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You forgot to tell us why you did it. You never trusted us. You never understood that we would love you no matter what. The day you did it, we were out, having fun. Jared, Kate and I took the kids bowling. Jackie won. Did you hear about that? Do they tell you things like that? Would you even care if they did? I’m not so sure anymore. Did you hear about the man who crashed his car that morning? Or the woman who died of an infection after surviving three different cancers? Or the little boy next door who was hit by a car? They were innocent. They didn’t choose death.
Jared loved you. I knew that from the day I married him. You never noticed him, even though we all went through college together, practically raised each other’s kids. Except you… You never married. You never had kids. Maybe that’s why… no. I wont make excuses for you anymore, Soph. I protected you all those years. I loved you. We all did. You just couldn’t see it.
The kids always treated you like their aunt or their sister; you were worth a lot to those kids. Jackie was crying last night. She dreamed about you. I cried too. Jared cried. I hate it when my family cries. You did that to us, Soph. I don’t know if this will ever get to you, but if it does, I want you to know you did that to us. You just didn’t let us in. I want you to feel the kind of pain I felt, watching my family cry.
Katie tried to make Jamie understand where you’d gone. He only turned two last month, and we had to explain why he will never see you again. Mickey screamed at her to stop trying to sugar coat it. To stop trying to protect you. To tell the kid straight out. He’s so angry. He’s eighteen. He was going to go to Oxford University. Now he’s not. He wants to stay home another year. Katie can’t afford to have him as well as the other four. He’s so sad. He won’t talk to us. He lost his place at Uni. You did that to him. You did that to us. It is your fault. I’m going to stop. I’ll write something I’ll regret.
You always had to be right. You picked arguments, you started fights. You were no good at debates. You couldn’t control yourself. I told people you were just passionate about your topic. But it wasn’t that. You fought everybody, over everything! The colour of a passing car, whether the smell of paint was nasty, if tanning booths were bad for you, the size of a spoon compared to a knife. You actually started the arguments and yelled people down who disagreed with you. You always had to be right.
David was going to propose to you. Did you know that? He’d been married before, but Julie left him. Do you remember? He was so low and he hated himself. Julie did that to him. She knew she was doing it. She knew he was… fragile. He wasn’t himself for years after that. He bought a ring for you. Three diamonds. A silver band. You would’ve liked it. At least, that’s what we told him. He went back into himself after you did it. Just like he was after Julie. You did that. You forced a thirty-year-old man who has never touched a drop of alcohol drink himself into oblivion. You made him so miserable he wanted to do that. He didn’t drink after Julie. You were worse. He was recovering, and he wanted to share that with you. He loved you. I think he’d loved you a long time. Do you see, Sophie? Two men loved you. Your other four best friends loved you too. Our children loved you. Your family loved you. Everyone loved you. Why didn’t you see it? Why couldn’t you have just talked to us? How could we not have known you were going to do it? How could you have kept something that big to yourself? Why did you never think of us before you did something so… final? So… absolute?
You always talked so much. You always had an answer, an excuse. You could be funny. You could wreak havoc with one sentence. You could slice up a character and show the worst to everyone. You hurt so many people even before you did it. And I’m not even sure you knew it. I’ve been your best friend since we were eleven. We picked up new friends, we had fights. We had massive thunderstorm fights. People used to run from you in senior school, even the older ones. Did you notice? We always laughed at the year nines who sprinted away when they heard your voice! You were so funny. You made us all laugh. You did that too.
Do you know how hurt I was when I found out about what you did? Do you know how much I hated you? Do you know how much you meant to me? Do you know how bad I want to speak to you? This is the best substitute I’ve found. I always loved writing letters. I used to write to my Dad every day, even though he was with me. I would post a long, badly written letter under his door and run off, squealing with delight as I knew he must be opening it, tracing the letters with his big, bear like fingers, smile spreading his face at my silly little four-year-old jokes. He would wait for a few minutes, reading. Then I would burst into his room, not being able to stand the suspense. I would jump into his arms and put my arms round his neck. He would tickle me, making me squirm and giggle. And then he would tell me stories in his bed. Sometimes we would spend all day in his big bed, listening and telling stories. I loved those days. Those mornings. The letters continued until I was about fifteen. Then my best friend told me they were childish. You told me I was a child. You said it was stupid. I stopped sending letters to my Dad. He missed it. He missed his little girl. I cried myself to sleep most nights, because I knew I couldn’t write the letters anymore. You did that too. That’s why I turned into a ‘bad-girl.’ It was your fault my Dad was sad. It was your fault he left. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t my Mum. They had a wonderful marriage. No. It was you. You ripped my family apart at the seams. You made my Mum marry all those stupid men. You were why my Dad ended up in hospital for drug overdose. He lost his family, his home and his life. You did that. It was your fault. And you never acknowledged it. I don’t know if you even noticed. That’s why I’m writing this now. Now you aren’t there to read it.
What were you thinking about when you bought the gun? Were you thinking about your friends? Your little brother? Your parents? Your godchildren? The men who loved you? The man I married? Jared, the one who loved you but married me? Were you thinking about me? Or just yourself?
What were you thinking about when you took the bus home? Were you thinking about how beautiful this town is? How beautiful your house is? Your expensive car? Your garden? You waved to Katie, when you went past the bowling alley. You knew you had a gun in you handbag, and you waved at your friend, you made her think everything was O.K. Did you know why you bought the gun? Did you know what you were going to do? Did you plan it? Or was it more spontaneous than that? Knowing you it was probably spontaneous! What am I talking about? I didn’t know you at all.
What were you thinking as you walked from the bus stop to your front door? With a gun in your handbag. Did you know what you were going to do? Were you thinking at all?
When you put the gun to your head, what were you thinking? What were the last thoughts you had before pulling the trigger? Did you think of the people who loved you then? Or did we not factor into this at all? Did you know how much pain you were going to cause? How much suffering you would inflict on the people who loved you? Did you consider you’d made the wrong choice, at the split second the bullet lodged itself into your brain? Did you want to change you mind?
Your own damn fault.
I don’t know what you were thinking. I don’t know how bad you feel now. I don’t know if you’re there or if you’re just gone. I don’t know if you can feel after you did what you did. I don’t know how even God could fix you. I don’t know it you can hear me, see me, or if you will ever read this. Maybe we will see each other again. Maybe not. I was angry with you, four hours ago, when I started to write. I was sad, but less sad that angry. I don’t think I am angry anymore. I took my revenge with this pencil and this bit of paper. We may not be even. But I forgive you. We all still love you. Do you know that now Sophie? We love you.