Achelle Evans is a University of Texas-Pan American, English graduate from very South Texas. She recently moved to the Austin, TX area in hopes of finding a creative outlet; however, now all she can write about is her time spent along the border. You can find her on Facebook.
He lies here next to me, hogging the sheets, leaving me in a damp chill. The streaks of sunlight barely coming through my purple curtains grotesquely highlight his doughy physique; a lavender mess. A few hours ago I found the pudginess of the extra cushion absolutely adorable, almost like an oversized teddy bear you win from a carnival. A few hours ago I was squeezing him just like I used to squeeze my Kindergarten teddy. Now this idea of squeezing the extra bulge seems repulsive, making me question the love I had for any teddy bear.
But really, how can I say that? My teddy, Mr. Wilber, was my best friend for the longest time. He was there, in my first memories, clean and unsoiled. He followed me with every move my family made, every new change I had, and every dirty mess I got into. He managed to stick by my side through the fun and falls. He was mine and I loved him. I remember how horrified I was when he disappeared after the last move. The search for him was consuming, the failure to find him was stained with guilt, and the loss was inconsolable. My mother told me he left because I didn’t need him anymore. I always wondered if she lied.
The tears I had been holding back all night finally made their way across my cheek and rained down on the pillow below me. The knot in my stomach is pulled tighter and tighter. I gasp for air and try to remember why I decided to do this. Was it because I just turned eighteen and felt I was old enough? Was it because he was older and expected more? Maybe it was my friends from school telling me it would be better to lose it now rather than to wait till college. None of these reasons seem good enough and with no answers, my tears continue and my sickness swells.
My heart pounding, my head throbbing, the spot between my legs bleeding and aching. I pull my thighs together tightly and close my eyes trying to picture Mr. Wilber, trying to bring him back to me. Hopeless. When I open them again all I see is the face of the uninspiring man. His dark brown hair stuck to his forehead, the tiny rolls of perspiration above his lips glistening, a sense of peace written across his face. I want to feel that peace. It belongs to me. I pull away from the stick of his body and swallow the soreness of a cry. I try to turn away but his snores echo in my ears. I cringe with every one of them.
I replay the moments before and try to identify why my expectations be damned. I was told there was beauty and romance. I had images of movies filled with passion and longing, where the couple grows stronger and fall in love in the end. Such things were void and hope was fading fast. I curl into my smallest self to feel a little better. The empty space between my knees and chest fills with a sensation of doubt. I knew my mother was wrong.
I get up the courage to move away. I gently roll off the bed and tip-toe around the room to try and find my underwear. They’re destructively rolled up in a ball next to his shoes, sad and used, nothing like when I put them on this morning. I hold on to their remains while I search around for the rest of my clothing. Piece by piece I bring it all back together and puzzle them back on to my body.
I freeze a moment to consider what comes next. I don’t want to wake him up because I don’t know what I would say to him. I can’t leave him here because I don’t know how much time I have before my parents get home. As much as I would like them to, they cannot clean up this mess. They cannot know. Nobody can know. I sit down in the center of the floor and try figure out an out. I can’t. I am alone in this.
As the sun hides behind the tree outside, my room grows darker. I press my hands to my face, they’re cold, stiff with fear. I am a ghost to myself, haunting with regret. The tears in my eyes swell and blur my vision. I can’t see clearly. As I start to crawl my way out of the darkening room, I hear movement from the bed. Moans, stretching, rustling. I wipe my face and race into the next room. I grab my little brother’s teddy bear and hide us behind the door. I hug it as tightly as I can and take a deep breath.