Halfway to Nowhere
Flying. My one mission before I leave this earth. As a child, the closest I ever got to that beautiful sensation was by throwing myself off my grandparents' swing set. Now I am far too old to be able to fit on such a puny playground, but still – the memories remain with me, and they bring me back to sanity in my moments of madness. I am still only young, and one day, I will fly. One day, I will ride the waves of air; I will hang in transit between hell and heaven, and I will laugh.
For the moment though, I sit daydreaming in science class, as the 'in crowd' continuously flick their rubber bands and spit balls at the back of my head. Glancing at the clock, I notice that I have only three minutes left of class until I must leave the safety of the room. Gathering my belongings into the smallest parcel I can manage, I start preparing for the endless journey home. Why these people hate me so much, I cannot explain. I have never actually done anything to irk them, and yet everyone - even the teachers - seems to despise me. Perhaps it is my reluctance to speak, or my strange, grey-yellow eyes and gaunt features. But more likely than not, they fear me. Or at least, they fear my mother and her strange offspring.
The bell rings – the same bell that rings at the same time, every single day; five days a week. I bolt for the door…in retrospection, perhaps this is why the teachers are not very fond of me – my eagerness to leave class, and my lack of concentration in it. I don't exactly have a choice in the matter though – I can either sit and agonize in reality throughout class time, then stay back to suck up to the teachers, only to be beaten up later, or immerse myself away in my mind during the monotonous lectures, then be gone as fast as possible and actually stand a chance of escaping unbruised.
I sprint from the room, slam through the double doors and into the arms of one of my peers…or should I say tormentors? I am expecting him though, so I easily slip out of his ham-like arms with practised ease. Clutching my belongings to my chest, I pump my legs forward with as much force as I can muster. My feet throw me forward into the street with a speed that makes the wind whip around my face. Adrenaline bursts through my veins, gravel bites at the soles of my shoes, and all the while, I am being chased by teenagers intent on deforming my face even more. They almost killed me once, and I am certain that they are now intent on finishing the job. The air streams through my lungs, feeling ice cold against the sweat on my head. It is strange, that even in my fear, the sensation of moving so fast that I am almost flying does not lose its appeal. The exhilaration makes me grin, and at that stupid moment, I chance a glance behind me. My pursuers see me smile, and must think that I am becoming arrogant, that I am mocking them. This spurs them on, making them come almost within distance of dragging me to the ground. Good work, me.
I speed up, and finally, mange to jump my fence and slam into the house, safe, but only for the time being. My legs tremble and it feels like they are about to buckle. I know better than to simply let myself collapse though. I have been lucky today, but I may not continue to be if I am careless. The rocks will start flying soon. I have remembered to close the shutters, so I simply lock the door, and retreat to my room, hoping my mother does not notice me.
I am not so lucky. "ALEX!" She shrieks my name like a curse, and I suppose that to her, I am one. I am an unwanted child, a mistake of one of her high school romances, back in the day when she was still a cheerleader. When she was still liked. Even after she came to terms with my existence, I was never good enough for her. I have never been as beautiful, or smart, or athletic. To her I will always be an ugly, stupid runt. I try to pretend that I don't hear her, but she calls me, again and again. Finally, I creep into her study, my eyes downcast, waiting for the inevitable blow. It isn't exactly like I can stop her – she is so much larger than I am. Not to mention, she is my mother. I cannot raise a hand to my mother; she would probably skin me alive. So I stand still and allow her to rant and rage at me. She kicks me a few times, taking out all her pent up anger on me. It doesn't matter if I have never done anything wrong to her my entire life; it doesn't matter that if I could go back and change time, I would never have decided to come out of her womb, just so I could make her life better. But no, according to her, I am the reason for all her problems – the reason why she lives alone, why all her boyfriends eventually leave her, why she's getting old. So releases her resentment as I stand in silence and take it all in. I dare not say a word in defence or retaliation - I have learnt my lesson many times over.
The blows to my body hurt enough to bring tears to my face, but the true reason behind my sobs is not physical. Everyday, I try to be brave, but in truth, it hurts. Seventeen years of this hell, I have endured. Seventeen years of teasing, abuse, and being treated like crap, not just by strangers in my school, but by the only family I have left. It really does hurt, to know that I am not wanted by anyone in this world – to know that not a single person cares for me. All those stupid 'feel-good' ads and happy movie endings are bullshit. Life isn't beautiful, life is pain.
She practically throws me out of the room, so that she can go and webcam with one of her boyfriends. I lie gasping in the hallway for a moment, before I come to my decision. I have had enough. At first I contemplate taking a gun to all their heads, but then I decide that no, I do not want to just be another 'crazy teen massacre.' I have no intention of being all over the news – a great topic for a pun of a headline. Nobody notices me in my life, except to torment me, and I have decided that I would rather be forgotten in peace than remembered through pain. Tomorrow, I will live my dream at last. Tomorrow, I will fly.
I write a note that will probably never be read, and try to sleep again for one final time. I have barely closed my eyes, when I can again feel the sun's rays on my cheekbones. I dress in my only decent clothes – a black and red dress my grandparents had bought me before they passed away. They were the only people who had ever given half a penny what happened to me, and now at long last, I will join them. I leave everything behind except for that one precious image of my true family standing beside me, which I tuck into a hidden pocket. I set out, my destination clear in my mind. Only a short drive away, I am there all too soon, just as the sun has finishes its ascent. I abandon the car, and start the trek to the very top, being careful not to hurt my bare feet on the rocky ground.
At the tip of the cliff, I look down, and the world sways around me. Vertigo - such a beautiful thing. I can feel my shoulders relaxing already, the tension easing as society's chains start slipping away. The tears drip steadily around my face now, no longer the stream that they began as yesterday. So high up, the wind caresses my face, dragging my dress every-which-way and playing tug of war with my deathly black, tangled hair. I can hear the stream rushing beneath me, the birds chirping in the sky, the crisp leaves ruffling in the autumn air. Such a lovely day to die. There is a roaring sound in my head, white noise. Everything is just white noise now; the sounds of the world are no longer relevant. At last, everything seems to be peaceful. No more taunts, screams or accusations. This is the loudest silence I have ever experienced.
I breathe in deeply. Finally, all the pieces fit together – this is what I am meant to do. I turn my back on the plunge for a moment and gaze around at my amazingly picturesque surroundings. Such a beautiful land, such a cruel world. I close my eyes and turn back, spreading my arms wide to embrace the end. Just as I step forward, I force my lids open.
The drop, the rush, the fall! I let out an ear piercing scream, the first and only I have ever allowed myself. Such exhilaration! Gravity grabs me and shoves me towards the earth, which from my perspective, seems to be rushing forwards to greet me. The air streams in and out of my lungs so incredibly fast, it rips at my throat and lips. I am free-falling now, with nothing and no one to stop me or slow me down. Back towards nature I hurtle, like a pellet of hail on a freezing winter's day. For the first time ever, I am truly flying. For the first time ever, I actually feel like me. For the first time ever, I feel right.
Written for the RG's WCC.
(Apologies for the length of this a/n)
This was inspired by a childhood memory. I have always longed with the deepest aching in my heart to be able to soar like a bird, carefree and wild. I wrote out the first draft of this plot after just waking up, whilst sitting in pitch blackness. This story simply would not leave me alone, and now after finally writing it all down, I feel like I have let go of some emotion or strain on my mind that I didn't even know existed.
Suicide is a huge issue in our world, and one that is immensely close to home to a lot of people. Heck, suicide is everywhere. However, if you ever have the urge to end your life, please don't be like my character – find help, because no matter what, there's always someone who really does care. During a rough patch in my life, I remember at one point looking around at the world, and feeling so distant, so small and alone. I wanted to just disappear, but I kept moving. Why? Because that night I made a promise to myself: one day, I will fly.