I've been thinking about
What life is for
I've always had my doubts
But never more than now
I'm down inside this hole that I've dug
Trying to suppose
And never climbing out
I'm falling into pieces
Waiting on the best years of my life
Yeah maybe there's a reason
There's only hesitation in my sights
I find
The State of unknown is sublime
Just fine
Confessing away your time
I only ask that you define
'Cause something isn't feeling right this time

Into Pieces, Roark

I'm starving. That has been the first thought in my head every morning for the last two weeks. Because of Ma's "diet," I've lost 3 pounds and she says it's a good thing; that I should be thanking her. But when I complain and tell her that I'm always hungry, and that I'm constantly feeling faint, she just brushes it off and says it's a "side affect" and that I'll be fine. That my body is just reacting and in due time it will get used to the feeling. I don't think so though.

I love her, I do. But, I know that this "diet" is wrong and it's not healthy. Lately I found myself hating her. I mean if it was healthy then why has she been in and out of the hospital? And aren't diets supposed to make you feel good? They're not supposed to make you feel like crap and they're not supposed to make you look in the mirror and start wondering if you really are fat. The day after talking with Andrew, I immediately went on the diet. I can't have any smoothies or soft drinks of any kind. No burgers, no fries, no chocolate, no candy, and most of all, no sugar cubes. I hated her for that one. I knew that the only reason she wouldn't let me have them is because it was just something else that reminded her of daddy. And of course…we couldn't have that.

I rolled over in bed, and stared up at my ceiling and began counting cracks. I got to five and then let my eyes roam over the ceiling looking for more. I didn't find any. Bringing my legs to my chest, I closed my eyes and savored the feeling of comfort and silence. A mixture of feelings tumbled in waves over me and I confusingly looked down at my hands as if I would find the answer there. I liked order, familiarity, and following rules. But now, I found myself wishing that I could just do something that I normally wouldn't do; something that I knew my ma wouldn't like. I was beginning to get bored of the same things over and over. Shoving the thought aside, I forced myself to get out of my bed and dressed. I took my time however. When I finally made my way into the kitchen, my ma was already downstairs and had already eaten.

"Ah, there ya are," Ma grinned, "I was beginning to wonder where ya were."

Shrugging my shoulders, I pulled out an orange and began eating it as my ma watched with approving eyes. As I was finishing it up, my stomach growled and I sadly remembered what a McDonald's hamburger and a Double Trouble Tango Mango tasted like. Yummy. I thought hard for a minute and decided that if I was going to break some rules they would be under legal terms and nothing too crazy. I thought of Malayshia and how she would be proud of me. Malayshia…of course!

"Hey Ma," I started cautiously, "I was wondering if I could go hang out with Malayshia today?"

Ma looked at me and then repeated my question to herself, evaluating it as if she were looking for any signs of trouble.

"Well…I suppose. You haven't been out for two weeks and you've been sticking to the rules pretty well. I guess that would be fine, but remember. If ya going to be eatin' don't eat too many carbs unless you want to get fat again."

I smiled through gritted teeth and muttered a "yes ma'am."

Turning around, I grabbed a banana and said, "I'll be home around 4:00," and slammed the front door behind me.

Finally, free, I thought with satisfaction.

I dumped the banana in a bin near by and made my way over to Mrs. Wilson's salon. I practically skipped there as I mentally patted myself on the back for getting out of the house. As I opened the door, hair chemicals, the scents of shampoo's and conditioners, and cold air hit my face, making me feel slightly light headed.

"Hi! How are you doing? Darling, you look absolutely gorgeous!" Mrs. Wilson greeted me as I sat down in a chair nearby.

"I'm great, you?" I shouted at Mrs. Wilson while she continued to blow dry her customers hair. Malayshia's mom is great, but she tends to yell…like, all the time. She acts as if she's deaf, but she's the one that knows all the gossip and "breaking news" in our town. I wonder how that works…

"I'm fantastic! Oh, I just dyed Malayshia's hair and she's just combing it right now. She'll be out in a minute. You know, you should shop more. Yesterday, I went shopping and found these great bras. Malayshia was with me and got some too. But we found some cute little push up bras that you should try!"

And…she's practically open about everything, even if that means embarrassing you.

"Uh…t-that, yeah. I'll, uh, look into that. Thanks."

"Roxxi, I've missed you so much!" Malayshia greeted me as she came out of the backroom (finally). I looked at her hair, which had been dyed a red, and smiled.

"You're hair looks great," I complimented her.

"Aw, thanks."

I waited as Malayshia grabbed her things and said bye to her ma. Then, we were outside on our way to the park. I listened to her talk on and on about how happy she was that we were hanging out finally, that she couldn't believe my mother, and that she was in love (What is this, the 20th time?) with this guy Robby.

We sat in the swings when we got to the park and neither of us said anything for a couple of minutes. Finally though, I spoke up. "I feel like I'm starving all the time."

Malayshia looked me over and shrugged hesitantly. "No offense or anything, but you don't look so good either. You look sick. Like your mother always does."

And I didn't take it as an insult because I knew it was true. "I don't wanna be like my ma. So, let's go get something to eat."

Malayshia's eyes twinkled, "Is Roxxi, my best friend, actually thinking of breaking a rule? I'm so proud of you!" she said, nudging me playfully.

I laughed and then we walked over to Hamburger Love, a fast food restaurant, and had some burgers. Afterwards, Malayshia and I began walking back to her mother's salon.

"You know, Robby, he's such a great guy. He's really sweet and funny." Malayshia said, "And…well, we've been dating for about 2 months now. He's only 17 and I trust him a lot."

I don't know what made my stomach lurch. I briefly pondered if it could have been the burger, but I knew it wasn't. Then I realized it was the way that Malayshia was talking about Robby that was making me feel nervous.

"Anyway," Malayshia continued, "I really like him. So, I've decided that I'm going to have sex with him."

I inhaled sharply and then began coughing as I choked on my own spit. After I regained my breath, I looked over at Malayshia. "Are you serious?"

"Yeah. I really love him Roxxi."

Staring at her, I stopped walking. "Come on Malayshia, you've been in "love" so many times now that I've lost track. How is Robby different from all of the other guys?"

She gasped and I wondered if I had actually said that. But then I realized what a mistake it was when Malayshia's brown eyes turned cold and she spat out, "What makes you think you know anything? Come on Roxxi, you don't even like guys. At least I actually have a life. The most exciting thing that has ever happened to you is when you got your hair highlighted."

I stood there, shocked by the sting of her words.

"So, maybe when you have a little bit more experience and you know what you're talking about, maybe then you can come to me and tell me what the hell you think. When you do, call me, but until then, I don't want your opinion."

Normally, I would have let it go. I would've just walked away and let her have the last word. But her words had stung and I was sick of being pushed around, "You know what Malayshia, fuck you, yeah I said it. And just because I don't go around sucking every guys face off doesn't mean that I can't have an opinion-"

"Come on, you've never even talked to a guy without me being there!" Malayshia screamed, dismissing the fact that I had just insulted her and said a curse word in one sentence.

"Andrew."

"What?"

"Andrew and I talk."

Malayshia moved a little closer to me now and said, "What? What do you mean? I introduced you guys for the first time at Bonnie's Stupid Coffee Shop. As far as I know, you guys haven't muttered a word to each other since then."

"Well, you're wrong. We've met two or three times and talked for a little," I don't know why I didn't shut up after that. But next thing I know I say, "He even bought me a smoothie," like it's supposed to mean something, and that's when I know that I should've just kept my mouth shut.

Malayshia pushed me and stood angrily across from me. "What, why didn't you tell me? How could you keep that from me? I thought we were friends."

I stood there quietly, not sure what to say. Finally, I said stupidly, "We are friends."

She scrunched up her nose at that and then actually started laughing. "No, no you're wrong, because if you were my friend, you would've told me. Friends don't keep things from each other."

I scoffed, "Come on Malayshia, don't be ridiculous. I know that you don't tell me everything. This isn't third grade. We're going into our first year of high school-"

"We are not doing anything. Screw you," Malayshia yelled and with that, she walked away in the direction of her mother's salon.

I stood still, astonished. I was hurt and angry. Checking my cell, it was only 2:00 and I didn't want to go home. So I went to the only place I knew I could go.

Standing in front of the entrance to the lake, I tapped my foot anxiously. Somehow, I knew he was already there, like he was just waiting. You know the feeling? Like, you can feel a certain persons presence right before they're standing in front of you and you know that they know that you'll be there too? Consciously, I straightened out my hair that was down and put a swab of lip-gloss on.

Walking through the gate, I picked out the tree here he had given me the smoothie and then sat under it. And I just stared at the lake, its muddy water gazing back at me.

I waited and waited and waited.

Exasperatedly, I looked at my cell and saw that it was almost 3:00. Angrily, I brushed away my stupid tears and got up. For good measure, I kicked the tree. What had I been thinking, I had actually thought that he'd be here waiting for me? I continued to mentally chastise myself and eventually I began talking to myself out loud.

"What's wrong with me? Did I think I had magic powers or something? I am the stupidest girl on the face of this planet!" Wiping my tears away, I got up angrily and began walking towards the exit when I felt him. Literally. He pulled me back, his hands around my waist, and whispered in my ear, "Sorry I kept you waiting." I shivered. He smiled and turned me around.

"Where have you been?" I bravely asked, as if we had had one of our scheduled meetings.

"Where have I been? You're the one who's been gone for two weeks," Andrew stated rather irritated. He sat underneath the tree and I sat next to him. He reached over and wiped the tears off of my face.

"I'm sorry I made you cry."

I gently pulled his hands away from my face, "You didn't make me cry."

Andrew leaned forward, "Then who did?"

His turquoise eyes held my ordinary blue ones for a minute before I pulled my eyes away.

"You can tell me anything you know," Andrew stated.

"Your hair looks nice. I see you dyed it brown. Very nice, yes, very nice," I chirped up, trying to steer the conversation.

"Good try," He caught on, "And yes I did dye it brown, but that doesn't matter. You can tell me anything."

Still looking down, I asked, "Can I?"

He cupped my face and nodded. "Well…" I started.

I told him everything. From why we moved here, to my ma's health and the diet she put me on, and all through the fight that Malayshia and I had had. Everything. I didn't leave a single thing out. After I was finished, Andrew said, "It's not true. You're not fat. I think you're beautiful. And Malayshia, she's just confused right now. I'm sure she didn't mean to hurt you. As for your mother. She's just crazy."

I laughed and nodded my head in agreement. It was amazing how with just a few words he seemed to be able to fix everything and to make it better. "I've told you everything. Now you have to tell me everything."

Andrew shifted and looked at me. "What's there to tell? My father and I moved back to our old house and we'll be here for a little while."

"What do you mean your old house? This house has been abandoned for ten years."

"Yeah, well, ten years ago my father, mother, and I lived here. But then we moved to California. Now, we're back. Well, my dad and I anyway."

"Where's your ma?" I asked cautiously.

"My parents got a divorce. She still lives in California somewhere."

"Oh."

There was a silence for a couple of minutes. And then out of sheer habit, I pulled out my cell phone and looked at the time.

"What is it?" Andrew asks.

"It's 5:00. My ma is goin' to kill me! I told her I'd be home around four o' clock."

Andrew chuckled, "Remember what you said about rebelling a little? Well…instead of running home, hang out with me. Stay out as long as you want."

I looked back at him not sure what to say. "But-"

"Roxxi, you said you wanted to do something that your mother wouldn't like. This is it. It's harmless and it's legal."

It felt like I was standing on a jumping board, and I had to make a decision fast and soon before the fat kid behind me got impatient and pushed me in. Either I jumped or I got off. Either I stayed out late or I went home like a little mama's girl.

"Okay."

He smiled and pulled me towards him.

"What do you say we go somewhere?"

Nervously, I looked up at him. "Where?"

"There's a concert up in Miami. The Button Pushers have come and I already have tickets. What do you say?"

"Miami is three hours, almost four, away from here," I exclaimed, "If we go, we'll get there around 8. And then the concert itself will last about 2 to 3 hours. Oh, and then the three hour drive back. We'll get back around 2:00 in the morning!"

"Okay, okay," Andrew said, "Too much for a first time rebel. I understand."

I calmed down and sighed. I felt bad that I had freaked out like that, but staying out until 2:00 didn't have much of an appeal to me. I wasn't ready to go that extreme. "You can go though," I told Andrew, hoping that he wasn't angry.

Andrew smiled. "Nah, it's okay. I'd rather hang out with you."

Looking down at the ground, I hoped that he couldn't see my red cheeks. "Okay. I'll hang out with you until 8:00. Is that good?"

"That's great."

The next three hours, Andrew I talked about anything and everything. Like, some of the things I found out about him were; his favorite color was green, he loved scary movies, his favorite types of music were rock and jazz, he'd been a vegetarian for two years, he loved my Texas accent, and he thought I was the most beautiful girl he'd ever met. There's more, but who cares, Andrew thought I was beautiful! Insert thousands of smiles here.

Before we knew it, it was 8:00. I ran home all the way, smiling like an idiot.

The last two weeks have been bliss. Everyday, I've spent with Andrew and each night, I come home later and later. The latest I've gone home is 10:00. Call me a sissy, but that's amazing for me. Andrew doesn't understand why I'm so…obedient. But I guess it's just because…well, I'm her only child. After the divorce, she was a mess; always calling on me to do the simplest things. I just don't want to disappoint her, but then I realized that I barely even had a life. I was so wrapped up in trying to be her good little daughter that I barely got out and had fun. Anyway, I've figured, it's time to have some fun.

I haven't been so hungry either. Andrew began sneaking me some food. Don't get me wrong, my ma is upset about my coming home late and the "strange" fact that I haven't been losing weight; it's been staying at my original weight, 106. She just doesn't know what to do anymore. She calls up Malayshia's mother asking her where I am, but it's no use. I haven't seen or spoken to Malayshia since our argument. Honestly, I haven't missed her.

Andrew and I sat next to each other silently, our arms innocently touching.

"Andrew?" I broke the silence.

"Hmm?"

"What are we?"

"Humans," He replied, chuckling at his own lame joke. "What do you mean?"

I paused. What did I mean? Was I going to ask him if we were going out? If I was his girlfriend? No. I couldn't do that. I liked what we had. I didn't want to mess that up with a silly question; he'd never date a girl like me. No use in asking.

"Never mind."

Andrew looked at me and began saying something, but then stopped. "Hey Roxxi, what about going to a concert with me to see Button Pushers up in Miam?"

I thought about it. Going to my first concert with Andrew would certainly be fun. "When is it?"

"Tomorrow night."

I nodded my head, smiling, "I'd love to."

Andrew smiled in reply and we spent the next hour joking around and laughing. We even went for a swim. This time, I was fully clothed, and I had a pink shirt on.

Quietly, my feet hit the stairs as I prayed to the stars that my ma and nana were sleep. I'm almost to the top and I'm smiling, because I believe that I'm not going to have another confrontation (as in argument) with my ma, when I feel somebody grasp my hand.

When I turned around, relief flowed through me and I was so happy I didn't know what to do.

"Hey Nana," I whispered, "What are you doing?"

She smiled at me and I could tell that she was having another one of her moments. "Jim, honey, you came home. What took you so long? Why'd you leave me Jim?"

Immediately, I felt a pain in the back of my throat, the kind that you get when you're trying to not cry. No matter how hard I tried though, the tears started coming down my face. "Nana, I'm not Papa. I'm Roxxi, your granddaughter."

"Jim, it's been almost a year since I've seen you. We have a lot of catching up to do. Let's go sit down and I'll make you a coffee, just the way you like it," Nana insisted. I pulled back. I was so sick of this. I knew I should be more patient, but doesn't she understand? Papa is dead. Ten months ago when Papa died, Nana took the news well. Maybe a little too well. When ma had told her, she'd gone into their room for hours. When she finally came out, she had a calm expression on her face. My ma asked her if she was okay and she simply said, "Of course." I asked Ma if Nana would be fine and she replied with a curt nod and told me over and over that I wasn't to mention Papa at all.

Then the funeral.

One person after the other constantly saying sorry and giving each one of us pity faces. While my mother and I cried, my nana stood to the side dazed and confused.

"Why are people crying?" She'd ask my ma over and over, always forgetting what the answer was. Finally, the funeral was coming to an end-all speeches made, all hands shook, and then unexpectedly Nana stood up. I flicked my eyes over to Ma. "Should Nana really be allowed to say something? She's going crazy!" I told her with my eyes. Ma look at me hopelessly, not sure what to do, and shrugged her shoulders.

I tapped my foot anxiously.

"Ya'll," My nana started. Everybody turned top look at her, "Whatcha crying for? Jim isn't gone. He'll be back. Just ya'll see. He'll be back. He's just gone on a little business trip…" She trailed off. "He'll be back."

Everybody looked at her in horror and then in sadness. People came up to us again, and gave us hugs, only this time they suggested doctors. We all went home physically and emotionally exhausted.

After that, things only got worse with Nana. She began forgetting the simplest things and then there were days where she didn't know where she was. When we went to a doctor, we were told that she had a mild case of Alzheimer's and that it would get worse as time passed.

Now, I stood at the top of the stairs. I realized that she was broken. All she wanted was Papa back. I did too. We'd been really close; he understood me. We were opposites. I was shy and timid. He was loud and out going. I sighed and take Nana's hand. As we were walking to her bedroom I tried to think of what to say as Nana continued prattling along about what's new. When she was finally in bed, I sat down right next to her and murmured, "Nana, it's me, Roxxi."

She looked at me confusingly and then, "Yes baby girl, I know who are." I glanced at her again and realized that she was out of it; she was in one of her lucid moments. "You should rest Nana." I got up to leave, but she pulled me back onto the bed, "Won't you give me a hug goodnight?"

I smiled and gave her a hug. As I was pulling away, she took hold of my face with her hands and quietly whispered, "No matter what or who I forget, always remember, that I love you. G'night."

As I pulled on my pj's and climbed into bed, I silently said a prayer to the stars and to whoever was listening, for Nana and Andrew.


wow. I am so proud of myself for finally getting a chapter out(: Well, please review and tell me what you think. I know it's going slow, but don't worry, I am going to be updating a lot more. This chapter is basically a draft. I went over it and edited it, but I'm not sure I got all of my mistakes. I'm having some trouble with my tense, so please bear with me; I usually don't, but for some reason I keep going between present and past. It's irritating! Anywhoo, the next chapter will be up next week. Please be patient with me.

3 days until school is out(:

-Sapphire