We were leaving on the twenty-fifth day of August.
The last eleven days had passed slowly. I ignored my parents' comments over the amazing sites that we visited outside of Pueblo, and pulled my hand away whenever Angela wanted me to try the food that mom or dad had found for us.
During the day I would be the obedient daughter that they wanted so much. I wouldn't refuse their plans or argued against whether I could sit outside on the beach or not. At night, after dinner I would climb up to my room and lock myself in. I was controlled during the day, but my nightmares kept me free at night. The balcony became my favorite place during those long nights and I would watch the sky, willing a star to fall or for the moon to show me something. But nothing would ever come and no star would fall.
I had nightmares. Mostly about Jacob and his accident. Shivers would run down my spine as I would fight my fears and close my eyes again.
It happened on the thirteenth of August, eleven days after Alex and I had spent the night together. I was doing the dishes instead of sitting out on the beach at night like I always did before this punishment. A gust of wind passed behind me, frigid and lonely, before I dropped the glass that I was cleaning. Mom had rushed over from the living room where she, dad, and Angela were watching a movie to see if I was okay.
"Did you get cut?" She asked, worry drawn into the lines on her face.
"No mom, it was just an accident." I tried to swallow my words, but I said them anyway. "It just happened."
Mom, understanding what I meant, nodded sadly, even she knew that dad couldn't be overruled.
After cleaning up the mess I had gone upstairs into my solitude. No one questioned me anymore, they just knew that at least some point of the day had to belong to me, even if it was a lonely part.
I sat on the balcony chair that I had placed there the night that we had arrived at the beach house and, like many other nights, I looked up at the sky. It never changed or gave me a chance to see that it was suffering with me. The moon felt so close with its empty glow for anyone who looked up in hopes to find a friend in the loneliness.
Then he was there.
Jacob stood to my right looking up at the moon, his face shining and partly lit. His dark cow-licked hair seemed to float in the wind and his blue sweater, the same one that he had worn the day of his accident, was rolled up at the sleeves. His lips, so dark, were smiling, but his eyes were sad as he longed for the moon as much as I did.
"Hey Avey," his words should have been cold, but they felt as warm as always. He didn't look at me as he spoke. "It's going to be okay, you know that right?"
There was silence for a moment as the wind blew between us, somehow separating his world from mine even if we were on the same balcony.
"You love him." It wasn't a question.
"I love you Jacob." I answered anyway.
Jacob shook his head sadly somehow reading my lie. "Yes, you love me. But I am not here anymore Avey, but he is."
I could feel myself crying, but I didn't care. I wanted to stand up and hold him, but I couldn't. Why couldn't I get up?
"He loves you too Avey, he's been through a lot." His voice was even as he spoke his selfless truths. "I'm not here to protect you anymore," he looked down at his colorless hand on the veranda. "I am part of who you once were, but he is part of who you can become."
"I c-can't Jacob," I stuttered as the tears ran down my face mercilessly, "y-you were everything to me."
"So were you Avey," now he looked straight at me and my sadness seemed to double as if I were taking in his grief as well. "But it is all different now, you have to let me go. You have to make them see that this is the right thing for you; that he is the only thing that can ever make you happy again."
"You must," Jacob looked at the moon once more. "Forget me Avery."
I opened my eyes, startled. Hot tears were drying on my cheeks and I looked over at the place that Jacob had once been standing at. Nothing but moonlight covered the empty balcony.
I went inside and laid on my bed. I had never had such a vivid dream of Jacob before. It had felt so real; he had looked so real. As I turned to turn off the lamp by my bed I glimpsed something on the hardwood floor of my room. I sat up quietly and walked over to pick it up. It shouldn't have been a surprise to me when I found that it was Jacob's bracelet, broken, that sat waiting for me.