The Letter That Will Never Be Sent
I sighed deeply in the darkness of my room, the warmth of my blanket not able to save me from the cold winds of December. I stare at my clock. 6:30 AM. I should get up for school, but I feel sick to my stomach. People say butterflies are in their stomachs, but I have moths that are biting their way through the soft tissues of my organs. My heart sunk lower than it has before, shattering like glass. People say to follow your heart, but if it's in a million pieces, which piece do I follow? I sit up and lean against the headboard of my bed. I finally give in and admit it to myself, I still love her.
"Dear- Well, I probably shouldn't say your name…" I muttered to myself and get out of bed. My feet chill instantly upon touching the wooden floor of my room, but I don't flinch. I get my clothes ready and go shower. After a while, I come out, dry myself, and get dressed. I go back into the bathroom, brush my teeth, and take my pills out of the medicine cabinet. I pause to look at myself in the mirror. "I write this letter to you because I'm too scared to say it…" I muttered again and open the bottle. I take my daily dose of two pills, close the bottle, and open the medicine cabinet again, only to pause. I take a deep breath, close the cabinet, and put the bottle of pills in my pocket as I go back to my room to finish getting ready for school.
"Max?" I heard a voice say behind me. I look back and see my baby sister standing in the door way.
"Shirley, you should be in bed. Why are you awake? You don't have school today," I said in a very calming and loving tone.
"I wanted to say bye before you left for school," she said, coming forward and hugging me. I felt a lump in the back of my throat as I hugged her back tightly.
"Thanks kiddo," I smiled. I carried her back to bed and tucked her in. I kissed her forehead and left to my room again, prepping my backpack, "Although, the problem is, you aren't gonna read it. Or hear it. Directly, at least…" I muttered again. I went downstairs, backpack and all, and got a granola bar from the pantry. I walk out the front door and head to school.
Every breath I take is visualized by the cold December winds. I look across the street and see kids from school laughing as they walk. I sigh and shake my head, walking faster. I can feel their stares in the back of my neck as I turn the corner, seeing school in the distance.
"See, the problem is, I don't know how to let go…" I muttered under my breath as I head inside. The halls are filled with standard high school kids: jocks, cheerleaders, nerds, goths, gossips, wallflowers, and then there's me. The target of everyone. Everyone except her. I stop walking in the middle of the hallway, staring blankly into space. Shaking my head, I continue walking to my locker. I turn the combination a couple times, not getting it right the first few times, but getting it correct eventually. Putting most of my stuff in, a finger tapped my shoulder. I turned around, and the moths in my stomach become violent once again, my heart clenched, and my mind started racing.
"Hey, Max. How's it going?" she asked. My mind immediately stopped to the sound of her voice. I could only focus on her, and the silence was deafening.
"Uhh, I'm alright," I stumbled, "How about you?"
"I'm good. Just tired. Did you remember to eat this morning?" she asked with a cocked eyebrow.
I raised my granola bar, "I have something, but not yet."
"You need to eat more, you'll get sick."
"No, stop," she flicked my forehead, "You need to take care of yourself."
"I do, it's just not the way you should." I rubbed my forehead and closed my locker. She rolled her eyes, mentioning that I'm difficult. We started walking to class and ran into him. My heart turns cold immediately as she ran towards him, hugging him. He hugged her back and kissed her forehead.
"Hey, baby. Max," he said smiling, putting his arm around her.
"Hey," I replied. "I don't know how to forget… I don't know how to live my life, without those sweet innocent memories…" I thought to myself as I stared at the back of her head as they walked inside.
"Well, Max, are you going inside?" a voice said to the left of me. Mr. Smith was there, looking at me quizzically. "You know my rule, as long as you go in before me you aren't tardy," he said patting me on my shoulder and gesturing me to go inside.
"Right, sorry," I said and walk inside, followed by Mr. Smith. I sat in the back corner, next to the window and took out my notebook. I didn't write any notes, I just wrote poetry the whole class. The lecture started and I found myself staring at her again, across the room. Her serene expression put some calm into my mind, and was immediately taken away when he put a note on her desk. She laughed silently, her smile being one I can remember so vividly. It hurt so much, seeing her like that, but I couldn't do anything about it. "We both knew it was gonna happen, so I'm sorry…" I thought to myself again, and went back to writing. Although, I didn't write a poem like I expected, I wrote a letter:
Dear- Well, I probably shouldn't say your name,
I write this letter to you because I'm too scared to say it. Although, the problem is, you aren't gonna read it. Or hear it. Directly, at least. See, the problem is, I don't know how to let go. I don't know how to forget. I don't know how to live my life, without those sweet innocent memories. We both knew it was going to happen, so I'm sorry. I'm sorry we were like oil and water. I'm sorry we were like the sun and the moon. Because all I ever did was darken your world, while you lit up mine. But now, now you're a million miles away, and I have no way of ever voicing this to you. I have no way of making sure you understand that I still care for you. You were so pure and innocent, but I was so chaotic and destructive. I would let you drag me to hell, if it meant I got to hold your hand one last time. I know we don't mix. I know we will never be the same, but I can't help but hope I could tell you one last time. Unfortunately, I will never be able to get over how many times I've hurt you. No matter how many times you forgive me, I will apologize more. I miss the ways you used to look at me, when we were both happy and smiling. I miss the way you smiled, when my words reached your ears. I miss the way your face lit up, when silence was interrupted by something so loud and obnoxious. Every little breath started with you, but it ended with me. From intense stares, to the silence of mouthed words. From bruised hearts, to bruised thoughts. There are 7 billion people on this earth, 7 continents, 169 countries, 50 states, and I just had the unfortunate luck of falling in love with you. Why? You out of all the god forsaken people in this world. You out of all the god forsaken people in this world, were the one that poisoned my heart the most. For every time I ticked, you made a tock. For every odd number I counted, you counted an even one. For every little wrong, you made a right. You were my hero, but I was your villain. You can live without me, but I can't live without you. I'm sorry.
Class ended and I rushed out to the next class, ignoring her when she called my name. Sitting in the back again, I read the letter. The lump in the back of my throat appeared again. I felt the tears in my eyes, but I blinked them away. Taking a deep breath, I read the letter over and over again, each time I felt a knife sink deeper and deeper into my back. I shook my head and started thinking about Shirley. Dad hasn't held her once since mom died. I'm too important to her. I have to be strong for her. I take a deep breath and sit up, pretending to pay attention. Class ends again, and I head for the football stadium. Sitting in the stands, I read the letter over and over again. I start crying, and rip it out of my notebook crumpling it up. I throw it over the stands and head for the office. I sign myself out, and start walking home. I knew I couldn't deal with it, but damn it I had to try. "At least I get to spend the rest of my day with Shirley…" I thought to myself, and continued walking.
I unlocked the door and came in. Shirley was in the living room, watching TV and eating popcorn. Dad was in the kitchen, cooking food.
"Max? Is that you?" I heard dad call from the kitchen.
"Yeah, it's me, I went home early. Wasn't feeling well," I replied as Shirley ran to me to say hello. I picked her up and kissed her cheek, put her back down, and walked to the kitchen. "What do you need me to do?"
"Finish making this chicken, I'll be in my office," Dad said, not looking at me. He washed his hands then walked down the hall into his office. I took a deep breath and started prepping the chicken breast and vegetables. I made a simple grilled chicken with steamed vegetables and white rice for lunch. I divided the food into bowls, taking one to Dad's office.
"Here you go," I said, handing him the bowl.
"Sit for a minute. I need to talk to you about something," he said. I sat and looked at him impassively.
"If you don't hurry, Shirley's food will go cold."
"Don't worry, it won't take long. I just wanted to talk about Heather's hospital."
"You mean MY hospital… The one MOM left ME."
"Max, we need the money,"
"Then get a job," I started raising my voice.
"I have a job," he said, matching my volume.
"Well then that sucks to be you."
"Max, I cared about that hospital just as much as you did."
"No you didn't! You never cared! While Mom was helping people, working two jobs, you just sat on your-"
"Max?" I heard a small voice behind me. I stopped immediately, seeing Shirley at the doorway.
"Hey, c'mon, let's eat now, Shirley," I said, looking at Dad intensely. I walked back into the kitchen, gave Shirley her bowl, and sat with her on the couch, watching movies. A couple minutes pass and there's a knock on the door. I get up, open the door, and freeze. It's her… But school isn't out yet… Did she just leave…? My mind starts going a million miles a second.
"Max… Can we talk?" she asked.
"Uhh, I.. Yeah… C'mon in," I said, leading her to the living room where Shirley said hi. "Are you okay? You look like you've been crying."
"Max," she said, taking my hands in hers, "you know you can trust me, right?"
"Yeah, of course I do, why?" At this point, Shirley starts playing with her dollhouse in the corner.
"I need to ask you something."
"Anything," I said. She took out a crumpled up piece of paper, and I knew immediately what it was.
"Who was this to?"