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The Words I Said
The Words I Said
“Why don’t you just go and kill yourself?” I screamed, my eyes flashing and my cheeks hot with an uncontrollable anger. My breaths were coming out in short, furious puffs of air and my hands were clenched into tight fists. I was so miserable, so angry, so confused. I was only fifteen.
Ashley’s eyes widened, and I watched as the pleading expression left her pale face. She froze. Suddenly, neither of us knew what to say.
“I…” My voice trailed off, my shoulders rising and falling. My fingers relaxed. “Ashley…” I suddenly realized what I had just said. I stared at her; I felt a wave of guilt wash over me, pull me under.
Ashley took a few quick, stumbling steps backwards. I could see tears filling her big, blue eyes. She looked so young, and so Ashley, with her smooth pink hair and heavy eyeliner. Thick tracks of mascara ran down her face. She was trying not to cry.
“I’m sorry,” I gasped, once again realizing the horrific thing I had just shouted at this person, a person just like me. Ashley was just Ashley. She was just a girl, like me. She was wearing a pink sweater that matched her hair. Her jeans were a faded blue color, with a rip in the knee. She was just a girl.
And I had just told her to go and kill herself.
I was a monster.
I staggered backwards, distancing myself from her. My breathing was jagged and strained. I realized that I, too, was crying. I had gone too far. “Ashley,” I tried again. “I didn’t mean it. Please just-”
More tears streamed down her face, and she took a shallow, shaky breath as she turned her head away from me. I looked away. The sight of her made me sick. The sight of her made me feel like horrible person, which I probably was.
“I-I-“ I stammered.
“Just leave me alone,” She managed, before turning on her heel and breaking into a run. And just like that, I was alone in the locker room.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered, as if she could hear me. I combed through the events of the past few weeks in my head, trying to remember what she had done. I tried to remember what had gone so horribly wrong.
I turned around in circles, crying my makeup away and trying to make sense of my muddled, panicked thoughts. All I knew was that I had gone too far. I ran out of the locker room, down the hallways and out of the school, searching for an answer. Searching for Ashley.
She was gone.
I continued to pace. Was I really that girl? Had I become the type of girl who was so miserable she made other girls’ lives living hells? I couldn’t be. I was happy. I was supposed to be nice and happy and normal and popular. I wasn’t this girl.
But I was.
I stared up at the sky and waited. For what, I wasn’t sure.
SEVEN YEARS LATER
Ashley’s eyes met mine from across the street, big and blue like they always had been. Her hair wasn’t pink, and I almost didn’t recognize her. I hadn’t seen her since the day of our fight, seven years before, after which she had switched schools.
At first, all I felt was relief. She was alive, she was here.
I raised my hand, feeling awkward. I wanted to run to her. I wanted to talk to her, tell her that I was sorry. I wanted her to know how happy I was that she was still here. I wanted us to be friends. I wanted to erase the past.
But I couldn’t. Because, despite all the mind games I had played with myself over the past seven years, I knew that Ashley was still broken. Because those words, those words that I said, were still here, hovering between us. And maybe they always would be.
"Ashley..." I called. My voice was weak,
She looked at me.
What was there to say? It was too late. So we just stared at each other from across the road, cars passing by, offering each other nothing but our silent apologies.