Casey sighed as she looked at her watch. Once again, her beloved little watch had completely stopped working. Now she would have to either spend even more money to get it fixed or just finally opt out for a brand new one.
"What's wrong?" James asked.
"My watch," Casey replied. "It's stopped working again. I'm just going to have to get a new one, I guess."
"Oh," James said as he grabbed another piece of bread and threw it out into the pond. Several ducklings swam up and began eating.
As Casey reached into the bag for a piece of bread, she knew something was bothering him. That much Casey could tell. She had known him long enough to tell when he felt depressed even when he did not say anything about it.
It seemed as if some people in this world were just meant for pain, physical or otherwise. Through no apparent fault of their own, they caught the short end of the proverbial happy stick. Even before they formally met, Casey could tell that much about him.
Casey had seen him at random points in high school throughout the semester they first met. Each time, no one seemed to pay much attention to James. During their lunch break together, she spotted him at a table in the corner totally alone. Between classes, he walked alone with no one talking to him. If he had any friends, she could not tell.
Even now, he did not have very many friends at all. Casey could not stand how even they could forget him and seem to leave him out of everything so easily. She knew he had problems with depression, so there was no telling what was bothering him.
"James, is something wrong?" Casey asked. He remained silent as he threw another piece into the pond.
"I was just thinking about these two girls," James replied. "I thought we were becoming pretty good friends. Then they quit talking to me."
"That sucks," Casey replied. "What for?"
"I don't know," James replied. Shame filled his thoughts and he broke eye contact. "Things were going great and they just quit talking to me and started ignoring me for no reason. Guess I shouldn't be surprised though. Most people do. It always happens--I try my best to make friends and they treat me like I have an infectious disease. Almost funny to think about."
Casey frowned. She knew it was not fair. He was such a great guy; one whom definitely did not deserve to be treated in such a way.
"Well, that's their problem," Casey said. "They don't know what a great friend they're missing out on."
"Thanks Casey," James replied. Most days she could always make him feel better about himself. But today, it just was not working. He knew he was too far gone into his depression to come out that easily. "But I guess I should be getting home. I got something to take care of."
"Okay," Casey said as she picked up the bag of bread and hopped off the picnic table they sat on.
"Hey, do you mind coming by my apartment tomorrow after your classes are over?" he asked. "I have something I want you to see."
"Sure bud," Casey replied with a grin. "What is it?"
"I don't want to tell you," James said. He paused. "If it works, I'm not going to feel depressed anymore. And you will know what I have always wanted. When you get there tomorrow, come on in. I'll be in my bedroom."
He smiled and walked away. As she watched, Casey chuckled as she threw the bags away in a trashcan.
"Just like that boy," she thought. "Always keeping everyone in suspense."
Hearing thunder in the darkening sky, she walked home..
The next morning, following the end of her last class of the day, Casey did as James asked and went to his apartment. As she brushed her brown hair behind her shoulders, a thought crossed her mind. It was 11:30 in the morning and James had a class this morning at the time.
James never missed any of his classes. Ever.
However, Casey simply shrugged the thought off thinking he must have had his reasons. She made her way to his apartment and, following his orders, slowly opened the door and walked in.
"James?" Casey called out as she closed the door. No response. She looked around and did not see any signs of her friend in the living room or his apartment's kitchen.
The second she walked into his bedroom, her heart sank faster than the Titanic. What she saw made her hope this was nothing more than a horrible nightmare. Tears filled her eyes as she stared at James' lifeless body on the floor with his back pressed against the wall. Dried blood appeared below slashes across both his wrists. His blue eyes, now void of life, seemed to stare at her as if he thought 'Help me!' Near his left hand rested a bloody razor used to take his life.
Above his body was as shocking for her. Bloody handprints covered the wall. Simple blood marks smeared others areas around it implying James, in his last moments of life, had rubbed his hands against the wall.
However,Casey's sadness grew with the sightthe message of the blood-written message James left.One that told the one thing he alwayswanted.
The blood-written message simply read,