La Tua Cantante
Mind v. Heart
“I wonder, how am I supposed to feel when you're not here?
'Cause I burned every bridge I ever built when you were here.
I still try... holding onto silly things, I never learn.
Oh why? All the possibilities. I'm sure you've heard.
That's what you get when you let your heart win.”
-Paramore “That’s What You Get”
I felt stronger now that I had spent the night hunting, and I imagined I looked a bit more human as well, seeing as my eyes had lightened to their usual golden hue and the angry purple smudges under them had faded to an almost imperceptible lilac. And as my physical self was strengthened, the wallowing thoughts of the previous day seemed to dissipate slightly, enough that I could focus on the task in front of me without the constant and incapacitating onslaught of painful memories.
Keeping with my good fortune, the sky was shrouded in heavy slate gray clouds as far as the eye could see; it seemed some deity was on my side at least. I had returned to the maple tree –I quickly was beginning to see it as “my” tree— after consuming no less than four rocky mountain elk, probably angering the RMEF in a single hour, devastating the county’s poaching statistics. Finally as satisfied as I would allow myself to become, I watched the sky slowly lighten behind the veil of clouds and plotted my next move.
I knew it was difficult to start over in a new town, due mostly to humans’ natural aversion for my kind, and the fact that I lacked any of the necessary papers to start in a new life only made it more difficult. I did have in my wallet a social security card, a driver’s license and a Black American Express card, all in the name Jasper Hale. While the card would be useful, seeing my desperate need to acquire all the necessities, not limited to a car which would satisfy my desire for speed, a place to live and clothing, I had no desire to live another two years as a high school student, and therefore my license as a seventeen year old would be useless.
As I drafted my plans, I sat in absolute stillness, and gradually the surrounding wildlife grew accustomed to my presence, at least enough to continue their morning activities—granted they still gave me a wide berth. I must have been three hours, judging from the path the slightly glowing orb took behind the thick layer of atmosphere, which I sat there—all the while I barely let a single breath escape my lips. Just as the sun reached a level which told me it was about eight am, I had readied myself to a quick shopping trip followed by apartment hunting, putting the task of acquiring papers off for another day.
I rose blindingly fast from my perch against my maple—I was beginning to get lax in my human façade the longer I spent in the wilderness—startling the indigenous wildlife once again. Not pausing to observe the gray squirrels fleeing from my path, I made it to the outskirts of town in less than five minutes, slowing only when my sensitive ears could hear the mundane sounds of daily human life: the soft purr of car engines as men and women drove to their detested jobs, the faint buzz of pleasantries exchanged at the local coffee shop and the sole gas station, and the more subtle sound of childish laughter as school children were sent off to school on bright yellow buses.
The last thing I needed was some meddlesome townsperson to observe my arrival out of the woods and start uncomfortable rumors before I had even spoken to a single soul, so I took a more round-about route around the small rural town toward the local road, past the “bad” part of town where abandoned buildings and broken down cars replaced the previous scenery of quaint “mom and pop” stores and shiny SUVS. Knowing for centuries for experience that my presence would be unnoticed here where only the homeless, the addicted and the depraved resided, I casually retraced my steps at a more human pace, until I arrived less conspicuously in the center of the town which would be my new home.
As I slowly drifted into consciousness, I knew instantly that something was not right—that, in fact, nothing would ever be right again. Because my body knew, before my mind could even process the events of last night, that somehow, in the time between falling asleep to the soft apologies muttered in the sweetest of all voices and waking here in a bed which felt infinitely larger, my world had shattered beyond repair. Yet, even as my whole being retracted and readjusted to this new, bleak world, my heart could not phantom what my mind knew was true.
As a silent battle waged, I laid completely motionless in my small twin bed, infinitely aware of the empty space beside me. It seemed my heart ruled out over my mind, something which occurred my whole life, and I slowly opened my eyes. Though my mind had already predicted the empty room which slowly came into focus before my eyes, my heart was insisting that it could not be true. Clearly, my heart sang, he only stepped outside for a minute. Brett leaving is just not an option.
Deciding to once again go with my heart, I slowly unfolded myself from the tangle of sheets and stood up from the bed, not pausing to stretch as my muscles cried out for me to. I took the distance between my bed and the door in three strides and retched open the door, peering down the hallway, which was empty seeing as it was seven in the morning on a Saturday on a college campus.
I shut the door, already sprinting toward my cell phone which lay on my nightstand. I flipped it open with unnecessary force and immediately searched through the received calls—nothing. I pressed the first speed dial, which would hopefully connect me with my personal angel. As soon as I heard his voice I knew I’d feel utterly silly for ever thinking he could leave me. He needed me just as much as I needed him: more than a plant needed the sun or my lungs needed air.
The first time the phone went to voice mail, my heart could rationalize: he was taking a shower, or his phone had died and he wasn’t near a charger. After two hours of calling, getting his voicemail, hanging up and calling again constantly, I wasn’t so sure. I decided he could be trying to call me, but because I was using my phone our lines were getting crossed, so I sat on the floor with my knees pulled tight to my chest and my cell phone gripped like a live grenade in my hand, waiting for the call that my mind knew would never come.
It was in this position that my roommate Anne found me four hours after I gave up calling Brett. By this point even my heart was having trouble believing infallibly in Brett’s love, and when I saw the undeniable pity in Anne’s eyes the reality hit me and I literally felt my heart shatter into millions pieces, and not in the metaphoric “he broke my heart” way. I was actually in so much pain that I clutched at my chest, convinced I was having a heart attack. The pain was all-encompassing and with every gasping breath I took it multiplied until every other sense in my body was drowned out by the sharp, stabbing pain of my heart being ripped from my chest.
And as if that wasn’t enough of a melodramatic response, I began sobbing uncontrollably, tears pouring down my face like torrential rain, leaving small tracks of sorrow down my face from my mascara. My sobs turned to gasps, the gasps to hyperventilation as Anne pulled me to my feet and gently led me to my bed. She pulled my fleece blanket around me in a motherly fashion, even though it was Indian summer and eighty eight degrees out. It was then that I realized I was shivering, my lips moving at almost superhuman speeds, my teeth making such a loud chattering noise I feared they would crack.
As she turned out the lamp, relieving my swollen eyes from the harsh sparkling lights caused by light streaming through my millions of tear drops, I whispered to her, “I slept with him. I slept with him and then he left me.”
She didn’t respond, and I can’t be sure she even ever heard me.
A/N: Sorry this took so long, I had a lot of trouble writing Ashlynn’s POV. I was finally inspired by music by both Paramore and oddly Flyleaf, which in turn inspired me to create a playlist of songs which tie in to the chapters a la Stephenie.
Jasper- “The Crowing” Coheed and Cambria
Ashlynn- “Never Let This Go” Paramore
Jasper- None, not really much emotion… more exposition
Ashlynn: “That’s What You Get” Paramore