by Esosa Kolawole
I don't have a bucket list, but it's all in my head. Engraved in my mind and they are: to confront mommy, confront Kim, avoid Dash, go to school, come back home and end it.
Isn't it funny though? For a girl who loves writing so much, why won't I just write a list? For weeks upon weeks, all I've done was to write my story, bit by bit. From how it all started.
It started with Demola.
My throat closes up like there's a cotton ball stuffed in there and any moment, I know I'll break down. Don't cry. I try to still my trembling lips as I shove my journal into my backpack.
The tears drop and again, can't you just get a grip on yourself?! I've been crying too often these days. It's why my eyelids are heavy, plus my almost lack of sleep.
But how can I when the nightmares won't stop?
One minute, I shut my eyes with tears streaming down my cheeks and--if I'm lucky to get any sleep--I find myself standing with Demola,
my baby brother in the middle of a vast expanse of grassland. Most times, I beg him to hold my hand and come with me, but then he turns and disappears into thin air.
Last night though, I held his cold, small hand and followed him.
It's a sign. You can ask the universe for all the signs, but ultimately, we see one when we are ready to see it. I have seen the sign, and it's time to join him.
Sniff, sniff. I swallow the lump in my throat as the pink, empty walls in my room blurs beneath my tears. The walls are blank now: Nicki's, B.O.
B's, and a ton of movie posters on my walls are gone now. So are my pictures, shoes, and clothes--all gone! All packed into boxes. Empty. My eyelids flutter, and more tears fall.
It's like something is right there, in my chest twisting over and over and I can't stop it. It's the type that doesn't just tug at your heart, but it sits there, waiting until the end.
I move to the mirror, sniffing and wiping the running snorts off my nose with the collar of my black, long-sleeve shirt. It stinks like sweat and weed.
The odor is enough to make a non-smoker puke, but for me, it makes me feel better.
Researchers believe suicidal people care less about their looks, and maybe it's true, but I wear these clothes... these stinking baggy shirts to repel everyone and hide my scars.
It's crazy how things change. Former Lola strives to look happy even if it means partying, drinking, smoking, and all sorts, but sad Lola is skinny with papery skin.
I sigh, pick my backpack on the bed, and head out of the room. I try keeping my hands anywhere but my hair but I can't.
So I run my hands over my kinky hair each step of the way then wipe my cheeks dry.
Downstairs, my mom---clad in her grey dress-uniform, an apron around the waist and hair packed in a neat bun--- is arranging the cutlery on the dining table. This means Mr. and Mrs.
Carter will be out at any moment for coffee.
A weight settles on my heart when a spoon falls from her shaky hand, causing a loud clatter. I make a move to help her but stop when I remember the things she said last night: You're ungrateful.
Why should I be grateful--
"Yea," Dash's voice floats into the dining area, always sounding like he has thick phlegm sticking in his throat. But you can't take one thing from him; everything about that guy is imposing.
Even mom jumps before regaining her composure. "The locker. Yea, yea. Get it done." He speaks to someone on the other end of the call.
He doesn't regard my mom's presence. Dash regards no one.
I clench the straps of my backpack and tiptoe straight for the door and out into the warm morning. Dash mustn't see me.
Last night, I did something I had never imagined doing--I walked out on him. He would have been thrilled beyond words if he saw me now.
I can already guess what he would say to me in that irritating, taunting tone of his. "Heyyy, Lola." That voice sends chills through my bones every single time.
I hate him. I hate Dash so much I want to do something terrible... anything that stops him from breathing.
I quicken my pace through the tree-lined driveway and the ornate main gate and glance at the beige, stone, and brick mansion one last time.
It's hard to keep going even though I can never get used to the lavishness that is everywhere in the Carters' house, this is my home too.
This morning, I'm walking out of here but tonight things will be different for everyone, even for the Carters.
The almost-quietness in the neighborhood is deafening; I can only hear Mrs. Montgomery's heels clicking on the tarred road as she tries getting her two young boys into the vehicle.
They don't listen; they never do, no matter how much she screams. She's a stoic kind of person who thinks everyone should bow to her wishes, but it surprises me her children never listen to her.
Mrs. Montgomery visits Dash's mom once in a while, not because they like each other though (I've caught her glaring at Mrs. Carter before) but because they love gossip.
It's what the rich people in Castle-way do when they aren't outside the country on vacation.
Mrs. Montgomery claps, snapping me out of my daze. "Get back here.
" She barks, storming towards the car door, but before opening it, a man driving white, moving-van punches the horn and stops before crushing her kids.
"Frank!" Mrs. Montgomery cries as a man wearing white washed jeans rushes out of the van. "Oh, God!" he says.
I'm frozen to a spot, and it takes every nerve in me to look away. I'm too dazed to do anything, not even to rush over and help the kids. It's too much for me.
Seeing them brings back haunting memories, I've tried so hard to bury.
No. No. No. I swallow. You've got to forget it.
I can see Demola's face.
No. Stop thinking about him.
I close my eyes. Look away.
Demola's lying in a pool of blood.
No. Just walk away.
It's your entire fault--
The blaring sound of a car horn jolts me out of the torturous memory.
My shoulders stiffen when I remember it could be Dash, but on turning, I see Chase, Dash's twin brother, driving slowly next to me. My body slumps and a slight groan escape my mouth.
But then again, I tense. It's Chase. He's still a Carter. He shares a family with my nemesis, and no matter how much they hate each other's guts, Chase can never be my friend.
Why doesn't he get this?
"The weather guy says it'll rain today," he says, and on instinct, I look at the clear blue sky then frown at him. "So... you need a ride? Look, I know you won't answer me, but I won't leave you.
You sound like a stalker. I want to say to him rather, I say, "No, " my voice is calm but firm.
I don't need a ride, but will he ever stop trying? Doubt it. For two months now, ever since he found me crying, he's been trying so hard to play nice. Talk about being a coward.
He waited until Dash and I were officially done.
Whatever his problem is, I don't care, and he shouldn't care about mine too.
It's not like he knows what my plans are, but if he doesn't stop knocking on my door, offering me a ride or sitting behind me in class, he may hinder everything
Chase rests his arm on the car door, plastering his face with a smile. "Please, get in. You know it's faster."
I cross my arms over my chest, watching him as he replaces his right hand on the steering then fingers his honey blonde hair. He doesn't hold it back with a rubber band this time.
He lets his hair rumple down at the sides of his face, cupping his high cheekbones.
"Go away, Chase," I scowl at him, clenching the straps of my backpack.
"C'mon, get in. I want to help," he says. "Pay me. I can be your taxi driver. So get in."
I hate it when someone tries to tell me what to do. It makes me feel worthless like a dummy that can't think without someone's help. Maybe I'm a failure, but still...
I hate the feeling of being controlled or restrained. It reminds me of everything. It reminds me of Dash.
To be continued....
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