Breathing heavily, I subconciously knew that this was only a dream... That this was all passed... But I couldn't help feeling scared.
I was back in Washington state, the place that I had been raised in. My eyes were closed. I was lying on the ground of the sidewalk. Someone had jumped me and had left me there. I was in so much pain... They had punched and kick me so hard... I thought they were going to shoot me... I knew that I had seen a gun on one of them...
"If you're going to kill me," I groaned, "just do it already." It had been five minutes now, why hadn't they just shot me or sliced my throat open? They hadn't left, I would've heard them. Or at least I thought I would've heard them.
"Why would I do that?" said a kind voice that I knew well.
My eyes fluttered opened and I saw the relieved face of my then-boyfriend, Daniel. His green eyes were filled with worry, but then I saw that his eyes took on a relived look.
"Good," he said, "You're alive."
I blinked, ignoring the blinding pain that had exploded behind my eyes. "When did you get here?" I demanded.
"Just now. Why are you here on ground, bleeding in the snow?"
"I got jumped," I said sitting up, ignoring my limbs protests.
"What?" he exclaimed, helping me up.
"I got jumped," I repeated, brushing myself off.
"Call the cops? Nah."
"Daniel. I've dealed with a lot worse." I was lying, though.
He shook his head. "But anyway," he said, reluctantly dropping the subject, "Where have you been? You break up with me by e-mail, you leave home, you ditch your phone and family? And your dad told me that you stole a hundred dollars? What's going on?"
I shrugged. "I hate my parents. So I left."
"What is wrong with you? You could die out here! You just got jumped! And you leave because you fought with your parents?" He thought I was being stupid. He didn't understand the half of it though. He had perfect parents, with a big house and brothers and sisters that adored him.
I had a mother who didn't know how to raise a teenager, a workaholic father, a dead brother, and a small apartment.
I don't care what he says. I'm getting out of this place, I thought.
I pushed Daniel with enough force so he staggered back a few feet. "It's more complicated than that! I can handle it! I managed to not die, that's something, right?"
He breathed in slowly, his expression outraged. "Where are you going?"
"South. I'm hoping to get to L.A. by the end of the month. And you aren't allowed to tell my parents about any of this."
He studied me carefully, giving me the feeling of being x-rayed. He walked closer.
"I'm worried about you. Why can't you just come home?"
"I'm not going to let them know that I was wrong to leave," I said moodily.
He was very close now. Our noses almost touched. "Please?" he asked softly.
"No," I said firmly. But my voice had gotten softer, and my anger had gone down a few notches. That was the effect Daniel had on me. I sighed, letting my temper out with it. I was calm now.
"Kimberly, your parents are worried about you."
"I don't care, Daniel. They're only worried that word'll spread and they'll get labled as bad parents. Which they are."
"Well, if you won't go, can I come with you?" He put hands on my waist. I automatically placed my hands on his shoulders.
I shook my head at his offer. "No, Daniel. This is something that I have to do alone."
He sighed. "Well, if I can't do that, can I kiss you?" He gave me a crooked smile.
We stared at each other for a few seconds, but then I snapped back into reality, not answering him.
"I have to go," I said suddenly, removing myself from his arms.
The smiled slipped off his face, but he didn't object. I grabbed my backpack that had been sitting in the snow for the last twenty minutes. I zipped it up, thankful that the gang that had jumped me hadn't check the left pocket of my backpack. I started forming a plan to get the gang members back.
"Bye, Daniel," I said curtly. I swung my backpack over my shoulder.
He raised his hand in farewell. "Bye, Kimberly," he said. There was a lot of hurt in his voice.
I turned my back on him, the tears finally spilling over as I walked away, leaving my past behind with Daniel.
There was a sudden intake of breath as I opened my eyes, and I realized that it was me.
"You okay?" Aphrodite asked sleepily. We had found an alley to sleep in. She had been resting by the wall opposite of mine.
"Yeah," I said. I just had a dream about being jumped, seeing my ex-boyfriend that I'm still not over, almost kissing him and then leaving him behind. Nothing important. "Did I wake you up? Sorry."
"'S alright," she murmured. I saw her close her eyes again and fall asleep again without another word.
I liked Aphrodite. She was really nice, but I could tell that she was lonely. She hadn't told me why she ran away, but that was all right. I hadn't told her my story, either.
Laying down again, I rested my head on the cool stone of the alley, remembering my life back in Washington State. My past. My old life. And, of course, Daniel.
I wondered how it was possible to feel so far away from someone even though you had loved them at some point. The dreams that I had felt like I was watching someone else's life.