The moment I escaped the door, tears began to flow down my cheeks. I was confused, I was hurt and I was scared. In less than an hour, my entire world had been flipped upside down. I had entered that room so set on doing the right thing and now I stood to lose everything. My head spun with existential vertigo and my brain scrambled in futility to uncover an escape.
Could I rush back into the room and take it all back? Could I plead for mercy? Threaten?Bargain? Was there anything I could do? There was nothing. Nothing to do but put one foot in front of the other and trudge onward into the abyss. The dark, outdoor corridor loomed before me, devoid of all life. The hazy exterior illumination did little to fight the darkness of the night, a deep and penetrating blackness that seemed to echo the reality of my plight.
One foot in front of the other, I pointed myself meekly and aimlessly in the direction of my Hale, my home. Even the thought of it added a fresh layer of dread to the simmering cauldron of misery inside me. My home. My home now poised on the verge of evaporation. My friends. My school. My family. My soul. Everything that had felt so secure mere hours beforehand was now in terrible jeopardy and there was nothing I could do to save any of it.
I wandered meekly down the deserted corridor, tears soaking my quivering face. I had never felt so lost and violated. The sound of footsteps echoed down another corridor, set to intersect with my own. I quickly wiped the tears from my cheeks, trying to conceal the unconcealable. The stranger rounded the corner ahead and I shifted my head to the side, embarrassed to publically expose my condition.
But as we passed, strong hands grabbed my arm and pulled me aside.
“What happened? What’s wrong?” I looked up into Gavin’s concerned face and melted down completely. He didn’t ask any more questions. He just waited with me in the dark, until my sobbing subsided.
I hadn’t seen Gavin since I’d returned to school. We had drifted apart over the break in the kind of natural disassociation that I had tried to fabricate with Dylan the semester before. It was over. That was fine. But here he was and there was no one else. I told him everything. Why not? It was all out now anyway.
Gavin listened kindly and made soothing noises while I spoke. He told me I had done the right thing and that it would all work out in the end. I just prayed to God that he was right.
He stayed with me all the way back to the doors of Hale 5. I stumbled inside, collapsed onto my bed and succumbed to the only form of self-preservation left to me – sleep. I extinguished my consciousness, hoping against all reality that this nightmare would be gone when I awoke.
This is the latest installment in my story. If you haven’t yet read the previous entries, click here to start at the beginning. Then continue to read each post in numerical order.