Authors: Rachel Spanswick
Copyright © 2016 Rachel Spanswick
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author, except that of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews are permitted.
This is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or have been used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Writing this book took a lot out of me. Mostly because some of this story is very close to me and the line between fiction and reality got a little blurred if I didn’t step away from it every so often. But I never could have finished it if it weren’t for the people I have surrounding me and sending me daily encouragements.
Mum… you know I’ll never let you read it but that doesn’t stop you from supporting me one million percent and shamelessly advertising it to all your book club friends.
To all my Facebook/Twitter friends that haven’t blocked me and my constant stream of #amwriting. The internet is one heck of a distraction.
To my IRL friends, thanks for kind of being okay with me bailing on so many things. I’d blame it on writing this, but we all know I’m not going to start going out just because I’ve finished it.
And to you, the reader, thank you. You make it possible for me to write.
To the people I love and lost.
Sitting in my favourite dark corner of the room, I take a second to appreciate the silence. I don’t have a lot of quiet in my life anymore. There always seems to be something going on, whether it’s my dad or my friends, there’s always something happening that someone needs me to fix. Because that’s what I do.
I fix things.
Well, I fix everything for everyone else, anyway. Throw a problem at me and I can usually solve it, or at the very least I can take your mind off of it for a while. But when it comes to my own life, those problems remain as messed up as I am.
Right on time, I get that all too familiar feeling; my stomach feels empty, my chest feels kind of hollow, my hands are restless, my mind won’t stay focused and the need is back. Do you know what it feels like to depend on something so much that your body starts disobeying you when it wants more?
I could tell you that it’s the worst feeling in the world. I could tell you that knowing how much I’ve come to crave something makes me so weak that I’m disgusted with myself. Or I could simply tell you that I’ve tried quitting, that I’ve tried changing. But it would all be a lie.
I love the feeling.
I love that my body has come to need something so badly that it reminds me when it’s time. I haven’t tried quitting or changing because I don’t want to. I revel in the peace it brings me. I embrace it, simply because I can.
So I won’t’ lie to you. I’ll tell you my story exactly how it happens. No lies, no half-truths and no skipping over things that I’m not proud of.
Will it have a happy ending? I doubt it, but who knows?
I don’t know and right now, I don’t really care about anything.
Well, maybe one thing.
I reach for my glass of water and use it to wash down the four pills that I’ve been holding in my left hand for the last thirty minutes and close my eyes as I wait for the familiar floating feeling to kick in.
There is really nothing like it. At first you don’t even realize that anything has happened, but then you start to feel lighter, you don’t need to hold your head up, you don’t need to worry about anything because nothing matters anymore. Everything seems to slow down and finally, you can breathe. So just sit back, relax and stay numb for as long as it lasts because when it wears off, life will be there to slap you in the face and you’ll just want to do it all over again.
I guess if I’m going be completely honest with you and tell you the whole story, I need to start at the beginning.
I wasn’t always like this; I used to be fun and happy and I was always out, surrounded by friends. But, it’s not like I went from that to an addict overnight. It took a while, one thing happened and then like a domino effect I started losing control of my life. I suppose I could have dealt with it in a number of different ways, most of which would have been a lot better for me. I could have told someone. That’s probably what I should have done. But I didn’t want to be judged.
I just wanted everything to stop.
I was sick and tired of everyone coming to me for help. I was fed up of everyone expecting me to do the right thing. I was bored of being the girl that everyone depended on. I didn’t want to be good anymore.
That’s not to say I wanted to be bad. I didn’t. I still don’t. I just wanted to be able to make a mistake everyone once in a while. I wanted to blur the line between right and wrong.
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter though, once you’ve become known as the good guy/girl, there will always be someone who expects you to stay that way, which made things a little difficult. Whenever I wanted to do something a little wrong, something that others would consider out of character or bad for me, I had to do it alone.
If you learn anything at all from the mistakes that I’ve made and or am about to make, please, believe me when I say; don’t put yourself in the position I did. There will always be someone, a friend, a relative, a co-worker even, just someone, who will be willing to try that bad thing with you. And they won’t judge you, so don’t worry about that.
So, the whole thing started five years ago. I was twenty one, I had just graduated University about to start working for my father’s company and I was in love.
But sometimes, just one tiny action can change everything.
* * *
I stretch my legs out and relax into my pillows with a smile. Lexi – my best friend, is on the phone and even though she’s dying to know something, she’ll drag it out as long as possible. Direct questions aren’t her style.
“Are you laughing at me?” She asks pretending to be offended. It would have worked if I didn’t know her so well.
“No at all, Lex. What did you want to know?”
“Why you and Gavin left the party so early.”
I laugh, I can’t help it. “What else did you want to know, Lex?”
“Whydidyounotdrink? Areyoupregnant?” She says it so fast that it comes out as two very, very long words.
I shoot up into a sitting position; mostly out of shock, partly out of insult. “No, I’m not pregnant, are you insane?”
“What? How is that not a reasonable thought process? You’re in a long term relationship, you recently got engaged and now you’ve suddenly stopped drinking alcohol.”
“How about, because I’m only twenty one. How is that for an excuse?” I pull the phone away from my ear and look at is disbelievingly, as if she will somehow be able to see it.
“Twenty one year olds have kids all the time.” She answers breezily.
“Not this one.”
“Right because your reproductive system wouldn’t dare the risk of embarrassing your family, right?”
“Are you rolling your eyes at me?” I laugh only to be brought up short when my dad bursts through my door so hard that it cracks against the wall on impact. “Dad? What’s wrong?”
“Lilith, honey, there’s been an accident.” He’s not even looking at me, he’s looking at the phone in his hand.
“Mum? Is it mum? Is she okay?” I jump up off the bed and make quick time at getting in front of him, I don’t mean to, and I regret it as soon as I do it, but I grab his shoulders and dig my fingers in. He doesn’t even wince.
“No. It’s not mum, she’s in work.”
“It’s Gavin. Gavin’s gone, baby. I’m so sorry.”
And at this point everything stops.
It’s just stops.
My world slows down, the room blurs and my heartbeat reverberates in my head. Little black dots dance in front of my eyes and when they roll back, my body hits the floor with a bang that if I could hear it, would make me consider dropping a few pounds.
Gavin was the love of my life.
That’s not a lie or some stupid schoolgirl crush talking. It’s real. I’d known him since I was twelve, we started dating at eighteen and we’d gotten engaged a week before he died.
So, you see, that night I didn’t over react - I’ll admit fainting is a bit extreme, even for me, but he was more than just my new fiancé, he wasn’t just a boyfriend, he was my best friend. I told him everything, we did everything together. I loved him.
But now he was gone.
If you’ve ever lost someone that you love, and I say ‘love’ and not ‘loved’ because even when they’re gone, you still love them, you know that never goes away, but your life changes.
That was the day my life changed. That was the day I changed.
Looking back on it, I can see the exact moments that were life changing. I can see the bad choices that I made and it all seems so clear to me now, but back then, I was just numb. I didn’t want to see that I was taking the wrong path. I didn’t care that I was starting a habit so strong that even five years later, I still couldn’t quit. Though that could be a lie, I don’t know if I can quit. I might be able to, it’s just that I’ve never tried. I’ve never wanted to.
I won’t drag you through what happened next, my dad managed to get me to come around, Lexi who was still on the phone the whole time had rushed over and she sat with me, we both cried for hours. Eventually her boyfriend, Nathan came over with another of our friends, Cal, and the four of us spent the night in my room. Under other circumstances, none of our parents would have allowed this, but they did the best they could to help us. They let us try to come to terms with his death together. The only person missing was Jason, he was our other friend, or at least, their friend. We weren’t so close. We didn’t talk much at all actually. But, even though he and I weren’t exactly friends, he was still a part of our little group. He loved the rest of them as much as we all did. I never found out where he was that night or how he took the news. But back then, he was the last person on my mind.
Something you should know though, is that a week after Gavin’s funeral, my mother died. It was another car accident. This is when things got really bad, my dad, he didn’t cope so well after losing her and I guess that everyone grieves differently because he wouldn’t leave the house. To be honest, he didn’t leave his chair. I spent a lot of time those first few days trying to get him to go out and get some fresh air but I soon realised that he wasn’t going anywhere fast. I took advantage of his grieving process, since he was so out of it most of the time, he didn’t pay attention to me so he didn’t realise when I was out of it too. Only I wasn’t getting lost in memories of my mother, I was getting lost in the numbness that prescription painkillers provided me with.
I remember the first time I took them, I had a migraine and took two of my dad’s pain pills by mistake. That day, something changed. When I sat down waiting for the pain in my head to ease and the medication started to kick in and when I shook my head to check the pain, I realised how light I had become. It was like I was floating and for the next three hours, nothing mattered. So I found my happy place.
If only I didn’t go there every day.
So that’s how it started, that was five years ago.
Let’s see how the next five go, shall we?