Aug 31

Once Upon a Time

a/n: self-harm mentions.

You stayed on my tongue like my favorite tea. Peppermint.
You didn't smell like Christmas at all. You just wouldn't let yourself be washed away, stuck on strong like a thistle to my side. You'd laugh and tease when I tried to prie you off.
"Not today, Angie. I'm busy."
You still hung off my arm, that childlike glee about you. You would use my height to your advantage, stick on strong, arms wrapped around my bicep. You'd giggle like a child as you swung with my step.
"Okay! I'll just wait until you're free!"
That childlike wonder of yours set my heart to rest. I didn't have to worry about you. But I would anyway, the way a mother did for her child.
I'd brush you off, like usual. My bag filled with my college textbooks, yours with your highschool ones. Still, you'd act as if you were just out of second grade, zipping around with boundless energy and enthusiam.
Sometimes I'd give in.
"Okay, Annie. Let's go."
Always a day where I wasn't preoccupied with something else, or didn't have a lot of homework. Following you after dropping my bag by the edge of the road, I never regretted it.
Near the summer, when everything was winding down, we'd strip and jump in the neighbor's pond. You never cared as you flung off your shirt and anything that dared stay on after. You threw yourself into the water with abandon, letting the murky water shield you from everything. Of course I'd join you. I just had to make sure that none of your clothes got stuck in the mud.
In the winters you'd push - rather, shove - me into the snow. Throwing snowballs, you laughed no matter if you'd missed or hit me. Afterwards, you would snuggle up close on the couch, just to get warm and fall asleep. You'd sit with your cheek to my shoulder, your legs too long for the blanket to cover. You'd snore as we watched a movie or a show and I'd always just turn it off, look out the window, and sigh at my luck.
When it was warm and the flowers bloomed, you'd sit me down in a field and make flower crowns. Daisies, lillies, poppies wound into circlets that you'd pop onto my head and then your own. Careful not to run into a snake or something, you'd lie down and stare at the clouds, pointing at the funny-looking ones and ones you thought looked like things. You'd lay your head on my lap as you pointed upwards until you fell asleep.
How long had we been doing this? Since we met, all those years ago?
We weren't related. I hadn't even known you.
Sometimes, Annie, you'd ask, no, beg me to tell you how we met. On days when I'd come home from university only to get snowed in, you'd make your way to my house and barge in, making yourself at home wherever I was.
"C'mon, Sorana! Tell me about how cute ya thought I looked!" You'd plead, hands gripping either me or something I was wearing. "Please! I wanna hear ya say et!"
I'd smile, brush your wild hair back, my nails doing a better job of brushing your hair than you had in days. You would always hum as I'd oblige you.
"Okay. Let's see.."
I remembered it oh-so-clearly these days. Maybe because you always made me tell you.
I was in my freshman year. I hated it, hated how there was all this drama. I would walk home every day, just to get away from all the annoying girls on the bus. I'd kicked a stone and it flew off into an alley, bouncing off of a metal trashcan. Someone had yelled and had fallen out of it - it was you, Angie. You were digging in the trash for who-knows-what. And when I saw your face, all I could see was how starving and helpless you looked. You looked like you were ten, maybe, and maybe you were. I don't remember. But I took you back home, introduced you to my parents. You didn't have a name, so I gave you one.
"Yes, Angeline. A pretty name for a pretty girl like you." I'd pinch your cheek and you'd lie your head back to grin up at me with that doofus-looking smile on your face.
"Am I still cute, Sorana? Do you still love me like you did then?"
"Of course, Annie. I'll always love you."
You'd squeal, kicking your feet, kicking off a blanket over your legs. You'd hug me tight, never wanting me to let you go.
"And so will I! I'll always love you, Ana, no matter where you may go!"
What happened?
You broke down over something that I can't remember. A class I challenged you to take, maybe, that might've been just a little too difficult for you. I was a junior at my university, you were the same at the highschool I was happy to leave.
"I can't do it, Sorana! It's too hard!"
Your words had gotten a lot less rough as you went through school. You never said 'et', 'ya', or even 'gunna' anymore.
I remember kissing the top of your forehead as I tried to help. "It's okay. No rush. Let's start from the beginning, okay?"
"No! I don't want to do this ever! I just want to stay with you!" You'd thrown your pencil across the room, it landing in some pile of clothes. I'd sighed, getting a new one from my own pencil pouch.
"Annie, you can't. You've gotta stay here and get smarter. When you graduate, of course you can stay with me. But for now, you've gotta go through this, okay? Here, let's start from-"
"No! No! You can't make me!" You'd upturned the desk itself - a heavy thing with drawers filled with notebooks and paper - and your homework had gone flying everywhere. I'd only stared in shock as you'd begun to tremble and cry into my shirt. You'd been holding me as if I was salvation itself and you were a sinner.
I could only hold you. Rub your back with gentle hands as you hiccupped and sobbed, run my fingers through your hair that so desperately needed a cut. You still cried.
You'd stiffened when I'd said your name. You'd pulled back, your eyes still wet with tears.
"T-this..this is the first time I've been like this..without hurting myself..Sorana.." You'd choked out the words with guilt and your tears had only continued to flow. I'd reached out to wipe them away and you'd held my arm down. "'s fine. I s-should show you them, right? So you will believe me?"
"Annie, what do you mean? Hurt yourself?" I'd sat up, breaking free of your loose grip to cup your face. Desperation had driven my next words. "Please tell me you're just joking! You're not actually doing anything to yourself, right?!"
"It was the only thing..that felt good.." Despite your words, you'd cracked a smile. "It felt naughty, it felt bad. Since I've met you..I've just been a good person. I didn't steal anymore. I didn't lie, didn't cheat. I thought I was better. But..I wasn't." Your lip had trembled as you spoke. "Want to see them? They're not fresh. From a few weeks ago..or more.."
You'd wanted to show me your scars.
All I could do, then, is hug you tight.
"No, Angeline! Don't hurt yourself ever again!" I hadn't been able to stop my own tears. All I could do is plead with you, my body shaking.
I hadn't seen your face until you'd moved back. Your eyes'd been wide - it occurred to me that you'd never seen me cry in front of you before.
We'd cried together that night over math and scars I didn't want to see.
"Hey, Sorana! What should I get? There's so many options!"
"Sorana! Do you like this dress?"
"Sor-an-a! Look, I'm done! Aren't you proud of me?!"
Now you'd graduated. I'd graduated with my degree and you'd been oh-so-happy to leave town with me, sitting in my passenger seat with your legs on the dashboard. You'd go through songs and then we'd sing our lungs out to them as mile after mile went by.
Oh, Angeline. I'm so happy to have met you.

a/n: happy ending to a story of mine? what??
anyway. i like writing about people with problems getting better, and the thought of a character adopting another in a motherly-type way and then the two of them growing together appealed to me. i like writing in general, actually. and i'm drinking peppermint tea right now, haha.
it's a wish of mine to help people. when i write, it's natural for me to write characters that help others, so i hope you don't get tired of them.
thank you for reading.