To Lose is to Gain- Chapter One- In Times of Great Loss

How did they expect me to do this? I looked at the empty boxes around me, waiting to be filled. Shouldn't somebody be with me? Who knows; I could be a suicide threat. I could barely function with the sorrow in my heart. It was hard to wake up in the morning... Now this? I couldn't. I hadn't the energy or the will.

An endless flow of tears made it hard for me to see my surroundings. Couldn't they see I wasn't up to this? Did anybody care anymore? I could call my friends, but I had gone a whole week trying to distance myself from them. I didn't want to go through that torture again. I couldn't deny that I needed help though. It's kind of ironic that in a time of great loss, we realize how much we really had. I'm guilty of taking things for granted. With blurry vision I looked around. My room, my sanctuary, the place I went to get away from everything I now wish I had back. I had it made. My king size bed sat in the middle of my room in a complete mess, the result of long nights with much thrashing. Next to it stood one of three bookshelves, filled with my favorite books. I had hundreds of books, without exaggeration. My dresser was filled with clothes as well as my closet. On top of my dresser sat speakers for my Ipod touch. Next to my dresser was a desk with a top of the line laptop on it and a small lamp that rarely got use. In the drawers were notebooks, pens and pencils, random items, and anything else I needed.

How had I ever thought that this was not enough?

I remember begging my parents for more and more, every day. The thought of them brought a fresh wave of tears. I spent my days making plans to get away from them, never wanting to be home. I thought I would be okay if I never saw them again, I would run away and start my life as a freelance photojournalist. Well, I got my wish... I will never see them again. It's true when they say, be careful what you wish for, you may just get it. I had great parents. They loved me immensely. Sure, they were overbearing, always wanting to know what I was doing, where I was going to be, with whom was I going to be with. I thought it was just so they could control my every move, but I figured out way too late that it was because they loved me. They made me work for what I earned so I would learn that things don't come for free. They had rules because they cared about me. Now who was left to care for me? Who was left to give the slightest damn about what I did with my life?

The authorities were sending me to live with my grandmother, a lady I had never met before. She was my only living relative as far as they knew, and she wanted me. I wish they would have just left me to live here, only six months before my eighteenth birthday. I was well equipped to take care of myself. But no, I guess that it's not legal and they didn't want me alone in this time of mourning. It didn't make any sense because I've been alone since the funeral, three days ago. They left it to me to pack up my things.

What if I refused? I could blatantly ignore them and just sleep and cry and drown myself in my sadness. But they would probably make me leave without all of my precious belongings.

I sighed as I looked at the room that was not even a quarter of the way packed. I needed help. I was already a roller coaster of emotions, so I decided to call my friends. Even though I had ignored their calls for the past week, I knew that they would help me. I took out my cell phone, deciding texting would be quicker than calling the four of them individually. They would all ask the same questions, give me the same pity, and fuss over

me the same way. Why not have them do it all at the same time and get it over with?"I need help, please come over."

That was the extent of what I punched in. I got four texts almost immediately.

"Be right there babe." - Emily"I'm on my way." - David"Of course!"- Aimee"Be there in a minute." - Alex

It wasn't five minutes before they were all there. One minute I was alone in a sea of boxes and the next I was surrounded by people I loved. Aimee was the first to reach me. She practically suffocated me in her hug.

"You had us all so worried! I'm so sorry baby," she was crying with me. She has always been the mother figure in our small posse. Petite with rounded features and eyes so blue and clear, when she looks at you, you can feel the love pour through just her eyes.

Whenever I had a problem or just needed a shoulder to cry on, she was there. It had probably killed her this past week, all the worrying over me and not being able to comfort me physically like she's so good at doing.

She was quickly pushed out of the way by an anxious Alex. He said no words, just hugged me firmly to him. He was the quiet one in times of strong emotion. He never knew quite the words to say and didn't want to make things worse. His strong arms were enough to settle a person's emotions though. I remember when I first met him I was put off by his alert personality. He was always ready for anything, his hazel eyes which were covered by brown hair were never dull. No one could pull anything past him. But when he came out of his shell, when I saw his fun side, and experienced his wit and charm, I couldn't help but love him.

He had only just let me go when David got to me. "I could have killed those bitches from social services. They wouldn't tell us where you were, and then when we found out you were home, you never answered. You scared the shit out of us doll, don't do that again. Whatever pain you're feeling, we can handle it," David was like superman in human form. He faced things head on, and rarely showed fear. He relied on his anger to push him on and had a bad mouth. His many piercings and dark clothing and hair are a mask, to push people away, to warn people not to fuck with him, but he is honestly one of the nicest guys I've ever met once you get past the rough exterior. He kissed my head before Emily rushed to me.

"Honey pie, why have you been avoiding us? I know you're going through a tough time, but that's what we're here for. You need us to lean on baby," when I first met Emily I thought I was going to hate her. She's what some people would look at and call "Plastic." Tall, tan and blonde. We got paired together for a project our freshman year and I realized she wasn't a bimbo, she never gossiped, and she was sweeter than honey. She was all smiles and laughs until someone pushed her over the edge. That girl can fight.I looked at all of them and realized the mistake I had made in ignoring them the past week. I only had two more days before I was sent away to live with my grandmother and I should have been spending all of the time I have with them.

"Thanks for coming guys. I'm so sorry for avoiding you. They're sending me away and I just wanted to make things easier on me by distancing myself," I was a blubbering mess. My words were almost incoherent and I'm surprised they understood any of it.

"We'll see each other baby, don't worry about it. I can't believe you thought that would work though! You can't get rid of us that easily," Emily spoke. I nodded.

"Guys I can't function! They told me to pack all of my stuff, but I just can't do it! I've had three days and look how much I've gotten done," they looked around.

"We'll take care of this Raelyn. You should go take a bath, it will help calm you," Alex said, taking my hand and leading me to my bathroom. He started the water up and put in some Lavender bubbles. When the smell reached my nose I inhaled deeply. Alex kissed me on the head and left, shutting the door behind him.

I stripped my clothes off and sank into the welcoming hot water. My muscles loosened almost immediately. I sometimes heard Emily and David bickering, as was usual and I was comforted by their voices. My world would be empty without them, but they were right. We would see each other again. Only six months until I turned eighteen. I would move back here, probably live with Emily, and start college.

The thought of college, or even finishing high school drained me. I was going to have to go back to high school within the next couple of weeks and was not looking forward to it. I had just gotten comfortable in this one, and now to have to change schools was overwhelming. In the middle of my senior year no less. I groaned inwardly.

I just hoped that I would make it through. I needed to find a reason to live again.