It was my friend’s going away party. I’ve known him for five years, but he attended my school for over nine years. It was a big deal for all of us to let him go. All of us needed to spread our wings sometime, and my friend’s time is up.
I go to a private school, so I know everybody in my grade. We are tightly woven together, standing up to each other and wiping each other’s tears away.
The party took place in the middle of the woods, far away from everything. The parents chatted in the top of the hill. My friends were nestled at the bottom, under a large oak tree. We shared chips and cherries, chatting and congratulating, not having a care in the world.
My friends started playing Truth or Dare, but I wasn’t a big fan of that game. I excused myself and decided to not play but just watch.
I always watched. Observed. When everything is quiet, you’d be surprised on how much you can see things. Every single detail of every single thing.
Especially people. They were the easiest to read.
Everybody was an open book to me. And even better, nobody realizes how much emotion they show on their face. They think that their face was unreadable, but I could tell exactly what they were thinking by a simple twitch in their eye or a quick quirk of their mouth.
I looked around, studying everybody’s face.
My friend was laughing. She looked relaxed. Peaceful. School just ended. There was not a worry in the world for her.
She wasn’t the only one. Everybody seemed at ease.
My eyes darted around, quite surprised that nobody had pressing problems. We all know that as soon as one part of your life stabilizes, another part falls apart in the most spectacular way.
Then I spotted my enemy. She was a wicked, lying girl, with long black hair and small beady eyes.
But beneath her wolfish smile and smug comments, there was a heaviness in her eyes I have not seen in anybody but myself. I recognized that look. Whenever I looked in my mirror. Whenever I passed schools, there were smiles that didn’t fully reach the eyes.
“Hey.”I said to the girl. She looked at me in disgust, her nose scrunched together. “What do you want?” she demanded in an icy tone.
“Can we talk...alone?”
She blew out a frustrated breath, before accepting my request grudgingly. I lead her to the very edge of the clearing, then let out a breath.
“Don’t do it.”
She frowned. “Do what?”
Her black eyes widened. She didn’t say anything, so I continued on.
“Don’t bury yourself in layers of silence. Don’t push people away by being mean. Just be yourself, and we will accept you no matter what.” I paused, biting down my bottom lip.
“Just don’t do it. There are too many things to live for. Please just promise me don’t do it.”
She still didn’t say anything. I took a deep breath.
“I felt like that too. After my grandmother died. She was everything to me. All I wanted to do is relieve myself of the never-ending pain. And when the agony washed away, it was replaced with numbness. I didn’t enjoy anything. I didn’t feel anything. I was nothing.”
“But just imagine the people you will hurt. Your parents-”
“I’m adopted.” she snarled, finally speaking.
“I know. But they are still your parents. They love you with all your heart, and they will never stop. Please. There’s still time to turn back. Don’t add gasoline to the fire. Maybe if we swim away from the mess we’ve made, then there’s still hope.”
Her eyes suddenly welled up with tears, her mean mask breaking away. “I can’t. It’s like the mess is dragging me down. I will forever carry it with me.”
“Then learn to let go.”
We both didn’t say anything for a long time. We just stared at each other, her teary black ones against my simple brown ones.
I gave her a tissue and she gladly took it, blowing her nose.
I stuck out my hand, waiting for her to take it. “Ready to start again? Start new and fresh?” I asked.
She let out a long deep breath. She took my hand and gave me a real smile.
“Ready to start again.”