Even if they no longer had lunch together, she still knew her best friend better than anyone else. She had spent the last year forging the friendship and learned enough to know something wasn't right. No one wore a jacket every remaining day of summer they were in school, not even her crazy best friend. And then it hit her, like a train, or a ton bricks, or whatever the saying was, except she didn't care because this was her best friend, and while her best friend wasn't an anorexic teenager, she was still a cutting teenager. She thought that her best friend was better than that, not someone who does those things. Terrible things.
She thought about it, and supposed that maybe her best friend had been in love with that guy, the one her best friend had known in kindergarten, and the one her best friend had dated last year. But they broke up for God knows what reason. She thought that maybe-because that guy was being all douche baggy-maybe her best friend would get over it. She was wrong.
Her best friend skips class to come to lunch and sit with them-because despite the fact that she hates people who ditch class, she loves her best friend more than world itself, and maybe it's okay that she ditches sometimes-and that guy walks over with the orange slushy he buys ever day. With his stupid hat on, and his basketball shorts and a sweater. With his stupid douche bag grin, and he expects a hug from the both of them.
She noticed the cutting when they went to the place that was by their school-the one everyone went to-when her best friend was paying. And she froze. She had expected this, yes, she knew this, but the confirmation was a wake up call. A slap to the back of the head. An alarm clock buzzing at six in the morning because if you didn't set it early enough, you'd never get up.
She thinks about it that night. While she was living her life, while she was having fun everyday, her best friend was killing herself. She was with her amazing boyfriend and her best friend was dying because of some stupid ex-boyfriend(albeit one that her best friend really liked). And while she was living a great home life, her best friend was getting yelled at and sleeping on her couch. And she thinks. When her best friend was still with that guy, and things got really bad, her best friend went to his house. And now her best friend had nowhere. Not even here.
On a Thursday when her brother has to do homework and needs help and her mom's not home and her dad's not awake, she refuses. She doesn't want to. And her brother cries and her dad wakes up and yells at them. He uses words that no one else is allow to use, dirty, dirty, dirty words. And her dad hits her little brother so hard that she can barely believe it, except for the fact she saw everything with her own eyes. Because in that moment, she flashes back to when she was at her best friend's house and her best friend's dad did that too. She knows what to do.
Her best friend doesn't skip class anymore. He is dating the young ones-the new ones-and goes through so many-to many-girls. And she sits in between all of it. Watches all it happen, with her loyal boyfriend at her side. And she thinks how lucky she is, how great her life is, because she could be living in a third world country, and she could be getting shot at, and she could be in the same situation her best friend is in. But she isn't. And she kisses her boyfriend, because that's how lucky she is.
And then she's sitting in her classes and is waiting for time to tick out slowly, because another one of her teacher is going on about something she doesn't care about. And she knows that it's wrong, that she should be paying attention because this was her life, but she didn't she her best friend this morning and she's worried. So very worried that maybe her best friend decided to give up and die.
She knows her reasoning is irrational. She should tell someone about her cutting teenager best friend, but she can't. Because it's not her secret to tell. Like her locker room friend whose mother got raped in college, and kept the kid. And her friend who is so in love with someone who had been gone for such a long time. And her friend whose mom had a child with another man. And her friend who hates their parents, and their family, because of all of the wrong reasons. And her friend who is gay, but won't say so, because life is a cruel world, and that friend knows of the story someone that was abandoned for coming out of the closet. That friend is so, so scared. She kept these secrets because people could trust her, and she's not so sure her best friend trusts her, because her best friend didn't even talk to her.
She doesn't see her best friend, not even after school when she usually meets up with her best friend. And it scares her. Because this wasn't even her life, but one of the people she depends on. That cutting teenager is her best friend. That night, she drops to her knees, and prays to whatever God that will listen, because, yes, she has a religion, but she didn't take her childhood to believe. But still, even with her childhood blasphemy, she prayed that her best friend would be okay.
The next day, when her best friend is at school, she wants to jump up and down and scream that God is great. But she doesn't. She just hugs her best friend, and asked what happened, while silently thanking God.
After school, she confronts her best friend, but her best friend didn't want to hear it. Her best friend says she had a bad day, and wants to be left alone, because that guy was making out with a girl in the bathroom, and her best friend had walked in on it. And that guy didn't even care.
But she nags her best friend, and it ends up with yelling and such and her best friend just wants it to stop, because it's just like home and then her best friend runs into the street. And it happens so fast that people, at first, didn't even notice. And then her best friend is dying in front of her. Right next to her. And the ambulance gets there so slow, it seems like time melts away. Everything is caught in slow motion, and she can't stand to sit in the ambulance with her dying, cutting teenager best friend. So she catches up with her boyfriend and his parents, and she can't even tell that she's crying, except her boyfriend in wiping her tears away. And she doesn't even want to be touched.
When her best friend dies, she is sitting in the arms of her boyfriend, waiting, because the doctors were still trying to save her best friend. Her parents are called to the hospital because they don't want someone to have a mental breakdown, but the adults end up going down to the cafeteria. They know something is up, and they'd rather not ask questions when life is already hard.
Even with her best friend's parents called, they don't show up. Her best friend's dad is probably drunk and hitting his wife. And the doctor comes out, and has that poker face on, but is holding his hands together, and he spills the news, and she's crying again because she can't help that her best friend is dead. She could have helped that, maybe if she told someone. And every time someone says there was nothing she could do, she wants to hit them. Because there was something that she could do.
She doesn't go to the funeral, and she hides everything that has any memory of her best friend in a box, like you're suppose to do with you're ex-boyfriends. Except her best friend is still her friend even if she's dead. By the end of the week, her room is bare. The only reason she doesn't go to the funeral is because if she did, she would have to face the reality that her best friend is dead, and she would cry her heart out.
It takes time. It always does. Because her best friend is dead, and she lays on her bed up all night because she can't sleep, and she when her alarm goes off, she turns it off, and rolls onto her other side. She blames herself, even if she knows that it wasn't truly her fault. That her best friend was killing herself slowly, and she wouldn't even have done anything.
A bunch of people come over to her house, but every time her mom says a name, she blankly stares and says that she doesn't want to see them. On the third day, because her boyfriend has come everyday, she finally let's him in. And she can't even say anything anymore, because sometimes she forgets that her best friend and boyfriend were friends too, and he's hurting just as much as she is. It starts her crying again, and this time they both cry.
Later that day, when her boyfriend leaves to go get comfort food, that guy comes to see her. He looks bad, with messy, tangled hair, and ruffled, dirty clothes, and two shoes that don't match, and his eyes are cold and dead. At first, she wants to smile smugly because it's what he gets, but she knows that it's wrong. And he leans against the wall and slides down and pulls his hand loosely around his knees. And he confesses everything. That he did love her best friend, that he would have loved her best friend forever, and that he was a stupid, stupid, stupid boy, and she looks into his eyes, and they are finally back to the way they were. And she says that it wasn't his fault because she wants him to feel better, even when she knows it is.
He tells her that he was thinking about it. Killing himself. Because without her best friend in the world, what was he good for? He had lost the girl. And she quickly disagrees and tells him that he can't do that. Because she just lost her best friend, and she can't lose anyone else. Then he asks if the next time she looks at him, she will hate him because of what he did to her best friend. And she says that she will see her best friend, but she won't hate him. And he asks if her best friend loved him. Because it's her best friend, and her best friend would have wanted it like this, she says that she doesn't know. It's not her secret to tell.
When she decided to go back to school, she feels the looks of pity given to her. And as slow as it is, eventually, people forget about her best friend. They go back to their lives, because they no longer have time to think of some girl who died. But she would never forget her best friend. Because it didn't work like that, especially with best friends.
She grows up fast, yes, and she get real good grades, and every time she sees that guy, she smiles and waves, because she knows that it should be that way. Because the only other way it should have been is now impossible, not that it's anyone's fault. And when high school goes by fast, and she sits in the sea of blue, she feels that tinge of pain, because her best friend is suppose to be right next to her, but isn't. She thinks about her best friend everyday, and yes, maybe that's a little unhealthy but still, it was her best friend. That's a person who never leaves your mind, even if they are only in your subconscious.
And that guy graduates with her, and her boyfriend graduates with her, the same one who held her when her best friend died. That guy is going to stay in town a while, do what he can, while she goes to college because she has to get out of this town. She knows that she can't always get what she wants, but this time, she begs that her boyfriend can come with her, because he's so loyal, and she can't afford to lose so many people in her life. Especially the important ones she loves.
It's in college, during Junior year, when she thinks she can't handle so many things, that her boyfriend proposes. It's the worst possible timing, and she's going to hit him over the head because how could he be that way and ask her that question in the middle of mid terms? And she accepts.
Years and years pass, and she hadn't seen that guy since her Senior year in college when she decided to come back to her home town for a bit. She works at a school, teaching high school English and watching kids grow up before her very own eyes. And, when that guy walks into her classroom with his fourteen year old son, the one with the eyes kinda just like her best friend, she knows it's him, even with only one look. And she gets to know his son so well. But that's not what gets her.
When his son is fifteen and starts acting strange-she can tell, because her best friend, the one she always had in her mind, started showing the same signs-she sits him down, and asked him if something was wrong. And when he said he was fine, she pulled his sleeve up his arm. The marks that were ever imprinted in her mind sat on his left arm. Same with his right. And he broke down and cried and couldn't help himself. And she held him while he broke down and wished she could have been there for her best friend like she was for this kid. She didn't want this to happen, not again, so she told him a story. A story that was depressing and sad and left her crying. But it saved that guy's son.
Edited. This story is sad, and yet, true to many people, teenagers and adults. Think about this story next time you whip out that Swiss Army Knife(or any knife really), will ya?