Skinny Summer

I was fifteen back then, and it was summer. No worries about school or mean girls. I went on a road trip with my dad. He was always a good father, but he didn't know me. No one ever knew me. I lived a life in my head. A girl was haunting me in every reflection.
I felt insane, but I had to hide it. I couldn't tell my dad.

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4. Remember me

We went back to the autocamper. Dad stood outside and enjoyed the cold breeze outside. I was getting a bit late. I walked in and sat on my bed. It was so small, so calling it a bed didn’t seem right. It was more like a brown box with a blanket. It wasn’t that bad though. I was lucky, because my box was placed right next to a window. I loved looking out of the window. The sky was orange and there were a bunch of birds on the ground. Dad said that Copenhagen was filled with birds. I believed him, because I had seen more birds than people.

I thought of the people from school. I thought of how sad it was that my dad was my only friend in the world, and he didn’t even know me. That made me realize how lonely I was.

I had been to two schools. It had ended the same way both times; I got bullied, people called me a freak and I cried in the girl’s bathroom every day.

Just the thought of going back to school made we want to cry. I couldn’t fight through one more year.

My first school was the worst one, though. Every day, I’d stand outside and be too scared to go inside. I felt nauseous. My stomach started to cramp and my heart was beating too fast. I was too scared. I’d stand outside for five minutes, deciding if I should go inside or go home, and I went home the last six months I went there.

Sometimes, I wondered if those people ever thought of me. At that moment, when I was sitting on my bed, looking out of the window, thinking of them, I wondered; did they think of me? Did they wonder what happened to the shy girl who left? Did they even remember me?

Dad came into the autocamper. He looked at me and said:
“Are you okay, pumpkin?”

He walked over to me and sat on his bed which was next to mine.

I wanted to be honest this time. I felt like he deserved some honesty from me.

“Yeah, it’s just… Sometimes I wonder if those people from my old school remember me.”

Dad came closer and put his hand on my lap.

“Look, what they think and what they say don’t matter. You shouldn’t be thinking about them. They don’t deserve the concern and the care from you. Don’t focus on people who won’t focus on you, sweetie”, he whispered.

My eyes watered a little bit, but he didn’t notice.

“You’re right”, I said.

He smiled at me, and shook his hand that had grabbed my leg.

“You are stronger than them”, he said. “Well, I think it’s time for us to go to bed.”

“Are you sure it’s legal to sleep in an autocamper on a parking lot next to 7-Eleven?” I asked.

He grinned and said:
“It is now.”

I laughed.

“Goodnight, sweet pea”, he said.

He turned off the lights and we went to bed. I turned to him and asked:
“Dad?”
He turned to me and said:

“Yeah?”

“…I love you”, I whispered.

He smiled.

 

I closed my eyes, but never slept. I was wide awake without knowing why. I twisted and turned for hours but I just couldn’t sleep. I looked at my watch; it said 02:36. I looked over at dad. It looked like he was sleeping. I slowly got up and walked over to the middle of the floor. There was just enough room for me to lie down.

I put my feet together and my hands behind my head. Then it began:

One, two, three…

Everything was quiet. Not one simple sound was there.

21, 22, 23…

I closed my eyes and focused on the pain in my muscles. It didn’t hurt yet, but I wanted it to. I just wanted to feel it burn. I wanted to feel powerful.

48, 49, 50…

I stopped. I fell to the ground, but dad didn’t hear it. He was all gone in his sleep.

I felt happy. I felt satisfied.

“I saw that”, a voice said.

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