Still got a lot of fight left in me

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

Layla is having a panic attack.

Life sucked. Life really, really sucked.

Layla couldn’t think of a better way to describe her life.

Everything around her was in chaos. Her parents were fighting very often lately. Her best friend, Camilla was so taken with her new boyfriend Shawn, she was not even responding to Layla’s texts. Her brother, Noah won’t even respond to her properly. She didn’t have much friends. Which was downright pathetic.

Her school life couldn’t be worse. She was the scrawny kid, the nerd kid, who was bullied. She was made fun of for everything, starting from her glasses to her sweatshirts. She never attended parties. Books were more important to her. Music was life. Even when depression was trying to crawl through her bones, she tried her best to ward it off with music and reading. Most of the times, it worked. Not always, though.

But she never thought her life would come to this. Layla Jones was contemplating suicide.

At first, the thought had scared her. It seemed silly to even think of it. Why would she commit suicide? She was depressed, yes, her family and friends were ignoring her, but that was not the end of the world, right? Right?

But slowly, the thought took root in Layla’s mind. Randomly, she would start thinking about slashing her wrists, about how it would hurt like hell, but how it’d be worth it in the end. She caught herself in the thoughts of taking pills, but would immediately banish it from her mind. No, she sternly reminded to herself, this is not how I am supposed to fight all this.

Once the thoughts came, they never left. It was actually funny, how it popped up in her mind out of nowhere. When she was bathing, when she was reading her favourite novel, while she was eating. It was ridiculous, really, she knew that she will never do things like that. But the more the thoughts occurred, the more she started envisioning them.

What would a small cut do? Would it really hurt than all the crappy things happening to her?

Will she actually die from overdose of sleeping pills?

Is living through all this actually worth?

The worst thing was, there was no one to speak with, about all this.

So, this is how she found herself buying pills from the nearby drug store. Layla was careful though, she didn’t want to rise suspicion and be interrupted. She was not even sure if she would take them.

But today had been more dreadful than the others.

It had started with the fighting this morning. As usual, her parents were clawing at each other’s throats when she was getting ready for school. She couldn’t have her cereal in peace, because the fight today was nastier than the recent ones. The shouting was probably audible in the neighbourhood, but it doesn’t seem like her parents gave a damn about that. She couldn’t take the pitying looks her neighbour was giving her.

Then, she had approached Noah, to ask him to drop her off at school. But he had shooed her away because he was ‘busy’ playing ‘video games’. She had to walk all the distance to school, which was absolutely smashing, because some idiot who couldn’t drive properly, almost run her through with her car. And to a add cherry on the top of the metaphorical cake, she had been tripped not once, not twice, but five times before she could even reach her locker.

This was tiring her.

She absolutely hated her life.

So here Layla was, buying sleeping pills. The cashier at the counter was looking like he’d rather be anywhere than there. He billed the items (items, yes because she had to buy tampons to not raise doubt), gave it to her with the most morbid face, and took her money. She tried her best not to make faces at him, because, there seemed someone was more done with life than her.

Pondering over whether or not she should treat herself with ice cream, she didn’t notice the girl coming her way. Layla bumped into her unceremoniously and fell. Thankfully, her contents stayed in the pack instead of spilling to the ground. The other girl was crouching, looking at her bashfully.

“Oh god, I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you there, so sorry sweetheart,” the other girl rambled. She was tall and beautiful. She looked familiar, but Layla couldn’t place her.

“It’s okay,” Layla said, “I’m the one who should be apologising, sorry,” she said, ducking her head down to hide the blush which was spreading through her cheeks. The other girl lent her hand for Layla to stand up. She took it gratefully and stood up. They stood there awkwardly until the other girl broke the silence.

“I’m Zoe,” tall and beautiful girl said, giving Layla a hand to shake. She had neatly manicured hands, nails painted with a beautiful shade of blue that matched her eyes. Layla was self-conscious now, because her nails were bitten raw. What would the girl think of her?

“Layla,” she mumbled and shook Zoe’s hands quickly. She was ready to leave but apparently Zoe was not done with her yet.

“I know you! We are in the same Calculus class. You’re the one who tops the class right?” Zoe asked, looking at Layla with something like awe. Now Layla was full-on blushing. How did other people even know her?

“Yeah, I’m the one,” she replied quietly. She had to go home now. Anxiety was not good, especially in public places. This social interaction was making her rather nervous. And definitely not in a good way.

“I’ve always wanted to talk to you, but you never stay in class after it gets over. I can’t believe this is my first impression on you,” Zoe chuckled.

Layla was staring. Why would this girl want to talk to her? Was she pranking?

Sensing her discomfort, Zoe started to apologise. “Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to come off as creepy, I just wanted to talk to you promise.”

“Are you pranking me?” Layla blurted, and felt morbid. Great, she had spoiled everything now.

“What? No, why would I do that?” Zoe was blinking at her in confusion. She probably didn’t know the cruelty of high school. How would she know? She was probably one of those famous girls, who were filthy rich and didn’t have a single worry. She was probably pitying Layla now. She was probably –

“Hey, you alright? You look like you’ve seen a ghost, do you want to sit?” Zoe was already directing her towards the nearby bench. “Do you need water? Of course you need water. Just a minute, I’ll be back,” she said and practically sprinted off to get water. Layla was breathing heavily now. She didn’t understand why she was getting panicked now. This was just a social interaction. She tried to calm her breathing. Breathe in, count up to three, breathe out. Wash, rinse, repeat.

By the time she started to breathe normally, Zoe was back with a bottle of water. Layla thanked her and sipped some. She could see from the corner of her eye that the other girl was looking at her curiously. Great, she had to explain now.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know why, I just kind of….” She flailed her arms in explanation. She didn’t know what to say. But Zoe apparently understood her, because she put an arm around Layla’s shoulder. “Relax Layla, its ok. Calm down. Do you want to talk? Maybe we could get some ice cream? Then we’ll talk about something and maybe start from the first? That is, if you want to,” Zoe was rambling by this point.

“Umm, we can get ice cream, and maybe introduce ourselves better than last time,” Layla joked with a nervous laugh.

Zoe beamed at her and dragged her to the ice cream parlour.

****

They sat down and gave their orders. Layla ordered her favourite, mint chocolate chip, while Zoe went with rocky road. They made small talk before the ice creams arrived.

Zoe Ambrose was from her neighbourhood, had 2 sisters, and a brother. She apparently loved her family, loved her school and loved anything and everything around her. Layla couldn’t help but envy her because, how could one be so carefree and happy? It seemed like the universe was mocking her for her misery.

Layla introduced herself, then talked about her love of music and books. It was not much information, but the other girl was listening to her raptly. It started to become awkward when the introductions got over, but thankfully their orders arrived.

“So, what’s there in that bag?” Zoe was looking at the bag interestedly. Layla tried her best not to panic. Not now, she thought to herself, trying to mask her anxiety.

“Just, umm, tampons, you know, nothing else,” she muttered lowly and ducked her head to avoid eye contact.

“Ugh, periods are a pain in the arse, really,” Zoe scrunched her nose in disgust, and Layla nodded grimacing, because she could relate. She felt the absolute low during her periods, pain and mood swings adding to the normal depression. She tried her best to remain cheery, ate a ton of chocolate and cuddled her pillow. She was about to say something when Zoe blurted, “Do you want to hang out? Like not now, because we are already hanging out, but in the near future? Only if you want to, don’t feel compelled or anything please.”

Layla was stunned into silence. This girl wanted to hang out with her? But, why? She was not interesting or anything. Just boring, old Layla Jones with her glasses, books and boring sweatshirts. Why now?

“Su-sure, we can,” Layla replied, resolving to herself that she would try to be friends with someone new. How bad will it be to give a try? She was actually getting bored of being tired and miserable.

“Great!” Zoe exclaimed, as if she was genuinely happy. Maybe she was. Weird.

They exchanged numbers. Layla glanced at the time and was surprised to find that an hour had already passed. Maybe for once in her life something good was going to happen.

Maybe, she is finally getting a friend.

****

They hang out often.

It starts simple; one of them waving at the other in hallways, meeting near the lockers. It slowly evolves into having lunch together and hanging out in the evenings. It’s nothing fancy, just simple strolls in the park, getting ice cream and hanging out in Zoe’s room.

It’s nice. Layla had forgotten how enjoyable it was to, just, be with someone. Zoe was wonderful. So wonderful that, she didn’t mind when Layla became silent. She filled in all the silences, made every moment interesting, and was overall a pretty cool person to be with. Layla hadn’t smiled this much in the past several months.

So, they become friends. Good friends even. And it all feels good.

****

Layla is having a panic attack.

She doesn’t know from where all these thoughts are coming; all these ugly, hateful thoughts that are suffocating her. Layla does know what to do; she has to take deep breaths and calm down. But she can’t.

It was not even some major triggering moment, but rather it was a culmination of events from the morning.

It was Friday and for some goddamn reason, she woke up in a rather sour mood, and it had all gone downhill from there.

The fight that morning had been rather vicious. It had ended up with her dad storming out of the house, and her mother sobbing. She tried comforting her mom, she really tried, but her mom was gone beyond all that. Her mom seemed really tired of all this, and there was no way for Layla to do anything about the situation. And then to make things rather fantastic, her brother had shouted at her for absolutely no reason.

As her fate was one of the best works ever, she had to forget her Calculus homework that day. Then had to get an earful from Mr. Williams because she had zoned out during Chemistry. Camilla was still in her dream world, hanging off her bloody boyfriend, so distracted that she had not even replied to her text from Wednesday.

Worst of all, Zoe was absent.

Of course, Layla had known she wouldn’t be there. Zoe had messaged her in the morning that she wouldn’t be able to make it because of her appointment with the dentist. But she hadn’t expected her absence to affect this much.

Then, because the universe is really having a good laugh at her, all the depression that had been at the bay for the past few days hit her like a truck, all at once.

It was the calm before the storm. She had had a rather slow evening, finishing all her works, some good music, a nice pizza and the occasional texting with Zoe. Then she had gone to the restroom, only to see that her periods had started. Grumbling, she had gone to take the tampons out of the drug store bag. And that was when her eyes fell on the pills.

The damn pills.

At that moment, her thoughts took a turn. Her mind started conjuring up depressing situations, and she couldn’t help the onslaught of emotions. She had stumbled back to her room, on auto pilot. Somehow, before leaving the restroom she had managed to grab the bottle of pills.

What am I doing here? Why am I even holding on anymore? Isn’t it better to just forget everything? What would 3 pills do to me? It wouldn’t become an overdose. Just 3, maybe 4. No one is even going to care, are they? I don’t even have anyone to check upon me, so why would it matter?

Somewhere along, she had started to cry. And now here she was, panting, slightly out of breath, not knowing what to do.

Nobodycaresnobodycaresnobodycares.

Why are you even alive? Who is even going to give a damn if you’re gone?

You don’t have anyone who cares about you.

Her phone rang.

Layla didn’t want to take the call. Who is even calling her? It’s not like she has anyone –

Oh.

She extended her hand to the night stand and picked the phone. Only to drop it on the bed. Her hands were cold and numb, breathing erratic. She had to take the call.

With trembling fingers, she attended the call and put it on speaker.

“Layla, oohhh Layla, what are you up to?? Care to get some late night snack? Doctor’s advice and all that, you know?”

Zoe was sprouting some nonsense and Layla couldn’t help but choke on a sob. She started full-on weeping, hugging her pillow.

“Layla? Is everything ok? Hey, you there?? Layla, you’re scaring me, love….”

“Zoe,” Layla breathed on a sob.

“Oh my god, what’s wrong?” Layla’s voice was frantic.

“Zoe, help me…..”

“Are you having a panic attack? Layla, babe, listen to me. Now. Breathe for me, come on, and breathe in with me.”

Layla listened to her. She tried taking a deep breath, only her nose was full of snot. It was tough, but she managed.

“Breathe in, breathe out, that’s it, come on Layla, I know you can do it. Stay on the line with me? I’ll be there in 5, ‘til that continue taking deep breaths, you can do that.”

Layla let her friend’s voice wash over her. Her breathing was slightly uneven, but it was a bit better now. Zoe would arrive soon though. It made her feel better.

All she had to do was wait for Zoe to arrive.

****

After what it seemed like an hour, but what was only 7 minutes, the door to her room opened, revealing Zoe. She had a tub of ice cream in her hand.

“Oh babe, it’s ok, everything is going to be fine, I’m here,” she said, wrapping up Layla in a hug. Zoe started rubbing small circles in her back. It was soothing, and it spurred her on more. Layla started sobbing again, now on Zoe’s shoulder, making her jumper wet, but she couldn’t care less.

“Shush, it’s ok, let it all out, we can talk later if you want, just let it all out now,” Zoe said lowly, and held on to her, smoothing her hands on Layla’s back.

It took another 10 minutes for Layla to recover.

“Now, we are going to have ice cream, and then we are going to talk about that,” Zoe said, and pointed to the bottle of pills on the nightstand. Layla felt utterly embarrassed, because not only she had cried on her friend’s shoulder, but also made herself look like a freak now.

“’M sorry,” Layla mumbled, and grabbed one of the spoons and dug into the ice cream. It was her favourite, mint chocolate chip. She didn’t know what she did to deserve someone like this.

After some time, Layla started talking. “Thank you, umm, for the ice cream, and, uh, for coming here, you know, because, I don’t know what I was about to do, or what I would’ve, uh,”

“You are rambling,” Zoe interrupted her with a small smile. Layla ducked her head, because, yes, she kept embarrassing herself beyond the realm of possibilities.

“I’m sorry, I’m just, overwhelmed I guess,” Layla said and shrugged, aiming for nonchalance, but coming off as too rigid.

Zoe sighed after a few minutes of silence. “I get it if you don’t want to talk about it, whatever ‘it’ is,” she said. “But one day you have to talk to me about all this stuff, and you might as well do it today,” she finished, looking at Layla expectantly.

Layla started fidgeting. This was the tough part. How is she going to talk about all this? What if Zoe freaked out? What if she thought Layla was mentally unstable? What if –

“I can practically see gears turning in your head Layla,” Zoe said huffing. “I can leave, if you want to be alone, but I don’t think you should be alone now. It’s your choice,” she said, raising her hands in a defensive gesture.

Layla took a deep breath. She can do this, she has to do this. Zoe would probably not judge her, she was a good person.

“I’m just tired of everything, you know? It’s never one single thing. It’s always so many small things. Seems simple on the surface, but problems like that run deep, and I can’t help but give into depressing thoughts. My parents don’t even talk to anyone in the house anymore. It’s been almost a year since I’ve had a double-sided conversation with my brother. I don’t even know what Cam is doing, I won’t blame her. I’m really happy that she finally got together with her boyfriend, doesn’t exactly mean she has to ignore me. And there is school,” Here, Layla had to stop, because her breath was erratic again.

Zoe cuddled next to her and rubbing her back. It was grounding. She had to let this all out. Maybe then, everything will be better.

“I’m really glad that I’m not one of the most bullied kids, hell, I’m not even teased much now-a-days. But. It’s all inside, you know? The way once I was treated, pranked everywhere. There were days when I had to come home dripping wet because people thought it would be funny to pour a bucket of cold water on me in the middle of winter. I learnt to ignore all that, but it is all there, still inside. I don’t know what to do, how to let it go. To be honest, I’ve not spoken this much in a very long time. I was never social, but at least I had some people to talk to. And all of those people are now busy, or fighting. I’m really glad that you’re here. Thanks, you know, for listening to all this crap. It’s not like you’re obligated to hear to all this, oh no, I’m boring you, aren’t I?”

Zoe was looking at her softly. “You need not apologise for this Layla, everyone needs a shoulder to cry.  And I was the one who wanted you to talk, right? So, let it all out. And please tell me what the deal with these pills is.”

“Umm,” Layla was flushing with embarrassment now. How could she explain this? It was a silly decision at the time, and now she couldn’t even believe she had thought to take away her own life. Ugh, everything sucks.

Zoe nudged her, motioning her to continue.

“It was one of the lowest days, and I didn’t know where all the thoughts came from. It was addictive, those ugly voices in my mind saying I wasn’t worth anything. So, on a whim, I purchased these. I had absolutely forgotten about them, until today. Actually, um, do you remember I had a pack the day we met?”

Zoe nodded.

Layla hid her face in her hands. “That was the day I bought them. It was why I was so awkward on that day. I was so anxious that you’d find out and tell my parents or something like that…..” she drifted off sheepishly.

“Layla, answer this question truthfully. Did you take any of them before I came here?” Zoe asked her with a serious face. Layla shook her head. “No, I didn’t. Would have probably taken if you hadn’t called though. Not much! Maybe 3 or 4, just to sleep and stuff you know…..” she trailed off, not lifting her face.

It was quiet for some time. This is it, Layla thought. I’ve scared away the only person who was willing to help me by acting like a freak, now she is going to pity me, give me a poor excuse, leave the house, never come back –

“You have to talk to your parents about this,” Zoe said quietly.

Layla lifted her face from her palm and looked at the other girl questioningly. “What do you expect me to say to them? ‘Mom and dad, your fighting gives me depression, so can you please stop?’ I can’t say that to them Zoe, I just can’t,” Layla said shaking her head. How could she even approach the topic? Maybe, talking out with her parents might actually help, but it was not like she could drop a bomb like this suddenly.

“That’s exactly what I’m telling you to do. You have to speak to them. Someday, while you all are having dinner? Talking it out will certainly help, Layla. If you don’t tell them what’s wrong, they will never know. And you are definitely going to speak to Noah. No, don’t give me that look, you’re not escaping this. Speak to him privately, he will definitely understand,” Zoe said with a determined look on her face.

Layla thought about this. What if it actually worked? Maybe she can bring up the topic on Saturday family dinner. Perhaps, her parents will listen to her. But, what if everything gets worse?

She voiced this to Zoe. Zoe heaved a sigh, taking Layla’s hand in hers. “You have to take this risk, because you will never know what happens if you never talk to them. Can’t go that bad right? You have to explain them, because it is not only affecting you, but it’s affecting them too. Don’t you want your parents to be happy? Think of it that way.”

It made sense. Maybe she could do this.

No, she is going to do this.

“Ok,” Layla breathed out. “Ok, I will talk to them tomorrow. We have our Saturday family dinner night, and it’ll be better if I bring it up then. Noah might side up with me, too.”

Zoe smiled at her brightly, holding her arms out for a hug. Layla hugged her tightly. This was good. She can do this.

“Now, the next thing. You are going to call Cam now.”

Layla startled out of the hug. She was shaking her head frantically. “No, no I can’t do this. Not now. Please, just…I don’t even know if she will pick up the phone. I swear, I’ll call her tomorrow first thing in the morning. You can be with me too, that is if you want….”

“Ok, but you have to call her tomorrow. No more procrastination. And yes, of course, I’ll be there with you, ok? Don’t worry babe, you’re not troubling me. I don’t have any other important work other than helping you, yeah? Just relax, everything is going to be alright, calm down,” Zoe was hugging her again.

Layla sagged in relief. Things were looking better. She had to talk it out with everyone. She was overwhelmed with the thought of talking to Camilla again. Wow, it would be so good.

“Thanks Zoe. You wouldn’t understand how much you’ve helped me, how much you being here means to me. I don’t know how to thank you better, I’m just really happy that I have someone I can depend on. Thank you.”

“Its ok babe, you can always ask me anything, and you’re welcome. Please don’t hesitate to talk to me. And lastly,” Zoe seemed to hesitate.

“What’s wrong?” Layla asked nervously.

“Can you please flush off the pills? Please? I don’t want them near you. It’s not like I don’t believe you, but we never know when we will hit our lowest. Things like these are too tempting. Can you please do that Layla?”

Of course she can do that. Layla stood up, nodding. She took the bottle and made her way to the restroom. She saw that Zoe was coming too. Good.

Once she reached there, she took a deep breath and opened the bottle. There were so many pills. Pills she had thought of taking. What would have they felt like? What would they feel like? Will it actually kill her? Maybe she could nick one and keep somewhere –

“Layla, look at me,” Zoe’s voice was stern. Layla lifted her head and saw Zoe shaking her head. “You have to do this now babe, come on. Just spill them in and flush them. You don’t need them. You hate them. So, come on just do it.”

Layla swore under her breath. She can do this. This stuff could kill her, and she didn’t like that thought much.

So, she did the right thing.

****

It all got better from there.

That night, Zoe stayed with Layla. They ended up staying awake for a long time, talking about anything and everything. She felt relieved, free in a way she had never been. It was nice, lying by each other’s side and just enjoying the feeling of company. They ended up sleeping cuddled and Layla was not surprised to find it was one of the best night’s sleep she has had in some time.

The next day Layla called Camilla as she promised. Zoe was with her all through the call, giving her a thumbs up whenever something went good.

Layla had talked to Camilla about missing her. Cam had repeatedly apologized and said that she was just caught up in the moment. Then they proceeded to talk for another 20 minutes before ending the call, promising to hang out soon. Camilla had said she was very eager to meet Zoe, which was rather fantastic because Layla couldn’t wait for her best friends to become best friends.

Things were really looking good.

****

Layla was trying not to freak out.

Because, mom had called her down for dinner. And she didn’t know if she could have this conversation. But she had to do this.

Psyching herself up, Layla got up to leave her room when a notification popped up in her phone. Entering the passcode, she saw it was from Zoe.

Zoe ????: I can feel you getting worked up from here ???? just go there and do it, everything will be alrighty, good luck xxx

Grinning at her phone, Layla typed out a reply.

Thanks babe I really needed that xxx

She let out a deep breath. This had been going on for rather long time. This was the time to do it.

Time to face the music.

****

Dinner went on without a hitch. Surprisingly, they all were making small talk and chuckling at something Noah had said. It had been a long time since they had a nice night like this. Layla felt a pang of emotion, because now she had to speak up, even if it meant ruining the good mood.

“Ok everyone, clean the table and come back for dessert. We are having ice cream today!” her mother exclaimed and went on to put the dishes in the sink. Layla took 4 bowls and scooped up some dessert into each one. Noah helped her bring it back to the table, and they both shared a small smile.

She sat down and took a deep breath. Here goes nothing.

“Mom, dad I, uh, want to speak to you both about something important,” she started with the clichéd dialogue.

The table was quiet now, her family looking at her curiously. While she was gathering her courage to speak up again, her brother blurted out, “You aren’t pregnant, are you?”

Both of her parents inhaled sharply. Layla froze. And then she let out a laugh. She started laughing hysterically then. Her parents were looking at her with concern, while Noah was looking at her with narrowed eyes.

“No, oh my god, nothing like that,” she managed to get out once her laughter subsided. The others looked relieved at the information. “It’s, um, actually about you both,” she said quietly, gesturing to her mom and dad. They looked surprised.

“What about us, love?” her dad asked her.

“I really don’t what’s going on between you two, and I don’t know if it’s in my place to ask you. But, are you two alright? Because you both have been fighting a lot more than usual in the last few weeks. It’s worrying for me to see you both like this. Are you two, uh, going to split up?” Layla asked them nervously, biting her lip.

“Oh,” her mom let out a small sound, looking pained. Her eyes were filling up with tears now and Layla felt really bad now. She has spoiled the good mood now. What was going to happen now? What if her parents were really going to split up?

“Actually, I too wanted to speak about that mom. Is everything alright? If something’s the problem you guys will tell us right?” Noah asked from beside her, looking a little bit scared.

Her parents looked at each other for a moment. Then her dad sighed and started speaking. “No, we are not planning on splitting up, darlings. It’s just, we’ve been too stressed lately, with both of us working a lot, and it’s just, I don’t know, we are kind of, out of sync? You could say that, because we have never had a rough patch like this. So we were actually planning on taking a holiday, you know, to blow out all the steam. Just 4-5 days, somewhere near the sea…..”

Layla was surprised. Whatever she had been imagining, it was not this. “You guys are going on a trip?! Wow, that’s so awesome! When were you planning to tell us, though?” she teased her mom. Her mom was blushing a little, trying to wipe out her tears.

“We have not confirmed our destination yet, so we thought we will let you know once everything is confirmed. We’ll probably be leaving in the end of the month,” her mother said, smiling softly at her dad.

“I’m so happy for you guys!” Layla stood up and rounded the table. She hugged her dad first, then her mom. This was wonderful. She couldn’t be happier for her parents, as they were finding a way to deal with their disagreements. Her brother and her dad were discussing the travel options quietly, on the other side of the room. This was really good. Nothing like she feared. Everything was taking a good turn for once.

“I’m sorry Layla, I’m so, so sorry,” her mother was sobbing quietly, her face buried in Layla’s hair. Layla could feel her own tear springing up. “We didn’t mean to cause you any distress love, I didn’t know we were that blatant. I’m really sorry for putting you in such an uncomfortable position. I swear, we will try our best hereafter,” she said looking slightly devastated, tears running down her face.

“Its okay mom, just, uh, I didn’t have anyone to talk about all this stuff for some time. But, don’t worry, now I’m better. I’m really happy for you though, enjoy your vacation. You guys deserve it. Just…..” She trailed off, not knowing how to say it out.

“What is it love? You can tell me anything, you know that right?” her mother asked her looking worried.

“Can you please communicate better next time? Because, it is tough for me when you both are angry, and I feel out of place, I don’t know what to do…..”

“Oh my god,” her mom hugged her fiercely. “Layla, we’re so sorry love. We are the worst. I promise you, this will not repeat. I am really sorry and don’t worry, we will make it up to you darling. I’m so sorry you had to go through all this alone,” her mom was sobbing again.

“Its okay mom, it really is. Just please don’t repeat it. And for the record,” she looked at her mom and smiled, “I think we need a family trip soon. After you guys come back. Can we plan something, please? Nothing extravagant, just somewhere simple. I’ve been missing you all.”

“Of course, we will do it. You and your brother discuss about it and tell us. We all need a break. It has been a crappy month for all of us.”

“Love you, mom.” “Love you too, baby.”

“Ok all, I think its enough tears for one day. Why don’t we all watch a film? Noah, you can choose it, just don’t choose some sci-fi none of us understand…..” her dad laughed wrapping his arms around both her and mom. Noah too joined in and they held together for a few minutes. Layla was beyond relieved. She was really happy, too.

She felt belonged.

****

Her dad apologised to her later that night.

“I’m sorry Layla. We know we’ve been selfish and stupid recently, but that’s no valid reason for us to act like that. I’m sorry that I’ve not been paying attention to you. Your mom and I will be better from now. And, you are going to plan a blast our family trip,” he winked at her and gave her shoulder a squeeze.

Layla pulled her father into a hug and kissed his cheek. “Its ok though. Try not to repeat, please. Love you,” she mumbled into his neck.

“Love you too, Layla.”

****

Later that night, she texted Zoe.

Mom nd dad going on second honeymoon????????everything great, talk to you in the morning, goodnight xx

She went to bed happier than in a very long time.

****

“Noah, can I speak to you for a sec?”

The next morning, both her parents had driven away to shop for their trip. It left Layla with Noah, and she wanted to get over with it, all at once.

“What’s up? Any problem, Layla? Any boys to beat up?” Noah flexed his biceps playfully, and Layla chuckled. She hoped it went the same way last night’s discussion went.

“Why are you always in the assumption that it is something to do with boys? I’m not even dating anyone,” she said laughing. She settled on the couch next to him, wringing her hands nervously.

Layla was thinking of some way to start the conversation when Noah spoke up.

“Hey Layla, I, um, wanted to apologise, you know, for shouting at you on Friday,” he said, looking sheepish.

Layla was taken aback. This was not how she expecting her morning to go.

“I know this is not a valid excuse, but I’m sorry. I was just so pissed that day, and I’m sorry you had to bear the grunt of it. And, um…..” he trailed of looking everywhere but at her.

“What?” she prompted him.

“Oh god, this is the worst. I’m the worst. I’m sorry sis, I’ve been complete crap to you for the last few months. I’m not sure what got into me, but it was just, school sucks and all that. Then,” his face became rigid here, “my girlfriend cheated on me and I just, snapped maybe? I’m really sorry that I used you as a punch bag. I’m really sorry, and I want to make it up to you. Will you accept my apology?”

The first thing Layla asks is, “You had a girlfriend? I never knew!”

“Yeah, emphasis on had, and can we not talk about her? I’ll surely tell you everything about that one day. Now, come to the important thing. So, apology accepted or not?”

Layla comprehends the situation. Just because her brother had a shitty time, doesn’t mean that he can show it one her. She voices that thought. Noah winces.

“I know, I know, that’s a really poor excuse, and I’m an absolute trashcan. That’s why I’m asking sorry to you,” he says and looks at her with wide, honest eyes.

Layla sighs. “I accept your apology Noah, doesn’t mean I forgive you. I had one of the worst times of my life on Friday, and it feels like crap to know that your own brother won’t be there to help you….”

“What happened on Friday? Did you fall or something? Did someone –”

“Not much, just had a panic attack,” Layla deadpans. Noah freezes.

“You had a panic attack?” his voice is eerily quiet.

“Yeah, but thankfully, Zoe was here and she helped me through it. We even had a sleepover. But that’s not the point though.” Layla said, looking at him carefully.

When Noah lifts his head, his eyes are filled with tears. “I’m the worst brother,” he says hiccupping. “I’m so sorry Layla. Oh shit, you had a panic attack and I didn’t know. What if your friend was not able to make it? What if I never knew? Christ, I’m really sorry for being a scumbag Layla,” he sobbed into his palms.

Layla was not expecting such a strong reaction. She was astounded.

“Hey Noah, its okay, yeah? It’s over and thankfully Zoe was there. You don’t worry. Come on now, don’t cry. All you have to do is promise me that you’ll speak to me more. Can you do that?”

“Pinky promise, I will speak to you a lot more. I’m really sorry for being a shit brother. I can’t even tell you how sorry I am. How do I make it up to you? Ask me anything Layla.”

Layla grinned and tackled her brother in a hug. “I will surely keep that offer in mind. For now, just cuddle with me and let’s watch some trash television.”

“I can definitely do that.”

They settled on the couch more comfortably and threw a blanket over their laps. Some old sitcom was playing, and by the end of the hour they were laughing so hard that they were hiccupping with tears.

As the show ended, a contented silence settled over them.

“Hey Layla?”

“Hmm?”

“You wanted to talk about something? That’s why you came searching for me, right?”

“Yeah,” Layla sighed. “I wanted to ask you what was wrong and why you weren’t talking properly, but you yourself solved that…..”

Noah stared at her and broke into a grin.

“I’m sorry. Love you.”

Layla beamed. She smashed her brother’s cheeks in her hands and planted a kiss on his nose. Noah scrunched his nose in disgust and pushed her away.

“Love you too, you sap.”

****

That evening, they adopt a puppy. Layla sends a picture to Zoe. There is no reply for 5 minutes, so she ignores it. 10 minutes later, Zoe comes running into their garden.

“OH MY GOD!!” she squeals as soon as she sees the puppy. Zoe approaches the pup slowly and lends a hand towards him, as if to test his reaction. The puppy tilted his head and regarded her for a moment. Then, he places his paw in her palm. Layla grinned.

“Layla please tell me you haven’t named him yet!! I want to name him. Please, pretty please, can I name him?” Zoe looked at her pleadingly. Layla brought her fingers to her chin and tilted her head, as if thinking.

“You’re the worst,” Zoe mumbled under her breath and scratched the pup between his ears. The pup closed his eyes and arched into her touch with a soft sound.

“I heard that!” Layla giggled and made her way towards Zoe. “You can name him, but don’t choose something ridiculous,” Layla pleaded as she watched her best friend coo at the puppy.

Zoe was deep in thought for some minutes. Then, “Ash. Let’s name him Ash.”

Layla groaned and flopped on the ground. It was silly, but cute. She couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across her face. A black Labrador named Ash. Marvellous. “Ash, it is, then.”

Zoe cheered and landed next to her, snuggling with Ash. Layla rolled over and cuddled them both, sighing happily.

“Happy?” Zoe asked her with a blinding grin.

“Happy,” Layla replies with a grin of her own.

Maybe, life didn’t suck much at all.

****

I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

And all those things I didn't say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

****

Title taken from Fight Song by Rachel Platten.

NOTE: Helping someone with depression can be a challenge. If someone in your life has depression, you may feel helpless and wonder what to do. Learn how to offer support and understanding and how to help your loved one get the resources to cope with depression. Here's what you can do.

  • LEARN THE SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION: For many people with depression, symptoms usually are severe enough to cause noticeable problems in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships with others. Other people may feel generally miserable or unhappy without knowing why. Children and teens may show depression by being irritable or cranky rather than sad.
  • ENCOURAGE TREATMENT: People with depression may not recognize or acknowledge that they're depressed. They may not be aware of signs and symptoms of depression, so they may think their feelings are normal. All too often, people feel ashamed about their depression and mistakenly believe they should be able to overcome it with willpower alone. But depression seldom gets better without treatment and may get worse. With the right treatment approach, the person you care about can get better.
  • IDENTIFYING THE SIGNS OF WORSENING DEPRESSION: Everyone experiences depression differently. Observe your loved one. Learn how depression affects your family member or friend — and learn what to do when it gets worse.
  • UNDERSTAND SUICIDE RISK: People with depression are at an increased risk of suicide. If your loved one is severely depressed, prepare yourself for the possibility that at some point he or she may feel suicidal. Take all signs of suicidal behaviour seriously and act immediately.

For more details, visit: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007

All details are taken from the above website.

Don’t hesitate to help, because you never know when it’s too late.

Spread love. Stay safe.

Treat People With Kindness. – Harry Styles.


Submitted: November 15, 2020

© Copyright 2020 I'mlikeWTF. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Ann Sepino

Nice! This reminds me of my best friend and how we always supported each other during rough times, especially when anxiety & depression came knocking.

I wish all roots of A/D did come from simple misunderstandings, but more often than not, that's not the case. u_u Still, thanking you for helping to bring more awareness to mental health & well-being. Kudos! :)

Mon, November 16th, 2020 6:48am

Author
Reply

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I'll be sure to take your views into account when I write the next time.....hope you and your friend are doing better :))

Sun, November 15th, 2020 10:53pm

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