A Stranger to Myself

"I feel like I don't even know myself. And if I don't know myself, how can anyone else ever know me?" Autumn has always felt alone, like an outcast. But when a girl comes into her life and reveals things about Autumn she never would have known otherwise, can Autumn learn to accept her differences she's so used to hating?


18. Headaches

We left the hospital that night by my insistence on doing so. The doctors tried to tell my mom no, but she was really eager to somehow earn my approval, and she was totally on my side. After a lot of extensive conversations the doctors agreed to let me out, but my mom said that I was going to immediately start therapy and go on medication when we got more settled somewhere. 


It was about 3 AM when we left. Carmen hadn't left the waiting room and we walked past her on the way out. She was asleep, passed out in a very uncomfortable looking chair. My chest constricted. Was I just going to walk away? Not saying a word? I remember stopping still for a second. My mom asked me if I wanted to wake her up and I said no. Instead I went up to her sleeping form very carefully and just stood there. My mom left for a second, reading my mind I guess, and came back with one of the thin, poor-quality hospital sheets. I draped it over Carmen. She didn't wake up. And I left. 


My mom was staying at a friend's house a few neighborhoods from mine. Although she had left in a hurry she had kept some people close, since my dad wouldn't let her get close to me, I guess she wanted to keep some ties. I didn't know the woman we were staying with and we both seemed equally disinterested in one another. We just got introduced. I barely remember her name; something like Marge, or Barbara, one of those old lady names. She was old. At least older than my mom. Lets just call her Marbara.


I felt so out of sorts. Nothing to me made sense. I didn't know what I should do and I wasn't certain of anything I was doing. Was I even making my own decisions or did I feel forced into stuff? Was my mom being totally phony? Was I over-thinking things or under-thinking them? It hurt my head too much when all these things came to mind. So I just slept. For the rest of the day. My mom didn't try to make me do anything, which I appreciated. Marbara stayed away from me. 


I stayed in the house for the next few days. My mom lived a few cities from my town and she had to get some things in order before we could leave to go back to her place. I was pretty patient, still complacent on whether or not I even wanted to be alive. If I didn't sleep I sat on the back porch steps. I hadn't shown any emotion on my face since I got picked up from the hospital. 


All I could think about was Carmen, about everything I had done to her, about how much I had screwed up her life. I wondered for a while how things might be for her if I had somehow ended our friendship before it started. Probably better. 


I still didn't know how I felt about her though, even after everything had happened and all this time had passed. There wasn't even slight certainty on my feelings and it was so annoyingI just wanted to understand what was going on in my head for once. Did I feel guilty because of how much I was upsetting her? Did I not want anything to do with her? Did I want to just be friends with her? Or did I want more?


That was probably the most lingering question. Whenever it came to mind it was almost like the air thinned around me because breathing got harder. I had kissed her. She had kissed me. We had kissed. I had to remember that sometimes because I still didn't believe it was real, but it had happened. I was depressed not delusional. 


I only knew one thing for sure. 


I missed her. 


I didn't completely understand why, but I missed her. 


And I didn't know what to do about that. 


I didn't want to contact her because I was so convinced I would just ruin her life even more than I already had. She didn't deserve any pain, physical or emotional. Not ever. I didn't want to hurt her in any way, I never had. But did it hurt her more if she didn't see me, or if she did? These questions were burning, constant and impossible to answer. It was infuriating. I got headaches a lot that medicine couldn't make go away. 


After a while, though, I didn't have any more time to contemplate what I might do. Because Carmen showed up to Marbara's house. 



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