All day it has been rainy, the sky was gloomy, and the air was clammy. I always love those days because it is as if God is crying for you and his tears were sticking to your body. It's these kind of days that make me feel very introspective. So I spent all day sitting on my black shag carpet pondering my life, which led to me reading all my old diaries. Now I'm reading my diary from eighth grade. That was a brutal year. That was when became anorexic and started therapy. It was also the year of my first heartbreak and the year I started cutting. It's amazing how far I've come now. I've started eating again and although I'm still in therapy it's helping a lot. Also I've had two more heartbreaks even worse than the first. The only major problem is cutting. Cutting is so soothing. Unless you've ever cut yourself you cannot comprehend how it feels. It's like one cut can remove all your problems and doubts. I don't cut as much as I used to. Instead of maybe ten cuts a day, I only cut twice a week. I'm working on stopping in therapy and if I don't stop soon they want to send me to a mental hospital.
While skimming through my diary I find a note from my best-friend Stephanie. As I open it thunder cracks and I see a flash of light. The rain has finally turned into a thunderstorm I realize as I begin to read the note. It's silly and full of inside jokes. I miss Stephanie so much. We met in first grade and became best friends instantly and stayed that way until I moved at the beginning of third grade. Even after that we stayed good friends. We didn't see each other as often, but we would talk on the phone for hours. When I had a hard time making new friends, she was there for me. During sixth grade when her parents divorced, I was there for her. In seventh grade she moved closer to me and we saw each other pretty regularly.
In eighth grade it all changed. She was very unreliable about calling people back and wasn't always home, but when I had called her everyday for a month and hadn't contacted her I became worried. When I finally talked to her she had a heartbreaking story. She had started doing drugs and ran away from home with her boyfriend. It became a habit of hers to disappear for a while and then reappear with tragic stories. Then around the same time I did, she started to cut. We were both going through similar situations and understood each other perfectly. After one time she had disappeared, she told me that she had tried to slit her wrists and ended up in a mental hospital. Right after that I started cutting really deep and contemplating suicide almost everyday.
The next time I saw her we cried together for hours. We talked about how pointless life was. It was ironic, but even though we wanted to die I didn't want her to kill herself and vice versa. So before she left we made a pact not to kill ourselves. Although she still disappeared and attempted suicide, she never succeeded and I knew she would never break our promise. The last I had heard from her she was in a mental hospital because she was bulimic and tried to hang herself. Since then I haven't been able to hear the phrase "hang yourself" without crying.
My light flickers and I return to reality. This thunderstorm is worse than I thought. I hear a ring, which makes me jump and scream, then I realize it was just the phone. I sigh in relief and answer it.
"Hi, may I speak to Cassandra?" The voice is vaguely familiar, but I can't place it.
"This is she," I respond.
"This is Stephanie's mom," the voice says, which scares me shitless because in all of the years of our friendship Stephanie's mother has never called me. "I um. I don't know how to say this," she starts to sob, "Stephanie's gone."
I hear her mumble in the background, but her words are indecipherable. I can't think or even breathe. All I can do is cry. I drop the phone, sink to the floor and just bawl. I refuse to believe it.
My mom enters and asks, "What's wrong sweetie?"
I can't respond. I point to the phone and run to my room. I throw myself on the bed, cry and find my scissors. Soon I'm drowning a mixture of tears and blood, love and betrayal. I hear a faint sound and feel a rough wet thing on my hand, I look up and see my cat, but I can't even pet her. I can't move. It's like I died instead of Stephanie. I wish I had died in her place. She was my best friend, she was the only person who understood me, she was everything. Every part of me was intertwined with her, most of my smiles were a result of her, my life was because of her. Without her and our promise I would've committed suicide long ago.
Our promise. How could she have done this to me? She'd never broken a promise before. Even if she had to break a promise, because everyone does sometime, why did she break this promise? This was the most important promise. This promise was the barrier between life and death for both of us. It's not fair that she can break and be rid of life, while I am stuck in this hellhole. A million feelings are swimming through my blood stream. I feel hurt, lost, deceived, guilty, irate and so many other things. All I want to do is end it here and now. Obviously our promise meant nothing, but as I searched for the scissors I had just cut with there was a knock at the door.
"Come in," I say, barely audible through my tears.
My mother shuffles in and plops on my bed. "Are you alright Cassie?"
I don't even turn my head to give her a nasty glare nor do I reply. That must be the stupidest question anyone has ever asked.
"Well, look. just don't do anything stupid ok? If you need me I'm always here," she kisses the back of my head before leaving.
I now decide it would take too much energy to even kill myself, at least right now anyway. I just continue to cry. I cry and cry until my blue eyes are pink puff balls and no more tears come. Then I close my eyes and drift off to sleep.
When I wake up it is pitch black outside, I look at my alarm clock and it is blinking 12:00.
"Well that was helpful," I comment out loud to myself and throw the clock across the room.
I stand up and turn on the light, which is a big improvement, but I can't find anything to do. So I pick up my journal and write poems. Poems about Stephanie's life. Her death. The broken promise. I write until the page is covered with water droplets. I throw the journal across the room now too. It lands on the floor with shattered clock. I lay back down on my bed. Apparently crying takes an extreme amount of energy. I stare at my white ceiling and think. I have an important to decision to make. To be or not to be that is the question. I have no idea what Shakespearean character said that or what the hell they meant, but I do know it's my question now. Do I want to continue living or not? It's hard. Death is a scary concept, it is the ultimate unknown and it's impossible to take back. Then you have life. Life is scary too and painful and miserable. If my death only affected me I could chose in a second, but just as Stephanie's death affected me, my death should affect some one, or at least I hope so. Then again maybe it wouldn't. Maybe no one cares enough, in which case the choice is clear. I stare at the wall for what seems like hours, until I conclude that death is better than life.
Then I was at Stephanie's funeral. She was in a coffin wearing her favorite outfit and I was standing over her. I cried and ran my hand through her hair and she grabbed it. I started to speak but she hushed me.
"I'm sorry," she whispers, "I should've honored our secret. Do you think you can ever forgive me?"
A tear runs down her cheek and I wipe it away. "Of course I can," I say with a smile.
The next thing I know the sun is streaming into my eyes. It was all a dream.
My mom enters my room, "You don't have to go to school today, but you will have to get up. Stephanie's funeral is tomorrow and you have to let me know if you need me to wash anything."
My first impulse is to refuse to attend. Seeing her will just upset me more, but then I remember my dream. Normally I don't believe dreams mean anything, but maybe Stephanie was sending a message or something so I nod. After my mom leaves, I decide that I will go to the funeral and the burial and right after that I will kill myself. I look for a dress in my closet, but before long I am crying again I choose to let my mom pick out my outfit and I look for my journal. I find it across the room with the broken clock. Soon my life will be broken too.
I pick up the journal and begin to write my will. I know there's not much, but I have about $1,500, miscellaneous clothes, stuffed animals and tons of jewelry. I leave all my CDs to my friend Erica and I allow my sister, mother, and father to take anything they want. Half the money will go to Habitat for Humanity and the other will go to Children of the World. All of my clothes and things will go to the Salvation Army. Lastly I write a short note to all my loved ones explaining that none of this is their fault and that I will probably be happier now. I fold it and seal it in an envelope. Then I lie on my bed and cry some more. I spend the rest of the day either sleeping or crying just like a newborn baby, except I won't eat.
The next morning my mom wakes me up and I take a shower. I get dressed and we drive to the funeral home. The entire time I am crying. As we pull into the parking lot, I try to dry my eyes, but they are so pink anyone can tell I've been crying. I get out of the car and walk to the front door. Then I stop. I can't do it. I can't go any further. I'm stuck I know if I go in there I'll have to see her and look at her and I don't think I can handle that.
My mom hugs me and says, "You don't have to do this."
"I know, but I should say good-bye," I respond while starting to cry.
I take a deep breath and walk in. I find the room where she is and go up to her casket. Even though I know it's impossible I keep praying that she'll wake up and say it was a joke. Of course she doesn't. A weave of unbearable sadness engulfs me and I start to weep uncontrollably. Once my mom leads me to my seat all I can think is why. Why didn't she keep her promise? Why did she succeed this time? Why was she cursed with so many problems? Why her and not me? There are no answers, only more questions, but while looking at all these people here I know I can't kill myself. I don't ever want to put people in the pain I am in right now.
I approach the casket again and whisper, "I swear to God I will keep our promise in honor of your life."
I walk away crying bittersweet tears. I know I made the right decision. I just only wish she was here to share this moment with me and that she had chosen life too.