Ghost me not

it was a nice sunny day and he was cutting his way through a park in the city centre, when all of a sudden he spotted her. She was sitting there under a tree, reading one of her strange gory books, completely oblivious to her surroundings. He stopped dead in his tracks. He stood there, staring at her and didn’t know what to do. He did what she specifically asked him no to do – he alienated her. She knew that the situation they were in wasn’t ideal and therefore asked him that if he ever had to sever ties with her, to be honest with her and just tell it straight away. He promised, because he knew that she had had some bad experiences in the past and that if another person she cared about started ignoring her, it would break her. But he did just that… he started ghosting her. She didn’t know what was going on, so she texted him occasionally but since he wasn’t responding, her texts were rarer and rarer until one day they stopped coming. At the time he was relieved, it meant that his life would get a bit easier, but he still cared about her and knew that she’d be going through a tough time. And he was right. She had no clue what happened, she cursed him, she cried, she got depressed, she was so broken that she didn’t leave her bed for days and did not eat. He wanted to come back and help her when he heard all these new, but he didn’t. He drew a line and couldn’t cross it back.

She eventually found her peace. She moved, started from the beginning, found new friends and picked up a few new hobbies. He was glad that she got over it, but deep down he knew that he left a scar on her heart that could never be healed and that she would never trust anyone like him again. And now there she was, sitting there, so caught up in the story of her book that her mouth was slightly open and her fingers white from the tight grip she had on the book. He smiled. She changed so much yet she hasn’t changed at all. His old feelings came rushing back.

Some kids were playing with a frisbee near him when all of a sudden he heard a sharp “Watch out!”. He noticed the frisbee flying right at his head, but he, fortunately, managed to catch it in time. He threw the frisbee back to the kids and turned his head back to her. Their eyes met. The shouting made her look up and she finally noticed him. Her face was blank with all colour vanishing. He opened his mouth to say something, but he didn’t know where to begin. She closed her book, collected her stuff and got up. She walked towards him. She was as beautiful as ever, his heart was pounding rapidly in his chest as if it wanted to jump out. He started smiling stupidly, he couldn’t believe this was happening. She got close to him but was not looking at him and as a matter of fact, she passed by him as if he was not even there. As she was passing him, she tried to keep a stone face, but he noticed a tear falling down her cheek. He was dumbstruck. His hand darted out without his intention and he grasped her wrist. She looked at her hand and then in his eyes. Only now he was able to see the blankness in her eyes. She was hurting, she was destroyed on the inside and it was all his fault. Was there even something he could do? She jerked her hand free, gave him one last glance, turned her back to him and left. He was staring at her, he felt his heart breaking and this aching that was passing through his entire body to his fingertips. One minute she was there and the next she was gone, just like that. He thought to himself, “So this is how she felt.”

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Carter

We have been friends ever since I can remember. We were best friends from the very first moment we saw each other in kindergarten and continued ever since. Everything went smooth until we hit the age of seven. That was the time, when Carter started doing these weird things. It all started one afternoon during a lesson. Out of nowhere he started shouting “Boooooring” and doing this plopping sound with his lips, followed with a wild jerk of his head. The teacher lost it, he got so mad, that Carter was disrespecting his lecture, that he kicked him out of the classroom. But unlike anyone else in the room, I knew that something was wrong. Carter was a quiet introvert, who would never do such a thing. His facial expression was showing, that he was desperate and very confused as the rest of us.

For the rest of the week, Carter didn’t show up to school. Apparently, he continued doing those weird gestures even at home and when being told off, he admitted that he had no control and it caused him tremendous discomfort and exhaustion to try to suppress it. His parents fortunately believed him and took him to a hospital… there he was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome.

Growing up was not easy. All our friends were slowly avoiding us, one by one. Nobody wanted to have anything in common with that weird guy that was shouting random things or doing wild hand gestures. Nonetheless, I stayed. I never left his side. For some stupid reason, nobody was able to comprehend what an extraordinary person Carter was. Our favourite activity was to watch movies and different TV series. We had always the subtitles on, so we wouldn’t be disturbed if he did some noise – that was when I discovered that reading had an interesting effect on him, and calmed him down to some extent. I started bringing him comics and bunch of fantasy and sci-fi books. He loved it. In fact he loved it so much that most of his vocal tics started being references from those different comics and TV series. There is nothing more hilarious than when we are walking down the street and he starts shouting “To the Batmobile!” or “Heeeere’s Johnny!” or “Why so serious?” and many more. He never failed to make me laugh and he was glad to have someone to be laughing with him and not at him. Not everybody though was so nice. Many people were giving him weirded out looks, even offended. They thought he was a freak. He was unable to keep quiet for a long period of time, so school became very hard for him and let’s face it, other kids are very judgemental towards people who are different. Eventually it got even to the always positive Carter. It started slowly. He became frustrated, scared and later on very depressed. I watched him every day be more and more sad, as if a piece by piece he was dying. His ticks started to be more rude, which made him more anxious, which made him tick even more. I tried to be there for him, to support him, to cheer him up, but it wasn’t enough.

One day he didn’t come to school and I wasn’t able to reach him on his phone. I became very worried. He was capable of anything at this point, despite the loving support of me and his family. The outside world just overpowered the good and placed him in a dark hole, out of which he couldn’t get out. Anxiously I left school early and hurried over to his flat. We were twenty at that time.

I tried to ring the doorbell, but nobody was answering. I had this bad feeling, so I stopped messing around and fair and square threw a stone in his living room and climbed in. I got some very bad cuts, but I couldn’t care less. I searched most of the house, until finally, I found him on the bathroom door, crying his eyes out, holding a closed tube of pills. I sat next to him and hugged him. We didn’t speak, just sat there.

After this incident, I decided it was time to do something. I found a local group meeting with people suffering from Tourette’s syndrome and brought Carter there. He was amazed. All those people were like him, they accepted him and they loved him as much as I did. He finally found a place where he belonged and discovered that he wasn’t alone. We started attending regularly and even found out that in the group was a professional comedian. We attended one of his performances and I could see, that a new spark appeared in Carter’s eyes. Finally he could see that there was a way, that he could live happily and at last he was able to see himself as I saw him all those years… as an extraordinary human being, that everybody should be jealous of, because nobody was even close as awesome as he was.