This is a one-shot, incase you didn't know. I hope you guys like it.

Breathe

By G.G.

It seemed funny to me how life would pull its tricks on you. Well, it seemed humorous to me as I was riding a limousine on the bumpy road. The vehicle would occasionally jerk violently as it would swerve from ditches caused by an overdose of salt in the winter. I gripped the bar above me tightly until my knuckles faded their color to white. After the violent change was over, I released my numb hand from the holder. The limo would also pause briefly, a quick stop sign or a stop light, but I shut my eyes closed tiredly, afraid of knowing that this day would be coming.

I reopened my eyes without wanting to, wishing that I could fall into a meadow of daisies and sleep an eternal slumber. No, I didn't want to die. I wanted to be able to dream. Ever since my teenage years passed, I had not gotten a peaceful rest in fear of history redoing itself. No wonder I was so tired. Red-brick houses were zooming past my dark window. Memories haunted me from my past back when I was in school, and I fought the urge of tears. I had promised myself that I would be strong to this day.

Breathe, I reminded myself. The neighborhood was alive with children playing hopscotch on the sidewalk and older kids jumping rope on the lawns, one of my favorite childhood games. Then, I passed a woman I could have recognized anywhere. Jessica Thompson.

"Move, Dollen," she hissed, using my last name threateningly. First day of sophomore year. Boy, wasn't that a fun time. "No," I mumbled. Her face held a mixture of disbelief and anger.

"What did you say to me, Dollen?"

All my bravery washed away as I warily watched her dirty look that was cast upon me. I took my food tray and stood up. Jessica knew people. Bad people. I was hesitant and slowly began walking towards a different table when she smacked the tray out of my trembling hands.

I was furious. I longed to express my inner turmoil, but I did not. I never did.

I was hyperventilating at the harsh flashback, waving my hand desperately in my face to cool me down. Beads of sweat began forming on the clammy surface on my forehead. My eyes narrowed themselves and prepared to leak any moment.

Breathe, I thought. And I did.

She had changed. Being the beautiful and preppy blonde that she was, she had thought that life would come easy for her. It hadn't, actually. After she graduated high school, she tried to reach a modeling agency, but at her first try, she tripped over a sash hanging loosed from her dress, breaking her ankle.

That one fall led her to be crowned 'The Clutz of Modeling.' She had been kicked out of her home, lost her dream job, and never went to college, so she had sunk into alcoholism. She became highly addicted and after a year, she faced withdrawal for two months, and she never touched a can of beer or a glass of wine again.

She married a mailman three years younger than her and had a daughter. It was difficult to see her outside just now, living in that shabby house, trying to contain her young daughter. She had been stressed, and it had damaged her most on her face. It was paler than when she was a teenager, and it was more greasy, to say.

I felt pity for her. Even with the things she had done to me, I wished I could have helped her in some way, but I couldn't have. She would never had accepted it. Another familiar face struck me through the glass. Eric Lavenger. He had been a jock awhile, serving as a linebacker on the football team.

Junior year, and the Varcity Cougars had won the championships. Eric was smiling as Brett Dunley was accepting a trophy for being the school's quarterback. Cheerleaders were shouting their cheers into the air, theirs words of praise to the young hero.

I was crushed against the wall as everyone entered, and when I thought that everyone was through, I made the mistake of stepping forward, only to be knocked by Eric who was storming towards the crowd. He towered over me in a frightening manner, spitting on my face as he spoke, "You watch where you're going! You always have to let the winners through, you loser!"

I cowered on the floor, my book in front of my face as if I was expecting for him to slap me. He walked off angrily, and the tears emerged.

The memory made me rest my head on the window, replaying the scene in my mind. Now, where was he? He was a garbage man, driving his dirty, forest green truck around neighborhoods to collect their unwanted items. Oh, the stench and the nastiness of the job. That was what I had seen him doing, just now. Not surprisingly, he was single, and he hadn't had a girlfriend for four years now.

Relax, just breathe. That's not you, now breathe, I let my shaky breathe slide out of my lips with a whistling tune. That was how I used to breathe whenever I saw Brett Dunley, the quarterback I formed a crush on during senior year.

Another victory, another celebration for Brett Dunley. All the girls cooed to him in a hopeful manner to try to get their attention. I had always found him handsome, but only then did I find some attraction to him. At first, it was like a weak magnet, but it grew to be an obsession. Day or night, he was always in my thoughts, and I always sought the tiny piece of hope that he would like me.

Yeah, right. What a childish dream. I always stood as the girl behind him, and that was all I was ever known. I was crushed. He never knew.

That cruel memory hurt the most, and I blinked my blurry vision away. The driver took a long look at me, as if knowing what to ask. I simply nodded, and he pulled over. I opened the door, the two red, wrapped bouquets of roses still in my hand. The cemetary wasn't that far away. "I'll walk from here, 'kay?" I slowly whispered to him, and he seemed unsure about the idea, but he nodded.

I watched the limo drive away quickly, and after staring into space, I began to walk. The fresh air seemed to please my stomach, but my mind was still a clattered mess. I combed my fingers through my hair with my free hand as a gentle wind came from the east. It hadn't turned that bad for Brett, though. He had moved on to be a professional football player. Yet, half of his teeth were missing, and he was tangled with health issues from a liver failure, and doctors refused to put him on the transplant list because of his accusing to be on steroids. So yes, his life was hell, too.

Breathe, I thought.

Someone else's footsteps matched my own, and I slowed down to a steady pace as I came forward to a sidewalk intersection. Another woman had crossed my path and was staring right at me. Her mouth was slightly agape, and she looked down to my shoes and back to my face as if she was interested in my black blouse and black shirt.

"Melissa?" her voice was rough and raspy as she spoke. I finally recognized her from my freshman class. She had been the school bully, Melanie Shanford. She had never graduated high school, and after her third try, she ditched school and began doing small things for others just to get paid, but she obviously wasted it on cigarettes from the sound of her voice.

"Wow, Melissa. You look... different." I was quiet, just examining her. She had gained about a good one hundred pounds, and she appeared to be deathly ill. I did not answer her. "You look great," she offered, trying again. She was in a definite need of money, but I would not let her waste it. I walked away, leaving her standing there, hopeless and weak on wobbly knees.

Breathe.

Aprilsale Cemetary appeared in my sight, and I hardened my grip on the thornless roses, walked inside on the dry dirt past the entrance, and looked throughout the gravestones. I approached two large ones, side by side like boulders intertwined by the fate called Love. I split the roses into two groups, and I left one rose for myself as I placed on half of the roses on one grave and the other half on the other.

Breathe.

Mary Ann Dollen and Thomas Dollen. My deceased parents. I closed my eyes and scrunched up my face in pain, recalling the car crash that left the two people I cared most about in the world dead.

Breathe.

A tear rolled down my cheek and dropped midway between the graves. I did not weep, it was just that single tear. The harder moments just increased.

Breathe.

I couldn't, my forehead was strained as I fought the temptation. I couldn't break down, not here, not now, not anywhere, not ever. I made a promise to myself that I would do this one thing and stay strong and true, no matter how hard it seemed at times. Like right now.

"I thought I'd find you here." The voice reminded me of the ring that was on my finger, the one that had been there for years. I had married the dork of the school, who was now transformed into an attractive, caring guy.

"You thought right," I murmured, and I heard him approach me until I could feel his breath on my neck, which sent shivers up my spine. Breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe. "You have to forget the past to embrace the present so you can have a future," he said cleverly, but that didn't help me.

"I can't. The past makes me who I am," I replied, and I shifted to face him, and I was met by his green eyes. This was the guy that everyone had picked on along with me for no reason. If it wasn't for what had happened to both of us, I would have never met him. I wouldn't have ever known him. I wouldn't have ever loved him. He cupped my cheeks and rubbed the cheek that was stained by the tear. Breathe. "You have to cry. You can't let it all build up inside of you."

"No, I don't," I closed my eyes, "I just have to breathe." And I did. I dropped the remaining rose on the ground, and Greg draped his arm over my shoulders, starting to push me away from the graves that had shattered my life into pieces. We walked away further and further, and he did not stop me if I tried to look back.

Life was like a rose. Cut your thorns out, and you won't make anyone bleed. You won't make anyone suffer. I made another promise to myself that I would try to get some rest and put the past behind me, not forget it. I would try and dream again. And I didn't need to cry, I just needed to breathe. And so I will, until I can't breathe anymore.

The End

Well, what did you think? It might have been slow, but I still hope you took the time to read it. Now please take the time to fav and/or review.