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the attic

The Lost Story

The Lounge | The Techie Bible | Other Stories | Six

I wrote this in arts high school and was depressed when I couldn't find it. It was near the begining of the class so it sucks but it's important to me so enjoy.

            “One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand,” I counted quietly as my tears stopped falling. With every pinch there were fewer tears; more pain but fewer tears. I hated crying in public. It was an uncomfortable feeling that started in the Adam’s apple part of my throat and quickly moved to the mass of forehead between my eyes. The salty raindrops burn my cheeks as they run down my face. Soon my temples ache and the back of the head begins to throb. My arms are peppered with goose bumps and my face swells to the size of a watermelon as it becomes increasingly more crimson. My heart feels like it’s breaking all over again. The pain becomes so great that I can’t help but cry all the more.

            I had gone into the bathroom to muffle the sharp snap of the rubber band. I had gone into the bathroom to hide. Chris had seen me grab the band from the chance pouch of my purse; my mother and grandmother hadn’t. If they had, they would think nothing of it, just a piece of strange teenage jewelry. “It’s just the trend,” I had told them.

            “Kate,” Chris had said. His lips puckered slightly, as if asking for the thousandth kiss of the day. He brushed the hair out of his eyes. He had just spoken my name, but there was more to it. I shrank from his pleading eyes. “Kate.” His eyes were so sad, the color of rain clouds.

            “Chris,” I mimicked, trying to ignore his desperate tone. I tried to smile at him briefly but it was a crooked smile, a fake smile. I hid the rubber band behind my back as a child would hide a stolen cookie from her mother before supper. I fled into the bathroom of the nursing home and slid down the wall to the cold tile floor. The mixed odors of spilled urine and assorted cleaning products pinched at the inside of my nose. My eyes started to water from the putrid stench and the stresses of the day. I wiped the eyeliner and mascara out of the corners of my eyes before it ran down my face. A slightly whiny and irritating voice in the back of my head sang, “She’s gonna break soon,” to a happy melody. I had never been one to deal with problems as they came. I waited until I had dozens of problems overwhelming my system before I would finally break down, frustrated at my own weakness.

            A poem was written about a pony whose fur was as soft as the inside of a girl’s wrist. My wrist was not soft. My wrist was plagued by welts. I had never been a cutter, and never wanted to become one. When undergoing a lot of stress, however, I had a strange desire to physically hurt myself to relieve the stress. I heard that people recovering from cutting snap their wrists with rubber bands. It never occurred to me that some form of therapy should go along with such a ‘self-medication’ plan.

            “…four-one thousand, five-one thousand, six-one thousand…”

            My grandmother was gossiping about the lady across the hall. My grandmother loved to gossip. She rarely got out of bed but her hearing was so good that she knew every word that was being said ten doors down. She was always too tired, or in too much pain, to get out of bed. “Did you go to therapy today? No? Why? You do know what you have to go to therapy if you want to come home, right?”

            “It’s not that simple!” she snapped, the pock-marked fat under her arms quivering with rage. “You don’t talk to me that way, young lady!” Her nostrils flared as a rabid horse and her eyes were so consumed with anger that, for a moment, I could not find my grandmother in the black abyss that was her two dilated pupils. She wouldn’t remember lashing out at me tomorrow; the pills would take care of that. The hospital didn’t want her to take them but her old doctor friend had written her a note. The pills kept her from realizing how much she hurt other people. The pills kept her from keeping her mouth shut. The pills kept her happy. I was hurt that she wasn’t even trying to get home, even though she believed that she could come home without exerting any effort. “It’s not that simple!”

            “…seven-one thousand, eight-one thousand, nine-one thousand…”

            “I don’t know,” I sighed in exasperation.

            “You’re the Stage Manager, Kate; you’re supposed to know these things.”

            “I know.” I had more so been tossed into the position of Stage Manager than anything. My predecessor hadn’t taught me much. My predecessor hadn’t taught me much of anything. I had run spotlight for two plays before I was announced as the next Stage Manager. I wouldn’t call myself qualified unless you count one semester of Stagecraft, one semester of Drama, and being the Stage Manager’s girlfriend for a week as qualifications. Most of the time I had absolutely no idea of what I was doing; most of the time the Master Electrician told me what to do. She told me what to do expect for the rare occasion when she wanted to remind me of my lack of qualification and knowledge. She seemed to purposely pick the times when everything around me was the most hectic.

            “What’s going on with the scenery? When are we opening house? When are we starting? How long is rehearsal today? Does everyone have their props?”

            “I don’t know.”

            “Kate! You’re the Stage Manager!”

            “I know.”

            “…ten-one thousand…”

            “Everyone else is hanging up on me because I’m so drunk. Thank you so much for talking to me. You’ve always been there for me,” Joel had said, slurring his words together. I hadn’t heard from Joel for eight months. I hadn’t heard from Joel since he told me that he couldn’t be with me anymore. His best friend had a crush on me. Now his number flashed on the screen of my cell phone with Eric Clapton’s ‘Wonderful Tonight’ playing in the background. ‘Wonderful Tonight’ was my favorite song. “I hope you don’t hate me,” he had said. “I never meant to lead you on; I’m not a bad guy.” I never thought that he was a bad guy. He was exactly the type of guy that I had always thought I wanted: a skater, lead guitarist and singer in a band, strong, creative, romantic, and a bit of a troublemaker. He’d brush the hair away from his face and his baby blue eyes would twinkle down at me. When he sang to me, my heart fluttered. He was right out of a movie. My image of him could not be shaken.

            It took me so long to forget about him, even when I found out that he had gotten a girlfriend a week after leaving me, even when I found out how much of an alcoholic he had become, even when I found out about him having sex in his friends bed, even when I found out that he and his girlfriend had a pregnancy scare after two months of dating. I was told all of this, and on some level I believed it, but it didn’t seem like the Joel that he had pretended to be in front of me. I broke my cell phone and lost his phone number to the cosmos. At first I was heart broken …I could never go back. He’d never sing to me again. I’d never see his eyes again. He’d never again brush his hair out of his face just the right way. After a few months, I realized that I had to deal with life without Joel. There would be other boys. It was the kind of closure that I didn’t think possible… I could never go back. “I hope you don’t hate me.”

            I had been holding Chris’s hand in the back seat of my mom’s Suzuki. “I’m drinking Scotch…I don’t know where I am.” I leaned against Chris’s shoulder and he put his arm around me. He put his arm around me and tried to protect me from the world, as if he could. My heart dropped into my stomach. I had hoped that I would never hear from Joel again. I didn’t want to remember how I felt when he said, “Please don’t hate me, but we can’t do this anymore. I’m so sorry. Please don’t cry; just please don’t hate me.” He was lost. He was drunk and he was lost. “My girlfriend just broke up with me after eight months. Everyone else is hanging up on me. I don’t know what to do.”

            “I didn’t think that he’d actually call you,” Estrella told me later. “I really didn’t.” What no one knew was that for months I had wanted Joel to call me; I missed him. I even wondered that if Joel came back in my life if I would leave Chris. I was lying in bed watching Robin Hood Men in Tights with Chris’s arms tightly around me. His arms had been around me all day. He had strong arms. “He told me that he wants to get with you to get back at his girlfriend. He wants to use you.” I had never been so angry with any one person in my life. I cried. I cried in Chris’s arms. I cried over Joel in Chris’s arms and felt as if I were planting the seeds of doubt and jealousy in Chris’s heart. I hoped he didn’t hate me. I hated crying in public. It was an uncomfortable feeling.

            “…eleven-one thousand, twelve-one thousand, thirteen…”

The Scariest Thing About Memories is Believing You Will Forget Them