In my dream I am falling through the darkness, just falling into this black hole that seems to have no bottom. All that is heard is a shriek, something ripping through the soundless cove, an awful high wailing sound-
And then I wake up.
I shut off my alarm with trembling fingers as I lie back against my headboard. My throat is burning and I'm covered with a cold sweat while I try to take long, slow breaths in attempt to calm my pounding heart. As the sound begins to creep through the cracks of the blinds of my window, my eyes focus on the collection of things that have collected across my floor. A Seventeen magazine I stole from Erica, a navy blue sweatshirt that I borrowed from Sarah the week before, my unfinished English essay that is due next week, an empty tube of peach lipgloss that Hannah suggested that I buy. I listen to the sounds that crawl up the stairs, so familiar and constant, like they always belong here. And when I'm ready, I take my phone off the endtable to my left and glance down at the date.
Friday, February 12. Cupid's Day.
"Get up Hayley." Erica sings, poking her head in the door before smiling at me. "Mom says you're going to be late.
"Can you tell Mom that I don't feel well today?" I ask before Erica nods her head and runs down the stairs calling after our Mom.
Rubbing my face with the palms of my hands, I close my eyes and try to remember everything that had happen the night before, or tonight really. I remember being in the car and having Hannah and Sarah fight over the iPod. I remember the wild spinning of the wheel and seeing Dakota's face as the car sailed into the woods, her mouth open and her eyebrow's raised in surprize. But after that?
Nothing. Because after that, it's only a dream. This is the first time that I allow myself to think about it, that maybe the accidents, both of them, were real. And maybe, just maybe, I didn't make it.
Maybe when you die time folds in on you, and you bounce around inside this little bubble forever. Like the after-death equivalent of the movie Groundhog Day. It's not what I imagined death would be like, not at all, but then again who ever comes back to tell you all about what happens after you die?
"Hayley?" My mom pushes the door open and leans against the frame. "Erica tells me that you feel sick."
"I think I have the flu." I mumbled, eyes searching the room for any clues as to why I'm stuck here in this bubble.
"Dakota will be here any minute Hayley." My mom sighs, crossing her arms across her chest.
"I don't think I can go to school today." I admit, chewing down on my bottom lip as my mother's eyes grew worried.
"Did something happen? All you and your friends have been talking about the last month has been around Cupid's Day.
"I just don't feel well." I whispered, sinking back into bed as I turned my attention to the ceiling.
"Did you get into a fight with John?"
"No yet." I muttered under my breath, bringing my covers over my head in attempt to avoid talking to my mother.
"I'll tell Dakota that you're going to school late, maybe you'll be more social once you had some more sleep." My mother sighs before leaving the room and calling after Erica.
Lying back in my bed, I close my eyes and reach back into those final moments, the last memories that are kept hidden in the back of my min, but all I get is blackness. And when I sit up once more to look at the fur trimed shirt hanging off the back of my chair in the corner of my room, I can no longer hold back my tears. They come all at once and before I know it, I'm sobbing and my arms come around my chest as if to hold myself together.
The last time that I remember sobbing this much was in the sixth grade after John said I was too big of a dork for him to go out with- right in the middle of the cafeteria, in front of everyone. I don't know why I cried so much that day and why that day always pops into my head whenever I am crying, but thinking about that moment makes a new rush of anger and frustration swell up inside me. It's strange how much that memory affects me because I highly doubt that John even remembers that day or how humliated I was.
And as I sit here and look back on the past few years of my life, I wonder when I exactly became cool enough to date John. Looking around the room at the collection of pictures that cover the walls, I never felt so alone.