I treated my girls well. At least I would think so.
There was always room to talk and express oneself freely.
I didn’t do any of the dirty work, but I wasn’t different from them. The majority of us are just college students trying to find a way out. We have our everyday struggles outside of this business, so I hosted monthly rewind nights. We’d all bring our box wine, and let go. We were ourselves; we cried, we cursed, we danced, and ate tons of pizza.
I have to make that happen tonight. The pressure of it is suffocating. I walked to my closet, grabbed my favorite ripped jeans, backless black shirt, and red converse. As I began to dress, the recurring thought of Ava terrorized me.
The first rewind night, was when we all got to know one another. And Ava was the beauty and life of the party. That night, she had on light blue jeans, sandals, and of course, a nude t-shirt. One by one; the girls showed up.
The location was Bel’s house. She resided in a suburban neighborhood, in a three-story house. Her mom, was always out of town with a boyfriend so we enjoyed the luxury of a mini-mansion whenever we could.
Ava was the 4th girl to arrive out of the 6 of them. When the 6th came, I better explained Bel, Ty, and myself.
“So, I want these nights to be just about us, our problems, and our relaxation. Bel, Ty, and I want you all to be relaxed, and to feel comfortable with us, as we want to be relaxed and comfortable with you all.”
I went deeper into who I am, the fact that I have three younger siblings that I help take care of, all while paying for myself to be in college. Both Bel and Ty’s story were similar to each other’s; coming from money and having parents who don’t show them attention.
We shared and one by one, they all shared their stories. Some depressing, heartbreaking, exciting, but all wanting. They were wanting or missing something in their lives.
Ava spoke last. She explained that she was the youngest of three. Her older two sisters were married with children and careers. Going on to tell how she was engaged to someone she was madly in love with until finding out their engagement was only a business agreement between his family and her parents. While explaining her relationship with her ex-fiancé, she began to sob, so I sat next to her and embraced her. After a moment, the girls started talking amongst themselves and me, and Ava spoke privately about our lives. I watched her frown turn into endless smiling as we ran out of life stories to exchange.
Shortly, things died down until Ava pranced over to the stereo system, plugged in her phone, and out of all the songs played “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” by Cyndi Lauper. She came over and pulled me up, I pulled Bel up, and she pulled Liz up, and soon we were all dancing and smiling uncontrollably. We went from listening to “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé, “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross, and all the way to a New Orleans’s bounce mix.
We enjoyed one another’s presence and had no care in the world of how foolish we looked. We sipped our black box wine, vibed with one another, and drunk the rest of the night away. We all clicked, but I found myself closer to Ava than the rest.
I looked forward to our nights every time, except this time because there’s no Ava.
To be weary is a scary feeling. I had no clue if I was coming or going.
5 hours before throwing on these clothes, I only wanted to close my eyes but feared the back of my eyelids revealing my truth. So, I sat there with my book in my lap. I didn’t look at it or open it. I only watched out in front of me and envisioned Ava in the tub. I wanted that image out of my mind badly.
Maybe I should close my eyes. Maybe the truth is something I need. Perhaps this all was a test. A COMPLETE FACADE!
My phone rang more than 20 times.
There were knocks on my door.
Answers were needed from me. But I had none.
I answered no phone, answered no door, faced no truth. For 5 hours.
Did I cost Ava her life?
My mind went back to that question after every second.
When the little hand rested on the seven, while the big hand met the 12, I stood up, only to sit right back down. I hit rock bottom, and tears came rolling down my face. My body lay quietly, as the tears roared down my cheeks.
While my tears refused to seize, the loud knocks on my door began again. I heard my name, but I was stuck. The blows stopped, and I heard keys.
My door was being unlocked, and I heard footsteps coming my way. Shortly after, my body was wrapped in arms, and I couldn’t help but sink.
The 5th hour came to an end. My tears soothed, and my body warmed as it was held tightly. No words were needed; my tears said enough.
The time was 8:00 PM. I was guided to my bedroom closet until I met myself tying on the red converse, and confronting my truth.
No, I did not cost Ava her life.