Authors: Heather Wiginton
by Heather Wiginton
Table of Contents
About the Author
Reckless Mind Playlist
“Say Something” - A Great Big World
“Haunted” - Taylor Swift
“Tears Don't Fall” - Bullet For My Valentine
“Story Of My Life” - One Direction
“Gravity” - Sara Bareilles
“The Fantasy” - 30 Seconds to Mars
“The Feel Good Drag” - Anberlin
“Bleed” - Hot Chelle Rae
“Give Me Love” - Ed Sheeran
“What's My Name” - Rihanna/Drake
“Apologize” - One Republic
“Hurt” - Nine Inch Nails
“What Do I Have To Do” - Stabbing Westward
“All These Things I Hate” - Bullet For My Valentine
“Nightingale” - Demi Lovato
“A Drop In The Ocean” - Ron Pope
“I Knew You Were Trouble” - Taylor Swift
“Russian Roulette” - Rihanna
Looking through the cold water covering my head in the deep, round bath sitting in the middle of the room, my body long since trained not to struggle, I no longer responded. Eight small cracks covered the peeling eggshell colored ceiling. One semi large spider hung in a corner. My lungs ached, I fought against it. Dim moonlight came in through the parted curtains blowing ever so slightly with the summer breeze coming in the window. This wasn't my first, or twentieth, time in this position. I used to think my life would end this way, or another equally tragic scenario, at the hands of people who should love me.
I had long since removed my heart from everything involving my life. All I experienced and saw love to be was an excuse to receive forgiveness for words cutting across wrists like knives, for hands leaving marks behind dusting the skin in various shades of black, for meaningless relationships paraded around to break a heart, and unspeakable actions surely meant to break the mind. But as long as the words
were uttered all was to be forgotten.
Today I'd leave the bullshit behind, start my new life. Bringing my head above water quietly I pulled in gasped breaths through my mouth, cloudy vision began to right itself. I didn't deserve to breathe, or so I was told, my mere existence ruined lives. How many lives I'm not sure. It seemed only theirs, but then again I didn't let anyone close enough to me to be certain.
They didn't know I'd leave or where I'd go. No number or address would be left behind on the pristine fake marble counter in their precious kitchen, I wouldn't take a single piece of clothing or shoes they ever begrudgingly gave me. I'd had a job for the last year and a half, secretly saving money. They never knew because that would involve caring about something other than what I could get them. To them I equaled a monthly paycheck, a flaunted pawn used in obtaining connections.
Everyone in my life wanted something from me. Everyone. If I couldn't provide what they deemed necessity, I was punished, scars and memories mark my body and mind making sure I never forgot what
would do to me.
I didn't speak to the people I was forced to live with, even if I did it would fall on deaf ears. Friends were easy to come by in high school, but I played a role. I gave them what they wanted to see on the outside. Hanging out at football and basketball games, talking in school, but that's where it ended. No one ever came to my house, no one knew the real me. Guys tried to date me, they flirted, and I was well informed of certain touches and actions to make a man want me. Sometimes I found myself doing these things out of habit to the boys in school, but nothing progressed. They'd call me a tease, I'd roll my eyes and tell them they were stupid to think I'd ever want them in the first place.
At night I'd cry myself to sleep because I did, I did want them. Not any of
specifically, but I wanted even one person to want me for me. I needed to work through my shit, get away from everything pulling me down, and that's why I was moving across the country. Old habits have to be broken, and for fuck's sake, I needed to try to be a person worthy of someone actually giving a shit about me.
I hear old habits are hard to break.
Three thirty in the morning, I throw on black skinny jeans, a grey oversized tshirt, and flip flops. My bags have been packed for weeks, I pulled the two small duffles out from under my bed. The cab would be here in five minutes, my plane ticket tucked into my back pocket.
Silently I tip toed down the stairs and out the front door, mentally flipping the whole place off. Not a single tear ran down my face as I walked away from the house that was a prison instead of a home. And so I repeated to myself the same thing I had been since I decided to leave.
My name is Kahlen Jourdan.
My mind is royally messed up.
I'm moving across the country to start over.
I'm going to college.
I will get my shit together.
But...I will never fall in love.
(Three months later)
I successfully managed to stay off the radar all summer long. The small apartment I secured for myself was more than I needed, and the money I'd saved was holding me over to this point, but there were bills to pay and food to buy, so I had to get a job. I'd only had one job before, spent working by myself basically, so the thought of starting somewhere new made my mind race. I felt physically ill.
More college kids moved in this week to the apartment buildings surrounding me, but the two apartments directly across from mine were still empty. If the universe was ever going to bestow some kindness on me I'd take it in the likes of no one living across the hall.
Over the summer I distanced memories of growing up from my mind, trying to find things to genuinely make me happy. I took an art and dance class at the local community center, and quickly realized I couldn't draw to save my life. Dance on the other hand had become a therapeutic release for me. For the first time in my life I'd found a way to escape and forget the torment ricocheting in my mind.
The music store I applied to was across the street from the community center, so I would still be able to fit dance in easily with my work and school schedule. Slipping some sandals on, I headed out for campus orientation. The sun was brilliant in South Carolina, the humidity on the other hand, especially here in Columbia, could be a little overwhelming, but I didn't mind.
I locked my car, pulled my folded orientation sheet from my back pocket, and made my way to what everyone around here called the horseshoe, which was at the heart of the University of South Carolina. Slowly, I approached a smaller group than expected, eyeing each person standing there and keeping my distance. Out of the corner of my eye blonde flashed my direction.
“Oh, thank fucking gosh.” A petite girl grabbed my hand and brought me closer to the group. “I thought I was going to be left here with all these idiots,” her hands moved animatedly in front of her body, not keeping her voice down one bit.
Two very shy looking girls half turned to look at her, and a guy rolled his eyes. “Those two are attached at the damn hip,” she pointed at the girls. “And
asshat asked me out before even asking my name.” The guy she spoke of turned to his friend who gave him a fist bump.
“Huh, asshat indeed.” I mumbled quietly. The rest of the group ignored the new friend to my right.
“I'm Emma Lucas. Blonde, loud, gorgeous,” she motioned up and down her body. “Freshman, and right now, annoyed. Please tell me we are going to be best friends.” The look on her face was knowing, I was unsure. Emma was gorgeous, her green eyes sparkled in a way I could only describe as mischievous. Bright peach shorts were shorter than mine, she wore a gorgeous loose chiffon stripped halter, and some wedge sandals. I was intimidated, but I wanted this, needed it.
“Alright, yeah.” I swallowed, reminding myself it was time to start over, and Emma seemed like she could be the first real friend I'd had my entire life. “I'm Kahlen Jourdan. Brunette, not so loud, not so gorgeous,” I mimicked her hand gestures. “Freshman, and nervous more than anything.”
Emma laughed, immediately I grew self-conscious. I didn't want to put on my fake I'm-going-to-act-super-confident-even though-I'm-lying-about-it Kahlen anymore. I wanted to just be me, and right now I was feeling vulnerable. “Kahlen Jourdan, you are definitely all right in my book. If you think you're anything less than drop dead gorgeous you're blind.” Her eyebrows raised and a devilish grin spread across her face. “Here, I'll show you what I mean.”
She walked over to a group of guys, all looking like they just stepped out of a Jcrew catalog spread with their cropped hair, kahki cargo shorts, and multi-colored polos between them. When she turned to me pointing I wondered what the hell she was up to. Her smile lit up her face as she nodded to the guys, turning away from them she returned to my side.
“Every single guy over there wants to be your personal escort around campus.” My mouth dropped open, letters refusing to formulate words, I was officially speechless for a second before I realized if I didn't speak they might actually make their way over.
“What did you say to them?”
“That we need a bit of help navigating the campus.” I noticed she had the common southern touch to her words like almost every person I'd come in contact with did. “Two of them said they'd help me. The other three wanted to know who my friend was.” Her eyebrows wiggled up and down.
Only being told I was ugly and worthless for so many years had made me believe it, but I was trying to overcome the lies now. A few horny college guys, who would probably screw anything with two legs that was willing, was not my idea of reinforcement of the positive spin I tried to put on my thoughts of myself lately.
One of the guys turned, I saw him debating if he should come over, then he moved our direction. Immediately my mind flashed to the past, of being told how to make a man want me. Had I done something to make him think he should come over? Bile rose in the back of my throat. My mind played tricks on me, shifting the face of the boy who walked toward me through many others I'd seen over the last few years. Breath came in short gasps, and my vision blurred. Turning away with my back to Emma and whoever he was, I told myself to pull it together. My mind was a reckless thing still learning to function without constantly bringing up past memories I'd locked away.
“Kahlen, this is,” nothing. I heard nothing but ringing in my ears. I pressed my hands on either side of my head to cover any sound trying to enter, and I sank to my knees on the plush green grass squeezing my eyes open and closed trying to clear the varying images floating through my head. Emma came into my line of sight, she wasn't speaking though. Slowly she put her hands, palms facing me, up in front of her, I think showing me she wasn't going to hurt me. Her soft slender fingers wrapped around my wrists, her curious eyes locked on mine, she moved my hands away from my ears.