Through Her Eyes

By: Ava Harrison

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But I had goals, and he didn’t fit into them.

I didn’t know how to take back the words I’d said. They filtered through my brain like a bad dream that I just couldn’t awaken from. Just when they started to slowly slip away, they resurfaced. Rooted so deeply in my psyche, there was really no place for them to hide.

If only I’d known the ramifications of my actions. If only I’d known how my decisions would hurt me beyond repair.

But at the time, I couldn’t let him halt my progress. I was so close . . .

“Are you in love with me, Aria? Do you want to be with me?” Parker asked, and my heart completely stopped. I had waited so long to hear those words, for him to see me as more than a friend.

“No. I don’t want to be with you,” I replied. Even as the words left my mouth, I knew they were a lie.

I didn’t just love him. It was so much more than that. So much more than love. He was my rock, my friend. He was the lifeline that ran through me.

At the time, I thought I had no choice . . . I thought he would be able to see that after everything I’d been through I needed to succeed. I needed to make up for the loss of my brother Owen. In the end, though, my decisions were always toxic.

Toxic to him.

Toxic to Owen.

Toxic to everyone.

“No, I don’t love you.”

Those were the last words he heard as he turned and walked away.

My heart tightened in my chest as the words replayed over and over again that afternoon. A record skipping that I just couldn’t turn off.

Then the phone rang.

Three words were uttered.

Three words that changed my life.

The phone slipped from my trembling hand, and I dropped to the floor.

I couldn’t swallow. I couldn’t scream.

Cemented in place.

My shoulders curled in, and I clutched my stomach through dry heaves.

I’d lost my soul mate, and now I’d lost my future.

Everything I’d worked for crumbled, and it all no longer mattered.

Twenty-six days later

I STILL FEEL THE loss of his presence in every breath I take. The emptiness is unbearable. I’m not broken. I’m ripped in two. Severed completely. A blanket of darkness has been draped over me, and no matter what I do, I can’t see the light. I can’t remember the last time I felt whole. The moment Parker walked out of my life, I knew a part of me would be forever changed. At the time, I just didn’t know how much.

You can never really know how your life will be impacted when you lose a part of yourself. You think you know, but in truth, once a laceration starts to form, once your soul begins to tear, there’s nothing more you can do. What are the options?

Drown yourself in pity?

Drink yourself to oblivion?

Give up on your life?

And that’s where I find myself twenty-six days later.

Giving up on my life.

Starting a new one.

I’m swimming in a sea of color. Red, yellow, blue . . .

An endless ocean with no bottom.

Waves of people push past me like the rolling tides of a rough day at sea. The swirling of their bodies brings disarray. Faces come into focus, then distort as they slip away. Some linger like a strong gust of wind, others a soft caress, but the darkness brought on by the bodies is frightening to me. As if parts of me are floating. Being tossed around by forces beyond my control. This is my personal hell, and I’m scared. Scared of drowning and scared of who I will take down along the way.

After what seems like forever, I’ve broken through the crowd. A light sweat breaks against my brow. Quickly, I gather my belongings from security. I need to seek some refuge from the chaos. With two hours to kill, I make my way to the first class waiting area. An added bonus to my impulse purchase. Normally I wouldn’t splurge on a first class ticket, but when I called this morning it was all that was available. Against my better judgment, I’d reached into my pocket and pulled out my parents’ credit card and made the purchase. I hated giving them something to hold against me, but I couldn’t see any other way to leave this quickly. Luckily that was all I’d need from them, as I’d saved for years to pay for the rest of this trip I was supposed to take with Parker.