The Sacrifice

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic


Everyone has a hero. Who's yours?

Submitted: May 05, 2018

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Submitted: May 05, 2018

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THE SACRIFICE

It was past midnight. The city looked so peaceful, in contrast to the day scene, but my mind was anything but. My feet sought the edge of the roof, and stopped. My heart was pounding, my mind racing. One more step, just one, and all of this would be over. No more pain. No more misery. No more emptiness. No more opening my eyes in the morning and immediately starting to count down the hours till the day was over.

My feet started fiddling with the edge of the roof as I squeezed my eyes shut and clenched my fists tightly, my breaths coming in gasps as I felt my lungs constrict. I bit down hard on my lip to prevent myself from making any sound. Why am I like this? My brain screamed silently. Why do I feel this way? What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to deal with all this? What is wrong with me?

“Rianne,” A low voice behind me made my body tense up but I stayed rooted to the spot.

“Rianne,” he called again, his voice pleading.

A feather-light touch on my shoulder caused me to whip around, my large, wild eyes taking in his dishevelled appearance and the frantic look on his face. “Don’t touch me!” I shrieked, moving to take a step backwards but remembering just in time that I was standing at the edge on the roof of a twenty-storey building.

He backed away slowly, his palms facing outwards as he tried to calm me down. “Rianne,” he whispered. “Please don’t do this. I’m here. I’ll help you. Let me help you! Please don’t... don’t do this!” His voice broke as his captivating steel blue eyes, filled with panic and fear, pleaded with me.

I looked away and stared down at my bare feet. “You can’t help me,” I whispered back brokenly. “No one can. Even I can’t help myself anymore.”

There was a moment of silence, then he said, “If you jump, I’m gonna jump too.” The tone of determination and defiance in his voice jolted me as I spun around to stare at him in shock and dismay.

I gritted my teeth and ran my fingers through my hair in frustration. “Why are you doing this?” I forced my words out, feeling tears of helplessness slide down my cheeks. I swiped at them angrily, not wanting to cry in front of him.

His face fell as he took in my tears, and he stepped forward to engulf me in a hug. This time, I didn’t resist him. I loosened my grip on my emotions and sobbed silently against him as he held me tight, his hands stroking my hair, trying to comfort me.

That night, when he had taken me back down into my apartment and was tucking me into bed, I asked him, “Why are you doing this? You know I don’t return your feelings. I can’t love you. I can’t love anyone.” How could I love someone when I couldn’t even love myself?

He stared at the floor for a while, contemplating his answer. When he looked back at me, the sadness in his eyes seared my heart “It doesn’t matter that you can’t love me back. I just can’t bear to see someone I love suffering so much like this.” He kissed my forehead and smiled. “You should sleep. Goodnight, Rianne.”

His words lingered in my head as I felt myself fall into a dreamless sleep.

??

I bit back a frustrated scream and threw my book across the room where it hit the wall and fell to the floor. I curled up in my bed and stared at the wall, allowing my mind to go blank, trying to forget that exams were tomorrow, trying to forget about all the things that I had not done, trying to ignore the consequences of failing this test. But these thoughts nagged at me until I could not ignore them anymore. I grabbed my phone and dialled his number. I was a tearful mess by the time he picked up.

“Rianne? Is everything okay?” His low, husky voice was filled with concern and I could picture him standing in the middle of his apartment with the phone to his ear and a frown on his face.

“Ezra,” I whispered, hoping that I didn’t have to explain, hoping that he’d understand.

I heard a scuffle and the sound of a door banging shut as he presumably exited his apartment. “I’m on my way, Rianne. Just... stay put.” The distress in his voice was clear. Was it because of me?

“Okay,” I replied softly before hanging up. I remained curled up in my bed until Ezra arrived. He strode over to my bed and sat down at the edge.

“Hey,” he greeted me softly, his hand stroking my hair tenderly. “What’s wrong?”

I stared blankly at him, “ I can’t do this anymore,” I said bleakly. His concerned eyes scanned my face, trying to read my emotions. My eyes fell on the abandoned book lying on the floor, causing my emotions to bubble to the surface. I sat up and shoved him. He didn’t budge. “I can’t do this anymore!” I screamed, hitting him in the chest. “Why didn’t you just let me end all this pain and misery? I hate you!”

I broke down crying, my body racked with sobs as tears ran freely down my cheeks. I felt the darkness inside me trying to swallow me whole, and I was ready to succumb to it, but he pulled me into a hug and rubbed my back gently. “Hey. Hey. I’m here. I’ll help you through this. You won’t be alone. We’ll get through this together. I’ll always be here for you.” His low voice caused waves of peace surging through me and I eventually calmed down, allowing myself to melt into him.

After some time, he carefully asked me if I needed him to help with studying. I nodded hesitantly into his shoulder. He released me from the hug and went to retrieve my book as I cleaned myself up. He spent the rest of the day patiently helping me with my studies, never once getting impatient or annoyed.

When my results were announced a few weeks later, I had passed with the highest marks in my class, but he never told me how he did in his own exams that was held on that same day.

??

Waking up every morning wasn’t any easier, but he was there. He was always there. He made sure I got out of bed in the mornings and was fortified with enough food to start the day. He accompanied me to all my classes before rushing off to his. He would always be waiting for me when my classes ended and we would walk home together. Most of my time everyday was spent together with him. He made sure I turned up for all of my appointments with my psychologist, ensuring that I was making progress. He made sure that I never neglected my studies, but also spent enough time relaxing and doing the things I love. He always made himself present whenever I had my ‘episodes’, talking to me soothingly and making sure I was okay before I continued my work.

He healed me. He cemented my broken pieces back together and made sure that they wouldn’t fall apart. He steered me gently away from the edge of the cliff and anchored me back on solid ground. He was that spark of light in the monstrous darkness inside of me.

He filled that emptiness inside of me, with his effort, his time, his love. But in the process of filling me with life, he had emptied himself of his own. Bit by bit he had given me all of him, until he had nothing left.

I never noticed that he had lost weight, his face becoming gaunt and his cheeks hollow. I never noticed that he had become more and more subdued, the smiles he put on his face more and more forced. I never noticed that every time he made me eat, he himself hardly took a bite of food.

I woke up one morning without the smell of food in my apartment.

I found his lifeless body on the bed in his apartment, an empty bottle of sleeping pills on the floor. By his bedside, a letter, addressed to me.

??

He had depression.

All along, he had the same mental illness that I had suffered from. It had worsened over the time when he started taking care of me, until finally, he gave out under all the pressure and committed suicide.

I should have known. I should have seen the signs. I could have helped him. But no, I had to be selfish. I had to be self-centred. I took and took from him and didn’t even bother to give back, until he finally did this.

It was all because of me.

??

Five years later. It was past midnight. I was on the roof again, his letter gripped tightly in my hand.

The day I found him dead, I almost launched myself off this roof, not being able to cope with the fact that I was the cause of the loss of the person who loved me the most. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. My mind had flashed back to that night when he had taken such measures to prevent me from doing the exact same thing. I remembered the determined light in his eyes, the defiant words that he had said just to keep me from taking my own life.

In his letter, he had apologised for not being able to fulfil his promise of always being here for me.

“I gave my life to you,” he had written. “Please don’t throw it away.”

From then on, I had never ever considered suicide as a way out.

My hero was a hero not because he saved me from villains; he was my hero because he saved me from myself and gave me life, at the expense of his.

(1818 words)


© Copyright 2018 andreameien. All rights reserved.

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