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It's Too Late

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It happens to all of us. We think of something we could have done or said, after it was too late. For example, someone might say something to you and you give them a lame response and hours later you think of something wittier you could have said. But it was too late. Or you’re sitting an exam and you momentarily forget the answer to a question and you write down something random, and after the exam, while talking it over with your friends, you remember the answer. But it’s too late.
That’s exactly how I feel now. I’ve suddenly realised that there were so many things I could’ve done, but now it’s too late.
Eight years ago, in year three, I was sitting in the playground, all alone with no one to talk to or play with. You were playing around your friends, but you sacrificed their friendship for one lunchtime and came and sat next to me. You talked to me, you played with me, and you understood me. At that particular moment, you knew me better than anyone else.
Our friendship grew. You moved next to me in class. We partnered up for every assignment and sat together every lunchtime. Your friends began accepting me as part of their group too. We became best of friends. Everything was fine, until we began high school.
At the beginning, we all felt a little stressed. The large corridors, the number of people, different teachers, higher standards, lots of homework and the loss of all our friends got to both of us. Fortunately we had each other. We made new friends, awesome friends, who were in the same position as us. We coped together.
Life went on as usual. We both had our fair share of birthday parties. You helped me organise mine, you were the best there was. I told you all my secrets, and you told me all of yours. Every time I fought with my parents or someone close to me, you would always be there it tell me it was ok. You always knew what to say.
But sometimes we don’t forget our past. When we were beginning primary school, you had moved houses. You’d left behind your childhood friends, your school, your home and everything else you loved. You never told me how much you missed them. If you had, maybe we could have done something about it. That place was your home and you missed it.
There comes a time in every friendship, where you drift apart. I don’t know when it began happening to us, but we did. We didn’t talk as much, we didn’t hang out as much and as a result, I lost track of things that happened to you.
I guess I should have paid more attention to you. Maybe if I had, I would have seen it coming. But I didn’t. You were slipping behind, you didn’t care as much about your marks, or the people around you. There were times you didn’t eat or talk, but you would just sit in the corner by yourself. You isolated yourself; you never came to parties or friendly gatherings. I just figured you had too much homework or something, but I was wrong.
Now I realise, that you missed home. The place you grew up, the friends you had, the things you loved. And it was depressing you into such a state that it was officially diagnosed as depression.
At the time of your diagnosis, I didn’t pay much attention to you. I was too busy with school, and my first ever boyfriend. He took up a lot of my time, and now I realise, maybe that’s why we didn’t spend so much time together anymore.
You had always supported me, in whatever I did. You always asked the right questions when I was down. Now I realise, that I should have supported you, and asked you questions to make sure you were alright.
For the first time in weeks, sometime during year eleven, we got to have a private conversation. We were walking together to the station after school. You weren’t saying much, as usual, but we were used to that by now. I did the talking, mostly about the awesome date, my boyfriend had taken me on the previous night. I knew you had already heard the story three times at school that day, but being the selfish, most self-centred person I was, I didn’t think twice.
I missed you the next day at school, because I became sick so I stayed at home. But that evening I got the news that no best friend wants to hear. Your mother called saying that you hadn’t come home from school. But she had searched your room and you had left a note saying you couldn’t bear this life anymore. It was full of horrid thoughts about your life now and you said you were going to run away. Your mother’s voice choked up as she read it to me. Even though my mother had banned me from leaving the house I wrapped myself up in warm clothes and got in my car. For some strange reason, I knew exactly where you’d gone.
You only made it half way home. You had been driving to the place you had loved the most. The place you grew up, the place where all your friends were, the place you loved. But on the motorway, you’d been hit by a merging truck that didn’t see you, the same way I didn’t see what I had semi-consciously known was coming.
That night is the most vivid memory I have. I got caught in the traffic jam behind your accident. But when I reached the turnoff to the diversion route, I saw your car number plate lying on the ground next to the crushed car, and everything just clicked. I pulled over next to the accident and talked to the police. They showed me a picture and I identified it as you. Then I made the heartbreaking phone call to your mother.
That day changed my life. I’ve never been the same again. My best friend in the whole world was gone, and nothing was going to change that. I felt lonely for quite some time afterwards and it made me realise, that even through your depression, your presence was important and something was missing when you left.
You also made me realise some other things. Two, to be exact. The first one was that whenever you know someone who’s suffering from a mental illness, you should never take it lightly. You never know what they might do. And secondly, act in the present, because later you might just realise that there was something else you could have done, but it’s too late.

I moved away the podium, my hands shaking and dry tear tracks etched on my face. I looked down at the white coffin, covered in roses, in front of me. My best friend was lying in there, where she would never talk to me again, never give me advice, never help me plan another party, or help me study for another exam.
As I returned to my seat and passed the coffin, my tears began to fall again. I prayed for all the others out there, who had best friends suffering from depression, hoping they wouldn’t lose them the same way I had.
I’m sorry, I wasn’t there, I thought. I now know there were things I could’ve done, but I didn’t realise them until it was too late. But I’m going to continue with my life, because I know it’s what you would’ve wanted me to do. But know, that I’ll never forget you.



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This article has 10 comments. Post your own now!

nelehjr said...
Jun. 10, 2013 at 5:34 pm
Wow. I love this cautionary tale. It's a haunting reminder to never take your freinds for granted and pay attention to someone other than yourself. There was one sentance though, about the main character's selfishness that I think you should take a look at and perhaps revise.
 
nelehjr replied...
Aug. 3, 2013 at 1:20 am
Okay, this is a huge jerk move but I started reading and realised I already read this...Onto my other motives I guess...A long while ago you read a peice of mine titled Adrift. I recently revised it and posted the revision to teen ink. It is my sincerest wish that you enjoy the new ending and polished text...If you so choose that is...
 
nemish23 replied...
Aug. 5, 2013 at 9:45 pm
Thanks so much for the lovely comment! In response to what you said below (under the other comment) I have started writing some new stuff and I hope to post that soon. I will definitely check out your work sometime :D
 
FakesmileThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm
 This was a very well written piece! Great job, i hope you write more becuase this was brilliant. This informed me of depression, which i'm guessing was your goal. :) Please keep writing? And I hope this does/did well in the competition!!!!
 
nemish23 replied...
Jul. 20, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Thanks so much. I've taken a little bit of a break from writing but I'm hoping to begin again soon!

<3

 
nelehjr replied...
Jun. 10, 2013 at 5:34 pm
Please do keep writing!  
 
sweetangel4life said...
May 23, 2012 at 9:45 am
that is sucha  nice story. i really like it. and thanks again for the comment you left on my story, falling in love/
 
nemish23 replied...
May 25, 2012 at 1:36 am
You are very welcome!
 
Light_Walker said...
May 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm
very well writen. I hope it does well in the competition and makes people pay more attention to those who are suffering.
 
nemish23 replied...
May 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm

awwww. thanks.

i summitted it last year and i didn't win. but i might enter again this year (with a different story of course!)

<3

 
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