Tuesday, May 16, 2017



by Keelin Burchfield

When I look around me, all I see is ugliness. In my wake I leave destruction. I break things, relationships, friendships. I see the world through pitch black colored glasses. It is dirty. It is filled with hurt and hatred. It is broken, like me. We are unrepairable. So why try?

I don't want to die. This isn’t some suicide letter or something. You're not gonna find me dead in my bedroom after reading this. No, I know my family loves me. I know it would destroy them if I was gone. I can’t break them again. I'm just exhausted. I'm tired of trying to fix things when I know nothing will ever change. A bad thing happens, and we get our hopes up so high that things will be better this time round. But they aren't. They never will be.

Aviana Clark was everything to me. All throughout high school, people would come and go. But Avi was always there. I could rely on her. She held me when I cried and made me laugh so hard my drink would come out of my nose. We met as freshmen. Young and naive, terrified of being seen in a world of older, prettier, smarter, more mature people. We went through everything together. She was there for happy relationships and terrible breakups. She was there for the absolute best moments of my life and she was there for the worst ones. The ones I wish I could block from my memory forever. She was right by my side when my father died and my mother fell to pieces. She helped me stay strong for my little sister, Lilah. She fixed me. But Aviana Clark, my Avi, my bestfriend, destroyed me. She ripped out the seams of my sewn up heart and tore me apart. I trusted her and she broke me.

But it had been months since that happened. Since the day I walked into school in my new light purple dress and boots with my freshly dyed, dark violet hair french braided down my shoulder, my emerald eyes twinkling, happy as ever. Months since I ran to my best friends locker, excited to tell her about all the amazing things that happened to me the night before. Months since I was met, not by my beautiful best friend’s smiling face, but by laughter. Stares. Rumors. Months since I ran out of school, red hot tears streaming down my face. Months since she shattered me.

I had been awake for hours, laying in bed and staring at ceiling, searching my mind for answers. Answers to everything. A notebook lay open beside me, every single page filled to the brim with thoughts, emotions, stories. Writing is how I get away. How I escape from this dark world. When I'm hurting, I open my teal composition notebook and let the words overcome me. Making beautiful art out of ugly situations, it helps me keep going.

I closed the notebook and shoved it into my bag, glancing over at the clock. 5:57am it blinked. I slowly stood up and began getting ready for school. As I pulled on my black ripped jeans, band tank top and green flannel, the smell of bacon began to fill the air. I took a deep breath, pulled on my black converse and made my way down the stairs.

My mother stood in the kitchen, cooking breakfast. As she fried the bacon, I leaned against the doorway and watched her. I always admired her. As a little girl I dreamed of growing up and looking just like her. My mother is beautiful. Her blonde hair flows perfectly down her shoulders, framing her face. Her skin was perfect, without even so much as a tiny blemish. We were the exact opposite in appearance, I got all of my features from my dad. Except for my emerald eyes. Those were from her.

“Hello, love.” My mother grinned when she noticed me in the doorway. I smiled in response. I hadn’t seen her like this in forever. She seemed happy. She seemed okay. I wonder how long that will last. The previous time it was about a day. That was her longest. 

“Come sit, breakfast will be ready soon.” she said, breaking me out of my thoughts. I nodded and sat down at the table. My mom set the food in the center of the table and sat down across from me.

As my mom made the plates, my little sister, Lilah came in. If I had to choose who came from which parent, I came from my dad. Lilah came from my mom. She was only fifteen, but she had the same beautiful features of my mom. Her blonde hair fell to her waist, and her bright green eyes twinkled as she grinned and plopped down at the only open chair. 

“Mom, this smells amazing,” Lilah said, picking up her fork. We made small conversation as we ate. When I was done, I rose from my chair and put my dishes away. I picked up my bookbag.

“Bye mom, I’ll see you after school.” I turned to Lilah, “Let’s go. We’re gonna be late.”

“Bye mom!” Lilah jumped out of her chair and grabbed her bookbag, walking out the door after me. 

We got into my dinky old car and I drove to school. We got out and I grabbed my stuff from the backseat.

“Bye sis,” Lilah said, waving at me.

“See ya, Li. Let me know if those girls keep bothering you, okay?” 

Lilah nodded sadly and walked away. The “mean girls” of the freshman class had been bothering her, making fun of her. Lilah doesn’t even have anything to make fun of, but bullies always find something. I took a deep breath, preparing me for the terrible day ahead of me. Another lonely day in the school I despised.

“I can’t wait for graduation,” I mumbled under my breath as I walked into the school. I walked through the halls invisible, as always. No one even spared me a glance, no one cared. Since Avi, no one noticed me anymore. It was like I didn’t even go to this school. I stopped trying to talk to people months ago. They would just ignore me and continue laughing with their friends like I wasn’t even there. I can’t lie, it pains me to walk through these halls alone when I used to strut down them with my best friend while tons of people tried to talk to us. Now they just talk to her.

Aviana’s locker was directly next to mine. That’s how we met freshman year, as “locker buddies”, and then best friends. It all happened so fast. We just clicked from the start, and soon enough we were inseparable. I approached my locker hesitantly, trying to avoid even looking at Aviana’s new friends gathered around her locker. But I couldn’t keep myself from looking. Her friends were laughing at some joke she made as she grabbed a book and closed her locker, flipping her black hair over her shoulder and giggling as her football player boyfriend walked up to her. Avi was different now. She still had the same curly black hair, the same chocolatey brown eyes, the same beautiful smile. But before everything, she would have never even flirted with a dumb football player. We used to make jokes about the girls she was now all buddy buddy with. The “popular” girls. The mean girls. The girls that had all the boys fawning over them and all the girls terrified of them. The bullies.
I squeezed through the group and pulled open my locker. No one noticed me, of course. I dug through my locker, looking for my AP Chemistry book. I was lost in thoughts of old times with Avi, and everything that has happened since we were little freshmen giggling about the cute senior guys from our lockers.

“Nova Young, right?” 

I turned at the sound of my name, taken aback. I can't recall the last time a student at this school talked to me. In front of me was a girl I'd never seen before. She had long, wavy brown hair and soft blue eyes. She wore a dress that went up to mid thigh, it was a beautiful purple floral with a long beige cardigan over it and a brown belt wrapped around her waist. She had a brown headband wrapped around her head like a 70s teenager. But she didn't look dumb and out of place, she looked radiant. 

She smiled at me widely. 

“I'm Skye. Skye Silver,” she reached out her hand to shake mine. 

I shook her hand silently. What is this girl doing talking to me? Doesn't she know they will destroy her? “I'm new here. I was wondering if you would be my friend and show me around?”

“You don't want to be my friend,” I responded quietly, putting my hand back at my side.

“Yes I do!” She said quickly. I shook my head.

“No. You don't get it. I don't have friends. You can't be my friend.”

“Well I'm going to change that,” she grinned.

“Look, I don't know where you came from. But at this school, I'm the girl you don't talk to. Everyone will hate you if you talk to me. So don't even bother.” I slammed my locker shut and started walking away. I was doing this girl a favor, she's better off talking to Aviana and her minions.

“Wait, Nova!” She called down the hallway. I felt someone grab my arm and softly tug me toward them. I let her turn me, rolling my eyes.

“Skye. I'm not the girl you want to be friends with. You don't know me. You don't know what-” I cut myself off and took a deep breath. “You should talk to that girl over there,” I pointed at Avi, “I'm sure you guys would be great friends.”

“No,” Skye shook her head, “There's something off about that girl. I can tell she doesn't have a good heart. But you do.”

“I don't.” 

I pulled out of her grasp and walked into my first period class. I sat in my desk and pulled my notebook out of my bag, scribbling down thoughts. I was taken away by the writing, and when I looked up, the class was empty. I gathered my things and walked out of the class. I got through the whole day avoiding Skye. Even the class she had with me I practically ran out the second the bell rang. After what felt like an eternity, school was over. I skipped going to my locker entirely and walked to the parking lot. Lilah had volleyball practice so I didn't have to drive her home. I pulled up to my house and got out. 

“Hey mom,” I mumbled when I passed her on my way up the stairs. I changed into shorts and a long sleeved black shirt and laid across my bed, scribbling in my notebook.

“Nova! Sweetie, come down here!” My mom called up the stairs. I looked at my clock. 7:32pm. It had been four hours since I got home. I looked down at my notebook, pages and pages of new writing. I felt like I had been writing for seconds, but hours had passed. “NOVA!” I groaned softly and got up, making my way down the stairs.

“Yes, mother?” I said semi-sarcastically.

“Come meet the neighbors, Nova.”


“Honey, the Andersons moved out. You knew that.” 

I sighed and nodded slowly, “You're right. I forgot.” 

I walked toward the foyer where the neighbors were. Three people stood by the door. A woman, mid-thirties with chin-length brown hair and brown eyes. A man, the same age as the woman with jet-black hair and blue eyes. Lastly, was none other than Skye Silver.

“Hello, my name is Willow Silver. This is my husband, Christopher and my daughter, Skye. We just moved in next door and wanted to get to know our neighbors!” She shook my hand and smiled at me as I shook Christopher’s hand as well. I avoided Skye’s gaze, turning back to Willow.

“I'm Nova. Very nice to meet you.” I smiled half-heartedly and looked down at my socks.

“Nova, Skye is your age. You guys could be great friends,” my mom interjected. She worried, ever since Aviana. She never knew exactly what happened, but she knew I was alone now and she always tried to force me to make friends.

“Uh, yeah,” I mumbled, extremely uncomfortable.

“Nova, quit being rude. Invite Skye up to your room!”

 I love my mother, but sometimes I really despised her hovering style of parenting. I am fine being alone. I've been surviving for months. I don't need friends. I'm graduating soon, I'm getting the hell out of here. I don't need anything getting in my way. I don't need anyone at all. 

“Nova. Go,” she ushered.

“Okay, okay… Let’s go, Skye.” I led her up the stairs and into my room, shutting the door behind us. I sat down on my bed and Skye hovered next to me.

“What's that?” She said, reaching for my notebook on my bed.

“No!” I yelled, snatching it from her and shoving it under my bed. “No one reads that. It's for me.” Skye nodded softly.

“I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend.”

“It's fine. Just sit down,” I said. Laying across my bed and staring at the ceiling. “Look, I only brought you up here so my mom would get off my back. I don't have friends nor do I need any. Trust me, I'm better off alone. I've been alone for months. I don't want anyone.”

“That's such a sad way to live,” Skye whispered.


“It's just, there's all this beauty in the world and you refuse to see it. It's like-”

“There is no beauty. There's only destruction.”

“That isn't true. The world is so beautiful and bright. You just have to take the time to see it. All around us there are people falling in love, helping each other, building each other up. Every few minutes there is new life being created and born. Look around you! Look at nature. How beautiful the leaves look changing in autumn, how gorgeous the diversity of small insects and large birds look in our everyday lives, and the sky. The sky is always changing, but it’s still so beautiful in its own way. It's like life. Things aren't always going to the same, but, if you look close enough, you can always find the silver lining even in the darkest of clouds. Sometimes it feels like it's better to be alone, but I believe that maybe if you have an extra set of eyes by your side, maybe it'll be easier to find the silver linings.”

“The only thing an extra set of eyes has ever done for me is break my trust and ruin my life,” I responded. Skye stayed quiet, staring at me, her eyes furrowed.

“What happened to you?” She said softly.

“Aviana Clark happened to me.”

“You have to tell me. It'll never get better if you don't let someone in, Nova.”

I stared back at her, weighing my options. I finally took a deep breath, and looked back up at the ceiling.

“Avi was my best friend. We were inseparable all through high school. She was my rock. She got me through the worst time of my life. I told her everything. I came out to her. I told her I liked girls, and when she found out, she changed. She got, weird. A few days later she told me she loved me, that she was in love with me. She tried to kiss me and I wouldn't let her. I told her that I only loved her as a friend and that I wouldn't want to destroy what a great friendship we had. I loved her, but not like that. She stormed out. She ignored my texts all weekend. I was so confused. I walked into school on Monday. I remember I was so happy, my little sister Lilah had hung out all weekend, pampering ourselves. Just having a great time. I went straight to Skye’s locker to tell her about my weekend, but she wasn't waiting for me. A group of girls were at our lockers, staring at me. Laughing at me. Judging me. And suddenly, I noticed all eyes on me. Everyone down the entire hall was staring at me judgingly. I was so confused.”

“Aviana sauntered out of the center of the group of girls and right up to me. In front of everyone, she started accusing me of things that didn't happen. She said I told her I was in love with her and had been for years, that I wanted her and only her. That I tried to kiss her and do things to her. But that never happened. I tried to tell people, but everyone believed her instead of me. For weeks, everyone made fun of me and called me a dyke, Aviana most of all. She convinced everyone I was obsessed with her. Everyone turned against me. People at our school aren't very accepting, you'll learn that. After months of incessant bullying, it finally stopped. Everyone just started ignoring me, which I guess is better than being made fun of. So now I'm alone. And you being seen with me, they'll probably call you a lesbian too and start bullying you. So just stay away.” 

By now, tears were threatening to flow down my cheeks. One fell and I wiped it off, shaking my head. After minutes of dead silence, Skye spoke up.

“I'm not going to judge you for being a lesbian or anything. What Aviana did to you was horrible. You could never deserve any of that. I'd rather be friends with you, Nova. Those girls are terrible. I could never associate myself with them. I want to help you. I want to show you the beauty in the world.”

“You can't fix me,” I said harshly, wiping away another tear.

“I don't want to fix you. I know I can't. Things that are broken can never be completely repaired, only helped. I want to help you. You don't deserve to be lonely for the rest of high school.”

“I don't want you to be friends with me because you pity me. I don't need your pity friendship,” I spat. Skye shook her head sharply.

“I don't pity people. I'm not going to be your friend unless I want to. Unless I feel you are a truly good person, a truly beautiful person. And you are, Nova. You really are.” I stayed silent. “I'll show you all of the beauty that surrounds you. I will show you the beauty in yourself. I will make you realize all the good things in your life and all the good things you can have. Once you see that, once you put your mind to it and really, truly try… Everything will look so much brighter. I promise. Just give me a chance. Let me be your friend.” She gazed at me and I stared back. Is it really worth it? Is it worth it to risk the heartbreak of losing another friend?

“You aren't going to lose me. If that's what you're thinking. I don't leave. That's not my thing,” Skye said, basically reading my mind.

“Fine,” I stubbornly said. “I'll give you two weeks. But that's it.”

“Great,” she grinned.

Soon enough, two weeks had flown by. Two weeks with Skye pushing me to be better, pushing for me to see the world how she sees it.

When I look around me, all I see is beauty. In my wake I leave positivity. I repair things the best I can. I sew together the broken pieces. The pieces of me. I see the world through yellow, sunshine-filled glasses. It is bright and beautiful. It is filled with light and laughter. It is broken, like me. But we are repairable. Everything is repairable. And I will do everything in my power to make the best of my life every single day. I will do my best to spread sunshine to everyone around me, even to the people who don't deserve it. All that hurtful people need is a little sunlight. That's what we all need.

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