“Wow, Ari, snap out of it… Are you ok? Is it that food/drink thing that your mum explained to me?”
I shook my head.
“Can you explain, or would you rather not…’
“No, it’s better for me to talk about it, that’s what my psychiatrist told me.”
I saw Ali’s face in my mind, swimming through teary memories.
“I was just remembering that the last time someone said that to me, it was the day that Ali died. It was the day that she hung herself. It was the day that you read my story.”
It dawned on Ashton and he mouthed the word ‘oh’. There was a silent moment before he took the disc out.
“I think it is best not to watch this then.”
I nodded, realising that I hadn’t told anyone how she had died. No one knew except for the police and me and my abandonee mother and the few neighbours which heard my screams through the open door. Ashton settled back on his lounge and I sat on the end. I handed him my book in which my story was. He looked at it like he didn’t know what it was. I sighed and opened it up to the pages which I ripped out and the next part of my story was written.
“You want to read my story? But I am not continuing because it’s horrible. And I just don’t have the heart anymore.” He squinted and began to read.
I was really scared of what he would say. But he just kept on reading. When he finished he looked at me and just kept staring.
“What?” I asked wearily. He didn’t answer me. He handed back my book and I closed it and stashed it in my bag. I stretched and yawned in the silence.
“The story went too fast. It was like you wanted to end it. You should go back and change it so there’s more to it. I hate stories that are really good and then suddenly the story ends. It makes me feel like the author didn’t enjoy writing it. Did you enjoy writing it?”
“No,” I answered automatically, “I mean, at the start I did and then…. Ali died….I couldn’t write anymore with the story except for that. But… here’s the thing….” I turned the next few pages and showed him a page full of writing. He sighed.
“Can I read it?” He asked me. I nodded, handing it to him.
“That one was just a short story, only about three thousand words in total, and that’s not all of it there on that paper.”
I sat back in silence and gave Ashton time to read it.