Brick

I.

It's hard to regret the best night of your life, no matter what the consequences are. Who knew what would happen, what finally finding love could do to a person. That night, after we got back from that fateful trip, trusting each other no longer an issue, I knew, she knew, we knew that we were ready. There was no rush. We spent the early part of the evening chatting and eating upstairs, enjoying the holiday, just the three of us, and then, afterwards, with no adults to interfere or disapprove because they were all too absorbed in their own lives, we snuck out to the poolhouse, our private oasis, drew the blinds, and showed each other how we felt. Neither of us were ready to say those three little words out loud, 'I love you,' but that's what we meant, and we both knew it.

Being together….being with her was everything I had dreamed of and everything I hadn't. I, even with all my experience, didn't know it could be like that, be that sweet, gentle, emotional. We, together, were perfect. She stayed the night. With no one to care what we did, I got to hold her in my arms while I slept and woke up with her carefully tucked into my side, her hands holding onto me tenderly, her hair swept across my chest, our hearts beating as one. I had never felt more at peace in my life, and even as I wake up this morning where absolutely nothing is right or at peace, I still can't regret what we did that night, and I never will.

My alarm goes off at 6:00, but I am already awake. I get out of bed, blindly, not caring about what I'm doing now just worried about what we're going to be doing later. Randomly, I pull some clothes off of my shelves and throw them on. It's the day after Christmas. Things like this should not happen the day after Christmas.

Slipping outside into the dark morning, I shut the door to the poolhouse as quietly as possible. Everyone's asleep. To me, it feels as if the whole world is asleep, but I know she's awake, too. There is no way either of us could sleep today, not with what we had to do haunting our minds. I don't go inside; that could cause too much noise. We need them to be oblivious. If anyone noticed I was gone, our whole plan would be ruined, and we can't have that. In fact, I'm so focused upon not waking anyone up, that I don't notice how abnormally cold it is this morning, at least, not until I get in the car.

The seats are freezing, but strangely, I almost prefer it this way. I leave the heat off, and eventually the cold of the car pervades my system and I start to feel as cool as the seat I'm sitting on, as cool as the steering wheel I'm gripping so tightly in my hands. Finally, my body is numb. My body is numb. My mind is numb. My heart is numb. I am numb.

II.

I arrive at her apartment. She knew I would be coming today, that she wouldn't want to answer the door, so climbing the stairs into the building, I pull out the set of keys she gave me and open the door myself. Immediately, I see her.

I have never seen her so lost, so utterly miserable before in my life, and knowing that I made her this way shuts me down even more. She can't sleep in her bed any longer. We've been together there, too. Instead, she's curled up on the couch in a tiny, trembling, tear stained ball, her eyes red and puffy from crying, black circles hovering against her deadly pale skin.

She looks exhausted, broken and scared, and I know there is no way I can put those pieces back together, not this time. Her clothes are baggy, an old sweat suit of mine; at least she still wants a part of me to be close to her. I know she won't let me hold her or comfort her. I've already tried that, and it made her just cry harder.

I know she's not taking care of herself. It wouldn't surprise me at all if she hadn't eaten a decent meal since the day we found out, if she had eaten at all, and that was a week ago. Her cheeks have started to sink in, and, yesterday, when I tried to hold her in my arms, I could feel just how thin she was, and it scared me. I can't let her do this to herself; I can't let her slip away from me. If I have to do this, I at least need to know that afterwards we'll still have each other, that I'll still have my best friend, that she'll still be there to make me smile and laugh, that I'll still have her love. I don't think she realizes it, but I need her more than she needs me.

Sitting down beside her, I let my hand fall to her face, tenderly wiping away the tears she can't seem to help but shed. No matter how much I wipe, the tears keep falling. Giving up, I take her hands in mine and help her to stand, noticing that not only is she thinner and her face pale, but her hair does not shine any longer. It is dull, messy and unclean. The girl I used to know would never let herself look like this, but that was before I took that innocence away, before I forced us both to grow up.

As we make our way out of the door, my arm around her waist to support her for she's too emotionally weak to walk on her own, I'm thankful that her dad is out of town. I don't know where he went, why, or even how, all I know is that there's no way we could have done this if he had been there, no way we could have kept this secret from him. No one who looked at her right now would be able to not figure out that something was drastically wrong, but it doesn't matter. We're safe….well as safe as we can be.

III.

Neither of us say anything in the car. It's as if we can't. What can you say to make any of this better, to make each other feel better? There is nothing. So, I drive and she sits, curled up in a little ball, once again, holding her knees to her chest, my sweatshirt muffling her whimpers and soaking up her tears. I still haven't turned the heat on. She wouldn't want to feel any warmth either. This way we're both numb together.

Never has a drive seemed so short or so long at the same time in my life. Why that happens, I'll never know. I want to get there, get this over and done with, not only for my own sanity but for hers as well. She has already suffered enough, and maybe, once this is taken care of, she will be able to forget about the pain, the uncertainty, the loss of innocence, and we can go back to the way we were before. She can be happy again.

At the same time though, I never want to get there. If we never arrive, then nothing has to happen. We don't have to face the final truth; we can go on and live in denial, but are we really in denial? Aren't we just in some terribly vague limbo where we don't know if we're making the right or wrong decision, where we're not sure that five, ten, fifteen years down the road we won't regret what we're about to do. Who can honestly be sure, 100 sure, no doubts, when they make a decision like this? We can't, and we shouldn't have to, not when we're sixteen years old, especially not her. It shouldn't have come to this; I shouldn't have put her in this situation.

I have all these feelings, all these regrets, all these thoughts, all these questions, but I have no one I can talk to about it. For the first time in my life, just a few short weeks ago, I found out what it felt like to not be alone, what it felt like to know that someone would always be there for you, to listen to you, to support you, to comfort you, to just….be there. I found that person in her. But now that I've finally found someone, I've never felt so alone in my life. Maybe it was easier before.

At least before I didn't know what it felt like to be truly alone, because I didn't know what it felt like to not be. I just….existed. But now, I crave to feel that special connection with her again, that trust, that bond. I need to know that she'll still be there for me after this, after I messed up her entire life. No one has ever stood by me before the way she has. They either don't give me a chance in the first place or run at the first sign of trouble, but it's not like I would let them in anyway. She's been the only person whom I've trusted enough to open myself up to, and now I could have ruined that forever.

Seeing that we're almost there, I shake my head to clear these thoughts. If I give up hope now I won't be able to go through with this, and I have to be strong. I have to be strong for her. She needs me, and I've already let her down enough. Repeating this mantra in my head, I slowly get out of the vehicle. We're early, but it doesn't really matter. Maybe we can get in and get out sooner, our wait till this is finally over ending quicker than we'd expected. Going to her side of the vehicle I help her out, my arm finding its spot around her waist once again, but she won't look at me.

As we walk in, I'm not sure she has been able to really look at me since we found out a week ago, and I'm still not used to it. Even before we were together, our eyes always sought out each other. It was as if we could never get enough of one another. After we started dating, it wasn't just enough to look at each other when our eyes were open; visions of the other filled out minds in our dreams as well. And then, after that night, the most magical, amazing, practically flawless night of my life, we were all each other could see…..that was until last week. Now, she won't look at me, and I'm alone once again. Merry Christmas, yeah right, what a joke?

IV.

We're the very first appointment that morning, first appointment since they closed for the holidays, and at 7:30 they call her name. I did this, I made this happen, I hurt her like this, but they won't let me go back with her. She needs me with her, I know she does, or, maybe, it's just that I need to be with her, I need to be doing something to help her through this right now.

I can't wait inside for her though. It feels as if I can't breathe in that waiting room, so I go outside and pace around the parking lot, planning, brooding, and thinking the entire time. Knowing I have to do something, I take off for the stores just down the pier from where she's at. Walking by foot, I suddenly feel the cool metal of the new watch on my wrist, a Christmas present. I don't need it. It's too nice for me, and, besides, at this point, time is only a painful reminder of everything we've lost. Making a hasty decision, I know what I have to do.

I buy her flowers first, anything to show her that I still care….how much I still care, how much I need and want to still be with her. Then, flowers in hand and not even caring about the strange looks I elicit or the snide comments anyone who knows me, especially from back home, would make at the thought of me carrying flowers for my girlfriend, I make my way into a pawn shop. With all the uncertainty surrounding us, who knows what will happen or what she'll need, so I take my watch off, my brand new watch, the first really nice thing anyone has ever given me, and I sell it. She's more important than any material possession I could ever have anyway and always will be.

Grabbing the money, I take off back to where she's at. Afraid I'll be late, I don't want her to have to be alone one second longer than she has to be, I hurry as fast as I can, flowers still in hand and newly acquired cash held securely in my wallet resting in my right, back pocket. I can't help but let my mind drift to what we're giving up….getting rid of if I'm brutally honest with myself.

It's not for me, I say to it….them….he or she silently, you're not dying for me. This is for you, for her, for both of you. You both deserve more than what I can give you now, hell, more than I might ever be able to give you no matter how hard I work. You both deserve someone better than me, and I can't be selfish enough to keep you when you'd both end up resenting be in the long run. So, we're doing this; she's doing this. I couldn't let her end up like my Mother; I couldn't let you end up like me. It's better this way…I think…I hope.

Snapping me out of my thoughts and the silent conversation I was having with someone we had already lost, she came into the waiting room. There are no more tears, no more sadness, no more…anything. She just looks empty and alone. Before, she still had it to keep her company, to keep her from facing the world by herself, but now she has no one, because she's completely turned away from me.

Sighing, I help her to the car, but, this time, I don't even get a slight hesitation, a slight pull back because she's afraid to be near me; she doesn't even seem to notice that I'm there at all. Suddenly, I know all the reasons why we did this was wrong, that I was already regretting it, and that she had not wanted to do it in the first place, even if she had not known this herself.

V.

It's easy to regret the best night of your life, especially if the consequences destroy the two things you love the most in the world, your girlfriend and your relationship with her.

We completely fell apart as she lost her grip on reality. I had no idea what to do. I couldn't tell anyone why she was upset, but, luckily, everyone was too absorbed in their own lives to even notice that anything was wrong. I just helped her avoid her friends, did her makeup work for her since she refused to go to school, and hid her from her parents so that they would not realize she had completely retreated into her own shell of emptiness and pain.

I made sure she ate at least once every day, feeding her myself if I had to. When she wouldn't shower, I'd help her by carrying her to the tub and washing her hair and body for her. She never said a word to me, never even acknowledged my presence, but I didn't care. After what I had put her through, I would help her for as long as it took to get the girl I loved back. She needed me, and I needed to be there for her.

Sometimes, at night when I hid her with me in the poolhouse or when I snuck out to be with her, I would finally get to hold her in my arms while she slept. Her rest wasn't peaceful. It was chaotic, emotional, and heartbreaking, but, while she was unconscious and lost from the hell she was trapped in, I could finally calm her down. Even if she did not want me when she was awake, knowing that my presence helped her sleep better was enough to keep me hoping that I could be the person to get her through this. I wasn't.

A few weeks went by, and things just seemed to get worse until the point where I knew that if I didn't do something soon, I would loose her forever. I not only feared for her sanity but for her life as well. It was as if she no longer had a reason to live, no longer had a will to keep fighting. It wasn't like before where she just wanted to escape. This time she wanted to stop being alone permanently. Realizing I wasn't enough, I took her to a doctor.

They told me that it was time that we told the truth, time that we confessed to our parents, our family what had happened, what we had done, what was destroying us a little bit more each day, and as they spoke of our actions, finally saying the word that neither she nor I had dared to utter since the day we had, silently, decided what we had to do, ABORITON, she broke down. She broke down, and I broke down, and suddenly I realized just how tired I was.

The doctors were right; we had to tell the truth. I didn't want to deny it any longer. If we were ever going to recover, we had to face what we had done, and, somehow, I had to forgive myself and find a way to help her forgive me as well. After all, this was all my fault. We….she could not go on like this any longer, and I was tired, so very tired, of lying. It hurt too much.

VI.

Driving back to her apartment, our families and parents already there waiting for us, I realized this was the last time we could be alone together for a long time, hell, the last time we were ever alone together again. This would change everything, and, at the same time, it would change nothing as well.

It wouldn't fix what was broken in either of us, what had broken between us. It wouldn't bring it…..our baby back. It wouldn't change how I felt about her. And even though we were about to be surrounded by other people, I knew it wouldn't change the fact that we were both alone now no matter who was with us.

She's alone because the baby is gone, and now I'm alone, too, because I'm without her, and there is nothing that anyone could do about it now. This was something only we could fix, and neither of us knew how.

VII.

We walk to her apartment door together, silently, as we always to always be now. Looking over at her I realize that she's drowning in her own pain with no will to fight and kick her way to the top. She doesn't care if she goes under forever. In fact, the idea of complete and utter darkness, total oblivion, is appealing, and suddenly I realize that I feel the same way…without her.

She's my brick. Before, she kept me grounded, kept me sane, kept me from running away from my emotions, my fears, my future, but now she's pulling me under as well. At this point, no one else matters but the two of us. We're so far away from everyone else as if we're standing off the coast, and with no dreams, no ambitions, we're just wandering, mindlessly, to nowhere. She's my brick, and I'm drowning slowly. At least we're doing it together.