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A first love, coming of age story. My experience with grief and loss.


Submitted:Jul 10, 2013    Reads: 51    Comments: 1    Likes: 1   


I feel his arms wrap around me, enveloping me in calm, contentedness, his warm body gently caressing mine. Our even breaths in time with one another… I am jostled out of this perfect moment by the blearing screech of my alarm clock. I reach over silence the clock, and feel for him on the other side of the bed, His side of the bed. It's empty! PANIC! I jump up, frantically searching for him in my room. Nothing. Then memory comes flooding back to me, bringing me to the present. It is Thursday, May 5th, 6:00 am. It has been exactly one week since I lost everything... I suppose if I am going to do this right I should start from the beginning.

. . . . .

I woke up one July morning to a wonderful sight; a text from my boyfriend: "Hey Beautiful, I wanted to be the first to wish you a happy morning! Call you later, Love <3". I immediately replied, ":* morning babe, getting in the shower now, but I'll call you soon!" I unplugged my phone from the wall, rolled out of bed and began rummaging through my messy drawers. I paused from my digging, glanced up at myself in the full length mirror leaning against the wall. I was shocked by my appearance: my long brown hair, disheveled, my face, too pale to be healthy, my brown eyes, reddened. I peered back into the dresser drawer and settled on an old worn out t-shirt and sweats. I grabbed them and began down the hall, towards the stairs. When I got to the bottom I looked out the front window and realized that no one was home. My parents and sister must have gone on another surprise road trip. They seem to do that a lot lately. I followed down the narrow hallway, leading to the back of the house, to the brightly lit bathroom. I tossed my phone onto the counter, my clean clothes on the towel rack, my pajamas into the hamper and turned on the water. I stood under the heavy stream of hot water, for what seemed like an eternity. Allowing my mind to wander, my thoughts immediately went to Josh. Why does he insist on staying with me, even after everything? But I guess I already knew the answer to that. We both know each other so intimately, understanding every detail of each other's dysfunctional lives. At that thought I am snapped back to the here and now. I washed my hair mechanically, turned off the water and stepped out of the shower, wrapping myself in a soft, thick, cream coloured towel. I dressed in my lazy apparel and stuffed my phone in my pocket.

I walked back down the hallway to the front room, the living room. Our shabby two-storey house is situated in the crime ridden neighbourhood of Hintonburg, which I will forever call my home. Our living room is a decent size, dark hardwood floors scratched and bubbling from moisture, the dingy yellowing paint, peeling from the walls, revealing an array of blues and yellows from previous decades, the sad looking front window, missing a pane from the last break-in. I sat down on the far side of the grey suede sectional, along the back wall of the room and pulled my phone out of my pocket. Readying myself to call Josh, my phone began to ring. It's funny how we always seemed to know what the other was thinking. I answered on the second ring, as usual. "Hey Babe, how was your night?" I said. "It was okay… I miss you though, Love." He replied. A giggle escaped my lips. "What's so funny?" he asked, puzzled. "Oh, nothing, I'm just happy. Anyways how is your Mum?" I asked. He inhaled sharply and paused for what seemed everlasting. I wanted to say something, anything, to break the awkward, dead silence, but I didn't know what to say. So I waited. He hesitated, "She's…" then he sighed. "Well Hun, are you busy today? I would really like to see you." I interjected. His reply was instant, "Absolutely, I'm never too busy for you, Lilo…uhh…hold on a second, Love." I heard the muffled shouting of his Mum and stepdad, heard the faint clatter of smashing dishes and I finally understood. "Lilo, I'll meet you at half-past, I've got to go now." He said in a dull monotone. "Okay, bye Hun, let me know if you need anything." I replied. I waited for his typical good-bye, but only received a sad final click as he hung up. I dropped my phone on the couch and ran up the stairs to get changed.

. . . . .

I sat down on the bench near our normal spot, Black Bridge. I placed the pink cardboard box and my cellphone down beside me. Admiring the beautiful bridge for a moment, the bright sunlight reflected off the shiny undisturbed surface of the water. I glanced down the path, towards the Parliament buildings and my breath caught in my throat at the sight of him. He was wearing dark wash jeans and a bright blue shirt that made his eyes stand out, strikingly. His dark brown hair was unkempt, messy. His usually happy emerald green eyes were sad looking and paired with a solemn frown. His face brightened when he saw me and there I glimpsed the Joshua English that I loved, with that adorably heart-breaking, lop-sided grin of his. I jumped out of my seat, just as he closed the distance between us. Feeling his strong arms around me, I leaned in and breathed in his deliciously intoxicating scent, allowing myself that one moment of pure and utter bliss. He pulled away slightly and looked down at me, "Hey, Love?" he whispered. "Yes?" I whispered back. He paused, deliberating what to say, "I love you… and… and I'm not sure what I would do without you…" He began to tremble, tears pooling in his somber green eyes. "I feel the same way Josh! Baby, I fucking love you more than anyone, literally with all my heart… no with every fiber of my being." I whispered, my voice cracked with emotion. He laughed a sad echo of his standard laugh and smiled, "You mean 'Litrally'." He corrected. "Nope, I'm pretty sure I meant 'literally'!" I enunciated. I stepped away from him, grabbed a cupcake out of the pink box on the bench and shoved it in his face, smearing chocolate frosting all over him. The lop-sided smile on his face disappeared and was replaced by a mock grimace. "Is that how it's going to be, Maili?" he said, his accent going out of control as he spoke my name. I giggled, "That's exactly how it's going to be, you dull Mick!" I teased, leaning over to kiss him, he leaned into me and said, "I got you now!" as he grabbed me by the waist and threw me in the cold river. I sunk to the bottom, and quickly bobbed to the surface. "Well Boy, you win, you win! Now come help me out of this cold-assed water." I said with a straight face, as he was wiping the frosting from his mouth. "Alright," he replied, winking at me. He stepped closer to the water. I took his hand in mine, smiled up at those stunning green eyes and pulled him over the rocky edge of the shore. He tumbled into the water and then righted himself, "hmmm… I suppose I deserved that, aye?" He winked again. "Shut up!" I said with a laugh. He took me in his arms, sliding his hands from my shoulders, down my back. I leaned into him in response, pressing my lips delicately to his. My hands roaming up his chest to rest on his shoulders, caressing his neck as the kiss deepened with a burning ferocity I had never felt before. After what seemed like forever and no time at all, I broke the kiss and he sighed. I leaned away from him, "I'm cold, let's get out of this water." I said in a hushed voice. "Aye," he said grasping my hand in his again. I smiled; I wished I could feel this way forever. Little did I know, forever doesn't exist.

. . . . .

We sat there, perched on the edge of nothing and beyond. Josh tossed a rock into the darkening pool, watched it ripple and then calm. He opened his mouth to speak, then paused, took a deep breath and squeezed my hand tighter. I squeezed back. I peered deep into his eyes trying to read him, for once I couldn't. I knew something was wrong, I just didn't know what. "What's eating you, Hun?" I asked, a hint of a smile touched his lips and then faded. He inhaled another long, deep yoga-breath and said in a rush, "It's my Mum, she's done it again!" pounding his fist into the steel beam he was leaning on. So two years of sobriety after rehab and she's just willing to throw it all away again? That doesn't sound like the Isobel McFlannin I know. "What happened, Baby?" I asked Josh hesitantly. He looked away from me for a moment, composing himself. "Well everything was going great, Mum was getting a promotion, things were looking up, you know? But she got in a fight with Pat. He said that he was going to walk out on us. They fought for a bit, and Mum flipped out. She went running out of the house after him. He was already gone by the time she made it out the door. She came back in, crying and went right to her room, slamming the door behind her. I didn't see her for two days, she wouldn't even respond to me, it's like her whole world was gone along with Pat. She finally came out of her room, without saying a word, just left the house. She came back three hours later smelling of a brewery." He said, with a look of disgust on his face. "Josh, Honey, I'm so sorry." I said, squeezing his hand once more before letting go. He scoffed, "If only that was the worse of it! Pat came home, screaming and hollering, claiming it was his house, not ours… even though that fat pig doesn't pay for anything! He found Mum drunk on the couch and he went completely mad. He said he'd wanted us gone long ago, started throwing our stuff out into the front garden. Mum begged him to stop and he hit her! That useless bastard hit her! I tried to get between them; I tried to make him stop! But I couldn't! He hit me too… so I called the cops." He began to cry. I was shocked, dumbfounded. "Holy fuck Josh!" I said throwing my arms around his shoulders, hugging him tightly. We sat for only a moment before I took his hand in mine, got up and said, "Get up. You're coming to my house."

. . . . .

We stepped into the darkness of the house. No one was home... What am I saying? Of course no one was home! No one was ever home, except me. I flicked on a few lights, as Josh took off his shoes and took his usual spot on the couch, right next to mine. He looked up at me staring at him and smiled, I smiled back. "Can I get you anything?" I asked. "No Lilo, thank you," he responded. I kicked my shoes off and walked over to the couch, took my place beside him. He put his arm around me and I rested my head on his shoulder. He turned on the TV, to something we both liked; Shameless.

. . . . .

The house was dark and quiet. Out my bedroom window I could see the distant blue and red flashings of a cop car, no sirens, though. I wasn't bothered by it, nothing really mattered except us. Josh was lying in my large, comfortable bed, resting his head on a pillow propped up against the headboard. I was lying with my head on his chest, listening to his even breathing, as he stroked up and down my back. "Molly?" he whispered gently. "Hmmm?" I sighed, glancing up slightly at his faint silhouette. "You're an amazing person, Molly Molloy." He said, leaning down, he planted a sweet gentle kiss on my lips. I looked up at him stunned. "I love you, Josh…" I said, tears welling up in my eyes. I pushed them back, even though they were happy tears, they could be misconstrued. I sat up and moved closer to him, kissing him hard, with a deep fiery passion. His hand went down my front, under my shirt, feeling my body. He tasted so good on my tongue. I kissed deeper, my fingers sliding up to stroke his neck and jaw. I bit his bottom lip, wanting more. Something I had never really felt before. A shudder passed through him. "Oh… Baby…I want…" he said between kisses, down my neck.

. . . . .

I woke up to the bright summer sun shining in my eyes. I rubbed my eyes and gave them a minute to adjust to the light. After the spots cleared from my vision, I glanced down and saw a note on the pillow beside me. I unfolded it carefully and read it: "Top of the morning, gorgeous! You looked so beautiful as you slept, that I didn't dare wake you. Went to take a shower, be back up in a bit. Love, Josh." A smile crossed my face… hehe 'beautiful' … that thought was interrupted by a loud thud. I wearily jumped out of bed, wearing only his t-shirt and ran down the stairs. The sound had come from the bathroom. I opened the door, "…holy fuck…Oh my GOD... JOSH!" I said between sobs. He was lying unconscious in the bathtub, the shower still running. I turned off the water. He was breathing! I called 9-1-1; after I hung up I tried to wake him, shaking him, calling his name. His eyes finally fluttered open tiredly, "hey beautiful…" he said weakly. "Wha…what happened?" he continued, puzzled. "You're okay, you just fell down. The ambulance will be here soon." With that last word he blacked out again.

. . . . .

The ambulance had taken only a few minutes. I called Isobel from the hospital; she said she hadn't even realized he left the house. Well that figures! I waited for her to arrive. "Oh MY GOD!" she said when she saw me. "What?" I asked, annoyed. She pulled a mirror from her purse and handed it to me. I glanced tiredly into the mirror at myself. Whoa, I looked like shit! I closed the mirror and handed it back to her. "Iz, I'm fine, I'm just tired. That's all." I said. "No, no, you should go home and get some sleep. I'll call you if he wakes up." She said kindly. She glanced up behind me and I saw a flicker of emotion in her eyes. I turned around and saw the doctor approaching. Oh no! He did not look happy. "Hello, Ma'am. You must be Mrs. English," said the doctor. "Ms. McFlannin." Isobel corrected, angrily. "Oh, yes… I'm sorry," the doctor continued, "Joshua is in intensive care, but he is stable. You can see him if you'd like?" the doctor shrugged. "Of course we'd like to see him!" Isobel and I said in unison.

. . . . .

He was so pale! He was hooked up to a bunch of monitors and IV's. The doctor had said before, that it was good Josh was breathing on his own. The doctor still had no diagnosis. All he knew was that Josh had suffered a concussion from the fall. I stood beside his bed, feeling awkward, out of place. "Iz, look!" I said pointing at Josh. She turned to look at him, he was stirring. She moved closer to him. At last he opened his eyes. "Mum?" he said, trying to sit up, but stopped when he felt the pull of his IV's. Isobel looked at him sternly, "Stay still, Joshua!" she said patting his arm gently. "Okay…mum…where is Molly?" he said in between wheezing pants. "She's here, sweetie." She said, gesturing to me. "I'm over here Hun. How are you feeling?" I said, holding back my tears. "I'm alright, I could really use a kiss though, Love." He said winking at me. I leaned over and kissed him on the forehead. "Oh, no fair!" he said as the doctor walked in and cleared his throat. "It's good to see you conscious, Joshua." The doctor said examining Josh's vitals. "Aye, Doc," Josh said nodding "What's wrong with me?" he finished confidently. "Well…" the doctor began. "We found some abnormalities in your heart. We believe that you have Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, ARVC for short. It's a rare genetic disorder, but it's typically easily treated." Josh frowned, Isobel began to sob quietly and I just stood there, not really understanding. Josh cleared his throat, "Is it serious," Josh said grabbing my hand. "Well, essentially, you've got scar tissue building up in your heart causing arrhythmia. To put it plainly, your heart begins to beat erratically and this causes dizziness and blackouts. In most cases a patient with ARVC can live a long, healthy, relatively normal life, with the aid of medication, of course. Some patients require surgery, but that's a very small percentage. You have an appointment with the head cardiologist, Dr. Kelly, in two weeks. For now rest, if you continue to improve you may be discharged tomorrow." The doctor said before leaving. Isobel burst into tears. "It's…just so… scary. I don't know what I would do if I… if …if something ever happened to you." She whispered through broken sobs. "Oh Mam, calm down, it'll be fine, I'm fine!" he said stroking her straight auburn hair. She shook her head, composing herself. She blinked the tears from her eyes, "I'm going to get something to drink, would you like anything?" she asked us. "The usual," Josh said with a childish grin. She looked at him in confusion. "Two Irish breakfast teas, with one sugar each." I clarified. She nodded and walked from the room. "Hey Josh?" I said, once she was out of earshot. "Yes, Love?" He said, sounding strong as ever. "I love you, more than I've ever loved anyone. You're going to be okay, right?" I asked. "Always, Love!" he said, as though the thought was absurd. "Please, don't ever leave me." I replied as tears streaked down my face.

. . . . .

Things finally started feeling normal again. This was the last doctor's appointment of the month. I rang the bell and the bus rolled to an abrupt stop. I got up, took his hand and we got off the bus at the hospital. Josh was getting his stiches removed today. It turned out he had needed surgery, to remove some of the scar tissue in his heart. It had been a simple procedure and it had gone flawlessly, twenty-seven stiches. Anyways, today was the last appointment, no more doctors for six months! We sat in the waiting room for a few minutes, before being ushered into the doctors' office. He sat down and the doctor asked him a few questions, which I tuned out. The doctor removed his stiches carefully. Josh grabbed my hand after the last stich was removed and I smiled at him reassuringly. He nodded at the doctor and handed him his signed forms. Josh stood up and put his shirt back on. He hugged me gingerly, as to avoid hurting himself and whispered in my ear, "I'm really thankful for everything, Love, I hope you know that. I'm glad you stayed with me." I thought for a moment, pulled back a bit to look into his eyes. "Babe, you think there was an option? What happened to 'Always, Love'." I quoted him. "I'm yours forever Josh, to be honest, I thought you knew that."

. . . . .

WINTER

. . . . .

I walked up the steps, to the little green bungalow and rang the bell. It was the 4th of March and surprisingly warm. I glanced to the street and watched the blue and white cruiser roll past. I rang the bell a second time. Isobel stuck her head out the window, "Hey, Darlin! Josh left with Jared early this morning, said he wouldn't be back for a while, sorry Molly." She said. "Oh, it's fine Iz; it's just a bit odd he didn't tell me." I shrugged. I waved my goodbye and left down the path. I traced my way home in a daze. I glanced in the mailbox out of habit. There was an envelope in it, plain white, no stamp and no address, just 'Lilo' written on the front in scrolling cursive letters. What the hell? I opened the door and dashed up the stairs to my bedroom. I closed the door behind me and sat heavily on the bed. I put the envelope down beside me, and then picked it back up reluctantly. I traced my fingers over the bold cursive lettering, flipped it over in my hands and tore it open. It was written in Josh's neat printing:

"Dear Molly,

I'm sorry I didn't call you first; the trip with Jared was unexpected. I was going to text you but my phone was dead, so I'm writing this to you. Jared stopped by this morning and told me we were going for a road trip, anyways I'll be back in two days. You'll be the first to know, the minute I get back. I know what you're thinking as you read this: 'Does he have his pills with him?' Well, Love, you know what? I've got everything with me, so no need to worry. You know Jared will keep me out of trouble as well. Stay safe and happy, always Love! <3

Yours always,

Josh E."

Awe! How sweet, but why did Jared pick him up in the first place? At that thought I took Josh's advice and put all my worries from my head. I lied back on my bed, turned on my music and tuned out the world.

. . . . .

It happened again. I woke up gasping for air, but for some reason it wouldn't make it to my lungs. It happens every time something terrible is about to happen. An omen, I suppose. Right before anything bad happens, I have this dream. I can never really remember the dream, except that I was falling, and then I wake up because I can't breathe. I guess the reason I get so scared is because I don't remember. Fear of the unknown, that's what they call it. I glanced at my clock, its 3:37 am. I grabbed my phone and called Josh anyway. He answered on the first ring, "Molly, are you okay?!" he asked, worriedly. "Sorry to worry you. Did I wake you up Hun?" I said. He sighed, in what I can only describe as relief. "No, Love. I've been up for hours. I can't sleep. Why did you call so late?" I paused, "…it happened again…the dream." I said shakily. "What? Why didn't you tell me sooner? I'll be there in ten minutes. Is anybody home? He said, unfalteringly. "No Hun, no one is home… but Josh?" I hesitated. "Yes, Love?" he asked. "I love you." I whispered before I hung up. I sat there resting my chin on my knees, swaying slightly. Josh got to the house in seven minutes and he let himself in through the unlocked back door. He made his way carefully up the dark staircase, quickly, efficiently. His eyes widened when he saw me. He hurried to the bed and grabbed me in his familiar embrace, hugging me tightly. He rocked me back and forth, gently stroking my hair. I took a deep breath and let myself unravel. I was so damn tired of ravelling. I fell apart, but Josh was there to pick up the pieces. I cried until I couldn't cry anymore. All the while, Josh was whispering to me: "You're okay girl, I'm here…its fine…I got you…nothing is going to happen…I'll protect you, baby…"

. . . . .

I woke, still in his arms. His fingers were intertwined with mine, tracing circles on the back of my hand with his thumb. I moved slightly, "Morning, Lovely." He said, kissing the top of my head. "Morning," I said as I sat up. He was leaning against the headboard, looking strong yet coy. I moved closer to him, gently trailing my finger down the puckered scar on his chest. "Josh?" I asked. "Hmm?" he sighed, sleepily. "Thank you for staying with me last night… really…it meant the world to me Baby." I said.

. . . . .

It seemed as though life was passing me by. No. That wasn't right, that couldn't be right…could it? It's just that when you're happy, time starts to just slip away. Time, in all reality doesn't move any faster, our minds just distort it. I suppose it's just a trick that nature plays on us, getting us back for being the top of the food chain. It was already April. "Here's to another year!" I said, to no one in particular. Today was the day, our third anniversary. Three years since I began living.

I hurried down the shady path. I was always late when it counted. As I neared the bridge, I realized he was already there waiting for me. "Sorry to keep you waiting." I said as Josh hopped off the ledge. "It's alright, I'm not bothered, you know that." He said with a childish grin. "How you feeling?" I asked. "Aye, right as rain." He answered, taking my hand. I glanced down at our hands and then out at the setting sun. "Pink skies night, sailors delight." He said. I looked up at him, "Where'd you hear that?" I said. He shrugged, and said with a chuckle, "An old Irish proverb, I suppose." He wrapped his arms around my waist and rested his head on my shoulder, "Happy anniversary, Love." He whispered in my ear. I turned slightly and kissed him on the cheek. "I love you, Babe." I whispered back. I looked back out at the water. He put his hand on my shoulder and turned me around. "Always, Love." He murmured, grasping my hand, leading me to the bridge. I climbed up the broken stone ledge as Josh followed behind me. We sat down on the wooden planks of the bridge, near the third support beam. "I've got something for you," he said as he picked up a little blue box. "Hun, you shouldn't have. You know how I feel about gifts." I said. "Oh, come on, Babe! You're gonna love it! When I saw it, I thought of you." He said, handing the box to me. I pulled the bow off the box and opened it. I gasped. In the box was an adorable silver Tiffany's bracelet with a single heart charm on it. "Oh my god, Josh! It's beautiful!" I exclaimed, as he took it out of the box, fastened it to my wrist. "It reminded me of you: beautiful, elegant and classy." He said with a smile. "Thank you Josh, it's perfect." I said, as a tear escaped my eye and rolled down my cheek. He reached over and wiped it away. I leaned into him, kissed his lips lustfully. His hand went down my side, as his lips traced a path down my neck, kissing, sucking, biting, "More, please!" I whispered.

. . . . .

We laid there for what seemed ages. I had finally done it. I was finally able to overcome my trust issues, finally able to trust completely. His arm was wrapped around my waist, comfortingly. "Hun?" I asked. "Yes, Baby?" he said contentedly. "I've got to get home." I said, as I put my shirt back on. "Okay, Love. I'll walk you." He said as he kissed me. I wasn't a virgin anymore. I had expected to feel different. I don't know why, I just did. I guess it's because we make such a big deal about it. Not to say that it wasn't special, it did mean the world to me, he meant the world to me. Soon I would learn what it was like, to lose someone, no, to lose everything.

. . . . .

"Molly, you have to come quickly, it's Josh." Isobel said urgently. "What happened Iz?" I asked. "Just get here as quick as you can. I'll tell you when you get to the hospital." She replied, flatly. "Okay I'll be there in ten." Hospital? What the fuck happened? I jumped out of bed, brushed my hair hurriedly as I attempted to put my shoes on with the other hand. That was it; I gave up on my hair and ran down the stairs, out the front door. I ran down the street towards the hospital. I walked through the emergency entrance and walked into the waiting room where Isobel was waiting for me. She hugged me. Which was weird… she never hugs me. "What happened?" I asked, over the buzzing in my ears. "Josh fell down again, this time he wasn't breathing." She said in a low voice. "What?" I said, in shock. She sighed, "He's okay, they resuscitated him, but he needs surgery." What the FUCK was she saying? "Okay?! HE'S OKAY?!" I shouted. "He wasn't fucking breathing; I wouldn't call that 'okay'!" I exploded. "Molly, take a deep breathe." She said, patting my shoulder. I began to cry.

. . . . .

His surgery was scheduled for today. The doctors said he needed a pacemaker. An ICD would stop his heart from spazzing out and nearly killing him again. They said just this one last surgery and he would be fine. I walked into his room to say goodbye. If only I'd known this would be permanent. "Hey baby, how are you?" I asked. "I'm okay, but you know what the doctor said?" he replied. "What's that?" I questioned. "The doctor said that I can't play football anymore." He said, sadly. "Well, shit. Arsenal doesn't know what they're missing, Josh." I said with a smile. He laughed. I winked at him playfully. "You're going to be okay, right? You're going to stay with me forever?" I asked, with the sting of tears threatening my eyes. He closed his lids for a moment, then looked me straight in the eyes, whispering, "Always, Love. It will be okay." Tears began pouring down my face. Why do I have him? Why the fuck? I don't deserve him. I never did… he's always been way too fucking good for me! I leaned down and kissed him. Then I left.

. . . . .

"Miss, you can't sleep here." A voice said, waking me from my stupor. I blinked my tired eyes clear. It was a nurse. "Are visiting hours over already?" I said glancing at my phone for the time. "Yes." The blonde nurse said tiredly. I got up off the bench in the waiting room and went to the nearest washroom. Josh had been in surgery for 4 hours and still no word. I went to the sink and splashed cold water on my face. I guess it was time to leave. Isobel would call me if anything changed. I walked to the west exit of the hospital and began walking north, towards home. I'd go home, try and sleep. Then I would go to the hospital first thing in the morning. I walked towards my familiar neighbourhood in a daze, barely aware of the bright city lights surrounding me. I stepped clumsily up the old concrete path to the front door. All the downstairs lights were on. I turned the knob, readying myself for anything. I pushed the door open and closed it behind me, kicked off my shoes and glanced around. The house was empty. As always. There was a note on the ledge to the left of the door. "Molly, we went to visit Luigi at 'football camp'. We will be home in a day, love Mums & Pops" Brilliant. I walked tiredly over to the couch, laid down heavily and fell asleep.

I woke up feeling sick to my stomach. I practically crawled to the bathroom, instantaneously throwing up my guts. I wiped my mouth with the towel hanging on the door and stood up to look for mouthwash. What was it Josh always used to say? 'What comes after 69...? Mouthwash!' Yeah, that was it. Ha ha. I glanced into the drawer and found a full bottle of mouthwash. I rinsed my mouth so that the taste of my own vomit wouldn't make me throw up again. Yucky. I hate puking. My head was pounding and I felt as though I might pass out. I glanced in the mirror above the sink and laughed, I looked like total shit. "Well, ya win some, ya loose some, right?" I said to myself. I grabbed an elastic from the top drawer beside the sink and pulled my hair into a bun. It doesn't matter what I looked like anyways. I went to the front of the house, put on my shoes and left for the hospital.

. . . . .

When I stepped into the waiting room I knew something was wrong. Maybe I knew it before I even got to the hospital. Maybe that was why I was so worried this morning. I saw Isobel from the doorway. A doctor had come in to talk to her. She had sat down, I'm assuming on the doctors request. I approached her, but she was too busy listening to the Doctors clear, calculated words. "I'm afraid the surgery didn't go as planned." He said solemnly. I didn't hear his last words over the loud buzzing in my ears. NO. This could not be happening.

. . . . .

I could barely remember what had happened. What had the doctor said? No, that couldn't be right? Could it? I couldn't lose anything else; he was all I had left. I couldn't make my brain work. Nothing made sense anymore.

. . . . .

It had been exactly one week. It was as if I hadn't been living for the last week. My body was still here, but a piece of me was missing. I wasn't really there. Who I was now, was just a dark, sad, shell of the person I used to be. I glanced in the mirror at my ugly, black funeral dress. I fucking hated this thing. I hated the dress. I hated this day. I hated funerals. Fuck it! I hated life. There was absolutely no point. Maybe there was never a point to begin with… no, that couldn't be it. There had to be a reason to live, there had to be a point to all of this. I dropped to the floor, pulled my knees to my chest and wept. I cried until I ran out of tears, all but consumed by my grief, I sat there sobbing, rocking back and forth. I needed someone. I needed someone to comfort me, someone to strengthen me. I needed someone to help me make it through this. I needed someone to make it all okay again. I needed someone to fix this, no, to fix me. But there was no one. I had no one. I had to pull myself together. I had to get this over with. I needed to get up, put on a brave face and go to the funeral home. I am so damn tired of being brave. I'm tired of being the strong one. Fuck it; I'm just tired. Tired of life. Tired of everything. I wiped the tears from my face, angrily. I wouldn't give in. I couldn't. Not after all this. It couldn't all be for nothing.

. . . . .

I walked into the funeral home. There at the front was Isobel. Her face was almost as red as her hair. She was crying. Beside her was Pat. That fucking asshole thinks he has the right to be here, after what he did to Josh? Fuck NO. I went over to Isobel and took the seat in between her and Pat, ignoring him altogether. I took her hand in mine. She had nothing left, the least I could do was be here for her. I glanced around the room, avoiding the front, as best I could. I wouldn't look there. I couldn't see him. I couldn't look at him still, pale in that stupid box. That would make everything too real. Right now it seemed like a dream. I could deal with it, if it were only a dream, so long as it wasn't real. Jared and Dean both came up to us then, each taking turns to hug Isobel tightly. "I'm really sorry Izzy. I…I don't know what else to say. He was the best friend I've ever had. He was like a brother to me. I'm really going to miss him." Dean finished with a quiet sob. Dean hugged me then, leaned down and kissed me on the cheek. Now, there was the breaking point, the chink in my armour. I had lost the battle with myself. Tears began flooding over my eyelids, down my face. I pushed passed him, ran for the door and dashed out into the pouring rain.

. . . . .

I was once again on the edge of nothing and beyond. Standing on the ledge, letting the cold rain cut into my skin like a thousand little knives. Where do I go from here? Do I jump off and hope I drown? Maybe this is what Jonah felt like, before he ended it. Would it really be better if I jumped? Maybe there was no heaven or hell, but maybe it would be better to cease existing than to live with this torturous pain. I had to think… I needed time to think. What the fuck am I doing? I walked numbly over to the maitnance entrance, jumped down the ladder to the pillar supporting the bridge. I sat down under the bridge, the wooden planks shielding me from the rain. I needed to think…

. . . . .

I woke up every morning expecting him to be there. Of course, he was never there. This is the first time in six months that I haven't woken up looking for him. Dean has been here, by my side, helping me. He helped me start to heal myself. Dean had found me under the bridge that day and brought me back to Josh's house. It was almost unbearable waking up in his room, in his bed and realizing he was never coming back. Dean held me while I cried. He tried to make it better for me, tried to ease the pain. I wondered if he was doing it for me, or if he was doing it for Josh. Either way I accepted his help, even though I seemed so distant, barely aware of reality. It was as if nothing was real anymore. Dean had talked me out of it so many times. Dean was always around to soothe the dull ache that Josh's absence had left. Well, at least most of the time. Sometimes the pain was excruciating, so much so, that I couldn't handle it. It was like I was broken but Dean was there to help put the pieces back together. Even after putting the pieces together there was still that hole, the void that would never be filled. The pain was worse now that Isobel had gone back home. She left for the Emerald Isle because she had nothing left for her here. She was going to stay with her sister in Belfast. Iz was doing her best to move on, trying her hardest to keep it together. If she could be this strong than so could I right?

. . . . .

I wish I could say that from that point on it was easy, but that would be a lie. Life is full of sadness and pain. It is how we overcome these obstacles that make us who we are. It is through this pain that we are able to grow, to become wise. Do not let loss hold you back, allow it to propel you forward, move past it. Don't forget the ones whom you have lost, just learn to live with that loss. Don't let your grief weaken you; only allow your pain to strengthen you.





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