"'Cause your presence
still lingers here
And it won't leave me alone." - "My Immortal" by Evanescence
Ashes rain from the end of my cigarette as those words float to my ears, caressing them with care and ringing with the tender truth that I need so much. I take in a long drag from the deadly stick of tobacco and other mind addling drugs, thinking about the summer that changed my life. The summer where I met the girl that would take it, and even turn it upside down, but in the best of ways. It started as an exploration of myself, and that's what it was. Exploration Summer Camp, at Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA.
- - - -
That's what my mother is always telling me. Usually it's those words that she yells at me before I run out to go catch the bus for school but this time it wasn't her telling me this. It's Lillian Johnson whispering these words across to me, as I lay, sprawled out underneath an oak tree. Basking in the soft light that filters through the bright green leaves, I turn to look at her with bewilderment. Why would she say something like that, to somebody like me? I'm a nobody. Why should she care whether I'm amazing or not, nobody else seems to.
"Thanks." I mutter, though the word means little, for I'm half asleep with my eyes closed. I run my hand underneath my shirt somewhat to feel the soft, smooth skin of my stomach, enjoying the feel of my hips as well.
"Wait. Hold your hand right there; rumple your shirt some to show some skin." Lilly demands with a stern kindness, and I just smile and rumple the white and black pin striped shirt slightly, though not enough to show too much skin. Sometimes it was just a little too much, you know? Like in the movies, where sex scenes are so outrageous you just want to scream at the actors, 'What're you thinking?'
"Oh. And open your eyes.." I smirk and do as she asks, opening my non-makeup covered lavender lids to look at her with wistful eyes. Staring her down with all my might, I try to focus on her face, though my olive colored iris' travel elsewhere, like to the brick staircase behind her, which she's currently leaning on. Wellesley college. I've fallen in love with it completely, and have already decided to go there for schooling once I'm old enough to consider college.
"Could you run your hand through your hair, and hold it near the back for me?" She asks quietly, as she draws some part of my body. Her eyes aren't even on me at the moment, but as soon as I do as she asks, a smile plays on her lips and I grin in return. Adjusting myself slightly so I'm laying more against the roots of the old tree, rather than the trunk, I look up into the leaves with one hand messed in my hair, and the other on my stomach, such as how she wants me to be.
The roots feel hard against my back, hard like stone. Shifting uncomfortably, I allow my mind to wander somewhat. Lilly and I had met on the first day of summer camp, when a dance had been thrown. Who throws a dance on the first day? Nobody knows each other, so what would be the point? Anyway. She wasn't dancing, and neither was I. When I asked her why she wasn't dancing, she simply replied that she wasn't interested in guys, and without thinking, I agreed with her. It was something I had never heard before, and it seemed new and exciting, so I agreed, that I wasn't either.
Since then, we'd been inseparable. Playing every single game together, racing each other down the halls to each and every check in that we had to do.. It was brilliant fun.
"You have these pretty green eyes, but they're never focused here. You're always off in you're own little world, and I want you down here. With me."
I'm not sure what to say to that, so I remain silent and train my eyes onto her with an unsettling feeling in my stomach. Thinking for a moment, I remember her talking about her best friend back home in New Jersey, and how she was supposed to be in love with her. Even though I knew my feelings for Lillian Johnson were strictly friendly, I couldn't help but feel jealous every time she got a phone call from that girl. That girl. I didn't like thinking jealous thoughts about her, but I couldn't help it.
I look at her with a mixed look of disbelief and sadness, at the knowing that she had somebody else to care about other than me.
"I'm always here. I'm always right here."
I say carefully, for I was. Sometimes it might not have appeared to be true, but I was always there, listening, talking.. Doing everything with her.
"But you aren't. You're never here." She protests loudly, and throws down the sketchbook and her pencils. I go to follow her, but she gives me one of those hard stares, and I stop dead in my tracks. Instead, I pick up the sketchbook to see how she'd done. The shock overwhelms me. It's her and I, and there's a look of admiration in her own eyes, and a stern seriousness in my own. Was that how she really saw me?
"Lilly? Lilly!" I yell after her, but she ignores me and keeps walking across the grass towards Chernobyl, where the thirteen year old girls stayed. I was on the same floor as her, P3.
Picking up her sketchbook and pencils, I follow after her at a slow walk, not even making an attempt to catch up with her. There was no use. She was mad at me, and I couldn't do anything to about it.
- - - -
I brush my short blond hair out of my eyes as I recall parts of that summer, wishing I'd run after her. Maybe then we could have fallen in love that summer, and enjoyed it while we could actually see each other.
Leaning over the balcony, I wave somewhat to my new neighbor as she leans out her own window to smoke. Seeing as we're both smoking, I figure it's alright to be friendly. I've known her for years anyway, from when we were in middle school together. Even though she's two years older than me, there can't be any harm.
It's not like Lillian and I fell out of our friendship. We patched it up after a few days, and then were as close as could be again, even when I started going out (sort of) with a boy in my role-playing class. It wasn't really a class, so much as a gaming class to sort of fool around and make friends. None of the classes were really classes, so much as fun and games anyway.
"I'm Isabelle." The voice startles me somewhat, and I look up from over the balcony to look at the attractive brunette leaning out her window, and smile somewhat.
"I know. We went to school together, remember?" I say, trying to remind her that I already knew who she was.
"Yeah, I remember. What's your name again?" She asks me after a moment. It had been years since we'd been good friends, so I didn't blame her for not remembering.
"Addison Embers." I say in a slow, steady voice before I take in another long drag from my cigarette.
"Right. Well, I'm Isabelle Greene." She responds, and I just nod again, trying not to say too much. Nobody likes a chatter bug. I shrug as well, almost dismissing her words, though I look at her for a moment, and then finally look away again.
"HEY!" I hear a loud yell, and drop my cigarette.
"Mother fu- oh." I groan somewhat, and see a small blond haired boy standing by the window sill, his bright sparkling blue eyes shining with all that that is mischevious.
"Er, hi." I respond, trying to be civil despite the fact that I just dropped my cigarette in a puddle.
"I'm Everett!" He yells out into the cold air, and I just puff up my cheeks some and smile as politely as I can.
"'ret, go back inside." Isabelle whined somewhat, and I couldn't help but chuckle somewhat as she did so. Seeing as I had no other siblings, I knew not of the horror that could be little brothers.
"I am inside, I am inside, I am inside!" He taunted, sticking on arm out the window between the shouting breaks.
"Go away!" She yelled at him, and surprisingly, he did.
"Brothers." I muttered towards her, though it wasn't even close to being in an understanding way. I could never understand what it was like to have a brother, but I could try to sympathize with her, and make her feel as though her having a hyper-active sibling was normal.
"Yeah." I heard her groan, but I was already turned around and making my way indoors. I waved over my shoulder somewhat, just as a goodbye, before pushing open the hard-to-open door, and making my way inside.
It's cold inside, and I can feel my teeth chattering in the cold air, as I turn the heat up. With a loud mechanical roar, the furnace comes to life, and I go to sit by it in order to warm up some. It's right by where my mom and I's computer is, so I sign onto my messengers in hopes of finding Lilly online. As usual, she's not, so I sign back off and walk slowly into my room, and shed my clothing to take a nap.
Waking up hours later, and after pushing the sheets away from my body, I pull on some jeans and a tee-shirt, and go downstairs to the deck where Isabelle lives. When I get down there though, I'm surprised to see her sitting there, smoking. I mean, I obviously knew she smoked, but that she was just.. Sitting there, sort of surprised me.
"Mind if I sit there?" I ask, making a brief gesture towards the chair opposite her.
"Sure." She replies, and I'm quick to sit down. I light up a cigarette and watch as she smokes, and take in as many details as I can. It's a newport, and she's holding it between her thumb and forefinger. How she taps her fingers every once in a while, and how occasionally she brushes her fingers through her hair.
Trying to think of something to say I mutter, "Your brother's a handful, huh?" I ask, and look at her in questioning, to see if my presumption was correct.
"Yeah, he is." She replies, and takes a long drag from her cigarette. She coughs some, and I think it's a cold, but I don't say anything from fear of finding it might be something worse like pneumonia, like what my father had when he died.
"His name's Everett?" I ask, interested if that might be his actual name, or one he'd adopted.
"Yeah. I sometimes call him Eve, just to get him mad though." She responds, before we both break out laughing. Soon though, her laughing turns to coughing, and I look up out of worry for a moment, before she stops.
"Are you okay?" I ask once she's stopped coughing, and she just nods through watery eyes, and then puts the cigarette out and goes inside to her apartment. Quietly I turn my iPod onto the Eurythmics and sit there, finishing my cigarette. The burning embers fall neatly into the ash tray she left out for me, and I look up to her door, half wishing she'd come back out and assure me that she's alright.
"'Cause your presence
still lingers here