“Why did you do it?”
I look at her, the tears glazing down her face like frosting coated on a beautiful cake. Although instead of invoking admiration, it made me feel terribly like a stomachache you can’t get rid of, no matter how many hot baths or over-the-counter medication it still seemed to rot my insides. Her tantalizing dark eyes looked at me as if I were a monster and I was. I was the worst type of person to ever live. I knew I was.
No words could escape from me as tears decorated my own face. I didn’t feel like a beautiful cake though, I felt like a desolate storm.
My eyes feel like they’re ripping open as my body jolts awake. Oh my god, oh my god. I begin to adjust to my surroundings, panting from the intensity of the dream. God, I’ve never been so happy something was a dream. How awful was that? Guilt still lingers as I peel off the covers and swing my legs over to the side of the bed.
Water. I need water. My throat is dry and I’m sweating; it was as if the sun had been beating on me all night as I slept, what day is it?
“HALLOWEEN!” I yell out, answering my own question as I clasp my hands over my mouth. Father might have been asleep and I don’t think he would have been very happy with his daughter for waking him up, and I wouldn’t be either. I look down at the bruise on my knee, twinges of sorrow seeping into my thoughts as I take a deep breath.
It’s my birthday. October 31st, Halloween day, I was brought into this world by my mom. My mom didn’t make it, but I did, and I try to be grateful for the opportunity to live. To live everyday for the small things, like the feeling you get when you dance in the rain with your best friend, just swaying to the pitter patter hitting the ground. You don’t care how wet your hair is or how much mud is slatted on your boots, it’s just you, your best friend, and the rain. It’s the closest to heaven on earth, I swear by it.
I stand up, a grin plastered across my face. In this moment, I’m sure nothing could ruin this day, because today was my birthday and today was halloween. Today wasn’t like every other today, so it can’t be treated as such.
I rush over to my white closet that happens to be connected to the black wall. I open the closet and take out the dress I had been working on for months. I run my hands over the fabric, admiring every little detail from the hem to the sleeves. It was a white ball gown, transparent maple leaves decorated the hem and the sleeves ran the entire length of my arm. I press the dress against my chest, imagining I’m Cinderella and dancing with my prince charming. I was going to be so pretty when I put this on tonight.
My best friend, Maxine, and I were going to celebrate. She invited me over to her house and I’m brimming to the top with excitement. I feel like I’m going to explode and paint the sky in fireworks that people could see all over the world.
I put the dress back into the closet, gently, and hurry out of my bedroom, closing the oak door behind me. I collapse onto the classic kitchen chair in a flurry of laughter. I have no idea what I’m laughing at but that doesn’t matter to me, because tonight I’m going to be PRETTY!!! Can you imagine it? Me? Pretty? It felt like things like this only happened in disney movies, but tonight I was going to be the main character. The pretty main character.
I take out my phone and call Maxine. It goes straight to voicemail. Maybe her phone is dead? I sigh, but I know she’ll call me back soon, she wouldn’t miss her besties birthday. She loves me too much to do something like that.
My stomach rumbles with hunger but I’m much too excited to eat anything. Water. I need water. My parched throat begs for a drink and I oblige, walking over to the fridge and taking out a bottle of water. I sip it, the cold wet feeling slipping down my throat and instantly making me feel better.
It’s been 10 minutes since I’ve called Maxine. Why hasn’t she answered? I text her: hey call me.
I turn around and see my father, sending daggers at me with his eyes.
“Harlow.” He speaks, sending a cold feeling that I can’t quite describe throughout my entire body. It feels as if my stomachs flipping…
“Yes?” I say.
“Why aren’t you at school?” He booms.
Sadness crooks inside of my chest as tears well up in my blue eyes. He forgot. He forgot my birthday, like he does every year, yet somehow it hurts just as much as it did 5 years ago. Does it ever not hurt?
“It’s my birthday… And it’s sunday.” I look down at the ground, avoiding eye contact, afraid if I look at him I’ll burst into uncontrollable tears. That would be so humiliating.
“Oh.” He crosses his arms. He towered over me, believe me when I say I didn’t get my height from him. I guess being short wasn’t that bad, but in situations like these it made me feel so small, like I could just be flicked away from existence like some fly. “I’ll be in my room.”
He leaves and even after he leaves, my eyes are still drawn to the ground. Stop, no, I’m not supposed to feel this way today. Nothing could ruin today. Nothing. I said that as a promise to myself and I intend to keep it. I glance at my phone and see my text message was read 5 minutes ago. Seriously? She didn’t respond?! Do I mean anything to anyone?
No, no, I wasn’t supposed to feel bad today. It felt like I had been stuck in a daydream, but just as quickly as I dreamed, it was shattered by reality. Reality told me I was worthless, that no one cared about me. Reality made me believe those words to be true.
I dart into my room, slam the door and sob into my pillow, pushing my face deeper into it, secretly hoping I’d suffocate and all of my problems would end. WHY DO THESE THINGS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME? Did I do something wrong? Please tell me what I did, I’ll fix it, I promise I’ll fix it… Just give me a chance.
Frustration enters my skull, giving me a tumultuous headache as loud and as heavy as the ocean. If I’m lucky I’ll drown and sink into the sea floor like an anchor, dropping faster and faster until eventually I land somewhere. I pounce up from my bed and run into my closet. I take the dress I had worked on for so many months and tear it apart. I rip the fabric that had meant so much to me right open. I throw it on the ground and stomp on it like a madwoman. This makes me look crazy, but I’m not. I’m just tired. I’m tired of everything; I’m tired of rain and family and best friends… And beautiful princess-esque dresses apparently.
I drop onto the ground, crying like I was just told terrible news by my doctor. The crying will never stop, there will always be days where I’ll cry on this exact spot on the floor, envious of those with perfect lives. When does it stop?! WHEN WILL IT END?
I’m pathetic. I can’t help but think this repeatedly as I mope incessantly. I look at my phone and see the text that was read 30 minutes ago. You want to ignore me, bestie? Fine. I’ll make you feel just as bad as I do right now.
I walk back into the kitchen, open the cabinet under the sink, grab the gasoline, and smile to myself. My eyes feel like they’re burning, and Maxine will feel the same pain. I tried being nice and look what that made me: miserable.
Great, now I just need to find my father's car keys. They should be in the living room. I go into the living room and I find them on the white drawer. Perfect.
I laugh to myself. I don’t know if revenge is going to make me feel better but it was better than sitting here with my feelings, wasn’t it? Isn’t action better than basking yourself in a pity party? I don’t hear anyone disagreeing with me. Oh, how the excitement sitting in my chest is craving this sweet revenge, nothing can go wrong. Maxine won’t even know it was me.
I stroll out into my driveway and unlock the car then turn the key to start the engine. I didn’t technically have my drivers license but I had my permit and that was good enough to stay alive and not crash.
I drive down the street as my thoughts drift into my fantasies. I wish today had played out differently, should I be doing this? Shut up. Of course I should… It’s MY birthday, It was supposed to be MY day and I have every right to be angry because the one day I had was stolen away from me. The air begins to feel heavy as I turn onto the street Maxine’s house resides on. I stop the vehicle, climb out, and peer at her beautiful suburban house. Such a shame things had to happen this way.
I pour gasoline all around the house, and then light a match throwing it on the gasoline and running the other direction. An explosion; A fiery burst of colors lighting up the house.
Fire tangles around the house, orange and red flames engulfing and dancing around it and all I can do is laugh as I watch.
I glance at the phone in horror, my heart stopping when I see the date: