Life on the run, sounds fun at first. But in reality, you can’t focus. Every step you take, everything you eat, is it safe? The shadows try consume you, but is that safe? You can’t live years in darkness, it does things to you, but, light was always my enemy, so I would stay hidden. I didn’t want anyone to know my past. It’s just too dark to put out in the open. Just when things got comfortable to live in hiding, you came into my life and my world came crashing around me. I hated and loved you for it. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish things differently. So I hope that our story makes a difference.
I remember the day we met. I was walking out of my class heading home. The air was so crisp, it bit into bear skin. I hiked up my scarf so it would cover my nose. Keeping my head down, staring at the sidewalk as it passed under each step. I can hear the footsteps of the people in passing, all aware of my awkward existence, all except you. Next thing I know, the force of your walking pace has thrown me to the ground.
“Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry! I ju- I’m sorry. Are you okay?”
“Watch where you’re going?!”
“I was texting, I ca-, here let me help you up.”
“I’m fine, I can manage picking myself up!.”
“Look I’m really sorry, I was just in a hurry.”
“So am I, bye.”
As I started to walk away in my fury, you started calling out after me. I returned your shouts with a “fuck off”, and I just kept walking away from you. The walk home wasn’t any more pleasant. Just the thought of your incompetence made my cheeks fill with fury. Finally getting home, all I could think about was how angry you made me. I pulled at my scarf and it slid off my neck. I threw it on the couch and shrugged off my jacket. I let it lie on the arm of the couch before I made my way the kitchen.
‘I don’t know why I even came in here I’m not even hungry’. I open the fridge and pull out a beer bottle, pop it open and mope over to my room.
‘I guess I should start on my essay’
As I take a swig of my beer I reach into my sweater’s front pocket for my wallet. Spitting my beer out I realize it’s not there. Fuck! When I fell! I race to the den, grabbing my scarf and jacket I swing open the door. Right as I am about to step out, I trip on the damned threshold and fall. Fuck! There goes my knee! I look up as soon as I hear footsteps running up the path to my door. The tears block my vision for a bit, I blink them away and it’s you.
“Hey! Are you okay?”, you grabbed my hands to help me up, “that was a nasty fall”.
“Ow, yeah it was, I was ju-“, I couldn’t even talk my knee hurt so bad. I limped as I tried to stand up straight.
“Here, put your arm around my neck, let’s get you inside.”
“My wallet! It must’ve-”
“I have it, that’s why I’m here.” The smirk you give me leaves me appalled, I’m almost grateful to be in your arms because without your help I would have just been standing there dumbfounded. You helped me limp my way back into my small house. Guiding me over to the couch, then gingerly sat me down. You placed my scarf and jacket on the arm of the couch.
“Two hard falls in one day”, again you smirk at me,”are you always this accident prone?”
The amount of audacity in your voice; all I can do it glare at you, “No, only when people get in my way.”
“Ouch,” grabbing your chest, “that one actually hurt.”
“Sorry. I’ve just-, I panicked.”
“I’m sorry about earlier, I was running late for an exam.”
“What school do you go to?”
“Chaster University, I’ll be graduating in a few weeks, hopefully.”
“Me too, sit down.” I pat the cushion next to me, “I just took Mr. Leon’s final.” You swiftly and gracefully take a seat next to me and place your elbows on top of your knees.
“Wow, I was on my way to take his”, you chuckled, “oh! before I forget”. Digging into your left back pocket you produce my wallet.
“Thanks, I really appreciate this. As much as I should memorize my student ID I never took the time. I have an essay due.”
“Ha, I know the feeling, my name’s Allen by the way”, you reach out to shake my hand, then stand,”I really need to get going, you know all these exams.”
“Oh! Yeah, thanks again.” I try to get up but my knee gives way and I fall on my side bracing myself against the couch.
“I can show myself out, rest, and elevate that knee.”
“yeah, uh, I will.”
“See ya at school, umm?”
“Sara, sorry, call me Sara.”
“Sara, see you later.”
And with that you were gone.
It must have been an hour before I realized I had fallen asleep. Frantic, I wake up, as the memories from today flood my brain I remember you. I shake my head, shake the thoughts of you out. I gently pick myself up off the couch and make my way to the fridge again, I grab a beer. With a pop, the liquid rushes into my system and your memory fades. My only thoughts are of that damned essay. Three beers later, I can only focus on the essay, but never made it to my laptop. I realize I’ve been standing in the same spot for thirty minutes. I throw back the last of my drink and hop to my room. Dizzy, I almost fall over, I hang onto the door frame. Determined, I make my way to my bed and slowly fall onto it. Laying there I begin to think of you. Your dark hair, your green eyes, and skin caramel even in this autumn weather. That smirk, something about it has me either offended or lost. Is it the three o’clock shadow? Your prominent jaw line? I squeeze my eye shut, so hard until I see stars. I can’t let you in. You won’t like me, you won’t look my way. You will run away from me. Again I squeeze my eyes shut and shake my head. I shift to my side and pull my laptop from the night stand.
‘I need to focus on this damn essay, not you.’
My back hurts and my eyes are sore. Saving the last edit, I close my laptop and rub my eyes. It can’t be this late. I force myself out of bed, forgetting about my knee for a split second. Fuck! How the hell am I going to walk to class tomorrow? Suck it up Sammie, suck it up. All these years I kept to myself and you just waltz in, hell into my house, like nothing! As empty as it is, this place has finally become my home. I hobble to the bathroom and brush my teeth. The mirror fogs a bit with my presence, the temperature must have dropped outside. Washed up I head to adjust the heat, then I’m off to bed.
As I lay there, my knee throbbing away, you somehow mange to make your way back into my thoughts. How do you do that? All these years I keep my mind dark and empty, yet here you are again. What does this even mean? Has my heart softened after everything that’s happened? HA! I doubt it! I turn to my clock, it reads four thirty. I stare at it until the heater sends me into a warm slumber.
The sounds of screaming fill my head. I feel my heart racing, my breathing is short. Fuck! Not again. God please not this again! It burns! Make it stop! I can’t move my arms or legs. I feel the leather straps tighten around my wrists, ankles, and chest. Finally with a deep inhale of air I let out a murderous scream that wakes me from my nightmare. Drenched in sweat, I try to slow my breathing. I slowly bring my knees to my chest and hug them. Ignoring my throbbing knee, I turn and cry into my pillow.
My alarm wakes me with its soft beeping. My pillow soaked through with my tears. Softly I turn to snooze my alarm. I vaguely remember my nightmare, but I know they’re back. Sitting up, rubbing the remnants of my tears off with the back of my hand. Gingerly, I shift so that I can sit on the edge of my bed. Glancing back at my clock I rise to get dressed. My class starts at ten o’clock. I doubt I’ll be able to hobble fast enough.
By nine twenty I’m dressed and out the door. My head is low because the red circles that surround my eyes are more prominent against my too pale skin and my locks of red and auburn. I still cannot really straighten my leg and the more weight I put on it the worse it hurts. Gah! How could I be so clumsy! I’m never going to make it in time. Suck it up Sammie; my life long mantra.
I look up and it’s you. Oh, I look so pathetic right now, especially with this scarf pulled up to my nose. Damn these red circles!
“He-, Hey, Allen”. Is all I manage to squeak. Man, what is it about you that makes me so paralyzed?
“Are you ok? You look like”, I already know what you were going to say, so you pick your words carefully, “like you could run a marathon.”
I couldn’t help but bellow out a deep laugh. Your audacity triumphs again. “Thanks, I’m glad my training shows.”
Seeing you return my laugh with a chuckle helps me forget about my nightmares and my pain.
“I don’t have a car, but I most definitely can walk with you to class.”
“Thanks, but I’m already late as it is, I don’t want you late too.”
“Eh, don’t worry I have Mrs. Feathers today, so I’ll make eleven in good time.”
I smile at you and continue walking. I’m grateful that I don’t carry much on my person, so you don’t have that awkward, ‘let me help you with that’ offer. The wind decides to pick up, so talking doesn’t really seem like the time nor place, which helps me hide my embarrassment.
By ten thirty I’ve made it to class and Mr. Chris doesn’t seem to care about my late arrival, he just makes note of my glorious stride as I make my way to my desk. Sitting down the pain in my knee subsides with grateful speed. Mr. Chris continues his lecture as I turn on the desk’s laptop. With a loud slogan like ring the computer is alive. My mind wanders to the section Mr. Chris is covering. A quiet ping from my computer pulls me from the lecture. An IM window popped up in the middle of the screen, I click it open to read it.
So nice you’ve come out of hiding
Hope you haven’t forgotten about me.
Fuck! I lose my breath, my mouth hangs open, but I shut it almost immediately. My eyes widen, instinctively I glance over my shoulders, out the windows, then at my classmates. This cannot be happening, not again. My ears ringing from hearing my heart pounding . I can’t breathe, my life is finished. Then out of no where everything goes dark.