Well, folks… This one was a hard segment to write. The emotion in it is one that I became quite familiar with when I was sick, but it’s so confusing I wasn’t sure how to capture it on paper. Anyway. Good morning, folks! I’m delighted to be sharing segment #37 with y’all from my fictional story, When Life Hands You Lymes.
That night I was exhausted when I fell into bed. Hanging out with people had never been more tiring. Julia and I were both thrilled with how the Bible study had gone and we were eager to see who all would come to the one the next week.
“God, I couldn’t have done that on my own. Thank You for helping me out.” I smiled into the darkness as I lay in bed. Yes, it had been a very good time for the other girls and that’s what counted. Now though, all I wanted to do was fall asleep. I could barely keep my eyes open and I was feeling all sore from the run I’d gone on that morning. I was trying to beat my personal record and I was feeling it.
I had been planning on getting up early the next morning to go on another run, but at that moment, the thought of an early morning was overwhelming and so I shut it out of my head. I also had music to practice. A lot of music. Helping with the Bible study had been rewarding, but it had come with a price, it had been a lot of work. As my mind faded into sleep, I could faintly hear the tune of the worship songs I had played on my guitar running though my head. Yes, all the work I had put into the Bible study had indeed been worth it.
I woke up with that horrible intuition that something was wrong. Opening my eyes, I looked around the room which was just lit up enough from the moon to let me see the shapes of my furniture. Nothing seemed out of place. Pressing the home button on my phone, I grimaced when I saw it was only a few minutes after midnight.
“Hello?” I wondered if someone had come in my room, but no one answered me. I yawned, but despite how tired I was, I wasn’t sleepy at all. Getting my water bottle off of my night stand I took a long, refreshing drink. My mouth was always parched when wake up in the middle of the night and there’s nothing like the fresh taste of our well water to fix a dry throat.
I was still slightly freaked out by the heart-jolting way I had woken up so grabbing my phone, I slid out of bed, and threw on my robe.Tip-toeing out of my room, I went down my long hall to an elaborately carved door that led to Katie’s wing of the mansion.
It’s like stepping into a different house when you walk into Katie’s parlor. She’s into the vintage style, which is cute in it’s own way, but so not me. I’m more modern with solid colors and chunky styles. Padding through Katie’s hallway, I stopped outside her bedroom door. It was slightly open so I pressed my ear against the crack and listened. My sister’s deep, regular breathing sent me back to my room.
Plopping down on my bed, I flipped my covers out of the way. By this time I was so wide awake I knew there wasn’t any hope of me going back to sleep for hours.
Hey. I sent Jason a quick text, knowing he’d still be up. Then I turned down the brightness on my phone and sat staring at it, waiting for the little bubble to pop up letting me know he was replying. It never came. Feeling alone and unhappy I finally went in my practice room and half-heartedly played music for the next several of hours. It wasn’t far from my normal wake-up time when I was able to drift into an exhausted sleep at last. So much for my early morning run.
“Would you just snap out of it?” Katie’s voice lost it’s calm and controlled professionalism and instead she sounded downright annoyed. “I told you I needed you to have the project ready for me and just because you’re my brother does not mean you can goof off and be late.”
Oh no. Darrick was in trouble. Katie and Darrick got along really well… Until Katie entered attack mode, which is what I call it when she’s working on a really important deadline. When that’s the case, the best thing to do is stay out of her way. I tucked my foot closer to my body, hoping the big fern would hide me from Katie’s prying eyes. She was pacing up and down in the room in front of me. I had come down to our family’s library to study some music books and had ended up secluding myself on our window seat and gazing out at our gardens. It was so peaceful. At least until Katie came in.
“No, I said stop with the lame excuses!” Katie actually stomped her foot. I would have laughed at the childish display if I weren’t scared of her wrath should she see me. Darrick must have been back peddling, or at least he would have been if he were being smart. I sent a quick prayer up for Katie’s peace of mind and Darrick’s safety.
“Well guess what!” Katie let out a little growl. “We can’t count on her for anything. Yes, I know we discussed having her help with that, but Mother isn’t going to make her little darling do anything when she doesn’t feel well because her poor thyroid is messed up.”
A chill ran over my body. Sticking my hand in my mouth, I bit so hard I felt the skin break. I closed my eyes and clenched my jaw until I started feeling numb. Katie was talking about me. Such venom in her voice, and it was directed at me. I had messed up her project. My stupid, stupid, stupid thyroid problems had put her behind with her job.
I’m not sure when I started shaking, but by the time Katie finally left the room, I could barely stand up. Pulling my hand away from my mouth, I looked at the circle of teeth marks and blood then closed my eyes feeling like I was going to pass out.
I’m still not sure how I made it up to my room, but somehow I got my shaking body to propel me forward. Flinging myself onto my bed, I didn’t care about my white comforter getting stained red from my hand. Pulling a pillow over my head I squeezed my eyes closed as if that would shut out the pain. As if that could stop my shaking. Or stop the icy grip running through my body. I tried to concentrate, tried to think. Surely I had been dreaming. Katie couldn’t have actually been talking about me, could she have? Our family was so close. She didn’t think I was faking being sick, did she?
I remember a classmate telling me that every child tries to runaway at least once in their life. I’d never had the desire, but now I began to wonder if 16 was too old to still be considered a child? Squeezing my eyes closed, I went though my belongings bit by bit, deciding what I would take with me, what I would leave behind. Obviously my family wouldn’t miss me. Their kindness had all been an act. And besides, even if they did miss me, I had let them down, it was probably my just reward to be kicked out of the house.
My phone began buzzing, but I ignored it. I felt a pounding headache come on, but I didn’t rub my head like I normal would have. I deserved having a headache. I had put my family behind. Katie, Katie who was always so particular, had missed a deadline. And all because of me. I had told my family I’d work during the summer and now what was I accomplishing? Just throwing them all curve balls as they were able to count on me one day, one moment, and then not the next. I’d barely been at the office for more than three hours at a time since school let out. That wasn’t normal. That wasn’t good. Katie had every right to be angry.
It was getting too hot to breath comfortably under the pillow, but I kept it over my head anyway. I deserved to be uncomfortable. My phone continued buzzing on and off, but I steadily ignored it. The cold feeling had washed all the way down to my feet and every time I took a deep breath, I could feel it closing around my throat, making me want to throw up. At some point or another I had stopped shaking, but then I saw Katie’s face again, heard her anger and the shaking started up harder than ever.
Deep breath, Madalyn, deep breath. I wondered how long the pain and misery would last. Surely if I was feeling this bad it meant I was dying, right? I thought about what I’d be leaving behind if I died. I thought about my music. About my family. About my friends. About my school. About the Ashburg Symphony. My teeth began chattering when I thought about the Symphony. Maybe they were feeling the same way about me as Katie. I had thought I was scraping by, pulling off a good job of performing, but what if I wasn’t? What if I was messing up the whole group and yet they were afraid to tell me because my parents supported them?
In all my life I had never felt such pain. Such aching aloneness. I wanted to be done. I wanted to stop fighting. To stop working. To stop trying to feel better. I wanted to go to sleep. To just slip out of consciousness and not awake until it was all over. I wanted to wake up and have the last two months have been a dream.