She was once again alone, even when she sat with four women of her age. The neon lights where bright and the music was louder than her ears could handle, yet she remained where she was, acting as if she wasn’t really hearing voices in her head.
”So, Aila, are you still soiling things with paint?” one of the four women asked as the whole group burst into laughter. Aila was among them.
”No. I didn’t–ever even like it that much,” she said as she forced a smile on her face. As she talked, she had to brush her long red hair off her face.
”Well like, good. I’ve always thought that art, in general, is just so lame,” another one spoke, gaining nods and looks of approval from the others.
”Well, we don’t have to talk about that kind of crap anymore,” the woman in the middle said as she raised her drink high into the air, ”To Jannah, the girl who really played those guys against each other!”
The group cheered and drank, all except for Aila who sat in the corner of the booth, in complete silence. She had ordered just one cider with ice, but after she had finished it, the others had forced her to take some more shots and now, she wasn’t feeling very stable. The world around her was wavering and the music which played in the very room sounded like it was coming from somewhere else. She was coughing aggressively at times, so badly in fact that she feared of throwing up right there and then, but by some miracle, she managed to keep herself in check.
The voices of her friends became a source inaudible chaos which she had no intention to even try to understand. She just nodded whenever she saw someone talking and forced herself to show her white teeth.
She felt cold now. Her favourite red blazer wasn’t enough for her to keep warm, even when it was summer and assumably warm. She closed her jacket and took another shot, feeling how it burned her throat on its way. For another moment, she phased away from reality, falling into a pitfall of nothingness as the world around her seemingly froze.
She got lost in her thoughts for a moment until she suddenly found a man, a familiar one in her view. It was the same fellow who had sat behind her booth every single time she was here, even when she wasn’t here. She could remember her friends talking about him sometimes, not in a good light though, but no matter what anyone else thought, she thought he was cute, charming even. A careful smile grew on her face as she stared at the young man, watching him write something as he drank.
Suddenly, her arm began aching. She could feel a sharp pain move across the length of her entire left arm. In a flash, she was back, in reality, seeing the seemingly disgusted faces of her friends. Burning waves moved through her as she pulled her sleeves farther.
Did they see something? she wondered as she waited for her judgement.
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”Uhm, are you even listening, Aila?” one of them asked as the entire group stared at her.
Her heart raced as her face burst into flames. She attempted to find any kind of escape from this horrible and sickening situation but found none.
”I–I’m sorry…” she muttered quietly, trying to avoid their stares.
Seemingly immediately, they all continued their chats, as if nothing had happened. She, on the other hand, couldn’t get this burning feeling off her mind and it followed her to the end of the night.
After hours had passed, she had left the bar and walked in the cold summer streets of Helsinki. Cars and trams passed by as she slowly made her way towards her home, wobbling and trying to find a sense of balance. On many occasions, she could almost feel the concrete on her lips, just before rebalancing her stance, thus, remaining to stand.
Her mind wandered as it had never wandered before. She couldn’t remember leaving the bar, but she did remember seeing her friends standing up and leaving the table, leaving her behind. After that, she remembered only emptiness, until she found herself here of course.
As she painfully moved towards her destination, she walked by the popular park. She gazed at it and saw hundreds of people still enjoying the night. She saw elder couples and young couples, all with their own picnic blankets and drinks with them. Even in this faint state of consciousness, she could feel a burning feeling in her heart. Jealousy. Burning jealousy which took over her entire body, setting it aflame.
The gentle wind brushed her face and her soft, yet burning cheeks. Her blue eyes were attached to the cars driving by until a new car came in sight. Her legs seemed to move automatically, for she didn’t even remember moving them in the first place. Another moment passed until she finally arrived at a familiar place. Her home.
Before her, stood dozens of mighty buildings, in which many students lived. This place attracted students because of its location, being near the university. She had arrived here a few years ago from a place she didn’t really call home. She could see her apartment’s window on the fifth floor. She felt cold shivers moving down her spine as she stared at the dark room behind the window.
She opened the creaky front door and got into her tiny home. There were only two distinct rooms, the living room, in which the kitchen was located as well, and the bedroom, which was a small and darkroom. She glanced into the room and saw her dozens of paintings covering the bedroom walls. A faint smile grew on her face as she watched her creations, even when they were grim in nature.
She felt like her head was being compressed from every direction. It really felt as if she was going to explode. She went to the sink and poured herself some cold water, after which she just collapsed onto the couch which was next to the window.
She felt hollow. Her mind was empty for once. She just stared at the dark ceiling and heard how water moved in the pipes inside the walls. She wanted to cry, even when she didn’t really know what she was going to cry about, but before tears flowed, she fainted.
It was almost midnight when she finally woke up. She flinched back to life, her eyes being wide open and her heart racing like after a run. She looked all around her in a fast phase, still partly in her dream, though she slowly realized being in reality. It didn’t really make her feel any better.
As she slowly calmed down, she began to memorise what she was dreaming about. Something must have happened. The thought slowly got brighter and clearer. Her dreams were strange in nature. On many occasions, she had dreamt of seeing herself sleeping. She was like a ghost, floating in the air and moving through walls. Those dreams felt so relaxing, yet horrifying at the same time.
”Again…” she concluded as she covered her face with her cold hands and sighed.
She glanced at the clock and cursed. It was almost two am. From experience, she knew she wasn’t going to sleep anymore tonight. She didn’t have the energy to even try. Thus, she made himself a cup of tea and just stared out the window, watching how drunken people walked in the streets and how bright it really was, even at this hour. The summer nights were occasionally very bright in Finland, though they were still cold. “Nightless Night,” was a name people had given to the phenomenon.
Moment of silence passed as she emptied her mug of tea. As she realized her drink being gone, she began to wonder how she’d spend the next six hours before she could actually go out again. She really didn’t want to walk in the cold streets at this hour. Thoughts and ideas came to her mind. One thought urged her to paint again.
She glanced at the painting easel which stood in the other corner, along with all her painting supplies. There were dozens of paints, brushes, stacks of paper and canvas. Everything was prepared for her, yet she refused the thought. She still remembered how her friends talked about her hobby. She still couldn’t get the sight out of her mind of them just staring at her like a freak. It hurt in so many ways.
Suddenly, her arms started to ache. A sharp pain took over, almost making her whimper. She quickly went to the bathroom and opened the tap. She pulled up her sleeves, revealing the scars. She put her hand under the cold water, hoping it to ease the pain. But as she did, she studied her wounds, for even she couldn’t remember some of them. There were long and deep cut wounds everywhere, but there were also a few smaller ones. She ran her fingers on the surface of her skin, feeling the bumps the wounds had created. She felt ashamed, once again.
After the hustle of easing the pain, she got back on the couch. She no longer felt the ease of not thinking. Now, her mind was filled with thoughts and memories.
A talentless girl is a useless girl, one voice spoke in her mind. This time, she didn’t have the strength to fight back against the thoughts. She felt as if dark waves were slowly drowning her and she could do little more than a cry for help with a dead voice.
She closed her eyes and laid back, hoping it to be over soon. Something within her knew it was not going to happen…
This short story is a take from my upcoming romance/fantasy novel. I’m halfway to finishing the first draft and my plan is to finish the first draft before the last day of this month.
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