I made a friend about 10 years ago. She was a bright young soul. Her laugh was the first thing i noticed when i walked into a random class of students who were a year behind me. She was so embarrassed when she found me staring at her with my prefects’ tie illuminating the room and making her feel like she was in trouble. To her surprise, i didn’t show any sign of a reprimand and instead i walked straight to her, looked at her, gave her a piece of paper and asked for her name because i thought she was really cool. Later that day as i was going through the contents in my back pocket, i stumbled upon the piece of paper she had written her name and immediately I just burst into laughter. I was sure my friends probably thought i was crazy but i stood up and went out to look for the girl with the funny laugh and happy soul. I found her right where i had first seen her but this time instead of bursting out in laughter, she was stuffing her face with a home-made tomato sandwich.
“Theresa? Right?” I said to her and she nodded in approval covering her mouth to not be rude. Ever since that day, we became close friends even though we would sometimes go weeks without talking even though we were in the same school. Our friendship was harder when i left to start junior high and we just seemed to drift away. I for a second thought that was it for our friendship, that she was just a fragment of a time of primary school which i would always cherish but as i soon found out, that wasn’t to be the case. When i was in high school, just nine months away from graduating and leaving everything behind, i heard a laugh in the early hours of the morning. I would usually arrive in school before most people, when it was still dark out so i could recollect my thoughts and rest my soul before another overwhelming day started. This time though, my thoughts were scattered all over by a laughter which sounded familiar. I walked out of the classroom and peeped through the window of the class next to mine and boy was i shocked. I could not believe my eyes that the same person i had thought i left in the past somehow managed to be standing right in front of me in a similar manner like eight years ago but now four hundred kilometres away from where we had first met. She was still the same old short girl, with a smile wide and white as it could be. Her laugh had not changed a bit but she had grown significantly from the small girl she had been when i first saw her to a blooming young lady who was growing very well. She immediately ran to me and jumped on me to hug me and wrap her entire body around me. It felt like home again, like primary, like a time when everything was good and I wasn’t writing my finals that November.
We rekindled our friendship and it was stronger than before even though we had to act in a different way now that we were in high school and people were always on our case saying we look like a couple so it had to remain casual and friendly. She grew in me and we had many memorable moments right until the day things took a turn for the worst. The last conversation we had was on a dusty stop while waiting for our rides home. It wasn’t our best or longest but now remains as the last real one-on-one conversation we had. She looked quite distressed as i went right to her to surprise her from the back. Usually she would have been pleased for me to do that but on this occasion she showed very little emotion with her response being that she was just quite tired. I quickly moved the conversation onto how she had been and we laughed about a few things before her time was up and her combi man was hooting for her. We hugged and she immediately disappeared into the combi. I later checked on her on socially media but she was so good at hiding things from me that she immediately diverted the conversation away from her and to something hilarious. What hurts now is knowing that she was going through so much and could not let me be there for her. The next day when i got to school and heard what she had done to herself, i was shocked. I thought it was some bad joke which people thought would be funny to spread around school. I looked for her completely. I search my phone for her last seen only to find it being last night. All her friends were in tears, i was more in a state of trauma and shocked to be crying at that precise moment. It is sad how someone could just not exist anymore having taken their lives because they were going through something. Some things should be preventable, suicide being one of them.
We can’t save everyone, but we can sure try. How many more are we going to let slip away from us? I lost a friend 3 years ago and I don’t want to lose anymore.