Waking Up

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The darkness faded away quickly as the road was brought to life with the blur of lights out my window. The sight captivated my attention enough to distract me from processing what I just did. Here I sat in a cab with a complete stranger I shared only a limited number of words with and I practically just left my family behind in the shadows.

A hand tapped my knee lightly and caused me to jump back to reality. "Are you alright?" The stranger asked.

I went to respond but felt the lump pushing against my throat. I was barely breathing. I was choking, swallowed by the storm of emotions coursing through me.

"Hey, it's ok. Stupid question, I know." The stranger's body relaxed as he slumped back into his seat and combed through his shaggy hair. It was dark and hung around his shoulders but it suited him as it shaped his face.

Several songs past on the driver's radio as we comfortably sat in the silence. "Thank you."

He turned and stared at me with a smile on his face but didn't say anything. This brought a slight edge to me as I wanted him to say something back. His voice, though I only heard it speak very few lines, brought a sort of numbness to me. It was soothing like the medication they gave Mother when she was sick to ease her pain.

"I'm Avalynn," he turned his head to the side in a curious manner, " well, Ava is what everyone calls me for short." I shrunk deeper into his jacket that was still wrapped around me with warmth.

"Ava." He let my name flick off of his lips like he was engraving the feeling of it into his mind. "Dezmund. Or just Dez if you like." He held out his hand to me and I cautiously took it into a quick and gentle shake.

"So, Ava. Since we are talking now. Would you like to fill me in on the details about what just happened? Or perhaps just a select few? Maybe you would like to start with our little run-in earlier today?" He leaned up against his door and angled his body to face mine. He was eager as he fixed his gaze on mine but more on my swollen eye.

My face heated with nerves and I shifted my gaze down to the dark floor of the cab. "Ava, we are friends now. Please do not be afraid of me." His voice was soft yet his words were so genuine they brought tears to my eyes as I felt something I hadn't felt in months. Safety. My walls crumbled and everything exploded inside.

"My father blames me. He blames me and he will never love me again because of it! It's bad enough I lost her and now I lost him too." The tears break free and my lungs collapse in on me. "I look like her, I know it and he knows it too. I tried to change for him but I only hurt myself more. When he looks at me he sees her and he never fully grieved. He just needs to grieve! I'm sorry! I'm so sorry. I didn't-" The choking resurfaces and my babbling is cut short. I shrink into myself as far as possible but this time, for the first time, there are a pair of hands that catch me before I fall.

******


Blurs of stars and lights run through my sight until the darkness creeps in and fades the colors into black. My body is numb. My mind is numb.


A strong odor of perfume twitches at my nose and my eyelid flutters in response. My fingers wrap around a soft fabric and my back rests on a soft material. A cold object is placed on my bad eye causing my good one to open quickly. Before my body sits up, a cold hand stops me.


"No, no honey, not just yet. Now let me see that eye." A voice coos to me as I focus in on the young women standing over me. Her face suggests she is in her twenty's but the bags under her eyes makes me question her true age. Her russet hair hangs freely right above her waist as she bends over me and inspects my face.

"Who-"

"Cin, and you are Ava. Nice to meet you." She smiles and examines my face once more before retuning the cold object back on it. "Well," She stands back up to her full height and crosses the room to a small makeshift kitchen. "You are going to be bruised for awhile but you should be able to open your eye in a day or two. Just keep that cold pack on it." She opens a cupboard and pulls out a bottle of clear liquid and walks back to me.

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