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Corollary of the Familiar

Short story By: Danielle Larkin
Young adult

A girl tries to take her life, someone else tells her story.

Submitted:Apr 25, 2011    Reads: 62    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   

Corollary of the Familiar
There's something interesting about hearing the train. The sound is almost indescribable, a deep rumble, but no specific noise. You can always tell when it's coming though, at least while you're underground. The wind suddenly picks up, like the air is being vacuumed out, and it always feels like if it stays that way for too long, you'll suffocate. I always close my eyes when I feel the wind start to pull. Imagine I'm running or something like that. A friend reminding me that, yes, I'm about to escape.
I probably shouldn't have been there. Not with so many people around, not at that time a day. I probably shouldn't have stood so close to the edge. The only thing I could think to myself was "How much of a mess is this going to make?" as I very carefully lined my toes up with the edge. Next, I wondered if it would ruin her nice white coat, would it turn the stupid thing bright red? Was I standing too close to her? I didn't want to ruin her day, not at all. Frankly, I didn't want to ruin anyone who happened to be standing on the platform's day. It didn't seem very fair of me. But at the same time, I just couldn't find the energy to care. I would have been alone if Lily wasn't there, but she insisted on coming. I caved. I told her she could come, she could stay away, it didn't matter to me because she could go to hell for all I care. But this, this was just another place that I shouldn't be, and yet there I was. Was it fate? Or am I just a moron? Someone who manages to get into places they shouldn't be, like one big, fat rat.
All the drivers are different. Sometimes, they'll blare the horn, a weak effort to scare you away from the edge. I wonder if that's a driver's greatest fear, the one that comes after the fear of ramming into the back of another train, is having someone jump in front of you. I could only hope that day, he would be oblivious to me. That he allowed me to be invisible, because I needed to be.
Sometimes, they'll enter the station real slow, like the whole group of cars is sightseeing. Others rush in, like they can't wait to get inside, to get to the next stop, forever in motion trying to hurry their lives along. That day however, I got the one in between. The driver who goes fast enough to not be taking his time, but slow enough that you don't know if the impact is going to be what you expect, what you want it, to be.I've counted it a thousand times. I know the exact moment when I need to do it. I count it down every time I ride the train, backing out at the very last second.
As the train pulled in, the air got sucked out and I counted to myself. I closed my eyes, and took two steps back, giving the driver that false sense of security that I'm just some stupid kid who was standing too close to the edge, maybe those are my friends nearby, laughing at how insane the whole thing is. I started to count it down, and stepped forward. Lily shook her head, her perfect brown curls, swaying in a wave around her head. I ignored her, and took another step.
It was not my day. It was not the impact I wanted. No. I did not like to be sprawled on the cold ground, some guy having yanked me hard enough back that I fall. It's always the ones you expect too. Tall, older, the dad type, the kind of guy who pays too much attention to the people around him. The kind of guy who is waiting for something like this to happen so he can be the hero.
Well congratulations pal, you're a god damn hero. Let's get you a fucking medal.
I should have known someone was watching me. There's always someone, who's too nosy to mind their own business, who indulges in playing God, while I'm trying to decide if it's the right time to end my life. I thought it was. Clearly though, he thought otherwise. There was a big part of me that wanted to play it off, the usual "I wasn't going to do anything, I was just standing too close to the edge". But somehow I don't think anyone would have bought it. The security guards all looked confused, and I was crying, which certainly didn't help matters very much. They made me sit on a bench, so we could wait until the real police showed up. The ones who would take me away and ask me why I did it, what is so wrong in my life that I need to do this?
I'll tell you why, there was no reason why I shouldn't do it. It seemed like a good enough reason at the time, and that was always a good enough reason for everything else I did, or didn't, do in my life. Just one more thing to tack on, to put to good use, to take control of, to be controlling of something else.
I know what you're thinking, that that's what this is all about, control? Well, you're wrong. It's about a lack thereof of being in control. And the one thing I gained from all this, just another thing I couldn't control, was being sent there to Lovely Groves Facility for Young Adults. This isn't some coming of age story, where the girl is sick, the girl needs help, the girl receives help, falls in love, and lives happily ever after. There is no ever after, there is no love and the girl remains sick. The girl does not live in a fairy tale, but sometimes she wishes she belonged to one.
We were admitted to Lovely Groves as a package. I told her she shouldn't try to jump, that they would catch her. I promised I would always stay with her regardless of where she went. She just never understood that this is how it needed to be. Two peas in a pod, I told her. Of course, she told me to fuck off. I never thought that was very nice, her foul tongue. And now here we were, locked in this stupid place, the medication making everything foggy. She forgets about me sometimes, but it tones down her mouth.
The first day was the hardest. I told them what had happened, that she was just desperate, but that I was upset that she tried to take me with her. They asked me questions, when was I born, do I have suicidal thoughts often? Did anything change recently?
"Of course not, things are the same as they have always been." I promised. "I think she was just upset today. She's not usually so irrational about things."I wanted them to know that I believed in her, that she had the benefit of the doubt, at least from me, and we were almost the same person and that was saying something. The doctor just nodded, making a notation of something on her pad of paper.
"She's a good person." I added for effect. "She just gets confused."The doctor nodded again and smiled at me.
"Do me a favor Lily, can you get Eloise for me?" She gave me that stupid half smile again.
"I can try, but I don't know if she'll come here." Retrieving Eloise is never easy, she goes with a fight, and comes with one. It would be easier if she knew how to extract herself from whatever it is she does.I left the room, in hopes that she'd come without arguing with me. My feet hit the cold stone as I hurried to our room. It was one of the smallest in the ward, and separated from the rest. I threw open the door, and Eloise glared at me.
"What do you want?" She snarled.
"They want you to come talk to them." I said, kindly. She raised an eyebrow, and then shook her head.
"I don't want to speak with them." Eloise laid back, and started to stare at the ceiling. I moved to the foot of her bed.
"You have to go Elie." I snapped. "They need to talk to you. So that you stop feeling like this." It was as though I ignited something in her, she was off the bed, and in my face.
"They'll get rid of you, you know?" She hissed. "Maybe that's why you're doing this to me, because you know exactly how I feel, because you do Lil, deep down you do. You don't want to be here anymore than I do, and yet here we are." She scoffed, "Maybe you're hoping they'll just get rid of me."
"I wasn't the one who tried to jump in front of a metro train." I was so angry with her. I turned on my heel, and started for the door. She was suffocating me with her frustrations, I needed air, and I needed to be away from her. Somehow, though she beat me to the door, she always did and I could never figure out how she managed to do it.
"You stay here. I'll fucking talk to them. If that's what will make you happy." The door slammed, and I started to feel better. I felt lighter, like I was released from her chokehold. I laid down on the bed, feeling the cool of the pillow, and drifted away, to someplace else, anywhere but here.
Days went by before I came back. We weren't sleeping tonight, Eloise had apparently decided and she was determined on pacing the room. Every so often she looked at me, studying me like she didn't know who I was. I've always found her beautiful, long wavy hair of oak, almond eyes that sometimes sparked. She was perfect in every way, in ways that I'd never be able to attain. I was just the serious one, who was too innocent and too naïve to understand the full consequences of my actions. That's what she told me once at least. It was when she first found me, when she was still nice. She's still nice when she wants to be, just never nice to me. Eloise stopped, and stared at me.
"Why don't you leave?" She whispered. "Why couldn't you just go?"
"Because I love you Elie. I'll always love you."
"Lily, they're getting rid of you. They're giving me my medication, and making sure I do what I need to in order to be okay. You're going to have to leave here eventually. They don't have anything to give you."
"But I don't want to leave. Look, I can go with you to your meetings, I can make sure you're taking your medicine…. I can-"
"You can't." Eloise sat on the edge of the bed. "You won't be able to. They won't let you."I started to get that feeling again, when she's trying to pressure me to leave, as though it would be that easy to do it.
"You need me Elie. You know you do." I was so upset with her. My heart started to ache, and even though we were together, I felt alone, and abandoned. I felt desperate. This is the desperation that she was talking about when she told me her plan, the one I didn't agree with. "Why are you doing this?"
"Lily. I'm scared too. Don't think I'm not, because I am, I really am. You've been so important to me. But it's time to cut the fucking cord darling."
"Eloise. Fuck you." She looked taken aback and then laughed at me.
"Using big girl words now are we?" She smirked and shook her head.
"Get. Out." I wanted her to leave, I threw her books on the ground, and started to pull her clothes out of the dressers. "Get out, get out, get out!" Amidst the mess, I fell to the ground crying. When I finally looked up, she was gone and in her place was a nurse, who was watching me warily, as though unsure of my next move.
"What happened?" she asked.
"I got upset." I wiped my nose on my sleeve and started to pick up the clothes. As I started to shove them back into the dresser, I got the distinct impression that the nurse was still standing there."Can I help you?"
"Why did you get upset?" She had this superior look on her face and it aggravated me to no end.
"Why does it matter?" I snapped. She frowned at me, and waited quietly for an explanation. "I got upset because Eloise told me that everyone here was going to try to make me leave, but I don't want to leave."
"Ah." The nurse leaned against the wall. "That's really Eloise's decision isn't it?"
"Don't I have a say in it?" I could feel the tears coming back, "I've done so much for her."
"Ultimately, it's up to her. It's not healthy for either of you, for you to be here. You're just eating each other up. Finishing cleaning up this mess please and we'll find you something to help you sleep." She patted me on the shoulder and exited the room. She had to have been gone for hours before she brought back a cup of pills. I took them without protest and crawled into bed. I wondered where Eloise had gone and why they hadn't chased her back into the room. I was thinking about the ant farm, and how we'd left it, before the trip to the metro. I wondered if the ants where okay, but I figured they should be. It's interesting to me how they can build their own little world, and live completely in it without any acknowledgement that another world exists.
My days were growing fuzzier and harder to remember, and Eloise seemed happier. She stopped talking to me weeks ago, after our fight. She never apologized and started doing whatever she wanted without consulting me. I was lonely, I missed my best friend, and she didn't even care. Everything was just so perfect for her, and I was left to pick up the pieces. The longer we stayed at Lovely Groves, the harder things got for me. Even when I was awake, I was glued to my bed, laying catatonically, wishing that I could just end this. But they'd never let me here. I was surprised, when Eloise suddenly spoke to me. She was brushing her hair, and glanced at me through the mirror.
"How are you?" she asked sweetly.
"I'm managing." I spat. She was a liar, and I hated her. "No thanks to you."
"You need to let go. I can't focus with your constant ramblings about what's right or wrong, or how you're miserable." She smiled, and I glared at her. Her eyes, which once looked dead, had life to them.
"Still taking your medication?" I asked dully.She nodded.
"You know it. Lily, do remember..."she looked like she was searching for the words to explain how she felt. "Do you remember the first time we met?"
"Yeah, we were eight. You wore the pink dress, and…"
"Do you remember why we met?" her eyes got sad suddenly. I shook my head, I couldn't remember a lot of things lately. The longer she was on the medication, the less I knew about her than I thought I did. "You remember…think about it Lily." I closed my eyes and tried to think."We met because that man…he started touching you." Eloise nodded, smiling slightly. "Because you didn't know what to do, and you needed me to help you. Just like you need me to help you now, you don't know it but you do Elie, you know you do."
The gorgeous brown eyes filled with tears, and Eloise shook her head.
"I did need you Lil, I needed you whenever things were hard. But I don't need you anymore. They've taught me things here, ways to deal with things, so that I don't need you."
"But Elie, if you lose me he could come back, he could-"
"You're not real Lily. He's not coming back, and after today, you can't come back either, and if you do, I won't notice. I won't say hi to you, I won't talk to you."
"I am real." My mind raced, "I am Eloise. This is stupid, why would you say something like that? Why are you trying to hurt me?"
"You're not real." She repeated. "You need to go now." My head started to pound and my chest ached, the building pressure from her forcing me away. Things were growing darker and I was having a hard time understanding. She needed me. She told me she did, she said she'd always need me. So why was she getting rid of me?
I looked at the open window, things were so confusing. This wasn't real. This was just a dream. It could be easy, I could just jump. I could just wake up, I'd hit the ground and I'd wake up. It would be that easy. I stood on the edge of the bed, putting my feet out the window and sitting on the ledge. I could hear Eloise distantly, telling me not to be stupid and to get back in the room. She sounded so upset. If I'm not real, then it wouldn't hurt right?If I'm not real, everything will be okay.
As I placed my hands on the edge and got ready to push off, I was sure I could hear her screaming. I knew she needed me. I knew she just couldn't live without me.


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