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Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.
“My God! Stop. Texting. Me.” Lydia slammed her fist on the clean, modern desk in front of her. That disgusting vein she inherited from her father pulsed and throbbed violently as it usually did when Melanie attempted some form of contact. Every vile memory Lydia and Mel ever created began to skulk into her mind and set her emotions on fire. The blood raged through her veins as she reached for her cell phone. Sighing heavily, she reluctantly chose “View New Message.”
“Hay grl. Whatsup? Howz life treatin ya?”
Oh, how she hated that language. That horrid chat speak that Melanie used so often. She hated it almost as much as she despised the way Mel always forgot to remove the “is” from her Facebook status when “is” was not necessary and clearly grammatically incorrect. You know, “Melanie Herrera is that was the worst day ever!” That one little mistake highlighted every big mistake Melanie had made during her friendship with Lydia. With each passing moment that Melanie invaded Lydia’s thoughts, she hated her even more. Was she afraid to admit it? Not a chance. You could maybe even call her proud.
From the second she met Melanie, Lydia realized something different about her. Now, she was always one to believe that being different wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but some of Melanie’s quirky behavior turned into eccentricity which eventually turned into being flat-out creepy. At first, Mel seemed like an enthusiastic, although often a bit annoying, new friend -- always there to talk when you need it, always willing to lend a hand, always there for, well, anything and everything. But what once seemed normal completely changed. Clingy, selfish, and possessive, Melanie began to hang onto every word, every movement, every bated breath. And each time, Lydia sank deeper and deeper into her own thoughts.
Lydia would never forget the first time Melanie started to play around with her mind. It was sophomore year, possibly the most awkward year at that, and Melanie decided it would be the perfect time to screw things up even more than they already were. Lydia had been friends with a group of fun, sweet, normal girls since the year before, but since her friendship with Mel had blossomed, things with the other girls became tense. Eventually, Mel dragged Lydia away from them.
“You know, I never wanted to break this to you like this, but… the other girls… they hate you. They say you’re stuck up and full of yourself, and they wish you wouldn’t hang around. They say you’re ruining their reputation.”
In her entire life, Lydia had never cried as much as she did that night.
This was the beginning to the end. Lydia forced herself away from the other girls, falling into Melanie’s trap. Her social life revolved around Melanie, and Mel fed off of every depressed, angry moment Lydia had. The farther away Lydia got from her friends, the happier Melanie seemed to be. That single thought made the tears well up in Lydia’s eyes.
“I’m busy.” Lydia finally managed to press the buttons on her phone that formed those words, but there appeared to be no way to include her anger. As usual, Lydia’s phone pulsed again after about fifteen seconds after sending.
“U dont hav 2 be a jerk ok. I dont matter 2 anyone neway.”
Oh! Fantastic! Here we go again! The ever-so-pitiful, ever-so-ridiculous, “My life is an empty void” trick. Lydia had fallen for this one so many times before - from the nonexistent boyfriend break-ups to the deaths of malnourished domesticated bunnies, Lydia had heard all the excuses in the world. She ignored the ludicrous message.
Buzz buzz buzz.
“Meh…life sux u no. Itz rly hard.”
Ugh! Not again! Hoping to relieve her stress and avoid wasting more useless text messages, Lydia reached for the closest thing to her, an Advanced Math textbook, and attempted to occupy herself.
Let’s see; y = arcsin x is equivalent to sin y = x with…
Thirty seconds later: buzz buzz buzz.
“U NEVER CARED ABOUT ME. U NEVER WILL. I DONT MATTER.”
Now the anger was unstoppable. With the force of a monster truck, Lydia prepared her response to Melanie’s ridiculous message. She spoke each word with vehement animosity.
“You know, all this time you’ve been whining about how you’re going to kill yourself. Well, do it. See what difference it’ll make.” Holding back a scream, Lydia punched the last letter into her phone. And then…
Lydia’s heart raced and breath quickened. She did it. She finally said what she needed to say. But at the same time, Lydia felt the sting of the words she spoke bite her tongue like acid. So many questions invaded her mind.
What if this was the last straw? What if she does kill herself? What if it’s all my fault?
At the same time, however, Lydia felt relieved. She was honest * brutal, but honest.
Days went by, and Lydia never received another text from Melanie. The thought of Lydia’s callous words stabbing into Mel’s heart quickened Lydia’s own heart rate every time. With each pulse, Lydia pictured the knife crushing through the layers of blood and tissue in Mel’s chest. The image sent chills down Lydia’s spine, but she tried to push it to the back of her mind.
A week. Two weeks. Three weeks. Nothing.
Until November 17th, 2006.
Lydia sauntered up the stairs to her room that afternoon; school had been unusually pleasant that day, Mom was making spaghetti, and House, M.D., was scheduled to air that night -- a first-class evening in Lydia’s eyes. Until the phone rang.
Bye, bye, beautiful! Don’t bother to write! Coheed and Cambria blasted through the speakers on Lydia’s Sidekick. Expecting the best, she excitedly picked up her cell and glanced down at the screen: “Melanie Calling.”
Hmph. So she finally decides to talk to me again. Spectacular.
Nothing was going to ruin this perfect day.
“L-Lydia? Lydia Demarcus?” An unfamiliar voice met her ear; its tone sent shivers down Lydia’s spine.
“This is she. M-Mel?”
“I-I wish I could say it was, dear.“ The voice began to break. “This is M-Melanie’s mother. There’s been an a- an accident, Lydia.” The soft voice crumbled to nothingness.
It had been a late Saturday night, and Melanie was leaving a party her new boyfriend Todd had arranged for all of his friends. Mel had a bit too much of, well, anything she could get her hands on, but no one was brave enough to stop her from getting into the car.
One foot on the gas. No brakes. Swerve. Smash. Kill.
Accident. Accident. Accident.
One simple word. Eight little letters. And yet, each time the word was repeated, knives pierced Lydia’s fragile heart. No, she may not have been at that party. She may not have handed Mel the drink, the pipe, or the pills. But Lydia handed over a reason for Melanie’s attempt to escape her harsh reality.
If only I would have just listened to her. If only I would have given her the chance to speak. If only I had swallowed my vengeful feelings and reached out to her. She called out to me, and I pressed ignore.
Melanie Raven Herrera. 1990-2006.
Never again would she let another suffer under her eyes as Mel did. Never again would she let revenge take control.
Never again would she refuse to love.