“I just want to be alone.”
It was a simple statement. There was nothing over complicated about it, nor were there any flabbergasting words embedded within the sentence. Yet it seemed to (name) that no one could understand it.
“Oh, don’t be like that, (name)! Come over and watch movies with me! You can have the first pick.”
No. I’m not in the mood.
“Hey, let’s go out for lunch! I’ll even pay for your food so you can’t use the excuse that you don’t have money.”
I’m not hungry.
“(Name), please…talk to me. I miss you.”
Please just leave me alone.
Nobody would just let her be by herself. They didn’t understand that she didn’t want to be around them; that she didn’t want to talk to anyone. That all she wanted was some peace and quiet inside her own home without somebody bothering her.
She didn’t know why she felt this way. It wasn’t like anything traumatic had happened to her. But recently, (name) just wanted to be alone. (Name) was so tired and she didn’t even know why. But constant lethargy was always telling her to stay in solitude, that it would make everything better, and she wasn’t in the mood to fight back. It wasn’t just a want—no, it was a need, sucking her into a black hole and refusing to let her crawl back out.
And by God did she know that being alone wasn’t going to do anything but dig that hole even deeper.
And then the nightmares.
There were always the nightmares—dreams she could never remember by the time she awoke with a shortness of breath and the feeling of someone shoving a hand into her chest and ripping her heart out. Either it was the nightmares that had begun the need to be solitary or the aching loneliness that had caused the nightmares to arise.
Either way, (name) was lost within herself and she had no idea how to find her way back.
It was another one of those days again. Her phone had gone off with texts and calls so much that (name) had put it on silent. The house was empty—her parents were at work—and cold and quiet. It felt like the world was trying to suffocate her and all (name) could do hide her face in the pillows of her bed for hours on end in darkness and try to think about everything and anything else that wasn’t how related to hollow she felt.
“What’s wrong with me?” she mumbled after what seemed like an eternity of having her nose and mouth smashed into the pillow.
It wasn’t the first time (name) had asked herself that question.
(Name) sighed. It wasn’t so much a sigh as it was a short breath of annoyance. Her (e/c) eyes were framed by shadows, (h/c) hair a ratty mess, and all she could do was now stare at the ceiling. Was this how a fish in an aquarium felt? Stuck in confinement, only able to swim in circles for days on end while the entire world looked through the glass and stared at you.
I just wanted to be alone.
It isn’t doing anything.
“By nature, human beings really are social creatures,” (name) mumbled sarcastically to herself as she forced her body to stand up from the bed. “Why would I think I was any different?”
A movement out of the corner of her eye caught her attention just then.
(Name) glanced over at the bedroom window, eyes narrowed as she stared at it. Either she was going crazy or the window had opened a quarter of the way and now a cool breeze was slowly filling the room, bordering right on chilly. She shivered and hugged herself, shaking her head as she reached out to shut it—
“Isolating yourself from everyone else isn’t going to solve your problems.”
A soft shriek left (name)’s lips as she spun around at the sound of the unfamiliar voice. The room had gotten decidedly colder, like winter had crept up on summer and given it a kiss. (Name)’s eyes grew wide when the air before her shimmered and a figure came into view—a figure that stood out brightly against the contrasting darkness of her room.
It was a boy.
He had pale skin and even paler hair, like two different shades of snow. His eyes were bluer and brighter than sapphires, glinting like the North Star. He was clad in a dark blue sweatshirt with…patterns of what appeared to be frost frozen straight into the material, and his pants were grey-brown trousers. He wore no shoes and in his hands he held a staff with a hook, dark brown but covered with patches of frost here and there.
For some reason, (name) was not afraid of this strange boy who had suddenly appeared in her room. She merely blinked, observed him for a moment, and then said, “Who are you?”
“My name is Jack Frost,” the boy answered. His voice was kind and full of energy, and his smile was equally so. “Being that you can see me must mean that you still believe in the sort of things kids do. Good—otherwise this whole trip would be worthless.”
“…Jack Frost,” (name) repeatedly slowly. “As in the mischievous winter spirit that causes trouble in all the myths?”
(Name), though being at the ripe age of seventeen, had never truly stopped believing in the impossible. It just wasn’t something she ever talked about with anyone.
How could you tell your friends and family that you still wished upon stars for things such as magic and true love to exist?
You didn’t. You just kept it to yourself.
“The one and only,” the boy replied with a chuckle. “It’s funny. I think you’re one of the oldest.” Before she could respond to that, Jack amended with, “The oldest to see me; to believe in me and others. That’s how I found you, you know. Others like me can sense the believers. And I’m a Guardian—it’s basically someone who protects children—the Guardian of Fun. And you, (name), are in need of some fun…or at least advice to find the fun in life again.”
(Name) was wondering why she wasn’t concerned by her mental health by now. Instead, she was merely nodding and awaiting for him to go on—maybe the lack of human contact had transformed her into such an accepting and unquestioning person that she just didn’t care anymore.
“Stop giving into the loneliness,” Jack stated firmly as he reached out a pale hand, wrapping it around (name)’s arm. The action sent a chill through her body, but it was not a negative one. It was simply one that made his words stick in her mind more. “Get out there. Make it go away. Don’t just sit here and allow the nightmares to take over your life. And yes,” he nodded when she gave him a look, “I know about the nightmares. Don’t worry—they’ll be less frequent now. We’ve done something about the one who was causing it.”
Jack Frost met (name)’s eyes, his expression stern but not unkind as he continued to speak. “I was alone for three hundred years. I know how you feel. The way that your heart aches, the emptiness in your chest, the urge to just lay down and never get back up. But I found my purpose—I got rid of the loneliness. And I know you can too. After all…”
The winter spirit gave a quiet laugh, his lips turning into a friendly and supportive smile.
“People can see you no matter what. You’ll have it easier than I did.”
(Name) stayed silent as she let it all sink in.
Jack resumed talking once more, and this time instead of just grabbing her arm he was embracing her gently, a pleasant coldness surrounding her and seeping into her skin.
“You are strong,” he whispered. “You can find the fun again. Isolation and solitude won’t do anything for you. You have to fight back against the hollowness instead of allowing it to take over you. I believe in you, (name), like you still believe in the fairy tales that keep me and my friends alive.”
Like a dam breaking at last under the pressure of a thousand liters of water, tears slowly slid from (name)’s eyes and down her cheeks in silence as Jack pulled away. He rested his hand on one side of her face, the frost from his fingers freezing the drops of water in their place. (Name) stared at him shakily, mouth unable to form words and throat closing tightly.
“…I will,” she whispered at last when the pale-as-snow boy pulled his hand away as well and stepped back a bit. “I-I’ll try.”
It wasn’t a lie to make him go away, either.
(Name) didn’t want to be alone anymore.
She just wanted to be happy and free and remember what it was like to smile and laugh with her friends.
“Good,” Jack nodded with pleasure, giving her a cheeky grin. “If you had said no, I was just going to resort to freezing everything you owned until you agreed.”
A laugh managed to make its way out of her mouth. A shaky, uncertain laugh, but a laugh nonetheless as (name) continued to silently cry, wiping the half-frozen tears from her face, staring down at the floor.
“I have to go now.” Jack’s words were quiet, but they dug into her heart like he had screamed them. “I just wanted to stop by and tell you all of that. No one deserves to feel alone; because in reality, no one truly is. You just have to find those who will let you stay away from that feeling.”
Silence settled between the two, and (name) finally looked up.
When she did, Jack Frost gave her a smile that was as bright as the first snowfall and as warm as the sun.
“I believe in you, (name). Good luck and goodbye.”
And just like that he was gone.
For a moment, (name) thought herself insane and was certain that she had imagined everything as a result from lack of sleep and her current state of mind. But, when she still shivered from the lingering cold in her room and the window’s glass was covered with an etching of frost, (name) realized that Jack Frost had truly just appeared before her to tell her that she wasn’t alone.
That did it.
(Name) cried. Loud, sobbing gasps of breath as the tears ran down her face in torrents. She cried for all the people she had been avoiding. For all the days of sitting by herself wondering why it wasn’t help at all. She cried for the way her heart had been hurting and for the simple fact that it felt so damn good to cry at last.
And finally, when she was done calling, (name) picked up her phone and stared at her list of contacts.
She pushed the call button on one of the names—any of them would have mattered.
And when the person on the other end answered enthusiastically yet at the same time with obvious uncertainty, (name) said, “We should hang out. Right now sound good?”
She was done with solitude. She was done with the nightmares and the helpless feeling of falling into a black hole. She was done with ignoring those around her and not being able to allow herself have fun.
(Name) was done with the isolation she had forced herself into, and it was all because of a once lonely Guardian by the name of Jack Frost.