34 // In The Name of Crackers

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     It didn't really hit me until Monday.

I'd spent the rest of the weekend after everything essentially collapsed cooped up in my room, with only brief interruptions for bathroom and snack breaks, which were few and far between. My appetite had vanished, even the thought of bacon- bacon- made me nauseous, and the thought of doing anything other than sleeping was exhausting, so sleeping the rest of the weekend away it was.

Being awake meant that every time I closed my eyes I'd see Eva's face, or Savannah's face, my brother's face, Reese's face. All twisted with hurt. All staring at me with that same, pained look drowning in their eyes, trained on me, the one who caused it all, the one responsible.

And so I just slept.

I would've spent Monday continuing to cocoon in my blankets if my mom hadn't barged into my room and ruthlessly ripped the covers off, her face stubborn, but with hints of maternal concern betrayed in her eyes. Still, her finger pointing towards the much-needed shower was all business. Wasting away swathed in my comforters had been deemed not an option, so school was an inevitable that I couldn't escape.

School- forced between four walls with all of the people that probably wanted to gut me and then some. I'd hadn't seen or heard from anyone, and now we were all going to be forced to play peers.

The linoleum tiles and scuffed, burgundy lockers were the same as I'd left them on Friday, but everything else was different. The air tasted different. Unlike every other day I'd stepped through the double-doors, this time, trudging down the hallways, I was alone.

My fingers gripped tighter to my cellphone, brimming with text after text to Eva and Savannah, paragraphs of apologies, spills of my heart, but not one text back. To Reese, I hadn't said anything. I didn't know what to say. Every time my fingers hovered over his name, his face would flash before my eyes, so betrayed, and every word I'd ever learned evaporated.

As I pulled my jacket tighter around myself, I looked up to meet those same amber eyes. For a moment I paused, heart leaping into my throat, stomach dropping through the floor, but just as quick as they borrowed my gaze, they were gone. Reese turned, face cold, giving me the time of a complete stranger, and then his back was turned to me.

My lips parted, as if to say his name, but then pressed tightly together. There was nothing to say. This was all it had been leading up to anyway- stranger passing in the halls, only faded, distant memories.

And it was just so my style to burn every bridge that I'd ever built.

The rest of the day played with much the same rhythm, cold eyes averting away from me, suffocated in my own thoughts, those involuntary tears always just heartbeats away. Savannah and Eva both continued their ice-cold ignorance to my existence, and I was left wandering the halls like a lost ghost, gravity pulling too hard on my chest.

Tuesday and Wednesday continued in much the same fashion, painfully crawling by, my senses to reality deadening with every passing second.

Relief came when I finally trudged through the front door and back into my house. My plans were simple: quick detour in the kitchen, pick up some crackers, and return back to my blanket fortress where I belonged, as I had for the past couple days. Being a functional human being was a thing of a past. The hermit life had become the life for me.

When I swung the cupboard door shut, I jumped slightly to find that my brother had materialized out of thin air.

"You're seriously depleting our cracker supply. You can't live off crackers, you know."

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