maybe things are not what they seem
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CHAPTER
1
Goodbye
I guess you could say that Lily’s disappearance wasn’t a surprise.
I knew it was going to happen eventually.
Lily is my best friend. She told me everything.
But it was usually gossip. Crushes, girls, problems with her parents, that kind of stuff.
What she told me one day was scary though. She came to my house with a strange expression. Scared. Confused…. Eager. It was 5:00 on a Saturday morning. It was raining outside when suddenly there was a loud thump as she climbed through the window and plopped on the bed.
I’m not a heavy sleeper so I woke up immediately to this. I rubbed my eyes to see it I was seeing right. But yes. My best friend had just climbed through my window and she lives at least a mile away and it was 5:00 in the morning.
“Lily!” I whispered yelled. “What are you doing here!”
But I already knew. There was something wrong.
I looked up at her sky blue eyes and said, “What’s wrong.”
We stayed up until 9:30 talking. She told me that she had ridden her bike over to my house. That it was a bit of a while, but it was worth it to talk to me. That made me smile.
But this time she wasn’t gossiping. She was scared. She was shaking. Her blue eyes had become sharp crystals going right through my heart.
“It’s too much. Everyone expects so much of me. Though my parents are divorced, my dad wants me to be this MUSICIAN and my mom wants me to be a best selling author! And I take classes for both! And I’m bullied and-“ she told me all. Those weren’t the darkest things. She told me about the dark glares that people gave her. About seeing them and ALL of them just by their eyes. About the dark swirl.
Yes. How could I forget. ‘Dark Swirl.’
I believed her when she told me that she got a physical and emotional feeling when suddenly she felt that she didn’t deserve to live. That she was a mistake.
But I told her that that feeling was wrong.
But I knew that she didn’t believe me.
She called it the Dark Swirl. She said that it makes her feel like she doesn’t belong in her family.
She told me her plans about running away.
“Don’t do it,” I told her. “You’ll regret it.”
“Sabrina, I can’t live this way. Every day I am fighting and the fighting doesn’t stop. I’m getting weaker by my wounds and it is time to go into hiding.”
I nodded. The least I could do was be understanding.
And the last thing that we said before she slipped through the window again was sad.
“If you do…. Tell me,” I said, knowing that Lily was a determined person and stuck to her instinct.
“I would never leave without saying goodbye,” she said, laughing weakly.
“You can’t tell ANYONE,” she added, getting serious. I nodded and we did a pinky swear.
And then she slipped back into the cold day, pulling her black hoodie over her head as she crawled into the morning light, the sun having it early shout of sunrays that made her dirty blond hair look like gold.
I will never forget the way she smiled at me before climbing down the tree next to my window and stepping onto the wet grass.
“Thank you for understanding, Sabrina,” she beamed.
It’s funny, because after that day, I never saw her beam like that to anyone else. In fact, she barely smiled at all.
5 months later she was back, staring at me again on my bed.
She was crying. Hard. I will never forget the shiny tears that dropped on my nose when I woke up.
“Lily!” I said. “What are you doing he-“
I saw her expression. My thoughts registered.
After what seemed like hours, I said, “Y-you’ve come to s-say g-g-goodbye. Haven’t you?”
She nodded. Another independent tear rolled down her cheek.
“I can’t do it. I wasn’t meant for this world. I’m a mistake. Just a mistake,” she whispered sadly.
“Lily, you are not a mistake.”
“THEN PROVE IT,” she said, looking up to me with a blue fire in her eyes.
I was taken back by surprise when she said this but was able to say, “Because you got the dark swirl for a reason. There is a reason that you understand people better than I do. There is a reason you are my best friend. I don’t know how I once lived without you.”
She nodded, smiling down at my sheets.
The she looked at me. “I love you, Sabrina McCrooger.”
“I love you, Lily Charnigo.”
She smiled at me one last time and exited my window.
And one tear traced down my cheek as I stared at her every movement. She hopped on her neon blue bike with her backpack heavy on her shoulders and waved to me before crossing the road, out of my view.
That was when I sobbed. When I sobbed so hard because I was sorry. That she had to experience all of this. That her parents had to- that I had to.
Because this…. This was goodbye to Lily Delilah Charnigo.
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