It’s back again.
That dark haze, hanging over your head, insidiously wriggling into your very bloodstream. Its all-consuming, slow burn numbs you, and you slowly curl yourself into a tighter ball, hiding your face in the pillow.
You hate when this happens, when it attacks you and catches you blindsided, ruining a what was a great time, up until that point. And the most you can do is excuse yourself and lock yourself away in your room. The silence probably hurts you even more, but just the thought of being anywhere remotely sociable–yes, including the Great Downstairs–has you feeling queasy.
You lift your head to squint at the clock. 23:00. Huh.
Sighing, you squint at your phone screen, silently debating. You really shouldn’t, especially on a school night, but on the other hand…
You bring up the messaging app, typing in two simple words and sending it to your best friend.
You wait for a moment, chewing your lip, before your phone buzzes with an answer.
Gimme 5 minutes.
You squeeze your eyes shut and curl back into bed, silently counting the seconds until you hear a slight tapping on the window. Blinking your eyes back open, you slowly stretch out and stand up, shuffling to the window and pushing in open. Kyle enters without a sound, hopping into your room and wrapping you in a tight hug. You cling on, suddenly grateful that he came.
“Did you do it?”
You shake you head silently, no. You promised you wouldn’t to him.
Kyle pulls away, though he gently tugs on your wrists to lead you back to your bed. And like many nights before, you snuggle right next to him, placing your head on his chest as his arm supports and wraps around you, his thumb aimlessly rubbing your arm.
“Want to talk about it?”
You exhale in a small huff, burying your nose in Kyle’s shirt. His scent has always filled you with a sense of familiarity and security. He’s always been there for you, even when you rejected all others.
“What am I doing with my life?” you finally whisper out. “What will I do with my life?”
“I don’t know,” Kyle responds cautiously. “Only you can decide that.”
You shake your head, the first tears pricking at your eyes. “I used to be great at everything, remember?” you give a mirthless laugh. “I used to be the one in a million activities. I used to be the one that talked to everyone. I used to know what I wanted and I used to do anything to get it.”
“I remember,” Kyle says with a huff of laughter. “I could barely keep up with you.”
“What happened to me?” You close your eyes, the slow burn crawling into your chest. “I’m at a loss for words now. I grew up, and everyone got better than me at everything. I’m nothing. I don’t–”
“–Follow your dreams.”
You look back up at Kyle to find him gazing steadily back at you, his dark eyes unreadable. “You don’t follow what you want. You know what happened to that girl? People started shoving her around. Told her what to do with her life. So tell me: what do you like to do?”
You frown. Yes, what do you like? You have so many things you like, but none that you love. Not like the way Kyle loves music. Quite honestly, you’re quite jealous of your friend for such a passion that you severely lack in any field. Well, any except…
“What about writing?”
You laugh bitterly, shaking your head. “And go into the liberal arts? What will my father say?”
Kyle doesn’t laugh back. Instead, he lets go of you, much to your disappointment, and shifts until he’s sitting cross-legged across from you. “He’ll bitch, and moan, and tell you you are making the worst decision of your life. He’ll tell you that most writers and artists and musicians will never make it big, and that ‘science and maths is the most suitable route for such a bright mind like yours.’”
You laugh softly as Kyle adopts a deep voice in a heavy caricature of your father’s at the last part. Kyle flashes a quick grin before dropping it for a more serious look. He takes your hand, soft and warm.
“But he can’t do anything, because it’s your life. Tell me your stories, because no one else will. This… this rut you’re in, it’ll all get better. I promise.
“Besides.” He gives a smirk. “Worse comes to worst, we can be starving artists together.”
You smile back, looking down as your head delves into the possibilities. Writing has always been your one constant in life, other than Kyle. There’s something almost magical about the way stories can come to life with the right words. You used to swim in those stories, before you grew up into this mess of a person. And to even imagine working like that again…
You lean forward and wrap your arms around Kyle’s neck, feeling your friend return the embrace automatically.
“Thanks, Kyle,” you say softly. Kyle nods back silently.
“Do you want me to stay?”
When you don’t protest at the question, Kyle pulls you into his arms again, resuming the previous position as you close your eyes tiredly.
And it’s not until you’re drifting off, secure in Kyle’s arms, that you realize.
The dark shadow in your veins is gone.
~~~~~ The Silence ~~~~~