17 year old Sara Hale has spent most of her teen years struggling with depression. Through most of her school years she has had to deal with bullying and isolation from her classmates and from her former childhood friend Alison Parker.
Ali Parker is a popular senior in high school. She’s big headed and vain, and thinks little of the feelings of others. That is, until the day her life changes forever.
The death of Sara Hale comes as a shock to many kids in her high school but the person most impacted is her former bully Ali Parker, who suddenly finds herself able to see the cuts and bruises of everyone. She soon realizes that the marks that appear blue are those that she personally has caused; be it from physical or emotional trauma. This new power forces Ali to see the real impact she has on the emotions and bodies of others, and the true part she had to play in the death of Sara Hale.
|Product dimensions:||8.30(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.80(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 17 Years|
Read an Excerpt
By Desiree Bissonnette
AuthorHouse LLCCopyright © 2014 Desiree Bissonnette
All rights reserved.
I don't want to wake up today. Really, I don't want to leave my bed for anything, even though I know I have to. School won't accept my excuse for avoiding it, because the only one I have is "too sad to function" and that's not valid to anyone but me. They stopped giving a shit when I entered high school. Avoiding school because of bullying problems as a kid is one thing, but as soon as you're older you're supposed to get over it. I'm a big girl now; I have to get over it. No one will accept depression as an excuse to miss work. I'll have to face the real world soon, and the real world doesn't care if I think I'm sad. I'll have to get over it.
That's what my counsellor and parents tell me all the time anyways. That's what everyone has told me, even if it was none of their business in the first place. Every time I've gone to talk to anyone about it, it's always been the same. People keep telling me that happiness is a choice, and that if I don't choose now I'll never be happy. Then they load me up on medication to help my brain function like a normal person's, which doesn't always work. My brain is stubborn, and the voices are loud.
I'm not crazy or anything, that I'm sure of. The "voices" are me; hundreds of me's that try to pull me in all directions. Some towards getting through the day, others hell-bent on ending it forever. They tell me to get up, to get moving, to be normal, to be happy; anything and everything I feel I can't do myself I have to constantly remind myself to do.
Get up Sara. Come on, get up.
Waking up has proven itself to be both the easiest and the hardest part of my day. Easiest because I don't have to deal with anyone but myself and sometimes my cat Lou. Hardest because I have to make an effort to wake up, get up and do something, and then make an effort to do that everyday. But that's why I have the voices; they help me get okay. I help me get okay.
Wake up Sara. Get up Sara. Go outside Sara. Don't forget to smile. You're okay.
The clock on my nightstand starts blaring like an air raid siren. I slam my fist down hard on it, cracking the plastic and possibly some of the bones in my pinkie. I start clenching and unclenching my hand.
Now I'm awake. I'm alive. Both kind of suck.
But you're a big girl now; you have to get over it.
I reach for the nightstand again and grab my phone. I click the top button to turn on the screen, but it blinds me and I drop it on my face. I can already tell that today is going to be just peachy. The universe must want me to stay in bed today too. For the first time in a long time we agree on something.
I pick up the phone again and wait for my eyes to adjust to the brightness of the screen. I have 4 messages and, not to my surprise at all, they're all from Colten.
Colten Shepard, 12:30 am
Goodnight babe <3
Colten Shepard, 4:30 am
Hey, you awake?
Colten Shepard, 4:40 am
Guess not ...
Colten Shepard, 6:02 am
Good morning beautiful:)
It sounds rude, but the first thing I do is roll my eyes. We aren't together, or in love. I'm not anyways. To me he's just a friend with too many expectations and stupid romantic ideas about things that have no business being romanticized. I don't want to reply to him; the last thing he needs is me talking to him after he calls me some girly pet name, but my phone's iMessage has already shot that horse in the face. I have to reply, or risk some awkward confrontation later.
Me, 6:35 am
Colten Shepard, 6:35 am
How are you this morning? Did you have a good sleep?
Me, 6:38 am
I'm okay. It was alright
Colten Shepard, 6:39 am
Want a ride to school?
Me, 6:41 am
No I'm fine. Thanks for the offer though.
Colten Shepard, 6:42 am
O ... Ok. C u at school.
I put my phone down and exhale deeply. He's upset. He only ever types like a 12 year old going through "the phase" when he's upset. He's immature in that way, because he knows it makes me feel bad when he acts like he's been hurt. It's happened countless times in our relationship regardless of my feelings. Every rejection I've given him for anything, especially "more than friends proposals", has ended with him acting like I've broken his spirit beyond repair. I can't stand him when he acts like this. I can't stand him half of the time, regardless.
I chuckle a little at that; the only person who takes time out of their day to try to be my friend, and I can't stand him. It's not because he's a bad person.
He can get pretty bad when he pulls the friend zone bullshit out and rubs it around in my face, but the real reason I can't handle being around him is the he wants me to be hopelessly in love with him to the point where my depression goes away. Somewhere in his mind when I began to open up to him he rationalized that his feelings for me were the cure for everything. But life isn't like that, and no feelings from him will ever remedy anything. He's blind to it though, and pursues me nonetheless with promises of happiness and other bullshit. The reality is that his "love will fix you" mindset makes me feel worse about myself and about our friendship.
But he tries to be my friend, and that's got to count for something, even if it's a small something. He's one of the few that protects me from the Queen Bee, and that's a comfort to me, even though his fondness of me only makes her hate me more. Her crush on him was part of what started her relentless hatred of me. I can remember the day she told me she liked him like it was yesterday, and I can remember the day she started to hate me because of it even clearer. I had no idea how hard the Queen Bee would sting me because I was existing too close to Colten.
I put my hands over my eyes and run them through my hair. Thinking about her stresses me out. I have to get over it though.
I look over at the clock and sigh. 7:00AM. I've procrastinated getting up as long as I should allow myself to.
Get up Sara. Time to get up.
I sit up in my bed and pull my comforter off as fast as I can. My room feels freezing without it, and I'm woken up almost immediately from the rush. It's still too dark in my room to see anything, but turning on the light or opening the curtains will only make my eyes sting. I wobble blindly towards my door, stepping on dirty discarded clothes and clothes that I didn't bother to put away after washing. When I reach the door I open it slowly, careful not to make much noise. I don't want my mom to know I'm awake until I've gotten out of the shower.
It's not a short walk from my room to the bathroom but my head is spinning enough to make it feel like a kilometre. The hallway is dark and the light of the bathroom creeps along the wall, waiting to blind me. I push the slightly ajar door open with my finger tips.
My eyes adjust to the bathroom light and soon I'm staring at a tiny girl in the mirror. She could be pretty, if she tried. Her face is round, framed by a pitch black pixie cut with bright blue highlights. They look as artificial as her weak smile. Her upper lip is thin and wispy, contrasting the plumpness of her lower lip. Her skin is dark, olive coloured and she has thick eyebrows that arch gently over her dull grey eyes. I stare at her and criticize her nose, which seems a little bulbous at the end and points upwards farther than it seems it should. There's a bump on it where a stud used to dig into her skin before it was replaced with a ring, and a huge birthmark towards the top of the bridge that makes it look like she's got some kind of blotchy skin condition; but she could be pretty if she tried to be.
Too bad I'm not going to try to be.
When I open the bathroom cabinet, I'm greeted by a mass of pill bottles that range from Tylenol to Midol and back again. My mother is adamant on always having them around just in case her head or her uterus decide to go at war with her. I like to tough my pain out. The only thing I can't tough out is my depression, and for that I have bupropion to help. I reach for the bottle at the back of the cabinet and take the tiny whit tablet into my hand.
I swallow the tablet hard and stare at myself in the mirror.
You're going to be okay.
I strip down and jump into the shower, which in retrospect is a stupid idea because the water is always cold when you first turn it on. But it still feels nice, and as it warms up I sit down in the tub and get comfortable. The shower is my favourite place in the world. It's the only place I feel safe half the time. No one walks into the bathroom when you're in the shower, at least not in my family. If I'm in the shower, I'm free to cry and hurt myself and scream if I want, and all I need to cover my tracks is my music player and a bathrobe.
I used to hurt myself in my room when I started. I think the first time I did it I was 13, and I had just been labelled the Super Dyke at my school by Queen Bee because she stole my people notebook in class and read some of the passages I had written while people watching. I had written about a girl I had seen who I thought was hot, and she plastered it around the school for everyone to see. I wasn't mad about being called a lesbian, because I'm not but and being gay isn't an insult, I was mad that she was causing so many problems for me because of it, and I was mad that she was making me seem like a villain for being attracted to girls. After all she and I had been through, she made me feel bad about being myself for the first time, and everyone joined in on it. For almost 3 weeks everyday whispers chased my heels in the hallway, people pushed into me and knocked my books out of my arms, and I was looked at like some caged zoo animal with a disease. Everyone began feeding the void that had already started growing inside of me with their hate and I absorbed it all like a sponge. I was angry and hurt and the only person I felt I could take it out on was myself. I made the first cut into my wrist, which is the stupidest idea because I realized shortly after that I could actually die. Back then I didn't want to die. Oh how far I've come since then.
Get over it Sara. Don't think about that Sara.
My mom found me in my room screaming and crying, and they took me to the hospital. Then the psychiatrist. Then the principal. I got put under suicide watch, and after that I tried to hide them. Whenever my parents would find them they'd think I was trying to get attention, and they'd get angry at me. That's when I started hiding them better, and only doing it in the bathroom. Can't yell at me for what you can't see. No mess no hassle.
I hate how much I like the feeling, even now. Since the beginning of the year I've tried to stop, but I relapse often
Stop thinking about it now Sara.
The water is starting to get cooler but I still don't want to leave the shower. When I leave I'll have to do things. I'll have to talk to people, and I'll have to pretend to be happy again and I'm just not ready for that. I don't think I'll ever be ready to pretend again. I'm so sick of pretending. I'm not very good at it either.
Get out of the shower now Sara. Come on, time to go.
I get out of the shower and turn the water off. As soon as the sound of running water is silenced, I can hear scratching at the door and I already know it's my jackass of a cat Lou. He has a serious problem with personal space, as in he doesn't know anyone has it and will relentlessly pursue you for pets. I open the door for him, and he strolls into the bathroom, his orange furred fat stomach giggling around like jelly in an earthquake. Disgusting, but still so adorable. He rubs against my legs and wads of fur stick to them, dampening as they touch my skin. Lou purrs loudly, but I kick him away gently. He curls himself up on the toilet seat and stares at me. Lou is a pervert.
If Lou is up and about it means that my mother will be downstairs, probably making breakfast or trying to refuel herself on caffeine before she goes to Tim Horton's for more caffeine. She calls it a "Canadian morning ritual", but I call it an addiction.
Okay Sara, time to go downstairs. Go downstairs now.CHAPTER 2
When I go downstairs I'm hit with a wave of vanilla scented breakfast bliss. My mother, who already looks like the Native American version of Betty Crocker, is in the kitchen flipping pancakes like the world is ending. She's wearing her pink frilly apron that dad bought her for Christmas almost 6 years ago, completing her housewife look. Good job saying no to gender roles mom.
My parents are the personification of gender roles in their own way. My mom bakes, works with kids as a day care operator and cleans everything with precise obsession. It's not healthy, I think anyways. My dad on the other hand, is the bacon bringer with his high end teacher job at the catholic high school that has a total of 5 good catholic students. I've always thought they expected me to be a part of their perfect family stereotype. I'm almost sure of it. They'd be happy if their daughter wasn't a depressed loser with shitty grades and a heteronormative sexual preference, but they got me. Poor Hale family.
Just get over it Sara. Don't think about it Sara.
"Good morning sweetie," my mom says, smiling wide. I smile back, and take a seat at the table. The second my butt touches the chair, I've already got three pancakes stacked in front of me and a glass of orange juice filled to the rim.
Housewives, I think, rolling my eyes. My mom doesn't notice. She's too busy flipping pancakes for the army she's feeding in her head. There's only the three of us and Lou, so her overzealous amount of pancakes is unnecessary. Lou is going to have a heyday eating all of these, as he usually gets anything we don't eat. Lou is probably one of the luckiest cats suffering from obesity in all of Canada.
"What's with the pancakes?" I ask. While my mother is often in the kitchen cooking meals for me and my dad, vanilla pancakes are a rarity. We have them for three occasions; holidays, birthdays, and when someone I know dies. Vanilla pancakes are not Thursday mornings, they are "grandma died and we don't know how to tell you" mornings. I'm all out of grandparents to eat pancakes to, and as far as I'm aware it's not a holiday. Maybe some obscure American holiday, but not one that I would celebrate.
"It's the school dance this week! I know it's seems like I'm over doing it, but I'm just too excited," she says, waving her fists in the air. She looks like a little girl who just got a pony. The dance is not a holiday.
Calm down Sara.
"Too bad I'm not going," I say, stuffing one of my pancakes in my mouth. My mom's nose scrunches up because she hates when I don't use utensils. I hate when she tries to get me to socialize, and since I know what's coming next I can afford to be gross.
"Sara Kaitlyn Hale, you can't miss out on your senior prom."
"No really, I can. And intend to."
Her mouth tightens into a straight line and she breathes loudly out of her nose. Sometimes my mom acts like she's younger than me, and she looks young enough to get away with it. I look up at her and take in her youth. She looks like me, but her green eyes are brighter and full of life. Her skin is darker than mine is, because of her Cree heritage, and dotted with age spots and crow's feet. Her face is sharp, almost mousy, and her dark curls are pulled into a messy mom bun. She looks at me and scrunches her thin eyebrows.
"Is it because of A-"
"Mom can you not talk about her, please? She's not the reason I don't want to go okay?"
"Then why don't you want to go?" she asks, and I start rolling the reasons out in my head. Queen Bee and her drones buzzing around, Colten being a friend zoned douche again, talking to people, loud music, drunken teenagers sneaking in. Drugs probably. Social interaction and having to dress up formally. Missing the next episode of Doctor Who on Netflix. There aren't enough reasons for me TO go.
Get over it Sara you have to try.
"Mom, dances are for popular kids who have dates and want to experiment with drugs and sex," I say, hoping that it will put her out of the mindset of me needing to go. The last thing they want me doing is having sex, even though that ship has sailed. I still wear the creepy purity ring they made me get as a kid. When you're younger you don't even realize that Purity Balls are fucked up, but my parents made me go to one and my dad pledged to protect the purity of my mind, body and soul. He isn't very good at it either, I mean—look at me. If my mind were pure I wouldn't be so fucked up in the head. I'd be normal, and not such a piece of shit.
Excerpted from Bruise by Desiree Bissonnette. Copyright © 2014 Desiree Bissonnette. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse LLC.
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