Rose Water

Chapter 19

Pulling the covers over my head used to make all the bad things go away. All I had to do was cover my face and I was protected from anything. I rejoiced in that knowledge. I was invincible with that knowledge. I could do anything. I could be anything. I feared… nothing, because if I was scared all I had to do was cover my head. All I had to do was close my eyes. All I had to do… was wait for the light.

And then I grew up.

I grew up and now the covers do not hold their same power. I cannot block out the fear or the pain. I am exposed… out in the open. Vulnerable.

Rise and Shine.

"Justin, come on get up. We have to leave in like an hour," Brian says. I don't move. Maybe if I don't move he will forget all about me. I know the chance is slim to none, but I can still hope. He comes over and kicks me lightly and still I stay under the blankets. "Justin, I know you're not sleeping."

I moan lightly and shift a little. "I'm not going. I change my mind," I say. I feel the covers leave my body.

"You're going… or I can call Marc and ask him to make a very expensive, yet much needed, emergency house call," Brian says. I don't answer. My eyes are closed, he can't see me. I am invisible.

"Fine, we'll play it your way." He moves away from the bed and I hear him moving around the loft. I open my eyes, actually acknowledging the sun for the first time today. I reach down and pull the duvet back up and over my body, shutting out the light. I let my body drift back to sleep.

Paint me a picture of pure perfection… I'll show you a thousand flaws.

The blankets are pulled off of me. "Fuck off Brian. I said I'm not going," I say as I curl into a ball. The air is thick, dripping with anticipation.

"Sorry, Brian is not here." I open my eyes, slowly letting them adjust to the brightness.

"What are you doing here?" I ask as my eyes follow Marc around the room. He grabs the duvet and puts it on the ledge next to the dividing panels.

"Get up," he says. I internally flinch at the sound of his voice. He has never raised it before. Not in my presence. Not to me. I move off the bed and stand up. He looks at me, up and down, silently taking inventory.

He doesn't speak. He moves over to the living room and sits in one of the chairs. I walk over, every step reminding me of the cuts I inflicted on myself. Every step makes me regret. Every step makes me wish I had said 'yes' to the paramedic. Every… single… step.

I sit on the floor across from Marc, leaning against the chair. I want to feel the softness under me. I want to be comfortable, but blood and white do not mix. Not now… not ever.

"What are you doing here?" I ask. Marc stares at me. He intertwines his fingers and lets them hang loosely again. I look at him. His jeans are slightly wrinkled. His shirt is fresh. He got dressed in a hurry, dropped everything, to come and see me. I am beyond honored. I want him to go away.

"Brian called me," he says. "He said that you had changed your mind about coming to see me today." I did, so why are you here, asshole?

"I don't have anything to say." It's a lie. I am lying. Call me on it. Stop me, please. Throw open my closet doors and dust off my skeletons for me. I don't want them anymore. I don't need them. They want me.

"No, I guess you don't have too much to say. You already carved a very interesting story into your flesh," he says. He sits back.

"It was an accident," I tell him, shifting uncomfortably. He nods. I feel my face flush with anger. He doesn't believe me. I know he shouldn't but I want him to, don't I?

"Justin, I am not Brian. I am not your mother. I am not your best friend. I am not you. I can't crawl inside your head and know what's wrong. You have to open your mouth. You have to talk," he tells me.

Anger and pain flood through me and I get up. "What do you want me to say? My fucking father showed up at my mother's house. My sister gave him the shock of his life and he went off. I tried to be brave," I say, my voice dropping down to a low whisper as the last words leave my mouth.

"I did not deny it. I stood there and told him that I had a boyfriend and we were living together. I was halfway to saying that I felt complete with his dick inside me when he hit me. He hit me so hard, but I refused to cry in front of him. I walked out and…." I stop. He doesn't need me to say anymore. He's seen the other half of the movie, he's read the screenplay.

We talk for hours. One minute burning into the next. I yell. I scream. I cry. I bend and I break. I come together again. Emotional Avalanche.

"Justin, I am not going to bullshit you. I think you need help. More help than I can provide for you on my own." I feel the residue of tears on my face and I wipe them off. I nod my head. My throat is too raw and my emotions are too close to the surface to speak.

Paint my world in darkness… step out of the shadows and light my way. Say goodbye to the setting sun. Tomorrow is forever.

"I think he is right," Brian says as he looks at me. He is in front of the window. I am sitting on the steps.

"What about graduation?" I say. I need as excuse, just one, to keep me here. I need a reason to stay inside of me. I need a reason to let my soul completely… collapse.

"You can still go, but this is not going to fix itself."

"There are no visitors for the first couple of weeks." Tell me to stay. Tell me you want me here.


Marc wants Justin to sign himself into a rehab clinic. He says that he thinks it will be the best thing for Justin. I think he is right, but I want Justin here with me. I look over at him. I look at the bandages on his arms. If I am selfish and tell him to stay he will.

He'll be here and he'll be fine, but for how long? How long before one last cut is his last cut? A slip of the hand, a break in the spirit and its all over, finished.

"We'll survive," I say as he comes over and wraps his arms around me. I allow him this small amount of comfort. He needs it, so do I. We let the silence fall around us as we both take in the night.

"I don't want to go," he says.

"I know." He is silent as he leans against me but I can hear him sniffle and I see his hand move up to his eyes. "It'll be fine," I tell him.

"You know what?"

I wait for him to keep talking. He waits for me to answer him. "What?" I ask.

He doesn't say anything. He lets out a deep breath and watches as a drop of rain hits the window. The skies open up and as more rain falls so do his tears.


"Before you lose me completely… I need to find myself."

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