In lieu of pain

There are lots of ways to to deal with pain. Some people scream, some people cry, some people get angry and fight and argue, some people play relentless pong or gently tickle the piano until the feeling washes away. The question is do they work?
And maybe the bigger question for our still-spinning protagonist is how can you start life at sixteen years old, with nothing but fuzzy memories of the past year and a nice pair of new shoes?

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5. Relapse and Reflections-the present tense bit

 

 Now we come to tonight. It's been a strange night. There's never a perfect time to give your entire life story to complete strangers, but on this occasion it's what I feel like doing. Plus it's not my entire life. It's the few short months that came after Before, which I feel more than make up for the year I lost anyway. Tonight has not been a great night. Well no. In some ways it has and in some ways it hasn't, so I suppose in the fantastical metaphorical play park that is my life, tonight would be a balanced see-saw. If that makes any sense, which it doesn't, but I shall continue anyway.

I started by skipping rangers, on the grounds that it's probably not in my interests to spend hours of my life which could be spent on homework under the control of somebody who hates me but then didn't get anything done anyway. It's not that I didn't mean to, but the second everyone else left the house Ella messaged me with a reminder to bake for English cake rota which I'd totally forgotten about, then as I was thinking about getting up to do something Bo and Trix both pretty much simultaneously started talking to me about how the were upset with each-other which basically stopped me dead. Because as long as I've known both of them they've been TrixieAndBo, no two ways about it. Before I had anything really to do with Bo I'd be asking him “BO WHERE'S TRIX” any day she was late, which was pretty much every day, and the only reason I knew him was because he was always around her when I wanted to talk to her. I wasn't exactly relaying messages because that's the height of shit stirring and anyway I Am Not An Owl (:P), just kinda trying to figure out what was going on, then what totally threw me off was one saying of the other”I'd hardly call us best friends. We barely even speak.” and the reason that was such a weird thing to hear was because it was absolutely and totally true with virtually no explanation. Neither understood why they were suddenly so far apart in the space of like two months, but the only variable I could come up with was, well, me but I wasn't going to point this out. I kinda look up to TrixieAndBo for their simple, seemingly uncomplicated, cheerful relationship (and ability to ignore everyone who assumed they were together) and the last thing I wanted was to get in the way of it. I wanted to do something about it but pressing them wasn't really a productive strategy and by the end Trix wasn't talking to me and Bo seemed kinda pissed off so I gave up and went to buy cake because by then it was too late to bake.

I walked to the shop across the street wearing my vomit stained holey shoes and no gloves or coat but they didn't have what I wanted so I had to trudge like half a mile from my house in the opposite direction and I froze my freakin' butt off (although I did pick up some Tangy Toms, always good xD). I spent like two and a half hours trying to ice the darned things and they just look like someone puked on them and then while I was doing it Bo went offline mid conversation and everything was all yuck and I went to bed feeling totally inadequate and it just spiralled. Everybody hates me. That's the thing though, some people say it and half mean it (I'm sure I've done that before), but I ACTUALLY meant it. What I meant was EVERYBODY HATES ME. Lexy, who I've known for the best part of both of our lives, who has continually alternated between shunning me and shunning Fran for about ten years and then expected my help when everybody turned on her. I remember the phrase “I feel like my whole world is falling apart” being used. This was exactly how I felt now and I knew full well she couldn't care less if I told her. Fran who had gone against almost everything she had ever believed in (and I knew her mind inside out and we both took pride in it) just because somebody stronger and more forceful than me told her to. JJ, who would happily sacrifice my freaking mind to get some gossip or suck up to someone. I found myself inwardly bitching about the people I loved most in the world, because it had suddenly occurred to me that they did not love me and I had absolutely no idea how to come to terms with this.

I couldn't get over it. I couldn't get my head around it. I quite suddenly just wanted to die all over again. I was once again broken, seemingly beyond repair, and a hundred other cliché phrases which sound melodramatic but in certain contexts are horribly true and therefore somehow acceptable. And yes I'm just justifying myself to nobody for no reason. And crying about it.

I sat in the bath watching my phone and noticed Bo had come back online and read my message with no reply. I cried. I considered what I would say to everyone I was mad at if I had the chance and I cried. I thought about sad cats and I cried. I got out of the bath and texted everything I was feeling to Matthew and I CRIIIIED like a baby. I said “I can't do this anymore. If I wake up in the morning I will be extremely disappointed. And I know that I will, because every morning I do and whatever I might want, the world is not a wish-granting factory. But it's too much, because every time I try to build a life the world throws it in my face and I just don't feel like I can try anymore”. (Those are probably the truest words every to come from my mouth. Well Swype keypad but still.)

He asked what was wrong because I'd seemed fine earlier. I thought about pointing out that I'd been crying half the afternoon but that sounded pathetic and needy so to diffuse the pathetic neediness (most successfully) I said “Matthew why does everyone hate me. I don't understand. It sucks so much and there's nothing I can do to change it but every day hurts and I can't leave for eighteen months. I can't make new friends because somebody will tell them I suck before I get chance to ruin their life. There's nothing left to try.” I said “Just everything, I can't get away from it, like I mentioned something about walking with Lexy the other day and Steve said “doesn't she hate you?” and said how she......” and I went on for a very long time telling him so many things he didn't need to hear. Amongst the really sweet things in his replies, he said “Beth told me the other day that she doesn't hate you she's just trying to move on....not be friends necessarily but you know just live life” and I wanted it not to bother me but it did. And then amongst my various bizarre responses to his words of comfort I found myself saying amidst other things “...and much though I love Beth, her logic works because we both know we're bad for each-other, it just took us both a while to come to terms with it.” and then moving on to something else and reading back on that I found myself letting go a little bit. Stupidly, I decided to share my excitement with Elphie and Jiji (more irrelevant third parties), and got a face full of “I told you so”s, which was pretty much what I deserved but I'd forgotten for a second that we weren't close like we used to be. They launched into a massive rant to one of Jiji's friends about how much of a cow Beth was to them and it hurt a little because she WAS a cow to them but they never even really met her and I experienced it full on (which they weren't even acknowledging) and I still found myself wanting to stick up for her a little. I don't know WHY I would do that, and I didn't do that and I thought instead about my relationship with Jiji and Elphie but then that was sad too because we all knew they'd both throw me under a bus to save each other and we used to be like musketeers.

I only vaguely knew why they hated her so much, I remembered bits of it as they pointed out and it was strange and I wasn't sure I wanted to remember. I scrolled through my screenshots, trying to find the ones I remembered saving from them trying to talk me out of It, months ago, sometime in the endless hazy expanse of Before, and accidentally stumbled across something I wish I hadn't seen, lots of somethings I didn't really need to see. The screen shot on my phone was easy to do by accident, just hold down the middle key and tap the back button, so if I was resting my finger in the wrong place it took random shots. I found a lot of bits of conversations with Beth that I couldn't remember and didn't really want to. “I love you too * cuddles tight * <3 xxx dinosaurs”, “We can communicate telepathically, it's fine <3 xxx dinosaurs”. And then there was “No you don't think I'm a good person you just...” “Well I would've seen it with you if...” “....is such a twat -_-. Surely her of all people....”. And I was just there trying not to cry because I knew most of these were at least partially my fault. All I wanted to do was run back in time, back to all those moments I can't even remember and SCREAM at myself not to send that message, not to say those words. But really, in my heart of hearts, I know I'd have done it anyway. I'm too stubborn like that. It's one of the many, MANY reasons I might be better off not being here.

“i like looking after you. And I always will as long as you need me. Xxx”. Right at the moment I found that want all I wanted was to feel tears streaming down my face but I couldn't even cry, everything just became numb, and then I found the reason Jiji and Elphie hated her so much and I remembered it all.

 

I'm coming back from swimming and checking my phone. I have a lot of messages, a lot of notifications and naturally I check my texts first and Beth is saying “I'm sorry if I shouldn't have said that. I just got so angry with her and I lost it”.

 

I'm swiping across the screen to answer my phone, confused and tired, and Beth's crying and it scares my to hear her cry, especially over me. I want to hold her but I can't.

 

She's talking in a shaky voice I can barely hear; “and then she sent me this horrible message saying what I bad friend I am and how much you hate me and I'm so scared”

 

I didn't want to remember anymore. I didn't want to know but it was too late. They fought over a stupid frape, a stupid status Beth set from my account saying about how Beth is the awesomest dinosaur ever and I wish I could be like her, Jiji told Beth to stop cutting me down, Beth said her turn of phrase was offensive given my situation (cutting reference) and Elphie lost it in Ji's defence. And I know I was wrong, and without meaning to I must have caused this, and I don't want to remember. I don't want to remember, everything's all shaky and I feel like Beth sounded on the phone and I just want her right now. But that's never going to happen again.

Here's the message she posted that night:

“I love you <3 I will love you today and tomorrow and every single day until there are no more dinosaurs and even after that. You are the most important person to me in the world and I will not let anyone take you away from me <3”

 

Suddenly I don't want to live now anymore (and this is present tense because this is a very current, very real feeling), and I know that I won't have a choice and I will have to make the best of it, but it's not even that I want die. I just want to go back to living in a world where my Beth, my mummysaur, my darling, will never let me go. Will love me every single day until there are no more dinosaurs. And I like to hope that in a way that's still true but honestly, it probably isn't.

 

Everything hurts. I'm tired but my mind is buzzing. All the times I let her down, she let me down, we let each other down. Regrets are pointless but they'll always be there, making me remember, making me scared.

 

It's not really like finally getting the courage. It's like just being bored of not having the courage and knowing there's not going back now anyway.

 

It physically hurts.

 

Then, for one long, drawn out instant I'm falling and then

 

I'm finding it hard to breathe. Or see or hear or feel, just to remember is like falling again.

 

I'm crumpled on the floor, clinging to the radiator. I'm wailing and I don't know why so I stop. There's a painting in front of me, a girl with bleeding eyes to match my bleeding heart. There's a searing pain in my ankle.

 

Now I'm crying. And it doesn't even matter any more.

 

**

Earlier today I was looking at the knife, The Knife, My Knife, on the worktop ready to go in the over-full dishwasher. Just with interest really, remembering it's shape, how the light hit it, the bright green matt finish. It was a very nice knife really. Expensive I remember.

Cutting doesn't really solve anything. You can try feeling physical pain lieu of emotional but in the end they both come back to bite you in the ass and it's a lesson you learn too late.

 

I'm NOT going to remember this anymore.

 

You can scream but all that brings about is angry neighbours. And I could cry all night if I wanted to, feel the damp on my pillow, in my hair, in lieu of the pain I'm trying to hide from. But I know it'll be back. Because that's the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.

I'm probably not achieving much here, I could saying I'm raising awareness but nobody will really read this, not really. There are little green pills under my seat in the car, anti-depressants, I should be taking them but they wouldn't make it go away either.

I'm smart enough to know Beth's long out of my life and we're better off that way but it HURTS. And I know Jiji and Elphie will always be better for each other than I am either of them but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Maybe tomorrow will be a good day. I might get my mocha and cinnamon swirl. Maybe Trixie won't be mad at me anymore. Maybe Bo will be feeling happy and I will be feeling happy, but then again all those things at once are far too much to ask, and fairly improbable too. I want the past to all go away, no more flashbacks, no more Beth, but the world doesn't work like that as well enough I know.

A small part of me wants to cut. But the real me can undermine that. A large part of me wants to cry but my body is too tired to force anything on my brain too powerful for my restless, if small, willpower. And I was never a screamer. There's nothing one can experience, in lieu of pain, that makes it go away for good. It's something one has to ride out, however much it sucks, and sometimes it does. But what can I do now?

So I close my eyes.

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