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When You Left Me

A Short Story

That morning I was woken by the sun streaming in through my open blinds. Groaning, I rolled onto my back and stared at the ceiling, my eyes tracing the cracks and smudges. I followed the cracks down from the ceiling to my wall, which lead my eyes to my collection of pictures. My gaze fell upon a picture that held my happiest memory and I began to feel a fire in the pit of my stomach. I jumped out of my bed and began to rip the pictures off the wall. Defeated, I crumpled to my knees, surrounded by the remains of lost memories. 

Crying, I pulled myself out of the pile and got ready for school. I was usually always early or at least on time, but today it was hard for me to get up and put on a happy face. Numb with thoughts of yesterday, I threw on some clothes, skipped my usual shower, and trudged down the stairs. I was greeted by an empty house because it was already 8:30 and my parents had already left for work. Sighing, I walked out of the house and opened my car door and drove to school. I arrived as the bell was ringing but didn’t care, as I took my time walking to the building, the fall leaves swirling around my feet. I walked into the building and to the front desk, where I was greeted with a sympathetic smile and a pass to my first hour. As I entered the classroom, the whispers of students catching up with their friends stopped. There was a dead silence as I walked to my seat and sat down, everyone staring at me. I wanted to scream into their silence. Next to me there was an empty seat, a seat that I had never seen empty before. I continued to stare at that seat until the bell rang, not getting up until the teacher called me up to her desk. Slowly I walked up to the teacher, looking at my shoes. The teacher took in my presence of messy, unbrushed hair, and my devilish, unkempt clothes. She sighed, making me look up at her pitiful smile as she handed me a note with the school councilor's number on it and a smiley face. I hesitantly took the small note and crumpled it up, the same fire growing in my stomach. My teacher reached out to grab my hand but I knocked her away and exited the room.

I entered the empty halls and headed to the front door ignoring the assistant principal's cries at me to come back. I didn’t stop when I walked past my car or when I realized that I had begun to walk along the side of the road, headed in no particular direction. After a while, my surroundings became familiar, as I recognized the pond to my left. Veering off the road, I walked through the grass and towards the pond, debating whether or not I was going to stop when I reached the water’s edge. Staring at the water, I could have sworn I heard her laugh. The laugh that I always heard at this spot, except this time I was alone. I watched the water underneath me ripple as my tears hit the water. Standing up, I waded into the water until my chin was hitting the water. I was about to submerge my head when a familiar voice called my name. Peering my head out of the water, I made eye contact with my mother, who was standing at the edge of the pond. Sighing, I headed back towards land and my mother. Dripping with water, I followed my mother home, passing the small house on the corner whose top right window’s light was off. I had never seen that light off. I knew that behind that light there would have been a bright room in the corner of that tiny house. The walls would be filled with pictures and paintings. There would be books scattered around the floor but the room would be filled with laughter, our laughter. I stopped and stared at the window, a fresh set of tears collecting in my eyes.

When we got back to our house, I went upstairs and changed into dry clothes for the ceremony. I sat down on my bed, swallowing the lump in my throat as I reached for my sleeping pills. Time seemed to stop as I sat and stared at the window until my mother came up to get me. I looked at her black pantsuit and down at my own attire, she hated black, we shouldn’t be wearing black. When I looked back up, my father was also standing in the doorway, whispering into my mother’s ear, something about how it was time to go. I pushed myself off the bed and followed my parents to the car. It was only a five-minute drive to the church so I didn’t have much time to think about what was going to happen next. What I was going to have to see. As they entered the church, my eyes landed on the open casket of the girl with the porcelain face that I had fallen in love with so many years ago, and fell to my knees. I couldn’t stand to go any closer, to have to see the scars I knew were a cry for help. I thought I was going to be enough to get her to stay. I didn’t realize that her texts about wanting to go home was about Heaven and not her house. The air was thick around me as the walls closed in. My vision went black but not before a light surrounded me, a light that at the end, she waited for me with open arms.

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