"Why do you keep doing this to yourself?" I asked as I wiped gently the blood from Dillan's face.

When he just lowered his eyes and didn't reply, Jackie spoke up, "Whatever the reason is, it better be good. Getting beat up every day isn't exactly healthy. And even though you two aren't health freaks I'm sure you don't want to die."

I glanced up at her. She was right. Dillan had almost died… many times. Unless…

"Dillan, do you want to die?" I asked him. He just looked up and smiled at me.

"You can't be serious," Jackie said, shaking her head.

"Of course he's serious," I said, feeling stupid, "How could we have not seen this coming?" I stopped cleaning the bruises from his face and stooped in front of him. "I'm so sorry. I wasn't even paying attention. I could've helped you. I should ha-"

"No." he interrupted, "No one could have done anything. My mom is DYING. Slowly still, but she's dying."

"So what does that do to make you want to die?" Jackie asked.

His words were choked and sad and his voice unsteady, "I can't live without her." Simple words as they were, they made an impact, especially on Jackie, since her parents were both dead.

"She's not you." She said sternly through clenched teeth.

"What do you mean?" Dillan asked.

Jackie looked around the room as if searching for the right words, then she shook her head and said, "Her life is not yours. And neither is her death. If she dies you don't and she wouldn't want you to."

"But I'd be so sad!"

"So you're running away from the pain?" I asked, almost shouting.

"Such a coward," Jackie said, "I never knew you were such a wuss. She's not even dead yet and you're trying to die. Pathetic."

"She's going to die," he said, trying his best to hold back the tears that were streaming down his cheeks.

"And how do you think she'll feel if you die before her?" I asked, "She's in the hospital now isn't she?" he nodded, "How long has she been in there?"

He cleared his throat before responding, "Two years. She's been in there for two whole years and now there's no chance for her."

"Who said?" Jackie asked.

"The doctors," he replied sadly.

"I know a story of a lady," I said, "She was given six weeks to live, because she had cancer and it was really bad. But she prayed and prayed and finally she pulled through. When the doctors were trying to analyse what happened, she told them that what happened to her had nothing to do with their medicines; it had to do with her faith. She's a preacher now and she-"

"THIS ISN'T LIKE THAT!" he screamed, jumping from the chair in the classroom and standing up, "She's been in there for two years. She hasn't recovered. She got worse the first year and it's just staying the same now."

"Did you try going to the Lord for help?" Jackie asked softly.

"I did. And when that didn't work, I tried Buddha, then Mohammad, then Bahaullah. None of them worked, none. And now she's getting worse again. I just don't know what to do anymore. I might as well just run from it. It's way easier than all the pain."

"Stop being so selfish!" I shouted. "How do you think we would feel if you were gone?" He looked stunned at my question and I smiled sadly, "You haven't thought of that now have you?" And with that, I walked out of the classroom with Jackie as my tail.

"Do you think we were too hard on him?" I asked as we walked through the deserted hallway. "Of course not," I answered my own question. "He needed to hear that. He's being a wuss. Plus, he's becoming selfish."

"Though, I can kind of understand where he's coming from." Jackie said in a melancholy tone, "I mean I get what he's feeling. But it'd probably be hard for you to understand…" she trailed off.

I never really did have any parents. Well, I did, for like… a second, before the poopy hit the fan, literally. A cesspool truck crashed in through the front door of the hospital, some poopy splashed out and hit the fan, the fan exploded and apparently so did my parents. But I was being washed or something so I was fine.

So basically, the feeling of losing apparent is kid of alienist to me, since I haven't really even met mine and can't play games with them and have arguments over whether or not my first word was 'Mamma' or 'Dada'.

And having Jackie bring it up like that was kind of shocking. And I couldn't quite tell if she wanted me to feel bad about tit or if she was just saying.

I sighed and apologized, not knowing exactly why I was apologizing but just felt the need to. Then we both walked home, silently lost in our own thoughts.

The next day I came to school to see Jackie sitting to my left and nobody sitting to my right. Dillan was absent.

Feeling nothing but worry, I sailed through the school day, before anxiously arriving at Dillon's front door. Why wouldn't I be anxious? Dillon was basically suicidal yesterday and was absent from school today, without a text or a call as to why.

As much as I was scared, I was also mad. Mad at myself and at Dillon. I was mad at myself because if he was actually dead then that would mean I really was too harsh on him yesterday. I was mad at Dillon because he didn't know me well enough to see the underlying meaning to my harshness.

With mixed emotions, I knocked on the wooden door. But there came no reply. I knocked again. Ditto. Feeling frustrated and sad, I opened the door and stepped into the chilled living room.

Lying on the carpet beside the soft couch was… Dillan? It was him! All crumpled and half-dead looking but he was there, and breathing. But was he crying? Oh no.

Slowly, I walked over to him. Sitting down beside him, I began to stroke his hair. It was soft and warm unlike the air in the dimly lit room.

"Is she…?" I asked, still gently stroking his hair.

As an answer he started sobbing harder. "I-told-y-you-there-would-b-be-p-pain." He said in between sobs and hiccups.

"I didn't disagree with you on that one." I said softly.

"I still think I should have just run."

"You'll be glad you didn't." I said.