[Some parts of this story is based on a true story.]
The skies used to be blue
Now it’s in a heart-wrenching grey
Will it be in this color forever?
Or will it change to its normal self again?
Chapter 1 – A New Start
“Time to wake up, son. I’ve already made your breakfast, don’t want it to get cold. Also, wear this before going to school. Hurry up now, we don’t want to be late.”
Her soothing voice greets him as he wakes up from his deep sleep. With his half-shut eyes, he prepares himself for his first day at school. After a refreshing bath, he wears his clothes and goes into the kitchen. His mother is cleaning the plates while he sits down with a view of his favorite food.
“Grilled cheese?”, says Vinnie as he wolfs it down.
“Hey, slow down. You don’t want to choke on your food on the first day at school.”, laughs Marie.
It’s a fairly simple life in the Mattheus’ household. The husband goes to work to provide for the family needs, the housewife maintains the house with the husband’s help, and the son being at his best to make his parents proud of him. Even though he’s a five-year-old kid, his fluency in English is far beyond his age. His reading skills are impressive, he even reads newspapers, just like his parents did. At first, he didn’t make any friends with his peers at his new school. Not because of anything, he’s just shy to be around new people accompanying by his new surroundings, and his routine during recess is just sitting on the metallic bench and daydreaming around until his cycle breaks. A voice from beside him spooks him out of the moment.
“Hey, why are you always alone? I can’t ignore the fact that you’ve been doing this for a while.”, a sultry voice spooks him from behind as he sits down on his favorite bench.
“Oh, sorry. Did I spooked you out?”, she giggles.
“No, not at all. It’s okay.”, Vinnie nods as a nervous grin form on his lips.
“You know, you should join us sometimes. I know they will be delighted to hang out with you too.”
“I suppose, I just wanted to chat around with other people more than anything.”
“But why you didn’t do that earlier if you say that. I guess you were kinda shy with people?”
Vinnie gulps. The question made him felt quite an at unease. This is him after all, a bright and quiet student without friends. It’s not like he doesn’t want to befriend some but his anxiety always gets a hold of him every time he wants to try. Now, how should he answer such a question? Should he reply, or should he dodge the million-dollar question? He eventually nods while his eyes are glued to the ground. Now, he can feel his heart pumping faster, not because she’s beside him but he did finally interacting with his peers.
Erin smiles. It’s not usual for her to see someone like Vinnie but in this case, it’s an exception. She actually knew Vinnie before because they did study in the same kindergarten. Not only that, they did in fact interact with each other when they were studying at the kindergarten. There are some bonding and friendship between them but it’s just Vinnie didn’t realize that yet.
“Hey, are ya hungry? Let’s go buy some food at the school canteen.”
While eating his burger with Erin, he sometimes catches some gaze on her face. Seeing her in a jolly good mood like this calms him out. She’s the only one that has been caring for him during kindergarten, not living him alone when he needs someone to play with during playtime. She has this aura where people really like to be comfortable whenever they be with her. As he starts to daydream while eating his burger, both of their eyes lock on each other. Vinnie smiles while Erin blushes away. After the recess, they went back lining up the Main Hall before entering back to their own classes.
“Erin is a good friend.”, Vinnie’s thought spoke on to himself while walking back to his class.
“She’s beautiful and all but I like her friendliness. If people ask me how I would like to describe her, she’s a charmer, inside and out.”
Chapter 2 – A Terrible Change
“Okay, class! I have a meeting with your principal today but I won’t leave you guys bored without a task. I want all of you to write a paragraph on your favorite person and why. I’ll be back shortly and make sure you guys have done it when I came back.”, instructs Ms. Elizabeth, their English teacher.
“You’re forever shining bright,
Won’t you be my guiding light”, hums Vinnie while writing the paragraph.
His initial idea was to write about his idols, but it deems to be too cliche for him as he had written it a few billion times, and not about his parents too since he’s pretty reluctant to share it with the story with his class. Instead of those two scrapped ideas, he wrote Erin as his favorite person because he thought, “Why not?”.
While happily writing out the paragraph, one of his classmates takes notice of what he’s writing while walking past his place.
“That’s one interesting paragraph, Vinnie.”, says the girl behind him.
“Yeah, thanks. I haven’t written something in a while, and this one is pretty easy but challenging because it’s my best friend I’m writing here.”
After a while, he continues back his writing. He’s proud of it and almost done when suddenly a menace strikes him.
“Oh ho, who’s Erin you write about here? Is it your “princess”?”
“Give it back Skye, I’m almost finished with it.”
“What if I don’t want to give back this “Love Letter” of yours, shortie?”, all of his male classmates laugh after Skye’s statement.
“Just give him back his stuff!”, screams Kayla, worry what’s going to happen next.
“Let’s get ready to rumble!”, yells one of his classmates while the other mimicking the wrestling bell sound.
Fueled with rage, Vinnie tosses his words, “You’re gonna regret this.”
Vinnie quickly takes his right hook swing and connects his punch with Skye’s jaw. In retaliation, Skye does a quick jab into his eyes. At this rate, Vinnie actually stuns by Skye’s jab but manages to punch the right side of Skye’s abdomen. Skye growls in pain and decides to lunge towards him and punches Vinnie right in the head. Luckily for Vinnie, his reflex movement was to defend his head by shielding his head with his arms.
“Okay, cla- What in the world is going here?”
“Ms. Allie, he stole my paragraph just I was about to finish it and didn’t want to give it back.”
“I just wanna take a look at how he has done it.”
“And that’s why you guys get into a brawl?! Vinnie, Skye. Both of you, you’ve earned a few hours of detention for today just for you guys fighting. Also, Vinnie, no wonder people wants to copy your paragraph, it’s well done even though it’s not even finished yet. You’ll be a good writer someday if you keep pursuing this, Vinnie.”
Vinnie smiles gleefully while walking back towards his table. He had done it right. It was a victory for him writing it. Even though he got praise from his teacher, he contemplates why did he punch Skye. Should he worry about what’s going to happen back at home after his fight with Skye?
“What’s the deal with you and Skye anyway?! I heard that you guys were fighting during Ms. Elizabeth’s class! When people taunt you, you don’t just simply hit them right back, do you understand young man?! I can’t believe that I sent you to school to brawl instead of learning! Now, go clean yourself up and do your homework. Because of your “best behavior”, no games during this week!”, scolds Marie whilst his sister, Karrie peeking and laughing from her room. Vinnie just stared at Marie with his sad face, not knowing how to respond. He just silently nods and went away doing his earlier mentioned task.
That night, something strange happens in the Mattheus’ household. Vinnie hears a loud knocking in the middle of the night at the front door. With courage, he decides to open the door. It’s Marie, with some kind of a drink she’s holding. She’s looking pretty weird, weird enough for Vinnie. He locks the front door again but stops as soon as his mother pulls his shoulder. In full of sudden rage, she throws her bottle on the dining table, makes it shatter into pieces. She violently shakes her unfortunate son and begins to drop f-bombs and insult him. His mother then starts to clenches her hand, and shouts “This is what your father has done to me!”. He begs his mother to stop but his mother ignores every cry of him.
And thus begins of his torment.
Chapter 3 – Open Book
It’s just another warm sunny day at school. Even though it’s recess time, the canteen isn’t packed up like it used to, it looks like a relic. But that doesn’t stop these three younglings from hanging out at their favorite school canteen.
“Hello there!”, greets Erin and Kayla.
“General Kenobi”, replies Vinnie.
“So, what’s poppin’?”, ask Vinnie while munching down his lunch.
“Not really, since exams are coming”, replies Kayla.
“But we could hangout a day before the exams, right?”
“Alrighty then, so we gonna watch some movies and go bowling like Roman?”, asks Vinnie.
“Yeah, we could do that. Also, who’s Roman? Is he coming?”
Erin replies, “I understood that reference.” while Vinnie and her chuckling.
“No wonder you both such a geeky couple”, mutters Kayla.
After munching their food, they start gossiping about the school’s happenings and such but Erin’s eyes kept locking on Vinnie’s sleeves. Erin bumps her elbow towards Kayla and she’s doesn’t aware of the situation. So, Erin asks Kayla to give them some space to talk about something and Erin then sits beside Vinnie. Vinnie knows something is going on right after that.
“So, I’ve noticed that you’ve been wearing long sleeve shirts for quite some time now. Did you change your wardrobe or there’s something’s going on that I don’t know.”
Vinnie instantly shakes his head, almost ignoring Erin’s puzzling question. He doesn’t want to make Erin to worry about him. Erin still has her doubts about why he so suddenly change his style of attire and so, she did the most expected way to know her answer.
She holds Vinnie’s hand and rolls the sleeve.
Vinnie, as he panics, unrolls his sleeves back but she already saw what’s on his arm. There’s a lot of lines of cuts on his arm, proving to Erin that Vinnie is somewhat in a bad state of himself. With full of worry and shock with the content that Erin saw, she asks Vinnie what had happened to him that made him like this.
Vinnie thus then tells Erin his secret. He doesn’t want this to get public as he doesn’t want any attention to this and made Erin promise to not tell the others about this. He heard that his parents were fighting last night, tossing his name around as if it’s all his fault. He couldn’t do anything and he blamed everything on himself. Erin, in return, apologizes as she couldn’t do anything about his current state. She sympathizes with him and tries to console him after she sees him almost crying.
After recess, Vinnie straight went back to his table at his class, and before he sits down on his wooden blue chair, his pencil case is gone. He starts to panic as his pencil case went missing. He looks around the class for it and finally sees his pencil case. It’s on the top of the class’s cupboard. He notices that Skye smirks at him then he grabs a table and climbs on it to grab it back. Even though he got his pencil case back, he loses his balance on the table because he’s on his toes to grab it and falls backward headfirst. The whole class hears a loud thump and laughing at Vinnie’s accident, except Kayla. He gets back up as if nothing happened but Skye stops him by holding his hand and quickly unrolls Vinnie’s sleeves. He laughs, mocks Vinnie “The Cut Boy”. He finally breaks down on his table. As Miss Elizabeth enters the classroom, she sees that Vinnie’s crying. She roars the whole classroom and angrily asks them what happened to Vinnie, thus her earning the title “The Erupting Volcano” by the class, and Kayla explains the whole incident.
“You sir, done goofed Mr. Jordan! A week of detention for him for pulling the “stunt” and for all of you guys who support Mr. Jordan’s “joke” would be joining him too!”
A few weeks after the incident, his grades start to drop drastically. As people said, he’s somewhat changed academically. His parents, of course, scolds him for underperforming and holds Karrie as their favorite daughter. They even compare the grades as well as their aspirations and ambitions. This, of course, takes a toll on him. He wrecks his sleep schedule. He didn’t eat his favorite grilled cheese. His appetite changes from time to time and he doesn’t even want to play his favorite games anymore. Only his uncle took notice of this and went to a psychiatrist with a fraction of Vinnie’s saving. When the psychiatrist asks why he didn’t come with his parent, the only answer he gives was he doesn’t want his parents to know about this. After his therapy, his psychiatrist advises him to take his regular doses of anti-depressants.
Chapter 4 – Slow Dancing
It’s the last few weeks at Section Five’s High School and the Prom Night is just a few days away. Vinnie, with his “old-schooled” head, decided to wear a tuxedo for the prom night. He then asks his father if he has an extra tuxedo that he can wear but after an hour of search, there’s no avail. He then decided to go to a cosplay shop to rent one since he only wants to wear it during the prom.
“Welcome to the shop, sir. What could I assist you today?”, greets the cashier.
“Oh, I’m just looking for a tuxedo or a suit that I can wear for a special occasion. Perhaps is there any already tailored ones that I can rent?”, questions Vinnie.
“Right this way, sir.”
As he browses the suits, he came across a very particular suit that he would like to wear, picks it up, and pays the deposit to rent it. He’s practically smiling from ear to ear and the cashier itself took notice of him.
“Thank you for doing business with you sir, have fun with the prom!”
“Likewise, dear.”, Vinnie replies.
Now, he mentally prepares for the prom. There’s a lot of people. Mostly students and teachers will be there. It seems like a stretch but a week will be gone in a blink of an eye. Moments like the prom should be cherished forever. For him, time does move fast when he studies at his high school while having fun with Kayla and Erin. He hopes that this wouldn’t be the last time they see each other while they moving on to adulthood. But before attending the prom itself, he needs a prom date partner. Lucky for him, he has two options, Erin or Kayla. After a lot of thoughts came rushing towards him, he finally chooses Erin because he has a surprise for her. He still has her phone number, so he called her and directly asks her to be his prom date. At this point, he’s nervous, too nervous that he could bite his nails if he wants to. His charm ends well as Erin accepts his offer.
He arrives at his secondary school and went straight inside to wait for Erin to arrive. A few minutes later, Erin arrives elegantly with her red dress. She did panic a little bit because she didn’t see Vinnie at the school gate, only to see him sitting down at the school canteen.
“Hey Vinnie, I barely noticed you wearing this awesome suit! Are you some kind of an agent or something?”, greets Erin.
“Yeah, that’s a good guess. I am in fact, the legendary Agent 47 himself.”
“So, I guess I’m Ms. Diana for the night then. Shall we proceed with the night, Mr. 47?”, nudges Erin.
He holds her hand while walking towards what seems to be stalls and such but as they become clearer, some carnival games are being hosted with a few food stalls around them. They decided to walk around and play those carnival games later on for fun. As they walk around the food stalls and such, some eyes caught up to them but they didn’t care. They’re enjoying the night, as like the other students too. They did win a few prizes and Vinnie manages to gift this big teddy bear that he won for Erin. They then went to eat their dinner, which is some steak with orange juice.
After their glorious dinner, Vinnie invites Erin to join him for a dance. At first, there were a few people on the dance floor but as time passes, more people joining in. Vinnie thought that this is a great time to visit the DJ booth and request one of his favorite songs, “Now That I’ve Found You ” by DJ S3RL, and prepares himself for the purpose. He joins back the crowd to find Erin again and while his requested song echoes the dance floor, takes a few deep breaths and unwraps the present at the very front of her eyes.
“Hey Erin, I just wanna ask you something.”
“Hmm?”. puzzles Erin.
“We’ve been friends for such a long time and I’ve been looking forward to the correct time to ask you about this. I hope this doesn’t disappoint you a bit after hearing this and whatever the choice that you will say, I will take it.”
Erin gulps, nervous about what she’s going to hear next.
“Should we take it up a notch? I’ve been quietly developing a love interest in you. It would be nice and all if we’re still friends after this but in my mind, I would like to progress our relationship even further.”
“Like in a relationship?”
“I would be happy too! Come on, you’re my best friend and I know you for decades! I guess you are my little pogchamp now! Come here!”, hugs Erin and whispers something on Vinnie’s ears.
“I guess I have something for you too but I forgot to bring it here, so just come by to my house tonight.”
Vinnie confuses as to why she didn’t give her gift tomorrow or the day after and why she didn’t bring the gift with her but then it hit him.
Chapter 5 – Growing Up
Two years after the prom night, Vinnie decided to enroll in a university with an idea of IT profession but due to Erin applied to a different college with her family moving out from the country, he had to commit to the long relationship that they had.
It’s just another warm sunny day at the university. Vinnie sees a familiar face while walking past the lecturer’s office, coming out from Miss Susan’s office, smiling gleefully while Miss Susans holds the door for him. He can’t help but wonder what she has done now, with all the rumors about her that only herself can approve or deny and it’s all none of my business. Walking down the hallway, Kayla approaches me with a warm smile.
“Hey Vinnie, how’s today?”, she asks.
“Well, to be honest, it’s just a normal day for class. Also nice shirt you got there.”
“Aha, thanks! My mom bought it from a thrift store. Cool, isn’t it?”
He just simply nods. He haves his Maths class the first thing in the morning, every Tuesday and Wednesday, guided by Mr. Alonzo. Since they are classmates, they walk along together to class often. They both placed next to each other in the class and they always hang out and stick to each other, thus earned the nickname “Lovebirds”, even though they’re just friends for the moment. Class starts like usual, even though that Mr. Alonzo is feeling under the weather. He just scribbles down the notes and the formulas just so he can study tonight but not always because he aced a lot of Maths pops quizzes before. After class, Kayla starts to ask him questions on how to solve Algebra equations and he felt like she didn’t pay any attention but as a good friend of hers, he decided to help anyway.
Then, it’s recess time. My favorite spot to take breaks is either on the rooftops or on the tree near the cafe but since Kayla is present today and she can’t climb trees, they buy their foods and head up towards to the rooftops. As they reach there, they make themselves comfortable and enjoy their meal. Vinnie looks up to the sky, it’s a sight to behold. Those clouds look like they are made of cotton candy and the sky looks ocean blue, like those days when he was a kid who enjoys playing on the beach. As she finishes her meal, she lays down her head on my lap and he starts to give her a head pat. She meows and we both burst into laughter.
“Anyway, you hate this next two subjects, Science and History. I know you would be very bored during those classes, why not you hang out with me instead?”, asks Vinnie.
“Good idea but will you back me up?”
“Definitely”, he answers so that he can assure her.
So they pack their bags and went through the university’s gate like it was nothing. There’s a shopping mall nearby and they hang out there often. Few of their classmates see them walking through the gate but as normal students, they don’t go snitching around what they do, besides Vinnie was considered as a teacher’s pet around the university. As they’re there, they talk and gossip around about other classmates or other teachers, sometimes hitting a blast in the past, remembering how they first met.
As they were talking, Vinnie’s phone rings out and excuses himself to answer it. It was an unknown number giving a call, saying that Erin was cheating. Vinnie didn’t believe the anonymous claims but begins to take his red pill after seeing the proofs given by the unknown number. The person apologizes because she saw her phone was unlocked and saw pictures of Vinnie and Erin on the home screen. He goes silent for a few seconds, then throws out his words.
“It’s fine now. We’re through. You can have her now.”, replies Vinnie and immediately block Erin’s phone number and all of her social network accounts. He then returns to Kayla, acting everything is fine.
It’s been months after we hang out but he feels like he had lost himself. He did do his home works and assignments but always procrastinate. He just locks himself inside his room, didn’t dare to go out from it. His phone and his laptop, only those two kept him entertained when he’s alone and being informed about home works and assignments. He stares at his window, the blue sky for me is somewhat charcoal black. I hear some knocks on his door, thought his father came back from work.
“Hey Vin- Oh my God! What happened to you? Are you okay? You look so, dead.”
Kayla, the one who he less suspects who want to come for a visit. Vinnie thinks she noticed that my physical appearances are different than the last time we met before. He let herself in and she rushes towards my room. She squeals.
“Vinnie! What’s up with you?! Your room is a mess like a hurricane just went by the room! This is a very unpleasant sight for me, I’m-“
He quickly holds her hand and told her not to. She’s angrily let her hands off from him and starts to lecture him.
“This room is a mess, you didn’t clean it up. Why there are clothes all on your floor? Why there are so many boxes of pizza under that table? Why there’s-“
He cups her mouth and slams her to the wall. Vinnie’s angry but at the same time, he’s sad. I don’t want to slam her like that but now she starts to cry, I guess I was being too harsh on her. I’m not ready to tell her the news yet. I grab my tissues on the table and wipes her tears on her face. He shouldn’t have done that. As I wipe her tears, he musters up and tells her.
“My mom died last month. I broke up with Erin last few weeks when I was fully put my trust in her. I don’t have the energy to attend class and tidy up my room. I spend nights myself crying to bed. I know that the fact that you’re the first person who comes to visit me. I’m sorry that slam you to the wall like that. I guess my feelings got into me first without thinking.”
She looks at him with her watery eyes as Vinnie’s tears drop to the floor and try to hold himself up but keep on crying in front of her. Vinnie, still on his knees, faintly crying. She holds up his chin and wipes the tears across his cheek.
“Vin, I’m sorry to hear that. You should’ve told me when I got here. We’re friends, we help each other. That’s what’s friends suppose to do. If one of us broke down, one of us needs to give emotional support. Remember when I fell down the stairs, you’re helped me. If you think that no one going to listen to your problems, I will. When it darkens, I’ll be your light. When it rains, I’ll be your rainbow.”
Kayla then helps Vinnie tidy up his room and even asks Vinnie if she can stay for the night but he declines. After Kayla leaves Vinnie’s house, he reaches out for his anti-depressants for his regular dosage and thought to himself that he just needs to double up his dosage for the night. He then took his pills and went asleep.
Chapter 6 (Finale) – Fin
Sounds of thunders crack up the skies of Friday. The skies used to be blue turns into grey as the rain starts to pour down. Even though it’s is Friday, the graveyard is packed mostly on the South East side of the graveyard. Kayla can be seen on her knees, crying while Miss Elizabeth was right behind Kayla, comforting her. Erin and Vinnie’s father meanwhile rubs on the casket to wish their final goodbyes. At the very far end of the graveyard, Skye just stands there, watching the burial ceremony before continuing his journey on foot. “Thou shall be adored and missed ” with Vinnie’s name etched on his tombstone.
After the ceremony, Erin asks Vinnie’s father, how did Vinnie actually die because everybody was keeping it a secret from her. Vinnie’s father then explains that after he got back from work, he did call out Vinnie’s name but he didn’t answer back. He goes towards his room to see that Vinnie is sleeping and tried to wake him up several times but to no response. He then checks his son’s pulse and quickly calls the ambulance. A few minutes later, a doctor approaches him to give his father the utmost regret of the medic team to revive him back. When asked about how did he died, the doctor asks his father that did Vinnie takes any drugs, he confirms that he didn’t take any but the doctor was in disbelief. He and his team found high doses of ketamine inside Vinnie’s body. He went back home and searches Vinnie’s room and discovered that he found anti-depressants hidden in Vinnie’s room. He went back to the hospitals to discuss what did Vinnie’s anti-depressants contained, and the doctors confirmed that there’s ketamine in his pills. So the doctor ruled out Vinnie’s death as an anti-depressant overdose.