Emma Carter (Pt. 1)

My room hasn’t been clean in months. My head is a cloudy mess. My body isolated from society. I haven’t left my bed besides to binge eat in two weeks. I don’t remember the last time I showered. My friends gave up on me. I don’t blame them. Maybe I should get out of bed today. Or maybe today will be the day I finally disintegrate into this bed…. 

Mornings are all the same: alternating between sleeping and scrolling through the internet. I was having an exceptionally bad morning, seeing horrible news on my Twitter feed and angry people in the comments on Facebook. I’d seen everything on YouTube last night in one of my binge-watching late nights. Bored was an understatement. 

In the middle of another suicidal thought, I found a post on Tumblr I’d never seen before. It said, “you don’t need to hit rock bottom to get help” and it resonated with me. Maybe I had been subconsciously looking for a sign, maybe I was open to advice at that moment, or maybe that was just what I needed to hear. Either way, it helped me out of bed that day. 

I hadn’t done it in almost six months, but I texted my therapist for a new appointment. I made myself cereal. I had a whole glass of water. I took a screenshot of the post. I sat at my kitchen table, old newspapers and dirty glasses scattered. Making room for my cereal, I stacked a few glasses in a corner. I might move them to the sink after I eat. 

Eating is tough. Nothing really has a taste anymore unless I’m manic. Today, I could actually taste again. Granted, it was chocolate-y sugar cereal, but I was taking it as a win. There was still a weight on my shoulders, but it was lessened. At least for now.

I wanted to take small steps. I didn’t want to overwork myself with self-care. So, I put the dishes in the sink. All of them from the table. Then I took a nap on the couch. It was a depression nap, but at least I was out of my dark room. The sun shone from the window behind me, warming me up under the blanket. I smiled for the first time in a month. It felt good. 

“Maybe I’ll be okay eventually.” I whispered to myself before drifting off to sleep.

He lied comfortingly.

“I know how you feel.” He lied comfortingly.

“I’m not sure I believe you.” I said, awkwardly fiddling with my hands.

“I know, but you will. You just need time.” He said, and I stupidly believed him. His lies were reoccurring. Comfort grew in his lies. Our relationship crumbled, but I couldn’t bear to live without him. He lied and cheated, and I should know better. But I was too broken to fathom leaving. 

“What if it happens again? What will I do then?” I fought back a little.

“It won’t happen again.” He said. This time it wasn’t a lie because he was referring to me finding out. He’d be more careful next time. He would make sure to close all his tabs and delete his messages. We would live a happy and lie-infested life. 

Months would go on, years passed, and I hadn’t forgotten it. I had nightmares of the night I found out, that Instagram message notification, it’s innocent but brutal ding that defined who we were as a couple. Her message, I memorized. The screenshots she sent, I saw every time I closed my eyes. I told him I got over it, but I could never. I thought about it every time he smiled, every time my phone went off. When I got message requests, I thought, “This is it. Another one. The last straw. I’m finally done.” When it ended up being nothing, I was angry. I was angry that I didn’t have a reason to leave. I was angry that I wanted to. I was angry that it had been years and I still stayed. Why didn’t I leave? What was keeping me here?

I was scared to tell any of my friends about it in fear that they would tell me to leave him. I knew it was abusive, it wasn’t that easy. He was all I knew. We dated since high school, we’d been through everything together. If I left him, I’d be leaving those memories, too. And there weren’t just bad memories, we had a lot of good ones. Watching the football games, hanging out with his friends late at night in the summer. 

I knew it was bad. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was he had me convinced I would never be happy without him, that he was the best I would ever do. I finally left him three months ago, and I’ve never been happier. I’ve been hanging out with my friends again, I moved into my own little apartment. I deleted him from my phone, blocked him on social media, and I haven’t been prouder of myself. I’m still recovering, but I’m doing a lot better already. 

A year’s time.

            Mid-summer. Sticky air. The sun set at 8 pm, now it was 9. The stars were out. The humidity ran high, but so did our spirits. We all had the weekend off from work. We could be out all night if we wanted. The possibilities were endless. We sat on the beach, the sand still warm from the day’s hot sun. A fire roared in front of us, and I looked over at you and fell in love for the millionth time. The fire illuminated your smiling face, your laughing body, and it burned deep inside me. We were young, and we had our whole lives ahead of us, the unnerving future far away from our minds.

            What we didn’t know was how little time we had left. What we didn’t know was that by this time next summer, we wouldn’t talk anymore. No one on this beach, not even me and you. The grief sits on our shoulders, knowing we could have done something, but instead we let it happen. We didn’t stop him, and we should have. For a while after the funeral, we tried to stay friends, but he was the glue that kept us all together. Without him, we were a broken group. We fought constantly, over every little thing. 

            What happened? We had so much time, just graduated high school, no real plans for our future. And now, it’s forced upon us, all because we didn’t reach out after he had another episode. We didn’t say anything when he told us he was done living, because he’d said it before and he never meant it. He was just dramatic, he’d get over it in a year or two. 

            But now he never will. And neither will we.

This story is a little different from my poems, what do you think? Just wanted to remind everyone that it’s not true, it’s just a little vignette I thought of.