Ella Pilson 2016 + '18
Bottling It In
It’s all too much. I’m bottling everything up and my already severe anxiety has gotten worse. Damn you mum. I don’t want to go to another Counselor. I don’t need to go to another Counselor.
“Hi Iris, I’m your new Counselor. My name is Freda. Nice to meet you.” The woman - Freda grins widely at me.
It’s all too much. The woollen green jumper she’s wearing, the hospitable-white walls and the strong smell of washing detergent.
It makes me sick.
“Hey…..” I mutter. I just want to get this over and done with.
“Let’s have a seat. Tell me, what’s the main problem you’re dealing with?” Freda gestures to two cushioned seats.
I sit down.
“Boys - mostly.” I sigh. Boys boys boys.
It’s always boys.
“In what way?” She asked.
“Some are extremely attractive - but the problem is they’re ‘popular’ and ‘cool’ so they hate me and so it means I’ll never be able to date any of them, ever. Because I’m ugly and basically all of them hate me and my personality is so shit. And sometimes I really try to be nice to them, and sometimes I just can’t help it and I’ll say something stupid or mutter something under my breath or call out something rude to them. And I hate doing that. I really just want to befriend them but…” I burry my face in my hands
“It’s just boys? Boys aren’t that bad…” Freda says
I hear a pen against paper, a sign she’s writing down notes. Damn it. If any of the boys in my class - or anyone I know in general - gets ahold of these, I’m dead.
“It’s not just them. It’s my schoolwork and future and the inevitability of death and all my friends with illnesses - mostly mental, and my fears and my self consciousness and my low self esteem And this fight-like thing I’m having with my friend Tanis.” I feel my nose starting to heat up.
I don’t want to cry.
“Friends with illnesses?” Freda asks
Here we go. “My two best friends, - one has anxiety and the other has cut and has depression. The one with depression - his crush - one of my friends - was anorexic, has cut and has depression. Another friend has - or has had - panic attacks… And the worse one, one of my good friends Joy has Leukemia. And it’s tough as a friend to support her because sometimes I just break down and cry.”
Tears are dripping rapidly, I have to keep sniffling and I bet my eyes are close to being bloodshot red.
“I’m so sorry.” Freda apologies. No you’re not. “What about your fears - you said that helps cause your anxiety and it’d be helpful to know what they are.” she suggests.
Like that’s going to help.
“Mostly rejection. Whether it’s friends or boys it doesn’t matter. Also mostly judgement. And being in an inclosed space with birds, and looking in the mirror at night.” I tell Freda. I’m not really interested in talking about my fears.
“The fight?” She asks. God. Too many questions.
“I’d rather not. But it involves attractive males. I just wish Tanis would know my taste in guys is different from hers.”
“Speaking of boys, do you like anyone right now? What’s he like?”
“His name is Cayden. He has short brown hair, thin eyebrows, almond shaped blue eyes, freckles, a ski-sloped nose, is really tall, really thin. He’s a bit irritating, and in some subjects, quite dumb, but others, he’s really smart. I still have strong - like really strong feelings for him anyway. I just wish he felt the same.” I can’t stop. “Boys are one of the reasons why I listen to so much music and why I love listening to Taylor Swift so much. I guess a song to describe him is This Love by Taylor Swift or Colours by Halsey. But I really miss someone I used to like, his name was Theo. He had sandy blond hair and wild variety of freckles. He was really funny and actually listened to me. I know without hesitation Red is the song I associate with us. Especially the lines ‘Missing him was dark grey all alone / Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met / Remembering him comes in flashbacks and echoes / Tell myself it's time now, gotta let go / But moving on from him is impossible / When I still see it all in my head.” I grabbed a tissue. Wiping my nose.
“And if you could say anything to Cayden, what would you?” Freda questions.
“Kimi to futari sugoshita jikan wo, suki kirai mo, amai mo nigai mo, Zenbu matomete taisetsu ni suru yo. That’s what I’d say.”
Freda looked at me, confused.
“What does that mean?”
“It’s Japanese for ‘All the time we spend together, the good and the bad, a bitter-sweet mix. I'm gonna treasure every second of it.’ because the memories of the last boy I liked are fond to me so I’d like Cayden to know I already treasure the memories of him and I will continue to do so and I hope - one day there’ll be memories that are more meaningful.” I rubbed my eyes.
“Well. I hope one day you get to. Anyway. Our time’s up. See you next week, Iris. And try listening to more music if it calms you.” Freda beams at me.
I shrug, getting up and leaving the room.
I guess letting it out was better than bottling it in.
Thousands of years ago, Icarus flew too close to the sun. He was destined to become a god, but his foolishness ended his life before he had the chance.
Lily wasn’t foolish. She was determined to win the competition and become a goddess. It was held to find a human worthy of becoming the god Icarus was going to be. Lily didn’t know how to prepare for such a competition, and the moment she arrived at the arena, she almost regretted it.
Everyone who entered forfeited or died. No one had ever won before. The large oak doors of the arena opened, and Lily stumbled through them with the large group around her. She slipped into a seat on the side and breathed a sigh of relief, she’d passed the first challenge by getting a seat, she just needed to do the rest. Lily bit her lip anxiously and jumped in her seat when she heard a voice beside her.
“Don’t bite your lips, you’ll make them cracked.” Teasingly scolded a male voice.
Lily turned to her right and came face to face with a boy around the same age. He had wavy brown hair and cedar brown eyes. She rolled her eyes and turned away.
“That’s a great name, you’re as beautiful as the flower. Say, do you want to go on an adventure?”
Lily turned back to Matt, glaring. “I’m busy.”
He threw his head back and laughed, before grabbing her wrist and pulling her out of her seat.
Lily yelled in protest, but he was already dragging her out the arena.
Matt continued to run, never letting go of her hand before he reached an old sandstone building.
“Look, Matt. That was my only chance to be forever sixteen. Now next time I can try I’ll be 26 and what if someone in there ends up becoming a god today!” she shouted.
Matt just climbed up a ladder onto the roof of the building.
“Are you coming angel?” he asked.
Lily spluttered in disbelief, her face going red before she followed him up.
She found the taller boy lying down, looking up at the stars, and he turned his head towards her, beckoning for her to join him. And reluctantly, Lily did.
The competition started at 1 am, but by the time Lily had asked Matt the time after they’d been chatting for so long, they realised it was already 5 am.
“Well better to start now than never.” The dark haired boy mumbled to himself as he stood up and began to walk to the edge of the building.
Lily followed, confused.
“You see that boy down there? In the black? I’ll give you twenty if you flirt with him.”
Lily looked down, and while she felt slightly intimidated by the guy, she wasn’t one to back down from a bet and nodded at Matt.
And she flirted with the boy, Matt made a mental note in his head.
Lily climbed back up, a triumphant smile on her face. And once she made her way to Matt’s side, there was a loud rumble of thunder.
“Stand with me, angel. Don’t move,” he whispered, grabbing her hand.
She was confused but focused on how much warmer and bigger his hand was than her own until she felt the force of a strong wind. Trees around them shook, Lily felt like she was going to fly away, but then after some minutes, it ended.
Matt grinned, turning to Lily, patting down her windblown hair.
She looked up at him, laughing before he leant down and kissed her.
Lily was shocked but wasn’t disappointed. Over the last few hours, she’d developed a bit of a crush on him.
And the sun started to rise, the sky more bright and blue. Matt pulled away, smiling.
“You did it.”
“You became a god, angel.”
She stared at him in shock.
“Flirt with death, challenge the thunder, kiss the moon. I’m the god of the moon, and you, angel, you’re the goddess of the sun.”