Are you crying?
~I’m here. Alone.~
The sun is shining in my face, and I can feel the wind tugging at the ends of my clothes. It’s a beautiful day, warm, but not hot, just enough so that you can walk around in jeans and T-shirt. With my hands in my pockets I stroll through the streets, lost in my thoughts. I like to watch the people around me; there are so many variations of expressions, but most of them are tired and worn out. Hardly anybody is smiling – a real smile, not the fake thing they plaster on their faces as soon as they see somebody vaguely familiar. A smile which comes from the heart. A smile full of love and joy. They all look so...grey and tired.
The wind is messing with my blonde hair, and more than once I have to use my hand to settle it back into place. They don’t seem to see me. The people. They just rush by, lost in their thoughts, like I walk past them, in my own little world. It’s a funny thing; the best way to feel really alone is to walk in a big crowd. At least that’s what I always feel. I hate to bee with many people. I’m a loner. A wolf.
There is this strange feeling in the back of my head, but I don’t know what to make of it. It’s trying to tell me something. I can’t figure out what.
I continue my way through the crowd, through the streets. The ground is grey and I can see an old wad of bubble-gum inches away from my feet. Ugly. They always throw it everywhere, and although I admit that I have done it, too, it’s not very nice when you walk directly into one. I shake my head. Confused. That’s what I am- Not thinking straight. Like in...a trance. Dazed.
Suddenly someone calls me. I turn around, but I can see nobody. Nobody I know. I frown and look again. I could have sworn that somebody had called my name, but it must have been an illusion. I shrug and continue to walk. I want to go to the park. It’s lesser crowded there, not so many people. Space for me, space to think, space to relax.
It’s not that I don’t like people. On the contrary; I deeply care for my friends and family. I just can’t stand mindless chattering. I don’t talk much, ya know, I’m more the silent type. Which makes life extremely difficult at times, but I’ve accepted it by now. My friends know what I’m feeling and that’s enough. And sometimes...sometimes my head is so full of daily things that I need a safe place, a peaceful place, where I can be on my own and sort it all out.
Then I start imagining the voice again. It’s desperate. Calling for me...I spin around, searching through the people. I see business men and women, teenagers like me, old people, and kids, but nobody looks at me, nobody seems to be interested in my humble self....so who’s calling?
~Why are you calling me?~
“Where are you?”, I growl with a sudden hint of nervousness in my voice. The tingling feeling in the back of my head is increasing.
Nobody replies. It’s just me and the crowd. I rub my head. Imagining things? The voice had been clear and loud, as if the caller was only a few feet away. Is anybody pulling a prank on me? I decide that it might be the best to ignore it all and to continue my walk. Taking my hands out of my pockets, I brush them through my hair, a sign of nervousness that I’m not willing to admit. I hate not being able to tell what’s going on. I like having my life under control. It’s not that I’m a freak who has to control everything, but...I like a regular life. Having myself under control is very important to me. Because otherwise you could hurt yourself. Very much.
That’s why this is starting to annoy me. Seriously.
~Go away. Go the hell away and leave me in peace.~
The park isn’t far away, but today it seems to take an eternity to get there. Why are there so many people on the streets? It’s a normal day, not even a Sunday, but I can see them everywhere. Another thing which is annoying me, and I start feeling irritated and grumpy.
“Ouch!”, I hear the voice and suddenly something is bumping right into my legs. When I look down, I can see a small girl who had run directly into me. She has big green eyes and short, curly brown hair.
“I-I’m sorry...”, she stutters, watching me with a fearful expression.
“S’okay.”, I smile down at her. She looks so innocent and happy, I can’t be angry with little kids. They remind me too much of my little brother. I was always trying to protect him the best I could, although I failed more than once.
~Me. In the darkness.~
“Really?”, she asks hopefully, her eyes already starting to sparkle.
The girl beams at me, which causes me to chuckle lightly. “Go on, continue to play.”, I advise her and she nods eagerly, running off into a side street. Sometimes I wish I could be like her; cheerful, open-minded, optimistic. My childhood hasn’t been the best of them.
When I hear the voice again, I freeze. I don’t turn around, I just wait, wanting to find out what this means.
I can hear it again, faint, but it’s there. And a voice inside my head is screaming, trying to tell me something...but what? I haven’t the slightest clue...I turn around, spin in a circle, but I can’t see anybody, can’t hear anybody, nothing, nothing at all...
What’s happening? I step backwards, suddenly feeling afraid. Like I said before, I don’t like it when I can’t figure things out.
“Stop bothering me.”, I whisper hoarsely, looking around. Then I turn back, walking faster than before. Somehow I know that the voices won’t bother me anymore as soon as I reach the park.
It’s so sad, so desperate. As if the owner of the voice would cry. But why?
I stop again, lowering myself on the ground. The street is emptier now, just a few people here and there, but not the big crowd like before. I feel strangely relieved; the voice is enough, I don’t need anonymous people getting on my nerves, too.
I don’t even know the voice, I suddenly realise. Or I can’t recognise it. Although it’s clear and I can hear every syllable of the spoken word, it sounds thick and...like it’s speaking through a wall of cotton.
~Are you crying?~
Clouds are suddenly covering the sun and I feel a slight chill on my skin. It’s getting cooler, and I haven’t taken a pullover with me. So I just rub my bare arms with my hands and try to get a little warmer.
~“Don’t leave us! Don’t leave me!”~
I shake my head and start to run. I want to go away, want to go away from this voice, from this feeling, from the weirdness. My footsteps echo in my ears and I rush by the people, seeing their plain, grey faces staring at me with dull eyes. They start to frighten me, and I hurry even more.
~Where am I?
They call me....~
Suddenly a picture pops into my head, and I can hear another sound...screaming, a high-pitched, terrified scream, full of fear and horror. A strange feeling overcomes me – falling, falling through the air, the wind stroking through my hair, the ground rushing towards me. I’m afraid.
I think I’m loosing the ground under my feet, but I’m still standing on the same sidewalk, the houses around me, they blue sky with the clouds above me...I’m safe, and yet I feel like falling.
*And I am riding on my bike, when suddenly the road isn’t there anymore, and I am falling, I am falling, spinning helplessly through the air until...*
“NO!” I scream, falling down on my knees. I have a bad taste in my mouth and I believe I will throw up any second. Feeling sick, feeling as scared as hell...sweat forms on my forehead, trickling down my nose, my cheeks...am I ill? What’s wrong? What’s happening?
~Are you crying? Because of me?~
I try to fight the nauseous feeling, put my hand in front of my mouth and close my eyes. My breathing is short and shallow. I sound like a smoker in his last minutes.
The street is empty now. Everybody is gone, just the voices keep whispering with the wind, and I, unable to stop them, have to sit on the ground and listen to them.
~“Don’t leave me...”
“Hang on, son.”
“You can manage it.”
“Come back! Please, come back...”~
I don’t know what they mean by that. I’m not leaving, am I? I’m not going anywhere. I mean, just to the Park, but I go there at least twice a week, so that’s nothing special. And still, they keep calling me and the feeling, this strange, warning feeling, doesn’t stop.
“Stop it...” I whisper, wiping a tear away. “I don’t want to listen to it, I just want to have my peace.” And the only place to get this peace is the park, so I’ll go there. Slowly I struggle to my feet, clutching my stomach, because I’m feeling ill again. To the park....to the park....repeating the words like a mantra, I start walking.
I’m feeling dizzy and suddenly several parts of my body start hurting. But when I look down at them, I don’t see anything, just untouched skin. I’m ready to admit that I am crazy by now. Hearing voices which don’t exist and feeling pain without any injuries? That certainly qualifies as being nuts. I begin to feel tired and worn out - I just want it to go away.
***......falling again, seeing the blue sky, seeing the bike beside me, falling, falling like me, turning my head, looking on the ground, the ground rushing towards me, my eyes widening, my heart pounding, the fear, the adrenaline, the wind howling, someone screaming, the ground, the stones the fear the stones thegroundfearbikefallingwindhowlingscreamingcryingfrightenedscaredracingfalling....pain.....***
“Make it stop!”, I scream, clutching my head. But the images are haunting me. I see red liquid, realise that it’s blood, and then realise that it’s my blood, I don’t know how I know it...but how can it be my blood when I am here? I’m okay...Again I check my body for any bruises and injuries, but there’s nothing. I’m as healthy as a fish in the water. So why I am seeing things like this?
***...the pain, the thudding noise, the screams, someone sobbing, the bike crashing to the stones, shattered pieces of the lamp flying around, screeching of metal, immense pain, blood on the floor, my arm twisted in an illogical angle, burning pain, tears in my eyes, blood in my mouth, then darkness, just thepaininvadingmymindandneverleaving....***
I gasp for air, look at my arm with widened eyes, but it’s still the same arm as before, not twisted, not broken, and there isn’t blood in my mouth either. A single tear is rolling down my face, and I feel the sudden urge to start sobbing. But I am alone, it has no use. It will just make me weak, so I try my best to pull myself together – and to find a logical explanation for all this. There has to be one!
~“Matt, can you hear me?”~
They are calling again, these ghostly voices...in my head? In my dreams? I don’t know anymore. All I know is that I want it to stop. I’m hurting, my arm, my legs and my head are screaming with agonising pain and I feel like shit. I’m sick. I’m nauseous. And I am frightened to death. This is so not normal!
~Me. Alone. In the Darkness.~
Trembling. My fingers are trembling. I gulp and try to hold still, but I can’t do anything against the shivers running through my body. Two voices scream in my head; one telling me to get up and to run to the park, to safety, and the other one repeating over and over again the strange calls – “Come Back!” or something like that. I try to remember what I’ve had for breakfast this morning, but it’s all a blur. Normally I just eat a slice of bread or nothing. Maybe the milk was old and now I am hallucinating. Right. I know that you don’t hallucinate when the milk is bad – you throw up, but that’s all.
“Calm down, Matthew, Calm down!” Addressing myself with my real name does usually help me to get a grip on reality. My friends use to do it when I’m in one of my stubborn moods. My friends...immediately the face of David pops into my head. My best friend. I wish he were here. I would feel safer with him; there’s something in his attitude that doesn’t let you give up hope. When I think about that, I wish that everybody were here. I don’t want to be alone anymore; I can be strong for others, but not for myself. Weird, huh?
***....oh shit oh shit oh shit, I’m dying, I am so dead, I’m scared, screaming, help me, crying, sobbing, someone holding my hand, noises, people talking...***
They are like....memories. Vague memories, coming back like dreams. But something like that never happened to me....did it? I frown, try to recall all the time of my childhood, but there’s nothing that resembles the feeling of falling. There was the divorce, the day I had to leave my brother Timothy, crying on the inside, but staying strong on the outside. But it wasn’t like falling, it was more like....being left alone in the darkness, being helpless. I guess I’ve never come really over the divorce, it’s still affecting me, although it isn’t as bad as it used to be when I was a kid.
The wind is howling again, and I shudder, the air cold in my sweaty face. I can hear them crying, their familiar voices, full of sadness, of worry, and suddenly I start to feel guilty because obviously it’s me who’s the reason for this. I don’t like it when others cry because of me. “Stop it!”, I whisper again, my voice shaky. “I’m here. I’m okay. Don’t cry. Please don’t cry....”
~“...We have to stop the internal bleeding...”~
I don’t know *this* voice. It sounds...emotionless, business-like, and older than the other voices. Internal bleeding? I am totally confused now. Looking down on my stomach, I don’t see anything, but well...you wouldn’t see internal injuries, would you? I immediately scold myself for being so stupid. I’m not hurt, I’m okay, and these voices are just figments of my imagination, of a pretty screwed up imagination, I have to admit. They are not really there. It’s just me, sitting on the empty street.
There are a few minutes of silence until I finally stand up again, trying to find my way towards the park. I’ve had enough; I want to lay down, to close my eyes and to fall asleep, without any annoying voices keeping me awake, without images haunting my mind and driving me crazy. My feet are tired, although I would have liked to run, to walk faster, I can’t seem to manage it. I’m so damn weak...how I hate it. My head is pounding in a steady pain, making me groan more than once. Maybe the ‘being ill’ idea isn’t so wrong after all.
With every step I take, the screaming voice in my head becomes more intense, until I finally can’t stand it anymore. The park is only a few meters away....only a few meters, until it finally stops....I ball my fists and try not to listen, try to block it out of my head.
~Leave me in peace...~
“He’s slipping away!”
“Matt! Matt, stay with me! Don’t go! Please!”
~Why are you crying?~
“We can’t stop the bleeding, and he’s barely breathing!”
~Are you crying because of me? The voices are following me...~
“Open your eyes, dammit!”
~Me. Alone. In the darkness. Go away.~
“Don’t give up like that!”
~I’m calling for help, but nobody hears my pain.~
“You can’t go!!!”
~I just want to have peace....~
I was riding on my bike. It was a beautiful, sunny day. One of the rare days I actually used my bike instead of walking. I’m not the sporty type - I’m more into music. But I had promised to meet my brother and some of my friends, and I was already too late, so I took the bike. I had to admit that I like the feeling of the wind on my face, and the sun on my back. It was really a nice day. Although I still had to do masses of homework, but I would deal with that as soon as I came back home again. Probably not a good idea, but sometimes there were things which were more important than school. Friends, for example.
We were meeting outside the city, and the streets became less crowded when I cycled through the landscape. It would take me about an hour to reach the meeting place, maybe even less, because I was biking pretty quickly.
I wished that I had taken my walkman with me; it could be quite boring, this sport, especially when there was nobody to talk to. Guess I had to live with that. I decided to watch the landscape, and so I did. An hour can pass quickly while doing that.
I saw them, they were there already. The road went downhill, and the place was about five hundreds meter away. They were waving to me, and I waved back, letting my bike roll faster. Driving downhill was cool, you didn’t have to do anything and you could race like a maniac. Of course you had to bike uphill before, but I managed that already, so I could fully enjoy the wind in my face and the familiar noise of the bike on the street.
I didn’t see the car, I just heard the engine. It was roaring behind me, and I slowed down a little, so that it could pass by. But it didn’t. There was a screeching sound, and I didn’t really realise what was happening – until suddenly, something slammed into my bike. My eyes widened and I hear a loud noise. I lost balance , loosening my hold on my bike, and then I was flying.
It had been so fast that I didn’t know what was happening. My bike wasn’t there anymore, I was flying through the air, and then I was falling, falling, falling...I turned my head around and saw the ground under me, saw the stones rushing towards me at an alarming speed. I opened my mouth and started screaming, eyes widening in fear. My bike was falling, too, spinning through the air beside me. I think I heard another scream beside my scream, but I really didn’t pay much attention to it. My eyes were fixed on the ground, I heard my heart pounding in my chest and I was frightened like hell...
There was the sound of glass shattering, metal breaking, and then a loud THUD...
Nothing moved. I wasn’t falling anymore.
I was lying on the ground. Shattered glass scattered around me. Blood trickling by on the pavement. My blood?
Somebody was calling, somebody was crying, but I couldn’t listen. All my senses were fixed on the red liquid. The pool became larger and larger, a strange colour in the green and brown of the nature. Red...such a deep shade of red...
Then the pain hit me. I stopped breathing for a moment - I wanted to scream in agony, but I couldn’t open my mouth. It was horrible, it was...
Voices were coming nearer, but I couldn’t make out what they were calling. My eyelids drooped, my head hurt, my body hurt, and I coughed, sensed liquid in my mouth, metallic tasting. I realised that I was coughing blood. Not good. Weakness washed over me, and when the first people arrived, I had closed my eyes and was already drifting away. The last thing I heard was a small, scared cry: “Matt....”
It was Timothy.
He stared at the silent body lying in the hospital bed. His eyes were red and blood-shot from crying, but he didn’t blink, didn’t move. Beep....beep....beep....the steady rhythm of the heart monitor was the only sign that the person in the hospital bed was still alive.
A very poor sign, to be quite frank.
Timothy wiped his eyes. He was alone with his brother; his mother still on her way and his father talking with the doctor.
A nurse had washed the patient’s blonde hair. The blood was gone from it, and yet, every time Timothy looked at him he saw the blood, couldn’t get it out of his mind. So much blood...and the painful expression on his face, his closed eyes and his weak breathing. The images were etched into his memory. They wouldn’t go away.
“Matt...don’t leave me...”, he whispered, voice hoarse. He didn’t know how many times he had said these few words by now. He just kept repeating them over and over again, like his own little mantra.
He looked so weak, so vulnerable, and that didn’t seem right. Matt was strong. He had always been, but now he seemed fragile, and so far away. He was slipping, and there was no chance that Timothy could prevent it, because his brother couldn’t even hear him.
“I don’t want to lose you...”, he choked through tears, facing the terrible possibility of his brother dying.
“I can’t live without you!”, tears started to roll down his cheeks, and he quickly wiped them away. “You can manage it, I know that...you’re stronger than that. You can survive!”
I step into the park, into the green grass and feel relief wash over me. It’s my secret place, my territory. It’s peaceful and calm. Without voices. I hope.
I shudder when I recall the pictures of the accident. It’s all clear now; I can see myself racing down from the street, falling through the air and landing on the ground with a sickening noise, which tells me that at least one bone is broken. The fact that I am alive and haven’t any injuries does relieve me only the tiniest bit. I’m not sure if this is a memory, an illusion or something that will happen in the future.
Birds are chirping, softly. There’s nobody here besides me. I’m all alone.
Matthew, the loner. How pathetic sounds that? And yet it’s true. Although right now I just wish that somebody could be here to tell me what the heck is going on. Because I don’t understand. I don’t understand the calls, I don’t understand why you are crying...
~“I don’t want you to leave me...”~
I swear, that line stings like hell. I never thought about leaving anybody. I want people to be able to trust me; and one of these people is my brother. He should be able to rely on me, always. So why do I feel so damn guilty? Is it was my fault that he’s crying? It’s his voice I’m hearing all the time. He is calling me, pleading with me, trying to convince me to come back...why? I’m home, this is my park, this is my city and the flat I live in is only a few hundred meters away. It sucks. Definitely.
The little voice in my head isn’t screaming anymore. Instead it has started pounding its fists against the wall of my brain. Great. Just what I need.
~“He has stopped breathing!!!”~
And then everything...changes. I suddenly hear hectic sounds, I can clearly hear somebody sobbing, I sense a strange smell in the air, I feel the bed...they are screaming at me, screaming so loud, and then everything becomes a blur, becomes dark...
I’m struggling, suddenly realising what’s happening, suddenly seeing that I’m not in the park, but somewhere else, that just my mind has wandered to the park in order to find a peaceful place, but my body is...tears are cascading down my face when I finally understand why they have been so sad and worried, why they have tried to call me back.
Repeating this word over and over again I clutch my head and sink to the ground, terrified, frightened, scared and crying like an one-year-old. I see them, I see Timothy, I see Dad, I see David, see them through my blurred vision, I want to reach out for them...
***I’m in the hospital, and everything is hurting, even breathing, every intake of air makes me feel sick, makes my lung burn with pain, and I feel the tears in my eyes, feel the need for peace, for sleep without pain....they are screaming at me, screaming while tears are running down their faces...why don’t they understand? It hurts so much...I just want peace...I want...to...go away....are you crying? Because of me? Don’t cry. I’ll be okay. I’ll be safe. I’ll be in the peaceful place...I promise....
“MATT!”, Timothy looking at me, begging with his huge, naive blue eyes, my baby-brother. Don’t leave me, he mouths, but I can’t really understand the words. I’m not leaving, Tim, I’m just...resting...you must understand, I feel so suffocated here, I feel so alone and it hurts....
Oh god...it hurts...***
“No.”, I whisper, back again in the park. “Not this way...help me...Dad, help me, I want to be at home, I want to be in safety!”, I’m sobbing hysterically now. I’m split up, there are two Matthews...one struggling for his dear life in hospital and nearly giving up, and the other one being stuck in a dream and wanting to go home...”Tim...”, I want to hug him, want him to hug me, want to feel the near of another human-being, but I am so alone, so alone....
The pain starts again, racing through my body and making every single nerve in me scream with agony. Help me...Goddamn! Anybody, help me out of this....I don’t want to go, don’t want to leave, but I can’t stand the pain....
~Don’t cry....don’t cry Timothy....you know that I hate it when you cry....smile, please, smile for me. Can you do that?~
~I don’t want to hurt you....~
“You stupid bastard! You can’t go like that!” – David. I would recognise his voice everywhere...
~I’m going...I’m leaving...it pulls me away....~
~The darkness is so warm, so safe....~
“Come on, boy, breathe!!”
~The voices are softer here. Just let me sleep. Just let me rest.~
~Stop your sobbing, Tim, I’m okay. I am leaving for a little way, but I’ll come back....I’m just so tired, you understand...I just need to stop this for a little while....don’t cry...~
The doctor stepped back from the motionless body and looked at he other occupants of the room with sad eyes. “I’m sorry.”, he said in a soft voice, barely above a whisper. “We couldn’t...bring him back.”
Timothy stared at him with wide eyes, then stared at his motionless brother on the surgery table. Matt’s blonde hair was soaked with blood and his face was pale. And his chest....was still. He wasn’t breathing. His heart wasn’t pounding. He was....
A strangled sob escaped his lips, and then he threw himself on his brother, hugging him like mad. “It can’t be...”, he cried with closed eyes, tears running down his face. “Matt, you can’t leave me....you can’t go like that, don’t do that to me, I beg you!!!” He buried his head in the older boy’s chest.
“Tim.”, a supporting hand laid down on his shoulder. The blonde looked into his father’s eyes.
“Dad...he’s gone...”, he whispered, not fully believing his own words.
“I know.”, the man stared at his dead son, stared at the pale face, at the closed eyes. Gone....”Damn, I know....” And he hugged Timothy, hugged his youngest son, searching for support, support he was supposed to give.
David just leaned against the wall and stared at the two, not wanting to look at the body of his best friend. This day had begun so beautifully and now it had ended in the ultimate disaster. He wanted to cry, wanted to punch Matt, wanted to throw him against the wall because he was causing his brother so much pain, but he knew that it wouldn’t help, and that made the situation even worse. His best friend had just...died...had died on this table, had stopped breathing, had given up, had just left without even saying goodbye and now their life was shattered like....
He slowly sank to the ground, back still leaning against the wall. He couldn’t believe it. It was a dream. It all was a dream! It had to be! Matt couldn’t die! He just couldn’t!
But it didn’t matter what he said or thought. Every time his gaze wandered back to the still body, he kned that it was the bitter truth and that he had to live with it.
~The question is just how...~
It was the day they would never forget. The day their friend, brother and son had this stupid bike accident. The day he left them without looking back. The day he closed his eyes and never opened them again.
The day Matthew – Matt - died.
~And it’s me, here, alone...
In the darkness...
unable to fight....
I’m so sorry....
Ich muss zugeben, eine ziemlich seltsame Idee. Weiß auch nicht mehr genau, wie ich drauf gekommen bin, aber als ich angefangen hab zu schreiben, hat sich das alles so entwickelt - ich hoffe, es ist nicht zu sehr verwirrend...Würd mich freuen, wenn ihr sie bewerten und mir schreiben könntet, was euch gefallen hat und was net^^ Andrea G., Anmerkung zur Geschichte
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