Opening my mouth, I plan to say something to her, but I feel the words tangle in my throat, choking me, keeping me silent. I know there is nothing to say that can fix the damage that I’ve already done. I want to say sorry, to make amends, but I know I can never give her a good enough reason to forgive me. Again I feel hatred for myself rising in my chest, making my heart pound and my breathing shaky. This hatred not only resembles how much I loathe the future that has been chosen for me, but also the person the social path I chose has turned me into. I have emotionally tormented those who are weaker than me just to please people I thought were my friends; our cruelty being our only commonality.
We stand simultaneously, locking eyes. This time I get a good look at her eyes, and I realize that, through them, she is an open book. I can see the conflict raging within her: the relief, the hatred, the hurt. It is as though she can’t decide whether she is angry or relived that she saved my life. I know she is thinking of the times I wronged her, and I can’t help but think of them too. If not for anything else, I know I deserved to fall for the things I have done not only to her but others as well. I tore them down, treated them like they didn’t matter, and told them they were worthless; and for what? Popularity, fake camaraderie, but above all for misery…
“I’m sorry,” I blurt, immediately regretting it. For a second I can see the hatred burn hotter in her eyes. Looking down at the dirt beneath my feet, I wish I could hide in it like a worm hides from a bird.
“Sorry. Really,” she lets out a short, sarcastic laugh, “I should have let you go. The world would’ve been better off.”
Walking past me, she bumps my shoulder, turning me slightly. I can see her walking away out of the corner of my eye. Feeling tears sting my eyes, I agree with her.
She stops, turning her head slightly so that I can see one half of her face. Her flawless pale skin is illuminated under the light of the moon. It is only then I notice she’s not wearing any make-up. Without the thick eyeliner and pitch black lipstick that usually mask her features she looks beautiful, a simple kind of beauty that is so hard to find nowadays. As she turns and begins to walk away again, I open my mouth, trying to think of something else to say to her. I don’t want her to go. Despite her hatred for me, I find her presence strangely comforting, and her company oddly exciting.
My mind draws a blank, and before I know it she is out of sight. My shoulders slump and I can feel the disappointment consume me. I look out over the ravine one more time, and consider attempting to throw myself over the edge again for a brief second; but instead decide to turn and walk back to my truck. My steps feel heavy, as if I am dragging my feet through a field of sludge.
As I pull myself up behind the wheel of my truck, I can feel exhaustion begin to consume me. I sit for a long while, staring off into the distance. I feel dazed, heavy, like I’m slowly turning into stone. My mind is hazy, and I can’t think straight. I grip the steering wheel, tightening my hands around it until my nails dig into my palms. I can feel the anger rising in my chest, burning hot, filling every bit of me with rage. My entire body begins to shake as my mind spins with all of the reasons I have to hate myself and my life. Looking up into the rearview mirror, I can hardly stand the person staring back at me: this person who has lived a lie, who has held his tongue as others dictated his future, who has kicked people while they were down.
Before I can grasp what I’m doing, my fist flies at the mirror, knocking it down with a loud snap. I hear someone screaming, and it only takes a second before I realize the awful sound is coming from me. Hanging my head, I tangle my fingers in my short hair and rock back and forth slowly. My entire body feels as though it is convulsing. I want to direct my anger at something – or someone – but there is nothing I can do to release it. Instead, it feels as though it is eating me alive, twisting and tearing my insides, devouring everything in its path.
My hands fly forward, striking the steering wheel several times. Completely consumed by anger, darkness creeps into my peripherals.
Suddenly, the fire recedes, returning to the burning coals it was just seconds before and my vision returns to normal. My breathing is heavy and I can feel the cold sweat that has formed beads on my forehead. I begin to feel a stinging sensation in my hands, and when I look down I notice tiny cuts on the knuckles of my right hand. I stare at it for a moment, and then look over at my left hand, inspecting it for any damages. Attempting to lift it to get a better look, I feel a throbbing pain in my wrist.
Shit, I think, I probably sprained it or something. That’ll be great for the end of the season.
Shaking my head in an attempt to clear my mind of the thought, I start my truck and turn to go home.
Please don’t let them be awake when I get there, I plead, I just want to sleep.