It’s already three o’clock in the morning, but I remained wide awake, my eyes fixed on the ceiling of my room. For who knows how long, I’ve been staring at nothing in particular. I was dead-tired, but my mind was unusually alert, so despite everything, I couldn’t sleep.
The rock was neatly hidden inside my hand bag, together with Aethan’s cologned jacket that I forgot to return. I would give it back to him later, but as of the moment, that wasn’t my priority. Time had allowed me to think things through, to break the layer of ice slowly enveloping me.
Everything I suppressed fatigued me as they rushed like a river current inside my head.
Thousands of questions buzzed noisily despite my outward silence, yet no matter how bizarre and assorted they were, all of them lead to one distinct issue, the central question.
What was going on?
Back to square one. Yeah, I might’ve changed things already, but what was behind all these? I had no idea what was happening, or why things were happening. All I knew was that I was supposed to be dead. Period. Yet I was still here.
My memories were intact, not a thing amiss, so I was fairly sure I wasn’t merely daydreaming or hallucinating or having wild illusions. I could perfectly recount events that would take place in the relative future – about the upcoming Seniors’ night out, my second-shot of the terrible joke of an eighteenth birthday, the life-threatening Final examinations, the dull graduation practice… everthing. Even the four girls who would be seeing Aethan in the successive weeks.
Oh, let me forget just that last part.
Why was I alive?
Why did I return from hell, or from heaven, or whatever lies out there after I died?
Why was I sent back, reliving the times where I had already lost hope of changing?
Was I to undo my regrets? Was I to finish some kind of otherworldly mission?
How could I answer these irrational questions?
Who would answer all my questions?
I turned to my sides, burying half of my face on the soft pillow. I closed my eyes and waited. Chewing on my lips, I waited for an answer to come to me – very funny wasn’t it?
Bada-bim bi-da-bum. Guardian angel number one zoomed in, eager to satisfy my qualms and assure me that I was blessed by whoever’s out there. Huh, I snorted. As if things would come that easily.
Was there really a greater being that was looking out for me?
I smiled at the idea.
This was a miracle… a miracle I knew I didn’t deserve. But perhaps, whoever brought me back to the past took pity on my wasted life. In fact, if you asked me, I would never call that a life, simply mindless existence.
My wasted existence.
But things were different now. The past had changed. I had the power to somehow alter it. At least now, I have the opportunity to do something worthwhile. I should have learned from my past mistakes, recognized my poor decisions and live up.
Why should I continue being cynical, apprehensive and miserable? With my clock ticking, I had no time to hesitate. My time was unbearably short and living them under the chains of my past would never make the full of my borrowed time.
For a span of less than a month, I could try to have fun.
Fun. Wow, that’s a new word to add to my dictionary.
Maybe I could make friends… find a good guy… make peace with my family… entertain myself…
There were so many possibilities, so much I could do, now that I thoroughly think about it. I didn’t have to lock myself and mope all the time.
Who cared about what others say? Who cared if I was different from the rest? So what if I was a nobody?
I am still alive, that’s what matters.
As long as my heart was beating, as long as I was breathing, there shouldn’t be reason for me to be down. Besides, was I not the fortunate one? I wasn’t living under the numbing ways of society. I wasn’t the mechanical kind of teenager who couldn’t fully appreciate life. If compared to several others out there, I was luckier.
I might have a broken family, but at least both my parents are still alive. My father might not love me, but he was nice enough to let me go and decide for myself, unlike the others who suppress and oppress their daughters. My mother might be clinically insane, but she was the best mother a girl could ever ask for, nurturing and guiding me in every way possible before she was taken away.
I might have a bitchy cousin, and she planned to make my life a living hell in school, but had she affected me? No. Beth tried to ruin me again and again for who-knows-what reasons. She hated me since the time I first visited this house seven years ago, and ever since she was adamant I disappear from her life. But hell! I shouldn’t care! Cassy was nice enough to let me stay, even forfeiting a college application just so she could look over her younger sister. Despite the inferiority complex I have because of them, I was fortunate to have them.
I might be independent, but that was something I should be proud of. I have my own money, money I earned myself from buying and selling in the stock market, thus I could support myself. I could carry on by myself. I am smart enough to survive school and perhaps get a scholarship somewhere, I am resourceful enough to use whatever I have with me and I am strong enough not to be taken down by others.
I might be unhappy, but I could make countless others happy.
How come I had never seen it this way?
Why hadn’t I tried seeing things this way before? Why was I so afraid of opening up to others? Was it because my life was one series of melancholy after another? Was it because whenever I try to disclose myself, I ended up being mortally hurt? Was that it?
Like when I fell in love with my first boyfriend, Justin, only to discover he’s simply messing with me?
Like when I expected to win my father’s affection, only to earn his scorn and learn his infidelity?
Like when I first attempted to become someone’s friend, and ended up being hated?
Like when I allowed myself to be lax with the boy I just met, only to find myself disappointed again?
Sheesh! What was this fuss about, anyway?
Everything was all in the past, and I shouldn’t try to look too much into the past, because by doing that I couldn’t see the future. I shouldn’t dwell too much about my blunders and slips, because by doing that I couldn’t move forward.
I shouldn’t ponder about my imperfections, because in the first place, no one’s truly perfect.
Besides, what kind of world is the world of perfect humans?
That would be hilarious, unthinkable, and extremely unlikely. If everyone was perfect, there'd be no need to look out for others. There would be no need to sympathy or love when people could fully take care of themselves without depending on another. Wouldn’t that kind of world be hopelessly sad?
I wasn’t as bad as others, although I wasn’t also as good, but I am myself, and I should learn to accept that. Why compare myself to my gorgeous cousins? What’s it for? My own shortcomings were mine to mind on my own.
If I didn’t like something, all I had to do is change it. If I couldn’t change it, then I could change the way I look at it. There is always, always a chance of success. And if there isn't any… I'll just have to make one.
Wasn’t everything so awfully simple?
Until I felt hot tears down my face, I didn’t realize that I was laughing… hard. Wow. It took me three days and a death experience just to realize all this? And here I thought I was the brainiac.
With a fresh mind, everything felt suddenly clear and buoyant.
Sheesh, all these times I had been the one inflicting unhappiness on myself. It was all a matter of perspective. If only I knew this sooner, I had saved myself from all those heartbreaks.
Here I go again. I sighed. I really should stop this habit of mine. I guess it was quite a task especially when one was so used to being weepy.
I scrambled out of my bed and got my lucky charm. It gave another iridescent glow. I clutched the small rock to my chest, enjoying the feel of my heart under my fist, wishing so many things all at once. Now that I determined which path I would take, it was easier to see the possibilities.
I would think about my own happiness, not my bad luck.
I would smile more and laugh more.
I would think positively.
A small step, but a necessary one.
With that, I finally fell into a peaceful, dreamless slumber… with a triumphant smile on my lips.
When I wake up, I am determined to have fun.