Sleepless Nights | Teen Ink

Sleepless Nights

October 11, 2014
By futurenovelista SILVER, Staatsburg, New York
futurenovelista SILVER, Staatsburg, New York
8 articles 0 photos 64 comments

Favorite Quote:
"But I being poor have only my dreams...I place my dreams at your feet. Tread softly for you tread on my dreams." -Yeats

Fruit flies hover over by the bedside table. I watch as they twirl and dance over the rotting apple core I had left there days ago. The room smells badly, and a distinct putrid stench lingers in my nose. I let my eyes wander around my small, dimly lit room. Dirty laundry is littered all over, and papers are scattered along the large, wooden dresser. Candy wrappers and used Q-tips are stuffed in drawers and vases while snotty napkins surround the waste basket where my old gym sneakers and yogurt cartons are molding. There are piles and piles of dusty, torn books dumped on the floor and a broken light bulb rests at the base of my closet where even more books are stacked up. I reside in this mess that I have created. It’s the fortress I use to block me from the harshness the world outside my door holds.

I lie stiffly on my bed and begin to count down the hours until the sunrise. Sleep evades me, and my weary body yearns for rest. But I can’t sleep. I have barely slept since the accident. Every time I try, her image creeps up from behind my eyelids and it haunts me. I had been so powerless to save her, and now this is my punishment. I slowly wither away in this dark cave.

She’s dead.

That truth was still incredulous to me. But the proof was right in my line of vision. Everything was a disaster. But I deserve this.
A thought races through my head, and I struggle to block it out before it grabs hold of my memories, but it’s too late. Candace would be so disappointed if she were here to see the condition my life is in now. A picture of her comes to mind; one where she is smiling and her head is tilted with her hair cascading down the side of her beautiful face. Candace:  my older sister and my parent’s favorite child. From the day she was born she had been the most important person of their lives. She was so perfect: outrageously pretty, wildly popular, an honor student, extremely amiable, and always neat and presentable.

She had been everything to me. I had idolized her, and so desperately wanted to be like her. She had been my only friend, and loved me more than anyone else I know. She took care of me, looked after me, and comforted me when I let my fears get the best of my emotions. But where is she now when I need her the most? Who’s going to love me now? No, I can’t sleep. I deserve this pain.

How could she be gone?

I still feel as void and hollow now, curled up in my worn blankets, as I did a year ago when we put her in the ground. Is it even possible to move on from such a tragic event? Time is supposed to heal all wounds, but it has done nothing but prolong my suffering. How can I depend on time to heal what has been broken inside of me? Especially when Candace was the only one who knew how to help me? And yet, when she needed my help the most, I was useless, unconscious, and completely ignorant of her misery. I never heard her screams; I never heard her crying out to me while she was dying. She must’ve been so lonely…

It should’ve been me. Why hadn’t it been me? I was in the same car as her, in the same accident. Who decided that I should get to move forward while Candace is stuck in the past, forever frozen in that one moment? I would’ve taken her place and felt all the pain she had felt. I would’ve died for her. But Fate has already taken her away.

She haunts me. She asks me why I live this way. She tells me it wasn’t my fault. She calls for me, beckons my eyes to close; tries to lure me into slumber. But shame keeps me from falling asleep. I cannot forgive myself yet.



I can’t sleep.

The author's comments:

Based on survivor's guilt a friend had felt after surviving a tragic car accident a mutual friend had died in

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