"I can't help but think about the future," Nova mumbles, picking grass from the ground to the side of the baseball field. She watches the rest of her class as they play, wondering why they don't feel so god damned terrible all the time.
"What's going to happen?" she asks the air.
Ellie walks over and sits down next to her, breathing loudly.
"Good game," she says. "You should have played; it was fun."
Nova watches her carefully, checking all the signs. Real smile, eyes glittering, cheeks flushed, hair astray...
"I've been thinking about killing myself," Nova whispers. She keeps checking those same signs. Keeps checking and rechecking them, superstitiously.
The smile sort of drops like the ground has been pulled out from under it, and the eyes turn to ocean. The cheeks hang a little lower, and Ellie's entire face seems to darken.
"Don't," she says.
Nova shrugs. "It's only a thought."
But both she and Ellie know it's a little more than that.
Ellie starts picking out grass too, thinking.
"I have a question," she says clearly, looking up at Nova.
"Why?" Ellie asks, narrowing her eyes, the same question reflecting in them.
"Because everyone always says, you know, make life worth living."
Ellie watches her carefully.
Nova chokes a little bit inside, too chickenshit to keep going, but she pushes herself with a sob hanging in the back of her throat.
"But I can't...can't make it worth it anymore. I can't."
Nova's eyes water a bit, and she tries to look down.
"All right everyone. Back inside! School's almost out..." Everyone else starts walking slowly back towards the school, some carrying bases or bats from the game.
"Come on," Nova says. "We gotta go."
Ellie is resistant, and holds Nova's arm as she tries to walk off.
"You'll be here tomorrow, right?"
Nova shrugs, feeling self-conscience.
"No. I want to talk to you tomorrow. You WILL be here tomorrow."