Life After Purpose
Part V: All I Have
I…couldn’t seem to figure it out. The game seemed so simple, but I was doing so, so poorly. Perhaps this sort of thing just wasn’t for me. Either that, or I just had to try harder. I made a note for that along with another plan to win Annabelle over. I wasn’t going to be easy. She didn’t speak her mind that much, but she was clearly passionate whenever she did. I found that admirable. Along with her eyes I could always lose myself in. Speaking of which, when I glanced over at her to see what she was doing, I saw her eyes on me.
She then tore her gaze away from mine and looked down at the page in front of her. I noticed that she was really tense now even though I didn’t mean to make her uncomfortable. It was kind of amusing to see how flustered she’d get whenever I decided to push my luck in the slightest.
“So, what’re you drawing so intently over there?” I asked, trying to break the awkward silence.
“N-Nothing. It’s nothing. How’s the game going?” She quickly closed the sketchbook, shutting the drawing away.
I wish I knew what it was…
“Uh…alright.” I didn’t want to tell her how poorly I’d done.
“Really? Can I take a look?”
“I guess, but don’t expect anything too great.” I shrugged.
Annabelle stood up and came over to the desk. My heart raced when she leaned in and did some sort of commands to view some statistics on the screen. Crap, now she’d definitely see how much I sucked. She stared at them intently for a while until I found I couldn’t hold in what I felt anymore. I was never one to be patient, really.
“Well, this isn’t bad to be honest-” Her voice was cut off when I pulled her close and kissed her gently.
She didn’t respond in any way, so I let go and inched away. I started to doubt whether that had been a good idea. I only assumed that she liked me and what I’d done just might just ruin whatever we had. She currently looked both deep in thought and frozen at the same time.
“I…I should go.” I stood up and went to the door.
“Don’t. I was just a little surprised that’s all.”
“I shouldn’t have forced myself on you like that, I’m sorry. I’ve never been one to wait, you know?” I mumbled, feeling miserable and full of regret.
“It’s alright. I assume you…want us to be more than what we are?”
“That’s kind of a blunt way of putting it, but okay. And yeah, it is what I want. What about you?”
She looked to be collecting her thoughts and once again seemed extremely focused.
“I do like you. A lot, really. But, there’s people after me and I can’t drag you into that.” Annabelle’s eyes fell to the floor.
“I’m not afraid of them. I…can help you. I can protect you!”
“I can do it myself, or at least I’ll learn to. It’s why I’m here.”
“You can’t be alone in this and have it weighing on your back. Please trust me when I say I do want to help you. I…I need something to believe in…again.” My voice trailed off when I realized I’d let a little too much information out.
“What do you mean by that?”
“Nothing…I shouldn’t have said anything.” I rubbed my forehead as a mild headache started to stir.
“Is it about your sibling, by any chance?”
“You’re not the only one who’s lost someone. I can’t even see her anymore if I wanted to.”
“It’s a long story…” She laughed nervously.
“We’ve got time, right?”
“I guess, but I don’t know if you want to hear about this sort of thing.”
“Hey, I can always make time for you. Don’t forget that.” I gave her a kind smile. Or the kindest I could manage anyway.
“You might was so sit down, then.” She sighed before going back to where she was before.
I sat down beside her, maybe a little too close just to see what she’d do. Like before, she froze up and blinked a few times before her face turned red. My gaze went from the sketchbook she used back to her. I was still curious to see what she’d drawn in there.
“So, what happened?” I asked, my attention now back on her.
“Her name was Natalie. We met in a…hospital and she was my room mate.”
“Ah. What happened, if I may ask?”
She bit her lip and looked away.
“It’s alright if you don’t want to answer.” I shrugged.
“Where I was…it was a psychiatric hospital…” Her hands were clenched where she sat.
“I see. Those places are never fun. They try and lock you up while claiming you’re too helpless and dangerous to care for yourself.”
“You’ve been admitted to one?”
“Well, yeah. After June passed away, I tried to kill myself. The cutting didn’t help, either. My time there had been short as it, err, ‘stained’ the reputation of my parents and I was assigned someone who’d check up on me while I went to school. She was a bitch, to say the least.”
“Who’s June? Your sister?”
I nodded and took a deep breath.
“She was. She died in a car accident a few years ago. I was being careless and wasn’t paying attention. She pushed me out of the way and…the next thing I saw was her on the ground. I couldn’t help her…Those who knew her at the school I went to blamed me. My parents clearly do and to be honest, I do, too. If only I wasn’t so goddamned rash…she’d be…” I stopped myself and took an uneasy breath.
“You can’t blame yourself for what happened. She chose to do what she did and she did it for you.” She put a reassuring hand on my shoulder.
“Yeah, probably. So what happened to Natalie?” I wasn’t convinced, but I wasn’t about to argue.
“Well, we continued our relationship after we both were released. It was okay for a while until she tried to take her own life and was readmitted. I tried to see her, but then let it slip that we’d been dating and was cut off from her life. The last thing I heard from her was that we couldn’t be together anymore. I still miss her.”
“Let me guess. Homophobic parents?”
“Some people aren’t as accepting to it. To be honest, I didn’t think you’d acknowledge my advances or anything.”
“To be fair, you don’t really come across as someone who’d enjoy the company of anyone. You looked pretty tense and irritable…”
“I guess you’re not the only one who needs a ‘gay as hell’ sign, huh?”
“Apparently not.” She laughed lightheartedly.
I looked out the window and my thoughts returned to June. I couldn’t believe I told someone what had happened to her. I’d come close to revealing it earlier with another student, but I simply didn’t have it in me at the time. The loss still hurt so much in my mind. If anything, talking about did feel like some sort of weight being lifted from my shoulders, if only a bit.
My eyes returned to Annabelle again. I had her attention when I took her hand in mine. I had to find another purpose. I needed to.
“So…what do you say?” I asked, hoping she’d accept me.