The rain was hitting the windshield forcefully as she gripped the steering wheel. It was nothing but a small, midnight storm, but the rain was unforgiving as she sped down the empty freeway.
She reached over and cranked the radio up, hoping that it would at least drown out some of the noise. She could feel her heart beating furiously in her chest as she gagged down the remnants of the McDonalds fries creeping up her throat.
Storms were always scary to her, no matter how small they may have seemed. The fear brewed in her chest and it always felt like an elephant was sitting on her lungs.
It has been this way ever since she could remember. As a child, she would cuddle with her stuffed animals at night as the storms would thunder across the sky. The rain would drown out all other noise of the house, terrifying her that monsters could creep up without her noticing. The lightning would crack and she would jolt, gripping her animals closer. Everyone in the house would be fast asleep oblivious to what was going on outside, but her little eyes would remain wide open.
A sudden splash of water from a passing car takes her back to the present. All she wanted was to get to him, but the only way there was though the storm.
She softly hummed to herself and separated her mind from the situation, letting her thoughts unwillingly settle on the past again.
Her life had always been a series of ups and downs, with the down being significantly debilitating. Her mental state always seemed to be in crisis mode with sirens constantly ringing in her ears warning of the trouble to come. Sometimes it swept her so close to the edge she didn’t know if she could take anymore. But from every time she would find her way, usually in the form of a lesson being learned the hard way.
She learned quite quickly that not everybody is going to like you. Not that the bullying she suffered bothered her really, but rather when she learned a friendship was toxic and nothing more than a mental game to them. She wanted to hate those people for what they did to her, but hate was never something that she possessed for another human being. She saw that each person had their own battles to face, whether it was wanting to be popular, needing a punching bag, wanting to be smarter, or being jealous of what you had.
She always forgave them. Not because she was weak, but strong enough to know that not one single human being in existence is perfect. Which some of them falsely believed in their own perfection with every word they spoke.
She would remove the toxicity of those so-called “friends” from her life like the venom from a snakebite, but it would always leave scars that never perfectly healed.
But on one occasion, she let a perfect friendship go for the stereotypical reasoning of friends becoming more than friends, then both watching it crash and burn in a fiery glory. But now she sees it more like the birth of a star than destruction because both have grown a little from it and distanced themselves so it is nothing but a mere blip of light in the night sky.
He would cross her mind every now and then. But never did she feel hate for him. Just fear that when she sees him again, she’ll fall right back to where she was before. The girl that fell for a boy she could never have. He’ll always have this little place in her heart, one that sometimes aches, but still remembers all the good they had going, whether it was as friends, or more than that.
The familiar signs on the road gave her a sense of comfort as she pulled off the freeway. When resting at the red light, the rain seemed to hold back a bit, lightly tapping on her windshield.
When she pulled up on the dark driveway, the rain had all but gone and only the sound of light rumbles echoed in the distance.
She leapt from her car, flying to the front door where he was waiting with that ever-glowing smile and his barking sidekick by his feet. She ran, arms outstretched, until she collided with him, nearly knocking him over.
When she embraced him, it was a beautiful feeling. She nestled her head into the crook of his neck and breathed him in. She ran her hand again the cotton of his shirt as she felt him wrap his arms around her waist. Not a word would be said between them, but a lot was said by the way they held each other there in that moment.
“I’m sorry you had to drive through that, babe. Don’t worry, the storm’s almost gone,” he says, pulling his head back and looking into her glistening eyes.
She smiled, and again rested her head against his shoulder.
A sense of peace washed over her, because for the first time in a long time, she knew she wouldn’t have to face the storms alone.