Status: active!

Your Life Is a Map With No Compass

Chapter Seven

Zack’s on edge for the rest of the day. He barely sits through the interview that all four of us have to do, his hand grasping mine so tightly, smooshed between our thighs, that my fingers start to tingle. When the interviewer asks him why he’s so quiet, he tenses up and lets me answer for him. He didn’t say a word the entire interview. During lunch at some restaurant with Vic and Tony from Pierce the Veil, he doesn’t eat a thing, just pushes his food around on his plate and stares down at his lap. He allows me to rest my hand on his knee the entire time we’re eating.
During sound check, Zack messes up a few times, which sends him running into the bathroom three times to calm down. I pretend not to notice the way Alex rolls his eyes and the way Vic sends me sympathetic glances.
After soundcheck, Zack goes back to the bus without a word to anyone, his eyes cast downward and his hands stuck in his pockets. Fucking Matt. “Zack!” I run after him, out into the parking lot of the venue and onto the bus. He ignores me as I sit down next to him. “Zack, hey, come on, lets go skateboarding.” I run to his bunk and grab his skateboard from between his sheets-I have no idea why he keeps it there, but whatever- and come back out and try to hand it to him. He doesn’t take it, not when I push it against his hands or wave it in front of his face. He just sits there, frozen, his eyes dead.
I drop the skateboard onto the couch and take Zack’s hands in mine. He doesn’t do anything. It’s like he’s not here right now, mentally.
Fuck. This morning’s breakdown is nothing compared to this. It’s happened a few times when Zack was really freaking out. His mind just shuts down for a while, and he doesn’t respond to anything. Sounds, touch, or bright lights, which usually freak him out to no end, do nothing. It’s the scariest thing that I have to go through, just sitting there while Zack is somewhere completely different.
And the worst part is that I don’t know if he’s going to come back. Once when we were seventeen, Zack was gone for seven hours. After the first two, his mom got so scared that she took him to the emergency room, and he got admitted to the psych ward for a week. When the doctors released him, they said that it’s possible that someday he might just go away and never come back. I can’t have that happen. Not now, not ever.
But there’s nothing I can do about it. All I can do is fucking sit here and wait for him to come back, in however long that may be.
Zack’s POV
“Jack, he’s fine, stop worrying!”
“Alex, fucking look at him!” I can hear them talking. They don’t think that I can, but I can hear them and feel them when they touch me and smell the sweat that’s covering them. But I can’t see them, and that’s what scares me the most. What I can see doesn’t make any sense. It’s like in Alice in Wonderland, when she’s falling down the rabbit hole and she sees all this weird stuff around her. It’s like that for me, but I’m not falling. I can feel the couch under me and my feet planted on the ground. But I can see things, like that guitar Alex had in high school and the bottle of nail polish remover that my mom always left around the house and a subway sandwich wrapper all around me. And then I see things like spiders, the kind that can kill you, and wildfires and riptides and food that’s past its expiration date and those are the things that scare me. Those are the things I want to get away from.
“He’s been like this for an hour, Alex. That’s not right. What if he doesn’t come back?” I want to yell at Jack, tell him that I will come back, but that I can’t right now because it’s against the rules, those stupid rules that I have in my mind that I can never get rid of, no matter how hard I try. Because when I stop following the rules, when I try for just one fucking second to get away from them, that’s when I hear the voices. They tell me that bad things will happen if I don’t follow the rules, that bad things will happen to me and to Jack and I know that that isn’t true, I know that the order in which people wake up won’t hurt anyone, but I keep following those fucking rules and I just don’t know why.
Like the rule that I can’t like Jack, I can’t. I know that he likes me by the way he looks at me and by the way he pulls back the curtain to my bunk when he thinks that I’m sleeping and just stares. I know he like me and I want to like him back, I want it so badly that I want to scream sometimes, but I can’t. Because if I like him and he likes me, that means that we’ll have to date, and if I date him it will mess up everything, and I won’t be able to follow all of the rules anymore.
I want the rules out of my head forever.
♠ ♠ ♠
HOLY SHIT I UPDATED TWICE IN ONE DAY HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE? Ahem, yeah. Good news is that I actually know where this story is going now and will therefore be more motivated to write it. I wrote from Zack's POV, and I kind of like it. Do you? Comment and tell me if I should do it again or not. Alright, Goodnight my lovelies! Comment please!