I remember the first time we met so clearly. It was at school. I was downstairs in the hallway, around the corner, hiding. I had my knees hugged to my chest. I was crying. They had just made fun of me. They had called me fat. A whore. A skank. Emo. I had just gone into the bathroom and tried so heard to bleed. I scratched at my skin. I clawed at my wrists. But they wouldn't bleed. So I sat down in the corner, hugged my knees to my chest, and started crying. I had claw marks on my wrists and arms. I had thought no one would find me. That's when I heard the door open, then close. I heard footsteps coming down the stairs. I quickly wiped the tears from my face, and tried to stay still. I didn't want anyone to see me. I guess I wasn't that lucky. Or maybe it was because I was lucky. I don't know. But you came around the corner, and saw me sitting against the wall, my knees hugged against my chest, my face tear covered, and my wrists with scratches all over them. I thought you would have laughed. Or maybe ran and got all of your basketball friends to come make fun of me. That's what I had expected from star of the basketball team. But I was wrong. I was so wrong. I looked at you. Tears silently fell from my eyes. Your face. I remember the look so perfectly. Your face instantly looked pained. Your eyes filled with tears. You walked over to me. You sat down next to me. You hugged your knees to your chest, just like I was doing. "Hey." I didn't look at you. "Hey. Look at me." I didn't want to. I was so ashamed. Found at my lowest by the most popular person in school. "Hey. Look at me. Don't ignore me. Look at me." I slowly turned to look at you. You smiled. Not the full blown smile I grew to love, but the simple, happy smile. "I'm Jake." I giggled. "I know." You laughed too. "You're Mariah, right?" I nodded. "Well, Mariah, nice to meet you." I giggled again. You laughed. "Nice to meet you, Jake." You smiled. This time, you showed your teeth. The perfect smile. "You know, Mariah, I want you to know something. I don't believe any of the things those people are saying about you." That caught my attention. Another tear fell from my eyes. You reached up to my face and wiped it away with your thumb. "Hey, I didn't mean to make you cry. I'm sorry." I pulled my knees closer to my chest. I avoided your eyes. You just kept looking at me. Finally, I started laughing. You started laughing, too. We were both sitting there, cracking up. We must have looked crazy. After you stopped laughing, your said, "There she is." And smiled at me. That's when you looked at my wrists. I noticed, and I slowly tried to discretely pull my sleeves down. You stopped me. "Mariah, what are these from?" I didn't answer. I looked away. "Mariah, look at me. What are these from?" I sighed. "Me. Those are from me." You looked hurt. "Why would you do that?" I didn't want to answer, but I did anyways. "I don't know. I was hurting?" You looked so sad. "Maybe next time, when you're feeling sad and hurting, you can come to me?" I looked at you. You had sincerity in your face. That's when I knew you meant it. "Maybe," was all I replied. You stood up, and held your hand out to me. "Come on." I was confused. "Where are we going?" You rolled your eyes. "Just come on." You smiled, grabbed my hand, and gently pulled me up. You started walking towards the stairs. You hadn't let go of my hand. You just kept holding it. We slowly walked up the stairs. "Wait, Jake, stop. I don't want to go in there." We were headed for the gym. "Mariah, you'll be fine. No one will make fun of you while I'm with you. Let alone holding your hand." You gave me a reassuring smile, and we went into the gym. When the door slammed behind us, everyone turned to look. The entire gym went quiet. Everyone was looking at us. You squeezed my hand, and we quietly walked towards the rest of the basketball team. "Caleb, Micah, David, Jordan, everyone else, this is Mariah." You smiled. Jordan muttered, "Dude. What the fuck is he doing?" I never would have guessed that the basketball team would become my family. All because you cared when no one else did. I never would have guessed you, the star of the basketball team, would become my best friend. My brother. I never would have guessed I would depend on him. On you. The first time we met, you took care of me. When you died, David started taking care of me. I miss you, Jake. I don't know if I ever thanked you. Thanked you for picking me up from my lowest. I love you, and I miss you, my sweet boy. I'll never forget you. I'll never forget the life that you gave me. I love you. Rest in peace, my sweet boy.