without Shirley and her friends driving me out. I would still be able to talk to people without them looking at me like I was crazy. I would still be able to look teachers in the eye. I would still be a lot more innocent about the world than I am now.

Suddenly I realize I am conscious, conscious enough to open my eyes. I am lying on a bed in the nurse’s office with an ice pack on my head, which is throbbing gently.

I am holding something in my hand. I unclench my fist and look at it.

It’s the note that Shirley dropped.

I can’t help it. I curl my fingers around the crumpled piece of paper and open it, expecting it to blurt out the words of my secret.

But it doesn’t, and what I see sends the paper dropping to the floor again. It lies face up, staring at me with the words clearly printed on it in Shirley’s best handwriting.

I will always be Vanessa’s best friend. I am so sorry.

I can’t believe it. It must be some sort of trick. She was being so cruel to me in the classroom just this morning.

Just then, the door opens and someone comes in. It’s the nurse, and she smiles when she sees I am awake. “How’re you feeling?”

“My head’s a bit sore, but I’m not dizzy or confused or anything.” Quite the opposite. I am completely confused.

“Good, because I brought someone to see you. I’ll give you some time together then.” She steps aside and lets Shirley walk into the room.

Oh no. She’s come to tease me now, even more. My eyes scan the room for the nurse but she is gone.

But as she comes closer… no, this isn’t possible. I see that her eyes are wet with tears.

“Vanessa,” she says quietly. “I see you got my note.”

I say nothing. This must be a trick.

“I know what you’re thinking.” She sits down on the bed beside me. I flinch slightly but say nothing.

“This is not a trick, Vanessa. I can’t believe…” She chokes. “I can’t believe I did this to you.

“When you told me that secret, a month ago, I was blinded by revulsion. I thought you were freakish and disgusting, as you probably know. But what you probably don’t know is that I went home disgusted and screaming at myself. I hated that I had done this to you. The next day I did a very selfish thing. I told everyone that you had attacked me because I was afraid to get into trouble. I kept on attacking you when I came back because I couldn’t stop. I know you think I hated you, but the truth is I was so, so jealous of you and your secret.”

I can’t believe it. “Jealous? Of my secret?”

Shirley nods. “I’ve always wanted some sort of gift,” she says. “When you told me what you had, well… I couldn’t bear it.”

“When did you… when did you know you had to stop?”

“Yesterday. When you told me to “try to remember.” I did, because I hoped it would rid me of my jealousy. I went home and I looked at pictures of us and watched videos. I remembered us laughing, crying, making promises. I tried, and I remembered.

“This morning, I pretended to be mean because, once again, I was selfish. I didn’t want to announce in front of the entire class that I wanted to be your friend again. I was probably going to be treated like a loser, and my new “friends” would pick on me. But when you almost fell through the window, I realized that was what I had been doing to you—picking on you, calling you names. I came to my senses.”

“It was you,” I whisper. “You pulled me back. You saved my life.”

“I thought I’d killed you when you knocked your head on the floor and went limp,” she confesses.

“Oh, Shirley,” I say simply. She understands.

For the first time in a month, she reaches towards me and we hug.

 “I promise, Vanessa,” she murmurs, “I will never break our bond again. And if I do… I will always try to remember.”

I smile for the first time in weeks.

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