Theo wasn't feeling ok, in reality, he was feeling far from ok, he was feeling like crap and he didn't know what to do about it.
He was feeling disappointed in himself, disappointed in what he was doing, disappointed in how he was acting. He didn't feel motivated for school anymore, his grades had dropped and his parents looked at him with that look in their eyes that told him that they had expected better from him. Hell, Theo had expected better from himself.
He was feeling angry. Angry that he had to deal with all the people around him, angry that no one seemed to notice that he wasn't feeling ok, angry with himself for not being able to get better.
And he was feeling sad. He wanted all this to stop, he wanted things to go back to how they were before, he wanted to be happy and carefree, he didn't like this empty, quiet shell he had become.
In front of other people, Theo had become emotionless. He would talk even less than normal, he would laugh less a different force smiles, he pretended that there was nothing wrong and the worst was that people bought it. His parents, his classmates, his friends, everyone believed that he was ok, that there was nothing wrong, everyone bought his stupid, desperate act of happiness.
He could tell his parents or his friends, he could them someone how he was feeling, he could tell them what was going on inside his head, he could but he couldn't.
Theo didn't ask for help, he never did, because he didn't like talking about his feelings, he didn't like knowing that the moment some words left his mouth the people he was talking to would try to force more words out of him, he didn't want to break down in front of someone, he didn't want to lose control over himself and his emotions. So, he stayed quiet, he kept everything to himself and he tried living with it.
He cried when he was alone in his room before sleeping, earphones in his ears, a desperate attempt to silence his thoughts. He listened to darker songs, he wrote darker stories and he kept to himself even more than usual.
But he was tired, so, so tired of all the things he had bottled up inside, he was tired of all the mixed feelings, of all the sleepless nights and dreams that didn't make any sense, he was tired of pretending, he was tired of people believing his act.
Theo was exhausted and one Saturday morning after he had cried himself to sleep the previous night and after he had woken up more times than he could count through the night, with his back aching, eyes sore and tears barely contained, with a heavy weight in his heart, after his parents had made him leave his house and the bed where he was curled up in and ball to go have lunch at his grandfather's, Theo sat on a step of the stairs, Sun shining on top of him as if it were a normal day and worse his feelings down.
He wrote what he was feeling, he explained his feelings to the piece of paper in his hands, little stains of tears appearing here and there and blurring some words, he dropped the act for and a few minutes and let himself be heard, even if just by his paper.
Maybe it wasn't ideal, his mother and his grandfather kept passing by, but he was wearing a big coat with a big hoodie and it covered half of his face, so he felt more or less safe.
He didn't exactly feel better after writing everything, but it was as if a weight had been lifted, he felt relieved and he could breathe a little more easily. The small breeze was cooling his face and his thoughts and Theo felt one step closer to be back to his normal self.
When he got home, Theo folded his piece of paper and hid it in the middle of all his books, in a place he knew no one would ever look.
And when the paper was safe, Theo looked in the mirror, stared at him reflexion and saw the new spark of determination in his eyes.
He would get better, he would get himself up and he would go back to being himself. He would make things right again. He would do it all. He could do it all.
It wasn't an immediate thing, he didn't magically get better, but things were slowly straightening themselves.
Sometimes he wishes he was brave enough to tell someone how he was feeling, brave enough to ask for help, but he wasn't so he kept doing everything by himself, progressing all on his own.
He was sure that his family and his friends had noticed that he wasn't feeling alright at some point, but they had respected his silence and, other than the occasional reassurance that they were there if he needed anything, they didn't say anything, but Theo knew that he had their silent support.
By the time Summer break came around, Theo was feeling almost, almost like himself, and he suspected that they're pressure, anxiety and stress that school had laid on top of him had been the main reasons behind his breakdown in the middle of the school year.
He walked more freely now, he laughed and he talked, he joked around with his friends and he was proud of himself and his progress.
And, on a Saturday morning, when Theo found a boy sitting on a bench in the park, the sun shining on top of them and making the tears shine in the boy’s blue eyes, Theo didn't have to think twice before sitting next to the boy and and offering his silent support, not knowing if the boy wanted to hear anything and not knowing what to say.
They didn't know each other, but no one deserved to feel like crap. Theo had gotten better and he vowed to help the boy get better if he would let him.
The next morning, Theo found Liam - as the boy had introduced himself the prior day - sitting in the same place. Theo had gone there in hopes of finding him again and when he sat next to him, he didn't open his mouth, he just grabbed the piece of paper he had hidden in his pocket, the one he had grabbed from in-between in his books and where he had scribbled his phone number and gave it to Liam.
Maybe he could help him without talking.
On the weeks that followed, they had religiously met in the park every day and had gotten to know each other. At first, they didn't touch the subject of Liam’s sadness and tiredness or the piece of paper Theo had given him, they talked about other things, random things that got their minds out of all the thoughts in their heads.
Eventually, they ended up confiding in each other, crying on each other's shoulders and wiping each other's tears, listening and confessing. And it felt good, it felt like everything they had needed.
And now, walking around town hand in hand, real smiles on their faces, Liam swears that Theo and his letter had been the push he needed to start getting better, and Theo swears that talking to Liam and confiding in him had been the last puzzle piece to be alright again, like he deserved to be.
In the end, asking for help and telling someone might be the best thing a person can do in order to feel better.