That’s it. I’m leaving! I thought to myself as I stood by the mailbox, at the end of my long driveway.
There is only so much that any one person should have to endure in one
lifetime, and I had more than doubled my share of hardship. I had already used
up the very small amount of patience I had this past year on other people, and
I would be damned if I spent another second wallowing in misery! No. This was a
new year with a new beginning. No more ‘poor Leah’ stares and plural pity. No
more mooning over ex-lovers and traitorous cousins.
I turned the white, parchment wedding invitation over and over in my hands. The fancy
calligraphy and the pale blue stenciled border made me sick to my stomach. What
in the hell was that girl thinking, sending me an invitation to her wedding…to
the man that I loved, the man I was supposed to marry? Was she
just being polite? She couldn’t possibly believe that I would actually show up-
even if she was family. No, she was probably just rubbing it in my face, the
But even as I thought the words, I knew that wasn’t true- Emily had been trying to patch
things up since the very beginning, but I kept throwing it back in her face
every chance I got. Involuntarily, I thought back to the beginning, where it
had all started. To when my life took a horribly wrong turn. The memory washed
over me- so vivid- like it had been yesterday. I could still feel the anger in
my memory, all fresh, as if I was reliving it all over again.
We were standing in my tiny kitchen. I was leaning against the counter, glowering at her from across the room.
“Why don’t you just leave?” I literally screeched at her, throwing my hands up in exasperation. Our
conversation had escalated to an almost violent point, and my family had given
us a wide berth, once they realized the reason for our rift.
I took two quick steps in her direction until we were nose to nose. She cowered away from my anger, and huge
tears spilled down her beautiful face- her face before the ‘accident’ as she
like to call it.
“Leah, I love you, and I never wanted to hurt you. I can’t help it…neither can Sam. You
of all people should understand that!” she choked out between sobs. “You know
what’s it is like for him, how hard this is for him not to have a choice?”
She plopped down, exhausted from yelling, into the kitchen chair. Emily had never been one
for confrontation and I could see how it was taking its toll on her. We had
been fighting for two days straight. She looked wretched; huge dark circles had
formed under her eyes from not sleeping, and they were red and puffy from all
the crying. Even her deep russet skin looked sallow, as she sat, frail and
shaking, in the little wooden chair. But I didn’t care. I was too angry to
“Don’t you lecture me on how Sam feels! Of course I know how it works- and he may
not have a choice, but you do! You could have left, you could have told
him no, but instead you betrayed me-my own cousin, of all people! You
should be ashamed of yourself, Emily.”
I took another step so that I was hovering over her now. I crossed my arms across my chest.
“Family comes first,” I said in a mocking tone. “Isn’t that what you always told me?
Ha! What a load of crap- you’re nothing but a hypocrite and a traitor to you
own flesh and blood.”
She dropped her head into her
hands and began sobbing uncontrollably. I stood over her, watching her whole
body shake with her crying. Normally, I would never have lashed out at anyone
like this, especially Emily. She and I had always been very close, like
sisters. I couldn’t recall a time we had even so much as an argument. This poor
pitiful girl should have moved me to tears, but I couldn’t bring myself to feel
anything other than rage and hatred towards her now.
I should have stopped at that, but the rage was like a powerful river inside me, churning, and overflowing. It welled up on my tongue and spilled out like acid.
“I hate you!” I hissed. “I hope you get what’s coming to you. What goes around, comes
around- you just keep that in mind.” I turned on my heel and walked towards the
screen door. “Don’t be here when I get back,” I yelled over my shoulder.
I heard the chair scrape across the floor and fall with a loud bang on the hardwood. Rushing footsteps followed behind me.
“Leah, don’t go! I’m-“
I whirled around and cut her off mid sentence.
“Don’t you dare say you’re sorry! I don’t want to hear it, Emily- everything you do proves
otherwise. Just stay away from me…both of you! You are nothing to me
anymore. Do you understand?”
The words didn’t come out heated and angry like I expected- they were cold and steely. I couldn’t begin to fathom
what my expression looked like, but Emily stopped short, and her hand flew to
her throat, shocked. My words had cut deeply, and oddly, I was glad. At any
moment, I expected a wave of guilt to dam up the river of anger inside me, but
it didn’t. Just more rage. I was shaking, to the point I created vibrations in
the floor. So quickly the room became a blur, I whipped around and flew out he
door and down the porch steps, breaking into a run down the driveway.
I didn’t know where I was going. My tears had started flowing freely now, and I could scarcely see anything through
the haze. I slowed to a walk hoping the slower pace would calm my nerves. I
practiced taking slow deep breaths, in and out through my nose, and eventually my
walk slowed to standing, and I sat down in a large open field, just off the
I hadn’t realized I’d walked as far as I did, but I could see the reservation off in the distance, sitting on the
cliffs bordering the beach. I was glad I hadn’t gone in the coastal direction-
it would have just dredged up more painful Sam memories. How could this have
happened? I still couldn’t wrap my mind around it. Had it only been four days
since he told me? It seemed liked only hours. I couldn’t believe Sam and I
weren’t together anymore. All he did was look at her, for heaven’s sake,
and boom- like a light switch- out with Leah, and in with Emily.
The pain was unbearable, like someone had taken sawed me in half. I had heard of amputee patients losing a
limb, and then waking up in the middle of the night to scratch a leg that was
no longer there. Or even being plagued with pain from the removed appendage. And
that was exactly how I felt. As if part of me had been cut away unwillingly,
like someone had amputated my heart.
I kept playing it over and over again in my head, wishing I could turn back time, and revoke my invitation for
Emily to visit. How long could I have kept her away? Forever? My anger told me
that I could, but I knew that wasn’t the case. She and Sam would have met at
some point, and what stage would we have been in our relationship then? We were already engaged- married maybe? Would
he have imprinted on her as she walked down the aisle as my bridesmaid?
With me standing at the back of the procession, the blushing bride in my pretty
white dress, only to be left at the alter, alone.
Marriage, ugh! Just thinking the about the wedding brought on a new wave of despair. I looked down to the tiny silver
band on my left hand and winced. I was refusing to take off the ring, hoping
that Emily would leave, and Sam and I could go back to the way things were
before she came. Of course, it was nice to think that could work, but I knew
deep in my heart, that it wasn’t true. I was just delaying the inevitable.
I didn’t know what, or who, I was madder at; Sam for falling in love with someone else, or Emily for choosing to
be with him. Thinking it through, I suppose Sam had no choice. I had been there
when his wolf had overtaken him- he was the first of his generation to shift.
He had been so scared, talking to the elders every night, learning as much as
he could about the legends, their meanings, and what he was to become. I was
his solace, his rock- and it wasn’t easy. The whole wolf thing freaked me out
as much as it did him. It isn’t everyday that your boyfriend tells you he is a
wild animal. Not many girls got to hear
that speech- It doesn’t really roll off the tongue all that well:
“Hi honey, so how was your day. Mine was good. You look really pretty- is that a new dress? Oh, and by the way,
sometimes I turn into a giant wolf when I lose my temper… So, what’s for
Even through that difficult time, we had been truly happy and in love. And then it was gone. I was all alone.
“Hey Leah!” I jerked my head up at the sound of my brother’s voice, relieving me from my painful memory.
“Hey, Seth.” He was jogging down the driveway looking at me warily.
“Did the mailman leave you a love note?” He teased. “Don’t worry, I told him that he wasn’t your type. He’s way too old for you.”
“Thanks, but no. No love notes today.”
“What’s wrong with you?” he asked, his eyes slipped down to the white paper I was clutching in my hand. I held it up and rolled my eyes.
“It’s Sam and Emily’s wedding invitation.”
“Oh.” His happy go lucky demeanor vanished, and he put his hand on my shoulder, looking at me with the pitiful expression I was familiar with. And sick of.
“Oh. stop looking at me like that, Seth. It’s fine!” I exploded. His hands flew up in front of him defensively and his eyes popped open.
“Hey now, take it easy, Leah. I didn’t say anything!”
I shoved the invitation at him, crushing it against his chest as he sought to keep it from hitting the wet
ground. I stomped up the driveway and onto the porch, not bothering to take my
boots off as I walked inside towards my room. I could hear my mother bustling
around in the kitchen, the homey smell of fried chicken floated through the
I skulked into my room and plopped onto my bed. I have to get out of here, I thought to myself. The weight
of La Push, of my wolf, of Sam and Emily, was just too much. I had sucked it up
for over two years now, putting the packs needs, Sam’s orders, my mother’s loneliness,
even protecting blood sucking leeches ahead of my own well being for too long
I laid there, mulling over my thoughts for a few minutes until I calmed down. I had past anger long ago and
had now moved on to bitterness. It was hard to think back to the days that I
wasn’t consumed with hatred and vile thoughts, to think back to a time where I
was a carefree and warm young girl, with a bright future ahead of her. All
these things I had sacrificed for everyone else.
I stood up, pushing myself off the small bed I had since I was a little girl and walked across the hallway into the bathroom.
I turned on the light and closed the door. I placed both hands on either side of the countertop
and peered at my reflection in the mirror. The light cast a strange florescent
glow in the room, but I looked harder, past the stranger reflected back to me, and
tried to see my former self.
I looked deeper, past the girl with hard eyes, frozen in time. My hair was short now, in no particular coif, just
short. And my eyes were still the same dark brown as always, but they were cold
and distant- similar to soldiers who had been at war for too long. Unfeeling. I
pushed past this image and, again, made myself try to see the old me.
I knew in my head that the old me, the pre-wolf me, the pre-Sam me, was…vibrant. The old me had thick, sleek, straight
black hair that fell to the middle of my back. The old me had eyes that were a deep
brown, almost black, and sparkled when I smiled. I was pretty- more than
pretty, actually. I had been the unattainable girl. The girl the other
reservation boys used to chase after, the girl who was always desired, but
never had a second look for anyone who expressed an interest- until Sam. The
girl who broke the other boys hearts when I had chosen him.
I wanted so badly to be that girl again. I wanted to be fun, pretty, and carefree. I wanted more than anything
to be her, but I didn’t know how. That girl was no longer vibrant. She
I hung my head in disappointment. Was this my fate- to be this empty, missing, hollow shell of girl? I refused to
accept it, to embrace these damaged pieces, these flaws in myself any longer. I
would not curl up with bitterness and loneliness, and take them to bed with me
anymore. I would stand up against them and force myself to move on and be the
person I longed to be!
I raised my head again and looked in the mirror. I couldn’t see the old me, the girl I longed to be….yet. But I
wanted it. I felt a passion for it. I felt stronger about this than I had about
anything in a long time. The feeling washed away the lifelessness inside me; it
pulsed through my veins like a tidal wave. I would deal with all these
problems, these past demons that haunted my soul and left me in despair, and then
I would arise anew.
I stared harder at the cold, dead me in the mirror, and the same river that carried my hatred for everyone- for
Emily, for Sam…even myself, began to surge. It was as strong as that fateful
day with Emily, bubbling up and threatening to spill over the dam, but this
time it was not a feeling of hate. They were feelings of hope, and they rushed
through me like an alpha command.
I straightened up, and let these new welcome feelings ripple through me and out of me. I reached out with my
fist, and with one triumphant yell, I shattered the bathroom mirror into a
million pieces, letting the current me shatter along with it.
The glass bounced off every surface in the tiny bathroom, and the shards glittered on the floor in the light. I
looked down at my bleeding hand, which had already begun to heal, and found the
symbolism in this moment. I would confront all my swallowed feelings that had
turned me into this bitter woman, and move on with my life. Just like my hand
would heal from this initial shattering of the past; so would my soul.
I didn’t know how I would do it, but I was definitely going to try. Starting now………..