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Original photo by the author: “WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE LIGHTS CAME ON?”

Always: A Three-Part Story of My Relationship with Anxiety

by share

As I walked home, She walked up to me and said I looked nice, but She told me someone was looking at me, so I turned. No one was watching. She said I should look one more time just to be safe, so I did. Still no one. We walked home like this for around 10 minutes — faster than normal because She said I’d be safer that way. 

When I got home, I threw my bags down and She sat criss cross applesauce on my bed. I turned on music and sat down. I didn’t have anything to do, so I lay back next to her. I was okay. 

A good portion of an album passed and She turned to me and asked if I had homework. I didn’t. She asked if I locked the door. I did. Or did I? I got up, checked the door, and it was locked. I came back and She said she just wanted to be sure. I shrugged it off and laid back down. The album started over and She asked if I was sure my parents really supported my dreams to be a filmmaker. I thought I was. She asked if I was sure again. I said maybe. She then rattled on about how it was such an unsure job. 

“Maybe you should go into accounting.”

“There’s a good chance you could become a lawyer.”

She stops for a while and then asks if my parents ever really cared. 

“They never seem to notice anything until it’s about them,” She posited.

She moves and looks me in the eye. I felt apprehensive, and my shoulders tensed up.

I recalled a time when my grades were slipping and it didn’t seem to matter to them until they got a phone call and it Made Them Look Bad.

“It’s funny how every—” 

I cut Her off, and She said She was just pointing out the obvious. I didn’t want to hear it. 

She sighed and grumbled. It was quiet for a while and I heard the music in the background, but now more of a supporting score than a stand alone art to be admired. 

She started talking again. 

“Your parents only care when it reflects on them in a negative way.”

“You always did love writing, you could get into journalism.”

“There’s nothing like a good stable job.”

“Do you really think you have the drive in a field that competitive?”

She was lying, half her body draped across me. She seemed to know so much. Maybe it’s because She was right. She felt heavy on my chest, and I couldn’t breathe well. 

“Do you think your friends talk about you behind your back?” she wondered aloud. 

“I do,” she said without waiting for my answer. “They probably make plans without you.” 

“Your brother is the favorite child. They had you out of obligation.”

“You don’t even know who you are without other people.”

She kept going on and on, and her words got faster and faster, She started speaking so fast I couldn’t keep up with what She was saying. I could feel her laying on me and it got uncomfortable, but I couldn’t speak. Her elbows were sharp in my chest, and it hurt to breathe. 

She never listened. But She was always there. She was sitting over me and held my face between her hands with such force I couldn’t move. 

She was shouting at me. “Are you listening to me?” 

She shook me, and I was feeling sick. Her elbows pressed harder and She kept shouting at me, but everything sounded distorted. 

I rolled over with force I didn’t know I had in that moment and threw up over the side of my bed. She moved before I rolled and sat behind me. My face was hot and wet, and I couldn’t tell if it was sweat or tears. I didn’t really care. I finished and wiped my mouth. As I rolled back over, shaking in my own clammy skin, She took me into her arms and I rested my head into the crook of Her neck. She whispered my worries into my ear as I sank further into Her and sobbed softly. 

“I’m here. I’m always here. Here for you, just you.” She spoke into my ear as I drifted to what I wouldn’t call sleep but a deep unconscious darkness. And She was right. She was always there. Always. 

And I realized I shouldn’t stay with her. She demands so much attention, so much of my energy. 

However, She is all I know, all I have ever known. 

She told me once when I tried to leave that I would miss her. And a part of me thinks I would. She told me, “All you’ll ever need is here, in Me,” and I think She’s right. All I have ever known is Her. She was always there. Always. 

The author is a 17-year-old senior in Fulton County who has a passion for creating and telling stories however they can. This is part one of a three-part story.

Editor’s note: The capitalization of She and Her in this story is an intentional literary technique used by the author. 

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