Thursday, July 30, 2015

here's to seven years

I know something's up the moment I shut my door. Matt's stretched out on my once-tidy bed like he's having an existential crisis. Piles of books surround him, and I think he's just had a manga binge.

I drop my backpack with way too little care for the laptop inside. "What is the meaning of your face?"

He has no face currently, as it's buried in my Darth Vader pillow. "We're 19 today, aren't we."

I sat on the floor where I could barely see him, just the crown of his head. "Technically, I'm 19--you're either already 19 and have been since March, or you turn 19 tomorrow, depending on which version of you you really are."

"Now that's a trippy thing to say." He picks up my well-loved copy of Noragami. "Weren't you harping on earlier this week about how weird imaginary friends are? Doesn't that strike as a bit funny? I mean, you've had me for...seven years now?"

I shift. "Not many people know how you came into existence, Matthew North. Don't be cheeky. Besides, I don't really think of you as an imaginary friend. More like just a friend--actually, you're kinda a part of me."


"Ewww. That's creepy and sappy at the same time. Double-whammy."

"But I mean it! You were the person I wanted to be, the friend I wanted to have. You were the "person" who allowed me to show the side of me I always wanted to show--the one who got along better with the guys, the one who could cry and wear pink without feeling like a traitor or a fake, the one who was always hurting for something more without knowing why or what. And as immature/crazy as it was for a twelve year old to have an imaginary best friend, I needed that."

He leans his head over the edge, peeking his eyes at me. "Looking back much?"

"I was a depressed kid before I knew what depression was. And you brought me out of that."

"How the heck did I, a fiction of your imagination, pull you out of depression? I mean, have you even read the great ones?"

I hold up a hand. "Listen. You woke me up to what friends should be like. Always there for you, not just when they need to get away with something or when they want to gossip. We talked. About stupid things. About the best things. About life. And when I realized that you were just in my imagination, I figured I needed more people like you in my life. And that I needed to be more like you."

"So I saved you from feeling alone."

"You still are saving me."

"How."

"Three summers ago. I thought I lost everything. I first saw the glimmer of this story--your story. And
I got closer with my now best friend."

Matt smiles. "I like that guy. He's weird."

"Last year. Bed bugs. Celiac disease. Senioritis. College." I swallow. "I broke 50k and fell back in love with you."

"But in a not creepy kinda way, right?"

"This year. Ill as heck. Depressed. Feels alone. Seems like we've come full circle, huh?"

"Sorta." His voice hushes. "I wish you weren't so ill."

"I wish you weren't so sad."

"I've rather chosen to be sad. You can't choose to be not sick. That's not how it works."

"I can't escape it any more than you can."

"Do you ever think..." he trails off and brushes the carpet with two lazy fingers. "Do you ever think you were meant to get sick?"

"All the time," I answer without a beat. "Why?"

"Because...you know. You've lost something you'll never get back. And that makes you understand me a lot more."


There's a pause. The ceiling fan squeaks. Books slide off as I join him on the bed. "I hate being sick," I say, rolling into his side.

"I hate being sad," he replies, wrapping me up in that big brother hug I've missed so badly. "And I wish you wouldn't worry so much."

"Worry?"

"I know you do. You worry about school. You worry about your friends hating you. You are worrying about being ill, and about you should take the drugs for your condition despite the side effects. You worry about him. You worry about if it's right for you to ever have kids--because you're terrified they'll end up just like you. You worry about your major. You worry that you'll end up just like your grandfather. You worry about being too depressed. You worry about being arrogant. You worry about your sister. You worry about losing her. You worry about losing him. You worry that you're never going to play soccer or dance again. You worry about messing up in front of those you admire, but never once in these seven years have you worried about dying." He pulls me in close. "Please, E...if seven years has taught you anything, it's this: let God handle the worrying. It's not your job." His chin rests on the top of my head. I fell the  pull of his stubble against my hair. "You might be a nineteen year old girl in a seventy year old body with an old soul, but you're still just a nineteen year old girl."


By this time, I am barely holding back tears--tears I've held in for seven years straight.

"I forgot you called me E."

He looks down and smiles at me. His eyes, as brown and blurry as mine, twinkle with affection and pride, mixed with concern. "E? As someone's who is near and dear to your heart--actually, who kinda is your heart--I want you to be a nineteen year old without worry. Can you try?"

"...I will try."

He hugs me tighter.


"I'm so glad you came into my life," I whisper. "Even if you're just a character in a story that's kept me going. And I'm so glad I've finally finished that story. You can start being happy again. Finally."

"Here's to seven years, you crazy blogger you. And many more."

I unsquish my arms and return the hug. "Just pray it doesn't take my seven more years to edit the crap out of everything."

An insatiable grin overcame his face as he gazed at me. "You'll do just fine, sweetheart. Just fine."

And I will.


{last night, at 11:39, I wrote the last word of the first draft of the great ones. So this is the close to one amazing adventure and the opening of the next journey. Feel free to throw a little confetti or have a little ice cream in celebration. Also, it's my birthday! Yay! Happy birthday, me! Way to be 19!} 

13 comments:

  1. Happy birthday to one of my favorite people.

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  2. If you need a proofreader 🙋

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  3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELY!!!!!!!!!!!

    And this was the cutest thing Ive ever read like wow. It was so honest and beautiful and I love that you talk to your characters. I've always heard writers did that but I've never done it. but Im so glad writing has helped you so much. your pain and struggles created a beautifully honest novel and I think its a lot better than you realize. I wish you lived by me so you could join my writing group:(
    But yeah. Basically, you're the best internet friend I've ever had and Im so happy we found each other. God is pretty cool like that :)

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    1. awwww thanks! I'm way late on replying to this (FAIL) but this comment gave me feels when you posted it and it still does. I wish we lived closer too...we could do all the things then. (or at least on our sick days, we could have Teen Wolf and House marathons together). So thankful you commented on my blog way back when and we hit it off so well. Don't know what I'd do without you, my dear. <3

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  4. I really enjoy your blog. Don't ever stop writing. :)

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  5. Love this! So much. :')

    Congrats!! That's so awesome. And Happy, Happy Birthday!

    If/when you need beta readers, I volunteer. ;)

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    1. I have so many people asking to be betas, it's kinda flooring me! you guys are beyond sweet! Just let me do a year of agonizing editing and then maybe we'll see! ;)

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  6. You are super talented, young lady! Glad your dad told me about your blog :)

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    1. thanks, Meredith! I'm glad he did too! :)

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  7. Happy happy happy birthday! And a million well dones on finishing. I finished my own baby on 1st August and am still reeling.

    I really really love this post. I think it's so beautiful how much you love your characters. I love the fact that there are so many of us -- well, not so many, but a few -- teen writers, with these parallel universes and parallel people created in our heads, and no one else can see them, but we love them. And one day, if our dreams become real, our books will be published, and others will see the worlds we've dreamt and the characters we've loved.

    There are a few writing-bloggers whose WIPs I'm really interested in and you are one of them. If there's a point where you need betas, I'd be so willing!

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    1. wow! way to finish! *high fives*

      man, you described how I feel about the great ones perfect. I can't wait for other people to get to see the story of my dear babies and hopefully it'll change their life just like it did mine.

      definitely! As I said above, I have a lot of people asking to be betas, and I can hardly believe it. Give me some time to rewrite and edit, and then I'll actually be able to wrap my mind around giving my baby away...I'm like an over-attached parent. :D

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