I'd never been a fan of school, but today I was absolutely shitting myself. It had been two weeks since I'd been, but it felt like a hell of a lot longer. The days had dragged on endlessly, merging into each other as my sleeping patterns became ever more distorted. Even though I felt horribly lonely, I was finding the nights more bearable than the days. I don't know what it was about the dark, but it made me feel safe. It was somewhere to hide. I'd spent countless hours sitting in complete darkness, watching the stars move across a black backdrop, wondering where my place was in the Universe. It wasn't anything I'd ever done before. I guess sometimes it takes something massive to make you take a moment to reflect on your life. Maybe I should be feeling grateful that I'm still here today, but part of me thinks I would've been better off dying back then, on the train.

My form tutor and the headmaster came round last week to see how I was. That was possibly the weirdest moment of my life. I never imagined my school teachers would ever come to my house, drink tea and talk about my future. It was a bit surreal. I was doing my A Levels, but part of me still thought the teachers slept in the school at night.

They stayed for hours, it was such a farce. They didn't even say anything useful, just kept telling me 'The school is here to support you in times of need' and all sorts of crap.  My form tutor was attempting to be sympathetic, which wasn't in his nature whatsoever. He was a 'no shit, no nonsense' kind of form tutor (which wasn't necessarily a bad thing). They asked me if I wanted counselling, which I quickly declined. People had been telling me I should go and 'talk to someone' ever since the crash. I didn't want some middle aged woman babbling to me about my feelings, thanks.

Mum placed a pile of toast in front of me, pulling me out of my mind. Usually I'd devour it, toast was one of my favourite foods, but today I couldn't stomach it. Mum has been telling me I've lost loads of weight since the accident. I'm not sure whether it's true, or if she's just being a typical mother. Eating isn't something I've exactly felt like doing recently, everything seems to have lost its taste. I couldn't remember the taste of a lot of foods any more, in fact it seems strange that foods even have a taste. My brain was so full of all this fucked up shit that I'd forgotten what living felt like. I was utterly numb.

"Aren't you hungry?" asked mum, catching me staring blankly at the toast.

I shook my head, "Sorry."

She did look disappointed, though I don't think it was because I didn't eat the toast. Maybe she thought I should be stronger than I am, be able to deal with this. But who was I to know? I wasn't good at reading the average person, never mind my parents. I stabbed the toast with my knife a bit too violently, producing a high pitched screeching noise.

"Are you sure you're ready to go back? It's only been two weeks..." mum trailed off, fiddling with the table cloth and shifting her weight.

I nodded, "I won't be able to catch up with work if I wait another week."

"Don't make that the reason you go back, go back when you're ready," she placed a hand on my shoulder, which I shrugged off.

I hated that about parents sometimes. They tried to make things sound simple to make you feel better, but it never worked. My mum knew as well as I did that I had to go back today - or not go back at all. And I wasn't going to drop out. That train had wrecked all my mates lives, I wasn't going to let it destroy mine as well.

Bit too late for that one.

I clenched my fists, ridding as much of the negativity as I could to the unconscious part of my mind. Today was going to be okay. I furiously started eating the toast, feeling sick. But I didn't stop. It was a normal school day, I was a normal school kid and everything was just fine.

I picked up my school bag and slung it over my shoulder, taking a deep breath, my mind filled with faked determination. Mum ran over and tried to hug me, but I stopped her. The whole hugging thing had grown kinda tiresome in the last week or so. I wasn't much of an affectionate person, I preferred my own space. It was only when I was on my own I could truly escape from all the shit that had happened in the last few weeks. The power of the mind is amazing sometimes. I found if I sat in the dark long enough, and thought hard enough, I could almost make myself believe that the last two weeks hadn't happened. I knew if I kept it up I could end up crazy, but perhaps that wasn't such a bad thing.

"I'll see you later," I said firmly, pulling out my iPod.

Mum nodded, acting like I was being shipped off to fight some war rather than just going to school. The sun had just come up, and the air was fresh. I tried to breathe it in like I was embracing a new day, but it didn't really help.

"I'll be fine," I added, as I walked out the door. I wasn't sure whether I said that to my mum, or myself. Either way, I knew it was a lie.


The End

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