I loved him. I hated him.
I needed him. I detested him.
He was the reason I rose in the morning and lived out the day; the one thing that kept me from ending it all by night. He was my muse for living, so to speak. Without him, I was a callous shell, frigid and emotionless. Without him, there was no me. Without him, me simply didn't exist.
"Rise and shine sleepy head," her voice pierced the fog of sleep. All images were instantaneously brought to a speeding halt and consciousness consumed me.
"I'm awake, mother." I tried to smile but my face seemed to be almost paralyzed from sleep. How long was I out for? Twelve hours at least—judging from the sunlight shining through the curtains—if not more. That's what I got for downing Jackie and Coke followed by a few good ol' Oxys to get me through the night. But how else was I supposed to sleep? My only other remedy to chase away the nightmares was well—indispose.
"Oh. Are you alright, love?" She was trying her best to be kind and loving—like a mother should be—so I know what I said next was inexcusable.
"Why ever wouldn't I be dear old stepmother?" The stepmom card. A low blow even for me. I mean, my real mom took off before I'd even spoke my first word so all I'd ever known was Jenny. But as hard as she tried, she could never fill the motherless void that ached in that part of my chest where my heart was supposed to be. Even though she'd been there fifteen out of my seventeen years on this godforsaken planet, she would never be mom to me.
I swear I heard her sob quietly, "Um, I'll be downstairs if you…" She trailed off, but I got the general message: If I wanted to talk, to eat, or even to just look at her like a human being. None of which I was really feeling up to today. I mean, it was about—I check my clock on my nightstand—three in the afternoon on a Saturday, I had bigger fish than Jenny to fry.
Just then, my cell vibrated rather loudly on the dresser adjacent to my bed. I rose with a quick groan and slight protest of my stiff limbs.
"Hullo?" I answered thickly.
"You, my dear, sound like death." I laughed; he chuckled lightly on the other end.
"Let's just say I couldn't go to the party last night, so I brought the party to me." I smiled, smug with my reply, but I heard him take a sharp intake of breath.
"I thought we'd discussed this, Abbey." His tone was serious, but at this point in my life, I'd realized, seriousness was overrated.
"And I also thought we discussed that we wouldn't be discussing, but here we are, discussing." I giggled at my word play, but the other line was dead silent. I guess he didn't like my joke very much. "Hello?"
"I'm still here Abbey."
"Why so quite then, I thought the point of the phone was to, ya know, talk."
He snorted, "And I thought the point of promises was so you could, ya know, keep them." Ouch. Table-turner.
"You don't understand." I whispered after a while. I still hadn't recovered from his comeback. "It hurts."
"I'm so sorry Abbey, I really am. If I could take it back, I would."
I laughed without humor, "The funny thing is, I don't blame you. I blame him."
"He didn't …He didn't hurt you, I did."
I sighed, "It wasn't your fault."
It was now his turn to laugh, "I did it. It was my body, my conscience. It was me, Abbey, not him." I felt a tear run down my cheek as I remembered the night in question.
"Funny. Because whenever I remember it, it's his face I see, not yours, never yours."
And that was our last conversation. Our last shared words. After that, my entire world came crashing down on me.
"Abigail, do you know why you're here?" I shrugged, I didn't care. The sun had been cruelly removed from my life and I'd been forced to live in eternal darkness. How does one survive without sunlight?
"Abbey I love you."
"Abigail, do you hear me?"
I lifted my head slightly, "Yes."
"Do you know why you are here?"
"Could you tell me?"
"Because people can't live without the sun."
"You're worthless," smack, I whimpered aloud, "No one will ever love you," smack, I tasted blood, "You think he loves you?"I'm not sure who 'he' is. "I'm the only person who will ever love you." He holds down my hands. My wrists hurt and I feel bruises forming. He slowly unbuttons my blouse and I'm confused, really confused. I hear the fly of his pants come undone. He can't, he won't, he couldn't…could he?
"Abigail, I don't understand." The man in the white jacket is so slow. What's not to get. My sun is gone and I'm afraid of what's in the dark. Nothing good ever lives in the dark.
"Don't make me go into the dark. Nightmares find me there." What I wouldn't give for an Oxy right now.
"Are you willing to see what's in the light, darling?" I nodded. I didn't like the room very much. It was dark and cold. I just wanted to see the sun again, one last time. The man tapped on the glass lightly, and I gasped.
"I can never forgive myself Abbey, we can't talk anymore. Trust me, it'll be so much easier for you."
"I can't live without you!"
"All I'm doing is hurting you, Abbey, don't you see that?"
"You could never…" But I knew all too well he could very well indeed hurt me.
"Since when do you pop pills?"
I shrugged, "So, it's a new habit."
He shook his head, "I'll make this right, Abbey." He leaned down to kiss my forehead, but I flinched. It was more instinctive than anything. But that one flinch said all he'd ever needed to know.
"I love you," I whispered though the glass. I knew he couldn't hear me. He was long gone. After I told the mortician that it was indeed my brother lying on that table, I turned to leave.
"You must have really loved him." It was a statement, not a question.
"Yes, I did." It was the truth. No matter how much Michael had blamed himself for what happened, I never could. Maybe, if he never saw dad doing that to mom, or maybe if mom didn't take off without us, or maybe if dad would have gotten help instead of a new punching bag—née Jenny—things would have been different. And just maybe if I wasn't so hard-headed I wouldn't have let him die in vain. But like I said, he was the one that kept me from ending it all by night. He was my sun. And how does one survive without sunlight? They don't. They simply fade away into eternal darkness.