3 |one|

I stare out the window at the bright city. Everything moves so fast out there. There's so many people chatting and going about their lives while I sit here, in the dark, completely alone. My family is fast asleep behind the safety of their thin wooden doors. They can't see the storm inside of me. They are clueless as to how lost and distraught I truly am.

I can't blame them really. I don't let them know. It's a secret I intend to keep. My pain, my fears, and my hatred of the world is something that I keep to myself. I don't want to be a burden on others. If I pour my out to someone, I'm forcing them to carry the same weight I am. They have to carry my problems along with their own, that isn't fair.

I get to my feet and drag myself toward my bedroom. I shut the door behind me and lock it before glancing toward the bed. The dark curtains block out the colorful lights of the city, causing everything to appear as nothing more than a faint outline. My chest tightens a bit, but I don't let it get to me. I flip the bathroom light on and slip inside.

My fingers curl around the delicate edge of the vanity. A girl with dark bags under her eyes, caramel skin, and long pink hair stares back at me. She looks like she's in better condition than I am, but I know she's not. She's had years of practice. She's been wearing a mask for as long as she can remember. Everything she feels—every horrible thought that goes through her mind—is lost in translation and never makes it to her face. She's got a lot of self control in a way.

I chuckle and shake my head before staring down at the sink. What's the point? What's the point of anything? Why do we breathe? Why do we walk and talk and act like everything is perfect? When in reality, it's so far from perfect that it's sickening. Why do we eat? To give ourselves fuel for tasks that drain us of our freedom and self?

If everything requires fuel, I don't want it. I don't want the fuel to keep going on with life. I don't want to be another pawn in the world. I want to be free of all the harsh criticisms and reality. I want to feel at ease. I don't want to be at the edge of my seat day and night. I just want to be able to lay my head down and drift to sleep just like everyone else.

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I notice my bottles of pills lined up on the shelf a few feet away. I wonder how overdosing on all of them at once will end. Would they be able to bring me out of it? Would I finally be free of this pain and suffering?

No. This is the same thing that happens more often than I'd like. One moment I'm indifferent, the next I'm on top of the world, then I feel like nothing more than a tiny spec of dust. Life as me is like a rollercoaster ride. You don't understand emotions, yet that's all you ever feel. You're constantly overwhelmed by a high or a low, the inbetweens never last very long.

No matter how much power it has over me now, I can't let it win. I turn the water on and splash my face a few times before looking up at my reflection once more. The girl in the mirror is still exhausted. She still wants to give up, but she has the faintest glimmer of hope tucked deep inside. She knows that when the sun rises, a new feeling of excitement and euphoria could follow. This crippling hell could also remain, but the euphoria will eventually make its presence known. It never stays away for too long.

The river. The sandy beach. Something to calm me. Something to distract me. That's what I need. I snatch my phone up from my desk and shove my headphones in my pocket. I put my mask on and unlock my door before slipping back into the living room. I tiptoe toward the front door and slip my sandals on. I grab my coat and quietly pull the door open.

The hall is empty. It's filled with nothingness and dim lights. I take a sharp right and hit the elevator button. I could take the stairs, but my knees wouldn't be able to handle it—at least not today. I slip inside and hit the lobby button before tucking myself in the far corner of the elevator. I hate small spaces. I feel like everything is closing in around me, but I don't always have a choice. It's either dealing with a minute of claustrophobia or potentially falling down the stairs. In the end, claustrophobia always wins.

The doors creak open and I hurry out of the tiny room of torture. I take a deep breath to refill my lungs before stuffing my headphones in my ears and lowering my head. I can sense people coming up behind me, but I do my best to ignore it. They aren't following me, they're just going about their own business at the same time as me.

I slip out into the cold winter air. A thin blanket of sparkling snow covers the ground and a few patches of ice coat the sidewalk. Of all things that I could run into, it had to be ice. Ice is my nemesis. I ended up in physical therapy for three months because of it. I don't plan on going back anytime soon.

I do my best to avoid the slick patches, but my luck wears thin. I slip on a hidden patch and begin to plan my own funeral. My heart drops into my stomach as a warm hand grabs ahold of my arm. I glance up to see the dim outline of a boy and his friend. His lips move, but my anxiety has me so far gone that I don't hear a word he says. He looks at me in confusion for a moment before brushing it off and continuing on his way.

I grip onto the railing of the stairs and lean forward. I can't seem to catch my breath. This was a mistake. I should've just stayed inside. I would've saved myself all this trouble. I let out a sigh before getting back onto my feet, prepared to take on the ice once again.

The sound of the door opening and closing behind me seems to go in one ear and out the other. In most cases, I would've turned to see who it was, but for some reason I'm far too focused on the ground to care. I take little steps and attempt to make it to the end of the walkway.

A strong hand grabs ahold of my arm and guides me the last few feet. The hand slips away and the owner hurries off after the other boys who left a few minutes ago. I watch his outline disappear in the darkness. I brush it off and continue toward the crosswalk.

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