By Gia, age 18, Florida
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
He spends his afternoons here watching the birds and snapping pictures of people. He's lived here for five years, but just now has he found this place. A certain boy plays by himself in the sandbox. He captures the picture and remembers how it felt to be so alone.
The laughter of children gets closer, but still he doesn't open his eyes. "Man! Gaby, come over here! No throwing rocks at Kat! Oh! Wow! I'm sorry. I'm Julia."
He opens his eyes when he hears her name. "I'm Greg," he says, while inching away from her. Her sweater, with messy mud prints, is wrapped around her more carefully. "Do you mind if I take a picture of him? He reminds me of someone I knew."
"Andy? Um, sure. He doesn't talk much. Maybe he'll talk for you. Who does he remind you of?" she asks patiently.
"Me," Greg says, before wishing he took it back.
"Sh**! It's time to go," she says, while getting up.
"Julia," he starts, without thinking. "Do you want to meet up tomorrow afternoon?"
Greg and Julia met at the same place, at the same time, every afternoon. "Greg, it's amazing, you barely know anything about my life," she says, with a bit of arrogance. He gives her a weird smile. She messes with her brown hair as it moves with a breeze.
The spruce they sat under silently moved. He trusted her more than he trusted any other human being on this planet. A homeless man walked by them, looking up to see if they could give him something.
They wandered back to Greg's apartment. He fumbled with his keys, but she smiled and waited patiently. "Julia, do you want to see the pictures I have of Andy? I know he wants one, so let's choose one together."
He hides his medication and focuses on how his armchair isn't in its place and how he left the cereal on the counter from this morning. "Do I make you happy, Julia?" Greg asks slowly. "Wait, don't answer that!"
He begins talking to himself. Why are you asking her this? You know the answer. Just shut your mouth! At that moment, a key in the lock turns. No one has a key.
Greg starts, "Diana, what are you --?"
"WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?! Your therapist called. You missed every session this week."
"Diana, I have company," Greg interjects, while she takes a breath.
"Are you okay? Can I check your wrists?" Julia wanders out and comes up behind him. "Were these appointments important? I would have met you later."
"It's my problem ..." he starts.
"Your problem? What problem? You're on medication?" her words stuttered. "Greg, the medication hasn't been touched! What's wrong with you?"
Julia interrupts, "Greg, just tell me what's going on. What problem?"
He starts making priority lists in his head. First, tell Diana why I'm not taking my medication. No. No. I need to tell Julia what's going on. No, family is more important.
He stares at Diana. Then at Julia. "I DON'T NEED MY MEDICATION! LET ME TRY THIS ON MY OWN!"
Julia, focusing on how straight Diana's hair is and how she forgot to call her mother, says, "I, I need to go."
The telephone starts to ring. "Why didn't you tell me that you met someone? You really don't need a girl. These meds, the ones you should be taking, can really help. You need to get better. Move back with me. You'll be taken care of." The answering machine sounds as his boss leaves a pointless message.
"I don't need any medication, as I've said before. My mind is playing games with me. Button your jacket up or take it off. It's annoying me. She's exactly what I need, Diana. Why am I explaining to you? I'm going for a drive! Damn it!"
He drives for a while. The place is dark. He turns off the car. A car pulls up next to him, but he doesn't get out. Bad place to go, he tells himself. Diana calls, but he ignores it. He checks his voice mail.
"Greg? It's Diana. Are you safe? Where are you? Just call when you get home. Bye." He turns the car on and backs out of the lot.
Greg drives back to his apartment, and fumbles with his keys, but finally gets inside. He walks into the kitchen to make some coffee.
A light knock sounds on his door. Greg hesitates. It's 10:30. Who would be knocking on my door? He grabs the bat next to the door.
He slowly opens the door. The alarm on the coffee maker sounds. "What are you doing here?" The alarm finally stops.
"Can we talk? Please?"