I sit on the porch outside our big house and realize how unimportant the size of my house was at this point. Realize how unimportant the huge glorious garden was right now. And realize how nothing seemed important anymore.
My older sister Jen walks out and turns the lights on. "How are you sitting out here in the dark? Are you crazy?"
I just decide to ignore it…the talking, the complaining. For once I just decide not to talk about. Simply because I'm too tired to say anything at this point.
"So everyone's kinda scared to come out and talk to you," she said as she took a seat right next to me. "It's like you're intimidating or something."
Again, I remain silent.
"I know you've heard this about a billion times but I'm just gonna ask you again anyway…" She looks at me this time, forcing eye contact and noticing that I had been crying for at least two hours, which is weird for a guy like me.
I swallow my throat for a moment and manage to get words out of my mouth. "Am I supposed to be okay? Am I supposed to be fine?"
"Of course not, Rick. These things…they take time."
"He's dead!" I scream all of a sudden then realize that I overreacted. "Derek is dead. Just last night, I was hanging out with him like nothing's wrong and today—tonight, he's just…dead!"
Jen sighs for a moment then states, "I think you need to be over there right now. At his house. You are his best friend. You owe his family that much. You have to be with them."
"I don't know if I can go over there, Jen," I blurt out with tears now running down my cheeks like a waterfall. "I don't know if I can get over it. Ever."
"Come on, get up. I'm taking you to their house."
At first I shrug. But then I realize that I need to be there. I need to be with his family, I need to console them. His mother. His two older sisters. I had to be with them. I had become part of their family that I realized I really had to go there and help. Just my presence would do something. Anything.
As Jen parks the car a few blocks away from Derek's house, I slowly walk out of the Nissan Pathfinder and find myself surprised that I can walk on my feet. I look at the house. It's full of people, of relatives, of close friends, of loved ones. And yet, somehow, and this might come off as extremely lame and cheesy but I swear to God the house looked empty. Despite how crowded it actually was, it looked empty. Because Derek had died earlier that morning of a car accident. A stupid drunk driver crashed into his car, killing him immediately.
I was determined. I will find that escaped driver even if it's the last thing I had to do before I die.
"Come on, Rick…"
I hear my sister's voice in my ears and realize that I have to pull myself together and get over there. Before I even take another step, I see Melissa walking out of her car and preparing to go to Derek's as well. She sees me and when she does, she cries. Then we both run towards each other and embrace in a passionate hug.
Melissa was Derek's girlfriend.
Oh my god. I just said "was". It's really happening, isn't it?
"This isn't happening, Rick. This isn't happening," she keeps crying over my shoulder.
"I am sooooo sorry." I sob over hers.
"We were on the phone and-and he was talking to me. We were—we were talking on the phone and then…" Melissa takes a moment to sniff. "And then I hear a crash. And then dial tone. I call him again. And again. And again. And then I hear the police sirens. And-and-and the-the ambulance. Next thing I know, I find myself at the hospital and two doctors come out of the operating room and tell me 'We are very sorry. We did everything we could.' What the heck does that even mean? How-how can he just die like that, Rick? I don't even…I don't believe it. It's not true, it's not true, it's not true…"
"I know, I know…"
"This can't be happening…"
I never really liked Melissa before today. I always thought she was a b*tch. Maybe she was. But today, she was a b*tch crying over my best friend. And that makes her honorable.
One hour later, I find myself sitting on a porch again. This time, it's not our porch. It's Derek's porch. I sit on the swing and think. It's 1am and I'm still there, at their house (basically my house as well). Minutes later, Erica walks out of the house and sees me sitting there. She sits next to me.
I don't know what to do now. Or what to say. What do I tell my best friend's oldest sister to console her about her brother's tragic death?
Luckily, she talks first.
"The funeral's tomorrow," she says in a strong, bold voice, keeping a straight face and not wiping the tear that she shed. "We want you to say something. Tomorrow."
I cough. "Like a eulogy or something?"
She nods. "Like a eulogy or something." Erica takes a deep breath. "You know, it's weird. I don't really feel it yet. I mean, everyone keeps saying it…my brother is dead. And I get that. And it sucks. And it's tragic. But I still don't feel it. I kept looking at this door the entire night, waiting for him to walk in and surprise us."
"I know. Me too."
And then a long silence.
"I miss him," she says suddenly.
And then I realize I have a eulogy to prepare for tomorrow. That sucks. What am I supposed to say about my best friend? What words can possibly explain the pain I'm feeling right now that my brother, my best friend, my other half is gone and will never come back? How do I explain that I'm dead inside now, that Derek's death…made me stop breathing. That it's killing me…it's eating me from the inside…it's ripping me apart…
But all that is for tomorrow. Right now, I have to stay with Erica and console her.
Sorry, this was kind of a short chapter and not that good but I needed to write this. My best friend really DID die a year ago and all the events in this story are real (I just changed the names). The conversation I had with his sister on the night that he died was actually so much more tragic and emotional but I just couldn't write it down. Too much.
Review this and maybe I'll go on with more chapters of the past year of my life. Thank you for reading :)