A is for…
1. to forsake, banish, cast away, or desert
2. to give up, yield oneself completely, or surrender
3. without restraint or inhibitions
In every sense of the word I am abandoned. And as with any epiphany, I didn't realize until too late. I've made my mistakes. There's no way to change the past of course, but is it too late to destroy whatever pathetic future I was planning on?
Sitting in front of the mirror, gazing at the black trails of mascara tracing the line of my pale face from cheek to chin through cracks as thin and complex as a spider's web I realized that I was bleeding. In a moment of passion I had smashed it in with my bare hand and in the process broken something in myself. Never again would I allow myself to feel such desperate sadness as I had moments ago.
The stinging in my hand was growing, but I didn't care. I almost enjoyed it. It made me happy to see some of the pain I'd been bottling up all this time finally seeping out between my knuckles in a slow, crimson trickle. Never again would I let myself be defined by the people around me, the people who called themselves my "friends", my "family". And I wanted them to know it.
Crawling along my floor, digging through scattered clothes I found what I was looking for: a pair of shears. I was using them last week to make my history project and forgot to bring them back downstairs. It was lucky that they were here now since I couldn't very well explain to my mother what I was planning. Grabbing a fistful of brown hair I set the blades gently against it and closed my eyes, but I couldn't seem to find the strength to bring them together. Of course I wanted to forge myself anew, into a weapon perfect for revenge: unbreakable, sharp, a silver temptress, but I was also indescribably terrified. What was it to destroy an identity, to toss away bits and pieces of my personality as worthless, to become something else entirely? And how deep would this change go? To my soul?
Turning slowly back to the mirror I took one last look at the old me and in her crystal blue eyes saw all the things that made me hate her: vulnerability, cowardice, self-pity, trust, and guilt. There was no turning back. "Goodbye" I mouthed. Snip, snip, snip…
As each newly shorn lock fell from my hands I felt a sense of relief. It was as if I was pulling off a mask that I'd been hiding behind my entire life. Finally people were going to see me and I have to admit, I was excited to see their reactions. It didn't really matter what they were though because no matter what, I was going to make them take back everything they had ever thought about me. They weren't going to be able to ignore me no matter how hard they tried.
But I'm getting way ahead of myself. I should probably explain how I was driven to such…insanity. It's not like I woke up this morning thinking "Hey, just for fun I think I'm going to shake things up and begin a whole new life!" Hah, no. No, it was a lot of things all building up to today's final event that broke the proverbial camel's back.
I was a nice girl, the girl next door type, with a geeky sort of look going on. I got good grades and all my teachers liked me. It's just too bad the students didn't feel that way. I'm not sure how it happened exactly, probably something stupid in the ninth grade, but for whatever reason people liked to pick on me.
It was like everyone in my grade had come to a consensus that yeah, Audrey Martin was the kid you messed with. They probably never thought anything of it either, since nobody ever did anything TOO mean. It was just a constant stream of little things from everyone, everyday. The popular girls stole my notes after class sometimes, laughing about how meek I was when I had hardly begun to walk away. Some of the jocks liked to tease me in math class, calling me beautiful and passing me love notes. (And little naïve Audrey actually believed them the first time it happened. They still liked to laugh about that one). And nobody would sit by me in class or at lunch unless they needed help on homework, and of course, me being so nice, I never said no. I got pushed around in the halls a bit too, tripped up and my books knocked out of my hands "accidentally". But it was okay because I had a few friends: Lena, Brice, and Samantha. They were my only reasons to come to school most days.
Well I guess I did have another reason to come to school: it was somewhere to go other than home. Most days I stayed after working in the computer lab on homework or organizing school functions with student government or writing up stories for the school newspaper. But eventually 7:00 would roll around and I'd get kicked out and I had to go home. Most days I was able to sneak up the stairs to my room before my parents noticed I was there, they screamed so loud. But some days I wasn't so lucky and my mother was already passed out in her room. On those days my father had nobody to push around and he'd come knocking at my door. If I let him in I'd be screamed at for an hour. If I didn't it was much worse.
But even that was survivable because of Lena. She was my best friend in the whole world, someone I knew loved me for just me. I guess I followed her around a lot, but she didn't mind. She did most of the talking in our friendship, telling me all about her life and her secrets. I kept them and in return she stuck up for me when I was bullied and got some of the meaner kids to shut up. We listened to music after school and I slept over at her house almost every Saturday. We were close, at least I thought so, but people change and I should have known that. I sure as hell know it now.
Last night was a bad night at home. My father hadn't hit me in weeks and I was starting to think that he had stopped for good. How stupid of me. He hadn't let loose his rage in a long time and he sure as hell made up for it. It was the first time he'd left bruises that I couldn't cover up with clothing and makeup so when I went to school Lena couldn't help but notice the slightly purple tinge of my left cheek that I'd tried covering up with my long hair. She cornered me after school and demanded to know what happened.
I tried playing dumb: "What?" But she just raised her eyebrow and crossed her arms.
"Oh this?" I smiled, "It's nothing, nothing. I fell out of bed this morning and smashed my head on the lamp. Pretty stupid of huh?"
"You're lying to me."
"What really happened? You can tell me anything, you know that."
It was the first time anybody had ever come close to discovering what my home life was really like. I'd always just pushed it to the back of my mind, gone someplace else in my head when he did it, someplace where I couldn't feel the pain. But the concern in her voice made me think that maybe it would be alright to tell her the truth. It was Lena after all wasn't it, my best friend in the world, someone I'd gladly trust my life to? And not a moment after I realized this, tears were poring down my face and I was telling her everything in choked breaths. When I was done she pulled me into a tight hug, whispering that everything would be okay, that'd she'd fix things. I pulled back roughly.
"No! No you can't tell anyone. That would just make things worse."
"What are you talking about? This has to stop. He might really hurt you someday!"
"Shh!" I said, glancing around franticly to see if anyone had heard our rising voices. "No, it's okay really. He does it less and less often now I promise you. I've only got one more year and then I'm free. If you tell someone they'll just stick their nose in and make everything worse. No, just…be there for me?"
I was begging her with the biggest doe eyes I could muster and she gave in.
"Alright, but promise me you'll tell me if he does it again?"
I nodded happily, "Of course! Thanks Lena, I should have known I could trust you."
It was the best feeling in the world to know that somebody else knew how I suffered and that someone felt I didn't deserve it. I always knew Lena loved me, but suddenly I realized she also valued me; she thought I was worth protecting and saving. The rest of the day passed by in a happy blur. I hardly noticed the teasing voices at my back, or the feet that jutted out in the hallways to trip me. After school I waited for Lena at her locker, but she never showed. Puzzled, I decided to look for her in the computer room.
As I was turning into the North-West hallway I caught sight of Lena. She was leaning against a locker talking to some boy. No, it wasn't just any boy I realized; it was Brian, the guy she'd been crushing over the last month. They hadn't seen me yet so I ducked back around the corner and leaned against the wall quietly, listening to their conversation. I could tell she was a bit flustered by the tone in her voice, but it sounded to me like he was interested. I grinned from ear to ear. It was about time.
Brian's voice was filled with sympathy when he spoke. "That's awful. What are you going to do about it?"
She let out a long, rather fake sigh. I almost giggled.
"Well, I don't know really. I've never been in a situation like this before. I'm the only person she's told and she came to me for help."
I gulped. They were talking about me? No, no they couldn't be. I told her not to tell!
She continued, "But what the hell am I supposed to do? My father's never hit me for Christ's sake and I'm supposed to help her? I'm just so overwhelmed."
I thought my head was going to explode. I trusted her and here she was spilling my secrets to a guy she hardly knew?!
Brian was talking again. "I'm so sorry Lena. That really is tough. But you know all you can really do is be there for her. You've done a great job so far."
"Thanks Brian. You have no idea….Audrey's a nice girl but it's SO much work being her friend. All she ever does is complain about how awful her life is and I'm always sticking up for her. It's like she expects me to save her. And you have no idea how much crap I get from everybody else because of it. I'm sick to death of it. At least there's only one more year left."
NO! NO! NO!
She was my best friend! She took me as I was: my strengths with my weaknesses and loved me in spite of them! She was trustworthy! She was my rock! She was…she…
She backstabbed you.
No, she just…
She took your most painful, shameful secret and used it to get closer to a guy.
No, she didn't mean…
She's making herself look like a saint just to get some sympathy.
No, she isn't…
She isn't your best friend and she never was.
No, I was so sure…
She's a bitch. A lying, backstabbing, manipulative, bitch. She pretended to care when you told her all those things, but the whole time she was really just annoyed. She was sick of hearing about your life and was thinking about Brian. You're just a thorn in her side, always nagging, an embarrassment.
They weren't kidding when they coined the phrase "heart-wrenching" because at that moment it felt like Lena had just stabbed me through the heart, grabbed a fistful of my insides, and torn them out it hurt so bad. I fought the urge to vomit as wave after wave of confused pain and nausea washed over me. I shook my head from side to side, trying to clear up my head which was starting to shut down from shock. Taking in deep breathes I regained control of my twisting stomach long enough to let a new feeling sweep over me: rage. White hot fury began to poor through me, flooding my veins with fire so that I could hardly see when I leaned out from behind the corner for one last look. Through the hazy redness I could see that they were kissing.
Too enraged to be silent and too disgusted to stay I tore off in the other direction, my head and heart throbbing faster and more violently than my footsteps. In my blind rage I collided head on with another student and crashed to the floor. It was Brittany, one of my worst tormentors.
"What the fuck?! Watch where you're going Audrey!" She hissed.
The sound of more running footsteps behind me. It was Lena and Brian.
"Are you okay Audrey? Sounded like a pretty hard fall. Why were you running anyway?"
I looked up at her, mustering the most evil look possible, but I must have failed miserably because she didn't seem to notice.
"Are you crying? Oh come on Audrey, it was just a fall…no need to overreact."
Over react? OVER REACT?! My brain was in meltdown already and I could hardly take in this new level of hell. She didn't know I had witnessed their exchange and still thought I worshipped the ground she walked on?! This self-righteous attitude was too much to bear and I took off running. The throbbing in my head was like a countdown to my explosion and I knew I had to get outside. I pushed past someone in the entryway and stumbled out through the main doors. The slow throbbing in my head was now a pounding percussion ensemble speeding up, speeding up, getting louder, louder, LOUDER until I couldn't hold it in any longer and my lunch came back up in a few painful heaves.
Someone called my name as I ran off, wiping some saliva from the corners of my mouth, but I didn't stop to see who it was. I sprinted the mile back to my house easily and ran straight to my room where I began to tear it apart. I threw every piece of clothing I owned upon the floor. I ripped my pillows open and kicked over the lamp on my desk, the bulb shattering into a billion pieces and casting my room into twilight. I shoved my precious novels off their shelves and ripped out page after page of what had once been beautiful to me. I screamed as I'd never before, letting loose my fury and my pain in the most basic way I knew, but I'd been a fool to think no one else was home. My rage had made me forget my normally cautious manor and it would cost me. Father had been home all this time.
He nearly ripped the hinges off the door to my room when he stormed in, frothing at the mouth about how loud I was being. His eyes rolled madly across the devastation I had created and there was no way to avoid those vice-like hands of his in such a small space.
When he finally left I found myself lying face to face with my reflection. The mirror must have fallen when he was slamming me against the wall. Normally I would have gotten up, shut the door, and gone to bed, but tonight was different. Looking into the mirror's perfect gilded surface I seemed to awaken from an apathetic fog. It should be as broken as me I thought. So I did just that.
But I'm not stopping there. I intend to break the lives of the people who ignored me, tormented me, mocked me, used me, pretended to care for me, ruined me, and betrayed me. They're going to wish they never met the new Audrey Martin, the one they helped create.
JennyBug-Thank you for all the input! I'll try to get the next chapter up much quicker for you next time and then maybe you can come up with some more ideas?
The Angry Conservative-I was worried it was a bit too dark and that I'd scare off some readers so I made the flashback section a bit more…toned down. I didn't want her to seem suicidal, even if it did sort of cross her mind. I hope you still like it.
I had to decide on character names and I hope the ones I came up with suit their personalities. I debated between Audrey and Aubrey forever before picking Audrey. Let me know what you think!