“If life after high school was anything like high school, death might be the better choice.”
She held onto that thought firmly as she endured her hellish high school years, longing to be rescued from the valleys of despair. Although she looked decent, and had average grades, people tend to pick on her. A lot. She was the victim in almost every bullying or cyberbullying case that has happened in the past few years in high school. From the girl who entered high school with her chest held high, she had now become someone who usually cowered in fear. Dealing with bullies at school and intense suicidal thoughts at home took its toll on her, causing her to often fall sick, having to spend her days at home alone. Life was all black and white for her until she met this transfer student who lit up her life.
It was spring. Sitting at the foot of the staircase in a secluded corner at school alone, she heard someone call her and looked up. It was a boy. He had glittering eyes. Not expecting a conversation to follow, she simply smiled at him and then looked away.
“Would you be friends with me?”
“Papa, why did the boy ask her if she wanted to be friends? He’s never known her before right?”
Smiling at my sweet daughter, I replied, “Yeah, he’s never known her until then, but amidst her beauty, he felt something screaming at him. He later learnt that it was her loneliness.
These words hit her deep as this was the first time in 2 years anyone had stood so close to her, let alone ask to be friends with her. The boy tried to cover his awkwardness by putting up a smile, which knocked her from her thoughts as she softly replied, “Yes.”
“Then, would you mind if I sit here?” Pointing to the spot beside her, the boy asked. Seeing the shake of her head, the boy sat down, and observed the sky together with her.
“Why do you look at the sky so often?”
“Nothing much. Just trying to find my past self.”
“Why, does that really matter so much to you?”
“Not that anyone cares anyway.”
She stood up and walked away, leaving the boy behind wondering what he has done wrong. After a while, she turned back and shouted, “This shall be our secret spot!” and ran off. Just then, the school bell rang, and the boy was after her in a second, racing back to their classes for afternoon lessons.
Everyday the boy waited for her at the staircase, where at first she dare not go, and ran away whenever she saw the boy. However, seeing how relentless the boy was, she finally showed up one day, with two boxed lunches in her hands.
“Papa, why did she bring two boxed lunches? Was one of them for the boy?”
Blushing, I replied, “Yeah… she noticed that the boy had been skipping lunch everyday waiting for her. Furthermore, she wanted to make up for her behaviour on the first day they met."
“Um, you haven’t eaten yet, have you?” She blushed as the boy looked up.
“Is that for me? Thanks!” Without hesitation, the boy grabbed the boxed lunch and started digging in. After a while, he looked up and asked, “How did you know I have yet to eat?”
Turning even redder, the girl turned around and said, “I just know.”
Smiling, the boy replied, “If you don’t mind, you could sit beside me and eat your lunch too,” before continuing on to consume his food.
By then, news of the transfer student and the girl was spread all around the school, with both of them receiving weird looks by people around them. Nevertheless, the boy still visited the girl at their usual place just to have lunch together. He was also the only one who volunteered to deliver the assignments to her house although they were of different classes.
However, when he entered her house through an unlocked door, what he saw at her house shocked him. Sleeping pills on the floor, hate language on the wall, and a noose connected to a ceiling fan. Seeing the girl lying on the floor and weeping away, he dropped the worksheets and ran towards her, hugging her tightly in his arms. Apparently startled, the girl struggled to get out but he only held her tighter.
“I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I didn’t know and was not able to protect you from this. If I had known earlier I would have stayed longer by your side.” The boy whispered in her ear repeatedly as she calmed down, arms dropping to the floor.
“You must feel disgusted, to be in such a place like this.” The girl suddenly spoke, bringing her eyes to meet the boy’s. “After seeing who I really am, you must be really disgusted. Yes. I am a girl suffering from depression, who has to handle several suicide thoughts each day. Now all you have to do is to run out of the door, tell this to the whole school and boom, I’m done.”
“No, I’m not going to do that. The reason being my love for you. You heard it right. I LOVE YOU!” Screaming out the three words, the boy looked at the girl, who was apparently stunned, tears rolling down her cheeks. “I am not afraid of rejection, I just want to be by your side forever, as a friend, and hopefully as your boyfriend, your husband. I’ll protect you, no matter…” His remaining words were cut short as the girl put a finger to his lip.
“I’ll take your word for it.” She said softly, as they looked at each other, smiling in a room full of darkness.
“Papa, did the boy and the girl get married in the end?”
“Yes, yes they did.” Clapping my hands, I tucked my daughter into bed after giving her a kiss on her forehead, left the room. Leaning against her door, I smiled, “And that girl is now your mother.”
She moved in with the boy after a few weeks, as he didn’t want her to use her own house, filled with all the hate and everything. They did everything lovers would, such as going on dates, enjoying occasional kisses and also hand-holding in public. They also went to the same university and after that, embraced the thought of a peaceful lifestyle. Things quickly took a turn for the worse, as she got hospitalised from a traffic incident. Thinking back on the promise he made to her, and how he was unable to protect her in this case, he cried and cried as he sat day and night by her side, holding onto her hands and wishing for her to wake up.
A few days later, in the middle of the night, the boy felt a squish his hand and jolted up. Looking at her resting peacefully on the hospital bed, he wondered if that was just a dream.
That morning, the doctor handed him a report on her situation, where he learnt that she had a damaged kidney and needed a transplant immediately. Without even putting a second thought into it, he volunteered on the spot, hoping to redeem himself from the promise. Before undergoing the surgery, he told the doctors that he did not want her to know about the kidney transplant. Knowing her, she would probably feel the guilt and make matters difficult.
She woke up to the face of the smiling boy, whose eyes, although battered by age, still shone like a star. Smiling back, she said “Good morning” before asking the boy where she was. After explaining everything to her, the boy promised the girl a surprise on the day she was released by the hospital.
After that, the boy seldomly visited the girl, and left her pondering what the surprise will be. Time passed quickly for the girl as she lay in bed each day, logically deducing and eliminating the choices for her surprise. Lo and Behold, the day of her release finally came. Sitting down at the lobby with a bouquet of flowers in her hands, she waited for the arrival of the boy and her surprise. It was already late afternoon when the boy rushed in, hand in his pocket. Wiping his sweat amidst the curious stares from the patients and the staff, the boy knelt down on one leg and pulled out his hand, with a small box in the middle. Opening the box, he promptly asked, “Will you marry me?”
Everyone fell silent, as the girl clasped her hands over her open mouth, shocked from this surprise. She had pondered every single possibility of the contents of the surprise, but had never seen this coming. Soon after, everyone around them smiled, clapped their hands and cheered the boy and girl on. The girl, after regaining her composure, knelt down, and kissed the boy. Apparently stunned, the boy opened his eyes wide but accepted it soon after, with everyone clapping and cheering.
They didn’t have much of an audience for their wedding, as they only signed the official papers but did not hold an official ceremony. They managed to get a child, and a stable income, and are now living a happy life.
My daughter seems to love this story a lot as she often requested that story for her bedtime story. Not that she actually stayed up for the ending though. However, everytime I tell this story, I feel like I have just taken a refreshing walk down memory lane. Looking at my wife now, she’s such an outgoing and cheerful person, that no one could link her with her past self, the one suffering from depression. I’m really happy for both of us, to be honest. Happy for her because she had survived this ordeal and changed for the better, and happy for me because I had kept to the promise I made to her two decades earlier.
Author Notes: How could I improve this story? Drop me a comment and I'll try my best to improve it.