My mum had texted me from downstairs telling me to hurry up. Another day. Another same old routine. The days flew by like birds soaring south for the winter. Monday glided into Tuesday, Tuesday dragged to Wednesday, Wednesday drifted into Thursday like a snail race, Thursday unto another Friday, Friday into a lonely weekend to which I spent alone in my room thinking of all of the things I was to miss out on... then to another slow Monday morning. Just another week. Just another repetitive, depressive, aggravating, unmotivated week.
Every day was the same nonsense of my class acting out, doing their work, teenage drama, and scene. Until he came along. There was not a giant sign hanging over his head that said, "Hey, my name is Dan Howell and I'm going to have a giant influence Phil Lester's life forever," or anything like that, but there was an energy to him. He wasn't the average John Doe that would once in awhile infiltrate our school building. He was different. He was... he... well he reminded me of myself at the time. Nobody should have had to feel that way.
I wasn't the one to introduce myself first. Let me make that clear. He walked up to me during the middle of mathematics with a slightly anxious expression crossing over his face. The first words he said to me were: "I'm Dan. F***, never mind this is stupid." I had placed down my pencil and a grin twitched at the ends of my mouth. My hand reached out to grab him as he began to walk away. His first reaction was to flinch at my touch.
"My name's Phil. How are you?" His eyes grew wide in a panicked state. My first response was to automatically say sorry and cover my mouth for some reason. This was off to a great start, I thought to myself. He quickly calmed down and placed his hand behind his head.
"Hi Phil. I'm fine by the way sorry about that." His cheeks grew a rosy color as he continued talking. "I heard some stories about you and I wanted to know if they were true. I just thought that we should hang out sometime." He handed me a torn piece of notebook paper with a phone number scribbled in red pen. As he sat back down in his seat across the room, I took out my phone and typed in the number into contacts. The first name I put him on my phone as was "The Cute Boy From Math." He was only in two more of my classes besides maths. Dan was also in my art class and World History.
The same day I got his number was the first night I texted him. It was simple at first. The average "Hey who's this," "Oh hey," and on and on. I remember going to bed that night with a giant grin plastered against my face. That was the first time in awhile I felt that something good was happening in my life. Like something was worth fighting for.
It wasn't the dark brown eyes, soft skin, wavy hair, or even the way he laughs that drew me to him after that first night. Being honest it wasn't even his personality. It was his smile. His smile that hid behind frowns and curse words. We began hanging out after school and on the weekends. We told each other secrets, about our families, and about the last school he went to, along with anything else you could imagine.
One day mid-summer we were supposed to meet under the large tree a few blocks from our houses. He didn't show up. I sat under the tree for three hours. I just wanted to see him. That's all I wanted to do. At least... at the time. It wasn't until an entire week after that I saw him again. His arm was in a sash, both of his eyes were purple and badly swollen, he even walked with a slight limp. He looked so worn down and shallow. I had run up to him and held him gently in my arms. Until he said something I hadn't realized I'd been crying. I kept asking him-- begging him to tell me what happened. The only thing he ever said about it was, "Don't worry about it. I'm fine." We dropped the topic.
Another few weeks or so later we were laying on the couch together at his house watching some sort of anime. My head was resting against his heart. I could hear the smooth rhythm of it, so calm. Suddenly there was a loud crashing sound out front. In less than a second he told me to run upstairs and climb out his window. I was stunned for a moment until his dad came storming into the room and holding me against a wall screaming, "Who is this fag?! Another one of your pansy boyfriends?!" Dan struggled to push his father away from me. A black eye and broken jaw later, I was running out of Dan's house to my own.
I didn't intentionally avoid Dan. I saw him in shops and on the street from time to time. I just wasn't sure what to say. I kept wondering if that's what his entire life was like. I know now that it was. He struggled for so long in silence and nobody took time to notice and care for him. His mother died when he was only 6. After she passed his father became a drunk. Blaming him for her death. She died in a car accident; he was the only other one in the car when it crashed. The road was icy from the snow that had set the night before. His father beat him... he was so mean. Dan didn't deserve it. Any of it. His brother killed himself a few years after the accident.
Another school year began. We were 4th years this time around and had almost all of our classes together-- except the last two as luck would have it. Once the first day ended, I was standing at my locker when warm arms wrapped around me and a chin rested on my shoulder. Dan's presence sent sparks flying through my body. We weren't dating. I knew that. There was this light in him though, that made all the darkness disappear. I didn't have many problems compared to his. I had a loving mother, father, brother, and I had no right to compare my situation to his.
We slowly began talking again, ignoring what happened with his father, and sleeping over my house. We used to stay up until early in the morning. One time, he brought over some rum and coke and we drank until the sun came up. After the first four I was already tipsy, he was still somewhat sober. We were talking about god knows what, when suddenly, his lips pressed against my own. I grabbed his hand and rested my head on his thigh. (He was sitting and I was laying down.) We cracked stupid jokes, threw pillows at each other, and just had fun. We passed out in each other's arms multiple different nights.
I noticed something change in him when he came up to me one weekend we were supposed to sleep over my house. He was dressed in a nice grey shirt and his typical black jeans. Even though I was in an unusually bright red Pokemon shirt and sweatpants, he asked me to the movies. I agreed and asked if I could change into something decent real fast but he drug me into a taxi once I gave him my answer. That night we saw a cheesy romance movie. The Fault in Our Stars, I believe it was. I was laughing so hard when he began bawling and we were both thrown out of the theater. I used to joke about it over and over with him. Apparently he "...became too attached to the characters," as he put it.
Months flew by. I loved him. He was getting upset over little things now and wasn't talking to me much anymore. He excluded himself from activities, groups he used to enjoy, and simple conversations. Dan lost a lot of weight during this time and didn't sleep well. I can remember all of the mood swings he had in the last few weeks and he was just always sad. He never smiled anymore. My light was dimming, making my world black again.
I laugh now as I watch the stars dash across the sky into an endless night. An endless sky that has seen so many lives, deaths, destruction of everything and anything. The sun will shine tomorrow as the last faded bit of light dies from my eyes. A world without Dan isn't one I want to live in. Without him nothing matters. So what if I never got to live my life or see Niagara falls. Where I'm going, everything will be perfect. Dan and I will dance on a stage in front of thousands of people, be famous, and live life like it was supposed to be. Together.
Phil placed down the note on his desk. His writing had smeared a bit with scattered tears. He wrote down everything he could think of. Phil's family was asleep in their separate beds. The open window let in a calm breeze. Phil placed the cold metal pistol into his hands. It would be for him. He knew it wasn't the right thing to do. He signed off the note with a simple, "I hope you know I've had the time of my life. I'm watching over you. ~Phil."
The right thing to do would put the gun down and head off to sleep. He wouldn't be able to sleep that night anyway. To kill or not to kill. He opened up the gun and took out 5 of the 6 bullets. Phil closed the chamber, his eyes brimming with tears, and let fate decide. A loud bang awoke his family.
He was engulfed in a warm embrace. He was home again. In a place no one could hurt him or Dan ever again. They were safe. Together.