10/11/06

Do you remember the time I brought my bike (correction, my mom's bike – which coincidentally I can't fit anymore) to you house? I think it was in 8 th grade, but it could've been 9th, I don't know. Anyway, the girls and I went riding around your block, we'd probably been going at it for about 30 min and I was just starting to get comfortable with the layout. But then I crashed. There's that corner that's really more like a direct 90º angle, you know? And there is a stop sign but I don't know if I just forgot about it or what, but I somehow took the corner way too fast and suddenly my head hit the pavement and I was skidding into the grass on the side of the road. I'm not sure which, but one of the girls hollered and Katie arrived next to me first.

The following part's a bit blurry, I was kinda dazed so it's hard to remember exactly what happened. It took me a second to sit up, and Hannah was there by then. They kept asking me questions but all I could say was "I'm fine." I knew I had to get my bike out of the road, but when I stood up my feet got twisted and I fell back down, dizzy. Turns out I'd forgotten or hadn't had enough reaction time to get my feet out of the stirrup pedal things, so I'd taken the bike with me when I fell.

"You're bleeding!" Hannah cried just as I felt pain ricochet up my leg/knee and my arm/elbow. I went to look when something glinted in my eyes and I turned my head to see what it was. A mirror. A rearview mirror. A bike rearview mirror. My mom's bike's rearview mirror.

I choked back a gasp and Katie said she was going to get you. I tried to tell her no, but she'd already started pedaling off. Hannah kept asking me if I was okay but I just kept looking at the broken mirror, struggling to breathe as panic gripped my throat and my heart settled heavy in the knots of my stomach. Finally I managed to stand and I picked it up, noticing my hands were all scraped up too.

Hannah told me it was okay to cry if it hurt, but I didn't know what she meant. Then I looked down and saw the blood releasing from my wounds. In my memory, the blood looks so beautiful there on my torn skin amidst gravel and dirt, so peaceful, but I don't believe that was in my thoughts at the time. I said I was fine, which was a lie, but I don't really remember it hurting.

Somehow I got back to your house, I think I convinced Hannah I could ride there, even though I was so unsteady and my whole body was shaking. I guess you could've picked us up in the car, since Katie went for help, but as I said, things are a bit fuzzy so I'm not quite sure.

Regardless, there we were inside your house, you tending to my "injuries" and I remember wondering why you were making such a fuss over things when they were so superficial, when they didn't matter. I'd told you that I was fine, that it didn't hurt. I was fretting over the broken mirror. I could just imagine the yelling and punishment I'd get at home. You kept saying it didn't matter, that it could be fixed, that as long as I was okay my mom wouldn't care.

I was so upset I could've cried. Because you didn't understand. Because it did matter. It mattered so much. Because I'd screwed up. I'd been stupid and careless and I'd broken in and I knew I was in so much trouble, and yet here you were trying to convince me that your reality applied everywhere. But you were wrong. I knew that at some point in time, when I was much younger, you would've been right, but not anymore. Because things had changed, the rules were different and that world didn't exist anymore, at least not for me. But you didn't understand that, and even if I'd known how I wouldn't have been able to try to make you comprehend it. Because it did matter. It mattered so much. It mattered more than my minor "injuries." It mattered more than me.

You think everything's been okay, and then something happens and you realize you've just been fooling yourself. Because it was all just lies, convincing yourself that you were fine. And suddenly you remember things that have happened recently, things you just pushed away and pretended they didn't hurt. But they did. And they still do, even now. Only now they've piled up and now there's too many of them and you just cannot handle it anymore and you have to do something because it hurts so much and you want it to go away, you have to make it STOP , but the only thing you've ever been able to do is implode…

I've been trying really hard, honest. After I told you I went almost a month, only one day short, and it was so minor it was almost a joke… but now it's hard. I can't tell you why today is worse than yesterday or all the days before. But I can tell you that I've had way worse. And I think, tonight I can hold out, tonight I'll be "okay." But I don't think I can wait more than a day or two. I'm worried about what tomorrow will bring, and especially the weekend, not to mention class trip. I don't think I can make it much longer. I'm sorry, but it's just so heavy and so hard, so painful…

12:17 am ET

11:17 pm CT