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Keep the Lights On


A shrewd gentleman once said that the more we think, the less we feel.

He acknowledged that it is significant that as human beings, we treasure the qualities of humanity, love, and compassion. Without these primary qualities, this planet would be sadistic and all would be nowhere to be found. Knowledge has made civilization cynical, and the expansion of technology has left us all poisoned with greed. We relentlessly implore for supplementary materialistic objects, and frequently overlook those in poverty.

I knew I was privileged to even have a roof over my head. I never took anything for granted even with my depression. I knew I had it bad, but I was physically healthy and I had a good meal to eat every night. There are thousands of people famished right now, yet the public just throws out food like it’s not anything.

I have never been an advocate of aggressive conduct. I always made it my purpose to make an effort to treat each and every person I came in contact with the identical way I would want to be treated. Yet humankind isn’t always the most pleasant to those who don’t fit in with their thought of beauty. I always preferred to just remain silent and quarrel within the boundaries of my mind.

However, as dinner progressed on, I sought nothing more than for James’ cranium to spontaneously combust.

It was a dreadful thing to say, but I was getting fed up with his peculiar attitude. Every opportunity he got he would gaze fixedly at me from across the table, his cerulean eyes holding an implausible quantity of perplexity. I continually got apprehensive when people stared at me for too long. I knew I was just average looking, and I most likely looked like the meaning of chaos in my distasteful attire.

Usually I would just shrug this off and carry on with my life, but under James’ tough stare I felt minuscule and defenseless.

“What are you majoring in Ariana?” It’s Matt Niskanen that ruptures the tense stillness of the room. I sort of hoped it would have stayed soundless, because I don’t feel like talking in front of the strangers by any means. I devour the mouthful of food and clean my mouth with the coarse fabric of the napkin.

“I’m not quite positive what I want to be yet. I like learning about history though.” My response sounds unintelligent coming out of my mouth, and I apprehend why I don’t like to converse to others I don’t know. My thoughts always sound better in my consciousness rather than when I actually articulate them.

“Yep, Ariana is studying at the University of Pittsburgh.” Craig speaks like a pretentious father and slaps his hand on my shoulder. I keep my eyes cast downward; I detested how everyone unexpectedly seemed fascinated by my individual being. The table doesn’t seem so discomfited any longer, and all of a sudden Rhys and Matt are chatting at a prompt velocity.

“What happened to your leg?”

My head immediately snaps up at the irrelevant query, I gaze at the tall man sitting across from me. His vibrant blue eyes are overflowing with interest. That had undeniably caught me off guard, and I tried not to collapse at the delicate topic.

“I was in an accident. Nothing too bad though.” My statement shocks me as I realize how uncomplicated it is for me to lie with such a great enormity of ease.

James looks at me jadedly, his eyes penetrating mine for any sentiment whatsoever, “Does it still hurt?”

It fucking hurts like hell.

“No, not at all.”

“Awiana let me sign her booboo and draw smiley face.” Rhys’ modest voice invites itself into the discussion. I compel a forged smile, and tousle his soft hair. I can’t recall the last time I had genuinely smiled or laughed. I didn’t have time in my frenzied life to be smiling, that wasn’t one of my priorities. I always asked myself how I could be so miserable when I am bordered by so many extraordinary people.

Rhys gawks up at me, noodles are hanging precariously out of his mouth, and his eyes are wide. I smile kindheartedly, and try not to cringe when he opens his lips to speak and all of his food tumbles out of his mouth. I look up and glimpse at the man sitting in front of me; his blue eyes are filled with a diverse emotion now. It looks almost understanding, but I’m not relatively sure, I’ve never been good at reading people. I offer James an infinitesimal smile, which he returns amiably. We wordlessly come to a mutual agreement, and he pulls his gaze away from mine and continues to consume his food. Craig watches this silent conversation between us unravel, uncertainty present all over his facial features.

I’m smiling, but I’m consumed by these tears of culpability.

Sometimes I like to detach myself from the world and fall apart.

After dinner Anne had asked me if I wanted to stay and play some video games with everybody. I had graciously declined, telling her that I had loads of homework. Sometimes I felt awful for being deceitful, but it just came naturally to me. I didn’t want anyone else to know that I had been in the bathtub for the last half hour, sulking in desolation as my leg glaringly throbbed in shattering agony. I have to make an excursion to the pharmacy tomorrow so I can get some more painkillers.

I descend farther into the water when strident laughter rings throughout the house.

I wish I could be happy, but despite how hard I tried I constantly seemed to fail horribly. Sure, I could effortlessly put on a counterfeit smile, and sometimes I could even muster up a giggle, but it was in no way authentic happiness. I draw in a deep breath and immerse myself into the water. The dim light above the bathtub is blurry when I open my eyes. I close my eyes brusquely after when the water starts to burn my eyes, and I shut out everything in my existence.

Everyone always thinks about what will ensue after they depart this life.

They wonder who will shed tears, who will be at their funeral, and who actually cared about them. Many people are terrified of death, and I never could comprehend why that is so. I used to believe the most terrible crime in life is death, but as I got older and more astute, I realized the worst crime in life, is in actuality, life itself. Death is always chasing us, whether you like it or not, it is the hard truth. He shows no compassion, he doesn’t care whether you are infantile, or you’re elderly. He’s not concerned with the verity of wealth, nor is he disturbed about poverty. No, death doesn’t care who you are, and he does not discriminate. He is exceedingly tolerant; he waits just for the most minuscule blunder before he strikes.

Death always wins.

I always think too much about the topic of death, mostly because I know he is observing me with vigilant eyes. He knows that I should have been deceased a few months ago when I got into a terrible tragedy, and now he was waiting for me to fuck up yet again. That is all it takes, one more accident, and I would be gone eternally. I should be afraid. Hell, I should be petrified. Yet, I have no fear.

I am not afraid of death, I am afraid of living.
I always seemed to be waiting for Craig to come and pick me up after therapy. He would usually be half an hour behind schedule, due to hockey practices. It never troubled me though, if anything it gave me time to reflect on everything. Today had exceptionally been a good day, particularly since it was raining. I’ve loved the rain since I was a small child, even with the lightning and thunder. Mother Nature is beautiful, it has no repentance for its’ proceedings, and it shows no kindness. Nonetheless, rain is tremendously soothing to some, while others favour the comfort of sunshine. I relish the feeling of the bitter drops patting against my face, and obtain relief in the deafening clamor of the thunder.

I nearly groan when I take notice of Craig’s car pulling up in front of where I am sitting.

I gather all of my things and stagger over to the car, realizing that the passenger seat is already occupied by Matt Niskanen. I groan severely, and unlock the back door, it’s a tricky task for me to get in with my crutches and all, but I manage to complete it after a few moments of struggle. My eyes amplify and I just about shriek when I detect the tall man sitting in the seat crosswise from me. His expression masks mine, and he looks frightened as if I’m about to do something abnormal.

“Uh… hey?” he articulates, unsure of himself. I simply nod my head and acknowledge his presence in the small car. He looks exceedingly awkward and incompatible in the little BMW, and I almost feel bad for him. I wondered what it must have been like to just depart everything behind and move to an entirely foreign city. I would have been uncomfortable, maybe even frightened.

“Ariana, you dork. I told you that you should have brought a sweater because it was going to rain.” Craig scolds me like one of his children, and then laughs from the driver’s seat. I feel my face get warm. I didn’t bring my jacket because I had been eager that it would rain. Craig tosses one of my jackets to where I am sitting, busting out laughing when it hits me head-on in the face.

“Thanks.” I huff and heave the big coat so that it is covering my quivering body. My ears are met with the supple sound of James’ chuckles as I tug the zipper up, and sink downward into the seat. The car is bursting with warmth, and not just temperature wise. If you have ever met an athlete, you would know that they smell lovely about 75% of the time. The other 25% is when they have all of their stinky gear on. Well, being surrounded by 3 grown hockey players, in such a small gap, was overpowering in a good way. The fragrance of cologne and Axe wafted throughout the vehicle in a soothing manner.

“Ariana, we were going to go out to lunch, would you like to tag along with us?” Craig asks kindly, turning the dial on the stereo downward so he can hear my hushed response. I contemplate the question for a few moments. I was actually somewhat hungry as I had skipped breakfast.

“Yeah, that sounds good.”

He seems taken aback by my response, but he smiles nevertheless, “Jordan is going to be there,” I groan loudly, “and no, you can’t change your mind.”

You know how I previously mentioned that Craig and I have a love/hate relationship? Well, Jordan and I have a hate/hate affiliation. We loathe each other for really no motive at all; well apart from the fact he thinks I’m a coldhearted bitch. I tried to overlook the insults he constantly spews at me, but after a while it just seems to get harder, so I just gave up. It was painstaking trying to defend myself all of the time, and I had gotten used to the continuous verbal mistreatment.

I thrust my ear buds into my ears, and turn up the volume on my shabby ipod. Maybe if I was fortunate I could tune out everyone. We pull in front of one of my favourite diners and I climb out of the car with my crutches in tow. I draw my hood over my head, and shove a few drenched strands of locks out of my face. I wipe my eyes with the palms of my hands, and Craig is abruptly at my side, a look of distress crosses his features.

“You ok?” He cautiously places a hand on my shoulder.

“Yes, I’m just tired. Didn’t get a lot of sleep.” I shrug his hand off, ignoring the swift flicker of hurt that is evident on his face. It was the truth; I hadn’t slept well at all the preceding night. I was relentlessly plagued by dreadful thoughts and nightmares. Nighttime is really hard for some, as well as me. Mornings are without a doubt the most horrible though. I’ll lie in bed, asking God why I had to wake up and why I couldn’t fall into an eternal sleep. I can deal with nightmares and the sinister void that the hours of darkness brings, waking up is something I cannot simply abide. That’s a supplementary thing about depression; you wake up tired of life, always feeling guilty for no logical reason.

It is the chemical discrepancy in your brain that fucks you up so badly.

“Well, look who finally decided to finally show up.” Jordan says when we enter the diner. I disregard him and accept a hug from Max Talbot. I’ve always known him to be respectful to me; he told me numerously it was the chivalrous thing to do. He had his moments where he could be entirely outspoken, but I always believed the media didn’t give him a sufficient quantity of recognition. He was in all probability the most understanding guy on the team; I’ve never once witnessed him ever discriminate against anyone, whether it is for their race, sexuality, gender, and everything else you can think of. He treated everyone he came in contact with a generous amount of respect, including me.

“How has your leg been holding up?” He takes my crutches when I sit down, and leans them along the side of the table. I scoot farther into the booth so I am sitting next to Craig and Matt.

“It’s doing well. A little sore, but nothing too bad.” His eyes scrutinize my face, and I can tell he detects my lie. The pain had been absolutely ruthless since I had my surgery. I gaze down and play with the napkin in my lap as the guys contentedly converse, entirely oblivious to my internal struggle. I try to conceal the irritation on my features when Max speaks up again, asking a question that I hear at least 50 times a day.

“Are you ok? You’re really quiet today.”

I open my mouth to respond, but Jordan beats me to it, “What are you talking about? How is today different from any other day? She’s always quiet.”

Max sighs, “Can’t you be nice just once? At least she’s here.”

Jordan snorts at the statement, “Well, who even said any of us wanted her here?”

Craig glares at Jordan, who only shrugs in reaction. The majority of the guys are looking at me now, but I keep my head cast downwards. I adore how everyone always complains about me never getting out, and the minute I finally do something with the team, I’m being insulted. I should have anticipated this, mainly coming from Jordan. Sometimes I wish he could comprehend my mind, perhaps then he would know why I never liked to go out. He would know why I detested talking, and why I was always miserable, maybe he would find out how I got this broken leg.

That would be a terrible thing though, if Jordan Staal could listen to my thoughts he would be in tears.

I finally look up, Max is smiling at me,“Did you see my goal last night? Not too shabby, eh?”

I beam at his polite attitude, “Yeah, it was great. Too bad you took that penalty for high-sticking Lucic.”

He laughs loudly, gaining everyone’s attention at the table, “He overreacted too much. There wasn’t any blood and he was freaking out. I barely tapped him.”

“That’s not what the replay showed. You hit him pretty good.” I point out, and he laughs nervously.

“Mon ami, why don’t we change the subject? Did you see James’ assist on Tanger’s goal?” James’ head snaps up at Max’s loud words, “I say you’re already proving yourself in Pittsburgh.”

James chuckles discreetly, shaking his head, “It was just one assist…”

“Yes, but I can see it now,” Max slaps his hand on James’ shoulder, “when Sid and Geno return, all of you will be unstoppable! Like… the three-headed monster!”

James’ eyebrows shoot up in uncertainty. Everyone knows Sidney and Geno as the two-headed monster, independently they were both unbelievably remarkable, put them together and they were essentially unstoppable. Though, both of the talented players were out on terrible injuries right now, the team was still managing to win games.

James beams, now seeming more comfortable with himself, “That’s a bit too much, but thanks.”

I observe him for a few moments, noticing the way he avoids eye contact with some of the guys. His eyes unexpectedly meet mine, and I can’t look away from the azure orbs. I gaze up at him through my eyelashes, not feeling awkward like I usually would have. I nearly wheeze when an impulsive recognition hits me like a freight train. The tall man sitting across from me, reminds me of someone I used to know. I feel tears prick at the corners of my eyes, and I quickly look back down at my lap. Millions of troubling thoughts raced through my mind all at once. They appear nothing similar, they don’t speak alike, and they don’t even act like each other.

It’s his eyes.

They hold many sturdy emotions, and I can notify the only thing he desires is acceptance. He makes himself believe he doesn’t assimilate here and he has no place on this team. He’s a victim of his own mind and he’s letting these thoughts get the best of him, regardless of everyone’s compliments. He has no clue who to trust, or if he can even trust anyone at all. He doesn’t even know if he trusts himself. I wonder if he’s lonesome in this city, or if he already feels like he has a great number of friends. In no way would I be able to tell if he’s miserable or not, his smile is so genuine, the way the corners of his eyes crinkle when he smiles or laughs. He seems so ordinary, and I wonder if it’s just as easy for him to lie, as it is for me.

He reminds me of myself I realize, trying my best to disregard the wave of resentment that hits me.


This story really hits home for me. As someone who has suffered from depression/postpartum depression, I totally relate to Ariana. I really want to see where this goes. Please update.

MaattaMia3 MaattaMia3
I'm really enjoying this story! It's so well written, descriptive, emotional. I always look forward to more chapters to see what's going to happen!
Your story is perfect, and you absolutely need to update more! I love it, and I'm 99.9% sure everyone else who reads it loves it too. Update next as soon as possible please! :)
So I follow this story on the regular mibba site, and just let me say. I can't handle the feels.
Bugalouie Bugalouie