2 WEEKS AGO: You’re hanging out with your friend. She’s funny and kinda witty. Quite popular with the boys. But she can be kind of a drag when she gets moody for almost no reason. Well, you know the reason. But it makes no sense. After all, she’s pretty and is studying hard for her master’s. She’s saved enough money to go to Chiang Mai Thailand for a whole week! You guys are going to see the elephants. It’s going to be so fun. You have your plane tickets for the 29th of May. It’s mid-May. Can’t wait.
1 WEEK AGO: Man, you love this friend but she can be so difficult sometimes. All week you’ve had to hear her constant rants. You want to help her, but seriously, why doesn’t she notice everything she has going for her? She really needs to count her blessings.
3 DAYS AGO: Today you made plans to go to Spice of Sicily. It’s the restaurant that just opened up 4 days ago. Their Chicken Alfredo looks to die for. You turn on the TV to watch Good Morning America like you always do. They’re talking about how the stock market just took a hit. Ugh, how boring. Even on your favorite morning show, there’s nothing good today. You decide to run errands instead and prepare for your day. You spend the next several hours cleaning the house and planning your trip to Chiang Mai. Can’t stop thinking about it. You’ve never traveled outside of the U.S.
Several hours have passed. It’s 5 pm. You’re supposed to pick your friend up at 6 pm. But now she’s not picking up the phone. You’ve seen this movie before, all too often. You’ve called her 5 times, and she’s not answering. So you decided to check in on her. You knock on her door, and you can hear the music faintly playing in the background. You knock again, and after a few minutes, you hear a broken voice that replies “who is it?” followed by a small sob. You know she doesn’t want you to see her like this, so she’s probably not going to open the door. So you pull out the copy of the key you made to her apartment when you spoke to her parents who live 1,200 miles away. They trust you, so they asked you to be there for her since you’re both going to the same campus.
You unlock the door, and once again find her sitting on the floor of her room crying. You know this is going to knock the next few days off your life since you’ll have to spend your days driving her around and going on hikes with her. You’ve got some serious exams coming up. You call your friend Lindsey to take notes on your behalf, in case you have to miss your physics class again. You’re really starting to worry because you’re both supposed to catch the plane in a few days. You might be cutting it close.
2 DAYS AGO: It’s just as you feared. You’ve spent all day today, just driving her around. “I’m sorry” she states with a smile. You blast some good 80’s no doubt music, and you both start ugly singing to it, and cracking up, with the windows opened all the way while going 90 on the freeway. You know, it’s been a tough day, but it’s kinda worth it. It’s been several days since the last time you saw a smile on your friend. She’s that super fun, sassy girl you know and love, again! You guys stop at the Starbucks drive-through and order some vanilla bean fraps. Your friend is flirting it up with the guy at the window. He asks for her number, and she gives him a number to the rejection hotline. That’s kinda messed up, but a bit funny.
YESTERDAY: You guys are 2 days away from boarding the first-class flight to Chiang Mai Thailand!!! You turn on the TV, and they’re talking about this lady who discovered an underground cave, in which thousands of new species of plants and albino animals were found. It’s super interesting! Suddenly you hear a loud horn honking incessantly, right outside your driveway, accompanied by super loud music. It’s quite annoying since you can’t hear the rest of the story. It’s your friend, who’s super energetic, blasting the music! “Come on, come on! Hurry up! We need to go shopping, and purchase everything we need for our trip!!!”
Although you’re slightly annoyed, you’re excited to see how happy your friend is! Finally, another episode of depression is finally behind you both. Now you get your real favorite friend! That super confident, beautiful, and fun friend!
You guys spend all day, planning all the activities you’re going to engage in when you arrive in Thailand. You make sure you purchase snacks for the road, essentials, shampoos, etc. You guys decide to bring some friends over and have a bonfire tonight, and you pull pretty much an all-nighter.
TODAY (One day before your flight): You wake up super late. In fact, you wake up so late, that all your friends who slept over, already went home. You missed Good Morning America. Oh well, that was fun. Your friend left you a note saying the following “You snored like a lion :) I got you some frap. Look on the bottom right-hand side of your fridge. Also, hurry up because we still need to go to Spice of Sicily. And before you say anything: Yes, we still have time to go :D”
I guess you’re going to Spice of Sicily after all. You decide to turn on the TV to see if you find anything out about the lady who discovered the underground cave. You switch through the channels when suddenly you see the breaking news banner pop up at the bottom of the screen. The news anchor announces “21-year-old Jessica Wilson was found on the floor of her apartment. She’s suspected to have consumed over 50 tablets of oxycodone. She’s been pronounced dead upon arrival. It is suspected to have been an act of suicide, however, investigations are still being conducted, to determine the cause of death.”
No. That can’t be possible. It can’t be her. She was so happy yesterday?! She left me a note this morning?! How is this possible???! What happened?!!!!
GRIEF: You wish you could cry. But your brain still can’t process, nor comprehend what is happening. You feel shivers traveling throughout your body. You laugh nervously. “There’s no way they can pronounce someone dead, in such a short amount of time. Also I haven’t gone to her house yet. It could have been someone else, with the same name?! right?… right?! She might still be alive. If I go to her apartment, I will find her there. Right?!”
It finally happens. A stream of tears pours out of your eyes. You drop to the floor, and you do not dare to fathom how the rest of your life will be from now on! You lay on the floor for 2 hours. You frankly look pathetic. You look almost as lifeless as your friend probably does. Your phone is going off incessantly. The next hour is even more brutal. The shock is beginning to wear off. And now you’re forced to ponder the implications of this. Memories start pouring in, like water from a fire hydrant. You never knew that Jessica was such a big part of your life. For the next 20 minutes, you gain some composure, and you frantically attempt to make plans and to move on with your life. “Maybe things won’t be so bad. I’ll move on. I’ll be strong” But after those 20 minutes the memories slowly creep in.
HELL ON EARTH: You don’t know this but your worst hour of the day is coming next. As the memories slowly pour in, your brain is searching for evidence that you were a bad friend and that you didn’t do enough. There were things you could have done differently. You’re partially to blame, for the fact that your friend will never smile again. You will never hear her stories again. She haunts your life. You can’t look at your phone, because you have a massive urge to find her name, and call her. You feel like you’re physically dying right now. You’re nauseous. You feel a crater size void in your stomach. You feel a deep, intense pain that has transcended your emotions and has become almost physical and tangible. You walk to the kitchen, and you remember her cutting onions for the Omeletes you guys were making. The pain is ongoing and gradually increases. You look at the driveway and remember the loud horn, and your various trips to the supermarket and the mall.
The pain is so unbearable that the only thing that can cool the burning sensation, is the music you’ve always known and loved. But the moment you play it, the memories pour in. And just like that, once again, the flood of tears bursts out, and the void feels like you got shot in the stomach. Once again, you lay on the ground in pain. You wonder how a human being can have such a massive capability to feel so much pain!
RAGE: You begin to wonder why she did it. “How can she be so selfish!!!”. “Didn’t she think about all the people she was leaving behind?!!” “Maybe she never cared about us after all!!!!” You’re so incredibly angry. Countless sleepless nights await you, no doubt.
QUIET PAIN: Several days have passed. And you’re staring at the casket as it’s being lowered to the ground. Although the pain is not as intense as those first 3 days, it never goes away. It’s constantly there. Every little activity, item, place, or experience becomes a dangerous weapon that can trigger a memory at any time, causing the deep-seated wounds to re-open.
EMOTIONAL DEATH: A couple of months have gone by. You’re an empty shell of a person. This experience has taken over your life. It’s been so exhausting, that you have lost all your ambition. Everything seems so pointless now. You’re constantly having to go to therapy, but nothing is helping. You have finally fully accepted that your life will never be the same.
TEMPTATION: One day, as you’re walking home from school, you contemplate what life would be like if you weren’t around. You remember the stash of meds Jessica left behind. “Nonsense. I’ll never do that. I just had a moment of weakness.”
Jessica’s parents bought her apartment, in order to preserve her belongings and leave everything intact, just the way she left it. They hire cleaners to keep and maintain the place. Jessica’s apartment is on the way to your house. You’re feeling particularly empty today. You decide to walk into her apartment, just to reminisce. You feel hopelessness and a darkness that can not be put into words. You reach for the drawer, and the stash is still there. You grab the bottle and stare at it. You’re exhausted. “Forget it” You put the bottle on the dresser, and lay down on the bed.
THE FRIEND YOU LEFT BEHIND: You open your eyes, but you have a very hard time moving your body. You hear a voice. A familiar voice! “There is no way this is real. I must be hearing things! ” you think to yourself.
You gradually begin to hear more voices coming from all directions. They’re all familiar voices. You hear sobs and you feel warm droplets landing on your face. You’re able to slightly open your eyes, but not enough to see much of anything. The voices get slightly louder. But one of them is definitely unmistakeably that of your best friend Jessica. Her voice contains a deep wound. One you’re very familiar with. You hear despair. You hear pleading. “Lauren. Please open your eyes. Please, Lauren! Please don’t leave us. Lauren, what happened?! You looked so happy last night!!!” You open your eyes slightly more, to see Jessica gripping your hand tightly with both hands. You see a stream of tears on her face. Some of those tears are landing on your face.
That’s when you remember everything. You remember how your friend Jessica had a spare key to your apartment. You remember how you felt such unbelievable darkness. How people used to tell you to count your blessings. You remember how you were so popular in school, but you felt so alone inside. You remember that fateful night, when you were so happy spending time with Jessica, and the rest of your friends, at the bonfire.
You remember the look of relief on Jessica’s face when she saw how happy you were. What she didn’t know, is that you felt so happy, because you felt freedom. Because you had finally decided to go through with it. That night, you pretended to go to sleep, and as soon as Jessica passed out, you got up. You felt so bad for your parents, and your friend Jessica. But you couldn’t tell them anything. So the best you could do to try to apologize was to get Jessica her favorite drink and to leave a letter for your parents and Jessica to read.
REGRET: The cat’s out of the bag now. Now you know how it feels. You try desperately to cling on to life, but your body is shutting down. You can’t speak. You feel extremely light-headed. The fear creeps in. The regret. There were things you always wanted to tell Jessica and your parents but were never able to. If they had known those things, perhaps things would have ended differently. You wrote them all down in your parting letter to them, but you remember that you hid it under the bed, out of fear that Jessica would prematurely find it. You want to tell them where it is, but you can’t speak. You have no idea what’s going to happen to you after this. Perhaps you’ll go to hell for this. Or perhaps you’ll simply cease to exist. Everything is getting darker. The lights are shutting down
To be continued….