a flash fiction piece by Skylar
I swang on a rusty swingset, a cool breeze hitting my face with each push into the air. My music played softly in my ears and for once I felt at peace. I came to the park that day to escape from my thoughts, my parents constant nagging, and the emptiness I felt inside. The thing with me was that I loved to be alone but I hated feeling alone. Ever since you had left, all I felt was loneliness. I knew I had made the wrong mistake allowing you to control my happiness , but I never once tried to stop you. You meant the world to me, but how much had I meant to you?
A buzz on my phone jerked me back to reality, and I looked down noticing my eyes had been filling with tears. When I brushed the tears away from my eyes, I got a clearer look at the message that had just been sent to me. It was a text from Alyssa telling me to come over for dinner with all of our friends, you were going to be there, too. My anxiety began to kick in as I contemplated how to reply to this text. We had not talked since you saw my puffy eyes and messy hair for a split second in the hallway. You gave me a sad look, almost out of pity and you whispered, “I’m sorry,” causing me to break down for the fourth time that day. I remembered that day like it was yesterday, the way my chest heaved up and down that morning while I was getting ready for school. The way my head hurt as I forced myself not to cry so I could put on mascara, even though I I knew it would not stay on all day. The look my mother gave me as I walked out the house, the fear in her eyes because I could not speak, eat, or even crack a smile at anything. I know she was praying that I would not get bad again, and I was trying my hardest just for her. I had my first panic attack that day, walking to school and seeing you not too far in the distance. My breaths became rapid and the world began to spin and I had no idea what was going on. Tears began to pour down my face, and it was so hard for me to catch my breath. I did not want you to see me in this terrible state, so I sprinted to school, nearly passing out in the process. I got to school and I ran to the nearest bathroom. I could not even manage to look myself in the mirror as I tried to catch my breath and clean my face.
Another buzz on my phone shook me from my thoughts, and I realized I had never replied to the text. I sent my mother a small text telling her where I would be, hopped off the swing, and made my way out of the park.
Back to my messy emotional day when you broke my heart and thought it was okay. I left the bathroom that day, hoping no one would ask “What’s wrong?” because I knew I would break down on the spot. All my morning classes were a blur because all I did was cry and sleep. When it came to lunch, I skipped and spent that whole period in the bathroom crying as well. On my way to math is when I saw you. You looked at me, and I felt my heart break inside of me. I missed the way you used to look at me and smile. I missed how inviting your arms felt. I missed calling out “BABE!” and rushing to you, smiling from cheek to cheek. I missed the way it felt when our lips touched and our hands met. I resisted the urge to yell out an expletive and kept walking, telling myself not to break down in the hallway. When you called out “I’m sorry,” I instantly broke down.
The buzz on my cellphone interrupted my thoughts once again and I realized I was almost at Alyssa’s house. She had texted me asking where I was, but I ignored it trying to find some music to calm my nerves. I was so anxious to see you that night because I was trying to do good without you.
That is when I saw you. Right down the street with your headphones in and a serious gleam in your eyes. My heart began to race faster and I turned my music up louder. You had not noticed me yet, but it was too late to run and hide. We both reached the end of the street when you finally realized it was me. The sad look of pity returned to your face and you reached up to take out your headphones. You then reached to take out mine and I did not even stop you. You asked me to stop walking and my heart was inches from popping out of my chest. “Can I talk to you?” you asked. I did not even know what to say. It was like when I saw you, you managed to take my breath away. Even now, even when my heart burns with anger for you, even then when I wanted to hit you, I could not do anything to hurt you. So I whispered sure and you told me to sit down. I am pretty sure you apologized to me, but over my sobs I could not hear a thing. I know when I was crying you held me tight stroking my wind blown hair. The sky was grey that day just like me. I remember laying on your shoulder, shaking and talking to you. I told you that you broke me and I told you I do not ever think I could recover from so much pain. Every time I paused to cry, you apologized to me repeatedly. I tried to say it was okay, but it truly wasn’t.
I’ve never been hurt so bad, especially by a guy. We had been through so much and you did me so dirty. I still remembered the first time we met and you chose me out of all my pretty friends. I hated myself back then, but you caused a change in the way I felt. Then you went and broke my heart the first time. I did not cry as much because I had a feeling you would come back. A lot of guys left me and never returned, but with you it was different.
You saw so much potential in me and you saw greatness I could not even see in myself. With you, when you came back, I wanted to make sure you stayed forever, so I did everything to keep you around. That’s when I knew I loved you, I adored you and I never wanted to be without you. And yet again you broke my heart. That is why it was so hard for me to tell you it was okay. “I’m sorry” could not fix the thoughts in my mind, so when you apologized I just cried more.
After I said everything to you that day, we sat there for a long time. We sat in silence hearing only my sniffles and exhales as I tried to pull myself together. My head was still on your shoulder and your shoulder was soaked and mascara stained. You looked down at me and this time it was a different kind of look, you looked genuinely sad. I asked what was wrong and you just shook your head. I realized then that it was now your body that was shaking uncontrollably.
“What is wrong with you!?” I asked getting worried. You stammered as you tried to find the words to tell me that you had been diagnosed with cancer and the doctors said it was too late for the cancer to be cured. When you spoke those words to me, I remember the whole world stopping as I stared at you in shock…then grabbing you and pulling you into a hug and us crying together. You kissed me passionately then and wiped away my tears telling me that everything would be okay. I was too choked to tell you that everything would not be okay. My first love, the only person that understood me more than I understood myself was dying, and no one or anything could save you. I was in such disbelief because I spent so much time hating you when you broke up with me because you were dying and did not want to hurt me. It was my turn to apologize then for hating you and you apologized for not telling me sooner. I just remember being such a wreck and you trying to make the most out of the time we had.
Exactly a year has passed from that day, the day my life changed forever. We never made it to Alyssa’s house that night, leaving me to tell the heartbreaking news by myself. That night we walked to the park, and sat on the swingset talking all evening, ignoring the world around us. You played the same song I had been listening to earlier that day and we left it on repeat the whole night.
Now, here I am, back on the same rusty swing set, listening to the same soothing song. It has almost been a year since you’ve passed and the pain level has not decreased. The time we spent together was not enough and I feel my heart ache for you more and more everyday. God, I miss you so much. As I swing on this swing set I think of all the plans we had made for our future. The park was where we talked about all our plans, sometimes while holding hands and swinging, or sometimes walking around the track, or even shooting hoops.
I look over at the track and I see a couple holding hands and laughing with their heads cocked back. I wonder if that was what we looked like when we walked on the track, so happy without a care in the world. I reach out to grab my phone and pull up our messages, the last message is from you saying “I love you, too.” I could probably recite our messages because there has not been a day that has passed that I have not read them.
I begin typing a message with tears rolling down my cheeks. You should be here, I type, and then press send, erupting into tears.
Skylar will be a junior.