As far as I am concerned, I believe that being alone is the worst thing in the world.

There are many things that are sad—but being alone, to have no one that even cares, to have no friends—that, I believe, is the worst thing in the world. When you are lonely, you feel empty, like you're standing in the middle of a desert, suffering from the heat; but no one is there to help you, to pat you and say, It'll be okay; no one to even give you a small smile of encouragement—and then you feel like everything has drained from your body, remember that there is no one to return to anyway, and there is no point of struggling any longer.

How can one live in a world without a friend?—how can anyone cope?

I remember when I was alone, and how I could cry over it at night. I still wonder how I could have ever lived through it—but I did.

All throughout elementary school—I had no social skills in existence; but I did have friends—they offered open hands when they saw the solitary girl that did everything alone—the one that read alone, ate alone, played alone (if at all), that worked alone—and they saw through to the living person that cried alone, wondering why she couldn't do anything right. And when she was offered friendship, offered a companion to help escape from the lonely darkness—"I'll be your friend then"—the solitary figure accepted. And she was happy—the happiest, because she knew she had friends, friends to depend on, to know she had people who could help her and she could help back—she was no longer useless, no longer alone, the lonely one flailing in the sea while searching for a reason to do so anyway.

Once, the lonely one had friends.

Once, I knew what it was like...to stay up even late into the night, wanting time to slow just so I could be with my friends—I actually had friends—how we did everything together—stalled and lagged just so we could make our moments together last.

Desperate. Clinging. But it was all to have a few more moments before we were wrenched apart to wait out for the next day—it felt like eternity.

There were six of us—Natalia, Winifred, Jack, Orville, Harry, and me.

We would always sit on Natalia's front yard, shaded by the large tree that hung over us; we six, just lingering and dawdling; idle because we were drunk on our happiness. Those were the days of summer and spring, when we all went outside and were wild as we pleased—biking, roaming the town, or just sitting and talking—because it was just us.

But if one would know anything of life, it would be clear that those days were numbered.

We gradually unraveled and parted—we, the threads that were woven so tightly together; and all of it became nothing but retrospect—nights, laughing and cheering as we swung each other around in the night's nostalgic breeze; days, whooping and hollering as we raced down and up the alleyways, watching the sun go down and the world being heaven.

But we unraveled.

The years brushed past, our days together were fewer and fewer—we could all sense that something was fading, something among us but we did nothing— When we realized it was over, we could only watch as every one of us had the glass slid over and in front of them, at every angle.

And then I knew again—as the plague of tears returned—what it was like to be friendless. Alone.

Again I was struggling in the deep and cold water—fish staring at me, and I passed the schools of them that roamed the watery depths together—and the fish's eyes, staring—glaring—with their soulless eyes. You're alone, they seemed to say. Where are your friends? Why aren't you talking? Why are you alone?

I'm not alone, I wanted protest, I have friends...

But where were they then?

But I was alone.

And knowing that brought the bitter hollowness within.

Alone.

I was alone.

Why was I still trying then?—and I still fought for the surface, to break it....

Sometimes, when I am at home, I would look outside and see the sunset in all its rays of glory, the endless lines of color softening the horizon. I would remember—when I would look up at it, laugh and proclaim to it, You look like heaven. I think I am in heaven, and then I would fall silent to ride my bike down the alleyway for the speed and its rush of exhilaration as I raced my friends. I meant something to someone; and it was enough to send me flying.

Sometimes at night, I would go outside to the silent streets with its blanketing sky, enjoy the waves of air flowing around me, and look up to remember the silent times when all quiet was broken with laughter, in our own childish glory. In the lonely nights, I could almost hear the laughter in the air, feel the presence of pure joy. It would send the nostalgic breeze through me again, and I would think,

I once had friends.

Then I was swimming upward again, and so close to the glorious surface that I would see the hope.

I once had friends.

I am now alone.

But I once had friends.

I once meant something to someone.