Story of a Girl
By Curtis Grace
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Her world was spinning. As she sat on her bed, the walls seemed to rotate around her. Paintings and posters blurred into a blue-gray streak. Only 2 things in the room remained still. The disposable razor on her bathroom sink and the phone on her bed stand. On the floor lay the torn remains of her yearbooks and remnants of pictures of her friends and ex-boyfriend. Not ten minutes ago he had called and dumped her without explanation. Her friends were rejecting her and she now realized this. After the call she tore into every photograph of friends and her ex-boyfriend. As her thoughts spun faster, more things in the room stood out clear in the chaos surrounding her. The bottle of Aspirin, the cell phone on the dresser, the bible on the bookshelf. The money on her bed stand. Puzzled by this, she struggled to focus on the 20 Dollar Bill. A seven-digit number was scrawled on it. These objects began to adopt shades that contrasted themselves from the others. The bible, phone and money were glowing white and gold, while the aspirin and razor carried a black and red luminance. Her head was spinning though, and these made no relevance to her as she collected these items and placed them on the bed. She attempted to unscrew the cap of the aspirin, only to be foiled by the childproof cap. She picked up the razor and attempted to remove the blade, but she could not concentrate through the dizzying confusion inside her head. She picked up the twenty-dollar bill and read the number several times. She picked up the cell phone and slowly entered the seven digits into the phone. Using her last bit of sanity for the moment, she hit the send button.
He was not handsome, charming or perfect. He was smart, but not a genius. He was a decent guy, nice to women, slightly athletic, and a devout churchgoer with whom she was good friends with. She was comfortable around him.
His phone rang at 11:01 PM this night, roused from his sleep by his cell phone's annoying jingle. He muttered a tired "Hello?" into the phone.
She asked if it was him. Something in her voice prompted him to sit up in his bed.
"Yeah, It's me. What's up?" he asked, recognizing the voice.
"It's you? Good, cause I was hoping it was, I saw the number on the twenty and I thought it was you but I wasn't sure. God I can't think, my mind is spinning, I can't recognize my hand in front of my face, I feel so dizzy. Hello? You still there?" she asked into the phone. He could distinguish the confusion in her voice and was now fully awake and very concerned.
"Are you okay? What's the matter?" he asked.
"Would you miss me, you know, if I was gone? I mean, for real, because people say they'd miss you but they really wouldn't, they're just saying it to make you stop talking, ya know?" she asked in another delirious sentence.
By this time he was fully dressed and in his basement. He had just recently got his license to drive, and he had just bought a new Ford Taurus. He had left a note on the kitchen counter.
"Just stay cool, okay? Don't do anything except come to your front porch and wait for me, I'll be right there, just wait. I'll be there in ten minutes," he said on the cell phone, glued to his ear, almost literally. At this time he was not aware he had more than friendly feelings for this girl, but he was worried and was in a quick rush to get to her, sure that if he got to her she'd be okay.
"Front porch..., yeah..okay, when?" she asked slowly.
"Give me ten minutes, and I'll be right there, I promise," he said as his car pulled out of the garage.
"Don't hang up please, everything is crazy still, j-just don't shut me out," she begged of him. He calmly agreed and kept constant communication with her until he was in her driveway.
She was sitting on her hammock, rocking back and forth. He rushed up to her. He checked her wrists and smelled her breath. No alcohol, drugs or cuts.
"Have you taken anything?" he asked her.
"I tried, but I couldn't get the cap off. I tried to get the razor off, but I couldn't unscrew it. I called the number on the money cause it was all I could do. E-everything is crazy. I'm sorry I got you up," she apologized.
"Don't apologize," he consulted,"that was probably the smartest thing you've done all night. Where are your parents?" he inquired.
"My parents? They're in Cincinnati getting on a plane for Bermuda. Their anniversary is Tuesday. I have a key though, to the door, but I think it may be unlocked so we won't...need the key," she said, struggling to put the words together.
"What's the matter?" he asked her, kneeling so he was at her level.
"Everything is crazy, spinning. I-I can't think straight, it's all random, I can't barely see straight," she said.
He helped her out of the hammock and led her into the house, and up to her room. On the bed with the red comforter was the 20-dollar bill, the NIV Translation Bible, The BiC disposable razor and the Bayer Aspirin. Photos and yearbooks lay scattered and torn about the floor.
She sat down on the bed and picked up the aspirin and the razor. He quickly took them from her and put them in his pocket. As he looked around, the only photos he saw intact were the ones of just her and her family. He picked up the fragments and looked at them. Soccer Pictures, band, gymnastics, church, track, cross country, softball, county fair, swim team, slumber parties, boyfriends, best friends, cliques. A picture of her recent boyfriend was torn into over thirty pieces. He looked up to her and asked her why.
"A year ago, I thought I had friends, I thought people liked me. Now I know they hate me and they use me. Everybody,” she replied.
"Everybody?" he asked her.
"No, I guess not. You and maybe three other kids our age, and maybe five adults. That's it,” she said.
"Well that's at Least nine people that don’t Hate You. Most of them probably love you," he said.
"I don't think so. Love is a scam. I don't think it exists. People may like other people a lot, but not love them," she replied.
"I think Love exists and is very real," he told her, looking her in the eyes.
The gaze punctured her heart as he looked earnestly into her eyes.
"Do you love me?" she asked him. He froze. He began to think quickly. Yes, he wanted to say, with all his heart. But he wasn't even sure that he loved her. He began to dig deep into his feelings. He felt that maybe he did love this girl.
"How? As a friend, or more?" he asked
"Both," she replied, it was now her gaze that punctured him, earnestly seeking an answer. But he was sure of it now.
"Yes, and yes,” he replied, repeating her name, "I do love you, and now you know that. And you see, you're not hated by everyone because I love you."
The room stopped stopped spinning. Grey and Blue Smears separated and focused into their previous form. Wallpaper design was distinct now, as were the paintings and posters hanging around her room. The bright lights dimmed slightly. What had seemed like a nauseous carnival ride was now transformed into peaceful, serene setting.
"It's normal,” she declared
"What's normal?" he asked.
"The World. It stopped spinning, my stomach isn't sick anymore. Everything is clearer now. Do you really love me?" she asked him.
He thought about this again, but he confidently replied,"Yes" again.
She came off the edge of the bed and wrapped her hands around him. She began to cry, her tears leaving a dark stain on his gray t-shirt. Between sobs she apologized to him."
"I wanted to leave, I thought everybody hated me and I wasn't appreciated or understood. But you appreciate me, understand me, you Love me. I can't believe how close I was to leaving you. I'm sorry," she sobbed in broken fragments.
"It's over now," he comforted her.
"How long are your parents gone?" he asked. He was worried that she may return to her previous state of mind in her parents’ absence.
"2 weeks, why?" she asked, looking up from his shoulder.
"I don't want to leave you by yourself for two weeks. You should stay with someone," he told her.
"You?" she asked. He wasn't sure how to answer.
"I don't know, whoever you can stay with. If I am the only one that will let you stay with me, then of course. But I'll wager to think my parents would want a say in this. But for tonight you can definitely stay the night at my house, they'll understand. But you might have to stay somewhere else for the rest of the two weeks. It'd be an awkward situation, you know, if you stayed with me," he said.
"I know what you mean. I understand. Let me get some stuff together," she said, standing up.
"I'll wait in the car,” he said, heading for the door.
"NO! Don’t leave me alone, not yet. Just wait," she asked. So he leaned against the wall by her door, looking down on the fragments of photos on the floor. One by one, he picked them off the floor and set them on her bed.
"You can throw them all away," she said from the bathroom. He nodded and slipped all of the ripped and torn pieces of pictures into her trashcan.
"Tell me again," she asked from the bathroom door.
"Tell you what?" he asked her.
"That you love me," she said, looking at him as he rose from his crouched position.
"I Love You,” he said, looking her in the face, amazed that those three words had delivered her from a world of chaos and confusion.
His parents were awakened by his entrance at nearly 1:00 in the morning. He told her to go upstairs into his room while he explained everything to his parents. They accepted the situation for tonight, provided he sleep downstairs on the couch. And they would accept the situation for the next to weeks if another location couldn't be found suitable for the girl he loved. He excused himself to go upstairs and get a blanket and pillow from the linen closet. He passed his room, and she called out to him. He entered the room where she sat on the bed, ready to go to bed. She got up and came close to him.
"Do you still love me?" she asked him.
"Of course," he replied.
"Don't ever stop telling me that and I'll never get tired of hearing it. It saved my life,” she told him
"Do you love me?" he asked her. He had already told her dozens of times that he loved her, but he had never heard her say that to him.
She was surprised at the question, but it soon occurred to her that he needed her, not as much as she needed him, to declare her love to him. She couldn't find the words to tell him, she was overwhelmed with emotion. She did all she could do. She kissed him. After the kiss, she was able to tell him, "Yes, I Love you". He smiled and excused himself to go get his blanket and pillow. As he passed the door again before leaving, she called out, "I Love you." He turned and replied, “And you know that I love you."
All of the thoughts that had thrown her mind in incoherent ramblings hours before disappeared completely. She had a reason for living again.