‘te motu ngaro.’
In Maori it means ‘the lost island’. No one can find it. No one can leave.
Once lost, it is not found.
* * *
All I see is black. No light, no sign that I am in my room with the cheap and warn out fairy lights flickering out of control around the room. Or the giant fan in the middle of the celling, shacking like an earthquake started in the house and focused its energy on my room, with its sole purpose to mess it up and annoy the crap out of my dad. This is the excuse I use for not cleaning the empty bottles of juice or the clothes I wore yesterday and the day before or last week, but who can tell? I gave up caring a while ago and it seems like it will not come back and arrange my messed up room any time soon. Don’t have the energy. Don’t want to try and gain that lack of motivation that the rest of my friends seem to have and I don’t. And it’s not like Tane and Kat haven’t tried and tried and tried. Bring me back from the hole I have been digging myself into since my annoying lovely and so so smart younger sister, Anna, disappeared on the way home from tutoring and she hasn’t been found since.
Where can she be? It isn’t usual for her to – or wasn’t if I should be honest and stop lying to myself that she is – she is…she has to, right? Can’t be! My stomach is hurting and it feels like is trying to hide into itself and my throat is aching, chocking me and I don’t know if I am awake or not but I am cold and I can’t move my hands to find the covers, if I am in my bed, and warm myself. I know I am crying now and I don’t want to but I can’t stop the stupid tears from falling. I never do.
I hate crying in front of people. It makes them look at me funny and then try to calm me down or cheer me up and I don’t want any of them around. Anyone except Tane. He is the only one that I can stand when I am like this. Cause he gets it, you know? And doesn’t speak nonsense or try to fill the silence because there are never awkward silences between us. Not since I have known him and that is a long time ago. I like Liz around as well. Even though she is only a year older than me, whenever I cry and don’t stop and it is annoying me and I don’t know what to do, she hugs me and keeps me still. She is like a mom with her small kid that has nightmares and is scared and needs re-assurance and this is what Liz does and I like her a lot for that. And because she is an awesome friend and I do trust her. Like Tane, but I have always trusted him and I know I am taking him for granted and I should not rely on him as much, but it is what it is. He is the same with me and we keep each other sane I guess. We can cope with things because we have each other. He is my brother even though if we are not related by blood or anything. But it does not matter.
I am still cold and shivering and I try to blink, see if I am awake but I don’t feel my eyelids move. I try again.
My heart is pounding faster, like it is trying to win a drumming contest and unless it’s pouring out its heart and soul and shakes up the place, it will not win – whatever it needs to win. It hurts. And I know my cheeks are wet and I can taste salt on the tip of my lips and I try to raise my hands to wash them away and cover myself and I can’t.
Why I can’t move anything?
Where am I?
Why I can’t see?
I hear of people that become blind because of illness or accidents and they manage to cope with it and they do fine. But I do not want to be doing fine. I may sound selfish and horrible because I am complaining about it and not wanting to be blind but I am scared of it. Or anything that might cause me to depend on people. My dad has already enough going on with his job that he barely manages to keep and his messed up son that is falling apart with each day that is passing and the death of my mother and now…now with Anna disappearing and all, don’t want to add another burden on the ones he already has on me.
The familiar ache in the back of my throat and chocking sounds are escaping my mouth and I can’t stop them – do I want to stop them? Nobody can see me as far as I know and I can’t see or move and I don’t know where I am so why should I care if I cry and shake and scream? Can I even scream? My mouth won’t open, can’t move my hands or eyelids or whole body. I hear those stupid stupid sounds that make my cheeks go hot every time I weep and it is so frustrating. At least Tane keeps me company when my world is ending and I am there for him when his is falling into small and unseen pieces and I am not that alone anymore and then I breath without much struggle for a while.
I don’t know for how long I am in the dark but I don’t see only black now. A small figure of someone – or something appears in from of me and it doesn’t look like anything for a while. Only pale colours and muffled voices and I cannot understand what they are saying. They? Is there more than one shape?
The blurred colours remind me of mom. She used to wear pale, pastelish colours since forever. Grandma, when she was still alive (now taken by cancer of course, why would my family have at least one of its alive member since I was born die of old age?) told me that even when she was a small child, full of hope and high dreams, always seeing the good in what fate or whatever does this stuff threw at her, she used to wear pastels no matter the situation. Even when her father died in a car crash (he was a taxi driver and his car slid on some piece of ice on the last day of winter and went head first into the car coming from the opposite direction and died instantly), she refused to stay in black clothes that hold no life and bring depression everywhere they go – kind of their purpose of being at funerals I guess. But I always felt proud of her whenever I heard that story or any story about her since…she left us.
For me, everything has no meaning or purpose since that day. They did not mean much before that to be honest, when the disease took over her body and turned her into…not-a-mother but a living dead. Or even before that when Rob, my uncle (dad’s brother), took his life due to depression and everything that was happening to him ever since I knew him and left me with nightmares for weeks about me dying because I felt like he did sometimes. And I did not want to die and leave my mom and dad and Anna and of course, Tane alone as he was not feeling so good then either. And I did not know how suicide really worked back then as no one explained it to me and it felt like the monster under the bed, the monster no one can see except you and no one believes it exists and you are too scared to talk about it and it drives you mad and sleepless for days and there is no cure because who can kill the invisible monster under the bed?
The light is stronger now and the voices go away (maybe they were in my head after all and I am crazier than I thought I was) and I can see a bright light in front of me and warmth on my cheeks, stomach and legs and my clothes are wet, so wet and I don’t know if I peed myself or not. But my clothes are soaked everywhere and it can’t be from that and I know I haven’t done it since the nightmares with Rob, years ago.
So what is it? Noises turn into sounds and I swear I hear waves crushing and birds (are they seagulls?) singing and it can’t be because the town I live in is too far from the ocean, many boring hours by car and the last thing I remember doing was hiding under the covers as I couldn’t face anyone after the panic attack I had during math. All looked at me with strange faces and rolled their eyes as again, the weirdo Albus has a fit and its doing its weird thing and can he stop already, we have a test and I couldn’t stand it and I did not want to and I wanted Tane but he was at home with fever and I knew I would go over there as soon as I had energy, a small amount at least.
But that was then and now…
My eyes stop leaking and body shaking so much and I do not feel the bed under me but sand. Wet and warm sand and water slowing coming and going where my feet are and waves and birds and wind. And I do not hear any cars or people to let me know I am at the coast somewhere, in some city but that would be crazy as I do not live close to any ocean or lake and I know I was at home a few minutes ago.
I do not understand. My cheeks are wet again and my throat tightens, my lips tremble and my hands clutch the sand. And I move my hands! I feel them move! And I focus to move my hands on my stomach, make sure it works and they move! They move and I let out a small smile and do not know what is happening but this is the happiest I’ve been all week and it’s so depressing I stop smiling and cry again until I calm down. Which takes a long time but I am better and I know I will see if I open my eyes, I know it and I have to figure out where I am.
I take my time opening my eyes as I am scared and do not want to find myself in an unknown place and I do not know how to deal with it and Kat is not here to guide me when I will get lost or Tane to keep me sane. And I can’t use magic and go back home. So, with the willpower and speed of a snail, I finally open my eyes and steady myself on my elbows. In front of me is an unending ocean, crazy and unsettling and it gives me goose bumps. On my side, as far as I can see a (and I have a hard time believing as it is not possible, right?) forest and trees and more trees and birds and nothing else. No people or houses or civilization, only me and nature.