Empty Chair

February 5, 2017
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I can still remember the day that I first met him. How could I forget? He brought me out of my shell like one one ever had before. We had known of each other through sporting activities that both our older siblings were involved in, but the first day I knew we’d be inseparable was one day in preschool. I was that timid child that struggled with talking to other kids and making friends. One day, a little boy with short brown hair wearing red and black basketball shorts and a white t-shirt walked up to me and asked if I wanted to be friends. The invitation surprised me a little bit because no one had ever asked me that. Something indescribable along with my longing desire to have a friend told me to say yes, so I did.
We went through grade school together. We were lucky enough to be in some of the same classes, and for those that we weren’t our friendship seemed to grow even stronger. We had countless playdates after school and sleepovers on the weekends, and when we were finally old enough to play sports guess who was my partner in every drill. Even as a young, clueless child I knew that he would always be there for me.
Middle school came and went and as I grew older I became more outgoing and established new friendships, but none like mine and his; our friendship was different. We knew each other, he was my person. Along with middle school came more sports. We continued to play together, but his love for the game was stronger than mine. He had his interests and I had mine, but I never had to doubt for one second if it would change our companionship. We had installed a trust between each other that couldn’t be broken.
Halfway through high school I decided my passion for sports wasn’t as strong as some of my other passions, and in the end I chose to put those other passions in front by ending my involvement in sports. I was terrified of my decision because this could mean the end to the one relationship I cared about most, but I was happy to find that nothing changed at all. He told me that I’m the same person I am today as I was yesterday: his best friend.
How it all happened still maintains a blur to me. The one thing I wish I could erase from my memory is the phone call. Senior year. This was supposed to be our year. I couldn’t escape all the awful thoughts in my head. My mom told me I didn’t have to school, but I know what he would want. He would say “What are you thinking? Just think of all that homework you’d have, man. You might miss something you need.”
I make my way to first period English. This was one of our classes we had together. The class is mostly empty with only eight students and the teacher. Tearful eyes watch me as I make my way to my seat and I don’t even try to acknowledge them. The bell rings and the class remains silent. My eyes gaze over to where he sat. The chair where my lifelong best friend used to is now only accompanied by emptiness. For him, I told myself I wasn’t going to cry, but tears stream down my face onto the desk in front of me unconsciously. I want to remember him for who he was; the person that made me laugh, the person that comforted me, the person that was always there for me, the person that changed my life forever. I know that tomorrow will never be the same without him, but I also know he would want me to make the best out of it.

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