Burying the Castle

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young college student recalls the events leading up to a friend’s visit to a hospital. Based on the song “Brick by boring brick” by Paramore, for EliseMarieRenspera’s contest. Enjoy!

Submitted: June 18, 2010

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Submitted: June 18, 2010

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I shifted uncomfortably in the plastic seat I was sitting in. Tipping my head back against the wall, I stared at the bright hospital light above me, without really seeing it. The waiting room was pretty empty, the only other people here being a mum and her little boy, who seemed to have a broken leg, and a young woman with a bandaged hand. There was nothing wrong with me though; Iwasn't waiting for a check-up.
My best friend had had a drug overdose. I didn’t know if it was on purpose and if it was why she did it. All I knew was that yesterday morning I’d walked into her flat and found her collapsed in a heap on the floor of her bathroom.
There was music playing quietly, softly out of a small speaker on the wall. The song lyrics wafted into my brain. I recognised the song, thanks to my boyfriend, Nate’s taste in music. Brick By Boring Brick, by Paramore. I frowned to myself. Who knew they would play a song like that in a hospital. I listened to the song until the last chord played. I found it so ironic that a bitter smile slid on my lips. I wondered if the lyricist who had written the tune had known that by writing those words she was describing my best friend, Aubrey, perfectly.
I don’t know when she started. We were in our second year of college now, and I knew, for sure that she had been fine before we left our homes in Cornwall for London and our new school. We’d both wanted to get into the same college since the beginning of sixth form, and when we both got our letters we opened them ceremoniously on the beach together. Everything had seemed so...... calm.
She flicked some of the salty water in my face as we waded in the shallow and gentle waves, and I spluttered and coughed as some of it flew into my mouth.
“Ahh! Ew. That’s gross. Sea water doesn’t taste nice.” Aubrey giggled at me, wading out of the cold water and heading towards our bags.I splashed her back one more time, and then followed her, collapsing on my towel. It was only May, still too cold for swimming. I pulled a jumper on and sat hugging my knees, staring out at the ocean. I couldn’t help my eyes from darting to the thick package wedged inside my bag.
“Aubreeeey” I whined, finally submitting to the temptation in my head. She paused her music and took out one of her ear phones.
“What?”
“Are we ever gonna open those letters?!” She cracked a smile and sat up straight, taking out the other ear phone.
“So impatient Danni!”
“Come on; don’t tell me you aren’t nervous!”
After more of our playful bickering, I waved for her to shut up, and grabbed the envelope. I read the page, staring at the words. However, the fireworks exploding in my brain were interrupted by a squeal from Aubrey.
“Danni! Danielle, I got in!” A smile that we both swore made me look like the Cheshire cat stretched across my face.
“Me too!”
That had been a good day. After that there was a barbeque on the beach with our families, and various other celebrations with our friends.
About nine months later, we were hanging out in the flat Aubrey and I shared, with my boyfriend of two months, Nate. We were taking it slow, but I really liked him, I was happy, and things were going well. I was only worried that Aubrey had no-one to laugh at and cuddle with and go out on dates with. That night was a Friday, and we were choosing what to do.
“I heard about this party one o f the girls in my lit. class is throwing for her friend’s birthday. It’s supposed to be huge, and she invited me. Well, kinda. But I bet no one will stop us from just going in.”
Nate and I were up for it, so we went. After about an hour, and a coke for me (I had promised not to drink much as I was driving home) but several drinks for Aubrey, she had excused herself from our trio, saying something about someone showing her something.
Aubrey swayed next to me, full glass in one hand, the other up in the air as she yelled along to the song playing loudly out of the speakers. I was dancing happily with Nate, when a few moments later she tapped my on the shoulder.
“I’m just gonna go over there” she slurred. “This guy,” a giggle, and a very loud whisper “He’s seriously cute by the way. Anyways, he’s gonna show me this thing.” She waved her hands in the air, wildly and dramatically. “He says it’s really cool. So, you just keep dancing here with your boy, and I’ll be right back, ok?” She smiled at me kindly, and I nodded, grinned, and waved her off to see this ‘really cool’ thing.
That was one of the reasons Aubrey was my friend, though. Even when she was drunk, she managed to stay considerate, managed to think about other people. However, after three more hours, and one of them spent looking for her, I was not happy. After Nate and I had searched again, more thoroughly, one partier who was swore that he’d seen her leave with some other guy.
The next morning, after giving Nate a Paracetamol for his headache, I called her. She sounded a little funny, but I blew it off as a hangover. She had been seriously drunk. She apologised, and, as I was never one to hold grudges with my friends, I forgot about it instantly.
In the next few months, Aubrey started going out with the guy she met at the party. He was the one who had shown her, whatever it was. She was happy, so I was happy, but I couldn’t help noticing that she was changing. Subtle differences; she was more forgetful, paler, poorer. I didn’t know how to mention it without seeming rude, so I let it go. However, one evening in late May, Nate and I were watching a movie, slacking off after working hard at a paper. Aubrey burst in, and I just couldn’t ignore it anymore.
“Hey, is that someone knocking on your door?”
“Yeah, I think it is. Hold on, I’ll go answer.” I give Nate a peck on the lips before worming my way out of his arms and heading to the door. I opened it a crack, then completely.
“Aubrey?”
“DANNI!” She yelled, and gave me a huge hug. I just stood there, while she bounced around, talking far too fast for me to properly understand.
“OkwellhoneyI’mgonnagonow, sobyebabesgodyou’rehotanywaysI’vegottagotobednowIhavework, butI’llseeyousoon, heeheethiseveningwasfunanywaysbye!” She gabbled at Adam, the guy she had been going out with. I watched him as he waved sloppily and then stumbled away.
“Aubrey...?” I asked, once the door to our flat was shut and locked. “Aubrey what the hell is it with you? It’s like you’re a three year old kid that’s had too much sugar...” She laughed loudly, then grabbed my arms and spun round.
“Come dance with me Danni!”
“Seriously, Aubrey. You’re, like, hyper...” Nate said. Coming up next to me. Aubrey just pouted.
“Stop being so boooring.” She whined, and when neither of us said anything to that she scowled. “What’s up with you guys? Why are you being so pushy? It’s not like you’re my parents!” I shook my head.
“No, but you look out for us, so we’re looking out for you. And you are a little odd tonight... you’re never normally like this. Besides, you’re my friend Aubrey; I have to take care of you!” She just scowled at me.
“Well don’t. It’s NONE of your business, and you just TOTALLY ruined my evening. So I hope you’re happy.” She snapped her tone changed to opposite of it previously. Before Nate and I could say anything she had stumbled to her room and slammed the door.
“Hyper?” Nate whispered in my ear, as he hugged me protectively. “Or high?”
She apologised profusely in the morning, but that wasn’t last time she would come home late in that strange, hyperactive mood. She got poorer still, and was always borrowing from me. I lent her what I could, but when I couldn’t spare the money she would always give me this glare. It was if she thought I was just saying that so that I wouldn’t have to give her anything. When money started to go missing, it was the last straw for Nate and me. She was our friend, and she was ruining herself.
I tried talking to her. It was last Wednesday, two days ago. College was ending in a week, and I was going to take Nate home to meet my parents. I would have been excited about it all, if it hadn’t been for worrying about her. She had been my best friend since the first year of high school, and I was terrified of what she was doing to herself. This wasn’t the first time I had tried talking to her, but previous attempts had failed as she had always backed out at the last minute. It was like she was impossible to reach. This time though, I managed to speak to her.
“WELL WHAT DO YOU EXPECT ME TO DO AUBREY? DON’T YOU KNOW ME AT ALL? I’M NOT REALLY GOING TO SIT HERE AND WATCH YOU DESTROY YOURSELF WITH THIS ADDICTION!”
“I’M NOT ADDICTED! I JUST HAVE A LOT GOING ON AT THE MOMENT! STAY THE HELL OUT OF MY BUSINESS YOU NOSY COW!”
In the end she stormed out, the glass rattling in the panes as the door slammed. After ten minutes of pacing around and wishing Nate wasn’t at work so I could hug him and kiss him and have the safe feeling I had around him, I realised that I was in the wrong. I should have handled it better; I should have been more sensitive.
Grabbing my keys I headed out the door and down the stairs towards the apartment parking lot, to my car and out onto the road. I was pretty sure she’d gone to Adam’s house. Probably I had thought to myself angrily to get her little fix of cocaine of whatever rubbish it is that’s killing her. I knew that he was the one who had lured her into having the drug the first time, and I had guessed, since he never seemed to care about her, that he was only in it for the drugs and sex.
I had parked, and on finding the door open, gone in.
“Aubrey? God, Aubrey I’m sorry. You were right, I was a cow. I’m so sorry, I’m just worried about you. Aubr- Ohmygod!”
She was just lying there on the ground, her pale skin stretched over frail bones. I kneeled down next to her shakily, my fingers desperately searching for a pulse, while muttering feverishly under my breath.
“Oh god Aubrey please let this be a joke. God, please don’t be dead. Please. Please. Please don’t be dead, please, oh pleasepleaseplease...”
I grabbed my phone from my bag, my fingers flying across the keys.
“I need the hospital, it’s my friend, I-I think she’s had a drug overdose, she-she’s collapsed. O-on the floor.” My voice trembled.
A cold, numb feeling settled in my mind as I pulled Adam’s address from somewhere in the depths of my mind, and told the voice on the receiver. It was numb as I walked back to my car and followed, slower, behind the ambulance. I drove mechanically toward the hospital. Only that evening, when I returned to find a worried Nate, was the numbness replaced with stabbing guilt. If we hadn’t argued, this would never have happened. If I had kept my mouth shut, nothing would have happened. Or if I had made her stop seeing Adam as he was such a bad influence on her. Or, if I had put my foot down when she started stealing. Or, if I hadn’t let her go off on her own at the party for so long. One thing I was positive about, it was totally my fault.
Now, looking back as I wait in the waiting room, waiting to hear if my friend, my best friend, will live or die, I know that I am not the only one to blame. But it’s still my fault she could be dead. And that is why I hate myself.
I ran through those lyrics in my head again.
She lives in a fairy tale
Somewhere too far for us to find
Forgotten the taste and smell
Of the world that she's left behind
It's all about the exposure the lens I told her
The angles were all wrong now
She's ripping wings off of butterflies
keep your feet on the ground
when your head's in the clouds
Well go get your shovel
And we'll dig a deep hole
To bury the castle, bury the castle
Well go get your shovel
And we'll dig a deep hole
To bury the castle, bury the castle
So one day he found her crying
Coiled up on the dirty ground
Her prince finally came to save her
And the rest you can figure out
But it was a trick
And the clock struck twelve
Well make sure to build your home brick by boring brick
or the wolf's gonna blow it down
keep your feet on the ground
when your head's in the clouds
Well go get your shovel
And we'll dig a deep hole
To bury the castle, bury the castle
Well you built up a world of magic
Because your real life is tragic
Yeah you built up a world of magic
If it's not real
You can't hold it in your hand
You can't feel it with your heart
And I won't believe it
But if it's true
You can see it with your eyes
Oh even in the dark
And that's where I want to be, yeah
Go get your shovel
We'll dig a deep hole
To bury the castle, bury the castle
Well go get your shovel
and we'll dig a deep hole
To bury the castle, bury the castle
Yeah. Exactly.


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