Moments 

“Nick, stop!” Jane screamed as she followed Nick, who was running madly in the streets.

Nick had avoided getting hit by a car several times, but there is nothing that showed he will certainly remain alive if he continues running.

Jane ran recklessly, avoiding buildings and road signs, and tripped. 

She shrieked. She tried to stand up, but her ankle was too swollen. She cried, screamed in pain, and tried finding a way to stand up again but it was useless. She cried a little more and when she lifted her head, she saw a hand extended towards her, there to help her get up. It was Nick. 

“I can’t stand up,” she said.

“Stand on one foot. I’ll carry you.” 

He carried her all the way to the nearest bench and they both sat there. 

“I called an ambulance. They’ll take care of you,” he said.

Jane was silent. 

“Jane, I…”

“I don’t want to hear it. I’m furious. Why in the fucking world would you run like this?” 

“Jane, I was running away because it was the only way.” 

“The only way for what?” she asked.

“This might sound illogical, but it’s the only way to avoid facing my problems. I thought of running as far as I can, running away from it all. I couldn’t stand it, I was going insane.”

Jane sat there silent. 

She said, a little calm now, “Nick, you have no idea what it’s like to have to deal with something that kills you inside.”

“I think I do. All of what I’m facing right now proves that I do,” he said.

“There’s something I need to tell you…” 

“Nick,” she continued, “I…I am jealous and selfish.” 

“You? Selfish? Jealous? How does that even make sense?”
He looked surprised.

“I am fucking jealous of Rosie. I can’t handle the way she gets everyone to like her, nor the way her hair has volume in all the right places, nor the way she aces all her courses, nor the way she’s so good at everything she does, nor the way she took you away from me.”

Jane paused. Nick seemed to be puzzled.

“Woah, woah, woah,” he said, “Take me away from you? Where’s that coming from? You were always okay with me sometimes hanging out with other people.” 

“I thought I was but, Nick, I can’t stand seeing you so happy with her. What happened to Nick and Jane? The incredible duo? Our laughs? Our memories? Our late-night conversations?”

“Nothing has changed,” he continued.

“Oh, it has changed a lot. Nick, I apologized the first time for trying to pull you and Rosie apart but it is killing me inside. I can’t do anything but smile, but in reality, my heart is being torn into a million pieces.”

“I’m selfish because I want you all to myself, Nick Dawson. I don’t like it when Rosie interrupts our chats, when you talk about how much fun you two are having together. In fact, that breaks my heart.” 

“…It breaks my heart to see you so happy with someone else.” 

Nick remained silent, looked Jane in the eyes, and grabbed her hands.

“Jane, you are the most important person in my life. I would never want to make you feel unwanted or left out or replaced.”

“Well, you did.” 

“Would you let me finish? I have to remind you how special you are to me. And there’s only one way to do it…”

Nick was interrupted by the sound of thunder. The lightning blinded them for a second, and the rain started pouring heavily. 

“Looks like the universe wants to make things special,” Nick said with a smile.

“What’s happening?” 

“Grab my hand. I’m going to sweep you off your feet.” 

“You want to dance?” said Jane, “I can’t stand up.” 

“You don’t have to,” he said.

Nick immediately carried her in his arms and twirled her around about five times, and enjoyed every second her scared laugh.

He put her back on the bench, and she said, “I can’t believe you would spin me like that! Why would you do that?” 

“I want to hear you laugh. I want to hear you scream and hold me tightly because you’re afraid you’d fall. I want to hear you yell at me to put you down. I want to hear your breath as you try to calm down from all the spinning. I want you to love me again.” 

“I love you, Nick, you know that.” 

“The feeling is mutual. Now, anything else I could do for you before the ambulance gets here? It’s about time it arrives.” 

“Well, there is one thing…”

“Name it.”

“Hold me tightly, and protect me from the pouring rain. Hold my hand, and say you won’t let go, even during our darkest times. A promise for our friendship.” 

“Anything you want, milady.” 

He hugged her tightly and kissed the back of her hand. She blushed and they both admired the rain and looked at how wet their clothes got until the ambulance finally showed up. 

Confessions

Nick and I were invited to a birthday party the other night, and we were the last two people to leave. Even the girl whose birthday it was had left. It was 1AM, can you blame her? After all, she did get surprised big time that night.

We held the birthday surprise at one of our hangouts, The Lonely Corner. If you saw how crowded it always is, you’d think the name was pretty ironic. Anyway, behind The Lonely Corner lied a swing set. Nick was like, “Hey! I haven’t sat on a swing in ages. Look, I’m 10 again.” I sat on the swing right next to his and acted a little childlike myself.

Nick stopped swinging. He saw me rubbing my hands together and blowing some hot air into my palms, trying to feel warm. Before I knew it, he took off his jacket and covered my shoulders.

“No, Nick, now you will feel cold and I don’t want you to get sic-” I said, a little aggressively.

He insisted I wear it, and that was when he looked straight into my eyes. He smiled.

“You know what’s funny?” I said. “I never noticed that little twinkle in your eyes.”

“Well, you have beautiful eyes too… and they talk to me.”

“And what are they saying?”

“That I looked absolutely hot tonight,” he said, and we both burst out laughing. He then continued saying, “I don’t always tell you this, but when I want to, I don’t get the chance to do so.”

I shrugged.

“You know how we’ll be off to college soon? Yeah, well, among all the people that I could possibly stop talking to in the future, or all the people that I might let go of, I pray you’ll never be one of them.”

A smile was drawn on my face. I couldn’t believe what I was just told. You probably are wondering why I was so stunned, considering Nick and I were best friends and all, but what you don’t know is that Nick and I had had a huge argument a month ago, and made up after tons of apology attempts. You didn’t know about this simply because we didn’t tell anyone.

“I feel the same way,” I finally uttered.

Nick started blowing hot air into his palms. “Told you you’d feel cold,” I said, “My hands are warm now, hand me yours.”

I grabbed his frozen fingers and I could see he felt better. I looked at him firmly, and said, “Tell me something. Anything.”

“I love you.”

“Tell me something I don’t know.”

“Okay. I’ve been having a great time lately. Everything’s been going great; my football team won the finals, my grades are outstanding, and I have healthy relationships with everyone. I’m happy.”

I looked down, and bit my lip. Then I contemplated Nick’s face attentively. “How do you do it?”

“Do what?”

“How are you so good at everything you do? How do you maintain strong connections with everyone at all times? How do you not stress out all the time? How do you do it?

“Alright, fine. I want to tell you something I don’t usually talk about. The truth is I don’t know if I’m ready to go to New York for college. I’m scared, Jane. I don’t know how I’ll handle a long-distance relationship with Rosie. I don’t know how I’ll keep in touch with my parents all the time. I don’t know how I’ll handle being in New York while you’re here in Chicago.”

I grinned again.

“And who says I don’t stress out?” he continued. “I’m at the top level of stressing out right now. Oh, and one more thing: it’s important to keep in mind that the most essential thing is to be someone good, someone passionate, someone loyal, someone determined, and someone who loves. It’s hard, but I manage.”

“My best friend is so wise.” I said with a cheeky smile.

“I’m wise and am the way I am because my best friend always motivated me to be the best I can be. Because my best friend told me about a quadrillion times that life doesn’t stop at failure. Because my best friend was awesome to me, and I wanted to be like her to other people.”

“You wanted to be like me? But I’ve always wanted to be like you!”

“Yes, Jane. You’ve had a great impact on my life. You don’t know how many problems I had before we met. My parents were trying to help, but you made things right again.”

And at this moment, we stopped talking, started swinging again, looked at each other and laughed…and that was when we saw car lights. Our moms were here to pick us up.

“Bye, Nick.”

“Bye, Jane.”

“And…Nick? Promise me we’ll always push each other to do our best, and that no matter what happens, no matter where we end up in college, no matter in which country life puts us in, we’ll always talk.”

“I promise. I love you.” He turned around and headed towards the car.

“I love you way more,” I whispered as I watched him walk away.

A Conversation – II

“Nick! Wait for me!”

Jane was following Nick as he was madly walking in the street.

“I don’t want to talk right now, okay?” yelled Nick.

“Nicolas Joseph Dawson, stop right now!”

Nick stopped walking. I’m not really sure if that’s effect of hearing your full name being called out.

“Why are you so furious?” asked Jane.

“I’m sick of all of you. Each and every single one of you. You tell me to go and find the one I love, and when I do, none of you supports it.”

“Nick, stop. Stop yelling. I have something to tell you…”

“What the hell do you have to say?”

“I did try to pull you and Rosie apart. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t…”

“Why in the bloody hell would you do that?! You! Of all people!” screamed Nick.

“That’s because you were ignoring me you fucking jerk!”

“Me?! Ignoring you?! I would never!”

“Oh yeah? When I ask about your day and plans, or simply text you ‘good night’, you don’t answer?!”

Nick let his head go back and then drop forward. He let out a sigh.

“Jane, you know I’m busy…”

“Busy? Busy. Okay, so just tell me how about explaining to me that you’re busy instead of just leaving me hanging like that?!”

“Jane…”

“No, wait, I’m not done. I can’t believe you would do that. After six years of friendship and promises, that’s how you’re acting with me. Nick, I….I love you.

“Jane, Jane. I didn’t mean to hurt you like that. I didn’t think that it would bother you so much. I…”

She shut her eyes and said, “Of course you didn’t think it through.”

She tried to walk away, but Nick held her arm and turned her around. They were looking at each other, eye-to-eye.

“Let me finish. Jane, not talking to you was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I’m so sorry. The thing is, Rosie is the jealous type. So I couldn’t make her feel unwanted. I really like her, so please understand what position I’m in. I’m so so sorry.”

Jane was speechless. Never had she thought Nick would be the kind of boyfriend who’d go out of his -say- way for someone else.

“It’s okay,” she finally said.

“I’ll try not to ignore you anymore. Friends don’t do that to each other. Best friends don’t do that to each other either, and they add hugs. Thank you for forgiving me. Come here.”

They hugged.

“I forgive you, yeah. But I still can’t believe you’d ignore me like that. You’ve never been so distant.”

“I can’t stand not talking to you or feeling like I’ve been replaced in your life,” said the inner voice inside her head. 

A Conversation

Jane Roberts, 17 years old.
Gwen Keller, the best friend, 17 years old.

Saturday, May 5th, 4:30 P.M.

“Jane,” said Gwen, “After I transferred to another school in California, I wasn’t able to keep up with the news.”

“What news?”

“You know, our ‘squad’s’ news. How’s everyone? Rebecca? Mike? Tracy? Nick?

Jane shrugged.

“Well,” she began, “We’re all fine. Tracy and Mitchel Turner have been a couple for almost two weeks now. Rebecca has finally joined the drama club and Nick is officially captain of the football team.”

“Speaking of Nick,” interrupted Gwen, “What a transformation! I didn’t recognize him! I mean now, without the poindexter glasses and after the insane acne treatment, he looks amazing.”

Jane contemplated the latte she had ordered  few minutes ago. She started twirling her spoon in the cup, and observed the swirly outcome.

“Jane? Jane! What? Jane!” Gwen was snapping her fingers.

“What?!”

“I started talking to you about this cool new clothing store down the block but you weren’t listening. What’s wrong?”

Jane could feel her heart racing.

“Nothing, nothing. My swirly latte is pretty…mesmerizing.”

Did you really think a girl would be able to fool her best friend?

“Tell me.”

Jane bit her lip and finally confessed, “Okay. The thing is Nick has a crush on Rosie, the new girl. He’s been talking to her most of the time…”

“He likes someone? That’s adorable!” exclaimed Gwen.

“Yeah, adorable. Anyway, you know that Nick is also my best friend. He’s been so distant lately. He won’t tell me what’s wrong, he’s always looking at his phone when I’m talking to him, he never shuts up about Rosie, recently he’s only been talking to me about all ‘Rosie’s girly acts’ that he can’t seem to understand, he’s really cold and dull whenever we’re having a conversation, he sees my messages but doesn’t answer and basically he’s ignoring me.”

Gwen wiped away her grin.

“Oh, my. But as his best friend you should be supportive of his likes and dislikes and interests…unless, you know, you’re jealous.”

“I’m not jealous. I’m just really upset that this girl is coming between us, that she is his prio…heck. Nick has never been so distant with me. He’s barely talking to me these days and I don’t like it. How rude are you to see a message but not answer?!”

“Jane, calm down.”

“Sorry. But when I ran into Rosie in the hallway, I bumped into Tony Parker and dropped my books. She picked them up for me. She’s really nice, and just after she walked with me till the end of the hallway, she told me that Nick’s been trusting her a lot, and he shared with her whatever he had to share.”

Gwen grinned again.

“Ohhhhh. So that’s what’s bothering you! He’s sharing his happy thoughts and discussing his problems with someone else.”

“I don’t know, Gwen. That used to be us. We used to talk about everything and now we’re not. The worst part of the story is realizing how hurt I am. So, I’m trying my best to always stick by his side. More than Rosie. More than anyone else. I’ll admit it…I’m fighting the hardest for a tiny leftover place in his life.”

 

 

 

Enfeeblement

I feel weak most of the time, and that mortifies me.

Death? Is it time?

I smoked one cigarette the other day, and felt a stab right in the chest.

I looked at the fireplace. The flames were dancing recklessly. I remember when I used to dance like that; without a single care. Now, I guess it’s over.

I laid down on the sofa, looking at the cracked paint that was torn apart from the ceiling. I tremble after every little step. What is left?

The memories. The adrenaline rushes. The disputes. The reconciliations. The laughs. The sorrows. The regrets. The accomplishments. Gone.

I’d give a friend a call, but I can’t hold my phone without shuddering anymore.

I’m terrified. Why me?

The questions continued to revolve in my head as I grabbed another cigarette. I puffed out a cloud of smoke. No regrets. Always so good.

Now, where was I?

Oh, right. My reminiscence. My misery. My upcoming demise. My future remaining ashes. My current remaining ounces of hope.

Nick.  My…friend?

What I don’t understand is why are my feelings for my best friend so strong? What is happening to me?

I puffed out smoke again.

I stood up. I twirled around. If I was going to die, might as well die having done what I loved. I spun faster and faster, but I was too frail. I fell and my face hit the ground. I could feel the cold parquet against my cheek. I shivered.

It took me around five minutes to stand back up, and at that moment, I ran towards the door.

That was it. I had to talk to Nick. I ran through the building corridor, between the worn out walls and the shredded curtains, tripping quite often. Yes, I was that feeble. But I had to run. Never in my life had I run so madly. You could say it was almost an insane rush.

I arrived at the bottom of nick’s house down the street, and I found him standing outside. At 2AM.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

“I needed a hug. I’m tired. Why are you out?”

“It doesn’t matter. Come here,” he said.

He hugged me and added, “If you’re so tired, then why don’t you sleep? It’s 2AM.”

“No, you don’t understand. I am…anyway, I’m just glad you’re with me. Thank you.”

“Thank you? I didn’t do anything special.”

“You did more than you think. I don’t feel so tired anymore.”

A Saturday

“I’m glad I get to see you a little before I head home.”

“Yeah, me too,” I said.

He then started talking to me about college, and how he’s unsure of what to do because he doesn’t have any abilities or talents.

“Nick, are you serious?” I said aggressively.

I continued, “Do you want me to start? I’ll start anyway but…”

“Start…what?” Nick asked.

“Please. You are a great guitarist, a great singer, a great football player, a great leader, a great public-speaker, a great student who is incredibly smart, a great listener, an amazing friend….and a lot more. So please, please, please, please, please. Don’t be that person. Don’t be the person who can’t see how great s/he is. Because you have so much going on for you. And you should be proud of it.”

“But, Jane, when you talk like that…I realize you don’t apply this to yourself.”

“….you know why I’m telling you this? Because I know what it’s like to be someone who is not completely grateful for what s/he has. I know what it’s like when one is not fully aware of one’s own capabilities. I know how ugly and small you can feel when you can’t see all the good things in yourself. And I don’t want that to happen to you.”

“Jane, you should live by what you say,” he said.

“I’m working on it. I’m not totally ungrateful, you know. There are some things that I thank God for. But…there are some gaps that I’m trying to fill. Just give me time.”

Nick smiled.

“In the meantime,” I continued, “I want you to know that it’s okay to sometimes show off something you did, because you actually did do that thing. It’s okay sometimes to not be modest and instead affirm that you’ve accomplished a certain objective. Take pride. That’s who you are and you’re doing what you love. And, well, you’re good at everything you do, so be happy about it.”

Nick looked at me, and said very soothingly, “Jane, allow me to do something.”

I froze.

Before I knew it, he hugged me tightly and said, “I want you to be happy. I love to see you happy.”

“I’ll try…”

“You will. At least I know that with you in my life, I’ll always be happy.”

A Thought or Many

There I was. Water was pouring heavily all over my body. I wish it were able to clean more than just my outer shell.

I was alone with just my thoughts. And so it all began.

Water droplets streamed racing down my back as I thought. I sat there, head between my knees, and that’s when things struck. The voice inside my head whispered:

You are no good. Everyone is doing and performing better than you are. Everyone is smarter than you are. Everyone is prettier than you are. Everyone is loved more than you are. They all laugh at you. Ha! Ha! HA! 

“STOP IT!” I screamed. But it didn’t do me any good.

You suck, man. 

The water kept drizzling.

The longer I sat there, the more I thought about how useless my existence was.

Will I ever be happy and at ease with myself? Will I ever stop comparing myself to others and craving what I don’t have? Is this the dark part of me that had always existed?

The power went off.

I stopped the water, and all I could hear was the sound of the droplets dripping from my hair. Drip. My heart pounded faster as a result of the rhythmic dripping. And the voice was directly back.

Quit telling yourself that you’ll one day shine like the rest of them. Might as well get used to living miserably in everyone’s shadow.

“Go away!” I screamed again.

I immediately dried myself up, and rushed to my room as soon as the power went back on.

They say that your best thoughts come to you when you take a shower.

They lied.

I sat there, in my cold and abandoned room, all wrapped in my worn out bathing robe, and I looked around. Everything was so ugly. Man-made creations were ugly. Kind of like myself. And not just on the outside. Everything was laughing at me.

Oh my God, that’s it! Stop!

The power went off, again. I couldn’t see anything around me, and I oddly felt better. Relieved. It was actually kind of comforting to not see the horrific objects pointing their imaginary fingers at me. I couldn’t see my reflection in the mirror either. My poor and frail reflection was gone. My bad thoughts had disappeared.

Wait. The voice. Even the voice was gone!

The strangest part of all of this situation was that even if the power wasn’t restored yet, I enjoyed the darkness.

I wondered. Who knew…that obscurity could turn into your safe haven?