Lyrics from "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan

Spend all your time waiting
For that second chance
For a break that would make it okay

It was late, and I was tired. I had been tossing and turning for what had seemed like an eternity. I wanted to sleep. I needed to sleep. But try as I may, sleep continued to evade me.

Then, there was a soft knock at my door. Softly, I groaned. Who could it be at this time of night?

"What do you want?"

My older sister slowly opened the door and peaked her head in. "I have something I need to tell you," she said gravely.

"It's late," I replied, not picking up on her nervousness. "What do you want?"

Then, she said the words that would change my life. "I'm in love with Chad."

There's always one reason
To feel not good enough
And it's hard at the end of the day

Now you may be asking why it mattered that my sister had found love. Who cared if she loved some dude named Chad? What business was it of mine?

The fact of the matter is that this meant a lot to me. Chad Harris was my ex-boyfriend.


Well, I suppose I could call him that. He told me that he loved me a few times and had kissed me passionately a few times as well. I loved him.

But it turns out that he had been imagining things each time. He told me that he hadn't known what he was saying.

But now I know that he was just imagining that I was Whitney.

But I'm only a senior in high school. I'll meet other guys. Right?

But it wasn't so much about losing Chad that got to me. It was more about what losing Chad to my sister symbolized.

Once again, I had come in second to my sister.

Once again, Whitney had proven that she was by far the superior Russell sister.

Once again, I had failed to prove my worth.

I need some distraction
Oh beautiful release
Memory seeps from my veins

After the tears and apologies that had seemed to go on forever, Whitney finally left my room. She kept saying that she hadn't told me since she hadn't wanted to hurt my feelings.

Talk about a load of crap. So she temporarily spared my feelings so that I would be humiliated for months.

I had spent a lot of my time thinking of the "relationship" that Chad and I had… only now do I realize that it only existed in my mind.

She pleaded denial as well. She hadn't allowed herself to love Chad since our mother disapproved of him. She said that that had been why she had been so desperate to believe that he had gotten another girl pregnant and abandoned her.

It just went to show that it didn't matter what I did. I was the only one who had supported Chad. I was the only one who had refused to believe the rumors.

Yet he loved my sister who accused him at every turn. My sister who desperately wanted to believe that he had done such a terrible thing. How could he love her after that?

It didn't matter. Wondering about it wouldn't change the facts. He still loved her. Her over me.

I would never be better than Whitney. My parents had always loved her more. She had always been the perfect daughter, so I suppose I really can't blame them.

Whitney got straight A's. I got straight C's… with a scattering of B's when I was lucky.

Whitney was destined to play at Wimbledon. I was destined to work at Wal-Mart.

Whitney never got into trouble. I was currently grounded until 3months after my three-hundredth birthday.

Are you seeing a pattern here? Whitney was perfect. And as for me, I was… well, anything but perfect.

I knew that no one would even miss me if I was gone. They would simply have one less problem to deal with each day.

Since Whitney often got sore muscles and joints from tennis practice, my parents kept a small supply of pain medication in the medicine cabinet. Softly, I tiptoed in there and took the fullest bottle that I saw. Percoset.

It's a strong pain reliever, and I hoped that it wouldn't take too long to go into effect. Soon, I would be able to escape my living hell.

Let me be empty
And weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

Before I went, I knew that I needed to write a note. Just because Whitney didn't have the decency to ask if she can date my ex didn't mean that I had to be so rude as to not even say goodbye.

"I just can't stay here any more.

I don't belong here. We all know it.

I'll be waiting for the day when I'll see you again in heaven.

All my love,

Simone"

Before I went, I also had to say goodbye to Kay. She had been my best friend for years. I couldn't just leave her without warning.

I knew that it was late, but I dialed the Bennett's number anyhow. I knew that Kay would still be awake, plotting ways to get Miguel for herself.

"Hello?" Miguel answered.

"Miguel?" I asked. I was surprised that he had been able to remove his tongue from Charity's throat so he could answer the phone. I didn't have any problems with the two of them in general… just with the fact that their public displays of affection were typically just a bit too… affectionate.

"Is Kay there?" I continued.

"Nope, she's out with Reese. She didn't say when she'd be back, but I could leave a message that you want her to call you."

"No, Miguel, it's not that important. If you could just tell her that I said goodbye, I'd really appreciate it."

"Wait a second, Simone. Goodbye? What are you talking about?"

"Goodbye, Miguel," I replied listlessly, ignoring his question. Softly I laid the phone on the hook.

I placed the note on my pillow and grabbed the pill bottle and a glass of water.

Slowly, the pills went down my throat.

1…

2…

3…

4…

5…

Eventually, the room began to spin, and the colors blurred. As I fell to the floor, the pain in my heart faded away. So what if Chad loved Whitney? Chad who?

Feelings, thoughts, and emotions were gone. Finally, I was leaving this hell on earth that my life had become. Soon, I would be in heaven.


In the arms of an angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear

As my spirit rose from my body, I stared at the scene unfolding below. A dark-haired figure climbed into the room through my open window.

Miguel ran to my body and held it in his arms. Tearfully, he pleaded with me to come back. He pleaded with me to return to the land of the living. To the world where I was so loved.

But I wasn't loved. That was where he was wrong. I was nothing but a nuisance to my family and friends. I knew that they would be glad to be rid of me.

I heard him call for my parents and Whitney. While they looked at the scene unfolding before them in horror, Miguel grimly reached for the same telephone I had used only minutes earlier and dialed 911.

I heard the sobs of Whitney as she clung to Chad, almost afraid to believe what had happened. He held her tight and comforted her the best that he could.

All of my mother's medical training flew out the window as she kneeled beside my body, begging me to come back to her. Her mind may have known that it was a theoretical impossibility for me to survive without having my stomach pumped, but her motherly heart prayed for a miracle.

I had never imagined that I could bring these strong women to such hysteria. I had never thought that Whitney or my mother would get so emotional over my death.

Was it possible that they had loved me? Despite the fact that they never spoke of their feelings, could they have truly loved me?

You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort there

The whole dying thing was really weird. I floated above my body for what seemed like an eternity. By the time the ambulance arrived, I had yet to see a bright light or heaven.

But I would be there soon.

My body arrived at the hospital, and I was still following along. I had no control over my destination. I simply followed my body wherever it went.

The doctors pumped my stomach, as my family hoped for good news. But I was dead. Didn't they realize that?

"Simone," I heard a soft melodic voice whisper.

I turned to see a beautiful dark-haired woman dressed in a shimmering white gown glide towards me. I knew instinctively that she was an angel. The angel. The one who would take me to heaven.

"Simone, it is not your time yet," the woman whispered gently. "Your time on earth is not yet complete."

"But I don't want to go back to earth!" I cried. "I want to be in heaven, where I'll be loved!"

"Simone, your parents love you. Whitney and Chad both love you as well. Miguel ran to your house to save your life. He, as well as the rest of your friends, love you more than you could ever imagine. They need you in their lives. You cannot leave them just yet."

I continued to attempt to convince her that heaven was where I really belonged, but my pleas fell on deaf ears. Slowly the angel faded from my view.

Like it or not, I was heading back to my life.

So tired of the straight line
And everywhere you turn
There's vultures and thieves at your back
And the storm keeps on twisting
You keep on building the lie
That you make up for all that you lack

For weeks I existed only in a state of darkness. I heard nothing. I saw nothing. I felt nothing. I was alive only in the technical sense of the word. But the fact of the matter was that I was still alive. The question was, did I want to live?

I remember vividly the day that I awoke from my coma. The first things that I heard were the voices of Whitney and Chad.

"Oh, Chad," Whitney's muffled voice said tearfully. "It's been almost 3 weeks. The doctors are beginning to lose hope that she'll ever wake up. Is God punishing me for breaking my promise to him? I promised that if Simone survived the car crash, I'd give you up, but I didn't. Is that why Simone is still in a come?"

"Oh, Whit, no. This ain't your fault. Simone'll be a'ight."

I was shocked. Was it possible that they really cared about me? Could the angel have been right?

I moaned softly. This was all too much for me to process at that moment. Not only did I have to figure that out, but I had a horrendous headache.

I heard a small gasp, as my sister stopped crying. "Simone? Chad, did you hear that? I think Simone's awake."

Slowly, I opened my eyes to see the two hovering over my bed, looking as if they hadn't slept in weeks.

"Simone?" Whitney questioned. "Oh, Simone, you're going to be just fine!"

I moved my lips and tried to speak, but no words came out. What was wrong with me? Why couldn't I talk?

"Sweetie, they put a tube down your throat to help you breathe," my mother informed me as she approached my bed. "They'll take out soon so you can talk to us. Oh, baby, we missed you so much."

I wanted to believe that they loved me. Honestly, I did. But my cynicism continuously rose to the surface.

They didn't love me. They simply felt guilty for putting me through so much pain.

Guilt was the same as love. Guilt would never be enough.

It don't make no difference
Escaping one last time
It's easier to believe

In this sweet madness

Oh, this glorious sadness

That brings me to my knees

Hours later, I insisted that everyone go home and get some sleep. Despite their protests, I knew that they all needed to get some rest. After all, they had been at the hospital almost 24-7.

There was a soft knock at the door, and Miguel leaned inside my room. A smile lit up his face as he saw that I had regained consciousness.

He walked over to my bedside and grabbed my hand. "Whitney told me that you woke up today. I had to come and see for myself."

I tried my best to give him a reassuring smile. "Everything is fine, Miguel. I'm going to be ok."

He pulled up a chair and sat at my side. "That's good."

"I hear that you saved my life. You found me. Thank you." I smiled yet another insincere smile. I didn't want to live. I wanted to die—and it was Miguel's fault that I hadn't succeeded.

"Really?" he asked suspiciously.

"What do you mean?" I asked, very confused. Either he did find me or he didn't. What was there to be so skeptical about?

"Are you really happy that I found you? Are you really happy that I saved your life?" he pressed.

"Of course I am, Miguel," I scoffed. "Why wouldn't I be?"

"Simone, there has to be a reason why you went to such an extreme. What caused you to do this? Why did you try to kill yourself?"

I closed my eyes. This was exactly the question that I had been hoping to avoid by sending my family home. How could I answer him?

I couldn't tell him the truth, could I?

In the arms of an angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear

"Miguel, I just had a bad day. I blew things out of proportion. And, yes, I am glad that you saved me. I'm not ready to die quite yet."

That was true… for the most part. I had had a horrendous, and I wasn't ready to die. Well, that is, it wasn't my time quite yet.

"Simone, we both know that people don't try to commit suicide after a 'bad day.' These things build up over time. We learned about this in our health class last year."

He grabbed my hands and looked deep into my eyes. "Simone, tell me the truth. Please, trust me."

I looked at him, and, somehow, I knew that I could trust him. Somehow, I knew that he would try to understand. I knew that he wouldn't judge me.

So I told Miguel the whole story, from beginning to end. He listened to every word I said and didn't interrupt once. Finally, I was the center of attention.

All my life, I had been living in the shadows. Whitney was perfect, so I was always second best in my family. Kay's needs always seemed to be more important than mine. Yes, she helped me "get" Chad, but chances were that she only did it so I would help her snag Miguel.

I had been there for years, but I felt that for the first time I was really being seen. Miguel had been my friend for years, but just then he was really discovering who I was.

And it was great. Finally, someone cared about what I had to say. Finally, someone wanted nothing more than to hear my story. Finally, my voice was being heard.

You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort there

You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

Almost a year has passed, and my life has changed so much. I'm no longer the loveless, self-conscious girl that I once was. It took a lot of hard work on my part as well as the support from those who love me, but finally I am proud of who I am.

I no longer believe that I can only hope that someone will love me in spite of my identity. Rather, I know that since I am Simone Russell, I deserve to be loved.

I no longer believe that I am second best to Whitney. We're two different people, and I shouldn't expect to live up to her achievements. I am beginning to do things for me—not just because I want to try to do better than Whitney did.

But the best part of my life is that I'm in love with the most wonderful man in the world. He has always been there for me these past few months, no matter what I said or what I did.

I realize now that I never really loved Chad. Yes, I liked him, but it was more like infatuation… and possibly obsession. I was determined to get myself a cute boyfriend, so that I could prove to the world that I was loveable.

But the only person who really needed proof was myself. I know that now.

But now I also know that it can be difficult to have faith in yourself when everything is going wrong. I know that if I want to be loved, I need to love myself first.

The doorbell rings, and I know that Miguel must be here. We're going out to Charity's engagement celebration. I had always thought that she would be the first one to be married… I had just assumed that it would be to Miguel.

But it wasn't. Charity found the perfect guy—Michael O'Reilly. So, I suppose that it was thanks to Michael that I was able to find the angel who saved my life in more ways than one.

If there's a lesson that can be learned from all of this I suppose that it must be that everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right, it's not the end.

Everything's all right in my life, so I suppose that this is…

The End