I could feel the beat of the music pounding in my chest, as if it was trying to replace the numb heart still residing there. I movedmy body to the rhythm and closed my eyes, drowning in the ecstasy of the song. The bars and drinks made the void that I called home present itself in pill that could be easily swallowed. Because dealing with problems head on will never be appealing.
Not a soul in the world knew where I was that night except the others on the dance floor spewing venom as well as drinking it. I needed a night to explore whether I was capable of feeling anything anymore. Everyday felt like a reflex, acting out the emotions appropriate for each situation, but never really feel anything.
Like laughing methodically when your friend nearly wiped outin his socks on the kitchen floor after attempting a Tom Cruise slide or crying when your friend of many years finally dealt you with the last dose of mental abuse that you could take. I couldn’teven tell you whether getting stabbed in the back like that was worse than the literal alternative.
But good things tended not to last for me anyway, even more so as the bars were closing, and all the drunken sailors were making their way back to their respective ships. I, however, decided to take a slight detour.
I stumbled to a park, holding my heels between my fingers. I dropped them on the mulch and plopped into the swing. It was the only place I could ever really feel a sense of liberation. Where for just a moment I was flying, and nobody could hold me down. I would close my eyes and feel the wind in my hair. I would relish in that single moment of anti-gravity right before falling back to the ground.
But when highly intoxicated, physical activity involving your stomach being thrown up and down doesn’t usually end well.So, I stopped pumping my legs and let the swing slow downnaturally.
I remember my toes gently brushing against the mulch as the swing swayed. I looked around, the leaves were rustling in the nighttime breeze while the colorful jungle gym equipment was sitting stagnate against the bustling river beside it.
I wondered if this would be the time and place that they would come. I mean, isn’t this the part of the story when you finally hit rock bottom and some magical person comes along and saves you? I mean, come on! Where’s Romeo running across the outdoor concert dome leaping benches just to ask “Are thou artokay”? Where’s the alien spacecraft that’s supposed to land nearby and give me some super strength after I touch a weird looking rock? Where’s Lloyd and his boombox coming down the pathway to serenade me? And for the love of all things holy where is Prince Charming because I practically chucked that glass slipper at him with my name sharpied in bold letters?
Every ounce of that little girl inside of me wanted to believe that something like that would happen, that somebody would come. But I knew better.
I knew better than to believe in all the stories that I had created as a child to save me from my reality. That all the foreign lands full of friends and magic would someday come true and they would whisk me away into the sunset. Because all they would ever be were stories in my head, and the day I realized that, I truly lost my battle with reality.
But reality wasn’t all that forgiving anyway. I looked down the street to where the boy I liked lived. He never really noticed me, though. Or took any of my advances seriously. I can’t help but feel like he had a perfect image of his lucky girl, and it for sure didn’t look like me.
To explain further, imagine if every girl in this world was a single clover in a large field built specifically for him. He has the grueling task of trying to find the four-leaf clover among all the weeds. He would get down on all fours and scan the ground like Sherlock, looking for any clues as to which is the lucky one. I happen to be that one lucky four-leaf clover, but a monster broke into the field and tried to take me for themselves. They pretended to love me, but I figured it out pretty quick and ended things. But the monster was quick thinking and decided that if they couldn’t have me, no one could. So, they ripped a leaf off and tossed it away, leaving me to look like all the other clovers.
And every time the boy I liked looked at me during his frivolous search, I looked like nothing more than a common weed. The lucky one hiding in plain sight, yet unseen.
But maybe he could hear me since the screeching of the swing that early in the morning isn’t what I could call discrete. I remember glancing in his direction, a small smile forming in the corner of my lips as I grabbed my heels and walked off. I smiledbigger, hoping to stop the tears because I knew, yet again, that he was nothing more than a love story that would never play out.But damn was it a good one.
The concrete felt cold and grainy beneath my feet as I made my way back to my apartment. The chilly fall air sent shivers up and down my spine, so I pulled my jacket in closer to my chest. I wasn’t looking forward to crossing the bridge and hesitatedslightly at the beginning of the arch.
I stopped in my tracks and my drunk mind apparently decided that I was too cold, and I needed to warm up, so the logical stepI needed to take was to go under the bridge, right?
It was too late for me to make a sane decision as I fumbled my way through the brush to get to the river’s edge. The water was quite low revealing a nice landing of rocks jutting out to nearly the center of it. I wobbled and cussed as I made my way across the chunky rocks under the bridge.
It wasn’t much warmer under there, especially since nobody seemed to be around. I stood there in silence, listening to the flowing water and the occasional person stumbling across the bridge.
But it was as if somebody hit the mute button on the remote as I suddenly realized how quiet it really was. I could feel my heart beating in my chest, my bones cracking and popping with every breath I took. There I was, living and breathing, yet unable to feel anything…but then it hit me like a ton of bricks…I could feel something, something deep down inside of me begging to get out. Something I’ve stifled for so long that it has now burst at the seams.
A rush of pure adrenaline began to fill my veins and, out of nowhere, I let out a blood curdling scream. I hurled the first heel into the river like a Hail Mary and spiked the second into the rocks before picking it up again and sending it clear to Canada.
The heels were apparently not enough, so I proceeded to pick up several rocks and chuck them as far as my wimpy arms would allow. Each were accompanied with a loud grunt and a plunk as they hit the surface of the water.
The last one I threw I didn’t quite get the footing right and proceeded to throw it and follow through with a graceful swan dive into the shallow part of the water. I jolted up like Frankenstein’s monster and yipped. The cold water shocked my body and sent it hurtling backwards as I pushed myself away from it.
I landed on my back, hitting the rocks with an ungraceful thud. Honestly, the shock of the icy water probably prevented me from feeling the smack of the rocks against my back. So, I just breathed heavily and stared up into the sky looking like a beached bridge troll waiting for their next victim.
As I lay there, several things crossed my mind. Like how this was going to hurt in the morning and how I was going to have totell my roommate her shoes ended up in the river. I’ll tell her the truth that somebody threw them in there…but I would probably leave out the part that the somebody was me.
But most importantly, I wondered why my scream echoed through the night and not a single soul seemed to hear it.
But why should they? Why should they listen for the screams of a soul in crisis and come to their aide? Why should they try to save somebody else when their too busy waiting for someone to save them too?
It’s funny because there I lay, complete broken and at rock bottom, literally, and all I can hope for is that somebody would notice me and sweep me off my feet and take me away from this nightmare.
But I know better, because the heroes are too busy fighting a fictional war in a fictional city in some fictional universe far away from the mentally shattered girl laying under a bridge at 3 am in the morning on a Tuesday.
As I lay there, I came to the devastating conclusion that I was alone. Truly alone. But even so, I knew that relishing in the role of the hopeful victim wouldn’t convince the world to change itsmind. Because girls like me only have one choice in this situation. Either lie down and wait for a somebody to save us, orget the hell up and be the hero you’ve needed all along.
I pushed myself up and steadied myself on the uneven rocks before making my way back to the brush and on top of the bridge. When I got to the center of the bridge, I let my bare feetrest against the cool of the cement as I looked out across the river.
The wide openness of the glistening water gave me a sense of serenity and I closed my eyes and sucked in a long breath before releasing it into the night along with all the stress of being the victim. Because I finally made the choice to no longer be one.
The next morning was rough, as I had predicted. Wearing my baseball cap to hide my messy hair and gripping to my coffee mug like my life depended on it. I slipped into the library and dumped my homework on a table.
As I was sitting down, I removed my jacket and hung it on the back of my chair, running my hand against the part that was still damp from our little escapade near the river the night before.
As I was about to begin my homework, I couldn’t help but notice somebody come up next to me. I didn’t look up, hoping that they would just go away.
But then, out of the corner of my eye, a pair of heels came into view. I slowly turned to face a young man with a smile written all over his face.
“I believe these are yours.”
I stared in disbelief. I just sat there like a toad on a rock. He gently placed them on the table.
He started walking away, “By the way, your scream scared the living days out of me. But I didn’t want to interrupt because you looked like you were having a moment or something,” he turned around and smiled, “a moment kinda like the one we’re having now.”
I kept staring with my jaw practically on the floor.
“See yah around,” he turned away.
“Yeah…” my words fell flat on the ground as I watched him walk away. When I came to, I jumped up from my seat, “Hey! Wait!”