Πέμπτη, 30 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Contagious [Part 10]

I continued to walk until I reached the lake I had swam in earlier. As I neared the edge of the water, I looked around for a container to keep some in. It was a warm day and the terrain was exhausting to travel alone on.

Several yards from the bank was a flask. I twisted the cap off and looked inside of it with one eye open and one eye closed. It was empty. I carried it over to the lake and filled it with water. After taking a quick drink from the flask, I realized that someone had had tequila in it previously, and I was getting the watered down left over remnants of it. Anything to keep me going, right?

I finally came upon the road with the "dead end" sign laying to the side. Walking past it, I grasped for the chain underneath my shirt and held it tightly. As I got closer and closer to the abandoned carnival, I started hearing something. I walked faster so I could hear it clearer. Someone was screaming.

I began to run. Everything became a blur as my feet desperately clung to the dirt and pebbles while I was treading along. The screams became more distinct as I got closer and closer.

"Helpp!" someone cried.

It was a girl's voice.

As I whizzed past the merry go round and the old roller coaster, I finally saw them.

I grabbed him and threw him as hard as my body possibly allowed. I fell down with him and scrambled to get up but I settled for grabbing his leg and he settled for kicking me in the side of the head. My left eye went dark.

I punched wildly at the air and caught him with three of them. I was trying to punch clear through the other side of him. Through my right eye, I could see that he was bleeding just as much as I was. I wasn't sure where she was.

We both stood up slowly, not wanting to get hurt any more than we already were.

"Hey man, I don't want to have to hurt you", he said.

"Kris? Is that you? What the fuck are you doing here?" I was so confused.

Kris was my best friend. I had known him since Kindergarten. This was the first time we had ever fought.

I forgot to wait for a reply, because I already knew part of the answer.

"I'm going to fucking kill you", I reasoned.

I charged at him and put my shoulder right into his abdomen and we both flew forward. His body broke my fall and I think my fall broke his ribs.

He laid there in pain and I stood up and looked for Lauren.

She was sitting in one of the bumper cars, crying.

I walked over to where she was and just stood there.

"He wrote the letter", she said in between breaths.

"I never should have went to sleep", I said.

Δευτέρα, 13 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Contagious [Part 9]

I woke up and my eyes pulsated with pain so I just kept them closed thinking the pain would disappear. It didn't.

I opened them and looked around, squinting to avoid the brightness of the sun. I was alone. There was no Lauren to be seen. And not only that, but the fire had been put out.

I sat up, puzzled.

"Did a bear eat her?" I said to myself.

I really hoped not. If a bear ate her, I'd feel guilty. I scrambled to stand up quickly and fell right back down, onto my face. I laid there miserably and all of a sudden I felt helpless.

I felt like I should have jumped from the cliff when I had the chance. I felt so stupid for believing her.

There was a note on the ground.

I picked it up with my bruised hands and read it quietly to myself.

Dear Ivan,

I didn't get eaten by a bear. Please don't worry about me. I'll see you again someday, but right now I need some time to myself. I hope you understand.


Bullshit. Love is bullshit. She's not a Hallmark card. She's selfish.

I crumbled up the note and threw it as hard as I could.

I was alone again. I needed to remind myself that I'm the only person I can really trust. I pulled the gold cross that my father had given me out of my shirt.

"I need some help from you, dad." I said as I looked to the sky.

I wondered if he heard me. I wondered if he could help me.

I wondered if it was normal to feel like this. Like you could just die and no one would care, even yourself. Like I don't even exist.

I started walking again, in the general direction of the cliff. I wasn't sure how far from it we had wandered, but I didn't care. I was alone now and that was enough for me.

As I was walking, I remembered something my mom had told me when I was little.

"Life is hard, Ivan. All you can do is keep trying. You have to try. You owe it to yourself."

I guess this was my dad's way of helping me. Funny, since they got divorced a month after she told me that.

I changed direction. I headed for the abandoned carnival.

Κυριακή, 5 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Contagious [Part 8]

The night air was cold and made me desperate for a nice warm bed. But there was no shelter out here in God knows where. Just Lauren and I and a few scurrying squirrels, holding onto their acorns for dear life. I thought about how we were just like the squirrels, except how they had it better figured out than us. All I wanted in life was to want something bad enough and then get it, and hold onto it and keep it safe. I was still searching, but the squirrel had it simple. Maybe I was just looking at things the wrong way.

We had been up half of the night. I wasn't sure what time it was at this point but Lauren was asleep and I was watching her. The fire was reflecting off of her face and I thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world.

Somehow she sensed that I was awake and I was looking at her and she opened her eyes without warning. I jumped and buried my face within my hands. She sat up and looked at me.

"Go to sleep, Ivan. You need to rest", she said.

My heart was still beating rapidly.

"Sorry. I was just making sure a bear didn't eat you while you were sleeping", I lied.

She knew exactly what I was actually doing, "You were staring at me because you like me."

I contemplated whether I should make a joke and deny it or if I should just act like I'm sleeping or if I should just admit it.

"You're beautiful, you know?" I said.

"Why else would you be staring at me while I'm sleeping?"

"Bears", I said.

"Oh, right. Bears." she grinned.

"Ten beautiful girls are killed each year by tragic bear accidents. I feel like it's my responsibility for you to not be one of those ten."

"You're such a loser", she said.

"I know I am. And you like it."

"No I don't", she replied.

I looked at her in awe and didn't know what to say. She was smiling for some reason, as if she was happy about making me feel unliked.

"I love it." she said.

My expression of awe didn't change, but the context of my wide open mouth differed entirely. I had never in my life heard something so cliche and beautiful that wasn't out of a Hallmark card. I was starting to think that's where she got these sayings from.

"Was that out of a Hallmark card?" I questioned.


"Nothing", I muttered.

I laid my head down on the itchy grass and closed my eyes. I pretended like I was asleep and listened to Lauren's breathing. I was so tired.

After 30 minutes she finally laid down beside me. I opened my eyes when things got quiet and found her with her eyes open, staring straight into mine.

"Watching for bears?" I asked her.

"No, I just like you", she said.

Παρασκευή, 26 Νοεμβρίου 2010

Contagious [Part 7]

Things were getting better. Complicated, but better.

Everything was changing. I was seeing things in a different light now. The grass that once seemed so plain and common was now vivid. I appreciated things, like air, like clouds, like myself.

The rain stopped shortly after Lauren kissed me. It was as if the rain was my pessimism and her kiss halted it. Is that too cliche to say? Oh well. Our relationship was cliche, and I enjoyed it. We had only met each other hours before, but we felt like we had known each other forever. Cliche again. Damn it.

We started a fire just as the night crept in and took away the safeness we had felt earlier. She had a backpack filled with things that she packed before she ran away from home. In it was some matches, clothes, cereal, water, makeup, money, and various other women stuff.

The fire was refreshing. It kept us warm and that was all we needed that night as we kept each other company and told each other about our average and complicated lives.

"My parents might as well not even be there", Lauren said. "They don't even pay attention to me. All they're worried about is themselves and their problems. But what they don't understand is that their problems fall on top of my problems as well. And I couldn't take it anymore. I needed out."

I nodded.

"I couldn't tell them how I felt. I didn't want them to worry about me because they were already worried enough. So here I am. I wonder if they're worried about me right now."

I interrupted her, "They are, Lauren. I'm sure of it. There's probably a search team of hundreds of people looking for you. And they're all worried about the sweet teenage girl that is missing, and they want to find you so you can be back home with your family. Is that what you want?"

"Right now I'd much rather be with you", she said.

I smiled, but behind that smile was a lot of fear and anxiety. For one, I still had no idea where I was. When I first found myself at the abandoned carnival, I was confused and clueless as to how I got there. And now this girl is here, and I have no idea how she got here. Or who she is. But most of all, I don't think it's safe to be out here by ourselves. The last thing I want is for this girl to get hurt. She's so sincere, and I can't help but be extremely protective of that.

"I feel the same way", I told her.

She reached over and touched my hand. I extended mine and she slid her fingers in between my fingers and we sat there for awhile and listened to the sound of the crackling fire. I wondered if things would always be this simple.

Σάββατο, 13 Νοεμβρίου 2010

Contagious [Part 6]

"Sometimes you think you're going one direction, and you're fine with it. Then later on you realize you were unknowingly looking into a mirror, you know? Life is a guessing game. And it's easy to guess wrong." I continued to try to console her. She seemed to be calmed by what I was saying.

It started to rain. First as small sprinkles.

"But I just got tired of everything. Everything I did was a giant struggle. And all I wanted was for it to be easier." She paused to wipe a tear away. "But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't find that gray area. That space where it's comfortable."

I knew exactly what she was talking about. Since I had felt like this so many times before, I didn't really have a way of telling her it would get better. I knew for a fact that it could very well get much worse instead. Did I mention life is a guessing game? Well, sometimes you guess right, and you get punished for it instead of being rewarded.

The rain grew steadier. I looked around for any sort of shelter, but there was none.

So we sat on a fallen tree and stared at the ground as the rain started to pour. It was one of those moments when you blur everything else out, and just focus completely on the sound of the drenching rain. And ironically enough, everything was alright as long as it was pouring. We found solace sitting together with water dripping off of our faces.

She turned to look at me and our eyes met as I turned as well. I looked back at the ground.

She kissed my cheek and put her arms around me and then rested her head on my shoulder.

I could feel my face reddening as I smiled slightly and wished I hadn't looked back down at the ground.

I tried to analyze the moment, but too many thoughts were crawling through my mind. Somehow I figured it was going to be a lot harder to guess from here on out.

Κυριακή, 31 Οκτωβρίου 2010

Contagious [Part 5]

Leaves rustled behind me, causing me to jump in a moment of sheer terror and disbelief. I desperately grasped for a stick, a rock, or anything to defend myself from whatever wild animal that's crossed paths with me, of all things, in this world of coincidence and possibility. This world where the negatives seem to outweigh the positives, until that one moment in your life when everything is perfect, and you try so hard not to screw it up, but you always do. I believe Newton explained it the best. What goes up must come down.

I turned around and dropped the measly twig that was supposed to protect me. This was no wild animal. This was a girl.

At first we only stared in disbelief. I imagine that the same twirling thoughts that were running circles around my mind were making her dizzy also. I was about to faint.

"What... who are you?" the girl said. I was still lightheaded.

"My name is Ivan. Who are you?" I muttered. She wasn't impressed so far. And she looked like she was in much better condition than I was.

"I'm Lauren. What exactly are you doing here anyway? It's not safe to hang out at the edge of a cliff. You could slip and fall." she preached at me.

"Well... erm." I struggled. I was trying to think of a defensively sarcastic way to hide the fact that I wanted to fall. I couldn't think fast enough.

"Actually I was planning on jumping. What's it to you?"

No reply.

The tone of her voice made it seem like she didn't care. But her facial expression told a different story. I could see right through her. She was one of those girls that was constantly misunderstood. She wanted to be bigger than the walls that were suffocating her every time she pushed back. And I wasn't going to hide the fact that I already had her figured out.

I followed the urge to let her know I wasn't stupid, "So you ran away from home, huh?"

She looked at the ground. Her face turned bright red and tears formed in the creases of her eyes. I was right, but I felt bad now.

I walked over to her and put my right hand on her shoulder. With my left hand, I lifted her chin and wiped away the single tear that was running down her face.

"Everything's going to be alright."

Contagious [Part 4]

The drop was roughly one hundred feet. I looked straight down and my stomach seemed to spiral endlessly as I calculated how far my head would go into the Earth if I did a nose-dive. If my calculations were correct, It'd have been about a half of a foot, depending on how much air resistance slowed me down and how hard and moist the ground was. My legs would be sticking straight up in the air, pointing to the sky. The wild animals would eat the flesh and meat off of my decaying body which would only leave a pile of bones for the archaeologists of the future to dig up and carbon date. They'd be able to tell what time period I lived in, but nothing more than that.

They wouldn't know what my struggles were, what I liked and didn't like, or even how I died, how I killed myself, and why. Hell, even I didn't know why. Why not? There was no one here to tell me "You've got everything to live for. Don't jump. Your family needs you". It was just me and mother nature out here in a battle of will that I was losing terribly.

And maybe that's why I didn't jump. There was no rebellion. There was no point to prove. I wasn't dying to show someone how wrong they were about me. There would be no sympathy at a funeral packed with people that thought I was weird while I was alive but for some reason realized how great of a person I was after I died. I had no reason to jump but because I was dying, and I was alone.

And that's when she came, and destroyed every part of the mentality I was previously stuck on. She shattered me.

She saved me.