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Hold On Till May
I walked along the pale grey, dirty sidewalk, kicking any rocks or pinecones that happened to cross my path. It had been a long and dreadful day and I really needed to clear my head of all these racing thoughts. I looked up and noticed the sun slowly setting, the colors of the sky varying from blues, oranges, and light pinks. To my right I noticed a very large maple tree. The leaves were in full bloom and the tree seemed very healthy. The bark was a light brown and none of it seemed to be peeling. I had thought about possibly climbing it when I noticed that someone already had. She was higher up than I'd ever seen anyone climb. The sun surrounded her like a veil of gold. Her head was resting against the body of the tree, her arms were folded, and she was smiling nostalgically. In front of her, balancing on the branch that she was sitting on, was a notebook and pen. I wanted to speak to her, but she looked deep in thought so I didn't disturb her. Instead, I waited for her to leave. She was only up there for about ten minutes when she carefully climbed down. I noticed that she had left her notebook and pen and I was going to say something, but I got too shy. Once I knew she was gone, I climbed up to where she was sitting. I saw the notebook and was debating reading it. I knew it would be a bad thing to do, but I was so curious to know more about this beautiful soul. I gently grabbed the notebook and opened to see the pages filled with her inner most deepest thoughts. Her heart was spilled out onto this page. Her story was quite sad and I felt very bad that she had to encounter the things she did. I wanted to talk to her and let her know that things would get better, but I didn't know how to make the words come out. After forty-five minutes of being up in the tree, I climbed back down and walked home. My racing thoughts were now replaced with thoughts of the girl. I wanted to get to know her. I wanted to be her best friend. As I went to sleep that night, she was all I could think of.
The next morning, I had hoped to go through the day better than the last. Unfortunately, I couldn't. My mind was still racing with thoughts about the girl in the branches. I made a mental note in my head to go to the tree again later that night. At around eleven or midnight, I was once again walking down the sidewalk. The moon was high up and made the whole neighborhood look amazing. The air was crisp and the night was completely silent. I didn't hear anything until I reached the maple tree again. I heard someone crying. I immediately knew it was the girl. I looked up to see if she was in the branches, but I didn't see her. I looked down to see her next to the trunk of the tree. I got a little bit closer and the crisp smell was replaced with alcohol. Once I got within ten feet of her, I noticed a shiny silver object in her hand. I quickly ran to her side, sat down, and softly patted her back to let her know that it was okay. She looked up, her bright blue eyes piercing my soul.
"What are you doing here?" She asking, putting the object behind her so that I wouldn't see it.
"I was going to ask you the same thing," I said calmly, "a girl as beautiful as you deserves better than tears and self mutilation. What's wrong?"
"It's a long story and I really don't want to talk about it."
"I'm willing to listen, I really am. I could try to empathize with you."
"Right." She chuckled. She began to get up to leave, the razor still in her hand, when I gently pulled her back.
"Listen, all I'm saying is that if I were you I'd put that away," I said, pointing to the razor, "You're just wasted and thinking about the past again.
At first, she looked like she was going to give in. All I wanted was to take away the razor and hold her while she cried to me about everything that had happened to her. I just wanted to help this lost and troubled soul but she wouldn't let me. The look of hope in her eyes was replaced with a look of anger. I knew she thought I didn't understand, even though I did, more than she even thought.
"If you were me, you'd do the same," She said coldly, "because I can't take anymore. I'm not alright and I would rather..." She trailed off, never finishing her sentence and her look of anger replaced with that of sadness. She would rather what? I didn't get to find out. She ran before I could stop her, leaving me alone in the dark of the night. Maybe I'd try to talk to her again tomorrow. Gently let her know that I read what she wrote and work everything out. I sighed, ran my fingers through my hair, and walked back home. Falling asleep, all I could do was worry about this girl in the branches.
The next day, I had a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach. Like the feeling you get when you're parents find out that you did something really bad and you know that you can't stop them from punishing you. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why. I shrugged it off and decided to stay in bed for the day, only getting up at night to walk to the maple tree.
That night, I got up and began walking. The air was crisper than ever and the feeling in my stomach was worse. I still couldn't figure out why it was so bad. I put it out of my mind and kept on walking. Something didn't feel right though. What didn't feel right? I didn't know, but I knew something bad had happened. As I reached the maple tree, I saw a group of people gathered around it. Some were crying, some were just had blank stares, but they all were holding candles. I asked someone with a blank stare what had happened.
"Did you know her?" He asked, pointing to a picture that was leaning up against the trunk of the tree. It was a picture of my troubled girl.
"Yes," I said, swallowing the lump in my throat.
"I'm really sorry to tell you this. She committed suicide last night. Took five times the recommended dose of sleeping pills. Today was her birthday. She had tried every year to do it, always the day before her birthday, but we honestly never thought she'd go through with it."
I nodded and briskly walked away to avoid humiliating myself in public. Once I was far away from the crowd, I let the news sink in. My heart sank deep down and my eyes swelled up with tears. I fell to the ground and sobbed uncontrollably. Even though I had only met her last night, I felt like a kindred spirit with her. After I read her journal, I immediately empathized with how she felt. All I wanted to do was to save her from herself but I didn't. After I had my fit, I slowly got off of the ground and walked home, my eyes still producing many tears. Once I got home, it began all over again. I clenched my fists but managed to restrain myself from hitting anything. I hurried into my room and jumped into bed. I fell asleep that night angry, sad, and confused. She was in my dreams.
It's been five years since the girl in the branches left the world. Many people have already completely forgotten about her, all except me. Every day, I wake up with an aching sadness. It haunts me wherever I go. I still walk at night, right to the maple tree. Usually it's only for a little while, then I have to leave before I get too upset and start sobbing uncontrollably. This time, however, I decided to stay. I dutifully climbed up to the branch where I saw her the very first time. I closed my eyes and let the sunset wash over me, completely dousing me with blues, oranges, and light pinks. Sometimes I think I can hear her. This time I couldn't hear anything but the stillness of the dusk. I looked down at the trunk of the tree, the spot where we spoke to each other for the first and last time, and as a single tear ran down my face I whispered, "Why couldn't you hold on 'till may?"