24th August 2017

Creative Writing

2.4 Perspectives writing-Greer Porter

 

Forced

 

The purpose of this short story is to tell the story of Lacey Hendrick a girl struggling with grief and depression. She is trying to change her perspective on the world to allow herself to enjoy life instead of feeling only hatred towards it.It tells the struggle of her trying to find happiness and overcome her past, and how experiencing situations such as hers change you as a person.

 

Staring at the reflection of the girl in the mirror, her familiar face looks like me: long, limp, dull, brown hair, just shy of the small of her back. Ghostly pale skin, freckles scattered across the nose, murky blue eyes resting just under delicate eyelashes. Ordinary, springs to mind when I gaze at my face. A feeble attempt to curl my lips upward into some semblance of a smile results in an unfamiliar expression; a faint reminder of the girl I used to be. Glancing downwards, blue eyes flicker to the date on my phone, November 24th. I gulp down the rising lump in my throat; this day has haunted me for the past year, controlling my life at every turn, stealing every trace of happiness from me. Why me? I ponder.

 

Don’t go there Lacey, my pathetic brain already betraying my promise that this year would be different, promising, full of prospect and hope. No longer would I cave into myself. Slowly inch by inch I will crawl out, grasping at every opportunity offered to escape, assured with the knowledge that if a stay in this toxic headspace any longer, not only will I be a disappointment to my family, I will slowly suffocate myself in the chaos that is my swirling whirlwind of emotions.  

Shaking my head to escape this trance-like state I find myself in so often. I continue to stare at myself, giving myself some unspoken kind of pep talk. You will be different, Lacey. You will be confident, you will be outgoing and most importantly you will not be the same girl as last year. That girl, she was a shell of you, you without any of the thoughts and emotions that make you yourself. Don’t do that to yourself again, don’t allow yourself to slip any further away from the old Lacey.  

My fingers glide through my hair in a vain attempt to give it some volume. Eyes scan over myself for a final time, judging, critiquing. An old band tee, denim cutoffs and high top converse complete my look. The outfit makes me feel comfortable and gives me this renewed sense of confidence that reminds me of the old Lacey. The old Lacey who used to go out with her friends and listen to these bands. I long for that Lacey to be back. Somehow I figure if I dress like the old Lacey maybe she will somehow magically return to my body, freeing me from this constant state of sorrow.

“Lacey!” I hear Nat shout. “Hurry up you’re gonna be late for school and you promised me you would at least try to not be late this term, I really don’t want the school calling anymore.”  

“Coming okay”. I mutter under my breath until the rational part of my brain causes me to think better about it. “I’ll be there in a sec Nat.” I say in my most cheerful voice, wondering if people actually believe it. My ears know it sounds forced, a fabricated version of the truth. I sling my bag over my shoulder, scrambling to find my books while hurriedly shoving them into my bag. Stepping out of my room I don’t look back at in longing, I won’t allow myself to. Running down the stairs a flicker of doubt creeps into my mind, The doubt  however is soon expelled  when I place a faint smile upon my lips, Confidence growing from within me.

Nat is in the kitchen as I rush in, her face registering an array of emotions in a matter of second: shock, surprised, confused until she finally settles on a smile. Look at me, I think to myself amused, Lacey Hendrick smile giver and receiver, I guess there is hope for all. My grin increases a fraction at the thought.

“Finally Lacey,” she says with a chuckle, “ let’s go the others are in the car already.”  

As I climb into Nat’s minivan, I glance up at the others also in the van and bestow upon them one of my many smiles it seems I will be giving today. Deanna, animated as always doesn’t act like this is strange and treats me like she always has ever since we were introduced about 8 months ago. She grabs my hand, yanking me down into the seat beside her, going off into her excited chattering that I believe only Deanna can manage. Secretly I’ve always been slightly jealous of her. Not that I would want her past, god no, but only because of how after all Deanna has been through, she can still be this happy and content with her life, not letting her past affect and control her life like I have. I have to remind myself what the doctors say, everyone has different grieving processes but why, why on earth does mine have to be this long? Part of me is so ready to put it behind me, yet the rest of me just can’t let go and is clinging onto the past with an iron grip.

Nat pulls out of the driveway and while half listening to Deanna I glance around, Clark and Ricky are ignoring me,I’m fine with that you couldn’t say I’m their biggest fan. Anyway it’s not them I was looking for, it was Axel, he’s new to staying with Nat, been with her about a week and I have yet to even talk to him. For some reason he intrigues me, I know nothing about him other than what I’ve been told, his age 17 same as me and his name, Axel Lancaster, that’s it. Maybe it’s the mysterious image he exudes, maybe it’s how happy he is consider everything he must off been through to end up here. Really, I don’t know why I just have this strange urge to know more about him.

Before I know it Nat is slowing the van down and calling out goodbye to us, my legs are walking themselves towards the entrance of the school my brain, however, is paralyzed from anxiety.

My breath starts to shake and all I long to do is crawl back into my bed and forget about life for a while. I don’t know why this is so difficult it’s not like it’s my first day back at school since the accident, this feels different though, like if people see me happy they’ll expect this every day.I don’t know if I can handle that pressure, that expectation. Trying desperately to fight back with a smile but even that feels weak, I know even it can’t save me from sinking into my own emotions.

Turning around not wanting to break down right outside the school, I feel a cool hand on my shoulder, jolting me out of my panic. Taking a shallow breath to steady myself I brace my face with a smile and turn around.

 

“Hey, can i…” the words fall short on my lips as I come face to face Axel. His brown hair falls around his head in messy waves, I notice now that his teeth are slightly crooked teeth and his eyes are indeed green they suit him. “ oh it’s you” I say nice lacey real smooth  

“Hey don’t sound so disappointed now, lacey right? I’m Axel”. He says voice full of charisma and confidence

My brilliant reply “Yeah I know.. Well I mean Nat’s told me about you”

He chuckles a beautiful carefree sound that fills me with joy “I’m sure she has, anyway I was gonna ask, would you be able to show me where my first class is otherwise I’m pretty sure I’d be late, it’s a big school” he says jokingly.

“Yeah, I guess,” I say while he hands me his timetable, I examine it quickly scanning through his classes. “You’ve got history first have fun with that,” I say with a grimace, He gives me a look at that last comment but says nothing. “It’s this way” I point towards a block of buildings.

I get to my first class late, a result of the ten minute detour I took for Axel’s class. I take a deep breath as I open the door and step into the class a smile still lingering on my lips from my small interaction with Axel, he makes me feel alive and happy for the first time in ages. Without me forcing it upon myself.

The day flies quickly without incident thankfully, I decide as I’m walking out the front of the school I won’t hide in my room after school, I’ll try to hang out with the others downstairs, it’ll be good,I try convince myself.

I’m standing on the front steps of the school scanning the carpark for Nat when suddenly I hear the noises that have haunted my mind for the past year. The world slows, the crunch of gravel meets my ears ,the screeching of the brakes straining to slow the vehicle against the forces of nature, the scrape of metal against metal, the smell of burnt rubber. I turn around to examine the cause of the noise and the sight..That sight, immediately transports me back to that day a year ago where I lost everything…

It was a beautiful day, not the day you would imagine when you envision a fatal car crash. Mum and Dad were lively, excited with the prospect of a two week holiday at the beach no work just relaxing. Isobel was her ever bubbly 7-year-old self. I was pretty excited myself, the beach was my second home, it surrounded me with calm and peaceful energy only. Twenty minutes from our house the fates decided to hand my family the worst hand imaginable. A drunk, driving on the wrong side of the road was responsible for the death of my only family. I don’t recall the moment itself when I think back I remember only blackness I know only of the harsh truths the grave looking officer told me later in the hospital. My mother and father were killed on impact, Isobel survived the initial impact only to pass later in the hospital the damage to her lungs was too extensive to be saved. I, however, was ‘lucky’ only knocked unconscious and suffering severe fractures through my rib cage and legs. I didn’t feel lucky though I  had lost everything of value in my life.

After I was recovered physically, the emotional repair had only just begun.The guilt hit me like a truck bowling me over and trapping me, I felt unimaginable guilt, survivor’s guilt the doctors called it, thoughts swirled in my head, If only I had sat where Isobel had been she would have survived. She was so young and suffered such a prolonged passing. Maybe if I had been a little faster packing my bags I wouldn’t have delayed us and we would never have driven past the drunk. The doctors told me not to think about the could haves or would have’s, however, I couldn’t help myself they tore away at my brain, eating away at my sanity.

Later I believed I would be better of dead, to end this grief and guilt piling up and up day by day. For months I didn’t want to live. Didn’t believe I should live. I always knew in the hollows of my heart my parents would have wanted me to live my best life for them and for Isobel, I just couldn’t do it.The year following depression had a to greater grip on my life. That’s what today was meant to be, a fresh start for them an attempt to live a fulfilling life for them as they aren’t  around to do it for themselves.

The back of my senses awake, I feel arms on my shoulder and a voice telling me to calm down but I ignore it too caught up in my own brain, memories of that day and the months following whizzing through my mind trapping me, cornering me. I hear the voices in my head, the ones who have haunted me for far too long, shouting at me ‘you’re useless lacey, you’ll never be free of us, you don’t deserve to live, your far too weak’. I start to breakdown and believe these imaginary voices not thinking I am worthy. Not believing I’m strong enough to fight.

A trickle of reason starts to seep into my mind and I long to listen to it, to fight through the negativity and escape because in this moment I realize I don’t want to be controlled by some imaginary force anymore.To live my life to the best for me and only me is my deepest desire. Understanding crashes into me knocking me over.I know know I’ve been approaching this situation wrong the whole time trying to do everything just perfect to somehow live vicariously for my family, when really a life I love, a life I completely and utterly adore, will only come when the only reason I want to live is for me and me alone.

To my surprise the pessimistic voices start to quiet, They don’t disappear instantly and I understand now it will take me a while to completely expel my demons. It will not be an instant fix like I believed it would be. There is no magical switch I always believed was there, It will take time and I realize I’m fine with that. Voices faded I feel a sense of peace and calm settle over me. A feeling that is long awaited and gratefully accepted.

I finally come back to myself my senses working once again, hear the chatter of students, smell the air all around me and feel touch of hands on my arms.

I turn, and Axel faces me with lines of worry and confusion, I simply smile up at him. “let’s go”. I say.Convinced and assured that with this newfound will to live, and with Axel and Nat’s support and all the others who have desperately tried to help me in the past, I will no longer be the girl I have despised to be over the past year. However i will not be the old Lacey before the accident either. I have to embrace my past with open arms and accept the good and the evil that comes with that and allow it to shape me into who I want to be and who I’m destined to be. Because from experience I know forcing yourself to be anyone except who you truly are in your heart will never grant you inner peace.

 

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