How to save a life

Ava and Luke have been best friends for 11 years, but Luke is drifting away. Depression has taken over him and his multiple suicide attempts have left Ava with only one option; to show her friend that life is worth living before she loses him completely.
Follow them on their journey through Lukes bucket list.

Based off the song by The Fray.

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1. Step 1 : Say we need to talk

I opened my eyes and rubbed them weakly with the back of my hand. They were almost crusted shut. There was some sort of window to my right, he was on my left. My vision blurred when I fixed it on his sleeping form. He looked peaceful. Peaceful... The color of his skin seemed to blend to the sheets, a bloodless chalky porcelain. He seemed unreal, un-moving. Just a manikin. I wished deeply he was, that my friend wasn't this sleeping ghost. It wasn't real.

Above the bridge of his rounded nose was a short cascade of black hair, falling past his eyes squeezed tight shut. His eyebrows were completely concealed, yet I half expected them to be raised skeptically, paired with his usual sarcastic grin. 'Really, Ava? A manikin? You're sitting here with me wishing I was a manikin? Did you think I'd pull you through with me to the other side if you slept here? No, my friend. I'm sorry. You're wasting your damn life.'

His words would be harsh, surely. Maybe not that harsh. 

 

 

I opened my eyes and the dull shades of the hospital snapped away. I shook my head sharply. I was beginning to make a rather unhealthy habit of hiding in my memories, letting them overtake me when I was vulnerable. Some were, obviously, not worth dwelling on.

I stared absentmindedly around me, trying to distract myself from pititful worries. Where the horizon met the sea everything seemed clearer. Bright and colorful, just fading to a point of mixed purples and oranges. There was no words to describe the color, really. Except that it was warm. Yet chilled me to the bone. I wished I had wings sometimes, to fly to that clear point. It was captivating to imagine.

A fragile sight. You can rarely see any view without feeling just one emotion ; Sadness, happiness. That much I gathered, thinking philosophically. The Spanish mountain range brought both to me. A perfect peace I couldn't experience anywhere else. The memories and visions it brought were ones I would happily sink into. I felt no remorse when I did.

I could sit on that wall forever, just dreaming, staring out in bittersweet deception. Nothing could touch me. And nothing could touch that tormented friend I couldn't shake from my mind. 

The phone rang indoors, and I woke from my daze. I sighed. 

If I didn't answer it, my sister would, and she was never too forgiving later on to some of the voicemails I got. She never had been in the past. And not just in your typical big sister little sister I-so-totally-hate-you sense. She was like a python. She latched on and squeezed and squeezed until you were well and truly losing the will to live. 

In short, letting Sophie answer the phone was social suicide. If I hadn't already brought that on myself enough, that is. 

I snapped to reality once more and hopped down from the balcony, dusting the white chalk from the back of my jeans before running indoors past the table. It hurt to run on my left foot. I'd grazed it on the edge of the pool attempting to do a supposedly expert dive. I was just that hyper-intelligent. It spasmed in complaint with every step.

I reached the kitchen where my phone sat on the counter. We were at our grandmas villa in Spain, where we went most Summers as it was cheaper than your average Spanish hotel. The walls were all painted flawless white and seemed to be connected. No doors except to the 3 downstairs bedrooms - It was like one giant portal. Here the walls were green, and my phone would be on the black counter opposite where Sophie had been watching some stupid Nickelodeon show.

Damn. As expected, Sophie had gotten there first. However to my surprise - She wasn't laughing. Usually when she picked up the phone to one of my friends ranting she'd crack up, chortling ; 'God, Ava? This is who you hang out with?'

I froze in dismay. Her cheeks were red, her eyes shiny. She clutched my iphone like a comforter. "I'll... Put her on." She said, voice warbling. She looked at me. My heart sunk seeing the expression on her little 10 year old face. It was grief. I usually wouldn't care at all if my little sister was crying, but I knew what bad news looked like. And I found my hands shaking when I reached out for my phone.

"It's... Lukes mother" She whispered to me.

I almost dropped the phone, eyes widening. Luke was my best friend. His mum didn't even like me, I was supposedly a bad influence on him, since I spent more time on video games than doing homework. Yes, weird for a girl. And ever weirder for the girl to be the influencer and the boy the influencee.

She had only ever called me before for one reason, the exact reason I spent half my time worrying about.

She spoke in a high voice of obviously showcased calm. "I'm sorry, Ava. Luke is in the hospital dear." She breathed. She was clearly keeping a gentle exterior so I wouldn't flip out like last time, but I didn't dare to imagine what her face looked like. What any mother would look like in such a terrible situation. "I hate to spoil your holiday but I thought you'd like to know."

No... I thought pleadingly. Not again... He couldn't have...

"I'm coming home tomorrow, Mrs Williams." I managed after a silence, though my own voice sounded hoarse and shaky.

She coughed. "No rush dear..." She said. I knew she was attempting to be friendly, putting aside her dislike for her sons friends was admirable. She still sounded stressed, through the act. Who wouldn't?

I felt my sisters hand on my shoulder. It was damp, as she'd probably jumped in excitement from the poolside when she heard the spongebob theme tune in the sitting room - But I didn't care. Her touch was somewhat comforting. Siblings could fight all they liked, they still had a connection. A connection that activated when their brother or sister was hurt. It was like motherly instinct.

"Enjoy your last day." She told me, as if that was remotely possible. Like telling a cancer patient to enjoy their last days before chemo. That sort of anxiety was an anchor in my chest. "Do you need a lift tomorrow from the airport?" She offered strenuously. I breathed out unsteadily. "No, thank-you."

She paused. "Call if you need anything, dear."

 I didn't respond, instead held the phone to my ear until I heard the beep knowing the call had ended.

Sophie guided it from my hand gently.

"Hey, snap out of it." She said, but not harshly. In a soft voice that quite frankly scared me. She took my head in her hands, which included her standing on tiptoe. "Your friends okay. He's just in hospital. It's not like he's dying, we both know that." Her eyes were still shiny. She knew Luke well. When she was younger he'd helped me babysit her. Luke and I had been best friends for 11 years - We were like a couple of popular-girls. We did everything together ; To the point where alot of people thought we siblings. Despite his dark hair and my brown. Or, they suspected we were dating. Which was even more ludicrous. 

"It's not that." I mumbled. No. It definitely wasn't a worry for his physical wellbeing. It was his mental stability. Where did I gone wrong? I'd known he was suicidal since last December, when he'd begun self harming. Joint efforts between me and his mum had got him back on his feet before it got serious, however within just two months he attempted to kill himself. That had done it for us. We'd kept close watch on him continuously. I'd sat on the phone with him all night several times to talk him out of doing anything he'd regret. Or something we'd mourn later. This time I hadn't been there, though. He'd had nobody to turn to.

I still questioned what had triggered it all. He'd never told me.

Where did I go wrong?

 

 

The plane trip was dismal. I tried distracting myself with a copy of Mockingjay in my lap and All time low blaring in my headphones, but nothing worked. I was thinking too much about my friend. Then again, he wasn't just a great friend. He was more like my brother. He had stayed at my house several times for weeks at a time when his mum went away, he'd stood up for me being teased at school for years...There was no way to explain it.

No, we weren't boyfriend and girlfriend as many people joked about. But we were best friends, and that was all.

I looked out of the window at the clouds. I'd always wondered what it would be like to fly out there and touch them, holding a piece of one like candy floss, dodging around them. It was enchanting, and turned out to be the only thing that would distract my busy mind.

"Hey, Ava" My brother, Logan, said from beside Sophie, who was snoozing and mumbling in her sleep. He nudged my shoulder until I looked up. "Ava!"

"Yes, what?" I snapped, yanking my earbuds out. Somebody looked over and hushed me from the next aisle.

He grinned. "First, shut up. Second, we're landing soon. So stop looking like someone just stole your favorite teddy bear."

Siblings...

"Look, you'd look like this if you were me, Logan. " I grumbled. "So be considerate for once and try to put yourself in my shoes."

He heaved an irritated sigh. "Attention seeker. Why are girls so bloody hormonal..?"

After a while the plane landed, with a very convenient bump as usual, which woke Sophie and sent her into a clausteraphobic fit until we finally got to leave. I was usually pretty travel sick, too. But music soothed me - Mostly. As usual, daydreaming worked better. Sophie just had to sleep through journeys as nothing else worked.

We got out of the airport and the taxi arrived, which dropped me off outside the hospital. Mum and dad hugged me quickly before it carried on to take them home.

Hospitals seemed far too eerie. And this one was pretty decrepit. St marys was practically ancient in this new developed town. My grandma had been born there, infact. The thought of two generations worth of agonizing diseases and terrifying heart attacks and mourning relatives of the deceased was horrific. Hospitals had never bothered me - But this one was an exception. 

I stepped inside.

The reception was practically empty, since it was 7:30pm. One woman sat with a baby in her lap, another clutching an inhalor and a third sat in the corner with a tissue covering a nosebleed. A pile of was-white hankerchiefs were stacked on the chair beside her.

I approached the desk quietly as possible, watching the noise of my footsteps in the silent room. Only classical music played at the food stand nearby, and the babies occasional wailing. The man with the nose bleed sneezed.

"Can I see Luke Williams, please?" I mumbled. The woman, a choppy haired lady who looked like she'd lost the will to live hours ago, looked up slightly over her bronze rimmed glasses but didn't smile. "Yeah. Ward E14, just down that hall" She gestured to a door on the left.

"Thanks." I muttered with just a hint of sarcasm. I crept past the other rooms in the ward to E14, and pushed the door open.

Lukes mum had fallen asleep in a chair in the corner, and Luke was sat up tangled in white bed sheets. His black hair was tousled, dark circles under his blue eyes. He looked up slightly. "Hey, Ava."

My eyes widened slightly at the drip connected to his arm and nose, and wondered distantly what he'd tried this time.

I breathed out shakily, my hands trembling. "We need to talk."

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