It was that dream again, the shadows moving across the bay, casted out by the soft glow of the moonlight. It was dark, it was always dark, but somehow the moon made the starless sky look beautiful. Then he would appear. His face shadowed unnaturally even as he would stand in the streetlights buried in the sand. He would waltz across the sand, somehow his shiny black shoes would never sink into it. A large bundle held in his arms. Before I could register what it was he held, I would be transported far away from him. My eyes would strain desperately in the dark. A sick feeling building in my stomach told me that that bundle was very important. I would run my feet sinking into the sand making it harder and harder to continue with each step.
Till finally, I would reach him. My eyes drawn to the jet black hair and rounded freckled face of one of my closest friends. She dangled drugged and lifeless cradled like a babe tucked safely in his robustness. My heart would sink low to my feet at the sight of it.
“Follow me.” The man’s voice was always curt and strong. I knew that there was nothing to do but obey.
It would be an instant before we were up the wooden steps of the pier and standing up an above the calm black waters of the ocean.
“Your friend is dying.” He would say it emotionlessly it was a fact and nothing else.
“Do you wish to save her?” He was standing next to me looking directly at me, yet I could not see his face.
“Of course.” My voice somehow clear and sure despite the cold. She was dying and I could do something about it. Questions and doubts had no place in a moment like this.
“Then bring her back to life.”
In one moment to the next she was falling. The ocean moving harshly now consumed her. In another moment I would be suspended in there, then I too would be gone to the ocean’s depths.
I wake up to the reflection of bubbles floating to the surface playing in my mind.
“Honey! Your breakfast is ready!” My mom’s brown locks appear in my doorway.
“I just woke up, give me a minute!” I push away the covers and sit up my mind trying to recover from the stark change in my reality.
“What do you want!?” Instead of answering my mom just leaves, I wish she would care more about my attitude. She just takes it, like she takes shit from everyone else.
All dressed and ready for school I walk down the stairs. “Sweetie, your food is getting cold.”
“What’d ya make?”
“Pancakes, eggs, and bacon.”
“Mama that’s too much! You know we don’t have enough money to waste like that! Just an egg would have been fine.” I’m being a bitch I know, why can’t I just treat her right?
“Come Mija, Eat your food”
I sat and ate, enjoying it despite myself. She really tries. Why must I always hurt her?
My mom brings me to school as she always has. She tried to kiss me on the cheek like she used to, but I just walk away and don’t turn back. Even this, this petty hurt, is a sign of the arrogance in me. I guess I do take after my father, the bastard.
Thinking about my father leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I walk straight to my locker and grab my things not even bothering to wave at Celeste a friend from Physics as I pass by her. I’m sucky for doing that when she’s only one of a few people that are at school at this time. I head toward the library. It’s an hour before class starts and I need a place to be alone. I need to clear my head of all this angst.
I grab a novel off the shelves and find a seat next to the window overlooking the parking lot. I set a timer on my phone for ten minutes before class starts and loose myself to living in a place that is anywhere but here.
As my phone chimes I groan, you always have to leave when a story is getting really good. At least school is usually somewhat enjoyable. I can sit in the back of my classes, earphones in my ears and let all my problems fade away. Music during lessons is always something to look forward to. I’ve never learned anything from a teacher that couldn’t be taught better in literature anyway.
My first class is Mrs. Phillips an old crone who once was terrifying, but after her husband died of a stroke she faded away, she doesn’t care much about what us kids do anymore. There is no hope left for her.
In the classroom, I see a friend Leroy with Natasha and Melissa sitting in the back of the room already. Leroy is a nerd, but he’s our nerd and if he wasn’t gay I’m sure one of us would be dating him. All the cute ones are taken or gay (or both), isn’t that the saying? Stupid cliche.
Mrs. Philips doesn’t lecture, she just writes on the board and waits for us to do what’s on there, or not. I watch her sometimes, maybe I will give her something later, some flowers, or some candy. Would that make up for being a bad person? I don’t think so, but her loneliness makes me sad.
“Why so forlorn there Adria, you’re even more depressed looking than usual.”
“Look who’s using all these big words all of a sudden! Have you actually been reading something I sent to you?” It is a defensive sarcasm that leaks into my words, but I know Natasha would never take offense to anything I say.
“Gasp! How dare you!” Natasha looks over at Melissa dramatically, “Can you believe what Adria just said to me… The nerve she has! Why Adria of course I haven’t read any of the books you have sent me. Reading as I have always said… Is completely boring.”
“Phew, I thought someone maliciously literate had taken control of your body and possessed you. I’m glad you’re still you Natasha, I don’t think I could handle it if you suddenly acted like someone else!”
“That’s enough ladies, Natasha and I have actually been studying for English together and she wanted to throw something….
“That’s enough Leroy!” Natasha reached over and covered his mouth.
“This boy never knows what he’s saying, does he?” Natasha jabs him in the ribs and I look at Melissa as we all start to laugh. This is the sort of thing that makes me love my friends.
After class Leroy and I walk together to Ap English. We are talking about stupidities as usual when Marcus a jock I’ve seen around comes barreling down the stairs crashing right into me and I fall back narrowly missing legs and feet as I tumble down. I land with my leg twisted the wrong way and dots forming in front of my eyes. The pain hits all at once, white hot resonating from my leg and radiating across my body in waves. It takes every bit of me not to cry out.
A crowd forms around me and it takes forever tell I recognize Leroy’s hand on my arm. Before I can say anything he lifts me up into his arms and the crowd parts. Leroy has been talking to me the entire time, but I can’t make out what he is saying. I grab the sleeve of his shirt in my hands and squeeze it with all my might. All I can feel is the consuming pain. Before I can register it fully I am in the nurse’s office and Leroy is setting me down on the bed.
“Do you want me to take notes for you for week? You look terrible and I doubt I will be seeing you at school anytime soon.”
That’s when I started laughing and crying all at once. The pain, my mother’s worry, the bill she would have to pay without insurance to cover it all, Mrs. Phillips and her tragedy, and this boy, this amazing friend in front of me is asking me about taking notes for me while I am gone.
He engulfs me into a warm hug and the tears soak into his fancy shirt from a store I could never afford. “What would I ever do without you?”
“My friend you have it all wrong, it is what would I ever do without you!” Then I really break down and hold him tighter to me.
“You know, sometimes I really really wish you weren’t gay.” I mean it when I say it, but I also know that Leroy is no ladies man. He is cute, caring, smart, and hopelessly in love with men. I’m being stupid and unfair again and I cry harder.
Leroy looks down and smiles at me in a heartbreaking kind of way as the nurse shows up to let us know that the ambulance has arrived to take me away.
“Don’t worry and get better! I’ll drive Natasha and Melissa over to see you after school, you know how crazy they will be when they find out.”
A paramedic walks in to take me outside.
“Thank you” I say, “For everything.”
Leroy’s smile against the chaos of all that has passed is the last thing I think about as the ambulance takes me away. Then my sedated mind gives way to that same tragic dream and I lose myself in suffocating waters once more.
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this piece. It is a draft of a piece I am writing for my creative writing class that is meant to be a short story. I may be thinking of expanding it to something book length. What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
-Till next time!