Morning grew stronger and blew away the chills and frights of the night, leaving only the dew on the frozen grass as a reminiscent of the cold sweeping night. My eyes opened and stared at the blank high ceiling above me, the mess was still strewn in my room and my thoughts and feelings were still scattered with pieces of her around the universe of my insignificant life. I pushed my body to rest on my elbows as I breathed in the fresh morning scent in hopes that it would help repair my broken heart. Minutes passed before I rose from bed and went to the bathroom to stare at the unkempt figure of a broken soul. I opened the faucet and let the rushing of the water drown away my worries and my weariness.
The walk to school never felt so lonely and decrepit as it did now, without her presence everything felt lifeless and stale, not even nature could take over her joyous and radiant existence. One week ago, we walked this same path to school, hand-in-hand with her merry voice in my ears and her heart in my hands. But now, it was only me, with the sorrowful wind howling at my ears and my empty hands balled into a fist, buried deep inside my jacket’s pocket.
The always crowded hallways were a relief to me sometimes as I glided around the masses of the student body of the high school I went to. It helped drowned what was left of her in my mind, those pieces that couldn’t disappear from my heart as much as I wished for. Her friends avoided me like the plague and those once-so friendly smiles reserved for me had been replaced by looks of contempt and disapproval. I told my friends that I couldn’t care less for what she and her friends thought of me, some of them cheered me for that statement and only one of them was able to read the truth in my eyes and see through my deception. That was Joey, my best friend since middle school, and her best friend since elementary school. He didn’t take sides in our situation though, nor was biased in his thoughts about us after knowing every detail of us for so long. He was just Joey and I was grateful for that simple certainty.
“Hey Elliot,” I heard my name called behind me. I turned and found Joey walking towards me with a skateboard squeezed between his arm and his side. He had a goofy grin as always as he approached me. “How did you sleep last night?” His question was obviously directed to the dark rims under my eyes and the gaunt, blank expression from my face. It was hard to tell if he meant that question as a worried friend or as a sarcastic friend.
“I’ve slept better,” I mumbled, fumbling in my book bag for the scrap of paper in which I had written down my locker password. I was becoming so forgetful it was annoying. The only thing I couldn’t forget was the way she leaned on the row of unending gray lockers next to mine as she waited patiently for me to recover that same piece of paper a while back. Finally, as if by magic, I was clutching the slip of paper with my thumb and index finger.
“Have you talked to her?” Joey asked casually.
“No,” I answered, trying to keep a calmed and composed air of maturity required of every individual after a break up. “Have you?” I looked at Joey, in hopes that he hadn’t detected the sudden earnest curiosity in my voice as I inquired about her. It was funny how her beautiful name had turned into “her” or “she” in my world during this last week, pronouns indeed served to avoid the painful feat of saying her name again.
“Every evening,” he responded. I cringed at his answer; I had suddenly forgotten that they were neighbors and conversed every night before going to bed, this particular issue had brought some jealousy from my part when we were together. What I hated and admired about Joey was his honest and insightful words, even though he was portrayed as a blatant fool and class clown for all the school, we knew best, we as in me and her. Life couldn’t get more ironical from this point on.
“Is she okay?” Stupid question and it was the same idiot who hurt her that had asked.
Joey drew in a deep breath, “does the fact that she doesn’t smile as before answers the question?”
Ouch. I slammed the door of my locker and stormed away. It was typical of Joey to drop bombs and so typical of me to be caught off-guard by them and storm away when the weight was far too much to be handled and the guilt too abundant and too obvious to be suppressed. I never knew that all my heedless actions would lead to this end; if I’d known, I would’ve never asked her to share her life with me. But I did and the fragments of our relationship and her broken heart were for her to pick up piece by broken piece, and for me to mourn.