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hen I was seventeen years old, I tried killing myself. Only my family and a few close friends know my secret. It's not something I like to share. That particular time in my life was in all honesty, hell. I hated my life. I hated my job. I hated my friends. I hated my family. I hated my boyfriend. And most of all, I hated me.
My depression wasn't just a work of fiction I made up in my mind. The mere thought of happiness never crossed my emotions. The pain that I felt on a daily basis was so hard to hide. I tried my best to conceal my feelings behind my carefree smile. I also sought to cover up the scars that enveloped my wrists.
I hadn't always felt like this. There once was a day when I felt a joy of life. A smile that I didn't have to force. I loved life, and I loved him.
It was the day I looked into his emerald green eyes as he leaned in and kissed me for the first time.
The summer of my sixteenth birthday had to be the best summer I have ever had. Driver's Education just started, and I was so excited to be able to drive around town with my friends.
"Mary, watch out!" my fifteen-year-old self-shouts from the back seat of the Driver's Ed van.
Mary had almost gotten us killed. She ran a stop sign and came close to colliding with another vehicle. I closed my eyes bracing for the impact. Thankfully, Coach Bailey slammed on the breaks that were hidden away on the passenger side of the van. The tires squealed loudly. I opened my eyes and glanced over at my friends; Ashley and Sarah. They were breathing at the same rapid pace as I was.
The older man in the truck whom we almost hit did not look very happy. He began cursing at us. Coach Bailey exited the van and tried to defuse the situation. The angry man flipped off Coach Bailey. I guess he felt better after telling us to fly a kite because he got back into his truck and went on his merry way. Coach Bailey, a tall man in his mid-forties, just shook his head.
He waved casually at the bystanders to assure them that we were all right. He slid back into the van and glanced back at me. I have known this man since I was in first grade. He taught our gym class, he tried to show me basketball—I'm not very graceful, and now he is teaching me how to drive.
"Janelle, it's your turn." he states.
Mary and I exchange seats. I place the seatbelt around my body and take in a deep breath. The bystanders allowed me to turn right. With the help of my blinker, I make a smooth turn and head down the road. I did the rest of the driving that day. I guess I drove like a grandma because all three of my friends were passed out in the back seat.
I got us back to our school in Liberty Mounds Oklahoma without a single scratch or another person giving us the bird. To this day, every time Coach Bailey sees me, he always praises me for being the best Driver's Ed student he's taught. I guess that counts for something.
Liberty Mounds sits in a quiet community. It consists of two small gas stations, no post office, and no stop lights. We are in the middle of nowhere USA. The community is my home though. I would never dream of leaving it. My parents went to school here, my uncles, several cousins, and now me.
I waited with my best friend Lisa outside of the old rock gym. She was in the first group which consisted of watching videos on drunk driving and going over the driver's education manual. My mom finally pulled into the parking lot and stopped in front of us. If I knew then what I know now, I would have put my mother on a pedestal and worshiped her. She raised me all on her own after my father ran out on us when I was a baby. Of course, me being fifteen, I thought my mother didn't know a damn thing.
I got into the passenger seat while Lisa climbed into the back. My mother handed me an energy drink. Those things are my addiction. I thanked her kindly. Using my thumb, I opened up the cap to the can. I lifted the cold beverage up to my lips and took in a large amount of sugary sweetness.
"Can Lisa come with us this weekend to Aunt Maries?" I asked.
My mom drove down the old country road in the direction to our house. We lived in the Hectorville area which I never understood. Our school was named Liberty Mounds Public Schools, but most of us lived in a community called Hectorville. Why not call the school Hectorville Public Schools? It never made any sense to me.
As well as Lisa being my best friend, she is also my next door neighbor. The two of us get into a lot of mischief together. We have skipped school more than once, broke into an abandoned house with Cory, and wandered around the community. I wouldn't trade those days for anything.
"As long as it's okay with her parents," my mom replied.
I glanced back to smile at my best friend. I have told her many stories about my time in Missouri at my Aunt Marie and Uncle Duane's house. My Uncle Duane loved to drink beer. He was the first person who got me drunk. My mom's older sister Marie is awesome. She will let me get away with anything. Don't cross her though because she can be a bitch at times. She tells it how it is and she loves to gossip in the small town of Bell Missouri.
Duane had a nephew named Jessie that I have had a crush on for the longest time. The first time I met him, he would not leave me alone. Jessie followed me around like a lost puppy. He seemed very goofy to me, and I loved that quality in a guy. I'm a goofy person as well. I haven't seen him in over two years. I wondered if he would be at Marie and Duane's house this weekend for Memorial Day.
My mom slowly turned down the dead end road which leads into a field. This field contained two mobile homes. My house sat on a circular drive surrounded by trees while Lisa's home sat in the open. My house is on the right while hers is on the left. It takes exactly eighty-six steps to get from my house to hers. Yes, we counted.
"I'll call and let you know what they say. Thanks for the ride Annie." Lisa waves at my mom before slipping out of the car and running towards her house. Her dog Copper who is a chocolate lab greets her with a frantic tail wag.
I followed my mom inside to see my little brother running around our large living room. I hated the wallpaper. It looked like a child came in a scribbled some weird designs all over the wall. A fireplace with cream colored rock sat on the far wall. Our large flat screen television sat in the corner next to the fireplace. We had our sectional on the placed in an L shape on the farther wall close to the front door. Pictures of the family adorned the ugly wallpapered walls.
My brother had a ball in his hand. I knew one day that that kid would be famous in sports. The doctor's said he would never be able to play because he would have asthma. He was born with a collapsed lung and pneumonia in the other lung. Dustin almost died. My mom and step-dad demanded that he goes to another hospital that could save him. He was rushed via ambulance to the children's ward at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa. They thankfully saved his life. Every day I owe the great team of doctors and nurses that worked in the NICU a huge thank you.
"Sissy, play ball with me." my four-year-old brother Dustin says.
My stepfather who is Dustin's dad sat on the couch wearing nothing but a pair of shorts. He had a bottle in one hand and an enormous nasty dip in his mouth. I cringe every time I see him. I never understood why my mother settled for this man. He controlled my mom and was verbally abusive towards her. He also said a few hurtful things to me. I don't know how many times he has called me fat.
The moment he found out my grandparents had money he never left my mom's side. My nana passed away, and my mom bought the land and the mobile home we live in now with the inheritance money she got. My stepfather ended up getting a new truck with that money. He talked my mother into buying this huge house that I knew we couldn't afford. She knew it too but didn't say a word to him. Because of my stepfather and how he treated both my mother and I that is how my depression began.
"Let's play in your room," I replied to my brother.
I could feel my stepfather's eyes on me. Sometimes I felt as if he was undressing me with his eyes. He freaked me out. My friends didn't like coming over to my house either due to that fact. They felt very uncomfortable around him.
I stayed in my room a lot of the times. Locked away in my solitude. My room is where I felt the safest. I could listen to my music, watch my movies, and write in my journals. I was at peace in my teenage room. I had my privacy. My mother never hovered or searched my room. She gave me my freedom as long as I gave her a reason to trust me.
I walked into my brother's room that contained a small basketball goal and several toys. He never slept in his room. My mom had to put his car bed at the foot of their bed. That was the only way they could get him out of their bed. On occasion, I would let him sleep with me, but that kid is a bed hog.
I sat down on the floor and threw the small basketball to him a few times. I watched as he did his cute little tricks. He turned to give me a broad grin. His big chocolate brown eyes and long thick eyelashes always made me jealous. It wasn't fair that this boy had longer eyelashes than most girls. Everywhere we went strangers would comment on how beautiful his eyelashes were.
The loud ringing of the phone caused me to jump up to my feet. I ran into the kitchen with my brother following behind me. I picked up the cordless phone off the receiver. I glanced at the number. It was Lisa.
"What did they say?" I asked.
"They said I could go!" she replied happily.
I let out a small squeal. I knew this was going to be the best weekend ever!