The Never Ending Tunnel - Chapter Three
Chapter : 3 / 18
That night Will found himself thinking about Jess and their amazing day. Jess too thought about the incredible day she just had with Will; she also realised that this was the first time that someone made her forget about her problems.
Jess didn't have a perfect family either. Her mother passed away just when she was thirteen years old and her dad got married again the following year. Her father felt lonely too. He had just lost his wife and he met somebody else who made him happy. Jess didn't understand that though. She couldn't accept the fact that her father was getting married once again. Her mother was irreplaceable.
Jess was brought up in the best family environment once could ever ask for. Her parents had such a happy marriage. Yes they did have arguments but after a few hours you would see them making up and laughing again. She will forever these memories of the three of them together. Why did things have to change when they were so happy together and they had the future planned out ahead of them? They were planning to go on vacation that summer and they had so many events to look forward to as a family.
Jess didn't cope too well with her mother's death. When Jess was twelve years old she knew something was not right with her mother. First of all, her mum started leaving the house every few weeks and she would be gone for hours and hours and when she returned she would spend most of the time in bed. She would also hear her cry every night and sometimes she even heard her father cry too. Jess didn't have a clue about what was going on. Her parents decided not to tell Jess that the doctors had informed them that her mother only had a few weeks to live.
Her father didn't cope too well at first either. He started going out late at night and return home in the early hours. He would spend all day at work trying to avoid going back to an empty house. Before he would return to a happy house but now he would have to return to an empty house, filled with memories of happy episodes.
During that rough period Jess had to start thinking about herself and she had to take care of herself. She had to start making her own lunch for school and then cook for herself when she returned home from school. She didn't find a warm plate of food anymore. Not since her mother passed away. Jess didn't have any close family members she could rely on. She had nobody. She started getting lonely and little by little she started isolating herself even from her friends at school. They didn't know what was going on and they had no clue what Jess was going through.
She used to spend every lunch break at school crying in the toilets. Missing her mother. Missing her father and the loving happy man he once was. Missing her old life. She was only twelve years old and she had already been starting to give up on life. The depression was starting to set in but she ignored that fact.
All she wanted to be reunited with her mother. Nobody realised that Jess wasn't coping well with this situation. She used to cry herself to sleep; only this time, nobody came in to console her and to tell her that everything was going to be okay. Before, whenever she had a bad day at school and her mum used to hear her sob, she would walk in and sit on her bed for hours until she finally fell asleep. She used to tell her that in life you couldn't always be happy and having bad days was a normal thing. She assured her that she would be okay.
This time she felt sadness all the time. Wherever she went, there was a dark cloud above her. She had to face the sadness from the very second she opened her eyes in the morning until she closed her eyes at night and fell asleep. She started doing terrible at school too. Her grades went from straight A's to E's. She no longer cared about all the things which used to make her happy. She had nothing to look forward to anymore. Her whole life was slowly falling into pieces.
Her father did love his only daughter. It wasn't a matter of not loving or not caring. It was only a matter of not wanting to deal with the fact that his love of his life was dead. And whenever he looked at Jess, he saw his beautiful wife. He saw the lady he had fallen in love with just when he was sixteen years old. He didn't know how to live without her... because he never had to live without her. She was always there for him. She was always at their home preparing food for when he used to arrive home from work. She was the glue which held the family together.
After a few months of not coping very well he started getting better. He now started going out on the weekend and also started attending this support group for all the widows who had lost their significant other. And it was in that very group that he found his new wife, Cindy. After a few months of spending every second of every day with each other they decided to get married. Cindy would hang around their house a lot and Jess didn't like that idea. She was in the same house where her mother was just a few months ago. She didn't understand why her father was going to replace her mother. She was too young to understand everything which was going on.
They both had a child. Jess had a new step brother. His name was Jack and he was only eight years old. Jess couldn't ever accept the fact that she now had a step mother as well as a step brother. However, she also started noticing that her father started smiling again. He started coming home again after work and wouldn't spend long hours at the office. He started asking Jess how her day went and started being interested in her more. She obviously wanted her father to be happy but she never wanted to have a new mother. She wanted things to return to how they were two years ago. Just the three of them, happy and together as a family.
Jess was thirteen going on fourteen when her father got married and her depression got worse and worse. She had no energy, she lost all interest in dancing which she loved doing. And worst of all, she couldn't go a day without the thought of suicide.
Nothing was getting better for her and after some months she was also on medication. Her father was getting worried. He finally started noticing that Jess wasn't coping very well with the situation and he started noticing that even her school grades dropped drastically. After a year and a half on anti-depressants, Jess tried to end it all. Her father couldn't believe his eyes when he walked into the room of his daughter only to find her laying there on the floor. He couldn't believe his own eyes. Luckily enough the paramedics arrived just in time to get her to the hospital in time to save her life.
Her father couldn't believe that all this time his daughter had been suffering alone. He knew he had been failing as a father. Failing to realise that his daughter had been getting worse. At that moment, he decided that maybe the best decision would be that Jess went to a psychiatric hospital for a while. She was not safe and she needed help. After all, she did spend most of the time on her own at home and he was worried that at some point, it would be different and they wouldn't be lucky enough to save her in time.
So now here she is, another teenager in a psychiatric hospital. Jess didn't take it too well at first. She took it against her father and she can distinctively remember yelling at her father that he had given up on his only daughter. It wasn't the best thing to say especially since he just wanted his daughter to be healthy, safe and most of all, happy.
She knew that if her mother had still been alive, things would be totally different and she wouldn't be stuck in this hospital today. She knew that if her mother didn't die, the three of them would be in the living room watching 'Friends' and laughing. Those were the moments that she would treasure forever and ever. Nobody could ever take those memories away from her and nobody would ever replace those memories with new ones.
Will woke up to Nurse Holly knocking on his door. He was late to therapy as usual. He was feeling different from usual though. Before, he didn't have a reason to get out of bed. Before he didn't have a reason to make that extra effort to look good but now Jess came into his life. Even though he had just met her he knew that she was going to be special for him.
As Will walked down the hallway he saw the other patients walking by. He was actually surprised that they gave him that friendly smile. Everybody had described mentally ill people in such a negative way but nobody ever mentioned that they were just normal people who just needed help. People treat mental illnesses different to physical ones, which is why these same people are looked down on.
As always, Will had to talk about his issues, his medication and so on and so forth. He didn't mention Jess though as he knew that dating was forbidden whilst receiving treatment in the hospital. It was actually a rule. Patients aren't allowed to date other patients inside the hospital as the they think that it would distract them from getting better. which is totally bullshit as in Will's case; he now has a reason to even get out of bed. But apart from that, he knew that Jess didn't feel the same way about him. That's what he thought at least.
As Will was walking to the dining room he bumped into Jess, dropping the books she was carrying which made him feel embarrassed. He always found a way to humiliate himself.
"I'm so so sorry; I'll help you with that."
"It's okay don't worry about it." Jess replied awkwardly.
As he helped her pick up her books they soon started talking. As they kept on talking he realised that he was glad he had bumped into Jess and knocked her books down. He was having a conversation with someone whom he truly liked and they were both interested in each other.
"Do you want to go out for a little walk and hopefully you won't slip again?" Jess asks with a little smirk on her face.
"Hey if I do slip again I'll make sure you'll get covered in mud too."
Taking walks was becoming one of their routines which they both loved. They were keeping each other company and Will couldn't ask for anything better. He wanted to get to know Jess and he wanted to be there for her. He wanted to earn her trust and he wanted to be with her. She made him feel happy. A feeling he didn't feel very often.
"How was school before you came in here?" Will asks.
"Well it was absolute shit; it was horrible. All the teachers were dicks to me as I wouldn't do their homework and I didn't have any friends. Well I had but they ditched me at the first opportunity they had." Jess replied. "What about you?
"It was shit too; it was the worst thing ever. Every teacher in that school hated my gut except for this cool art teacher who would cut me some slack at least. He was the only teacher I really liked. But if there's one thing which I didn't hate about school was that I didn't have to listen to my parents argue all the time. Although one time they did start fighting in the middle of parents' evening which was so humiliating as well as disturbing. Watching my mum calling my dad an asshole in front of my English teacher wasn't something I was expecting to experience ever in my life." Will replied. He saw Jess laughing and he loved that. He loved seeing her happy.
"Did your parents argue a lot?" Jess asked.
"Well only every minute of every day. You see my dad would come home drunk every day and my mum would shout at him even though she would leave the house and return early the following morning. They drove each other crazy and you know what the worst part of it was? I had to witness everything."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"It's okay. I've gotten used to all that drama anyways." He replies, smiling back at Jess.
"What about you?" Will asks. "Is your family as crazy as mine is?"
The minute he asked that question, Jess broke down.
"I'm sorry. Shit I was only joking."
"It's not you; it's not your fault. My mum passed away and my father got married again."
Will felt guilty for bringing up the topic and for making her think about her experience again. Just as things were getting better he screwed everything up.
"I'm sorry Jess, I had no idea."
Jess reassured him that it wasn't his fault and they continued on with their conversation. Will quickly found a way to change the topic and instantly made her laugh and forget all about it.
They were both suited for each other. They went very well with each other and they didn't have to put in effort in their conversations as it came natural to them. They enjoyed every second they spent with each other and whenever they were together, it felt as though they didn't have a single problem going on in their life. They were lucky to have found each other.