Acting. It’s the one thing that I know helps me get by. If I act that everything is okay then no one will worry over me, no one will look at me with pity. If I act normal then they’d act normal. So that’s what I do.
I act during the day and at night when I’m all alone, I let the real me out and just cry.
“So I’m thinking Paris.” I play with the straw from my smoothie.
Kim turns his head and looks at me. “Paris?” he asks, grabs my smoothie and takes a sip from it.
I nod. “Yes, Paris. Let’s go to Paris.” I announce. I lean on the bench and look up to the skies smiling.
He smiles at me, “If that’s what you want then, we’ll go.” He tells me, grabs my hand and squeezes it, “I know things have been hard these past few months but I promise you I’ll make it better.”
I give him a half-smile, I know he will try to make it better, that’s what he does best. I just don’t know if he can make this any better because I don’t know if I ever will feel alive again. If I ever will be grateful and happy that I am alive.
Because right now, all I feel is cold detachment. I’m living but not really living. I’m doing what others want me to do, they want me normal so I’m pretending everything is fine because I’m afraid.
He lets go of my hand and pull his phone out of his pocket, “When do you want to leave?” he asks, I shrug and he nods, he continues to search our ticket through his phone.
After a few minutes, he tells me that we’ll be leaving tomorrow. I give him another smile, I must be really good at acting because he can’t see the truth with my smiles. Or maybe he sees it he just doesn’t want to acknowledge it because it’s better than not speaking at all.
Pretending that everything is alright is better than the fact that I stopped from speaking, so maybe that’s why Kim doesn’t want to tell my bluff. He’d take what he can get. Sometimes, I feel for him. I know he’s hurting because of everything that had happened to me, he’s hurting because he doesn't know this girl I’ve become.
He doesn’t know though, that this is not the new me. What he saw in that hospital was the old me. It’s also the reason why I started speaking again, I feared Kim walking away from me because he now truly saw the broken and damaged girl that I am. So I spoke and acted normal because I’m selfish.
I can’t let Kim walk away, I can’t take it. I can’t take seeing him turning his back on me because if he does then I really will have nothing left to hold on to.
“You’re a bad girl.” Dr. Frank admonishes, holding my left arm tightly so he could inject the big needle in me, I don’t cry, I just sit still with my eyes burning with unshed tears.
I try not to wince when the big needle pricks my skin, it hurts but the more I complain the more Dr. Frank will do bad things to me.
After injecting something in me, he lets go of my arm and I brush my arm with my other hand, touching it softly so it won’t hurt anymore. “Paula, Mary’s done here.” Dr. Frank calls over Ms. Paula who’s just staring at the wall, avoiding eye contact.
Ms. Paula nods, walks over me and helps me down the table. She doesn’t smile at me, no one ever does really. We walk out of the white room and outside the waiting area is mommy.
She rises when she sees me and a little part of me jumps out of joy hoping she’d tell me it’s over and we’re going home but she doesn’t, instead she steps towards us, frowns at me then looks at Ms. Paula, “I need to talk to Dr. Frank, is he available?” she asks.
Ms. Paula nods, “He’s inside.” She tells mommy. We start walking away again but I press my feet firm on the ground, Ms. Paula notices and halts, “Come on Mary, we need to get you back to your room.” She tells me with the cold voice of hers.
I shake my head, turns my head to mommy who’s looking at me weirdly, I plead with my eyes, begging her to see me and take me home with her.
Mommy turns her back on me and starts toward the white room I just left.
Ms. Paula kneels down on me and gives me a chiding look, “This is home, Mary.”
I shake my head even knowing she is probably right. I just want my mommy.
“Do you want to go back to Dr. Frank, Mary?”
I give her an alarming look, I don't want to go back there. Dr. Frank is bad. I shake my head frantically and I let her drag me back to the small gray room they assigned me at since mommy and daddy brought me here.
I wake up with a start, another nightmare. I bury my face to my pillow to smother the cry that I know would come eventually and when it does, I let it happen because this is all I can ever do.
I cry for having to pretend I’m okay and I cry because of the nightmares.
It hurts, why does it always hurts?
When I’m done crying, I hop out of bed and walk towards the bathroom to wash my face from the tears. I flash my face with cold water and stare at myself at the mirror, my eyes are fluffy and my nose is red. My face shows the horror I’ve just dreamed about and it needs to go away.
I breathe deeply and walk out of the bathroom and out of my room, I need to go to the one place I feel safe from. So I walk down the scary corridors of the house and when in front of the room, I turn the knob and the door opens, he never unlocks his door because he knows I’ll come here.
I enter the room and the dim light coming from the lampshades help me navigate my way to his bed, I hop to the bed, slides my body to the duvet and burrows my face in his chest.
He pulls me close and holds me tight. “Night Mary.” He just murmurs because he knows I won’t talk to him about it, he knows there’s something keeping me awake every night but he doesn’t press on because like I said, I won’t tell him.
Telling him would be a mistake, he’d leave me once he’s learn all the bad things about me, once he’s learn I’m bad. I’m evil.
Kim is the only person I need if I have to go on living in this godforsaken world.
I wrap my arms around him, “Don’t ever leave me, Ian, please.” I tell him.
He stills but then his hold tightens, “Didn’t I promise you before that I won’t? I won’t ever leave you Mary. Nothing will make me leave you.” he promises, kisses me on my head and says, “Just trust me, I’ll never leave your side.”
But he will. Someday. When he’s grown tired of keeping me and watching over my crazy, he’d leave. I know what he wants, he wants me to share everything to him, he knows there’s a lot I’m keeping from him and he wants me to trust him enough to tell him.
I do trust him. But sometimes, even trusting a person can be the greatest mistake one can ever do. If I tell him, he’d leave me. He’d run.
“I love you.”
I know he does, I’m just afraid that the moment he learns all the horrible things of my past he’d stop loving me. Everyone does eventually. Mom and dad did. Only Louie loved me unconditionally even knowing there’s something dark about me.
Kim tosses our luggage at the back of the car and opens the front door for me, “After you, milady.”
I smile and jump inside the car, I watch as he circles back to the driver’s seat and jumps right in. “Are we going to make it on the train?” I ask.
He grins at me, “Of course. You’re talking to one of the fastest racers in town.”
I smack his arm playfully, “Cocky bastard.” I say as he hits on the gas pedal and we drive off.
I fix my hat as the wind blows. I smile and close my eyes. In a few minutes or so, we’re going to be boarding a train to Paris and in Paris, I can finally breathe without having mom look at me warily as if she knows I’ll breakdown.
I’ll be free from her and everything. I’ll be away from Germany. It’ll be me and Kim.
This is what I need. I need to breathe.