Disclaimer: I do not own Hey Arnold! characters/ideas. I claim credit for the writing below however. Please be cautioned that this is rated T for a reason for the "some violence, minor coarse language, and minor suggestive adult themes." Suitable for teens, 13 years and older, with adult themes such as suicide and mild non-explicit sexuality. If you are not the recommended age limit for this rating, please read at your own risk.
Dreams of Blue Skies
I don't think I'll miss my mom & dad,
The class I cut,
All the friends I never had.
These things I won't miss,
Won't miss me.
-"A Quitter" Rasputina
Smoke filtered out of her nostrils as if it were her soul trying to escape from her. She nodded her head lightly to the beat in her head, trying to let everyone see that nothing effected Helga Geraldine Pataki - and nothing ever would.
Suddenly she started coughing and the more experienced smokers around her regarded her with cool humor. "Shut it," she muttered, delivering death glares.
Truth was, Helga didn't like cigarettes. They burned her lungs. They smelled, made her teeth look bad, and gave her the most horrendous breath problem. They made her throat hurt, and worse, when she ran during her P.E. class, she wheezed.
But rumor was they gave you cancer, and what Helga needed fast was a disease. Even after a year of on and off smoking, she still hadn't really learned how to really smoke. Discarding the harmful stick and stomping it promptly with her boot, she moved away from the crowd to gain some solace. It was a slow death, but Helga wasn't in a rush. She could learn how to breathe with these cancer sticks, learn to die too. She could be patient, contrary to popular opinion.
With a confident stride, she walked to her next class, self-consciously tugging at her long sleeves to cover up her arms.
"There goes the love of my life," muttered one boy who slumped against the wall, smiling at his joke. She looked over her shoulder, giving him the evil eye and the bird, and merely shut the door loudly after her.
I don't want to live anymore, she thought dejectedly, propping her feet on the table as she looked out the window at the quad. So many people were laughing and talking to one another. And here she was, cooped up in a classroom on the days she didn't smoke. It was like she was forgotten, disappeared from their minds... like she never existed except in a vague childhood nightmare.
And even then?
She scoffed, rolling her eyes, going back to her black notebook. Whatever. It didn't matter.
So what if she didn't have friends.
So what if she was forgotten?
But her hands quivered as she turned the pages, and there were unmistakable tears at the corners of her eyes. It was a strange feeling... being left behind in the past by everyone. She couldn't catch up for the life of her to all of them, of those people down there so wrapped up in the wonderfulness of their lives. And here she was, in her putrid stinking hellhole of one.
She didn't stand a chance. She didn't belong. She never belonged. Helga bit her lip and took out a pen, drawing a dagger with blood droplets coming down from the point. Why did she even bother waking up in the morning?
Instead of answering that question, she turned up the volume of her headphones, almost to eardrum splitting records. Give me the pain, she thought, and I'll be happy for once.
"I'm home, Miriam! Bob!" she put her keys on the small hallway table. She didn't really expect a response by now. Like they care, she thought. She knew Big Bob was either working, or in his study trying to avoid his wife, the mess she was. And Miriam was slumped over the kitchen table, snoring most days by the time she got out of school.
Helga wrinkled her nose at the smoothie and sighed, pouring it down the drain. She shuffled into the cabinet and poured herself a shot of Daniels. If her mom was awake, she'd have a fit. Well, half a fit as much a drunk person could pitch in any case. She rolled her eyes and took it down her throat, making a face at its bitterness. She couldn't believe Miriam liked this shit, but then again, there were a lot of things adults did that she still didn't understand.
Grabbing her bag, and a beer out of the fridge, she went up to her room, making sure to shut it.
She gave a grim smile.
If that doesn't wake up Miriam, then she's dead, she thought. Good riddance, too. One less family member that pretends everything is okay. She laid down on the bed, and began to drink. She looked at the beer and thought, What if I got those sleeping pills in the cabinet? Would they notice if I was gone for the next few days?
No. They'd never notice. Probably months before they'd even look in her room. All they'd find is the bloated decomposed body and go, "Nope, she's not in here either!" She sighed. When did she get so depressing?
She reached down in her trench coat pocket and pulled out the only reminder of a good world to keep living for: Arnold. Sweet Arnold. She touched his young face with her finger. Why did everything have to go so wrong?
Everyday she told herself, "This is the day. This is the day I tell him, the day my life turns around for the better. The day where it won't end in complete crap."
And then every night she'd tell herself, "Tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day. Today wasn't because..." and she'd make excuses. So many excuses. He was busy. She was busy. Things like that. She'd even make up excuses so that way, it wasn't like she had to actually do it. She was afraid of the moment. What if he said no? What if... what if... what if. It haunted her, these 'if's. They told her so much uncertainty is out there, that how could you ever hope of him accepting your love? How can he, after everything you put him through? He doesn't even know who you are by now.
They had stopped really talking when they got in the last year of Junior High. Even though they still went to the same high school, they were obviously in different social circles. He was so popular, so beautiful that he was practically unattainable. And her? She didn't even have a clique that would take her in, let alone those lowly smokers.
In fact, she didn't speak to any of the "old gang" anymore. Not that any of them wanted to be seen with her. Not Rhonda, not Harold, or Stinky, or even her own little shadow, Phoebe. She didn't blame them. She drank more from the beer, feeling a little buzzed and happier than she was before. It was funny -- wasn't alcohol a depressant? Why'd she feel so good when she drank it, why did she feel like she was going to cry tears of joy because she was forgetting?
It really did take the edge off, this elixir of death. She could see why Miriam loved it so much, why even Bob drank it sometimes. It took away those pesky memories and made everything so much better in a way. This beer, this liquid lover of hers, told her to go to sleep, to dream of happier lives to live. Don't live this life because it was a lie. Don't wake up, because it's a dream. Sleep.
She put a hand to her forehead and brushed her bangs back. She couldn't go back to school tomorrow. She couldn't go through another day of chickening out and avoiding him. Another day of pretending she belonged there, when she felt like she didn't. She missed him so tenderly that those memories she wanted to wash away were all she had of him. Even though they hadn't talked in such a long time, she knew what he was doing as he was doing it. She still kept tabs on her one sided love, always watching him. It was almost as if she was just waiting for him to come to his senses and realize who was it behind those schemes that made him so happy.
She gave a sad little laugh and drank more, wishing to forget she thought that. As if he would. How would he know who to love and who to hate unless it was told to him so bluntly in his face?
Helga gave a deep sigh and downed the rest of the bottle. Tomorrow was another day, and maybe she would get the courage to tell him. Maybe she would say, "You there! I have been in love with you for as long as I've known you. Now please be gentle with my heart despite the torture I've given you all these years. Please, please, be gentle."
Sometimes Helga thought she was so funny, that maybe there was more to this liquid courage than she gave it credit for.
But there was a stillness in her heart. She should just do it. Just get it over with; like a band-aid. Just rip her confession out of her heart. The worst her sweet Arnold could do was say no, right?
After all, she shouldn't even expect him to feel anything towards her except a vague annoyance, like she was a buzzing fly. But the more Helga thought about, the more she wanted to do it. Just to get it off her chest. Just to move on. So what if her heart could get broken in the process? The way things are, her heart, her soul already felt broken.
This is the day, Helga thought, her fingers clenching a note the next day. She had worked up her resolve to do this single deed, just writing out two sentences on a scrap of paper and walking the thunderous voyage to deliver it to him. After all, it was only a year before they graduated... and year, and then he was gone. Forever.
This is it, this is it, this is it. No chickening out. None. Zippo. Zilch. She warily looked around as she walked casually to the lockers, not wanting witnesses to catch her in her sin. She dropped a note into the vents, before casually walking away. She gave one look over her shoulder, biting her lip, unsure of what she just set into motion. There was no turning back now, she thought, and opened the doors to the quad.
"Hey, what's that?"
Arnold looked down at his feet and then bent down to pick up the wrinkled piece of paper.
"Looks like a note." His friend beside him arched his eyebrow at Arnold's nonchalance.
"Ooh, finally, my boy gets his own secret admirer," Gerald grinned, playfully hitting his friend on the shoulder with his fist. "About time. I was starting to think you made a celibacy vow, or something."
Arnold made a face and rolled his eyes. "Gerald, I date."
"When was the last time you went out," he held up his hand, "let me finish. The last time you went out on a date with a girl, and at the end of it, got something out of your troubles?"
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"It means that, you always end up in the friend zone with the ladies of Hillwood."
"I can't help it. None of them have what I'm looking for."
"Which is...?" Gerald drawled out as they walked together to class.
"I... don't know exactly. But I'll know it when I find it."
"Arnold, your problem is that you just don't want to be happy. Look at me, for example," Gerald paused to tie his shoe, sending a flirtatious look across the hallway to a giggling girl with her friends as they walked past. "I'm called the Hillwood Love Train," he said in a conspirator's whisper.
"Love train, huh?" Arnold deadpanned in reply. "Must be an honor."
"Oh yeah, there hasn't been a girl in these halls that I haven't nailed." Gerald looked relatively pleased with himself, missing the slight look of disappointment and vague disgust on his friend's face. Arnold shook his head. Gerald might have been content being a manwhore, but Arnold wanted more. He wanted something special, something life-altering. Something that threatened to tear him apart and put him back together again. Or maybe he was being too much of a hopeless romantic for all that.
"Right, well, I think I'll stick to my way of doing things for now, if you don't mind."
"Suit yourself, man. But if you ever want results, I can give you some tips."
"Yeah. Thanks. I guess." He looked down at the paper in his hand.
"What does it say?"
"Well, Nosy, it says 'I've always loved you. Meet me after school at your locker.'" He looked it over, trying to gain more knowledge from the pink paper. "Not signed." Typical, he always seemed to get letters like these all throughout his life. Anonymous. This one struck him as different though... 'I've always loved you.'
"Wonder who it could be," Gerald wiggled his eyebrows. "Are you going to meet her?"
Arnold hadn't thought about it until Gerald brought it up. This was a sticky situation and he knew it. Exhilarating as it was to have a secret admirer, one that claimed to have always loved him no less, it was as much terrifying when he didn't know who that someone was. Whoever it was felt it nervous about his position of accepting her love enough to hide behind anonymity, which made him feel nervous. Who was she? Did he know her? He found himself looking at girls around him, trying to catch one looking at him.
And worse yet... if he didn't return the feelings, what was going to happen?
As the hours went by, his trepidation grew more. Even as he was walking down the solemn gray hall, gripping the piece of paper in his hand like a death sentence, there was a secret thrill in his heart. This was adventure, however minor. This was excitement. He was walking into a virtual love trap, into a spider's nest, but he couldn't care less. He had to know who it was.
He stopped when he saw a girl there at his locker, anxiously looking around for him. "Lila?"
She looked pleased to see him, relieved even. "Arnold!"
It made sense immediately to him, and he unconsciously tucked the note into his pocket. "Hey." He walked up to her, feeling a bit surreal. All this time, it was Lila? How could he have not known? How had the signs slipped by him? He felt so dense, and yet... so enlightened at this new revelation.
"I wanted to talk to you," she said, smiling brightly at him. "We haven't seen each other in a while and I wanted to catch up."
"Catch up." Was this girl code or something? Where was Gerald where he needed him? Arnold arched his eyebrows. Okay, he'd play along. Obviously Lila didn't want to be totally forward with him, hence the anonymous note.
"Yeah," she looked perplexed. "Why, Arnold I'm ever so certain you look as if you've seen a ghost!"
"What?" he snapped back to attention. "No! No! It's, uh... I'm just surprised at all. No, wait, not surprised." He cursed himself for the bad wording. "I just... didn't expect it."
"You... didn't expect me want to talk to you?"
"No! I mean to say is, I'm glad." Glad? He wanted to kill himself for not being better with words like Gerald was. He stumbled with his thick tongue, "I wanted to talk to you too."
His words were an instant magic. She looked happy, her eyes brightening. "You did? Here I thought you forgot about little ole me."
"Ha! Never, Lila," he gave an easy smile, relaxing. "Not you."
Lila blushed under his appreciative gaze. She looked at him under her lashes and realized how long it had been since she really looked at Arnold. He was so much taller than when she first met him when she moved to the big city. He practically towered over her now, and he had grown into his looks. His skin was so much more tan, making it a nice golden healthy hue, and his eyes... his eyes burned into her for some reason.
She shivered, captivated like never before. There was an odd warmth to her cheeks, and she was unaccustomed to feeling so lightheaded around Arnold.
"Are you cold?" he said, concerned at her shudder. He took off his own jacket putting it around her. Lila's heart gave a jolt at the touch, and she nodded mutely, not even trying to find words to express how she felt at the moment.
Arnold smiled with affection at her, his hand moving from her covered shoulder to her face, grazing it with his fingers slightly. Suddenly, he felt an impulse to lean in.
As Helga turned the corner, she stopped in shock, instantly ducking back behind the corner. There were no students around save for the ones she was watching. Emotions swirled in her soul as she watched the scene before her, her heart beating in her chest like a wild animal's.
Arnold was kissing Lila at his locker. She had his Letterman's jacket on, and they were embracing in a very intimate way. Her heart wrenched as she dug her nails into the palm of her hand, drawing blood. She didn't notice. With her eyes glued to the scene, she took in what was happening... and realized what wasn't going to happen. Without another notice, she turned away, consumed by heartbreak, determined to leave while she had a shard of dignity not to cry at school.
When she got home, she didn't bother to announce her arrival. She heard Miriam's snoring, and Bob's laughter, but it was like it was all background noise. She almost went into the kitchen for her ritual drink and changed her mind, going upstairs. Still in shock, she lightly closed the door and sat on her bed, trying to think how this could happen. She told Lila. She told her how she felt about Arnold... and Lila had agreed to stay away. But that was years ago. Obviously there were people who forgot promises.
Why did she wait so long? Helga almost let out a laugh. And today, she actually was going to do it. She was actually going to tell him today. I guess now he'll never know, she thought. She brought a shaky hand to her trench coat, dipping into the pockets. She felt the locket and almost brought it out, then she changed her mind and grabbed the cigarettes and lighter on the desk. She didn't want to look at his face right now. It'd only remind her.
As she was lighting up, she gave it more thought, painful as it was. It was probably for the best. She would've just made him miserable, just like how she drove her parents to be miserable... just like everyone else she knew. Just coming in contact with her made lives shit. Look at Arnold... when had her presence ever made her happy? They fought more than agreed... and that was her fault.
She gave a shaky puff, willing herself not to cough. There were tears still in her eyes, tears that still waited for permission to be shed. God dammit, she thought, putting her forehead into her hand. Her life was too much of a mess to be dealt with. The one thing she had going for herself wasn't really hers to begin with. It had never been hers. HE had never been hers.
When the cigarette neared the end, she didn't bother looking for an ashtray and pressed the butt against her skin. She winced, but sighed when she compared the itching pain of the burn to seeing Arnold and that girl. She preferred the cigarette by a large margin.
She grabbed her headphones and put them gracefully over her ears, selecting a rather dark tune. Just like before when she observed the quad a day prior, she turned up the volume too loud, but she didn't mind the pain echoing in her ears. It didn't beat the pain in her heart.
He didn't even want to wait for her, she realized. He brought someone else there to let her know he wasn't interested in anyone else's love, just his and Lila's. She hugged herself, rolling on her side. The weight of the locket was in her trench coat, underneath her. But she ignored its cries for release, focusing on her own pain. She felt vibrations in the house and knew Miriam had roused from her slumber and was now half-heartedly cooking dinner. Bob was still in his den watching T.V., not minding his desolate housewife's going-ons. Against Helga's will, a single tear came out. And then another. And then another.
So. This was what it felt like to lose all hope.
It didn't feel nice.
She covered her face with her hands and sobbed wretchedly, feeling like such a disappointment for crying. She broke down. Hell, she was broken for all she cared. She blearily looked at the white ceiling, as if to tell God that he won his sick little game: she lost, she didn't want to play anymore. It's not fun when you only lose, she thought. What was the point of life if this is what it was like? What was the point? What was the point in living?
She clutched a pillow to her, wanting to feel an embrace. No matter how hard she squeezed, it still felt like a pillow and not Arnold. Its plush comfort mocked her desire and she bit her lip, her whole body shaking as she became wracked with sobs. God, even thinking his name hurt her body. She closed her eyes, giving out another sob. Arnold, Arnold, Arnold. Why? But she knew this was coming. She knew for a long time ever since Lila came into the picture. She couldn't hold a candle to that girl; she never could. And deep down, Helga knew Arnold deserved someone just like her... someone compassionate, someone beautiful... someone that matched him in every respect.
Not like her. She felt dirty and used, so below him in every respect. He probably didn't even remember her name. Her lips quivered with a cry and she bit the pillow, trying to make the tears stop, make this feeling stop. But it was no good -- once the floodgates had opened, there was no turning back, and her tears had started an onslaught that would last the rest of the night. Still, his name was on her lips, and she begged for the pain to stop. It was like her heart was literally ripped out and she was choking, absolutely choking on the lack of love in her veins. Or maybe it was too much love, too much heart ache that made her feel this way.
Crazed with her love withdrawal, she got up from the bed and tore off her jacket, stifled by it. She stumbled towards the closet, still sobbing. She ripped apart her books, tore pages out, and destroyed all of her once-beloved memorabilia of him. Everything. She pounded on the floor, still crying, her chests heaving by the sheer emotion and power of her rejected affections. Why now? Why did he have to be so cruel? He didn't even hear her out... he just... made it so apparent he had no need for her. Why did she ever think it could work in the first place? Him? Love HER? Even if he could muster not to choke on his own bile in disgust at the thought, he would've just laughed at her, just like they all did at her. He wasn't the same Arnold she fell in love with all those years ago. He was a different person, this Arnold.
And he would've laughed so bitterly, so cruelly at her if she had exposed that love to him. He would take her broken heart, tape it together with his false niceties, and the clutch it in his vice like grip, until it bled and oozed and wept to be let free. Maybe it was better this way. Maybe she could try to find a way to live without him.
But to live without him wasn't possible.
She had spent all of her life building up to this moment... she had been working towards failure. How could she be sane and still come to terms to all that wasted time, wasted on someone that hated her so much? So much to break her heart in the worst way possible? She leaned against the doorway, trying to catch her breath. Her eyes stung and felt sore, her cheeks wet and itchy. Her throat gurgled with sorrow every time she remembered, every time she thought about it.
Her hands went to her hair and she tore out the bow, that bow that symbolized her love for the unlovable, the unattainable. It went in the ruined pile of all the things she used to treasure.
She hit herself on the head. "Stupid!" She did it again. "God dammit, you're so stupid!" She smacked herself, her hands twitching to hurt something, anything. She felt so angry, so consumed by her loss. She wanted to throttle Arnold for what he did to her, wanted to kill Lila for her betrayal, wanted to say fuck you all to everyone who had left her.
But instead, she languished there on the floor in her closet, just wanting it all to be taken back. Whatever hell she had before, it was nothing compared to this one. Now she lived in a hopeless, loveless sham of a life. And if that was a life, did she want it anymore?
She got up, swaying a bit on her feet. She felt lightheaded and thin, her head pounding from the unexpected headrush of crying for the first time in years. She kept a hand on the wall to balance herself as she walked out of the closet, out of her room, and down the hallway to the bathroom. She bent over the sink, turning on the faucet, splashing water on her face. She moaned, looking up at the mirror, wincing. God, she looked so ugly. Her face was twice the size it was normally, totally red and puffy. No wonder he picked the prettiest girl at school instead of her. She sniffed back the snot that was threatening to drizzle down, rubbing at her nose.
She reached into the cabinet for a decongestant when her father's shaving razor fell out, clattering into the sink. The water still flowed on top of it. Helga stared down at it, tears still working their way down her cheeks. Her hand shook as she hesitantly touched the razor before getting a grip on it. She looked back at her own reflection. It seemed like a while went by before she decided to do something that would change the situation from hopeless to drastic. With one shaky motion, she pressed the razor to her wrist, pausing. She almost didn't go through with it, but there was a sound that surprised her in the plumbing, and she gasped, slicing into her skin slightly.
Blood flowed instantly, her skin parting like she was cutting into butter with a hot knife. It wasn't a lot of blood, but it was enough to drip into the sink, mixing in with the flowing water. Helga looked at the cut, enraptured by the experience. Her heart thumped in her chest as she looked at her father's razor and her arms.
It was a sign. It was like God was telling her to do it. He gave her the tools, now she should just do it.
But before she could do anything more, she heard Miriam call her name down the steps. Startled, she instantly put the razor underneath the water, rinsed the blood off, and grabbed kleenex to blot on the bleeding. "What?" she yelled back, trying to desperately cover up what she did.
"Just a sec!" She scrambled, wiping away the blood, engrossed at how beautiful the red looked against the pristine white. She touched the still wet kleenex with barely concealed anticipation and with regret, put away the razor, biting her lip. She went into her room and put on a long sleeved sweater, rushing downstairs. Just as expected, her parents didn't comment on her attire, nor her red face. Somewhat disappointed but not surprised, she picked at her food, thinking about her experience.
It felt... comforting. The thought that she could just wipe out her own pain, her own hellish existence, on her own terms. It felt almost like she was doing a favor to the rest of the world. She'd always thought about it, but not seriously... not when she had Ar-.. She stopped before she thought of his name. But she didn't have him anymore, did she? Helga picked more at her mashed potatoes, become aware of her parents talking but she didn't join the conversation. Not that they noticed. She realized that she could be free. She didn't have to wait for him to come around... she didn't have to sit here at the table, pretending to be part of this family that didn't want her. She didn't have to go back to school every day, or wake up every morning, trying not to think about the day she was going to have.
It was a nice thought.
"Helga? You okay?"
She looked up from a dish and smiled at her mom, feeling genuinely happy for the first time that day. "Yeah, mom. Never better."
Miriam smiled back, taken aback by being called 'mom.' "Okay, Helga," she said, and continued to eat, unaware of why her daughter was in such a good mood. Her father, on the other hand, frowned, eating his food. He looked at his daughter carefully before shrugging. What did he care?
"Nice job," Mr. Ralph smiled as he went down the rows, passing out past English exams. "Good job, Sid. Tutoring paid off, huh?"
"Hell, yes, sir." Everyone laughed, shuffling in their seats excitedly as they waited for the bell to ring. They began to discuss their scores collectively, comparing each other's work, and complaining their dislikes and likes of the class so far.
Mr. Ralph rolled his eyes at the boy's reply and continued to walk down the rows. "Good job, good job..." He paused at one student's desk and dropped down the exam, tapping on the sheet. "See me after class, Ms. Pataki."
"Oooh," the rest of the class said, some laughing a bit. The girl at the desk didn't pay them any mind, but merely gave a small smirk, as if this attention didn't bother her in the least. A boy in the corner frowned, looking back at her, before slinging his back over his shoulder.
The bell rang and he left along with the others, pausing to give one last look at Helga who was busy writing in her black journal, scribbling some notes. He sighed, and looked at his watch. He was going to be late for his date if he stuck behind now, but he couldn't bring himself to walk away from her. A part of him wanted to talk to her because deep down, he knew something was off. It was like he could smell the change in her. Another part said, "Are you crazy? All she'll do is call you Football-Head and tell you to shove off. It's none of your business anyway." And it wasn't really. They hadn't spoken in years, and he doubted she still considered him a friend. More like an old acquaintance now. If he butted his head in now, he could regret it and come out with a black eye or worse. He absentmindedly covered his crotch, groaning in imaginary pain. He shook himself out of it. He had to go. Lila was waiting. That was enough to get him walking.
Still... he paused, tempted to look at Helga again. In his gut, he knew if he walked away now, he'd regret it. Big time. He sighed, thinking, why me? Just as he was about to turn around, a hand clasped his shoulder. He looked down and it was Lila. He grinned. "Hey, wasn't I supposed to meet you?"
"Yeah, but I thought it'd be ever so nice to pick you up," she said, shyly holding his hand. He blushed and looked away, back at Helga. Only she wasn't there anymore. She was at the front, in a hushed conversation with Mr. Ralph. It didn't look like he was happy with the results the way his hands became animated. Helga was still, almost disinterested in even talking. It was entirely one-sided conversation. She looked over her shoulder and saw him, tensing immediately.
Uncomfortable, he guided Lila out of the classroom, unnerved by the look in her eyes. Even on his date with Lila, Helga's face kept flashing in his mind... that look. He couldn't make sense of it, the way she had looked at him. He shivered at the memory of its intensity, the sheer power her blue eyes had when they zoomed in on him. He felt... guilty. But for what? What did I do? he thought. Those eyes, he thought absently as he kissed Lila good night and walked home in the dark, wishing it was the cold that really made him shudder. Those eyes blamed him for something.
If he didn't know better, he could've sworn she looked betrayed or something.
Helga crumbled up the test, throwing it on the ground beside her. She walked, chugging on a cigarette. She had gotten the hang of it now and nearly laughed. Of course she would learn just when she decided to off herself. Wow, she thought, widening her eyes. So I'm really going to do it. Struck by how solemn this moment was, a smile twitched at her lips. There was something so ironic about it all... she could've done this years ago and spared herself this huge waste of time.
But there was that nagging feeling in her chest. Arnold. When she turned around and he was there, just looking at her, she didn't know what to think. Then she saw Lila there, hanging on his arm. Then she understood. Arnold was taunting her with his new prize. She clenched her fists just thinking about it. How dare he look that way, looking like he wanted to fix her world, mocking her pain? She hated Arnold. She hated him so much. She sucked on the cigarette, coughing a bit when she swallowed the smoke by accident. She closed her eyes, trying to control her emotions. There were tears in her eyes and she gritted her teeth, willing her reaction away. She wouldn't be so shaken like a leaf in the wind by him.
She felt so angry though. So, so angry. The way he looked at her, and then just walking away with Lila. How could he do that to her? Didn't he know how torn up she got whenever he looked at her with any inclination that he knew who she was? She looked at the cloudy blue sky, trying to find a message from God. Maybe she was wrong to do what she wanted to do. Maybe, it was all just a misunderstanding.
The clouds didn't spell out Arnold like they used to. She didn't see his face smiling down at her.
Suddenly she bumped into something. She groaned. Knowing her luck, it was going to be Arnold and... her. She bit her lip, taking a hold of the cigarette and looked. "Oh, it's just you, Phoebe." She didn't know if she should feel disappointed that it wasn't Arnold, and then decided that anything, anyone was better than having to see him again today.
"Oh, hi, Helga," the other girl said a bit lamely. A few moments of cool silence between them. "How are you?"
"Just peachy keen," Helga bit, unable to believe she was having this conversation. A year. They haven't talked in a year. This was going to be awkward. Phoebe tittered nervously, coughing slightly at the smoke.
"So you haven't quit smoking, huh?"
"No, I'm afraid I'm rather attached to it now."
"You do know it's bad for you, right?"
"No!" Helga attempted to look scandalized. "Really? I had no idea." She deadpanned, flicking the ash off her cigarette. A look of annoyance flashed across the other girl's face before it became controlled into calmness. "Thanks for the information, Pheebs."
Phoebe was quiet again, looking closely at Helga, as if there was something different in her air. She shook her head, clutching her purse off the ground. "It was nice bumping into you." She didn't pay any mind to her former friend's scoff. "So... I'll see you around?"
"I guess." Helga brushed by the girl, ignoring how much it hurt to even be in this situation. So friendless that even her one true friend left her. Ha! Boy, was she pathetic. Couldn't even keep one friend, she thought glumly, unaware Phoebe was looking at her as she walked away. Phoebe put a hand on her throat and coughed a bit, frowning as her former best friend stalked away. "Helga," she said softly, "what happened to you?"
Feeling a sense of dread in the near future, she shivered, and continued on with her walk, feeling like something was not right... and wouldn't be right for a long time.
That night she had a dream. It was a dream she had many times before, but could never remember what it was. At the same time, this dream was new... so much more different than any others before it. So angry, so used up, so violated. Later in her life, she would still remember with crystal clarity what happened in this dream, until the day she died.
Helga opened her eyes to see gray clouds. She roused off the hard and cold ground, putting a hand to the side of her head, rubbing it. It felt itchy. She looked at her surroundings, wondering how she got in the countryside. There were rolling hills, fields of grains, dead flowers.
Everything was gray, however. Poisoned by the lack of color variety, as if she had been sucked into the 1950s. The grass, which was hard and stiff, broke under her feet as she walked unsteadily, so unsure of this world.
The breeze felt cold, and the house was tall. There was something so eerily familiar about the whole thing.
How long has it been since she dreamed of blue skies, soft green grass, and a colorful rainbow over a house with a white picket fence? Probably never.. it was something Helga couldn't imagine anymore. Everything was now monotone to her. All dead and lifeless. How soon she would become like that.. very soon.
Walking towards the house with a blank expression, she looked around. The flowers were wilted and shriveled up, all black with nothingness, and the trees were dead and dry. Everything was. The house was a light blatant tone of gray as it had a disheveled appearance. The windows were broken and through the dirty appearance of them she could see the curtains were torn and worn with age. It was a simple two story house, with a dull white picket fence around the property.
The mailbox was black and rusty, with the words "Pataki" scratched on it. Helga knew it was her house, out here in the middle of nowhere. The middle of this long deceased world. Making her way to the door, which she found was hanging crookedly on one hinge, she stepped in. What happened here?
Inside it looked just like her home in Hillwood, except that everything was torn and broken, either by purpose or by neglect. There was peeling wallpaper and broken windows, and the stairway had sunken in partially. The wood was rotting away, half-eaten by termites. And it was cold. So, so much colder than outside. Helga breathed out, a cloud forming in the air around her. She shivered, putting her hands in her pockets. Glass was everywhere, and crunched under Helga's shoes. Furniture was torn apart and tossed around as if a struggle happened here. Even specks of dried blood were on the grey walls. Dim lighting from outside was the only thing that enabled Helga to see what else was there. Continuing on, she stopped when she heard a creaking noise.
Helga turned to her left and went to the doorway of the living room. Instead of encountering walls of trophies and her father's favorite recliner, she saw a grey-haired woman in torn grey rags, she could only assume was once a dress. This woman without purpose moved rhythmically in her rocking chair. Her face was expressionless, eyes vacant as she stared ahead at nothing. Her hands gripped the arms of the chair until they were bone white. She was almost a skeleton, the way that her loose skin hung on her gaunt bones. Just looking at her made Helga feel wretched and doomed. The room was bare and the curtains were torn. The piano was overturned and destroyed, and there were pictures littered all over the floor, all of them blacked out.
Then the woman noticed Helga there watching her, and peered at her curiously before realizing who she was.
"What do you want?" The old woman snarled as she stopped rocking. Helga paused, not knowing if it was wise to answer. She stepped closer, a feeling of panic gripping her. Where was everyone?
"Stay away," the old woman said. She was holding her chest, heaving with more emotion than thought possible. "Stay where you are!" The woman's shriek surprised her and she backed out of the room, afraid to disobey her.
Helga turned away and walked on, feeling a surging pain in her chest. That old woman was so familiar for some reason. Hesitantly, she went into the kitchen, drawn to a noise. It was crying, only it was soft and light. Helga ran to it, feeling desperate but not knowing why. There was hardly any light, and whatever light there was, was flickering on and off. The kitchen looked totally demolished; the fridge and table were on their sides and there were numerous unwashed dishes in the sink. It smelled like it was suffocating and she held her throat, struggling to breathe. Determined but still shaky, she made her way, stepping on broken pieces of dishes and glass. Behind the overturned table, she saw a little girl in a dirty pink overalls. The little girl had light blonde hair and an oversized bow, and was crying on the floor, clutching the green umbrella for dear life. "Mommy," she said, crying more into her hands. She had scratches on her face, and bruises everywhere else.
Helga gasped, taking an involuntary step back from shock. The child seemed to have heard Helga and looked at her with wide eyes, backing away, frightened. Helga softened and leaned forward. "Hey, it's okay. It's only me."
"Who-who ar' you?" The small girl said, slightly hiccuping. She still held onto the umbrella, as if afraid that this person would take it away. "Ar' you hwere to save me?"
The girl nodded, allowing herself to feel a bit of hope. "What happened here?" The girl's eyes darkened and she sat down again, rocking back and forth. She still held the umbrella. "I don't know... the last thing I 'member is a boy gave me an umbrella because it wuz raining but he's gone and I don't know where I am. I'm scawed."
Helga felt tears leave her eyes as she shook her head. "It's not possible. This is too weird. This can't be happening." She backed away, looking one last time at the girl, feeling guilty for leaving her there.
The girl watched her leave, and then continued to cry, realizing this stranger wasn't going to help her. "Mommy," she cried hopelessly, curling up into a little ball.
Helga stepped out of the kitchen, shivering. It was colder now. Was she trapped here too? There was a noise upstairs and against her better judgment, she climbed up the precarious steps, mindful of the rot. She slipped once, holding onto the railing for her life. She reached the top floor, looking around. What next? she thought. What could be worse than that mess downstairs? The hallway seemed to worse. The ruined curtains at the window blew in the wind, as if trying to wave her to leave. She shivered in the coldness of it all, wanting to wake up and get out of there. Then she felt someone take ahold of her arm. Turning sharply, Helga met with herself. The younger her of nine years old. She had rings under her eyes, and her hair was let down, the bow partially ripped off. There were cuts around her skin. Her wrists looked bruised as if she had been tied up.
"Hey," The younger Helga said softly, "Are you lost too?" She looked a bit nervous and fidgeted. Helga took a step back. "You could say that," she replied. This other Helga looked dejected. "Oh. I thought you could help. You... haven't seen anyone else, have you? Someone with a football shaped head?" The younger her looked at Helga's face. "No?" She sighed, looking defeated. "I thought not." Then she went to the window and looked out, as if this person was on the horizon somewhere. Just as Helga took a step towards this girl, she found herself in the field again.
"Hello." A voice came from behind her. Again she turned around quickly. Only to be met with herself. Blue eyes stared equally at her with the same intense gaze. This other her had her hair back in a loose tendrils. She looked very tired, as if she had been awake for all of her life. She wasn't as gray as this world, or the others, but she wasn't a vibrant color either. Everything about her seemed... muted. "This is a surprise, seeing you under these circumstances."
"Back at you," Helga replied to her look-alike, feeling weird at meeting her mirror image. The world around them was still, and the other people were gone. She wanted to leave this place as soon as she could. "How do I get out of here?" Growing more cold, she rubbed her arms. Her lips felt like they were turning the blue.
The look-alike frowned then smiled softly. "Funny. I was just about to ask you the same thing."
Helga became angry quickly at the quizzical reply. She put her arms down, blinking. The gray seemed to spread to her skin, beginning to erase her creamy pigmentation. Especially around her wrists. "What kind of bullshit answer is that?"
"Only you can help yourself, Helga." Her other self sighed. "At least, that's what they told me."
"You are me."
The look-alike didn't seemed fazed by Helga's comment, instead she just softly tsked. "Good point." She bent down to pick up a dead flower and crushed it with her grip. She looked at Helga this time with barely concealed disappointment. "Helga, you know the solution; just figure it out already."
Before she could question her again, she disappeared. And with that, everything was gone instantly, leaving Helga in a place of darkness. The wind still howled it's cold breath around her.
She was alone.
Then she cried, put her head in her knees, and cried. She was alone.
Alone. Alone. Alone.
That word seemed to echo around her like a cruel joke. "Please," she begged, "I want to wake up." Please, she thought, and closed her eyes tightly.
With a start, she opened her eyes again, this time in her bed. She breathed heavily, and then looked at her skin. It was the normal color. She sagged in relief, not knowing why she was so scared in her dream. She grimaced at the memory of those... those half alive people. All of them barely aware of themselves, all of them seeming to be scared or her, or worse... wanting help. She didn't know what to do. Christ, what a dream. She almost got up to go to the bathroom for her ritual cut, but stayed in her bed, scared. The dream had shaken her more than she cared to admit and she looked on her night-stand, peeking into the drawer.
The gun was still there, hanging out with the golden bullets she pilfered earlier from the attic. She gave a small smile despite the dream. Dying by slitting your wrists was painful yet slow. But it was such an anonymous, passive way of going out in the world. No, she wanted to leave now. She wanted to send a message of her unhappiness so that it would echo 'round the world. They would be so sorry, if they did happen to care, to see her go. Or, she thought, be so happy.
Happy to see her gone.
Getting up and going to her desk, she took out her stationary. It was time to let go.
It was funny, Helga thought as she walked on the sidewalk, caring precarious packages in her satchel. These people, three weeks ago might have never pegged her for suicidal. Or maybe they did, she thought. But now she felt a sense of morbid relief coming for her. I don't have to live anymore, Helga thought. I don't have to live anymore. It was a statement that made her so sad... and so happy. Helga stopped, going into her satchel and took out four envelopes, dropping them without much ceremony into the mailbox. With each letter, she seemed to give a little gasp once it hit the bottom of the mailbox, each with its own unique little thud. Finally, she paused with one, caressing it ever so slightly. She knew that from the first envelope on, she'd have to go on with it now. But this one, this envelope she held so tenderly... she looked at the address and blinked back tears. "Arnold," she said, and opened the mailbox to let it slide in. She tried to let it go, but it seemed to be cemented in her grip. She wanted to let go. She didn't want to think of what Arnold would do once he got the letter, what he would say, what he would think. A big part of Helga thought that he would do nothing... and that's what frightened her the most. That he would wearily drop the letter in the trash and go on with his life, less encumbered than he originally was. And she would die, forgotten, her whole life wasted.
She dropped it, tears of hatred going down her face. Her fists clenched and shook with unsuppressed emotion. How dare he forget about her, she thought, and walked away angrily from the mailbox. She stopped, her shoulders slumping. Then again, how could he not forget about her? She never did create much of an impression with anyone, the way she made life so difficult for them all. They'd be glad to forget her. Arnold especially. With the tenderness of earlier, she looked at the mailbox and then gave a small, grave little smile. Yeah. She was doing them a favor.
Still unable to shake off the feeling that something was wrong with Helga, but unable to bring himself to talk to her yet, Arnold turned to Phoebe. He found the small girl chatting with a few friends in the hallway at lunch and approached her. Her friends, realizing something was unusual, left, leaving the extremely shy girl alone with one of the most popular guys in school. Blushing, she rolled her eyes at them and looked at Arnold. "Hey," she said, smiling. "It's been a long time, Arnold."
"Yeah, too long," he smiled back, wishing they hadn't grown apart all these years. The old PS 118 gang, going their own ways, separated from each other in their own cliques. Only Arnold remained somewhat in touch with most of them. Turning to Phoebe, who watched her best friend with sad eyes, he had to find out what was happening with Helga. Even though they weren't what people call "best buddies" he thought of her as a friend at least.
"What's wrong with her, Phoebe?" He asked.
She sighed, clearly frustrated. "I don't know what you want me to tell you, Arnold. Helga and I..." she paused, waiting for students to pass by. She leaned in and whispered, "We had a sort of... falling out. A year ago."
"Really?" Arnold said, looking shocked.
"Yeah," Phoebe said, biting her lip harder. "We had this fight. It was... stupid." She shook her head, adjusting her glasses. "She took up smoking and, I don't know. I tried to get her to quit." It was one of the first assertive acts that Phoebe attempted, one of the many ways she tried to save her friend from herself. "She told me to fuck off." She neglected to tell the other part of why Helga was so upset with Phoebe. She had tried to encourage the girl to confess her love to Arnold, believing that she shouldn't have to through her high school career still covering that infatuation. Helga had responded by pushing Phoebe, screaming that she didn't know what she was talking about.
"That sounds like Helga." Amused as Arnold was, he knew something was really serious if Phoebe and Helga weren't even friends anymore. "Have you seen her recently?"
Roused from her reminiscing, Phoebe nodded. "As a matter of fact, yes. I, uh, bumped into her a few days ago."
Phoebe played with her glasses like she did when she was nervous. When she first saw Arnold coming up to her, her heart surged thinking that he was an intermediate for Gerald. She thought that he was going to ask her out, or at least test out the waters to see how she felt. But it became apparent that he obviously didn't think about her (at least in that way), and she forced herself not to be disappointed. When Arnold revealed the subject was about Helga, she didn't know whether to be relieved or suspicious. After all this time, Arnold of all people was asking about Helga. It did raise certain thoughts. But she heard that Arnold was with Lila now... and that would explain Helga's chilly attitude towards her. "We barely talked. She seemed..." Phoebe tried to grasp a cordial word for her behavior, "-fine."
"Yeah," Phoebe lied. What did Arnold care anyway? Last she checked, Helga was still upset that the love of her life didn't even know she existed. For all she knew, Helga confessed her love to Arnold and was rejected. That would definitely explain her friend's erratic behavior. The last thing she was going to do was make it easy for Arnold to accidentally hurt her friend more. Despite the differences between friends, she still cared for Helga so much.
"Oh," Arnold said, not knowing what to think. He could've sworn she was upset... but upset over what? "I thought... I guess it's nothing. I just didn't see her in class yesterday." He looked at her evenly. "So you have no idea what's going on with her?"
Phoebe shook her head, "I don't know. Even if I tried to talk to her, it'd be weird. We haven't spoken in over a year. And last time we did talk, she didn't seem pretty chatty to me." She leaned in, to add in a conspirator's whisper, "Why are you so concerned?"
"It's... complicated," he sighed, running his hand through his hair. It really wasn't though. He was concerned. What was so complicated about that? Phoebe arched her eyebrow at him.
"Yeah, don't ask. I just have this feeling something's not right. I want to talk to her, but then again..." What right did I have to talk to her? he thought. She's the one who went out of touch, not me. But Arnold knew that he didn't try his best to keep a hold of her, secretly glad to be rid of his biggest critic and worst bully.
Phoebe looked at him carefully before she sighed. She put a hand on his shoulder, hesitant of touching someone else. "Look, if you wanted to talk to her, it probably wouldn't hurt. Despite what you may think about Helga... she'd listen to you. You're probably the only person she'd listen to, actually." Then she shut her mouth, realizing she said too much. "Listen, Arnold, I've actually got to go. I promised Nadine I'd have this article finished by the end of fifth period." She paused. "If you do find out what's bothering her, you'll tell me, right?"
"Yeah," he smiled at the gentle girl. "I will. Thanks for your help, Phoebe."
"No problem. I hope you find what you're looking for." And left with that cryptic comment, scurrying down the hall to escape further questioning.
"Me too." Arnold let out frustrated sigh. He let his hand scratch his head as he stared at the lockers, preoccupied with his thoughts of Helga to even pay attention to Phoebe's comment. Walking towards his Guidance class, he couldn't help but wonder what could have happened that could have brought this change to her. Just as he made his mind up to talk to her, he realized she wasn't in his class for the second day in a row.
A day went by, and Arnold still felt something was wrong. As much as he tried pushing it aside, he couldn't help but think he should be doing something. But what? He went downstairs to the dining room, and looked down at the mail on the table. His grandma, older than ever yet still as crazy, greeted him with a wave of her spatula, "Morning, Kimba!"
He smiled absently. "Morning, Grandma.." He yawned looking down at the mail. His grandpa and the others were still asleep, he noticed as he looked around the room. Though, it wasn't unusual for the boarders to sleep in on Saturdays. He started to walk to the kitchen when his grandmother called out, "Oh, Arnold... you've got a letter from the president's wife."
"Ooh, Eleanor," he said, nodding his head. Humoring his grandmother, he picked up the stack. Looking through it, he passed through the names quickly: mail for Mr. Hyunh, Potts, bill, junk mail, bill, a letter from Helga, letter for Mrs. Kokoshka, bill-... his heart stopped and he went back through the pile and he took out Helga's letter. It was a small, delicate looking pink envelope. Thin but sturdy. He held it, and with much hesitation he opened it, and quietly read it.
Dear Arnold:Hey, Football-head. Remember me? Helga? Probably not. We have English together -- it's probably one of the few things we've got in common these days. I know we haven't spoken in, well... forever, now that I really think about it, but... If you haven't noticed me, then please don't bother reading this. I don't even know why I'm writing you after all this time. But there's something in my heart, something I need to let go before I die.
Arnold, I've known you ever since pre-school, ever since elementary, all the way through now. Remember P.S. 118? Remember how I called you football-head so many times? All those times I was mean to you, told you I hated you? I didn't mean it. I'm so sorry for lying to you all these years... but now, I just want to say what I couldn't that other day. I love you. I've always loved, ever snce the day we met. I don't care if you think I'm lying again, if you think it's a joke. It's not to me. There are no words to say how deeply I feel for you... and I only want your happiness. Except, I just don't feel like there's room for me in that big heart of yours.
I really do love you. It was stupid of me to think you could ever feel that way about me. You wouldn't believe how many times I'd tell myself that I was going to tell you, only to just... have it backfire in both our faces. It's funny, you know. I think I should thank you. After all these years, you're so kind to me, you've made me realize that there is no place for me in this cruel world. I was going to tell you my feelings for you, in person instead of this damn letter. I finally worked up the courage after all these years being afraid. I was going to tell you, after school that one day.
But I saw you were kissing Lila. I knew what that meant. I know you care for her, Arnold. You've always did, ever since P.S. 118. I don't blame you. I blame myself. Even if I had told you days before, it wouldn't have mattered. You and her, maybe it was always meant to be. And who am I to stand in the way of destiny?
By the time you read this letter, I'll be dead. I'm sorry I have to do this, Arnold... but I just can't deal with it. I'm not so strong anymore... maybe, I never was strong to begin with. I don't want to wake up everyday, feeling the way I do about it all. Don't worry about me, Arnold. You'll be happy with Lila. I know it. Even though I loved you, I want you to be happy. I just couldn't take the pain anymore. Nobody loved me. Not my parents, maybe not even Phoebe. Even little ole Phoebe doesn't have that much love to fill the hole in my heart.
I know you care for people, so when you read this letter, please don't come and see what happened to me. I only sent you this letter as my last goodbye. Think of it as the kiss we'll never get to share.
Arnold threw the letter to the ground as he ran out of the house, going in the direction of Helga's home. He didn't read the last few sentences of the letter, wrinkled and wet with emotion:
I'll miss you...
Love forever yours,
Helga G. Pataki.
Helga pulled out chosen outfit out of the closet. She stared at the spot where her shrine used to be. The bare spot where it was before made her space look stark naked and ashamed. Growling low, she shut the door angrily and went to her vanity. She carefully put on her make-up, down to the red lipstick on her mouth. She dressed in a beautiful black dress, still raggedy compared to anything her sister or mother would wear. Despite this, she knew it was her best clothes. They didn't even have to pick a dress out for her funeral; she was wearing it. She wanted to look good when she was dead, as impossible as that would be. Little point in it, considering how she was going to blow out her brains out anyway. Then she looked at the gun. She remembered where she found it.
Six years ago she was looking for something aimless, she couldn't even remember what it was. It could've been anything. But what she did find was something unexpected: her father's forgotten gun. The fool didn't believe in gun safety apparently - a good thing for Helga now, apparently. She rolled the golden bullets in her hands, absently thinking that she should write a thank you letter for Bob. After all, it was his foolhardiness that provided the supplies for her... freedom. She walked up to the roof, sighing when she felt the cool breeze hit her. Whatever this feeling was, be is absolution or resolution, it felt nice coupled with the autumn breeze.
She looked at the city below her then to the blue skies above. Yes, this would be the perfect place. On the roof. She stood in the middle and took out a book from her bag.
"When you held her,
You allowed me to see the truth
That I was nothing
Compared to her
Try as I might
In my heart of darkness
I knew the truth
I closed my eyes
And made this plan that day
I walked away.
Hopeless, lifeless, and with despair
I am a void of feeling
With no love to spare
I had a dream once,
With your soft name in it
But I have awaken
I had the courage
It was taken
I had the love..."
Helga stopped suddenly, eerily suspicious someone was watching her. She looked around and saw no one. She didn't sigh out of frustration or disappointment. Why would anyone watch her, after all this while? Why would anyone care? Even if anyone got the letter by now, it was too late. She was going to die. Determined, she continued:
"I had the love, that sweet, sweet hope
But that I have since learned
It was all just a joke.
Why did I love so much
To come to this.
My only hope gone,
Gone with that kiss.
Without this hope
Without my love
Why bother, then,
Trying to go on?
I suffered too much
Much too much
Now, it is time to let go
It is time to say good bye
To all I that I know
In this accursed time
Please, death, take my company
Please, fashion me a black dress
Please, take me
Let your sadness caress
Sow this seed for harvest
Let me right this wrong
I can't believe I cared for you
To resort to this..."
Helga paused her poem, to open her satchel, blinking back the hot, stinging tears. She gasped, trying to focus, and she took out the gun. She put the bullets in, not wanting to take the chance of a Russian Roulette. When she looked at the rest of her poem, her hands quivered with the emotion she felt.
"After all I have done
Is it so wrong..."
She hated herself. She made this all happen. It was her fault, and only her fault. She broke down, sobbing, and fell on her knees. She fumbled with the gun, until she heard the revolver click. Resolved, she drew in one last breath as she finished her poem. She put the gun to the side of her head, her hands shaking with fear.
"Is it so wrong, my love,
to take it away with one single kiss."
She pulled the trigger and heard the revolver fired. In her last thoughts, she smiled. In a microsecond, she thought of Arnold, and her heart pulled as it beat. Then she knew nothing but that darkness she longed for.
Note: this is revised from the original work. In the original, there's less build up and more flashbacks. I made this more linear and fluid. This chapter was revised to give more background to lead up to her suicide attempt, along with the poem too. The original work is saved on my computer, so don't worry. When I get my website up, I'll post the original and the revision side by side. New readers, don't worry, you're not missing anything spectacular. Just a fourteen year old's drafts. (PS, I'm 21 now, so there's a BIG difference in my writing now.)
Another note: Helga's confession on the FTI building never happened in this timeline.
A lot of people might think that Helga is too strong to attempt suicide, or even think about it... but when you think about it, she says repeatedly over the series that he's basically the only reason she hasn't gone insane from her terrible life. And if you put it to the max (she has no friends, no familial concern, etc.) then what does she got to live for?
Think about it! :) Please review.