What if one day you woke up to all that darkness and coldness, like the sun never existed, like it was the end of the world? It was absolutely not a power out, and there wasn’t even enough room for you to move around, all you could do was to lie there stiff. Horrible, right? Well, I just woke up to that. More terribly, I remember nothing.
Who am I? I don’t know. Wait, I remember my name, my name is Valerie Greys. However, I have no idea what the rest of my life looks like; it’s all just a blur of puzzled images that won’t fit together. Flashes of girls and boys in a school and pieces of a diary with unclear words kept on going through my mind. Also, sadness, sadness, and sadness. Why was I so depressed? No idea.
Desperate, I rose my hand into the endless darkness, as if I could grab something that will rescue me from all this nightmare. Suddenly I felt warmth, that kind of warmth from the sunlight, so nice and familiar like a hug. Yes, my hand did not just go through whatever that blocked me. Slowly, I sat up with doubt, afraid that I would hit my head. Fortunately I didn’t hit anything, instead I felt life and hope. Squinting, the sunlight still stabbed my eyes. I quickly adjusted to the light, the scene in front of me surprised me that I almost let out a scream: In the dead silence, people were all wearing black suits and dresses, some were even crying just like a funeral. What’s going on? Now that I stared down in horror. I saw the other half of my body inside a coffin. It’s the time when I finally realized-I am dead.
I just sat there in my very own coffin, awkwardly I looked into the crowd who were mourning for me, still not sure how all this dead thing works. It was so quiet like the air was almost turning into a solid. No one noticed the unusual scene happening to me at all. Can’t they see me? I helped myself up and walked towards the guy who’s the closest to me. Waving my hand in front of his face several times and even pretending to punch him, he made no reaction to my moves and just simply stared down at the ground. Okay, as a ghost I’m safe and invisible. Suddenly, the boy looked at me in the eyes and made me to step back in surprise. He turned, pushed everyone out of the way and ran. What happened? Did he see me? Immediately, I chased after him and left everyone behind chattering.
We-or just the boy, as everyone else can see- ran through the streets of the city. I’m fast enough to catch up when I’m floating (since I can’t even touch the man-made paths), however I see no tears in his eyes. For that moment, I feel a little bit unfair: why did he even come to my funeral if he had no feeling for me at all? Finally, he started to slow down, and stopped in front of a house. “That’s his home,”this thought went through my brain just as if someone just told me it. How do I know that? Part of my memory, maybe?
As I thought, we walked into the house. No one was inside; his parents were probably out for work. The boy went to the kitchen, but for some reasons I didn’t follow him, instead the only tiny bit of my memory led me to a room on the second floor. Although my logic is telling me that even if people can’t see me and I can’t communicate with anyone after all and I shouldn’t peek into others’ rooms, my instinct and curiosity forced me to go through the door. I thought I’d just see a usual room, nevertheless, I saw a whole wall full of pictures. I went closer to take a better look. All of them are pictures of me or the boy, individual, group, selfies, all of them. Sometimes there’s this other girl in the picture also, but she didn’t appear much. At first the very top of the pictures, there’s only myself in the picture; later on, the boy stood with me. As I scanned through the rows of photos, the relationship between the boy and I in the pictures got better and better. All of a sudden, another girl appeared with us; then I started to fade away, and finally totally dissolved into the backgrounds.
I froze there in front of the wall, astonished. Now I can put some pieces of puzzle back into a picture. Alec Davidson, that’s his name. He was my neighbor before I moved away; or more specifically, my crush. I have known him ever since I was born, and we were literally best friends throughout my whole life. Alec is three years older than me, and he was just like my brother, or just like that one “Prince Charming” I had read in all of those fairy tales. Well, I’m pretty sure we have no chance together but I still imagined he’d probably like me back one day and we’d be so perfect together. And of course, that didn’t happen. I moved away, and I can’t remember why we didn’t contact each other anymore… My childhood was the best years, all the wonderful memory filled up my mind. They didn’t seem to matter much when I was alive; but now having my memory back is the most amazing thing in the world.
“Ding-dong,” the sound of the doorbell cut out my flow of memory. Wait, Alec’s parents coming back in the afternoon? Surprising! They never ditch their work. Doubtfully, I went down the stairs and sat there to have a clear view of who’s the one coming in. Alec looked out of the peephole and opened the door. “Click, click.” I leaned forward to see if I should just leave the house. “Hey Alec,” a girl’s voice said,”Didn’t realize you came home earlier than I did.” Then she came in, a beautiful girl who looked exactly like Alec, and went through me without noticing at all. However, instead of the warm feeling I felt for Alec, I had a sense of coldness and sharpness from her.
Who was that? Alec had a sister? I tried to focus but my memory didn’t allow me to remember that part. Alec quietly shut the door quietly behind him and didn’t reply a word. He went into the kitchen again and this time he got some pasta and put it on one side of the table and sat on the other side, probably waiting for his sister to come down and eat. I sat there still and watched. The girl came down quickly, now that she has changed into a casual outfit. As she reached the table, she moved her pasta and sat with him. “Alec,” she put on her best smile and said in a very sweet voice to her brother, looked into his eyes,”Why are you not responding to me? This is not you.” Alec still didn’t answer, but this time rather than being confident as he always was(in my mind), he just made a blank stare to a drawing on the far end of the living room. Cutting the pasta into smaller pieces, his sister didn’t seem to have the interest to eat at all. She stopped abruptly and her eyebrows twisted into a knot. “You went to Valerie’s funeral?” The girl stood up in a furious way, almost made the wooden chair to fall back onto the cold hard ground. I stood up also, ready to challenge her(in my ghostly way) as soon as she’d say something about me. I understand why she would know me and my funeral, but why is she so angry about me, about her brother’s best friend?
Alec finally looked at his sister, but this time his expression way more stubborn, and his voice shaking, “Carmel, she was your best friend. You didn’t go to her funeral, this is absolutely unbearable. She was our friend for so long…”
“You know nothing, Alec, we are not even friends at all,” Carmel turned away, tapping her fingers on the table, “I hated her and she hated me. That’s all. Remember that day when you finally got mad at her for me? Yes, and that’s why she hated me. She hates you too, so what was the point?”
Alec seemed to be stung by her words. He covered his face with his hands. Yet, Carmel did not seem to notice and kept on going, “Things I said are real, aren’t they? Secrets I revealed about her, well, as I told you I didn’t do it on purpose. I don’t feel sorry at all for her to get mad at me.” She walked upstairs when she had finished the sentence and let her words echo in the room.
I felt a pain in my head, my heart racing like it was going to jump out of my chest. It was her, it was all because of her. I told myself over and over again. Everything was just playing in my head like a film. Why? Of course I remember. How can I forget, the sweetest girl of the grade, Carmel Davidson, who told me that she was my best friend and told everyone my secrets? I had trusted her, exchange our secrets, gossip, like any girl best friends will do-who knows that as soon as she leave my house, she’d text everyone about it. I would have never found out if she didn’t click on the wrong person and sent it to me that time when she just left my house for a homework project. I still recall that text: “Oh my god, guys did you know that Valerie thought I was her friend and told me she’d go ask Margo for a movie? So disgusting, she just said she liked my brother! What a nice girl she is!” First, I didn’t say I was even going to go out with Margo; second, even if I was, did she have to tell everyone? I didn’t tell her I had a crush on her brother either, so how did she know? I was so shocked by the text that I ran out of my house in tears just to show it to Alec. As soon as he opened the door, I almost screamed to him, “Alec, can you please just tell your dear sister not to make up random rumors anymore? I can’t believe this-she’s been my best friend for so long and this is all that she would do to me!” But Alec just stood there and looked down at me. I looked at his hand, his phone’s screen is still on a text page. “Valerie…” he sighed, “Valerie, she’s my sister. I trust her that she wouldn’t lie to me. If you think Carmel’s that evil, then just stop talking to me.”
Have you ever seen the sunlight fall broken on the ground like a piece of glass? That was how hopeless I was. Betrayal, one of the worst feelings in the world. Two people who I knew lifelong betrayed me all at once. And of course, those secrets that Carmel let out ruined my reputation. People at our school would literally clear out a way for me. Whispers, random stares, I knew things was happening, because as soon as I look at them, they’d look away and pretend they were just staring at the wall. Others stopped talking to me, and I intentionally ignored everyone. How can I trust anyone anymore? More rumors that weren’t even made by Carmel came out, bullies started to appear around me, I had to delete all of my accounts on social medias to escape from all of the. Brick by brick, my guard to others built up so quickly that in two weeks I had lost all of my “friends”. Our family had to move away because my reputation had already effected my parents’ ones.
Anger rose like a raging fire inside me. Taking a deep breath, I tried to calm myself but I still punched my hand to the railing and it went through. Depressed, I went straight for the door and ran away from Alec’s house, like I did when Alec defended his sister instead of me.
Wandering through the streets of the city, I found myself back to my funeral. Most people already left, but some stayed. There were only a few relatives and my family left. My uncle said something and he wiped his face, probably feeling sorry about my death. Then they went on their car and drove away too. And my family’s reaction? No tears. No comforts. My father went to my mom and embraced her. He said something and he smiled. Smiled. Oh, don’t be surprised my friend, my family didn’t care about me. When we moved to the new school, I still made no progress on getting friends. I talked to people, I got good grades, but I didn’t trust any single one of them.
I seeked for help from my parents during dinner and asked them what I should do about it.
“Just go talk to them then,” said Dad, finishing up the last bit of his mashed potato, “They will come to you soon.”
“I can’t just go to school and force them to be your friends?”
“They are not truly friends with me, I can feel it!”
“Oh, well then. Why don’t you just finish your dinner quietly and I won’t mess up my work.” And he left the table.
That day, I was almost forlorn. I went out of the house to take a walk:staying at home was just making me feel lonely and helpless. The sky was in a colour of cerulean which blended into a peach colour; the orange gently deepened and deepened, an indigo line starts to expand from the skyline. People walking on the streets, busy looking at their paths or devices; cars roar by on the roads beside me. I saw some of my classmates hanging out, but they just passed me by the shoulder and didn’t say hello at all. I kicked a pop can that someone dropped onto the ground, the clinging sound echoed in my brain. I just kept on walking, and walking, and walking. Flashes of neon lights, squeaking of the breaks of cars, I paid no attention to that- not even the pain after I, as now I realized, got hit by a car. I didn’t wake up, or never did, until now.
I am a ghost. I can do whatever I want- I can haunt them. I can take my revenge. Raging, I clenched my fists. Stomping my feet on the ground, I slowly moved to my gravestone, staring at that one last person who was still standing there. I was going to take my first step of vengeance on him. As I got closer and closer, I saw that he was holding something white in his hand. I stopped and turned around to the front side of him. Now that I’ve got all of my memory back, I recognized him; he was Charles Anderson, holding the Baby Breath, his eyes shining under the sunlight, probably full of tears. I was so shocked that I just froze there.
I know Charles, but I never knew him well. He was the quietest guy in our grade in my old school; I never paid attention to him when I was still friends with Alec and Carmel. When they both betrayed me, Charles was the only one who betrayed the world for me. He defended me, encouraged me, and even transferred to my new school later on. He wanted to pull me back, he gave me his hand when I was at the edge of desperation; but I just let go of myself and fell into the endless cliff of death. I chose to ignore his smiles and his kind offers; only if I’ve listen to him once, wouldn’t all those wonderful and terrible events that made me shatter all change to a beautiful way instead of a calamity?
Scalding tears ran down my cheeks, I covered my face with my hands as if I wanted to hide my tears from Charles, even though he can’t see or feel me at all. That was the moment when I realized I was looking through my hands: they are fading away. Frightened to the fact that I was going to forever say goodbye to this world, I reached my hand to Charles, wondering if he would “save” me one last time. My hand touched his face, and obviously it went through; I’m still crying, yet I smiled. At least, at least there’s still someone in this world who would care about me. Charles slowly teared his stare of the gravestone and looked at me, “Valerie,” he whispered, “It’s you.” The last brick of the wall in my heart broke down, my heart shattering and broke into cries. Bit by bit, I could feel my body running away from me, my last pieces of mind and memory, flesh and bones. I suddenly started to hum that song that I always loved when I was still alive, hoping that Charles will hear it. He’s gazing into the sky, looking for a star that might have represented me.
The tune kept on going, and no one ever noticed Valerie Greys.