Through All the Dust
Chapter Twenty-Three: Here in Misery
The new day broke and I was still feeling about the same. Depleted and deprived all real feeling at all. I laid in bed for an hour longer than I should have; I just didn’t have the energy to move by body.
Brian was in and out but I think he’d assumed I was still sleeping. I was motionless, eyes fixated on the ceiling fan rotating around and around in circles. Something that felt a little reflective of my life.
Everything came in circles. I was happy, it was ripped away, I was content, that was stripped away…over and over and over again.
My phone was buzzing along on the nightstand but I couldn’t bring myself to look at it. I knew who it was. I wasn’t interested.
So, eventually I did convince myself to get out of the sanctuary of my blankets and I readied myself for the day—staring lifelessly into my soul as I did. What a jaded and broken soul it had become. Life is funny that way; you never notice things building until suddenly you’re at the top of a skyscraper looking down, wondering how did I get here?
My steps were slow as I made my way downstairs. All I wanted was to get out. Brian was busying his hands with his newest video game. He almost didn’t notice me come down—and I was almost glad.
“Hey, sleepy,” he smiled pleasantly at me.
I forced a quick smile before shuffling my feet into the kitchen. Brian was a good enough man to know to always keep a pot of coffee warming on the burner until I’d had my first cup of the day. I dumped some into a mug and sipped at it, ignoring the lukewarm temperature that normally would have made me gag.
“Gross,” Brian laughed. “I made that at, like, eight this morning.”
My eyes slowly glanced over at the clock that read 1:07.
I shrugged my tired shoulders.
Brian furrowed his brows a little, “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing,” I said coolly. “Tired.”
He lightened up, “I’d say. I don’t know that I’ve seen you sleep that long since you and Jimmy were all hopped up on coke all the time.”
I blinked in response.
“Did you have yourself a bender last night?” he teased.
“No,” was all I could think to say.
Brian approached me cautiously, sizing me up beneath those brown eyes. I let him; I didn’t care. He took my face into his hands and tilted his head.
I nodded sheepishly, “I’m fine.”
“You have to give me something here,” he half-smiled. “I can’t read your brain.”
“I know,” I shrugged again, pushing away from him. “It’s probably better that way.”
He cocked his head back, his eyes narrowed now, “Blair.”
“Brian,” I retorted, sipping at my coffee nonchalantly.
“You’re worrying me,” he said so bluntly that it almost broke my heart.
He’d said it to me so many times in our life together. That was all I was, I was sure. A worry. A bother. A burden, maybe.
“Sorry,” I soothed lazily. “I’m just…in a mood.”
He nodded slowly, “I know…You’ve been in a mood for—” he stopped himself.
“For how long, Brian?” I challenged. “Go on.”
“You know how long,” he said lowly.
I tried to smile, “Just let me…do what I have to do.”
“Yeah, because we all know that’s a good idea,” he scoffed. “Last time I let you do what you had to do, you nearly died.”
I was stone cold.
“Pity,” I offered, setting my cup onto the counter next to sink and marching passed Brian.
“What’s with you?” he demanded to my back as I left him alone in our kitchen.
I grabbed my keys and my wallet, stuffing the latter into the back pocket of my denim shorts. Brian was behind me within seconds.
“Nothing,” I shrugged. “I need to go.”
“Go where?” he asked confusedly.
“I have lunch plans,” I told him. “I was supposed to be there twenty minutes ago.”
He didn’t look like he was buying it.
It was true; I did have plans…But that’s not where I was going. Not even close. There was nothing in this world that could convince me to sit inside a restaurant and shoot the shit with two women whose lives were moving forward while mine stood still. I was always standing still.
“Bri,” I sighed. “Can we do this later? I really have to go.”
He frowned at me, “I guess.”
“I love you,” I told him honestly, pushing myself onto the tips of my toes to plant a quick kiss on his cheek. “I’ll be home later.”
He nodded, exhaling loudly, “I love you too…”
“Don’t be worried,” I assured him weakly as I pulled open our front door. “I’m fine.”
He grumbled something inaudibly under his breath as I forced the door shut. I didn’t care to know what it was. I didn’t care about fucking anything.
I climbed into my Camaro and sped off. I passed the restaurant I was supposed to be inside, but kept going. I drove until I wasn’t completely sure where I was anymore. My eyes were set on the horizon, looking for any and all beaches that weren’t currently overpopulated with people. It wasn’t the day for people.
Finally I found a place with an empty parking lot and even emptier streets. Funnily enough, it wasn’t all that far from where Tyler had spent the last years of his life. I slammed my car door shut, adjusting my sunglasses on my nose. The sun almost felt good. My fingers clutched my notebook tightly.
I climbed down the walkway until I hit sand. My body gave out then and I collapsed into the sea of dirt. The waves crashing against the shore was nearly therapeutic. I closed my eyes and imagined that I was twenty again. Before my world had rocked itself into dismay and before anything had changed. Before I’d met Brian, before I’d lost Tyler…Before I’d lost Jimmy.
I tried to remember if I’d been this lost when Tyler had taken himself away from me. Had I been this angry? This tired? This sad? It was hard to remember…It was hard to bring myself back to that place.
But I was sure that things had never gotten to be this bad.
Not like they’d been since I lost my friend, Jimmy.
That made me feel only more guilty. I couldn’t handle what was happening—maybe it wasn’t so much a comparison of loss, but rather a cumulative effect. Maybe Jimmy was simply one person gone too many. Maybe I wasn’t equipped to shelter this much weight.
I was a little thankful I’d been so young when my parents died; I didn’t have to remember that grief at all. But…the trade for that was the complete and utter lack of memory of their life, too. Nothing in my life could ever be easy. It was as if I was born to suffer—and somehow was expected to be stronger for living through it.
I’d been so busy carrying everyone else through the carnage that there wasn’t enough left for myself. There was never enough left for myself…
I pushed my eyes open in an attempt to force myself to rediscover the beauty of this world. It was to no avail. The world was still grim and gruesome, despite everyone trying to convince me that it wasn’t.
Why could everyone else move on? Lauren was keeping it together like a pro. She’d come to peace with what had happened and was learning to live with it. Brian had lost a piece of his soul and had still managed to come out the other side.
So what the fuck was my problem?
I pulled open my book and doodled instead of writing. I couldn’t find the words…and maybe, I thought, that was my problem.
Something separates me from other people.
It’s weird to see your feelings in writing. There’s something ominous about it. Maybe because it made it real. It was suddenly not a piece of your imagination but, rather, manifested into existence.
It hurts to love you, but I still love you.
I thought of Tyler and how far from me he was now. How he’d planned it—he’d planned to leave me. He’d given no thought to what that would mean for my life or for my ability to learn to live it…He’d never see me on my wedding day. He’d never meet my children or hold their hands as we walked. He’d never know my family or my love with Brian…It wasn’t fair. And he’d taken that from me on purpose.
For the first time, maybe ever, I felt hate bubbling just beneath the surface. I was bitter and I was resentful.
But Jimmy had left me too. He’d left Brian—and Brian had become an ugly version of himself for longer than I was ready to admit. But I’d let that go…I’d let it all go. Because what else was there to do? What was I supposed to do?
But Jimmy didn’t leave on purpose…Did he?
Fiction played in my mind for a quick second before I shut that shit down. I wasn’t ready to even begin to tread those waters.
But you still can find me…
I felt a tinge of guilt for Brian. He’d come out of his turmoil and was trying his best to be the supportive partner that I’d needed him to be months ago. He was met with a brick-wall, unwilling and unmoving in my depression. Maybe I wasn’t ready to let him in…or maybe I just wasn’t ready to move along with my life.
I was always standing fucking still.
…if you ask nicely.
I could still picture Brian’s face the night we’d met. He’d been so smug; so sure of himself. But he’d been endearing and enchanting, too…and he’d stayed that way. Loss had taken it away from us for a while…and I found myself fearful always that it would return.
Maybe I should have been more concerned about what I was doing to myself than what others were putting me through. I could be vicious.
But I was struggling to find a point in it all. What was the point of enduring this much heartache just to die out in the end? Why keep a flame lit if it’s going to eventually burn away to nothingness anyway? What the fuck was the point?
Was it other people? Was that the whole point to existence? To keep other people afloat? I was tired of keeping people above water while I kicked and screamed and drowned.
I’d be lying if I kept hiding the fact that I can’t deal.
My hands trembled a little and it occurred to me that I might be starving. Maybe I was dehydrated. Maybe I was both. But I never had an appetite—I never wanted anything. That’s not true; I wanted to run away. Not from my life or from the people in it, but from myself. I needed to get out of my skin for a while.
It was then that I understood what Jimmy had been saying all that time.
And it was then, for the first time, that I genuinely considered ending my life.
Oh, Blair... :(