“When are you going to stop looking at your phone every 5 minutes?” Avery glared at me from across the dinner table and spoke with an iced tone.
“Ave, leave your sister alone and finish your food.” My mother snapped at my younger sister for what was probably the fifth time today. Avery was only 11 to my 17 years of age and she just didn’t understand what I felt right now. I didn’t even understand what I was feeling right now.
“Its okay mom. Shes right. When am I going to stop staring at it? When will I realize that what i keep hoping for, is an impossibility. When mom?” My eyes started to burn and I could feel a few tears pushing their way through. I didn’t have many left after this past month but it always seemed like there were at least enough to show the world my obvious pain.
“Ally baby, it will happen in your own time. Its not easy when someone that was so much a part of your life disappears from it.”
“Of course I know that, but this is different. Its my fault that we aren’t together right now. Its because I wasn’t there, that my once best friend, no longer calls me. I will never see his face again or kiss his lips. I loved him and now he’s gone.” I stood up from the table and ran to my bedroom like a little kid. Tears pouring down my cheeks profusely.
I slammed my bedroom door shut behind me and just threw myself onto the bed with my face in the pillows. I knew no one would come talk to me for the rest of the evening. This isn’t the first time this scene has played out but I just couldn’t make it stop.
I wanted to just lay there and cry myself to sleep but at the same time, I was afraid to close my eyes. Every time I did, I saw him. Mark’s deep brown eyes staring into mine. Ever since I lost him, thats all Ive seen. Every memory we’ve had, every word spoken, and that final day just replays repeatedly in my head like a nightmare.
My eyes closed involuntarily and I was fast asleep in no time, despite my fears.
There he was. Lounging in the Layzboy recliner, in my living room, playing the XBOX. It was the cutest sight. To see how intense he was with just a video game. How enthralled he could become. Even though he was obviously preoccupied, he still could always feel my presence. The second I walked into the room he paused his game and turned to look at me. It always amazed me how he did that and that he even would.
“Hey, baby. Ready to snuggle?” He did a half grin and then sat the controller down on the floor and put his right hand out for me to take it. I took his hand and then curled up on top of him. I laid upon his chest for a good 10 minutes before either of us spoke. It was a small slice of heaven that turned to hell in a matter of seconds.
“Are you excited for your 18th birthday?” I had been planning a surprise party for him and the closer it got, the more excited i became. I couldn’t contain my thoughts regarding it. Today was Thursday and his birthday and party were on Saturday. I only hoped that he would be as happy about the party and his birthday as I was.
“Eh. Mildly.” He leaned down and kissed my forehead.
“What do you mean mildly? You should be super excited.”
“After dealing with the family drama at Christmas, I’m just not looking for the drama at my birthday. Its inevitable though. Ive be grounded.”
My heart skipped a beat slightly “grounded? when? why?”
Mark sighed and then started to rub my side. “I know we talked about spending my birthday together but my mother is making me stay in the house this weekend for family festivities. My sister couldn’t make it for Christmas but is coming up tomorrow instead. I need to be there. I’m sorry baby. I hope this doesn’t ruin anything. We can celebrate next weekend.”
My mind was frantically searching for something to say. It wasn’t his fault but i was hurt. I was angry. I stood up in front of him in tears already.
“Baby whats wrong? Don’t be mad.” He started to get up out of the chair and reach for me but i swiftly pulled away.
“I cant help it Mark. I am mad. You promised me.” I couldn’t control the tears or the words that started to spew. I was acting like a child. I knew it but I couldn’t stop. “I did so much Mark. You have no idea what Ive gone through to make Saturday special and you cant even fucking be there!”
“Its okay, calm down. We’ll fix this some how. Whatever you had planned we can still do it but another time.”
“Its not okay and this cant be fixed. I need you to tell me you will be with me Saturday.”
The moment I said those words, I knew what his response would be. I could see it in his eyes the moment he heard them. He didn’t even have to speak. I turned away from him and walked in the kitchen. He followed behind me trying to grab a hold of my arm.
“Please don’t walk away. How are you going to act like this? This isn’t what I had planned, it just happened. It was a last minute thing with my sister. I just found out last-night. You know I would be with you if i could. I love you Allison.”
“If you loved me, you’d be with me anyway.”
He backed away from me after I said that. The first time he actually said he loved me and I responded with that. I don’t blame him but I also didn’t care.
“You’re really going there? I tell you I love you and you don’t believe me because I choose to spend time with family, that I never see, over spending it with you. My sister goes home Sunday and you’re still here. Please tell me how this is fair?”
“Because your sister is bitch who has never been there for you. She has constantly put you down and caused problems and you don’t need to be around that negativity on your birthday. I planned so much Mark. I rented out a place that I could only get for this weekend, I had your best friend flying in to be here for you. There was so much that cant just be switched to another weekend. Its all ruined because your sister decides to drop in for her once a year visit.”
Mark just looked at me in stunned silence. I knew he was trying to decide rather or not he was going to keep talking to smooth things over or if he just wanted to walk out. I wouldn’t even give him the chance to figure that out.
“Why don’t you go home and get things ready for your sister tomorrow. I have a lot of phone calls to make for cancellations. You sure as hell better enjoy this weekend since you are putting her before me. I don’t want to hear otherwise. Call me when she’s gone.” I turned and just walked away. Leaving him standing there in the kitchen. I went in the basement to fold some laundry, half expecting him to follow me and apologize. Five minutes went by and then I heard the front door slam. He left things as they were which left me with tears of anger and sadness.
I checked my phone on and off the rest of the night and all day Friday. I was hoping he would call despite our argument. The fact that he didn’t call, found a way to upset me more. I had no right to be upset though. About any of it. My pride turned me into a monster that destroyed my relationship without any qualms. I wanted to fix everything but I didn’t know how. The first step that I took was to get over myself and call to apologize. Of course though, he didn’t answer. I should have left a message but I didn’t. He was obviously ignoring me on purpose which caused the monster to grow into an even more fierce being.
I put my phone on silent Friday evening and vowed to leave it be until Sunday, at the very least. I was even going to refuse to attempt in calling on his birthday. I went to bed around 10, angry and bitter Friday night.
I open my eyes to find Avery standing over my bed with a frightful look on her face. She put her hand on my face gently. “Its getting worse Ally. The screaming keeps getting louder.”
I looked over at the alarm clock and saw that it read 1:24. Its always 1:24. Every night, I wake up screaming to a voice inside of my head yelling for me to get up. It scared me shitless but I didn’t know how to make it stop. I knew it was my guilt trying to push its way through. It woke me up every night at the exact time that Mark tried to call me that Friday night. He had needed me but my pride shut him out. All I had left was a voice mail.
I leaned over to the nightstand and grabbed my phone as Avery walked back out of my room. I didn’t have the nerve to delete the only piece i had left of Mark. His voice remained on my phone, and every night that i was awoken, i listened to it. The way i should have listened that night.
Mark was in tears on the other line. I could hear the pain in his voice. “Ally, I’m sorry. You were right. I should have just told my family to fuck off this weekend. I had a huge argument with my sister, and then my mother, and just… a lot happened baby. I really need you right now. I’m driving across the Winters Run Bridge right now and I just want to turn right into it. I need your voice to tell me not to. I need you bring me back baby. I love you…”
The phone clicked and the call was over. The last words I had of him. I never knew that he had felt bad enough about his family to say those things. I always knew there were a lot of problems but he had never talked suicide before. Even with that voice-mail, I still have a hard time believing it. His actions though, made me believe. Made me believe in his pain that I knew nothing about. Made me believe that I was the reason this happened. I could have saved him if i wouldn’t have been stubborn enough to shut my phone off. If we wouldn’t have had our argument maybe these circumstances wouldn’t even have occurred. I tried not to blame myself but how could i not?
It had been about a month and I was still waking up to the voices. Even on the nights that I have tried to stay up past the dreaded 1:24, I would wake at 6 instead. The time my mother came in to tell me that Marks car had gone over a bridge. He was gone now and my subconscious was continually making sure that I remembered why. I never even went to his funeral because i had locked myself in my room for days. I couldn’t get over the last things i said to him. I never even told him how much i loved him too.
I deserved this. Every bit of the torture i endured in the night. He also deserved to know that. To know it all.
I don’t know what came over me but i had to leave. I needed air. I grabbed my coat and keys and jumped in my car. I didn’t care where i went, I just drove. I should have figured that if my subconscious was running things that i would end up here. Angel Hill Cemetery. Ive avoided this place since day one and yet now, here i was. I didn’t know where Mark was buried but I just walked through the grave stones and somehow manged to find his name.
My heart stilled at the sight of his name printed on the cold gray stone. For a moment i wasn’t even sure it would start up again. My legs became uncontrollably weak and i just fell to my knees into the dew covered grass and sobbed.
“I’m so sorry baby. You shouldn’t be here. This shouldn’t have happened. None of it should have happened. I love you. I should have told you that the moment you said it to me. I’m such an idiot to have let a silly thing such as pride get in the way. I had no idea that this could have been a possible outcome. I’m not ready to let you go. I cant let you go. Please come back to me..” I was sobbing to the point that i couldn’t even see any longer. i was hurting so bad and I just wish he could hear me. To know how badly i felt. How wrong I was. I would take it all back if I could.
I lay there sobbing on top of his grave for probably hours. It was the closest I had felt to him since I lost him and I never wanted to leave. I never wanted to let go of any part of him again but I knew I couldn’t continue to live like this either. I wanted to take my own life to be with him. It was only right.
I eventually passed out from all of the sobbing and woke to the sun rising into the sky. I picked myself up and drove home, knowing what it was I needed to do.
I locked myself in my room and took what I had left of the Vicoprophen from my back injury a few months ago. I was never a fan of pain killers but I had a deep pain that I could not recover from on my own, or at all. I curled up in bed holding onto my extra pillow as i felt the pills kick in and send me off to sleep.
“What did you do Ally?”
I heard his sweet voice and I knew I had to be in heaven. At least I was hoping I was there by his side. “Mark?”
I turned my head around swiftly trying to find the mouth that spoke those words. All I could see was a white emptiness surrounding me.
“What did you do Ally?”
“Mark please. I need to see you” I started to see a faint shadow appear in front of me and I felt as if I lost all control of myself. All muscle function fled from me.
The shadow knelt down to grab my hand and I could finally, lightly, make out his face “Ally baby, why?”
“Mark. Oh my god.” I threw my arms around his neck and held him tighter than anything ever before. “Its really you.”
“I’m so sorry Mark. Its all my fault. None of this should have happened. I love you so much and I wasn’t there for you. I did this. To both of us.” I felt his hand come up to cheek to wipe away a tear. I had never felt anything quite so soft and gentle.
“Baby, its not your fault. Look at me…” He grabbed my chin and forced my eyes to his “Its my fault. It was never your job to save me even though I know you would have tried. I was in a bad place for a long time but I kept everything inside because I didn’t want to bring you down. You were the only thing that made me happy and I couldn’t stand it if I made you worry about me. If I would have been open about what was going on with my emotions then maybe I could have gotten help sooner. It was my choice in a moment of weakness.”
“But our fight Mark. I shouldn’t have..” He put his finger to my lips to make me stop talking.
“Yes, we had a stupid argument. It happens. However, it had no bearings on what I was feeling that night.”
“I never got to tell you how I loved you.”
“Aww baby, I already knew. You didn’t have to say it for me to see it. I could see it in the way you cared for me. Its okay. Its time for you to let it go.”
fade away but I could still hear the voice in my head “Get up Ally. Get up!”
My eyes fluttered open and I could see bright white walls and hear a beeping over to my right. I then heard a frantic scream from Avery yelling for mom. The next thing I knew, I had arms around me and kisses on my face.
“Don t you ever do something like that again. Oh my god Ally, we thought we lost you. When you didn’t answer and the door was locked I called the cops in a panic. I am so happy I did because they said if it were any longer…. I, I’m just so happy you’re okay.”
As my mom continued to hug me I remembered what I had did, and where I must have been. I also remembered Mark. For the first time though, I smiled when I thought of his face. I wish I wouldn’t have had to put my family through this to get that feeling but I finally felt as if I could let go of what happened. I will always miss him and Ill never forget.
That night, I slept until the sun rose the next morning. The morning that marked a new beginning.