500 Days of High School

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“Why do you do it?” I asked.

“Do what?” He asked, popping another pill.

“That. Taking all those pills. Why do you do it?”

“Would you believe me if I said life is a party plus pills are really pretty?” 

“I would say it’s complete bullshit.” 

He looked at me. His stare was yet again distant and his eyes, empty.

“I guess they keep me going. It’s just a bad habit,” he murmured. With that, he gave me a half-smile and turned around to go. 

“I know that’s not why you do it. Because if it were, if taking dozens of pills every day were actually to keep you going, you would at least act like you’re alive,” I said, determined to get an answer.

He looked annoyed, but I was never good at social queues – and I wanted to know why.

“Do you want to know why? I take pills to get to the point where they become so overwhelming that my mind just goes blank. It’s for that. The real happiness that people think they can find in true love, literature and other kinds of shitty things. The emptiness. These pills, they take everything away. The hurt, the painful memories, misery, everything. That numbness-“ he paused. “It’s the only way I know how to live.”

“If you can’t feel anything, you won’t be able to feel all the good things either—“

“It’s not worth it to see few good things and thousands of worse things. If I stopped taking them, I would feel everything, and there comes a moment where that becomes too much.”

“Do you ever think about the future?”

“Yeah, sure. I used to think about what I would be. I wanted to be an architect. I mean, not like build crazy masterpieces or anything, but cool houses with lots and lots of windows. But then I realized, I’m never going to get out of here.” 

I wanted to tell him that it was going to be okay. But it wasn’t going to be okay. Like when my mom told me that my cat Charlie wouldn’t die, but he did. When my dad told me he loved me, but he went away anyways.

“What do you want to do?” 

“I don’t know. It’s never really been about what I wanted,” this time, I paused. “When I was really young, all I ever wanted was to be an actress. Go to Broadway. Be who I’m not. See my name in lights.”

“What’s stopped you?” 

My brother. He’s not an anchor or anything. I just can’t abandon him when he’s the best thing that has ever happened to my family. 

“Stage frights,” I replied.




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