white flowers bloom
Since that day with Levi, things have flowed well - like a slow monsoon, not hesitant showers. Puzzle pieces have begun to slide into place, like a small child learning how to play properly, instead of just have fun. I still tread on egg-shells though; its the only way I can make things work. Rae and Jasmine sometimes flicker my memory like an old TV, and I have to push them away. With old people in my old life, they seem to switch a few buttons and old things come flooding back like a promised storm-
But I just leave.
I leave it all behind, like Levi said I should. I think about new memories, new thoughts: old friends have to go. Mum said I should get myself a boyfriend, so I suppose I've been trying to be more sociable. Levi took me to a club a few days ago, but it was a one for over 16s so it was pretty rubbish. He can't take me somewhere for adults as, firstly, it would be illegal and - more importantly - he's a policeman.
Danila took me to a Bar a few days ago - he was damn surprised I even texted him. We haven't talked in a few months, since- We haven't talked. I guess he thought I blamed him a little bit - which I do, but then again, I blame a lot of people. He seemed eager to be friends again, even if it just meant me kind of using him to get into the Bar and buy me alcohol. I think he was worried I might do something stupid, something like drink too much and go mad, mad, mad, like Cory and Rae and Jasmine think I am, now.
But I wasn't going to drink too much, as he might know if he actually said anything he really thought out loud.
I don't think he laughs as much as he used to. Maybe he's afraid. Of what happened: of me. I think he blames himself a little bit, which is the worst part of it all.
Anyway, I couldn't find anyone. Everyone was either too drunk or too weird to merit a conversation, and I just felt so tired. Like I couldn't be bothered for anything, or anyone. Not even bored. Just tired. Like I needed to fall asleep for a very, very long time. We're all a little bit tired, here in Stella.
I sip my lemonade through the straw, and twirl it around the ice so it clinks.
Danila does the same, his eyes running around the crystal rim. He laughs gutturally. "Everyone's saying I should be finding a college," he raises his eyes. "But I don't know what I want to do."
I raise one corner of my mouth. "That makes two of us."
He nods. "Three. Cory's thinking about taking a year off."
"Cory," I shake my head. "Seems like only yesterday, doesn't it? All of us being together. We should all be here now, trying to buy wine from the counter like we did before Christmas."
"How's Rae and Jas?"
I pause. "I don't know."
"I thought you three were still close. I mean, you and Jas. Rae was always a bit of a bitch," he laughs again. "I fancied her for so long."
He nods, pushing a strand of dark hair from his eyes. "Yeah. I didn't tell you?"
"No. You were too busy talking to Rae," I smile teasingly. I finish my last drop of lemonade, and make sure I don't make a stupid slurping sound with the straw.
He chuckles, then becomes serious again. "Why aren't you and Jas friends?"
I shrug, and skim my tongue over my lower lip. "You won't understand."
"How do you know?" Danila frowns slightly, obviously miffed I don't trust him enough to explain the whole circle thing to him. Even Levi doesn't understand it. Danila won't. No-one does.
"Because no-one understands. And I don't even understand."
"Maybe talking about it will make you feel-?"
"No," I tense up, feeling my back straighten like a rod has been pushed down my shirt.
Danila drops his black eyes like dead weights, and it feels like the dim light of the room is pushing down on us - the whole ceiling forcing us to our knees. Like we're drowning. The lemonade feels bubbly in my stomach, and I feel slightly sick. Danila makes me feel sick, and so does this restaurant.
I drop my glass on the table with a thud. "I'm going home."
Danila's jaw drops, "What?" He jumps up, grabbing my hand. "Why? Ivory-?"
My heart beats like its running: faster, faster. Why can't I breathe? The lights look like they're fluttering, ethereal butterflies inside each bulb, flicking, flickering, flying. There is a bit of bloody scarlet by the bar, some kind of cocktail, and the spinning of something that looks like a steering wheel, but is only a bottle top wobbling over the Bar.The air rushes down my throat, but I choke on it, like its strangling me softly. Tears prick my eyes like tiny knives and I gasp. I gasp.
"Ivory? Oh my God, are you okay-?"
Danila steadies my arm with a firm hand, and I feel my chin rest on his chest. He wraps his arms around my back and pulls me close to him, like we used to when we said goodbye so long ago. All of us, all us friends, hugged before we left each other, like it was our tradition, our ritual.
I pause myself. I go blank.
"Its okay," a voice mutters. Some distant, distant voice. "Its okay. I'll take you home."