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It's Hard To Have No One Want To Hold You When You Feel Alone

No one ever noticed the quite girl, the silent girl. No one ever noticed the pain in her eyes. When I first met her I didn't notice it myself either, but by the end I did. Too bad that it was too late, too late to do anything about it.

Her name was Leah, she was the typical new girl, shy, quiet, withdrawn and yet for some odd reason I took a liking to her. For that first minute I looked into her eyes I knew she was special, she wasn't the typical numb-skulls that circled the schools education system, she was unique.

The first word uttered from her thin, pale lips was, "Santorini." She was Greek and I knew she was answering my unasked question. It was obviously on everyone's lips where she came from, it wasn't half obvious why either, what with her profile.

Although I was graced with faults upon many it seems I compared nothing to Leah, but it wasn't until she had gone did I realise that.

One of the easily realised things about everybody was that teenagers were cruel. Intentional harsh and manipulative, life was bound to be hard but it shouldn't have been that hard.

A typical first day of school manoeuvred around Leah and I helped her through the closed doors and locked windows that encaged our school life. I watched as Leah seemed to fail miserably at every subject she had decided to study.

When I was young I had always been told that everybody had a special talent so I was sure Leah had one, I just never knew it was worth dying for.

It didn't take me long to recognise that Leah wasn't happy. I coaxed out the reason for her subject choices and was instantaneously ravelled into her world.

Leah, the girl standing beside me, was not what I had expected. Intensely passionate and deeply depressed, life look from all angles like a losing race to Lead and the only thing that kept me from running away was my insane need to help her, to love her and to be there for her.

I remember certain things about the one-month we spent together. I remember the food she cooked with its tantalising aromas and savoury tastes. I remember the photos I insisted we take of each other, if only to prove that life was worth-living. But throughout all these memories one of the most evident things I remember was Leah's sad, wasted smile. Although her eyes would crease at the edges her delicious brown irises showed only darkness and despair; if only I had seen it before.

When I look back, I ask myself is there anything I could have done to prevent this? I can't answer my own question though because I have only one set of eyes, one set of ears and one set of hands. I can perceive things differently with the objects that have already perceived them once and saw no flaw. I was blinded, and I still am.

It was only a week after I had met Leah that I soon discovered her passions and talents. She was a beautiful artist, a majestical cook and a fabulous pianist, but it all went to waste in the end. I knew she didn't see what I saw or what anybody else saw for that matter. She couldn't, she was blinded just like we all are. We're all senseless to ourselves and only see things in people around us.

I can recount that day perfectly. Leah had invited me over to her house for dinner since her mother was still in the office and her father had had to fly back to Greece to visit one of his former clients.

I had never meant to stumble upon Leah's paintings but I think it was fate; it was the last strand that pulled us together and made us friends.

I had grown up with a world full of colour and vibrancy. I had a keen eye for art and an eager ear for music. I was sided against a hefty meal either. But growing up in such a loving and encouraging environment that when I saw Leah's artworks I knew they had to be shown to the world and I knew that Leah's parents wouldn't allow it.

The roughly hidden paintings residing in her clothes closet where the closest thing to love Leah had experienced I later learned. They were her children, her life and I do feel somewhat guilty for prying through them without consent but when life gives you lemons you might as well make lemonade.

After piecing through the variously dark and morbid artworks I had returned downstairs to find a stunning feast. Who knew what one cookbook could do?

I had waited until dessert to ask Leah about them, she seemed edgy enough at having me over for dinner considering we weren't really friends yet. But I'm an open and caring person and I was willing to take anyone into my life.

Leah stumbled over her words and fumbled with her fingers as I asked her. Her confession rocked my core. I had never understood the dark, morbid pictures I found until she told me about her paintings. She was someone who constantly surprised me and I think that if she were alive right now she would still be surprising me.

The truth about Leah was a depression that she had developed in the early stages of childhood. It wasn't a psychological depression but a chemical one. Her body couldn't control the acidities in her brain that channelled her emotions and helped her to get over things. Leah was impotent in the way of personality development. She was a five year old and always would be.

I hadn't expected anything more from Leah that night but then as I patiently waited on the front porch for my mother to pick me up I heard the soft drifting sounds of Mozart confound my ears. The accuracy and consistency made me sure it was the radio. I knocked on the door again.

I was stunned beyond belief to find Leah sitting at a piano, softly strumming out various notes, her head bent low to the piano and soft tears circling to form little puddles on the white keys. I could tell they weren't tears of sadness; she felt at least an ounce of happiness that night. Maybe it was the last time she ever felt happiness, I can't remember her ever looking so calm and serene again.

She didn't find out I had heard her playing until the following afternoon when I called her and asked her over for the night to return the offer she had granted to me the night before. She was thrilled.

Before that night we had seemed acquaintances but we had grown to friends within three hours.

Leah was amazed at my house. She had always wanted an old house from the Victorian era and I remember the way she gently stroked the walls with her fingertips and stood gazing for minutes upon minutes at the intricate patterns laid upon the high-roofed ceilings.

That night was momentous but we slipped slightly from our solitude back into school life where nothing is sacred.

I wasn't the only one who had noticed by now the glum look of despair plastered on Leah's Greek features or thee thin, decaying hair that was consistently retreating from her head. Up until then I didn't Leah's condition was serious, I took the happiness I felt with her for granted, and I took her friendship for granted.

Life wasn't easy for Leah. The endless counsellor visits and constant bad grades not too mention the none too friendly cheer leaders that reined down the school.

They noticed the gloomy cloud that seemed to swath around Leah's curly chestnut head of hair and with Leah's insistent wearing of black it was only given to a few days before rumours were started and life's descended.

In school we all have our labels. Leah was an 'emo' to them. I always consider to myself why the picked on her and not me. I wore black as well but I guess because I could smile and laugh I wasn't a threat to the emotional era; I was just black.

Leah didn't hear about the rumours until a fortnight after she had started at our school. I guess nobody wants to hear that they're being labelled and talked about behind their back but the way Leah reacted scared me so thoroughly that even thinking about the despair and discord that had bred itself on her face made me feel tortured.

It was a hard lesson for me to learn that words can only do so much, even from a friend. What really gets a person through a crisis is love and support, and I couldn't give her all that, only her family could.

Lead had started to drift away from me after that, she didn't want to be a nuisance to me she once told me but the more she drifted the more intent I was upon chasing her and helping her.

I was stuck. Even now I can still see the rut we got ourselves stuck in and slowly my words began to dissipate into nothing and I soon felt inadequate to talk to Leah. She needed help, real help and it was something I couldn't provide but I knew that if her parents wanted to they could provide it for Leah and maybe then she would listen and maybe then she wouldn't have tried so hard to disappear and accomplish it.

I ate breakfast the morning it happened. I rarely ate breakfast but for some reason I felt it was necessary. I didn't want to waste away like I had been threatening to do for sometime now.

I think I surprised everybody that day with how panicky I became. It wasn't odd for Leah to be late but even I knew that if she wasn't there by morning tea that something was definitely wrong.

I had been over at her house just the night before. I had discouraged her from getting emancipated from her parents even though it might have helped the situation.

I couldn't think properly as I ran up her front steps of the porch and began to harassingly knock on the front door. To my utter disbelief it was wide open with my few loud knocks.

I was blinded. It seemed my peripheral vision was blocked or jammed because I didn't notice the piece of paper that slipped from underneath the door when I had accidentally flung it open with my over active knocks, I just ran straight inside.

My first instinct was to check the gallery of their enormous house. I knew Leah would be spending her time there if she was sick but I knew deep down inside that she wouldn't be there. She had grown to loathe the place in the end as it had ravaged away her passion from painting in the past days as her medication had ripped to a low supply.

I was a torrent of discord and disbelief as I stumbled blindly through the house, searching and searching, praying that Leah was there somewhere. Praying that maybe she had just hit her head and was knocked out or that she had fainted or something because I wouldn't be able to the stand the alternative if I couldn't find her.

In the end I collapsed on the Parlour floor and that was the dreaded moment the white spark caught my eye, as it lay undisturbed on the dark mahogany floorboards.

I was resistant to picking it up at first, what if it said something horrible that I wouldn't want to know.

In the end I couldn't deny it, I had to read the letter. For all I knew Leah had just ran away and could be found and I could help her through some of the simpler issues but I didn't know that my mind played relentless tricks on my eyes as I tried to read the letter with trembling hands that threatened to faint on me at any moment.

The only part of the letter I can reconcile clearly is the last sentence scribbled neatly at the bottom in Leah's cursive handwriting.

"It's hard to have no one want to hold you when you feel alone."

I knew Leah had been lonely but I had misinterpreted every single and every sign she had ever sent my way. Leah hadn't loved me like a friend she had loved me like a lover and I finally understood that as I set there alone in the Parlour.

I soon realised what Leah meant by those words. I felt so alone in that moment that I would have done anything to have strong arms wrapped around me but I had no one so I hugged myself.

It took three policemen to shift me from my position. It took another five to locate Leah's body in their expansive backyard.

Leah had always been calm and quiet and I guess that was the way she wanted to die as well. I could never imagine Leah abusing herself or her body; she was to psychologically delicate for that. She had dreamt of a beautiful, serene and painless death and that is what she had received.

At least I can take comfort in the fact that she died happy. An overdose of her medication proved her suicide and it also displayed the high endorphin levels that had entered her brain and stimulated dreams.

I wounder constantly if Leah was dreaming when she died. They said she would have had to be asleep at least three hours before she died. I wonder if she dreamed of me?

I could never understand Leah, she was too perfect and delicate for me to be able to fully recognise but now I think I piece her small puzzle together.

Inside I believe Leah was a vibrant and lively person. I can just feel it inside of me but it just goes to show you never really know someone until they've gone because when they're gone that's when you really start to interpret their signs and signals.

Leah was a special person. She would have blessed the world with beautiful artworks, inspiring compositions and magical recipes. She did bless the world in fact.

After her parents cleaned out Leah's room they found the paintings, each and every one of them. I don't they even realised the extremeness of Leah's condition but in those paintings it was so evident and apparent.

Her parents gave me those paintings and they now grace the walls of my hallway in my house. It's an old style house from the Victorian era, it's the house Leah loved and the one she stared at and styled in her mind.

I can clearly see now where Leah was coming from when I saw that night, hunched over the piano with small tears rolling down her warm face. I can clearly see.

I loved Leah, but not in the way she loved me and that was the major thing she needed and the one thing that I couldn't distribute to her. I hope she understood that, I hope she finally saw that.

I still see Leah sometimes. I see her in those paintings and I hear her when Mozart is drummed through the surround sound system at the office I work at. I remember every part of Leah's perfectly sculpted body because it is really true what she ended that letter with it is hard to have no one want to hold you when you feel alone. So to all my patients I tell them to hug themselves because if you can't first hug yourself that you aren't ready to hug anybody in return when they hug you.
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Upload Date: 31/12/1969

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