Spiteful words thrown here and there.
Only a sense of duty tying them together.
The woman who I have long since stopped calling mother screamed at the man who fathered me, screeching what misfortune she has to have married him, bemoaning the day she met him. The man seethed, bellowing that he didn't like her any better. He didn't want the girl either. The woman screamed back that that girl was his child, he keep the brat. I slowly tuned out the familiar script. My existence was a burden. Unwanted. I didn't move an inch nor did I blink an eye. This was no surprise. I already knew this. I had already resigned myself to accept this. The repeated utterance of the fact won't stir me from bed. In the early stages of the parents' enmity, there was a little girl who was torn apart. She prayed every day, every night, to anything, anyone who would listen to her desperate, silent plea. The fights were getting more violent, the hostility increasing. She wished during every birthday, every holiday, every Christmas, for her family to be whole again. She loved those modern fairy tales, those happily-ever-afters, wanting them for her own. In her dreams, she believed of interlacing her mom's hands with her dad's hand, uniting her torn family. She waited patiently, just waiting, waiting, day after day, night after night. The days turned to weeks and weeks to months. Until that child disappeared, never to be seen again, only a broken memory. But the teenager has not forgotten. She was I. I feared. I swore. I would never make those same mistakes. Never repeat history. It wasn't something a child, anyone, should endure. I swore to never create a pretense of a happy family and rip it away. If I could, I would fix it all. I would glue it back. With super glue. With everlasting tape. Unbreakable staples. I know I would. It was all the child wanted. However, that child was gone now and will not return.
Then, footsteps. The click of heels getting closer, closer. The bedroom door slammed open. The blanket was ripped from my body. She seized my collar and jerked me up, cloth digging into my neck, her spittle flying into my face as she screamed her resentment, menace oozing from her form.
"You ruined my life!" She started shaking me, my oxygen now cut off. "If I never had you, if you were never born!" Her hands released my shirt, moving swiftly to my neck, her grip tightening. "I would be free. You should have never been born!" It was getting dimmer, dimmer... I couldn't quite breathe. However, I didn't blink, didn't move, except for the movement that was forced upon me. It was only right, right? She brought me into this world, this dark, cold world, and she could take me out. I wouldn't cry. I couldn't. I have forgotten how. There wasn't much emotion left in me. What was there to cry about anyway? There would just be one less waste of space. It was only right...
The woman suddenly let go of me and my body hit the mattress. Oxygen and faint, almost nonexistent relief flowed back into me, along with a wisp of quiet disappointment. Then, a sharp slap struck my cheek, snapping it to the side. I saw the floor. There was nothing on it. No proof of someone living in this room. It was completely spotless.
"Brat! Do you want to make me a murderer?!" She snapped, venom lacing her words as she slapped me again. I heard her storm out, her heels clicking the entire way.
Click. Click. Click.
I stood here. On top of the building. At the edge. I looked down and it was a long way down. The people looked like ants, the cars moving around like toys. I watched disinterestedly at the bustle of life down there, the occasional honk sounding so distant. Running footsteps and the door opened, but I didn't turn. I lifted my foot. A favor. I was doing a favor. For who? My parents or me...? I'm not quite sure.
"AMIE!" I froze, my foot in midair. I knew that voice. That voice was the same voice that called out to me so many years along. The girl, against all odds and my initial protest, was my friend. "Amie! Don't you dare jump or I'll kill you!" I didn't move even though I wanted to. There was so much anger in her voice, in those nonsensical words. She was beyond furious. However, I could also hear... a bit of tears and desperation in her tone. Why...? Why would she cry for someone like me? It wasn't worth it. So... why? During those years when I was just waiting, slowly, slowly, friends disappeared one by one, not wanting to hang out with that silent, boring girl. One stayed. The girl's best friend stayed.
I just wanted to step out and walk until there was no more, but I couldn't just go when Jackie was in this state. She might attempt something crazy. "Just leave."
"You think I can do that? Shit, my best friend's trying to suicide and you think I'll freaking leave!?"
"How did I know you'll be here? You think I wouldn't know you by now?! I could tell there was something off for a while. Now, just step back from that ledge and we'll talk about it."
I shook my head slowly. "There's nothing to talk about."
"Please," she practically begged. The raw despair in her voice... "Let me help you."
I was paralyzed by the depth of care and desperation in her voice. The genuine concern sounded so foreign that I almost missed it. Almost. I didn't know how to respond. I didn't realize that she had grabbed my arm until she pulled me down, both of us falling to the ground, away from the ledge. She took the brunt of the short fall, grunting when we hit the concrete. Jackie hugged me tightly anyway.
"You idiot! Stupid, stupid, stupid!" She squeezed. Then, her voice went unusually soft. "Don't do something like that again." My face was shoved into her shoulder by her hand, but I could hear her crying. "You're not alone, you know. The choices you make... they affect more than just you." She hugged me tighter. "I'm here, Amie. I'm here, dammit."
Those words were like a key, unlocking the door to my emotions and letting out the flood inside. Years of pent-up tension, locked up emotions bursting out, like a dam crumbling under the pressure within. I broke down and a few tears slipped out until it escalated to full-blown sobbing. People had their own problems to deal with. Most of them won't bother with you or remember much about you, much less know your every mood. They had enough to deal with. However, Jackie knew me better than I knew myself. She loved me more than I loved myself. She didn't want to lose me. Not wanting to lose someone precious. That sentiment, I understood.
I don't know how long I cried, but she stayed with me to the end. Jackie didn't even try to move into a more comfortable position. She stroked my head, not saying anything, just being here for me. I turned around in her death hold and hugged her back, crying harder. But for another reason now.
"...thank you, Jackie."
I was an idiot. Such an idiot. You made me realize you're here. I won't forget again.
Jackie smacked the top of my head. She seemed relieved though by the change in my voice. "Don't thank me. I love you, dumbass."
Remember there's always someone out there for you. Someone who cares about you. You're never completely alone. Even when your world's crumbling down all around you, there's someone. Maybe not a soul mate. Maybe not a lover. But someone. Don't forget and you will make through it. You can do it. You are worthy. You are strong. You are brave. Someone cares. You will break through.
Don't give up. You're better than that.