Friday, January 31, 2014

My terrifyingly real dream

This never happened, but in the dream, I was filled with such guilt and shame and emotion, I couldn't keep it to myself.

Yuli had a great life. Well, she could get along. She had friends, family that loved her, and nothing seemed too terribly wrong. But she still felt empty. bad. Yuli didn't always notice it. In fact, she'd even started to forget it. But it was always lingering in the back of her mind.

Today was a normal day. A day like any other. Joseph came in. "Hey," he said. "Hey yourself," she'd reply with a light laugh in her voice. He looked around, a curiosity sprawling over his face. "Have you seen Nick? I haven't heard from him in awhile. We always used to hang out during break, but nowadays, he barely replies to my texts."

She thought she had finally gotten past all that. But apparently not. She looked around, mimicking him as best she could. Yuli knew she didn't fool anyone, but it couldn't hurt to try. Fake it till they break it, she'd always thought. "Uh, no... Odd isn't it? Come to think of it, I haven't seen him for awhile either."

That day, she was a zombie following instincts and habit. Lunch time, eat. Class, go sit. Break, outside. Her mind kept replying that horrific incident back a few months.

Nick was going on and on about something he'd learnt and trying to engage her in discussion. Yuli, being the average 18 year old she was, couldn't keep track of all the news and politics and this and that Nick kept talking about,. Finally she couldn't take it. She lashed out, asking him to just chill out. Just one second. "Seriously, I can't even THINK! Nobody knows all that political craap, ok? If you're so passionate, go argue with Obama over some tea, why don't you?" So they went chasing each other. He was a genius, she knew it, and always envied it. What made it worse was that he was modest about it too. He never bragged, but just wanted to learn and converse. But sometimes, it was just too much. So she chased him. It was something they did, but always got past. The two of them ended up in the weight room. She had climbed up on one of the machines, he was trying to talk her down. Yuli ended grabbing something, a pole of some sort. what happened next happened much too quick for her to process, but she always saw the end. His feet standing harmlessly, the pole slowly making its way through his leg. She didn't even hear him cry out. She just saw it happen and she lost her energies. the energy to chase him, her envy, her frustration with him, all thoughts of her life didn't matter. She only saw that pole in his leg. She could feel his pain without seeing his face. In her mind, his leg never moved from the incident. He stood strong and took that pole like a soldier, in her memory of the event. She recalled this exact moment many times after it happened and it had gradually left her. She didn't remember anyone coming, or how he finally got help or her leaving the scene. She only remembered being there. She kept her ears out trying to hear how Nick was, any updates or progress. She learnt that these few months, instead of going out, enjoying soccer and being a genius, he was in physical therapy, trying to use his leg, trying to heal. She heard he hadn't applied to any of the millions of opportunities she knew he could easily get, and she didn't hear any more of his genius at work. She only heard of how his recovery was coming along. How he was on crutches, or if he was lazy, he'd be in a wheelchair.

Now, a week after Joseph brought him back up, she decided to go visit him. She didn't know what she'd say, what she'd do. Yuli knew he'd be angry, and he had every right to be. She couldn't stand going to face him, but she had to, or it would be worse if she acted like she didn't care at all, for that would make it look like she hurt him on purpose.

They met. They were back in that gym. But it was now brighter than that day.
"Nick, I'm so sorry! I never.. I mean.. I mean I didn't mean to... But..." She tried to find words and the harder she tried, the worse it sounded, and the more those words escaped her."

Nick, calm as ever sitting peacefully in his wheelchair said, "Yuli, You're OK. Please, stop beating yourself over it. I understand. But you have to live your life."

"But how could I? I mean, knowing..." Yuli couldn't finish the sentence. Knowing you lost everything because of me. I, Nick, I'm the one who cost you your future in politics and science. I cost you your soccer and I took away the last few months. You could've gone anywhere, done anything, but... She wanted to say everything, everything she was guilty of. Tears trickled down her face now. But Nick simply nodded, "I know. It's ok, really. Please, don't say it." He gave a very understanding nod her way, a solemn dip of his head, covered with pride and wisdom. Yuli saw that he was holding back tears, but even she couldn't pretend she didn't see his eyes moisten. She caught on with what he was saying, and finally submitted. She couldn't hurt him anymore. The least she could do was leave the matter be, for his sake.

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