I can remember every word that had ever been uttered between us. Every promise, every vow of our undying love… all meaningless now. I could recite all the letters you've ever sent me because I spent hours just staring at the stars and reading them aloud. They are all empty and hollow now, like me. I found myself when I found you. But now that you're gone, my heart has been ripped away with you.
It's meaningless to talk about it. I can't utter your name any more. I can't think about you anymore, you're like poison. But you're all I do think about at the same time. I feel like crying and cursing every song we ever listened to, laughed to, kissed too. I feel like tearing my hollow, empty shell-of-a-heart out of my chest and throwing it away. But I don't. Because it's like I'm numb, like I can't move. I can't speak. I can blink and stare, breath. I'm a shell of myself. Because when you left, you took everything with you.
My mother thinks I should see someone, my dad thinks I need medication. My sister's given up on me and when I remember her she doesn't try to help anymore. I need you. I know your number, your email address, your new house number, but I won't contact you. I can't bring myself to talk to you. I'll break down, my wobbly shield will tear apart and I'll be like liquid on the ground. Beneath your feet.
All I want is for you to return, to feel you by my side. To know that you do care, that you didn't just leave without one thought for me. Just tell me that you care, that I matter. That's all I want. All I need.
My family misses me. I can't tell them where I've gone. They might go looking for me. I can't believe that you would leave me. I wake up to your touch, but you're not there anymore. I feel cold to the world. Disconnected.
"Talia!" my teacher calls out. "What is the formula of a triangle?"
I continue to stare, not hearing or seeing her. I remember and forget. I lived, now I die. But Miss Elky is determined to get an answer and continues to stare at me expectantly, waiting for something that will never come. I remember her, I forget her. She fades back into the dark mass of jumbled memories and forgotten dreams that is me now.
Before leaving for home, my social worker explains again to her my situation; how I'm different now. How I can't speak anymore, can't understand. When I have something to say, it doesn't reach my lips. I am scared that if I try to speak all that will come out is one long scream. I only come to school because my mother still thinks I can learn and have a future. How daft is she to believe that any sort of bright future lies in front of me. I barely live.
I don't really try to understand words or faces anymore. I have not lost all of my knowledge. It's there, in the back of my head, forgotten and lost like everything else. I could recite the meanings of half the words in the dictionary, and write down their synonyms. But I don't, I just blink. I just watch. I won't do much more. There isn't any point anymore.
I vaguely register that the teacher is talking. My pencil lies beside my blank page. Was I supposed to write something? Shaking my head, I decide that it doesn't matter. Tears come to my eyes suddenly and I bite my lip. My tears are a silent, inevitable reminder of what I have lost. I don't disrupt anyone but children still shoot me irritated and disturbed looks. As if I can help it.
As hard as I try to not think about him, he always lingers in the back of my heart, a gaping hole that threatens to overwhelm me. Sometimes, I wish I had never met him but I mainly just wish he would come back.
Truthfully, I always knew he would leave eventually. He was so thrilling to be around, so full of outrageous ideas and endless jokes. His devil-may-care smile left me breathless and the way he just whisked me off because of some rumour of a place he just had to check out. He had me do things I never would have done on my own. I think my parents were glad to see him go though; they didn't like him.
We would lie on the roof of some pub and throw stuff as high as possible before watching it smash. I would watch a glass bottle soar over the concrete parking lot, spinning and twisting before falling to smash into a million tiny shards of glass.
My social workers solution is to forget him but as hard as I try, his opaque, evergreen eyes follow me everywhere I go.
The class has ended but I sit where I am still. My arms wrapped around my knees. My head pounding and my tears coming faster. I gently rock back and forth on the seat, feeling lonely and abandoned. Miss Elky gives me a sad look before closing the door.
I am left completely alone now. I hold my arm out before me and turn it over in the filtered, dim glare of the light. My skin in pale, with a freckle here and there.
I jerk suddenly and a sob racks my body. I sit there and cry until I hear a warning bell that tells me I have to be getting home now.
Pulling myself up, I walk down the deserted corridors and find Mr Pollard about to close the school doors. He laughs, mussing my hair up. "Always leaving it to the last minute," he scolds me.
I continue to walk home. My eyes take in everything before me in slow motion. There is no fast, lively beat to my life anymore. Soft rain starts to pour down. People rush for shelter and speed up but I just keep walking, letting the rain soak me to the bone.
I feel it before I see it. A large shape hurtles towards me and I am pushed onto the sodden earth, the breath knocked out of me. "Oh my god!" the person exclaims, extending a hand to me.
I take it and wait for them to recognise me and start walking away but this person seems to be new. They just look at me with large, horrified eyes.
"I'm so sorry! It's just that the rain made it really slippery and I couldn't control my board…"
I glance at his skate board and he seems to notice how wet and cold I am and the way I am shivering like a ribbon in the wind. "Oh, oh," he mutters, shrugging off his rain jacket and wrapping me in it.
I should thank him but I just stare ahead. My tears mingle with the rain and he can't tell I'm crying. Knocking me over was an honest mistake. He apologised, now why won't he leave?
He stands there, rocking on his heels for a moment and finally holds out a hand. "Um, I'm Alec Wright, by the way," he smiles sheepishly.
How cruel. If only I were normal and I could respond properly. Alec seems nice and he doesn't treat me like I'm broken. Why can't I just open my mouth and let out a thank you?
The way his eyes narrow and he sighs is saddening. "Look, sorry I knocked you over, okay. I guess I'll see you at school. I start tomorrow," he adds, waiting for a reaction that I don't give.
Looking angry, he walks off.
I stand where I am, hugging the jacket to myself as I begin to walk home in the pounding rain. His laughter echoes in my head.