Chapter Eighteen

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Another guy—a stranger—had his arms wrapped around me, making me feel special, even if it was only heading one way. I knew he only wanted one thing from me, and I didn't even care. That was all I wanted too—a connection, a moment of human interaction that was solely about him and me. It had made me feel good before, and I was sure it could do so again.

"I like you, Laura." He drooled over my shoulder. I didn't bother to correct him, there was no need. I had no intention of seeing him again after tonight so who cared what he called me?

"Lara!" A shrill voice rang out from behind me, spiking fear into my heart. "What are you doing? Where are you going?"

Oh yeah, I was out with Kimberly. I'd forgotten all about that. She had joined me for a drink to make me feel better, although I was certain it was just because I'd headed to the bar and she wanted to keep an eye on me. For some reason, she was still determined to help me, even though it was completely obviously an impossible task.

"Get lost." She shrieked at the man. "Leave her alone, she's going nowhere with you."

She grabbed my hand and yanked me towards her, causing me to almost fall at her feet. I was so unsteady...when had that happened?

"Bitch." I heard the guy mumble as he shuffled off. I didn't even care that he was gone. In fact, I found myself kinda glad. He was gross. Not at all the sort of guy who would help me feel better about myself at all—not even beer goggles would have made it fun. I wasn't sure what I'd been thinking with that one.

Or not thinking, more to the point...

"Why the hell do you keep doing this?" Kimberly yelled into my drunk, stupid face as we made it outside into the cool, fresh air. "Why are you wasting away your life with alcohol and lowlifes like that?"

I opened my mouth to speak, but quickly shut it again, knowing that there was really no point in saying anything right now. She didn't understand that I was a lowlife too. That this life was all I deserved. I'd been given a second chance and I'd thrown it away, so I couldn't ask for anything better.

"Why don't you seem to want more? Why won't you let me help you?" She practically begged me to see what she was saying, but I couldn't.

I shrugged in a blasé manner, unsure of why I was being such a bitch.

"Lara, you have so much to offer, why are you throwing it away, why are you tossing your life to one side?" She was pleading with me, begging me to give her answers. "Don't you want more for yourself?"

"I don't know who I am anymore!" I finally screamed as a reply, emotion bursting out of me. Standing in public, drunk as all hell, with the rain trickling down my face, it felt like I couldn't contain it anymore, that if I left it inside for even a second longer I might just explode. "I don't know what happened to me. I don't know how to get out of this."

I started to sob uncontrollably, causing my makeup to wash over my face even more—probably adding to the insane look I was undoubtedly wearing.

"I've not known who I am for a very long time, and the more I try to push myself forward, to make something of my life, the further backwards I fall." I sighed deeply, feeling like a deflated balloon. "It's too exhausting. I can't keep fighting, this feels easier."

She looked at me, sympathy filling her entire being. She wanted to understand, I could see it in her eyes, but she just couldn't. She thought the same thing as everyone else—that I should be making the most of my life, doing something positive with my second chance. She couldn't understand why I wasn't living life to the fullest, enjoying every moment. She knew that I should be doing more than living in a shitty apartment, working a dead end job and screwing any guy that looked at me.

Even if I did have feelings for one of them...

"I just...this isn't only about the last few days for me." I spoke, allowing the fatigue to wash over me. "This has been going on since the day I found out that I was going to live. I've been kind of...depressed."

Depressed?

The word rolled off my tongue in the heat of the moment, but it gave me pause for thought. Was that what I felt? Was that what controlled me? Was I really, actually depressed? I knew that I'd had some dark moments, but I'd never really considered it in those terms before.

Maybe that was the reason that I couldn't shake this dark cloud off.

How could I make her see what was so clear to me? How did I let her know that I was worthless, useless, that I really should have died? That I wasn't worth this life? How could I make her understand that? If I was any stronger, I'd be dead by now, but I was so pathetic that I couldn't even work up the courage to kill myself...

Surely that thought proved my suspicions. Surely only someone with depression would consider suicide in such a casual manner?

"I don't know how to live," I whispered, fully realising the extent of everything. "And I'm not sure that I should have survived."

"Lara, please listen to me." My friend stepped forwards, her arms outstretched. My instant reaction was to recoil, to push her away, to hide, but I was too tired to keep doing that. I was exhausted, numb, there was no fight left inside me anymore, so I let her hold me, just for a few moments. "You need to face up to your past before you can move on. Something is dragging you down, and until you deal with it you'll never be able to get better."

Her words were swirling around in my mind, making me feel sicker than I had in a very long time. "I don't know how...I can't..." I was pretty sure that my words were slurred, but there wasn't anything I could do to force myself to sound normal. The problem was she'd basically just said the same as the doctor, but in a way that made much more sense to me.

If I didn't talk through my problems, if I never tackled them, then I would stay in this rut forever. I needed to ask myself how serious I really was about this living thing. If I still decided to go for it, after everything I'd been through, I had one hell of a rollercoaster ride ahead of me, and I wasn't sure if I was fully ready to tackle it.

"Why don't you go and see your family?" Kimberly asked tentatively, but I instantly shook my head in terror.

No way. There was just no way...

"I know it seems intimidating, but it has to be better than this, surely?" She asked. "I'll come with you if that will help. You think it can't do you any good, but it can't do any harm, surely? Your family know you best, and they want what's best for you. To me, that feels like the only place you can be right now. And while everything else is so...up in the air, this could be the perfect time to go."

"I..."  I didn't want to. But maybe she was right. Maybe I had to, to be able to move on—I had to revisit my past as a part of the healing process. Maybe it was better than being trapped in this whirlwind of despair anyway. "I don't know." My drunk, sobbing voice replied as I collapsed into her. "I just...it's all so horrible."

"Come on." She sighed, holding my body against hers. "Let's get out of here."

I didn't want to leave, to head back home to where all I had was myself, the silence, and my thoughts, but I didn't want to be out here anymore either.

"Will you stay with me?" I wept pathetically, knowing that she would agree. I didn't deserve Kimberly, and I certainly didn't do anything to make her want to stick around, yet she did regardless.

I was lucky to have her, so why couldn't I see and accept that?

Maybe it really was time to start focusing on the few positives that I did have.

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