“And I’ll make you a promise in return,” he said “I promise this will be the last time you’ll see me. I won’t come back. I won’t put you through anything like this again. You can go on with your life without any more interference from me. It will be as if I’d never existed.”
“Goodbye, Bella,” he said in the same quiet, peaceful voice.
That night consumed my every thought. It ran on a loop in my head constantly. Even my dreams wouldn’t give me a reprieve. If anything, they made the hole in my chest burst open even more.
In the light of day, I had the certainty of knowing the outcome. It played in my head, exactly as it happened. In the darkness of the night, my mind would try to change the events. Some nights I screamed at him, others I caught up to him in the forest, once I even managed to catch up to him as he was about to drive off. But they were all feeble attempts. In each scenario he still left me, he still no longer loved me. And that’s when I’d wake up screaming.
“Bella? Bella!?” Charlie asked quickly through sleepy eyes. “It’s just a dream, you’re safe, you’re awake, I’m here.” He sat on the edge of my bed, his hand on my own, just like every night.
“I know,” I sighed, suppressing the tears that would follow when he left the room, just like every night.
He squeezed my hand quickly as he got up and headed back to bed. I sat in silence waiting to hear his snores, and then let the tears flow freely. The night was always the worst.
Morning was always a relief, but the memories would always linger. I’d push them out as best I could; I had to continue the charade. I’d get dressed and get ready for school, another needed distraction.
As I brushed my teeth I looked in the mirror appalled by what I saw. My face seemed even paler than could be possible, and the sleepless nights showed in my puffy dark eyes.
“Ugh!” I said out loud as I splashed some cold water on my face. I knew better than to look in the mirror again this morning. No amount of cold water would splash some colour back into it.
“Can you believe that?” Angela squealed.
“That’s insane!” Mike answered her.
I smiled and nodded, the most I could bring myself to do. Mike and Angela were the only ones who still communicated with me on any level. Everyone else treated me like I had the plague, not that I entirely blamed them. They on the other hand, were the only ones who kept me going, kept me involved, and expecting nothing from me in return.
They knew not to take it personally when I said nothing to them for days at a time, and also knew not to make a big deal on the days I would speak. One word answers usually – but words none the less.
I picked at my lunch as they continued on with their conversation. I tried to pay enough attention to say something, but today appeared to be a bad day. The hole inside me seemed to be pulsating, forcing me to give it my undivided attention.
I sighed, and Angela looked at me quickly, worry covering her face before she quickly rebounded and continued whatever conversation she and Mike were having. The bell rang soon after, and I began what would no doubt be another boring afternoon.
The day was finally over and I slowly walked to my truck.
“Bella...” I heard Angela call from behind me. “We should talk,” as she motioned to my truck.
We both got in and she started talking right away.
“Bella... I know we haven’t really talked, about, you know, what happened…..”
I was about to interrupt her when she put up her hand and continued on.
“And I know that’s because you don’t want to, and you don’t have to either. That’s not what I’m asking for… It’s just…. It’s been two months….. I know you’re still hurting, anyone can see that... But left to your own devices I don’t think you’re ever going to get out of this….this…depression.” Her eyes looked at me sadly. No one had said that word to my face before. Sure many people had insinuated it, I even knew it was true, but no one had said it. I opened my mouth to talk, but before the words could come the tears began to well. I buried my face in my hand and took deep breaths.
“I know,” I whispered
We sat in silence, I wasn’t sure what to say, and she was letting me set the pace. I would look at her from time to time, but she sat there patiently, eyes full of understanding.
“I know I’m a mess. I keep trying to pull myself together, but I just can’t. It’s like there is something inside of me ripping me in two. I can’t stop it, I can’t ignore it.”
“Oh Bella,” she said as she wrapped her arms around me, “I know I can’t understand the pain you’re in. But you have to get though this. It’s time to get your life back. I think the one thing you need to accept is he isn’t coming back…”
I quickly looked at her, shocked. “I know he’s not coming back,” I said harshly.
“No, I don’t think you do. You’ve told me time and time again all you ever think about is the night he left. You’re analyzing it, over and over again, trying to find a different answer. There is no different answer, he meant what he said. He’s not coming back. You need to let go of that night… That’s what is holding you back. You need to accept what happened, and know it’s not your fault, and nothing you could have done would have changed it.”
“But how can I just forget about him?”
“You don’t have to. As time goes on, you’ll be able to remember all the good times. There were so many. So many good memories you get to keep forever. But you can’t even enjoy them until you let go of that night…. You’re my best friend, and I’m here for you no matter what… But I don’t know how much longer I can keep having conversations by myself with Mike,” she said with a laugh.
Even through my tears I couldn’t help but let out a faint laugh. She smiled at me, “I’ve missed you Bella.”
We sat in the car a few more minutes before we both realized how much time had past. It was starting to get dark already. She gave me a quick hug, before we both headed home.
Dinner was silent as usual, but for some reason I was compelled to stay downstairs with Charlie after rather then sulk in my room. He seemed just as shocked as me, but thankfully said nothing about my change of routine.
After a few mindless sitcoms, and more sports news then I could care to watch I decided to head to bed.
“Night Dad,” I said as I got up to head upstairs. Unexpectedly Charlie got up and gave me an awkward hug.
“Night Bella.” he said through a smile. I smiled back as I headed upstairs.
After I had showered and changed into my PJ’s I went and sat on my bed.
And I waited. Surely the hole would rip apart any second now. Somehow Angela’s talk had stitched it up for a time, but now night was here. Still I waited. I started looking inside myself, looking for the pain, but I couldn’t find it. Sure something was there, a small amount of sadness, but the emptiness was gone.
I smiled to myself and thanked Angela in my head. She was right, this was my life, and I needed to start living it. My worrying and analyzing wasn’t going to change a single thing.
I walked to the window. Even as the months grew colder, I always left it open, just a smidge. An easy entrance, an open invitation. I opened it as wide as it would go. The cold air hit my face and awakened all my senses. I looked out into the night, and then to the sky.
“Goodbye Edward,” I said to the night sky. The words I never had the chance to say that night. I took in a deep breath and let it out. The feeling I had was new. Closure.
I closed the window tightly. It was almost winter, and windows should be closed. I curled into my covers, and took another deep breath. Tonight I knew I would sleep soundly, there would be no more nightmares. That was my last thought as I drifted into a deep dreamless sleep.