Disclaimer: Jeffrey Geiger is not mine. Everything else is. The title "Run Away" comes from a song by the same name.
A/N: Okay, in case you couldn't tell, the person narrating the story is Jeffrey Geiger. This story is from Amanda's point of view, picking up where "Lover and Friends" leaves off.
Sometimes, even now - after all these years - I have the old dream. I'm lying in my childhood bedroom back in Boston. I have the covers pulled up to my chin, and I'm staring up through the darkness at the ceiling. In my right hand I clutch my Star of David necklace, praying that it won't happen, praying that he won't come in.
But he always does. He creeps in, so quietly that I can barely hear him enter. He doesn't say anything. He just comes over and does it.
I'm completely terrified, but I know better than to scream, or even to whimper. If I do, he'll gag me with the bandana tied around his wrist. No - this is my fate.
As I lie there beneath him, I turn my head to look out the window. I always leave it open, so I can see over to Jeffrey's house. I want him to open his window, so he can see and rescue me. I pray for that. I pray for his friendship. But it never comes.
I can't count how many times I've had this dream, the exact same dream, since it stopped being a nightmarish reality. Probably over a million.
When we first moved to San Diego to escape the memories in Boston, I had the dream a lot. Back then, my parents were so afraid for me. They wouldn't let me go or do anything, which was fine by me. And they sent me to both a psychiatrist and a psychologist. I was taking antidepressants and saw the psychiatrist once a week. I saw the psychologist three times a week after school to talk about day-to-day problems.
Because of all that, I can barely remember middle school. I remember that I didn't have many friends. People were nice to me, but I never put any effort into being nice back, so they all eventually lost interest. Fine by me. My last best friend, Jeffrey Geiger, had left me feeling confused. On one hand, I loved - love - him. On the other hand, he abandoned me in my hour of need.
High school was pretty much the same, except I was terrified of dating. I never went to a school dance, especially not Prom, because of my fear of intimacy. The pyschologist thought that it would be good for me to go, as long as my parents could be sure that my date would not try anything with me. I refused, however, and my parents supported me on that. If they'd had their way, they would have locked me in a tower like Danae for the rest of my life.
During my senior year, I had to make the ever important college choice. I studied a lot and had made an effort to join some activities, giving me a competitive application. My parents wanted me to attend UC San Diego and live at home. But, after hearing that Jeffrey was at Harvard, I wanted to take my shot at the big league. I applied to Stanford.
Getting that acceptance letter was difficult, because not only did I have to convice myself to go, but I also had to convince my parents to let me. And I did want to go. Stanford was like a dream, and it would be good for me to be on my own. We fought, argued, and debated; but finally they relented. And so, the following fall, I began at Stanford.
Between high school and college, I stopped seeing both the psychiatrist and psychologist. The psychiatrist went first. He said that I was getting to the age that I should learn to live without the medications. Next, I had to bid farewell to the psychologist simply because I was moving away; I found a new one near school.
I saw Stanford as a chance to start all over again and to put the past behind me. I was determined to make new friends, study hard, and even date a guy. On the outside, I flourished. My friends started calling me "Ms. Stanford" because they said I was the perfect student: smart (I studied hard and was near the top of my class); athletic (I played varsity cross country); and musical (I took piano).
Yet all that was a facade, an elaborately created one to show the world that I was succeeding. The real Amanda Garrison was still a girl, haunted by her uncle's perverse acts back when she was twelve. The real Amanda Garrison studied until she was too exhausted to stay awake, in hopes that she would be too exhausted to dream. The real Amanda Garrison was haunted every night by the same dream that left her trembling and terrified and awake by 4:00 am at the latest. Looking back, it was a wonder that I could survive on so little sleep.
Somehow, I made it. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in biology and moved on to medical school. Three months into my first year, however, I realized that I didn't want to be a doctor. So I dropped out, got my teaching certification, and began teaching high school biology and AP biology in San Diego.
Right now, this is me: I'm middle-aged and divorced. My ex-husband Ryan and I divorced after six years of marriage because, as he said, I was never happy. We never had any child besides the son I miscarried shortly before the end of our marriage. I used to teach in San Diego, but I recently accepted a (beter paying) teaching job at the advanced North Side High in Chicago.
Often, after my nightmare has awakened me, I think about my childhood in Boston. I remember the house that once held only pleasant memories. Mostly, I think about Jeffrey. Jeffrey Geiger was my best friend. I loved him. I think I still do love him, at least his memory. But for all those happy memories, one truth remains: he dumped me. He severed our friendship in the cruelest of ways, yelling and ridiculing. I can still remember some of what he said. But all that is in the past, and often I feel the impulse to look him up and call him. I want to talk to him, hear his voice and his flowing quips. I want to see him, check if he's as cute as I remember. I want to rekindle our friendship, which meant more to me than my marriage to Ryan.
But that's stupid. I know it. He probably wouldn't even remember who I am. He certainly doesn't think about me and our good times together. It's only because of my trauma that I so often find my thoughts creeping back to the past, to my halycion childhood.