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The Crippling Road to Peace.

by Mikki Phillips 7 months ago in Young Adult
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The true meaning of being at peace.

Starting the shower, feeling the steam start to fill the room, I stand in front of the mirror criticising the far too thin, green eyed girl with long dark hair who is staring back at me. - This is what stressing too much does to you - my critical inner voice snaps, looking me up and down shaking her head.

Okay, I'm underweight, really underweight, I admit to myself as I glimpse at the floor scales, gently kicking them under the bench as anxiety starts creeping up on me, I've been too scared to weigh myself for some time now.

Stepping under the almost too warm stream of water, I instantly feel my sour mood wash away.

Blow drying my hair in front of the mirror in my bedroom, I notice something move in the doorway, looking up I see Byron's huge grin and the two full glasses of what I assume is vodka and lemonade that he is holding.

Shaking my head as my uncontrollable smile appears, I switch off the hairdryer and take the glass he extends to me.

"I've forgotten which of us is the bad influence in this friendship" I giggle as I take a sip, almost spitting my mouthful out, "how strong did you mix this" I cough. "Come on Mikki, surely your used to my poor mixing skills by now" Byron laughs as he takes my glass to top it up with more lemonade.

I watch as he leaves the room, appreciating everything about him, I’m truly lucky to have him in my life. My best friend. Byron has one of those contagious sort of smiles that can brighten anyone’s mood instantly, his personality is one of a kind, full of energy and full of life, forever chasing adventure, he’s quite literally my other half, the one and only person I’ve met that can actually keep up with me.

“If you complain about this one, you’ll be pouring drinks for the both of us all night” Byron laughs, snapping me out of my thoughts. Pretending to be cautious, I smell the drink before taking a sip, “mm.. I don’t know, I guess it will have to do” I say in the most sarcastic voice I can manage, giving Byron a wink. He pretends to look hurt, but his laugh gives him away.

“Your taste in scary movies really does surprise me” Byron says, quite impressed as he scrolls through my list of movie downloads, “I hear that this new paranormal movie is supposed to be really good” he says, pressing play.

Turning out the lights, we get settled in to watch the movie, sitting close together like usual, sharing the blanket like normal. Something feels different though,

I can’t quite work out what,

maybe it’s just these drinks going to my head a little,

yeah surely that’s all it is.

I catch Byron looking at me from the corner of my eye, and I feel it, that magnetic pull,

that unspoken curiosity burning through the space between us.

I don’t want to move, but I want to know if he feels it too.

I silently plea for a sign,

for an answer to my unasked question.

Byron places his hand on my thigh,

awakening all of my senses,

sending a shiver through my entire body.

My skin beneath his touch comes to life, and I’m paralysed, stuck in what feels like a dream, -An erotic dream– my over eager inner voice drawls.

Byron turns so that he’s facing me, looking deep into my eyes, then dropping his gaze to my parted lips, and back again, almost like he’s asking a question.

I’m panting, my breath so heavy, so wanting, he looks down to my lips again, and deliberately, I run my tongue across my bottom lip, and gently bite it.

He looks like he wants to pounce on me, I can tell that he’s using every bit of restraint he has in him not to, But I don’t want him to hold back.

I want him to give in to curiosity.

I grasp his bicep, pulling our faces closer together, our lips almost touching.

I gently graze my nose against his, closing my eyes.

I want this, I want him to kiss me.

I silently beg him to kiss me.

I feel his hand brush against my cheek, finding it’s way to my jaw.

He tilts my head up, giving him easier access to my mouth.

And finally he kisses me, with a passion I’ve never felt before.

This kiss has so much more meaning than I ever knew a kiss could.

We lose all sense of time in that moment, that unexpectedly perfect moment.

Byron pulls away, placing his forehead against mine, giving us both a moment to catch our breath.

Noticing that the movie has ended, struggling to manage a lot of words quite yet, I need to say something to break the silence.

“Bed”? I ask, still panting. Byron smiles and stands up, collecting the blanket as we make our way to my bedroom.

-Now that was something- my over eager inner voice basically faints.

-Something foolish... He’s your best friend, there’s no going back once you’ve let him in your pants Mikki- my critical inner voice practically screams.

Frowning at my thoughts as we enter my bedroom, Byron turns to me, noticing that I’m over thinking.

He grabs my hips and pins me to the wall, tracing kisses from my jaw to my shoulder.

It’s so... sexy.

I’m beyond turned on.

Still holding me in place against the wall, Byron shifts, kissing my lips, then looking deep into my eyes,

“I’ve wanted to know what this would be like for so long Mikki” he says, his voice so husky and wanting.

I can’t help but smile.

Draping my arms around his shoulders, he lifts me, so I wrap my legs around him.

My back still against the wall, he kisses me, so deeply, so passionately.

He moves us to my bed, laying on top of me, I can feel the effect this is having on him, making me want him even more.

He removes my shirt, smiling down at me as he then removes his too.

The feeling of his hands on my bare skin is erotic as hell.

-You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube once it’s out Mikki, once you’ve had sex with your best friend, there’s no going back- my critical inner voice warns, and I hate to admit it, but she’s probably right.

“Byron, I want this, I want it so much, but what happens tomorrow? what happens to our friendship if we cross this line? I’m not sure I’m ready to risk it, you just mean too much to me.”

Byron looks deep into my eyes, and smiles.

“Can we at least ditch the pillow fort for tonight, I’ll play big spoon?” he asks, laughing.

“I’ll happily be the little spoon” I giggle, with a giant smile on my face.

It’s been 5 days since I saw Byron, since that incredible moment we had.. the moment I’ve been trying and failing to stop thinking about.

I haven’t heard a lot from him since then though, I mean besides tagging each other in memes on Facebook. I just can’t stop wondering if it’s had an effect on him too, if he’s still thinking about our moment, or if I’m just being a typical girl by thinking too far into it all.

He works full time as a trades assistant, and well, I get a few casual shifts a week on checkouts and do a bit of hairdressing from home, maybe I just have far too much time on my hands and not enough ways to distract my thoughts.

My phone dings from my back pocket, a message from Dustin.

My heart drops, something’s not right.

I’ve known Dustin since we were both in primary school, we were never close back then. He was three years older than me, and he kept to himself a lot, mostly because he didn’t want anyone to find out what he was going through at home, and I honestly don’t blame him, he had it pretty rough.

In the past months, we’ve become a lot closer, he’s opened up to me about things, because I can see him for the fun, loving, goofy person he really is behind all of his scars.

Shaking, I call Dustin.

No answer.. crap.

I put on my shoes, grab my keys, and run to my car.

I’m worried, really worried.

Pulling up in Dustin’s driveway, I notice that the front door is wide open.. double crap.

Running inside, I realise that the house is completely silent, and that can only mean good news, or the worst of news.

Fear washes over me, Have I just walked into a situation that I’m probably not mentally prepared for?

No, Dustin wouldn’t put me through that, surely not.

At least, I don’t think he would.

-Focus Mikki-

Looking around, I notice that there’s a plate smashed across the kitchen floor and some broken glass too, but no sign of Dustin.

I keep moving through the rest of the house, opening up the doors to each room I pass through the hallway.

I reach the last door, which I know is his room. My hands are trembling, a thousand thoughts running through my mind,

What the hell am I going to find behind this door.

Holding my breath, I slowly turn the handle, and have to force myself to go inside.

There, curled up on the floor, hugging his knees against his chest, I find Dustin.

Relief hits me so hard that I almost fall over.

My legs still shaky, I walk across the room and join him on the floor, resting my head on his shoulder.

“It’s okay Dustin, I’m here.. Take all the time you need” I say, in the calmest voice I can manage.

We sit there for about twenty minutes, before I notice his sobs begin to stop.

He tilts his head so that it’s resting on mine.

“I went to see a doctor yesterday morning, and he diagnosed me with Split Personality Disorder.. but that’s not even the worst of it. I got home from seeing the doctor, and found this.” Dustin says, handing me a folded up piece of paper, as he begins to sob again.

“She’s leaving me for someone else, I just know she is..”

I’m lost for words, Maddison and I were never close, but we got along for Dustin’s sake.

“I’m so sorry that you’re going through this, just know that your not going through it alone at all, I’ll always be here for you.” I say, turning to hug him.

“And don’t stress too much about the doctors diagnosis, don’t let it label you, or make you feel like it defines you, because it doesn’t! Besides.. I quite like your personality just the way it is.

Has he given you any medication or anything to help?” I add.

“This is why you’re my favourite, you always know what to say.. how’d a kid like you get so smart hey?” Dustin says, giving me a nudge.

“The Doc gave me a script for something, I haven’t got it filled yet though” he adds, shrugging his shoulders.

“Well.. it’s 4pm now, I’m happy to drive you to the chemist if you’d like me to, although, I feel like a bike ride there might do you the world of good.. I promise I’ll still be here when you get back.” I say, standing up, my legs numb from sitting on the floor.

“Deal, I’ll be back in eleven minutes” Dustin says with a shy smile, ruffling my hair and taking off down the hallway with his goofy laugh.. definitely something I’m glad to hear.

Heading into the laundry, I find the dustpan and broom.

Time to clean up the broken dishes.

Making my way to the kitchen, I can’t help but laugh.

For as long as I’ve known Dustin, he has always had a quirky obsession with the number eleven.

The radio volume has to be set to eleven, the television too.. and don’t even get me started on the time.. 11:11 am or pm, I almost swear he has a subconscious alarm set for it, because he never misses it.

The thought makes me smile, it really is Dustin’s little quirks that make him such a unique person.

Sweeping up the broken dishes, I notice that the pieces of broken glass are an odd shape, it almost looks like it could have been a glass straw.. do they even make glass straws? Surely not..

Sweeping up the rest of the broken pieces of glass, it dawns on me.. this was a glass pipe.

Why the hell is there a smashed pipe in Dustin’s kitchen?

Is he using drugs?

I know that his cousin does, but I didn’t think he even spoke to Nick anymore!

Dustin opens the door, his face dropping when he sees me sitting on the kitchen floor, arms crossed, next to a dustpan with the broken pieces of glass in it.

He begins to speak, but I raise my hand, telling him to stop.

Standing up from the kitchen floor, I can’t help but notice the embarrassment and guilt written all over him.

I can’t be too harsh, he’s going through enough already, but drugs aren’t going to help him at all, and I need to make sure he knows that.

“You said that you went to see the doctor yesterday morning, and that you found the note when you got home.. but you only contacted me two hours ago. Is this what you have been doing? And you’ve just contacted me because you’re coming down from your high?” I ask, trying to keep the anger out of my voice.

“Mikki, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t even want to acknowledge everything when I found out yesterday.. so I called Nick, and got high with him, but after he left, I just felt like an idiot, I was angry at myself, I even threw that thing across the room” Dustin says, pointing to the dustpan.

The look on his face, is one of complete disappointment with himself.

I cave.

I can’t be angry at him, not when he so clearly needs my help.

So I decide to spend the next 4 days cooking, cleaning and packing up Dustin’s things, while letting him sleep it off.

Stepping out of the shower and wrapping myself in a towel, I make my way to the lounge room to retrieve some clean clothes from the bag I raced home and threw together while Dustin was asleep.

Feeling like I’m making my way through an obstacle course -very awkwardly while wearing a towel- I roll my eyes.

The lounge room floor has become my workspace, it’s covered in packing boxes, piles of Dustin’s clothes, and a heap of neatly packed and labeled boxes I’ve stacked in the corner.

I’ve been making sure to wake him up twice a day, bringing him lunch at 11am, hoping to catch him smile at 11:11am before he falls back to sleep, and then again each night for dinner.

After I’m dressed, it dawns on me that my phone has been flat for the past three days, plugging it in and turning it on, I have six missed calls from Byron, and one text message.

Dustin seems to be doing better. Almost all of his things are packed for him. He probably doesn’t need me here looking after him anymore...

I look up to find Dustin standing in the doorway.

“Hey, how are you feeling? Can I get you anything?” I say, watching his big goofy smile spread across his face.

“Mikki, you’ve done more than enough for me already, I’m feeling so much better, and it’s all thanks to you. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, I’m so lucky to have you in my life”

Dustin says, walking towards me and hugging me, lifting me off of the ground as he does.

“Now go home, you’ve wasted too much time here looking after me, Im sure you’ve got so many better things you could be doing” he laughs as he puts me back on my feet.

“I will always have time for you Dustin, no matter what other ways I could be spending my time” I say, smiling as I gather my things and make my way to my car.

Why am I so nervous?

It’s just Byron, my best friend.

Yes, we had a moment.

But that shouldn’t be making me so nervous about seeing him!

I’m sure he isn’t nervous about seeing me.

I’m just being silly, surely..

-your in denial- my surprisingly chirpy inner voice sings, stretching out the last word, mocking me.

-you want him.. you like him- she repeats while dancing around inside of my head.

I’m snapped back to reality when I hear Byron’s car pull into the driveway.

-crap- I cant have feelings for him like that, there’s no way that he’d have those feelings for me, I mean, I’m just me.. just Mikki.

I’m more the crazy adventurous type of girl that guys seem to find fun to be around.

I’m not the girly type that guys seem to want to date.

I mean, I know that I’m not unattractive, despite having so many insecurities.

I’m not the stunning, blonde, tall, curvy type of girl with perfectly applied makeup, big boobs, and a little personality, like guys seem to want.

I’m the girl that most girls don’t tend to get along with.

I’m the short, skinny girl with long, dark hair, wearing minimal makeup, and forever rocking a giant, frequently complimented smile on my face.

I’m the furthest thing from shy, despite my insecurities. My carefree attitude to all things definitely dominates a room.

I’ve become really good at ignoring guys making sleazy comments on a regular basis, and I’m extremely used to having guys try to hit on me at the pubs.

My personality just allows me to fit in as “one of the boys”, so that’s how guys treat me.. they don’t ask me out on dates, why would Byron see me differently?

“Mikki?” Byron says from the doorway, making me jump.

I turn to face him, with a big cheesy smile spread across my face, hoping he didn’t notice.

“I’ll go get my scissors, meet you out in the shed?” I say, rushing to my room.

-stop acting like a nervous mess Mikki.. pull yourself together- my not so subtle inner voice snaps.

I take three deep breaths, and head out to the shed.

“How’s your week been? Feels like I’ve barely heard from you” Byron says as I place the clippers and scissors on the bench.

“My week has been chaotic, sorry I haven’t contacted you until today”

I say, and fill him in on all that has been happening.

“How about you? How’s your week been?” I add, as I begin cutting his hair.

“My week has been okay I guess. I mean, I need to tell you something though” Byron says, pausing.

“I’ve started seeing this girl, Tyla, and I know it’s only been a week, but I saw a message pop up on her phone from another guy, and it just didn’t sit well with me, so I asked her about it, and she said that the friendship I have with you makes her feel the same way. Mikki, you’re my best friend, but I think this thing with Tyla could really work.. I’m sorry, but she wants me to put some distance between us, and I told her that I would.”

My heart sinks.

Deep down I guess I knew that the moment we shared meant more to me than it would to him, but I didn’t prepare myself to find out that it meant nothing to him at all.

I fight back the tears that I can feel pooling in my eyes.

Finishing cutting Byron’s hair, I tell him that I wish him all the best, and for him to see himself out.

I quickly make my way back to the house. I rush straight to my bedroom, locking the door behind me.

My back against the door, I let my body slide to the floor, and I crumble.

Byron tries to talk to me through the door, but I block my ears and continue to cry.

I wake up suddenly, laying on the floor of my bedroom.

I feel broken.

It’s been three days. I haven’t looked at my phone, I haven’t spoken to anyone. I’ve cried myself to sleep each night, and spent my days feeling numb.

It’s not that Byron didn’t feel the same way about me as I started to for him.

It’s that I’ve just lost my best friend, because he has those feelings for someone else.

“Mikki, can I come in” I quickly recognise Jenna’s voice.

I get up from my bed and unlock the door.

Jenna is my younger sister, there’s three years between us, but anyone would think that we’re twins. We used to be inseparable, before she reached her rebellious stage and completely pushed me away.

“So, I saw all the girls today, and Tyla mentioned what had happened.. I mean, she kind of bragged that she managed to get between you and Byron, but yeah. I thought I’d come past and check in on you. How are you holding up?” She says, sitting at the end of my bed.

“You know me Jenna, I’ll survive.. I’ll hit rock bottom, but I’ll make a come back..” I shrug.

“Mikki, it was only a year ago that you almost didn’t make a come back.. intentionally.” Jenna points out, with a worried look on her face.

-well if I didn’t feel horrible enough before, the reminder of my attempt at suicide sure hits the spot.. Thanks Jenna-

“I’m fine, that was a mistake, and will never happen again” I say, giving her a glare that makes her drop that topic.

“I’ll be in the lounge room, come out and watch a movie with me in a bit?” Jenna says, as she leaves my bedroom.

It’s 7pm, I’ve made my way out to the lounge room, sitting on opposite sides of the room to Jenna.

Charging my phone beside me as I turn on my laptop. My phone dings repeatedly.

Rolling my eyes and ignoring all the messages from Byron, I scroll through and come across one from Dustin dated back to last night at 10:22pm.

I feel bad that I’ve only just seen the message from Dustin now.

I reply anyway, maybe seeing Dustin can help get my mind off of things too.

Putting my phone down beside me, I log into Facebook on my laptop and start scrolling through my newsfeed. I see a couple of posts saying things like “taken far too soon” and “you’ll never be forgotten”.

Assuming that someone I probably don’t know personally has been in a car accident or something and passed away, I continue scrolling.

I’ve received a couple of inboxes from people I haven’t spoken to in a while, asking if I’m okay.

Choosing to ignore them, I’m about to sign out of Facebook, when my page refreshes itself, and shows a post from Maddison.

What the hell does that mean?

Curiosity wins, and I click on Dustin’s page to view his wall. And there it is, in black and white, clear as day, right in front of me. Post after post covering his wall, each one containing the same three letters... R..I..P.

“...No...” a sob escapes me, as I cover my mouth with the sleeve of my jumper.

I stand, with trembling legs, my laptop falling to the ground.

Jenna looks at me, concern etched across her face.

I run.

Opening the back door of the house, I just need air, I just need some fresh air. I stumble, falling to the ground as I get outside, but quickly pick myself up and make my way into the shed. Jenna is only a few seconds behind me, forcing me into her arms, hugging me. I can feel her shaking, worrying about me, unsure of what’s just happened. I try to force the words out, but I just can’t, I cant make a sound.

I’m in shock.

Jenna starts the fire, sitting me down in front of it.

Hours pass, sitting by the fire in silence.

Jenna doesn’t leave my side.

Not a single thought crosses my mind, I’m just frozen, numb.. speechless and breaking from the inside out.

“I wasn’t there when he reached out to me, I wasn’t there when it mattered most, when he needed me the most” I manage eventually, shakily saying each word, tears running down my cheeks.

Jenna looks up at me, confusion obvious, but still patiently giving me the time I need to get the words out.

“Dustin tried to contact me, tried to reach out to me, but my phone was off because I was so caught up in my own stupid feelings about losing Byron... and I wasn’t there, no one was... and now Dustin is gone, he’s de..” I break down in tears. Crying uncontrollably.

Jenna hugs me, holding one of my hands as I rock myself back and forward on the floor, my knees against my chest.

“...He’s dead... Dustin killed himself, he took his own life!”

Today is the day of Dustin’s funeral. I received my invite a few days ago.

In memory of Dustin Shills 7.3.1990 – 11.11.2012. Kingston Cemetery.

16.11.2012 2:00pm.

Yes, Dustin killed himself on the eleventh of the eleventh. -Of course he did-

I’m not going. I can’t face being there. His family are choosing to bury him at the Kingston Cemetery, which is adjoined to an old Reformatory!

There are books written on how haunted that place is.

I remember trying to talk Dustin into coming out there with me one night, to give ourselves a scare. But he refused. He said he hated that place, that he never wanted to go there. And now their going to bury him there?

I don’t want any part in it.

…[The days following the funeral are a blur, I didn’t spend much of my time sober.

Days became weeks, and weeks turned into months, and soon enough months turned into years.

I was spiralling down a dark path, it was the only thing keeping me distracted, while I avoided facing my pain-filled reality]…

-I can’t believe it’s been three years since Dustin took his life- I think to myself, as I stare into the bathroom mirror. I can barely recognise the girl staring back at me.

She has dark shoulder length hair, her fringe sitting over her eye, covering a large purple bruise on the side of her face.

She’s clasping her mouth with blood soaked tissues, covering a large split in the centre of her bottom lip. Her cheeks are stained with black mascara, smudged by her tears as they fell.

The only way of knowing that the girl in the mirror is me, is that the pain I feel, matches the horror in her terrified green eyes.

My whole body aches as I lift my shirt over my head, with my back to the mirror.

Looking over my shoulder I see bruises of all colours, shapes and sizes, a fitting background for all of the cuts, marks and scratches covering my entire back.

-How did my life fall so far-

“OPEN THIS DOOR BITCH, DON’T MAKE ME KICK IT IN” Niles shouts at me from the other side of the bathroom door. His threats don’t scare me anymore, to be afraid would mean I’d need to feel something, and I’m just too numb for that now.

I climb into the shower, wincing as the warm water bites my swollen and cut skin, I let the stream of water wash over my head, fading out the thumping sound against the door.

All so suddenly, I feel his hand grasping hold of my hair, smashing my face against the tiled wall. He’s shouting at me, my head smashes into the wall again and again, but I can’t understand what he’s saying, everything feels blurred.

His hands are around my throat, I’m gasping for air, his grip getting tighter and tighter. And then there’s nothing.

“I’ve missed you” a familiar voice says gently. Placing their hand on my shoulder. Opening my eyes, I see a beautiful green meadow, surrounded by large trees, and snow covered mountains in the distance. There’s wild horses drinking from a stream of perfectly clear blue water running below the most incredible waterfall I’ve ever seen.

“Is this heaven?” I whisper.

“This is peace” replies Dustin.

Young Adult

About the author

Mikki Phillips

It’s amazing how ones story can be so different to your own, but to read, allows you to feel like you’re walking a mile in a strangers shoes, experiencing a life outside of your own.

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