Fade The Dullness. (Short story)

His voice was soft and weak sounding. Giving Common responses to my common questions. I tried to come up with something in-depth to talk about, but his emotional state was affecting my mindset. I didn’t want to just jump straight into the issue. However, the dullness in his eyes was one that I’ve recognized before. In-between his words he was asking for help.

Detached from the problem usually left you detached from the world. A natural defense for the heart to erect walls and keep everything and everyone out so it doesn’t completely crumble to dust. He sipped his water, I wondered if he was even thirsty or it was just something he knew he should be doing. An auto-response to help deal with the awkward silences that popped up between us. I had to badger him all day to meet me for a late dinner out.

Now he picks at his food and mindlessly sips his water.

“When was the last time you ate?” I asked staring at him. His eyes are down at his plate, his eyebrows scrunch together as if he had to really think about it.

“Not long ago,” He replied.

“Yesterday?” I asked knowing that to be closer to the truth.

“Yea, maybe,” He sighed wiping his face with his hand as if trying to wipe the evident exhaustion off.

“You still look like shit,” I smirked which made him grin slightly.

“I just wish it would stop.”

“It will, it takes time,” I tried to sound upbeat.

“It’s been months…” He responded with a mixture of sounding disgusted and distraught.

“Yea, but look how long you two were together, something of this magnitude takes a while.”

He took his fork and moved the around the peas on his plate, trying to come up with words to say, trying to put words to the pain.

“There are days…where the only peace I find is in the 3 or so seconds after waking up…before I remember that she’s gone.” He said as if ashamed of the fact.

I knew he needed to vent. I wasn’t entirely sure if he had anyone to really talk to about this. His parents had already passed. I’m not sure if he even talked to his brother anymore after their falling out. I tried to remember why it had happen. Something about his brother not going to the funeral? Not exactly Sure. I figured the last thing he wanted to do was talk to HER parents about it. I imagined it would cause more pain and grief than anything else.

Derrick took another bite of his sandwich. My words seemed inadequate for the type of pain he was letting out. My reassurances sounded forced and not authentic at all. I wanted to do more or say something epic to break the walls down for him to be himself again and not this shell of a man sitting across from me.

“Yea, but there will be a day when you will be stronger than you were before. I don’t like saying, ‘Everything happens for a reason,’ in cases like these, but you got to take what good you can salvage and push forward. All your memories should never be outlined in sorrow, keep them filled with joy, the way they are meant to be. Would she want you to be so drained of life with her absence? You have to live, man.”

“Live for what?” He croaked, looking up at me with tears outlining his eyes.

“Live for you, for her! Continue on to do great things, whatever they may be. To change peoples’ lives for the better. You nor I will ever know how much we affect others, but we do. Through all my crappy situations, I’ve realized they’ve strengthened and lead me to good times with new friends. My attitude directly affects those around me. Why would I ever want to bring others down when I could always assist in lifting them up by merely staying positive? And also, Liz would want you to be happy…with or without her. That’s what truly loving someone is like.”

I could tell he was weighing my words. It’s always hard to let go of something you love with all your heart. I can only imagine the empty void in his chest when he wants to go and call her or send a text. To see her laughing or smile one more time. The only way he’ll ever hear her voice again is through old voice messages or videos.

“Yea..Just gonna take some time,” He finally said softly.

“Yea, well, you got me here to help. Just need to get out more.” I smirked.

He nodded.

I hoped my words made some sort of impact. Perhaps maybe laid a seed to sprout, so to speak. The only thing I could try to associate this whole thing with is a type of rehab. To be with someone for years and to grow with them only to have them abruptly taken away will need assistance in going on without them. Re-learning how to be alone. To be completely independent. I know having friends there isn’t the same as having that one person you have a connection with on a deeper level. But it can ease the pain, at least, I hope it does. This I must believe, so I can help. It kills me to see my closest friends hurt so much.

“We should get up with Adam and Robert this weekend and go on a road trip. I heard there’s a place to go zip-lining near Wake Forest. Cabins there we could stay at.”

“I dunno, maybe.”

“How about yes, I’ll get a hold of them tomorrow. Adventures man, let’s have some adventures again! Maybe we’ll find a dragon to slay.” I winked.

He chuckled, “Sure sure”

“Good.”

We slowly started to chat at longer lengths and joked of old times, all the while the dullness fading slowly in his eyes.

I know Depression can feel like an everlasting condition,

but having those Who Care trying to intervene,

Will make it fade faster.

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