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Free At Last
I stare into the screen, not blinking. Trying to absorb it in as much as I could. Rereading each word carefully as it locked into my memory. It was really there. Now that each word was memorized I questioned the possibility of this being a dream.
I pinched my arm and pain shot through it like twenty tiny needles. I was awake, this was real. Why was I so shocked? We had been through this before. I should be used to it. I should be ready. But still the thought of it was unbearable and I couldn’t get over the fact the words were staring back at me.
It was your suicide note. Your graphic plans of how you’d fix everything. I knew you wouldn’t follow through with it. You never did. This was just how you’d cope; writing each painful plan in detail would show you how impossible it was for you to follow through with.
But reading it left me with a sick eerie feeling. You know that feeling you get when you’re alone and you feel as if something’s wrong? It’s that gut feeling. You feel like your going to puke up your beating heart. You’re hands are shaky. But this feeling was worse. I knew what was wrong and I just couldn’t fix it. Like the time I broke mother’s prized vase. I spent hours trying to glue each piece back together all the while telling myself “I’m dead now, I’m dead.” And once I thought all the pieces were perfect mother didn’t see it the same. She saw the cracks.
That’s the same with you. I tried to glue the pieces of your broken heart back together but you saw the cracks. You saw what caused it. My petty tries to help you weren’t succeeding. So eventually I gave up. I guess that worsened things. Maybe it was my fault. After awhile I was never there for you. I only came to you when I needed help and when you needed it I turned away. How selfish I was.
If I could change the past I would. I’m trying now but the memory remains. You’d say its okay but I know its not. You’re slowly falling apart, pieces rotting away, and I can’t help you.
Part of me wants to fuck off and let you sort this on your own. Because I’ve seen how strong you are. I’ve seen what you’ve been through. But then I think of how you were always there for me. How you always held me up. Still it isn’t enough to make me help you. I still turn away. Because it seemed like each time I’d pick you up, I’d drop you…making you shatter more.
I did all I could to fix it: sweet messages, kind reminders, poetry, unexpected phone calls, funny jokes, anything. Because I wanted one thing from you—a smile—a real smile. But it’s fake. You’re hiding behind a painted face. Your mask is slowly fading as your fragile heart breaks.
Take my hand now; I’ll try to pull you up. I’ll try to save you.

Do you remember when we first met? I certainly do. I was at the part a few blocks from your house. I remember I had just turned six. I was always a lonely child and never hung around many people. On occasion, I’d be seen with my cousins but other than that I was alone.
I was sitting on the swings when I saw you. You were running. Your blonde hair flying across your face. Every so often you’d look behind you. Was someone after you, I wondered as I slid off the swing. Finally you approached me and fell at my feet. Out of breath you sat there and I looked down at you. I watched this stranger sob.
“What’s the big hurry?” my curiosity got the best of me. “Daddy is mad,” you answered. “Oh? My dad gets mad when I leave my toys out. Did you forget to put your toys away?” I asked. I was no longer looking down at you but sitting by your side. I watched you scoop up sand and let it fall. “No,” you finally spoke.
As I think about it now, you never did tell me that day why he was mad. It wasn’t nine years later until you confided in me. I was watching TV when the phone rang. I answered and your fragile voice came from the other line. I’ll never forget how you said my name. It was so tiny and pure. But most of all it was afraid.
“Will you meet me at the park, Molly?” you asked. How could I deny you? So we met there. “We haven’t been here since we first met,” I said when we arrived. You nodded and sat in the sand. The same spot where you cried years ago. I sat next to you and put a hand on your shoulder. “Hope, what’s wrong?” I asked. You sighed and like years ago you scooped up the sand. But instead of letting it fall you observed it.
Then you picked a grain of sand out of the pile. “I’m a single grain of sand on a big beach. If I was to go away nobody would be affected. There are millions of others like me,” you blew the grain away. “What if everyone said that? What if everyone blew away,” I said, “what would we have then? A sandstorm?” I was trying to make you smile but you didn’t. You stared off down the street.
We sat in silence for sometime when finally you whisper, “He rapes me.” You didn’t have to say who. I knew. I didn’t reply to that. I stared at my hands. Why were they shaking? I knew why. I was mad. < br /> You broke the silence again, “I wish I could just fly away from here. Go someplace safe.” Still I didn’t reply. You stood up and walked to the swings. “I want to feel free,” you said. You started swinging. You kicked your legs, getting higher in the air. There went your blonde hair flying across your face. You were flying for once but you weren’t free. I could see the twisted expression on your face. You kicked harder as if it would make the problems disappear. Tears rolled down your face.
Then you let go. You threw yourself to the ground, sobbing big heavy sighs. “Why?” you cried, “What did I do to deserve this? Why does God hate me?” I hugged you and told you things would be okay. You finally calmed down and I held your face in my hands. “You’ll always have me,” I said. That’s when we swore to be best friends forever.

Maybe forever was too short because a year later you had moved out. You were living in your car for sometime eating ramen and drinking all your moneys worth. I hated to see you like that and offered you to stay with me. You had too much pride to say yes.
Not too long after that you met Sean. You lived with him for sometime and I hadn’t heard from you in awhile. But eventually you started writing me letters explaining how you were. You were always upset. I couldn’t take it anymore. I no longer cared. I closed you out. Each time you had a new problem I’d push it away. Every month or so I’d have an issue. That was the only time I’d bother you. I needed to complain. But no matter how bad it was I’d never let you hear or see me cry.
Eventually you came home. We hugged and you told me you missed me. I shrugged you off. Your relationship with Sean didn’t work out. He’d beat you. And though I hated your problems it angered me of what he did.
You moved back in. You dad had passed away since you left and life eased up for you. From the view of outsiders you seemed to have the perfect life. But of course, that wasn’t the case. Maybe it was the memories that messed you up. I don’t know, maybe it was the drugs. Whatever the reason you were constantly down. I wouldn’t take the time to help. You needed to do this on your own.
Finally you got rid of the drugs and improved yourself. You seemed happy so I allowed you back into my life. But as soon as we got back together I had to leave. I was off to college and thought it was only a few miles away I was too busy studying to pay attention to you.
Maybe I drove you back down hill. It was obvious I didn’t show you I cared. On some days I’d have no work and I’d talk to you online. You’d hand out your problems and I’d brush them off. I’d sometimes complain to you and you’d give me advice. This went on for sometime and then your suicide notes started. I’ll admit they scared me. Though I was getting bored with your pathetic life I didn’t want you dead. I loved you. I just didn’t know how to show it.

And now here I am reading this stupid note. I lost count of how many you’ve written but for some reason this one bothers me. I’ve memorized it all and that’s not enough. I call you up for the first time in months. You don’t answer. Maybe you’re off crying. I try to tell myself not to care. You’re just coping. You never do it. But this time I’m feeling weird inside. There’s that gut feeling.
I get in my car and for some reason it doesn’t start. Is everything going wrong? So I take off running. I’m running miles to your house. Its morning when I get there and I collapse on your porch. Where’s your mom? Why isn’t she home? Where are you?
I stand up and nearly fall. I feel sick. I reach for the doorbell but it makes me feel worse. I puke. I puke until I can’t puke anymore. My heart is beating. It feels like a tiny million men jumping upon it. My shaky hand finally rises and rings the bell. No one answers.
I turn the knob, it’s unlocked. I’ve never been in your house before I don’t know where to go. I wander weakly around until I find your room. How do I know it’s your room? Easy, it’s the only room decorated to your liking, the only room of friendship pictures of you and me on your wall, the only room with you lying in the middle of the floor with the empty pill bottle in your hand.
You’re free, Hope, free at last. And guess what? This is a first; this will be the first time you’ll see me cry. I get onto my knees and sob next to you. You’re gone and it’s my fault. I was never there. I take your cold hand. I couldn’t save you.

Tags: friendship

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