Day 22: Sipping on Rainbows

7e501438ed5e959df2c6b1971880bd8b.jpgDear Vodka

I found that my pillow was wet by the time I woke up.

I cried last night – in my sleep. 

The anti-depressants hit me pretty hard when I take them. What a lot of people don’t know is that anti-depressants eventually take you to an extreme low before they bring you up. I feel like crap. This just isn’t working out…

I went for a jog after I realised that Thomas was still asleep. I really needed to speak to him but I didn’t want him to worry about me again. I’d put him through enough hell already with my D&A. He was on holiday for Pete’s sake!

So, I went for a jog instead.

As I crossed the road onto the cycler’s path, I spotted a homeless man picking up his cardboard mattress and bags which he had obviously used to sleep on. I went over to him to help him because he looked like he needed the help. As I approached him and greeted, he looked at me with a disgusted scowl on his face. I motioned to help him but he mumbled on about “young kids of today” and “these privileged people showing fake sympathy to make themselves feel better,” ignoring my offer. I stood with my hands on my hips, demanding his attention. He violently waved his hand in the air, shooing me away. I sprinted home, tears pouring down my flushed cheeks, my heart beat pounding in my ears.

I told Sarah (my therapist) about it and she said that I probably felt guilty about something and that the man’s rejection triggered the emotional reaction I experienced. I felt a bit lighter when I got home but not quite okay. Perhaps I just needed food in my system. I opened the doors to the pantry and spotted a bottle of vodka. With wet eyes, I grabbed it and went into my room. I stared at the bottle lying in front of me, contemplating on whether or not to open it.

I walked to the kitchen and emptied the contents of the bottle into the sink, but not before some of it spilled onto my fingers. I smelt it, bringing it closer and closer to my desperate tongue. I couldn’t do it. I was weak now but I wouldn’t dig my own grave. Not again.

I sat under the piercing heat of the shower water as each droplet penetrated the surface of my skin, turning it pink. I sat and I sat, until I feel asleep.

I woke up in my PJs. But I wasn’t my bed. I was in Mum and Dad’s bed with Mum’s encompassing arms slowing dragging me back into the world of my subconscious…




DAY 21: The Monday Blues


Dear Vodka

You know that saying that goes something like “don’t count your eggs before they hatch?” Well, I did just that! It’s just one drama after the other! I’m so frustrated…

I had a fantastic weekend at Aiden’s and a pleasant lunch at the Reeds. Roman finally decided to work with me and not against me. Gran got me a kitten (Lily) and Mum and I, at last, sorted things out. But I guess that man up there just can’t give me a rest! Or perhaps someone’s made an effigy of me and is doing some crazy voodoo shit! I mean seriously?! What did I do that was so bad to deserve this….I’m at a loss!

The day started off on an average note. Theo picked me up with Ellie for school. I hung out with her until the bell rang for the first period. Mr Nolan reminded us that our project is due in two weeks’ time. Mrs Humphrey, our Maths teacher gave us a spot test and then it happened; the thing that made everything go downhill…Let me make one thing straight before anyone’s judgemental honkers go off! Firstly, I am not a violent person. Secondly, I catch on nonsense but never at the expense of my reputation. And thirdly, I am NOT a liar or a cheater. I know that this is hearsay or whatever but it’s the truth. It’s my truth.

So, there we were writing our Math spot test and all of a sudden, Barbara (a.ka. Queen B), shrieked and pointed to the underside of my notebook. I immediately looked up in shock and then down at my book. It was a sheet of mathematical formulae and equations!!!

Okay, let’s just put things into perspective: I have no idea how that page got there but I suspect that Barbara slipped it onto my desk when no one was looking since she sits at the desk next to mine. And another thing is that, when I write, I rest my head on my hand, elbow on the table, while my right-hand writes, so I wouldn’t have seen her put it there because I was facing away from her. But you know how the story goes…no witnesses, no proof.

Mrs Humphrey completely freaked and sent me to the principal’s office immediately after shouting something about ‘dishonesty’ and ‘lack of integrity’ and ‘no respect for her subject,’ as I walked down the hallway to the office. She didn’t even give me a chance to defend myself before she instructed Barbara to accompany me there to make sure that I didn’t get “lost” along the way!

Of course, I was going to confront Barbara about it. After all, it could only be her. Who else would want me to get in trouble, or worse expelled? She just laughed and said “Oh well. You mess with me, you’ll get what you deserve.” I was obviously confused at that point as to what the bloody hell she was talking about because I’d never really interacted with her before now. When she noted the confusion on my face, she yanked on my hair and shoved me into the office door but not before I reacted unthinkingly by slapping her right cheek. Did it leave a mark? Yes. Did the principal exit his office in time to see that part? Why, of course. Did my mother get called in? Absolutely! And, dear Vodka, did I get suspended? Well, there’s no doubt about it!

Argh!!!! Just recounting the events infuriates me. Of course, Mum was furious and totally flabbergasted all at once but, in all fairness, I didn’t care at that moment. Barbara. I don’t even want her name in my book…

So, the result is that I’m suspended with no cell phone, no TV (even though I don’t care that much about it; it’s a load of consumerism and propaganda), no laptop and my Mum doesn’t want to speak to me. But at least it’s only in effect until Wednesday. Thank goodness for that because I cannot bear to not see the rustic blue doors to the entrance of our school and the overwhelming smell of bleach and floor polish, with the plethora of hormones and ubiquitous chatter. I know that the talk will be about me when I get back but, as the saying goes… “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.”

When Roman came over after school to start on the project, he said that Barbara and Aiden had a ‘thing’ and that he completely abandoned her when those terrible things started happening to him. According to Roman, Barbara was ‘a cool chick’ but now she’s simply obsessed with getting Aiden back (how cliché). I still couldn’t understand why she’d do something like that if hardly anyone knew about Aiden and mine’s friendship but then it clicked…Instagram! He probably still has her on there and to be honest, Aiden and the boys and I took loads of pictures on the weekend. That must’ve triggered it!

I just hope that my friends believe me and forgive me for reacting the way I did. Even I can’t excuse me slapping Barbara. I didn’t want to tell anyone that she called me ‘a lesbian slut.’ Frankly, I don’t even want to know how she came to that conclusion. I’ve put Lydia behind me; it’s in the past.

I’m seeing Sarah tomorrow…my therapist…I’m quite proud of how I’ve been dealing with the D&A (depression and anxiety) lately but I guess today’s events reminded me of how miserable I am and what a disappointment I can be. I know that it’s not true but that’s what depression does. I slipped two anti-depressants earlier. I shouldn’t have. I was making progress. I think I should use the landline to call Chloe. I really miss her…I need her ray of sunshine right now…



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 16: Gran’s puuurfect surprise!

penned by: Julia Smith




Dear Vodka,

Getting home, I was beyond exhausted from school. Neither Mum, Dad or Thomas were home, so I was forced to call Aiden for a ride to Gran Lilith’s. He handed me a note the day before which read:

We need to talk in private. Don’t let anyone know about this.                                                     A. A.      x 


It gave me the chills, to be honest. He picked me up shortly after the call in his Jeep. The dusty sunset orange one. The one I secretly love because it’s open on the sides.

No one was smiling however when I got into the Jeep. What was going on? Especially since Aiden is never serious when I’m around. I asked him about it but he said that he’d tell me once I’ve finished my business at Gran’s’. Frankly, he was freaking me out. Gran recognised him from the last time and invited him in for tea but I made some lame excuse about a group project that was due tomorrow and that we needed to get on with it.  SO… my visit was brisk. I’d forgotten about Gran’s surprise until she stopped me just as I was about to leave with my cat Lava and a few of my things. She gingerly handed me a small box ordering me to take it with both hands. Guess what?! It was a kitten! I almost made Gran Lilith lose her balance when I jumped on her. I hugged her so tight!

She’s perfect!

When we got back into the Jeep, Aiden made a joke about naming the kitten, Ash. I laughed because then I’d have Ash and Lava. Get it? I thought about his suggestion but decided against it. If I lost Aiden in any way, the kitten would be a constant reminder of him if I did name her Ash. We brainstormed names and eventually settled on Lily because of her snow-white coat. By the time we dropped them off at home, Thomas was there already, so I entrusted him with taking care of Lava and Lily.

We drove to Bean Therapy and I ordered an espresso whereas Aiden ordered his usual decaf latte. It made sense now! He suffered from insomnia because of his parents and best friend! I almost shouted it out once I realised it as he ordered his decaf latte. We spoke for hours and we also happened to be the last people at the café. After all that, I knew that Aiden needed me for a little while longer, so I suggested we drive down to the beach and watch the sunset. We sat in complete silence. We watched as the sun disappeared into the sea, taking its last breath so that the moon could come alive. I took Aiden’s hand in mine and he didn’t pull away. We sat for a little while longer until we both came to our senses and realised that we still had tons of homework to complete. We listened to The Japanese House as he drove me home. I hugged him tight before he left. He needed to know that I would always be there for him; that I wouldn’t abandon him. He is mine now and I am his, and as long as we both fight for our friendship, nothing can separate us. He’s teaching me how to surf on Friday.

There goes the neighbourhood!