Day 19: Pandora’s Box Continued…


Dear Vodka

!!!!!! Argh! What is life?

Aiden wouldn’t speak to me when we got home. He threw his keys on the kitchen counter and shut his bedroom door. I started crying. I felt so overwhelmed! The worst thing was that I didn’t even know what was going on. Why would Theo act out like that and what had Aiden done to deserve the title of ‘traitor’ from Theo?

Aiden eventually surfaced from his room and allowed me to explain myself. We sat on opposite sides of the sofa and I could feel the tension sparking between us. I told Aiden why I didn’t want anyone to know about my depression and anxiety and he apologised for being so brash about the matter. After a moment, he told me that he had a history with Theo. They were close friends until Aiden’s parent’s death and the incident with his best friend. Theo started believing everything that people were saying and Aiden allowed him to drift away because he didn’t want to hurt anyone else. Theo resents him for giving up on their friendship and Aiden hates Theo for believing all those stories about him so easily. They haven’t spoken since. They avoid each other like the plague.

I proposed that the only solution was to sort this issue out at the party. Aiden straight out refused but I reminded him that I’d be with him every step of the way when I took his hand in mine.

Step 1 complete!

Aiden and I prepared for the party. I wore my favourite black velvet crossover mid-drift top with a high-waisted check skirt and stockings. I paired it with a black pair of combat boots. I put my hair up into a messy bun, coating up my lips with a touch of deep red lipstick and my eyelids with liquid eyeliner, Cleopatra style. Aiden cleaned up pretty well too with his torn jeans and a navy Guess t-shirt. He’d actually put a comb through his locks!

We arrived at the party with a mission to repair his relationship with Theo. I am officially glad to say that I was successful! It was mighty difficult but I won’t go into the details now. All that matters now is that they’re friends once again. Well, to be more accurate, they’re acquaintances because Aiden thought it best that they remain that way. I had to agree with him. Putting back four years’ worth of a friendship is a whole other obstacle. And besides, Aiden is still working on himself. That takes time. We left the party around eleven because Aiden doesn’t like driving at night. We had a good time however, even if it was short. Time flies when you’re having fun!




Day 19: Pandora’s Box


Dear Vodka

I swear, Vodka, that whenever things begin to work out, the universe dishes me a serving of some bad karma! Jonah made breakfast for all of us, which was simply cinnamon pancakes and bacon.  I was starving. Despite being awake, I felt like a complete zombie. Aiden picked me up and after noticing that I was barely responding he threw me into the swimming pool. I laughed about it but only once I managed to pull him in with me. After a much-needed shower, breakfast and a light application of make-up, Aiden dropped me off at group therapy. I told him that it was a youth gathering event and that he could fetch me around noon at the back of the centre. He seemed a bit confused but shrugged it off.

The last thing I wanted was Ellie questioning my choice of friends once again. It was great to see Theo again but Ellie was nowhere to be seen. She apparently had some dentist’s appointment. I guess that solved that problem! Theo bought me a berry smoothie at the refreshment station before we went in and our staring competition started. This time, however, one of the girls sitting next to Theo noticed and raised her hand, demanding that the coordinator remove me from the session. Drama queen much? Turns out, she has a thing for Theo and was getting a bit envious of all the attention Theo was directing at me.

Oh well, you win some and you lose some. I did, however, have to share in the group and I got my first “we’re here for you Charlie.” Theo said “not” at the end and everyone glanced in his direction. I simply laughed and said that he had something stuck in his throat. I asked to be excused and he followed shortly after. We stayed in the parking lot for the rest of the session. We caught up on my first week at a new school and he told me about all his catch-up time on series since the university was only staring in a month’s time.

Aiden spotted me sitting on the pavement when he fetched me, so going around the back wasn’t necessary. All was well until he saw Theo. He went absolutely still like a statue. So did Theo. I began to panic. What was happening? Then, all of a sudden, Theo called Aiden a traitor and Aiden looked as if he was going to explode. Theo asked me what I was doing with “this scumbag” and Aiden redirected the remark back at Theo. I’d never seen either of them this upset before! Theo practically grabbed my arm, leading me in the direction of his car but I violently shook him off and got into Aiden’s Jeep. Theo looked betrayed and spat out: “Do you seriously trust this traitor with your life? It’s enough that you’re suffering from depression and anxiety. He’ll only make it worse.” Aiden looked at me and I couldn’t help but feel as if I wanted to disappear into the seat. How could Theo say such things? Aiden looked betrayed too but he just sped off and said nothing throughout the ride home.




Day 18: Surf’s up!


Dear Vodka

What a week!

A new school, a newfound relationship with Mum, new friends, a new kitten and group therapy! The universe must be thanking me for something I did right! Aiden and I are going surfing straight after school. The weather is amazing and I couldn’t feel any better about myself. Life is good for once…

Aiden picked me up this morning so that I could buy a wetsuit. He has an extra surfboard so that isn’t going to be a problem. Ellie seemed pretty upset when I called her last night to tell her that they needn’t fetch me for school in this morning. She wanted to know if anything was wrong but I made up some excuse about wanting fresh air. I couldn’t tell her about Aiden. She’d say that he was bad news and I wasn’t exactly in the position to tell her why he wasn’t. Ellie is awesome but she’s also really stubborn when it comes to her opinion of others. Once she’s made up her mind about you, that’s that.

I decided to hang out with Aiden after all but then I bumped into Ellie and she totally freaked. I explained to her that I’d be careful; that I met Aiden at a party before I knew about his ‘reputation.’ She seemed to calm down a bit but warned me once again about not getting too close. I don’t know why she’s making such a big deal about it. Anyway, I’m super energised for later despite the fact that I got about four hours of sleep last night.

I got an A on my oral presentation for Portuguese class. I also managed to get Roman’s cooperation on our Biology project. He’s having a ‘back-to-school’ party on Saturday that he invited me to. I said that I’d check my schedule. I’m getting kind of used to Roman now with his wild head of golden curls. We agreed to start working on the project on Monday at his house. We’re off to a good start so far. Let’s hope it stays that way!

I was a bit nervous to stand up on the surfboard but Aiden is extremely patient. I eventually got a grip of things and at one point I stood on the board for a full ten seconds! It felt exhilarating as my motion on the board was in balance with the curve of the waves. I fell off the surfboard more times than I can count but it was all good. After all the surfing, Aiden took me for a ride on his motorbike. The slight breeze of the wind felt welcoming on my skin as the sun appeared to chase after us. We stopped for frozen yoghurt at Marcel’s and then we crashed at his place for a while until Matt, Jonah and Connor showed up unexpectedly. They didn’t even see us on the sofa. They simply walked in and went straight to the refrigerator, ranting on and on about their hunger. Boys! Aiden and I gave them such a fright when we burst into laughter. Aiden remarked that his home was their home. They would often come over and do as they pleased. After all, the door mat did read: Mi casa e su casa. The boys and I went to an underground nightclub once Aiden and I changed into casual clothes from our swimwear.

Mum didn’t seem phased when I asked if I could stay over at Aiden’s for the weekend. A simple chat with his parents over the phone and it was final. It was actually Dad who convinced Mum (as usual). Mr and Mrs Clark were home by the time we got home from the nightclub. Matt, Jonah and Connor slept over too. I couldn’t sleep, so I went to the living room to watch a movie instead. I ended up watching the latest season of Grey’s Anatomy instead. Connor crept into the kitchen as I was watching television and joined me on the couch. Connor’s always seemed like the quiet one. I like him. He’s got this cool persona about him. We chatted for hours about random things but mostly about Aiden. Connor thinks that it’s a miracle I got Aiden to open up. I accepted the compliment and soon fell asleep on his shoulder.



Day 17: Match made in HELL!

penned by: Julia Smith


Dear Vodka,

I sat up all night last night thinking about what Aiden had told me. On top of that, I still had loads of homework to complete and Ellie wasn’t exactly making it any easier because she kept on texting me about our English essay that was due today. I’m so exhausted. I don’t even know what day it is today. Argh! Mr McNolan, our Biology teacher, made my day even more miserable when he announced that I was paired with Roman Withers, the ultimate class clown and official pain in my ass! Seriously!?

I’m presently chewing coffee beans. Thomas wanted to watch this newly released horror movie but I said “maybe next time,” and shut my bedroom door behind me, crashing onto my bed. I still can’t get Aiden off my mind. I looked for him at school today but he was nowhere to be found; neither were any of his friends. I thought about calling him but I also want to give him some space. It was really brave of him for confiding in me what he did.

Aiden’s been battling insomnia and anxiety for the past six years ever since his parents died and he lost his best friend three years ago. What makes it worse is that everyone at school hasn’t exactly been very sympathetic about his situation. However, many of them don’t know the real story. They just fear Aiden. He’s become some untouchable person people tolerate but don’t actually want to get close to. He says that he feels responsible when things go wrong in people’s lives that he’s close to. I asked him about me; why would he befriend me then? He gave the famous “you seemed different” line but he seemed extremely sincere when he said it. He also said that he didn’t know that I’d become such an important part of his life, albeit it’s only been a couple of weeks now. He invited me to join his social circle. I said I’d think about it. I can’t just leave Ellie or tell her about what Aiden told me.

I’ve just about completed my homework that’s due for tomorrow. It’s complete insanity! Ten subjects! What was I thinking when I selected my subjects? I just hope that I can convince Roman to buckle down on this project. It’s a big part of our overall mark for the year and we can’t mess up. If I have to do it by myself I will but then I’ll use Roman as my lapdog. We have to build a model of the heart and do a presentation on its functions, diseases and treatments and so forth. Fingers crossed. Out of all the organs, we just had to get the heart. Perhaps the most complicated and important organ in the body! Nice one, Mr McNolan!

I have an oral for Portuguese class tomorrow. I have to do a presentation on the Portuguese language and culture in Angola, one of the countries the Portuguese colonised. I hope that I’ve nailed it.



Day 13: Sunday Lunch with the Familià

Dear Vodka

I woke up extra early this morning and sneaked into Mum and Dad’s room. The sun was just rising and I convinced Mum to walk down to the beach with me in her sleepy state. Dad was already up, fixing a pipe under the kitchen sink. Dad has his own plumbing business. He would always joke about me taking over the business and Mum would cover my ears, whispering into them that princesses don’t do such things. I wonder if she still thinks I’m her princess.

Mum was okay with me inviting Theo and Ellie over for lunch. In fact, she drove straight to the supermarket after I asked. She looked excited. She looked alive and healthy. She looked like my Mum. We sat on the beach in complete silence at first. After about two minutes, Mum burst into tears. I noticed the few grey streaks in her long strawberry blonde hair. I noticed the veins in her hands as she put her hand in mine and kissed it over and over again, repeating the word ‘sorry.’ I began to cry too. I embraced Mum and I could feel the bones in her back through her clothes. She’d lost a lot of weight ever since I moved out. We sat on the beach for quite a while, pouring our hearts out; allowing our tears to fall onto the sand and watching as it made splotches in the sand. It was therapeutic.

I now know why Mum’s been so distant all these years. Mum had quite the life as a teenager before she met Dad. She was a wild flower, partying day and night. She was rebellious. She lived in the moment, too afraid to think of what the future would bring. When Mum turned sixteen her dad died of a heart attack. It was sudden and it completely tore her apart. He was her favourite person. She blamed herself for not spending enough time with him. For abandoning her relationship with him because she wanted to be a teenager and ‘live life.’ She slipped into depression.

When I was born, Mum still had that hurt inside of her and she resented bringing me into this world ever since. As a result, she suffered from postnatal depression. She was afraid that I’d turn out like her. She said that I reminded her so much of herself and she couldn’t bear to watch me grow up into the person she was. That’s why she pulled away.

I was shocked. All these years I’ve been my mother’s biggest fear. All these years I’ve resented her for something she had no control over. Mum asked for my forgiveness but I simply embraced her and said ‘sorry.’ We walked back to the house which was one road away from the beach. Thomas and I helped Dad prepare lunch while Mum made dessert. In our household, Dad’s the cook. The only thing Mum’s good at in the kitchen is making dessert. For the first time, I felt like I belonged. I felt a sense of home in my own home.

Theo and Ellie arrived just as we were finishing up. Theo helped me set the table while Ellie entertained Thomas with her talk about electrical engineering. Apparently, Ellie wants to study electrical engineering in England. It came as a complete shock to Thomas who is studying industrial engineering in England. I reckon they’ll get along well even though Ellie’s my age. Theo is three years older than me but age doesn’t matter in our family really. Mum is eight years younger than Dad anyway.

Lunch was delicious and the conversation was pleasant. It was like heaven having my family and friends all in one place. Mum was extra happy and open. She told us about how she met Dad while Dad shot carrots at Mum, telling her that she was embarrassing him. Mum simply laughed and continued with the story. After lunch, we played a game of Scrabble and I won. Obviously!

Ellie, Thomas and Theo and I took a walk on the beach whilst Mum and Dad tidied up in the kitchen, reminiscing over their younger years. It just happens to be my luck that Ellie attends the same school as me. Yippee! Theo studies Applied Chemistry at the local university. They live like ten minutes away from Mum and Dad’s. Guess I’m moving back in!



Day 12: A Little Bit of Sunshine

Dear Vodka

No one likes to wake up early on the weekend, especially when it’s your last weekend before school starts. However, if I was going to keep up my yoga routine, I’d have to make the sacrifice. Plus, today was my first group therapy session. I felt kind of anxious but also really excited. I was silently praying as my dad (Paul) drove me to the youth centre three blocks away from our house that it wasn’t going to be anything like it was in the movies. Little did I know that the universe has a funny way of making things happen!

A refreshment station was set up at the entrance of the meeting room. I poured myself a glass of mango juice since there was still some time left before the session started. If there was one thing I valued, it was being punctual.  As I turned, someone bumped into me. I looked down at my jeans, which was completely drenched in juice. I looked up in horror at the person standing in front of me. It wasn’t just any person, might I add. It was a gorgeous being with the softest-looking head of shoulder-length medium-brown curls. The sunlight creeping in through the windows above shone on his tan skin, emphasising the strong curve of his jaw. The sunlight made his eyes appear almost cat-like. They were a beautiful green, almost olive. I quickly apologised, realising that I must have been staring at him for a bit too long. I couldn’t help but stumble over my words as I apologised. He quickly put me out of my misery when he introduced himself as Theo. I was about to introduce myself when a girl who looked related to Theo came running in our direction. She was beautiful, with her dark hair set against her olive skin. She is just about my height. If it weren’t for her big round brown eyes, I’d say she looks exactly like Pocahontas.

The session was complete poppycock. The only thing that made it bearable was Theo, who sat across from me. He kept on glancing my way, making weird faces. I couldn’t contain my laughter and at one point, I burst out into laughter. The coordinator then realised that there was a new member in the group and I was forced to introduce myself. I soon learnt that the girl was indeed Theo’s sister. Her name is Ellie. Even her name is beautiful. Geez! I might just fall in love with her but not in that way. She just has this radiance about herself. Like a ray of sunshine in the dark. I couldn’t understand what they were doing at group therapy but I soon learnt that their mom, who just happened to be a therapist, thought that it would be healthy for them.

They invited me over for Sunday lunch next week. I figured I’d return the favour and invite them over for lunch tomorrow. Fingers crossed. I hope I can figure things out with Mum before then.

I guess you could say that I had a positively successful day today. I feel so happy. So content and fulfilled. This is the start of all things great, Vodka!



Day 11: Good Luck Charlie!


 Dear Vodka

If today was anything, it sure was full of surprises! I was head-over-heels when I called Chloe and she told me that she’d met this super cute guy named Finn. I immediately started imagining what he looked like and what their children would look like if they ever decided to procreate. Seriously, Charlie!? Okay, that was just weird! 

She told me all about her cousins, Elias and Greta. Hearing her voice made me happy. I can’t wait to see her again. Truth is, I don’t know whether I’ll see her again considering how much she is enjoying herself over there. In the short time that I’ve known Chloe, I’ve learnt that once  she becomes comfortable in a place, she becomes attached, especially when there’s a guy involved. When I spoke to her, it sounded as though she wanted to set up camp and stay there forever. We each agreed to keep in contact at least every second day since school is starting soon. 

Argh! Thinking about going to a new school where I have to make the effort to be nice to everyone all over again makes me feel kind of bleh! Teenagers are so meh…I mean look at me! Don’t I bore you with my endless rants and complaints? I know I do. Therefore, to kick start my improved attitude, I’ve started this new routine where I wake up a bit earlier to do yoga each morning so that I can calm my thoughts. I’d then have a good solid breakfast and proceed with the rest of the day. I realised that when I don’t eat breakfast in the morning, I become as cranky and pessimistic as ever. I found the problem; it’s now time to implement a solution!

From now onward, you’ll have a front row seat to the new Charlie. I’ve simply decided that being bitter about everything only makes my life more miserable and deprived. I can’t live like that forever. I want to be happy for goodness sake!

I have me first group therapy session tomorrow and school starts on Monday. I don’t want to think about it too much. I guess I’ll hope for the best and stay optimistic. I seriously want to change. Maybe then Mum would open up to me and we could have an actual relationship. Dad said that he’d drive me to group therapy tomorrow. I haven’t seen him in a while but he promised to make it up to me by teaching me how to drive. There goes the neighbourhood!I’m so excited!Wish me luck then!