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Axl is nothing. He has nothing, he does nothing. He lies on top of the quilt covering his bed, though it isn’t really a bed, just a mattress on the floor. He stares at the wall across his room. It’s empty just like every other wall in his apartment, except for a poster from a movie he's never seen. It was one dollar at a garage sale, and he got it because he liked the bright, retro looking colors. There’s a hole in the drywall across from his bed. He rubs his knuckles and stares at it, trying to remember what angered him enough to make it.

   Axl is nothing because he wants nothing. Well, almost nothing.  He used to want things. He wanted to be a lawyer. He even got into Harvard. He made it to the beginning of junior year, then he met her. She is the only thing he wants and the only thing he still cares about. He doesn’t see her often, but lately it has been more than ever before.

He gets up from his bed and wanders to the bathroom, stumbling as he flips the light on. He winces at the sudden brightness overwhelming his eyes while staring at himself in the mirror. He pictures her standing next to him, running her fingers through his dark, curly hair. If she were here now, she’d tell him to cut it, or maybe she would cut it for him.  

She is the reason he dropped out of college, and the reason he’s living in a shitty apartment instead of driving a Porsche like his fellow classmates probably are. She didn’t tell him to drop out, but he knew the only way to have her would be to invest all of his money and time into her, which and he still does. He met her at a party the beginning of junior year. His friend JR gave him a pill; he didn't know what it was, but he took it anyway. His eyes blurred and his head spun. When he stepped outside to collect himself, she was there, wearing her dirty blonde hair in two braids, and her eyes were so green that they made Axl think of an emerald gem. He was overcome by her beauty, almost like he was under a spell. She made his heart race. He was hooked.

He had to keep seeing her. He found a kid that lives below him who he can buy from. He's tried stopping, but he loses sleep when she’s not with him. He starts to shake with pain, and he sweats even when he’s sitting completely still. It seems impossible to stop seeing her, even though he doesn’t want to keep taking the pills. He doesn’t want to buy them or be controlled by them. He only wants her, and he only sees her when he’s out of his own mind.

When he goes more than a week without seeing her it becomes unbearable. He begins longing for the familiar feeling of the smooth plastic between his fingers; he needs the plastic of the little orange bottle. The absence of the bottle in his hand reminds him of the absence of her. That’s when he starts punching holes in his walls.

He left school a few months after meeting her. His parents are still worried, always asking what’s going on. He leaves them in the dark because he knows they will take him somewhere he won’t be able to see her. Axl knows she’s isn't good for him. She’s expensive, she’s controlling, but he’s addicted to her, regardless of the toxicity of their love.

He makes his way back to his bedroom. He opens his sock drawer and digs his hand to the bottom, searching for the little orange bottle. His fingers tremble as he pops open the lid and swallows two pills. He lies on his bed and hugs his knees to his chest as he waits for her. His room spins out of control and he stands up to balance himself against the wall. He rests his forehead on the poster and squeezes his eyes shut.

When he opens his eyes, the room becomes still. He sees her at the end of his bed, sitting cross legged, smiling at him. Her mesmerizing eyes locked on his own.

“You’re out of your mind.” She laughs, smiling at Axl.

“Only when I’m with you,” he answers, placing the plastic orange bottle on his dresser.

Axl knows she doesn’t really exist. She’s nothing, just like him. He likes that she’s nothing; he fell in love with nothing. But when he’s with her, he feels like he isn’t nothing. He’s something. They are something.

Writing Allie Bayne