The taste of iron was not to be ignored. Maybe it was because of the cold that had swept through the city around those days, the fact was that the gun tasted like pure iron and the taste was enough for Felicia to pull it out of her mouth and put it back on the wooden box her mother kept it in case robbers or someone broke into the house. Felicia’s eyes were flooding with tears, so she ran to the hallway bathroom and thoroughly washed her face, trying to eliminate her feeling while doing it.
She looked at her own eyes and nose and skin once she was done but everything she had been feeling was still there: her insecurities and self-hatred had not left her body just because she had taste the iron that made up a gun. She did feel a little bit less agitated and her mind seemed clearer, as if she had put on glasses or something. She dried up her face with a small towel, taking her time to appreciate its smell and texture. It felt as if she had never used her senses until that day.
Felicia then walked to her room again and closed the door. She didn’t lock it though, because it didn’t really seem necessary anymore. She had dropped the whole idea of killing herself, only because of the taste of the gun. But it wasn’t only that, it was also the fact that she wasn’t really sure about what she was going to do. After all, Felicia was still a very young woman and had a whole life before her. Something inside of her told her to wait a little bit longer, to hold on for a while.
The young woman was in high school and, as with most kids there, she had started feeling anxious when she discovered how things had change from one grade to the other. Now, all the girls in her classroom and age would be trying makeup away from teachers, drinking alcohol, smoking marihuana and even talking about their sexual experiences. Felicia, at first, thought it was all about a little group of girls that had changed in the blink of an eye but then she realized it had affected every single person her age.
She used to enjoy talking to her friends about the shows she liked, many animated programs among them, and about some games and silly things that they liked because, after all, they were still children. Maybe not like her brother Thomas who was eleven years old, but kids anyway. They couldn’t legally drink or vote and they were still in high school trying to decipher math problems and having homework. The shift that she had witnessed seemed rushed and unexplainable but she soon learned she had to adapt soon to this new state of things.
Felicia realized this when she started being harassed by some girls in school because of her weight. She had always been a little bit bigger than most girls but no one had ever said anything hurtful to her because of that. Now, things had changed dramatically: some people outwardly said to her how fat she was and that she looked like a pig or a boar. Sometimes it would be in a low register on the school corridors but some other times it would be right to her face, as if they wanted to see how she responded.
She always walked on, deciding not to engage in any sort of fight. But as the school year went on, it was more and more difficult to resist. She tried to remember what she liked about school and so she decided to spend a little more time in the library. Her best friends were sadly not there for her at the moment because one of them had left for a neighboring city and the other one had just stopped talking to her out of the blue. It was probably the worst part of the whole deal.
Anna had been her best friend since they were toddlers. They had been in each other’s houses and their parents knew each other very well. They had celebrated birthdays together, as well as spending some holidays in the same place whether it was Disneyland or a cabin in the woods. They loved to go shopping together and make fun of everything and everyone, along with their mutual friend Jeff. They were basically sisters for more than fourteen years and now all of that had disappeared for no apparent reason.
They had not talked over the summer because Anna had left for a long trip with her parents and she never contacted Felicia after she had arrived. Felicia didn’t think much of it but she quickly realized in school that everything had changed between them. She had tried to come close to chat for a while but it was obvious Anna had no desire to interact with her. So Felicia stopped trying and the relationship died a sad and unexpected death pretty soon. It was devastating for Felicia.
She even called Jeff to tell him about it and he was kind enough to hear about all of it but the thing was that Jeff had some problems of his own. His parents were divorcing and it wasn’t clear what was going to happen with him after that. He had told his parents he wanted to go back to were he had friends and family but his parents didn’t seem to care a lot about what he had to say. They were too busy accusing each other of something, so Jeff couldn’t really be there for Felicia in any way. He just asked her if she was okay and that’s when she realized she wasn’t.
After that phone call, it was the first time Felicia realized that she didn’t really feel great about the whole situation happening around her. After all, she started feeling alone and without friends, something a young person is sometimes unable to handle, as it is a necessity for them to be social and able to talk to someone if they need help or advice, and sometimes that comes from people their age who have information they personally don’t have. It’s something they need Felicia realize she didn’t have anymore.
Her parents were another problems. They had recently begun showing signs of a certain distance forming between them. There were no family weekends anymore. Mom stayed at home while Dad went away to fish or be with his friends. And when her mom went out with her friends, Dad stayed around to be with the kids. It was nice and all for a while, but Felicia soon realized it wasn’t very normal for parents to simple not talk a lot to each other. She wondered if a divorce was looming.
So the bullying at school, which got increasingly worse, her lack of friends and the tension at home, had all been enough for Felicia to take advantage of none of her parents being at home to get into their room and grab the gun, to the point she had it in her mouth. After she went back to her room, she started crying and she didn’t really knew why. Maybe it was because she felt weak or maybe it was because she felt very alone. It was then when she heard the door and it was her little brother.
He had arrived from being with a friend and Felicia could hear him throwing his backpack and turning on the TV. Without thinking, she opened the door and walked to his room. He was watching cartoons and looked at her on the door when she appeared. Felicia tried to seem calm and just wanting to hang out for a bit but Thomas was no fool. It is a common mistake to think youth means ignorance when it’s nothing of the sort. He realized soon something was wrong but didn’t ask outright.
Brother and sister spent a good chunk of the afternoon watching cartoons and sharing appreciations about them. Then, they grabbed cookies and milk and also some ice cream and ate it all just before their parents came back home. They didn’t look as happy as them.
But all of that didn’t matter because Felicia realized she still had people around who she could trust and also that she had to take care for. The world was not going to end. She was going to face the tide with the weapons she had at hand and promised herself to survive the whole messy thing that is adolescence.