― twenty-five: just breathe

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[ CHAPTER 25 : JUST BREATHE :you got a fast car, i want a ticket to anywhere. maybe we make a deal, maybe together we can get somewhere. anyplace is better. starting from zero got nothing to lose. maybe we'll make something, me, myself i got nothing to prove. you got a fast car, i got a plan to get us out of here. i been working at the convenience store. managed to save just a little bit of money. won't have to drive too far, just 'cross the border and into the city. you and i can both get jobs, and finally see what it means to be living.]  

  ★★★★★  


          THERE ARE THREE THINGS that make Parker unable to breathe. The look on the paramedics faces when they lifted her grandmother onto the gurney. Her brain finally connecting the dots between why Rose was so adamant about leaving the house, what Cameron said, and the text she received afterwards. But, most of all, the unnerving feeling of sitting in a waiting room; her mother crying into her father's shoulder, Nico and Leo somewhere in the hospital but in different areas, and Cameron who appeared after Parker somehow (through her emotions) texted her about what happened, sitting directly beside her. 

          There's tension in every piece of the room. It radiates off the cream colored tiles, and white walls to bash against the ripped up leather seats and flat screen televisions that play variations of the daily news; and finally slashing her in the face. Constricting her throat, making it harder and harder for her to breathe.  She can't even look at her parents, too much guilt. Just the muffled sounds of her mother's sobs make her want to vomit all over the tiled floors. The weight of the situation is bearing down on her―and it hurts so badly she wants to scream but at the same time she wants to run far, far away. Away from the hospital, away from Arcadia. Maybe even away from Maine.

          "I'll be...back." Parker mutters as she grips her purse tightly and flees the constricting waiting room and tries her best to ignore her father's concerned and pained expression. 

          Her body carries her down the corridors of the hospital but despite how crowded it is, Parker hears no words, just buzzing. She feels numb. Weightless. But at the same time, heavy enough for her knees to wobble and drop to the floor. It almost feels like she's in an alternate reality, a dark abyss. One that she desperately wants to awake from. Her fingers itch to move, but she's lost control of her body. It just keeps pulling itself along, step by step. She feels trapped, like another her is in control.

          Parker comes to a stop just in front of the healing center: a small garden boxed in by glass windows, an ivory colored fountain sprouts out glistening blue water that falls into a basin filled with pennies. The rain from the afternoon clouds, drip down onto the green plants, and spaced out blue and purple flowers as fog seeps inside the glass box. It's like a snow globe, within an addition of gloom and minus the happiness. It suits the hospital. 

          "So, are you just going to stand there?" 

          Parker jumps at the weight of Leo's arm resting on her shoulders. He gestures to the resting place, his eyes staying staunch on staring at it. "I can't move." She insists, as she side eyes him. He looks back at her, a puzzled look in his eyes as his hand grips at her shoulder a little tighter. It's supposed to be comforting but it only annoys the girl. The feeling of him touching her, of anyone touching her, bugs her. She just wants to be left alone; yet she knows that will never happen. Not now, not when everyone thinks she needs somebody.

          "Why not?"

          "I don't know, Leo," Parker sighs, eyes moving to look back at the healing center, an overwhelming feeling of want circles inside her. She needs air. More than that, she needs space. Space from her grief filled parents. Away from Cameron. Away from her grandmother who's bound to die. Parker shakes her head, don't think about it, and closes her eyes.

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