Left Behind

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 31, 2017

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Submitted: October 31, 2017



Life is a little too empty without them. The edges are sharper, closer than ever before. It seems all too much like a bad dream, ripping through your consciousness like a warrior out for blood.

Everything feels wrong without them, like you blinked and suddenly the whole world was upside down except you and all the blood rushed to your head. Everything reminds you of them, of how happy you were when they were alive and beside you, laughing over the cliche ending to a silly movie. You wish this was a movie so you could kiss them back to life, heal them with your tears, whatever. You’d sell your soul, maybe.

You barely remember the day they left and yet remember it all too well. You’d lost something, something you didn’t need, not nearly as much as you need them. You fought, angry and blaming. They cursed you, called you a fool. They ran out the door into the blazing June heat, feet pounding on the old, peeling deck. You’d fought with them before. You thought they’d come back. You were a fool.

You got the call from their mother the next day around midnight. You’d thought that they had gone home by then. You didn’t understand why she was calling you. You picked up anyway, of course. Her voice was warbled, worrying, fearful. You ran.

They were on the side of the road, propped up against a tree while the ambulance wailed into sight. You didn’t believe any of it was happening. You cursed and cried and yelled. The sight of their body, ravaged and bleeding, scared you. Everything blurred to a fine, grating point that scraped at your sanity. The ambulance took them to the hospital. You weren’t allowed to go, as everyone thought you were too hysterical to be of any help. Someone handed you a glass of water back home. You threw it to the ground, watched it shatter into tiny pieces, glinting wetly in the lamplight. It didn’t make you feel any better.

Their mother called in the morning to tell you that you could come visit. Everyone around you stared as you dragged yourself to the hospital, so fearful they might never recover, that something irreversible had happened.

Their eyes were closed, eyelashes fluttering against their cheeks, their face calm and composed in sleep. You glanced fearfully at their mother. She told you what the doctors had told her. They would live, but might be traumatized, perhaps have even forgotten the event. They might not be able to do some things, things you didn’t hear because you were already leaning over the bed to hold their hand, tuck your head into their arm, listen to their pulse. You only realized you were crying when their mother handed you a handkerchief.

They were discharged in July, and you pushed their wheelchair to the car, talking, laughing, crying. It didn’t matter if they might never be able to walk again. You didn’t notice the fear tensed up and coiled in their body when you approached the car. You didn’t know that they would do anything to never get near a car again. You couldn’t have. But you could have, if you’d looked a bit harder, cared a bit more, actually remembered why they had been taken to the hospital in the first place-. But your therapist told you not to think about the what ifs and you know it doesn’t help anything. But you think about the what ifs and the memories and them so much and all the time.

Part of you wishes you didn’t. It knows that it doesn’t help you to be thinking about it, that you’re clinging to a person you need to let go. But the other part of you says that is isn’t good to forget either, because if you forget the memories, then they’ll be gone. If you forget them it means that you weren’t ever a good friend in the first place, that they weren’t special to you, even though they were, are.

Every night you pray that their ghost, spirit, whatever, will visit you, that you’ll be able to say, “I’m sorry,” one more time, that you’ll be able to hug them one more time, that you’ll be able to say, “I love you.” You pray until you cry because everything hurts.

Trying to fall asleep without having said goodnight to them makes your fingers ache to call them. Going to their house makes you want to fall to the ground and drown in your pain. Eating reminds you of all the times you went with them to get a “bite to eat” and ended up going to three different restaurants laughing all the way about your “special diet,” and that you were both “growing children.” It makes you throw up every other bite of food.

You wish that you could see them one more time so it would make sense again, even if it was just for one second. You pray for just one more time, knowing that once is not enough, was never enough. But you pray for it anyway, because once is better than this empty, meaningless existence where it’s always never.


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