This Was One of the Hardest Thing To Write Because of How Emotional I Got, I Hope You Like It

I was looking up at the sky today, and this, like, strange emotion passed over me. Kinda like a blanket thrown over my head, running from my head to my toes. It was very sudden, and as I stared up at the cloudless, clear blue sky I grew teary. One thought passed through my mind:

It’s weird to look up in the sky and know you’re somewhere beyond it.

Two and some-sort-of-time-length years ago, I went on tumblr (a social network, for my aunt who reads these) like I did every day back then. I scrolled through photos of boys, poems, music, the works. It seemed like it would be a normal day, until a message popped up in my inbox that I hadn’t been expecting. It was one from the user I had followed that morning, someone who liked twenty one pilots and was named Daniel. His message thanked me for following him, and naturally I replied because I was a lonely little ghost and he looked pretty cute in that profile picture. To my complete surprise, he kept the conversation going. It got to the point where I woke up expecting to have a message from him. Time passed, and we started Skyping each other, and I think his laugh when he saw my face after I discovered he was British is still to this day one of my favorite sounds in the world. He lived in Britain! How perfect is that for someone obsessed with all things BBC? He had a buzzed head, like someone who had just enlisted in the army and wanted to get a head start on preparations. He was really skinny, too, and I remember thinking he had very bright eyes. Back then, I really didn’t have any great friends. My now-best friend Sean and I had only just started communicating, and my lovely Ashley was going through a lot of stuff she didn’t want me to be a part of. I was pretty much alone, and so of course I grew attached to Daniel, the boy who cared about me and stayed up late so that he could call me before school (“show those punks up, Fi, they don’t know what they’re missing”). It wasn’t long before I was calling him my best friend, not much longer after that before I called him my crush.

I’ve been told by the people I’ve relayed our story to that it’s tragic and beautiful (cue Taylor Swift song), that it was adorable and something that should be published in a book. When I think back on it, though, that we be such a boring book. Sure, I wouldn’t trade a moment with him for the world, and the whole forbidden-to-hold-hands-thanks-to-state-lines-and-oceans thing is sad, but other than that we did normal people things, and I can’t imagine anyone wanting to read that. I would come home from school and we would watch Doctor Who together through Skype, or just keep each other company by setting our cameras up and doing schoolwork. For two kids that lived worlds apart from one another, I talked more to him than anyone else I knew in my town. We talked about what would happen if we ever got to meet each other for real, little corny stuff (like those run and hug ordeals that’s in all the movies? yeah, that was our idea dream). We weren’t Bella and Edward, there was no driven plotline. His mother called us an old married couple, just doing normal everyday stuff with each other. I didn’t even find out he had cancer until it got really bad.

He had stopped the chemo not long before we started talking, which is why he had his hair. He didn’t want to talk too much about it with me, and I took offense to this at first (he calls me his best mate, for Pete’s sake! this is definitely something I should get to hear about) until he told me his reasoning. 

“You’re like my one constant normal thing in my life,” he told me somberly as he sat on the sofa in his living room, iPad propped up in his lap as he faced me through the screen with tired eyes and a black stocking cap on his head. Always so close, always too far. “You don’t look at me and think, oh that’s Daniel, the sick kid. You don’t. And I love that, I love having that. I love being just Daniel to you, someone that you’re kind to for no other reason than for my personality.”

And how could I deny him that? So I stopped asking questions. Around Christmas time, though, when he told me that he only had months left, I started to panic. How would I know he was gone? I mean, obviously I would get the gist after months of silence, but what kind of closure would that be? So he assured me that he’d left the information to his social media accounts for his parents so they could log on and inform me. It’s all so morbid, but it put my heart at ease.

I think that’s still a big thing that sticks with me. I was the one in a constant state of insanity over the whole ordeal, not Daniel. He was content that there was small group of people who would love him and remember him, and that was enough. “It’s a pretty good way to go, if you ask me.” I’ll always admire him for that, because God knows I wouldn’t be the same way.

So, just a little fact: if you think that long-distance relationships are hard, try having one where half of the relationship is literally dying. We’d be Skyping, and I’d look over and see he’d fallen asleep from how worn out he was. Our episodes of Doctor Who had to be watched with subtitles because his headaches were too bad for sound. Some days he wouldn’t answer, and those days of me in school were the WORST. There’s a lot of time in class for my mind to fester. Because with a situation like that, a no-call gets a thought nagging in the back of your brain: this is it. He’s gone.

I almost never let myself cry in front of him. He didn’t need that, he had enough to deal with and I knew that it would make him feel guilty for causing me pain. There was one time, though, when I couldn’t control it. It was Valentine’s Day during my sophomore year, and he was on the phone talking to me. He hadn’t done anything. He’d lounged around the house all day, and I just started thinking and thinking. This was his last Valentine’s Day ever and he wasn’t going out. He would NEVER go on a Valentine date. Not only that, but he’d never drove. He’d never gotten completely trashed with his friends after a girl broke his heart.

And he never would. It was then that it really hit me that my Daniel would soon no longer exist. Can you really blame me for crying? It just wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair that I was fifteen and dealing with the boy I love wasting away while other girls at my school were going on dates with theirs, and it wasn’t fair that a sixteen-year-old boy had to have the sad look of knowing he wouldn’t be seeing me for much longer in his eyes.

He died in April of last year. I didn’t find out until May, when his sister was logging into his tumblr to take it down. They had all forgotten in the midst of the chaos to tell me (nice, right? but I can’t really blame them). Somewhere deep down, I already knew. We hadn’t talked in a month, there was no way that if he was alive he wouldn’t have found a way to contact me. But hearing it confirmed was devastating. I guess when you love someone your mind will make up the most ridiculous of excuses to convince you that they’re okay. It was such a blunt message, too. At least, it sounded blunt to me. I guess it was just hard to see the end of your best friend’s story in one single paragraph. I didn’t get to look at it for long, because soon his entire profile was deleted. I hadn’t been expecting that. Beep beep boop, and he was gone. Deleted.

This whole thing made junior year hell. Sean and I grew kind of distant for a while because I thought I was bothering him, and I felt really alone again. I hated my birthday this year, because I had grown older while he would always remain stuck at sixteen. Since his birthday was 16 June, he didn’t make it to seventeen, and I was seventeen now, and he should’ve been too but he wasn’t. And I missed him so, so much. I hadn’t told hardly anyone about him, even while he was alive (unless I was talking to one of my friends and gushing about this joke he told me or how I loved his smile), because I was terrified my mom would get super over-protective and forbid me from speaking to him solely because he lived in another country, so I had to cry in my room because no one understood. It was nothing short of hell. Sometimes going to see my grandma was even hard, because I’d see older men and remind myself that Daniel would never get to experience that.

A lot of time, when I think of him, I’m constantly riddled by a million of those pesky what ifs. What would have happened, if he wasn’t sick? If he hadn’t died? Would we stop talking eventually, or would we be a cute romantic movie couple that finally got our run and hug in the airport some day? (I think about that sometimes. I like to imagine what it would have been like when I’m sad. I like to imagine what his little arms would have felt like around me, and how he would’ve laughed while I undoubtedly would’ve cried. It’s a nice image.) And, you know, even if I got the what if that ended with us never speaking to each other again I still would have chosen it over the one we did get in reality. Anything would have been better than him having to die.

It’s true what they say, it gets better with time. When he first passed, I talked to his “ghost” all the time. When I got my driver’s license, I went on drives alone all the time because I liked to pretend he was in the passenger seat  with me, and we’d listen to music and I’d laugh like he was really there. I knew that it probably wasn’t healthy, but it was the only way I could cope. That has stopped, though I will admit I did it when the new twenty one pilots album came out. I went on a drive and played it for the first time, and “we” discussed what we thought. I even got two coffees from Starbucks. Sometimes it feels good to induldge in your insanity. I wrote a story that I posted on Wattpad called Worlds Apart that’s kind of like my fantasy of all that could have been. When the story was over, I wrote this long note about Daniel and what had happened, and I was overwhelmed by the response! I found people who related, who had lost someone to cancer. Those people helped me so much! And of course I have Sean and Amber and Ashley now, all who havebeen vital roles in my healing process.

But anyway, back to the blanket and sky thing from earlier. I don’t get really super emotional about him unless it’s an anniversary of something between us, but looking up at that sky… I don’t know, it’s super cheesy, but I felt like he could see me too, or at least knew I was looking. I thought about something I hadn’t before: what his final moments had been like. Was he scared? Or was he in too much pain to feel fear? Or was it just peaceful? What was he thinking about? There is this song by Sarah Bareilles called The Light that brought me a lot of comfort, but for all his talk about being content with his fate I bet he was at least a little scared. And it almost felt like he was there telling me that even though life was really hard right now, I would get through it. If he could go through what he did, I could do this, and I better be damn graeful for every moment of life. So I went downstairs and ate something, hugged my mom, and smiled.

I’m not as angry about the whole thing anymore. I’ve moved from screaming about how unfair it was to talking about how grateful I am that I got to know him at all. It is still weird to know he’s not here anymore, but I just know that when my time comes and I see him again, we’re going to do that run and hug. And it’s going to be wonderful.

This is going to be my last post on this blog. My new blog is called this: sofiaspillari.wordpress.com

Thanks for giving this one the love you did.

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There’s a Swingset

There’s a swingset out back, next to the large jungle gym that has the rock-climbing wall. This swingset is not new. It has been behind this school for years and years, and it creaks if you lean on the poles. But it captures the kids’ hearts, more than anything else on the playground. The recess bell rings, and then you see them, the children running all at once, trying to be the person that gets to the swings first. Everyone wants the blue swing, you see, because it’s the highest one, the one that sways the farthest. I am one of those kids running, my hair in two braids and my socks pulled high. I don’t get the blue swing, but the yellow is just fine. I swing with the other kids, all of us laughing and trying to touch the pine tree branches. Only Elijah does, he’s the only one who ever can.

I’m still one of those kids, but now my hair is in a tight ponytail and my sleeves fall pass my fingertips. I don’t get the blue swing, but the red is alright. We all try to knock out the pine cones as we kick the branches. Only Elijah does, he’s the only one who ever can, and it makes Marc mad. I’m still laughing with the others, but now they leave the swing next to me empty, and I’m not sure why.

I’m still one of those kids, but now my long dark hair is let down and I don’t feel comfortable in my too-tight jeans (but I wear them, because all the other kids are). I don’t run towards the playground anymore, I just walk. None of the kids will let me have the blue swing, anyway, or any swing at all for that matter. I watch as the girls giggle to one another as they sway, talking about boys. I sit underneath the rock wall and watch as they all try to jump the highest. They try to hit the highest pine tree branch as the soar through the air, and I bet if Elijah was still here he would be the only one who could do it. Marc comes close, but he can’t quite reach.

I’m no longer one of those kids. I’m only here because I’m volunteering in the kitchen for one day. My hair is chopped short and I don’t wear any socks with my shoes. I sit at the blue swing, and I sway back and forth, watching the little kids scramble for a seat. The set creaks more than ever, so much I worry it might fall apart at any second. I swing with the little kids, and they don’t mind. We all are laughing and trying to touch the pine tree branches. Only I can do it, and for once I’m the only one who ever can.

Little Things

You hold up the dress, the black dress with a white lace collar. You love this dress. You hugged a hero in this dress.

You hold up the shirt, the white band tee shirt that you had one of the best days of your life in. You adore this dress. You hung out with your very best friends in this dress, creating memories you will never forget.

You hold up the jeans, the black pair that now have a hole in the knee. You think these jeans are comical now, but you’re still going to wear them. You got in a fight defending your best friend after someone used a gay slur to describe them. You didn’t throw the first punch, or any punch at all, really. You just mouthed off after all was said, and the bully shoved you to the ground. Your best friend then picked you up off the ground and hugged you, muttering about how much he/she hates you. You know that’s your guys’ code for “I love you.”

You hold up the shoes, the ratty white Converse that have tears in the sides. You don’t know what you would do without these shoes. They’re the one pair that haven’t been stolen out of your gym locker, and have carried you through the high school halls. They were the things that kept your feet moving even though you couldn’t breathe, they were the ones that helped you escape to the bathroom when the classrooms grew to be too much and you just had to let a few tears fall before continuing on with your day.

You hold up the cardigan, the torn grey knit one that you’re pretty sure only has one button left. You obsess over this cardigan. It’s the one you were wearing when you ate out with your grandfather and were okay with it. When you went out to dinner, and you didn’t longingly eye the restroom sign while picking at the lettuce on your plate. When you ate french fries AND dipped them in ketchup.

You hold up the dress, the shirt, the jeans, the shoes, the cardigan. You love them all so much. You want to keep the memories perserved, keep the items just as they are in this moment. But they are dirty, and they need to be clean. You are somber over the bittersweet moment that is taking them into the laundry room to shove them in the washing machine. They will now be scrubbed of all those moments, the ones of  hugging heros and being one to your best friend ad laughing and crying and eating.

But that’s okay. You’ll wear them all again. And new memories will be made.

Big Hype

Am I the only person who, when they’ve decided on an idea to write about, gets way too excited about the whole thing before even getting started? What I mean by that is: you’ve only written a few paragraphs, a single rough draft chapter at most, and you already have a soundtrack planned out and who would play your characters in the movie adaptation? I do that way more often than not (aka, I do it every time), and I’m currently suffering from this big hype right now. All I want is fan art of my characters, but my readers wouldn’t even know what to draw because I haven’t written any information yet!

In other news, I wanted to let you all know that I might not be posting as much as I usually do because I’m in kind of a tough place right now. I don’t always feel like writing happy little blog post with lots of exclamation points when I’m crying my eyes out about school. I won’t disappear like last time, though! Spring break is soon…

UGH

Guess who’s sick again!!!!

It seems to never end. Fortunately, mother let me stay home from school this time. I’m just chilling in my room, watching One Tree Hill and drinking coffee. I should probably stick doing my homework somewhere in there, too.

In other, brighter news, I have started a new official project! My Wattpad account has been a great place for me to fill the hole in my heart left by the disappointment of finishing After Midnight and having it go nowhere, but finishing books on there was making the hole bigger because I grew very attached to them (*coughs* check out Worlds Apart and Accept *coughs*), so I have decided to get back to fully enveloping in one sole project.

The story idea actually came to me all the way back in sixth grade. I was trying to get closer to my cousin, so I was all let’s write a book together (shocker, she actually used to think I was cool for writing). We started working on it together, but she soon realized that she actually didn’t like writing all that much, so she handed the project over to me solely. I worked on it for a bit, too… then got bored. But it’s back now, and I am kind of excited about it! With the help of my trusty beta (and best friend) Aryn, I’m hoping that the first draft isn’t too rough (though let’s face it, it probably is).

So today…

I went to see what us children call my emo squad today. The emo squad is a group of five kids who I am very close friends with. After we had gone to get breakfast, I was driving everyone around. We didn’t have a specific destination in mind, we were just wasting gas (don’t tell my mom please) and listening to music as we enjoyed each others’ company.

Suddenly, I had an idea. “Who wants to see some horses?”

Like five-year-olds, the freaked. “YES!!!”

So I drove us out to my grandpa’s farm, thinking we could feed the few horses he had a couple carrots or something. As I was trying to drive back to the road, though, my tires got stuck in a huge pile of mud. The others had to get out and push the front of my minivan as I pushed the pedal in reverse as hard as I could. One of them got sprayed with mud from the tires. It was quite a mess, but I don’t think any of us will ever forget it.

Guess Who is Being Productive?

Guess what, readers???

I, Lena Jackson, the biggest procrastinator of her age, has gotten her lazy self to apply for three different jobs!

Since I can’t get paid for writing, I’ve selected a couple positions I heard about and sent in my applications. Now I just wait. It seems I’m always waiting.

Also, I have grouped together some of my many songs and picked out which ones I want to be on an album, for whenever I am able to get the equipment to record it (hopefully this job will help out a bit with that money situation preventing me from making them demo).

In other news, I’m almost completely sick-free. Just got a little bit of congestion left. How is everyone else today?

How Were the ACTs, Lena????

So I totally meant to post about this yesterday, but I came home from testing and literally fell asleep until the next morning. I’ve been nursing one hell of a cold/flu sickness for the past few days, and the feeling of death was most certainly upon me. I apologize. I mean, I know you guys were totally sitting on the edge of your seats, wondering how I think I did, right?

I crack myself up. Let me have that one.

Okay, so the test wasn’t actually as bad as I had predicted it to be, overall. The day went as such:

Mother walked into my room, coffee cup already in hand. “Lena, wake up! It’s test day, you gotta get there early.”

I dressed in my laziest of clothes, the required “I CAN DEW” Mountain Dew-sponsored shirt that all the Juniors would be wearing today being tugged over my head without me even remembering to do it. I was in such a sleep, sick daze that I was stumbling through the motions, no thought process included.

I was dropped off at the doors of the auditorium at my school, where I awkwardly walk inside by myself, since my sole friend at the school cannot currently be found. For some reason, I distinctly remember mentally jotting down in my head the way my footsteps echoed as I made my way towards the noise of the crowd, staring at the quote from a philosopher that was engraved in stone on a wall. I wanted to keep that feeling in case I ever needed it for a book.

There was a line of people waiting for me, seniors who forced me to make eye contact as they said, “Good luck on your ACTs!” I tried smiling at them in reply, but I’m pretty sure it was warped and looked more like I was trying not to cry.

The school provided us with breakfast, and since I find it impossible to talk to people (especially kids from school), I kind of just stood in front of the tables, waiting as the students stared at me. Finally, one of them said, “Would you like a sandwich?” I nodded in relief and took it, along with the bag of apples, which were sour, and a bottle of water. I wish they had provided coffee instead. I was already feeling the effects of my morning caffeine wearing off. I sat on a part of the bleachers, trying not to look like I was the tragically alone girl that no one likes and who can’t get along with most of the student body. It was like I could feel their eyes making a physical burn on my neck and shoulders. I tried to eat my sandwich (which I had to take the meat off of) as casually as possible. I’m pretty sure I failed.

When the bell rang and they dismissed us to evacuate and head for the busses, it seemed like a terrifying new young adult novel. Here were all of these children, young teenagers herding on to metal buses like brainless cattle. I started thinking up conspiracy theories, of course. What if this was all a lie? We weren’t really being sent to take a test, they were shipping us off to be killed!

I’m rather ridiculous, I’m aware.

So we finally all got to the hall, where tables were lined up in some twisted version of an alphabetical order. Before I knew it, the test were being handed out. First was the English test, which I wasn’t worried about (I took a practice test in class a couple weeks ago that I got like ninety-nine percent on). The math started out okay, but like the last fifteen questions were all WHAT IS THIS LANGUAGE I DO NOT SPEAK MARTIAN JUST A LITTLE GALLIFREYAN. The reading portion was easy, the science part I bombed (though that may have to do with the fact that I was having a tough time staying awake; by this point one of the monitors had set a tissue box on the edge of my table because they were tired of walking back and forth). It was like a back and forth thing,  apparently. The essay was alright, but it was a question I don’t really know much about so I had to fool my way through it while still sounding well-educated, which actually wasn’t too hard since that’s basically how I get through my everyday life.

Well, it’s over now, and I’m still sick. I guess we’ll find out how I did in a few weeks, and if I have to take it again it won’t be the end of the world. I’ll just be a little more broke.

When You’re Drowning

By the title, I don’t mean water-wise. I mean I have a horrible cold, and with my breathing issues it feels like I am drowning inside of my own lungs. It’s a great experience, let me tell you. I’ve been keeping myself busy by listening to good music on Spotify and studying for the ACTs (WHICH ARE TOMORROW AND I KEEP HAVING NERVOUS BREAKDOWNS ABOUT IT).

Every Friday, my Enriched U.S. History teacher asks us a question after giving us the rundown for the day.

“More importantly,” he’ll say, “how is everyone doing today?”

Usually, we’ll all grumble. “ErggUUHHH.”

“Well, you should be good,” he’ll reply. “You know why?”

By now, we do, but we humor him and ask, “Why?”

Then he lifts his arms and does this dance as he speaksings, “‘Cause it’s Friday…” This past Friday, he added to this little song. “‘Cause it’s Friday and we don’t have school again ’til Monday but sike we have Monday off hashtag thanks Pulaski and then you guys technically don’t have school on Tuesday because you’re taking a test that will affect your entire lives hashtag no pressure.”

We all went from laughing to hushed as the dark mood settled over after that. I don’t think anyone is prepared, personally. I know I’m not. Also, here’s a fun fact: the writing portion doesn’t show up on your final score, and the English portion is rumored to not really matter at all anymore! Yay! The only part of school I’m good at means absolutely nothing on this huge test that I’m going to fail!!!

Also, I’m going to be sick while taking it. You’ll probably be able to hear me coughing and blowing my nose from miles away, since it will be dead silent in the bingo hall we’ll be at.

Ugh.

In other news, I’ve sent a copy of my novel Worlds Apart (which is on my Wattpad profile, if you’re curious) to my aunt. This should be exciting…. I’m kind of really nervous about it. I’m still trying to get used to the fact that it’s okay to let people you know personally read your work. It’s just so….uck.

How is everyone else doing today?

I’m Back!

SO, a couple months ago, I completely lost my password to get on here somehow. I don’t know what happened, but I just blanked out. This past Monday, though, I played around with different words until one granted me access, so I am back to blogging for the time being. How is everyone? Any major changes since I’ve been gone? Let’s see, I’ve finished three books on my Wattpad account. One of them even got pretty popular! That was exciting. I finished every season of That 70s Show. I dyed my hair (which is already fading), and got asked to prom (spoiler, I turned him down… which was not only awkward but heartbreaking). I even made a few more friends. I have a group now! It’s pretty weird to have people to go to and chat with whenever I feel down and know that they’ll do what they can to get me to smile. I’m not sure how long it will last, but I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

I also read some amazing books. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell made me giggle more than I care to admit. I’m not doing so great on the whole losing weight thing, but one of my doctors has a theory that whatever my disorder (that nobody can pinpoint for some abnormal reason) is may be affecting my ability to have signs of slimming. Which sucks.  A lot.

Anyway, I just wanted to check in. I’m going to go read Just One Year and finish off this bag of ginger snaps I’ve got.