Amelia has a problem, but no one seems to understand her.
| Amelia’s nose began to tingle, and her eyes filled with tears. Something that had been happening way too often lately. Pinching her nose to stop the sensation, she turned around and stomped to her room, only stopping to turn around and yell, “I hope you’re happy!” She didn’t want to move. She had known it was coming, though. Her mom had been out of a job for months. So had her dad. She’d even told her friends about her worries. At first they tried to comfort her, and they told her that it wouldn’t be too bad. That her mom would find another job locally, and even if she didn’t they would stay with her. Amelia couldn’t believe it, though. She felt unhappiness sinking around her the same way the water in her pool felt around her when she did a cannonball.
Her perfect life. Gone.
Amie’s mother often got the way she was feeling right now. She called it depression. But it was worse than that.
The thought of moving had put her into this funk. And this funk had upset her friends. They didn’t want to be with her anymore. She saw how they avoided her. The constant bad mood had ruined her life. She wanted to go out with her friends so badly. She really did, but she just couldn’t. The moment she got home from school, she would crawl into her bed, roll into a little ball, and start crying about nothing. A couple of days last week she couldn’t even bring herself to get out of bed. Amelia’s normally perfect blond hair was now in a greasy, knotty ponytail, and she hadn’t changed her clothes in almost three days.
Amelia had been feeling a lot better this morning. She suspected that her mother had put one of her own anti-depressants into her tea. She had walked downstairs and gotten some toast. Her sister, Gracie, and her brother, Joey, had looked at her oddly, but they hadn’t said anything. They knew she had mom’s problem now. They also knew she was going to have a lot of trouble starting over.
Until last week, Amelia had had the same friends since preschool. No one new joined her group, and no one left. Now it was all over.
“Good morning, Amelia,” her mom had said.
“Morning,” she’d said grumpily back.
“You know, dear, I think we’re going to have to get you some pills like mine.”
“Why don’t you go get dressed? This doctor I’m thinking about… He works near the new house.” Amie stopped listening. The new house. The one where she would have to share a room with her sister. Where there was no pool, friends, or anyone she knew. “Amelia?”
“I’ve set your appointment for noon. We can get something to eat afterwards. Now go get dressed.” Amelia stood up and began to walk out of the kitchen. “Maybe we’ll drive by the house!” her mother called after her.
Amelia stopped and turned around. “We’re already in the house.” Her mother clicked her tongue.
“Honey, you’re going to have to face it some time. Your father and I both can’t find jobs anywhere but there. We’re moving.” She paused, obviously searching for what to say next. “Just last week you told me that you wanted to move.” That was when Amie had stomped out.
Her mother made her so angry. But that wasn’t important right now. Amelia couldn’t take much more of this unhappy stuff. She wanted to be able to laugh without bursting into tears again. She wanted to be able to wake up in the morning without thinking, ‘Why am I still alive?’ Of course, she probably wouldn’t be much better until she made new friends, but taking the deadweight of this depression off her shoulders sounded good.
She couldn’t understand why the gang had given up on her so quickly. They had gone through so much together, and her friends had simply left her alone. No one seemed to understand what she was going through, even her best friend. Amelia had gone to Stacie’s side the moment she had found out about her mother having cancer, and then she’d stayed there. It had been devastating for Stacie, and when her mother had died, Amelia had stuck with her for almost a year.
Amelia racked her brain for any reason she had given her friends to hate her. Maybe she’s said something hurtful in her confused pain. Or maybe a rumor was going around that made her sound like a horrible person. That had happened before, though, and her friends had given her the benefit of the doubt. They always had.
Ameliia just couldn’t understand why they would leave her. There was still a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel, though. Maybe they would come back. If the medicine worked the way her mother said it did, Amie would be more than glad to go to this appointment. Even if it meant stopping at the new house. She was willing to do anything to get her friends back.
At eleven o’clock, Amelia walked down the stairs.
“Mom? I’m ready to go.” Her mother smiled at her and put down the book she was reading. Psychology for Dummies. Amelia shifted uncomfortably. Her mom over-analyzed everything already. The last thing she needed was for her mother to diagnose her with multiple personalities.
“That’s great, Amie. Let’s go. You don’t want to be late. Those happy pills work wonders for me.” Amelia attempted a weak smile, but just couldn’t manage it.
They drove to the doctor’s in silence, and when Amie turned up the radio, her mother let it go. It made her wonder if maybe she was beginning to understand.
The doctor had been nice and written Amelia’s prescription at the end of the appointment. The drive home was the same as the one there. Amie cranked the stereo and leaned her head against the cool glass to sooth another pulsing headache. Her eyes became unfocused and she could see her mother’s reflection in the window glancing at her occasionally with a nervous look on her face. Amie knew why. The car pulled into a driveway she had seen once before.
“I know how you feel about this, Amie, but I think you’ll like it once you get used to it. Let’s go inside.” She opened her own door, walked around the outside of the car, and let Amie out. She followed her mother slowly around the house, taking in every shag carpet, every door that didn’t close, and every dusty corner. How could her mother expect her to just accept this? Her room seemed even smaller than it had last time, and the purple walls closed in on her as she entered the room. Her mother seemed to be having no problems at all, and left her in the middle of the empty floor.
Her eyes overflowed with salty tears at the thought of life in this new place, and then at the fact that her mother had left her alone in this claustrophobic room. Amie backed into a violet corner and pulled her knees up to her chest. Heels clicking down the wooden hallway warned her of her mother’s return.
“What’s wrong, honey?” She crossed the room and kneeled down next to Amie. She knew exactly what was wrong, of course. She had gone to that horrible place in her head many times.
Amie sniffed and forced her head off of her knees. “I don’t like this room,” she blubbed. “It’s too… purple.” She sniffed. That wasn’t what she had meant to say. She wanted to say not hers. Or far away from the place she loved. Or weird. Not purple.
“We’ll paint it another color.” She stood up and smoothed her shirt. “Amie? Come on. Let’s go to the drug store. Then we can get some Chinese take-out for dinner.” She bent and pulled her daughter up by the elbow. Amie held on to her mother, her life line, the whole way to the car.
Amie rolled out of bed and switched off her flashing alarm clock.
The first thought in her head wasn’t, ‘Why am I still here?’ but, ‘Mmmmm… I love the sound of birds in the morning.’ She flipped on her light and pushed up her window, allowing the crisp morning breeze to come through.
“Amelia?” She turned around and saw her father standing in her open doorway.
“I have your pill.” He handed her the pill and a glass of water.
“Thanks,” Amie said, and she was truly grateful. If last week ever happened again, she didn’t know what she would do.
“Are you ready to go?”
“Yeah. I just have to pack my dolls.”
“Great.” He took the empty glass and hugged her awkwardly. Then he went downstairs to make breakfast. Their last meal in this house.
Amelia open her closet and pulled out all the boxes that had piled up over the years. Carefully, she picked up a doll from its stand and set it into a lined shoebox. Her first porcelain doll. She’d begged her mom for it for weeks. After that, she’d just told people that she was a collector. Amelia always got at least two of them for her birthday.
She set the lid on the box and moved on to the next doll. Amie suspected that she wouldn’t be getting any expansive gifts for her birthday this year. But that would be okay.
Her good mood stayed with her that whole morning. She was ready.
Amie walked into her new school and was instantly amazed at how friendly everyone was. The only thing she had really been worried about was making friends. Being in the same group your whole life did have advantages, but it had disadvantages, too. As she opened her locker, a voice behind her said, “Hi.” A guy’s voice. Slowly she turned around and saw that he was tall with very black hair. Then she noticed that a girl was holding his hand. She reminded Amelia of Stacie. Two other girls were standing beside them. For some reason, this little group of people seemed a lot like her old gang.
Smiling, she said, “Hi.” This was going to be okay. She just knew it.
>>> I would just like you all to know that I didn't write this story from personal experience. I got most of the way Amelia was feeling through books I've read. :) Please review.