The water was just how I picture it. Murky, unclear, and dull. Figuratively speaking; the glass is half empty. The sorority house was tangled mess of blood-thirsty, flesh-eating, beastly excuses for girls with over priced makeup and stuffed bras. Life on the streets weren't much better. Snarling zombies and smoky smelling outsiders littered the crusty alleys in that belonging way. Revolting road kill shuffled to the side in a quick sweep to clean the streets was the meal of the day there. The sweet smell of homemade bread floats through the opened windows of the tutor home. Making its outward appearance innocent and alluring. What they don't tell you about is the shrieking brat that spill juice and draw on walls inside. A mother's deep, dark secret. Blatant violet walls line the shores in their natural, rough way. Moist, sulfurous air was sucked deep into the respiratory the longer you sleep on the pocked floors of the wide cavern. Nothing desirable.
So where was I to go? Where do I belong? For years I had been alone, with nowhere to go, nothing to do. No one was interested in me, my family gone. So now I sit, staring off at the majestic ocean in front of me. The glass next to me vibrates from my unwilling choice to desire good or evil. I must choose now. But what should I choose? Will I soar to the end and await my fate like they wish me to do? Or will I choose rebellion, and fight for my life so I can find my true home?
What I realize now is only just the beginning. The dusty water in the glass next to me starts to seem vehement and excited. The dust swirls, creating twists inside. Suddenly the water clears and I stare at the crystal like smoothness. My mind is decided.
I take my clothes off and fix my infrared bikini top as I stare out at the ocean once more. The pier was far enough in that I still have to fight the currents to keep my life; the life I want to end so badly. So, as if all the depression in the world is weighing me down, I step off and close my eyes. The woosh of the wind is comforting to my ears, the only thing I can really hear, except for the excitement coming from my scream.
I feel a slap of tingly cold goodness against my left leg as I plunge deep. The water caresses me like a silky blanket as I let my breath out and sink further in. I see blackness around me; my lungs start to burn for that needs to taste air. Most of what I feel isn't the lapping, twirling, or twisting of the waves, but the cold numbness as my emotional pain started to ebb. I don't know which way is up. I don't know which way is down. All I know is that I'm dancing in water, my feet no longer needing the earth to support me. As I dance, I think back to happier times, but the only happier times I ever knew.
The calliope music jingled around me as my best friend and I skipped about, watching the back-bending majesty of the twirling acrobats in red. I knew in that instant, that I wanted to be just like them when I'm older. Christie offered me a chunk of cotton candy as we giggled and skipped our way to the house of mirrors. Each mirror had its own perspective of how we looked. Christie had a big head at times or fat legs. I would be as skinny as a stick, or look like a pear. We laughed and skipped our way through the house, straight to the end. When it was over, we both complained and ran to the start of the house again. Over and over we ran through the funhouse of wonder, our own minds cranking and imagining. It was the last time I ever saw Christie, right before maddening nightmares caused her to take her life.
I smile to myself as I continue to float. My emotions feel high and dazed as I open my eyes to murky goodness. I was on my way to freedom. I was on my way to Christie. I feel a firmness press against my back and suddenly I am being dragged upwards, towards sudden light. The edges around my vision blur, and the blue-gray ocean fades to white as I finally take my turn to see heaven.
Trial and Error
The gumball machine deposited another two gumballs, straight into the little boy's hand. I watch with an amused smile, just as I watch everyday now. It gives me something to do while Travis was scanning aisles for food. As he did everyday. Usually Travis never bought enough food to last us even two days, strategically causing us to come back to his favorite grocer in order to spend time and talk to his aunt at the cash register.
Travis was my savior. I feel my heart explode in my chest every time we lock gazes--which was often. He was 214 pounds of lean muscle and goodness. His tousled brown hair was dark, with the faintest trace of blond streaks underneath. I can't count the many days I've told him he looked so handsome. When I touch his hand, I can't help but want to touch the rest of his golden skin, in hopes to hang on to the pressing emotion I get each time I lust for it. Maybe it was just me, but I felt loved each time those deep, chocolate eyes find my own hazelnut. Travis runs his long, yet firm fingers through his hair when he's nervous, causing my heart to flutter when he smiles that perfect white smile to assure me. The way he moves is graceful and spectacular, especially when he playfully dances around me to loosen my tight moods. Every facial expression he makes, whether it's the funny ones, or just the serious ones, I file deep into my memory. It is something I use to keep me from cutting myself.
The night I attempted suicide was the night I met Travis. His very presence was a savior to my existence as I jumped into that ocean. He immediately followed after me, having observed me for a while before my actions. He saved my life that night, even if I didn't want it to be saved at all. He took me in and gave me warmth. He wrapped me up in a soft blanket and pulled me against his side while we both stared into the flames that cracked and popped in the hearth.
I couldn't tell him my appreciation enough. Each time I tried to say thank you, he would hold up a hand and use that adorable smile on me to keep my mouth from ranting. I was too vulnerable to fight back, I obeyed.
What Travis couldn't do for me, however, was keep the pressing dreams away. The fear that swallowed me whole whenever I laid my head on the pillow was strong and surprising. Ostentatious sounds float around my head as I try to grip reality. My subconscious wouldn't let me be normal. I would dream of death and pain. I would see tragedies occur, things I couldn't even stop. I was forced to stand and watch helplessly as people cried out in agony. I couldn't save them.
I would wake up crying cold, salty tears that stained my pillow. My moans heard easily by Travis. He'd awake and run to me, hold me steady as I let the tears pour out. I couldn't stop shaking until he picked me up and sat down with me next to the warm fire, the very same place we sat the night I almost died.
Travis was everything to me. He was my life, my heart, and my soul. He was my foundation, my sail that kept me sailing. I knew nothing of love before I met Travis. My life was a complete mess before that fateful day.
As the little boy skipped away with his gum, a pang of hurt stabbed through my chest as I remembered what it was like to be a child. The utter joy I felt when I could skip around and be carefree. Christie always liked gum. She would jump around on the rocks outside her house, declaring she was the queen of the rocks while chewing on a purple gumball. Purple was her favorite color. I moistened my lips as I watched the shoppers stroll by, their faces happy and unworried. A silly little song ran through my head as I watched them pass, and I found myself smiling. Don't worry, be happy now. Don't worry, be happy. Don't worry, be happy now.
I felt my sides being poked over and over again without mercy, making me shriek softly at first before I realized it was just Travis. The sound of rustling plastic sacks gave him away. "Come here sweetheart." he teased. He had a knack for calling me pet names like 'Doll face' or 'Gingersnap'. The gingersnap name was actually coincidence, since I really am a ginger. "Just you wait baby cakes; I got us a great dessert for tonight." Travis kissed my cheek and tugged on my hand, sliding two bags into it.
I couldn't help but smile wide and follow him without hesitation as we made our way to his car. The most unimportant, yet still important part of Travis was that he was wealthy. Resulting in a nice apartment--I call it a penthouse but he disagrees--and a very luxurious car. A Shelby GT 2500 to be exact. The blue car was slick and catches everyone's eye constantly throughout the day. I couldn't help but pin myself as lucky. Usually he'd tease me about loving his things more than him. I merely disagreed.
We tucked our groceries into the trunk and slid into our seats. Travis started the car with that pretentious way of his when he was excited. I finally couldn't take it anymore. "What's got you so jumpy?"
"You'll have to wait and see." He glanced at me mysteriously and waited for a chance to back out of the parking lane. His manor always had me curious. I couldn't help but imagine what he could have in store for me. A Candlelit dinner? Maybe a movie night with ice cream? I didn't see any ice cream in the few groceries I got a peek at. He tried to keep me from looking, but he failed. From what I saw was the usual peanut butter and jam we use for sandwiches.
So whatever he had planned, I had no hint for.
As we pulled up to the tall building, he led me through the lobbies and towards the elevator. I always liked this elevator too. The music was soft and corny, but made it all the more relaxing after a trying day. The walls were a soft reddish-brown with gold trims and accents. The metal bar that you could grab onto was slick and flat, hard on the fingers if you gripped it too hard or the wrong way. I remembered my belt getting caught against it one day and Travis and I had to figure out how to unhook it, causing embarrassing stares and floor after floor of waiting and trying.
"Trial and Error" was what Travis called it and I couldn't agree more. That was how my life was everyday, and every second. Travis only made it so much more bearable. He taught me how to keep trying when I knew I was going to give up.
Travis was just so sweet like that too. His nature was to be kind and a gentleman to anyone who needed it, not just me. His parents raised him as one, and he could never get out of that habit. "Habits die hard" he would mutter some nights while trying to stop biting his nails. I laughed every time I caught him doing it.
A moonlit walk in the park, or a soft candlelit dinner was Travis's forte when it came to romance and dates. Unfortunately for me, I had never experienced these things. Travis and I didn't have a thing, no matter how much we liked each other.
It was complicated. We could never love each other like the desirable characters in the romance movies, because of his current job position. He was a body guard for a large business investor. Several times Travis would bring up the fact that he had to protect this man while on duty, and he couldn't risk me being there if things got out of hand. He'd jump in front of me, instead of Mr. Williams if the bullet was fired. He told me that was something he couldn't do.
I knew we could still do it. Who said I was going to be with him when he was on his business trips? What about that time that he was with me? Not there? I knew there was something else behind his façade, and I couldn't put my finger on it. As crazy as I could get when he would deny our love for one another, it wasn't as bad as hearing him deny assumed relationships to someone else, with me right next to him.
Travis was a complicated person, yet he was so simple. Maybe it was just how guys were, but to me, I thought after five months of being with him, I'd have him figured out by now. I guess I was wrong there, because he seemed to have so many secrets he wouldn't tell me. Something he wouldn't even tell his own father.
The door to our--I use 'our' lightly--apartment was very pristine and white. Smooth and painted daily for the hallway's looks and reviews whenever photographers come to put the ads in the newspaper. I've always liked this door, because it made me feel pure and clean, never too guilty about my past decisions. Travis led me through the usual clean rooms and towards the living room, in front of the fire place. I sat down and let my muscles unwind from the busy day.
Not only did we go to the store, but we stopped by Travis's father's house and chatted with his parents for a while. Even before that we awoke to the national holiday parade just outside our windows. Blaring trumpets and loud honking with cheers from the crowds. Of course it was exciting, but totally unexpected since I had forgotten it was July fourth.
Suddenly, I knew what Travis had planned. Every July Fourth had fireworks and barbecues. Meaning… "Travis!" I exclaimed happily.
He looked startled as he walked over to me, "What?"
"You're taking me to see fireworks!"
"You know, for a girl like you, you think way too much. Your presumption is correct." He smiled wide at me, the same heart warming smile he did whenever he was excited about something. He always had my heart thumping wildly, always getting me to speak before I think.
"I'm a smart girl if that's what you mean." I waited for him to sit next to me, but he didn't. Instead he went back to the kitchen. I peered over the couch anxiously to see what he was doing. "Are you alright?"
Travis turned and beheld a plate of hotdogs and hamburgers with a wide smile. "I've invited friends over. I think it's high time you learn to socialize with other people. I'm probably getting to be very boring to you."
My smile faltered when he mentioned friends. Never was he too boring for me, but I didn't voice that. "Oh really?" was all I could manage.
"Yes, you remember Tyson?"
Unfortunately, yes, I remembered Tyson. He had black and white hair, almost like a crazy Dalmatian gone wild. His eyes were a deep blue and everything about him was…undefined. Sometimes the kid scared me. He wasn't very respectful to Travis's property, but I figured Travis didn't know the worst of it.
Tyson had a problem with drugs, like most adults do, but I figured they were pretty out of hand. Most of the time Tyson would take long drags and purposefully blow the vial smoke back into my face, because he knew it made me uncomfortable. I retched that night when he was gone, and even in my dreams, I can still smell the smoke.
"Oh joy." I murmured to myself.
"Huh? Didn't catch that." Travis prompted, walking closer to me.
"I said that should be fun." I faked a smile for him.
Travis set down the plate and walked over to me, taking my hand in his. His thumb found the white gauze wrapped around my wrist. Last week Travis had left to do his usual job, so he was gone for two days. During those two days with him gone, I let myself get carried away with the dreams, and I woke up to bloody lines of blood down my wrists. It scared me so badly that I ran to the bathroom and tried to make the bleeding stop. I didn't know how.
I had made it worse until Travis came in late and found me. His face was a mask of horror as he took in the scene. Immediately he dropped everything he was carrying and ran to me. He cleaned me up and bandaged my arms with gauze easily. I cried myself to sleep that night.
Now, thinking back on that night, both of us mentally flinched. Travis didn't like it any better than I did. "Oh Gabby." I was the first time all day he had said my real name. He pulled me in for a long hug as he buried his face in my hair. "I'll never let that happen again." he promised.
I don't know how he was going to do that. I knew from experience that I couldn't get the dreams to go away. I've tried my hardest everyday, but no luck had come. I knew they weren't going to leave so easily.
"I promise you, I promise with all my heart that I will make the dreams go away." he murmured against my hair.
I shook my head. "You can't promise that. It's impossible."
"Gabby…they have pills. If you would only try them--"
"I can't, Travis. I just can't." I know why I couldn't take the pills. The pills would make me drowsy, and make me feel unclean and hungry all the time. I don't know why, but I would get side effects along with them. I didn't like the diarrhea or vomiting that came from the pills. I couldn't stand it. "Please don't make me." I whispered.
Travis was silent for a minute, certain stubbornness resurfacing from years of submerge, but he finally pushed it back and nodded once. "Alright, I won't make you take the pills."
"What was it about Tyson you were saying?" I decided it was best to take both our minds off of the subject, knowing all to well what it would ensure if we kept talking about it. Broken Promises.
"Tyson was coming over, but I assure you, that I will not let him bother you." Travis let me go and leaned away from me. "You better get ready, because I invited a lot of girlfriends for you to hang out with." He smirked, just as the doorbell rang. The first guest of the night.