It Was About a Year Ago...

January 14, 2008
By Daniel Confroy, Clarkston, MI

It was about a year ago when Jonah was diagnosed with cancer. Needless to say it was one of the longest years Elliott, his best friend, had ever been through. Elliott, Jonah and Aiden have been best friends since elementary school. They have been through everything together. Elliott and Aiden lived in the same small neighborhood just outside of Seattle, Washington. Jonah only lived three miles away. Until last year, they were inseparable. They spent practically all of their time together, it wasn’t even like they planned it or anything, it just happened that way. That is until everything came crashing down on them.
It was a pretty normal day for all of them, nothing too special. Elliott and Aiden were at Aiden`s house while Jonah went to the doctors. They had no idea how much their lives were about to change. They didn’t realize how long Jonah had been gone but they finally called him to find out the terrible news. Jonah’s mother answered the phone and broke the news to them, she told them his treatment had already started. It was such a strange feeling that came over Elliott and Aiden. Something clicked in their minds and that was the beginning of what seemed to be their new lives.
Elliott decided he needed some alone time so he went home. To this day he regrets that decision because he never realized how much alone time he would be in for in the future. He had no idea all of the obstacles that life was about the throw at him. Elliott assumed that his best friend being diagnosed with cancer was the worst that it could be but unfortunately he was wrong. Shortly after Elliott left, Aiden`s mind took a turn for the worst. He was consumed with morbid thoughts and it was almost as though he had lost total control of himself. At that moment Aiden became a recluse and wanted nothing to do with the outside world, especially anything that could bring any kind of harm to him.
Life for Elliott continued on in a somewhat normal matter. Elliott had suffered from problems prior to the shock of loosing his two best friends. Not many people knew about Elliott’s battle with depression. Elliott was a very secretive person; he didn’t like to share much about himself, especially very personal matters. He never told his parents, or even his best friends. Even though Elliott had a tendency to hide things from those he loved it was almost as though he hid them for their own sake, it was like he didn’t want to put a burden on them.

Elliott’s parents made him stay in school even though Jonah and Aiden dropped out. Jonah had to leave school for obvious reasons however Aiden`s mental breakdown made his parents want to keep an eye on him at all times. Elliott hated school without them, they were all he had and now they were both gone. He made good grades though, he didn’t have to try very hard either so it was a win-win situation for him. The one thing Elliott didn’t like about school was the fact that he had to deal with all of the dumb, annoying teenager’s everyday. When Jonah and Aiden were with him they were all able to talk about how dumb they all were but without them he was stuck dealing with it all by himself.

Elliott loved the days he was able to convince Aiden to go out with him. He always felt so much happier on the days that he got to see his best friend; it made things seem somewhat normal again. Elliott convinced him to go to one of their former favorite spots. It was a beautiful park located at the top of a hill overlooking Seattle, it was only a couple of miles away from their houses. They sat below the same tree that they always sat at and Elliott brought his dog, Zeus. Zeus was almost like the fourth best friend for the friend group. Elliott had him for most of his life and he, Aiden and Jonah had known each other for most of their lives. Zeus was a massive great dane who was totally black but as the years progress a hint of grey has been added to his coat.
“I’ve been thinking a lot lately” Aiden paused “…I’ve obviously had a lot of alone time to think.”
“Yeah, and?” Elliott took a drag of his cigarette.
“I really wish everything hadn’t changed, our lives were so awesome before all of this crap happened”
“I agree, but it’s already happened and there’s nothing we can do about it now. I’m sorry, Aiden, but you are making this so much harder than it needs to be.” He studies Aiden`s face and wonders if he should continue when Aiden interrupts.
“No I don’t. I am dealing with all of this in my own way and that is fine, you are allowed to do whatever you want as am I. This is my process, ok? I can deal with all of this”
“I know, but I am just worried about you. I don’t understand why you are hiding away when you can take this all as a reason to fully appreciate your life. I doubt Jonah would want you to spend the remaining time he has left with us hiding away in your house refusing to leave.”
“Don’t bring him into it. You know as well as I do how goddamn hard it is to go visit him. It kills me.”
“Me too…. But I realize that this is all I have left with him. I love Jonah just as much as you do and I intend to spend as much time as I can with him before I won’t be allowed any time at all.

They sat together under the tree in silence. This was normal for their friendship; they had this way of communicating with each other without ever having to speak. Jonah always called it “comfortable silence”. On the walk back to Aidens house Elliott’s parents called him and told him something that would change his life forever. They told him that Jonah wasn’t doing well anymore and his mother suggested that he and Aiden come to the hospital.

When they got to the hospital they frantically looked for Jonah’s parents and then they went to go see him. Jonah looked like a completely different person now. Jonah was once a very proud person filled with character and now the cancer reduced him down to nothing. He was very pale and his body had completely transformed into that of an old man. Aiden waited in the lobby, he wanted Elliott to have his time alone with Jonah.
“Hey guys, what’s up?” Every word he said seemed to be a struggle.
“Hey, how are you?” Elliott spoke softly and had to fight himself to look at his best friend.
“I think you can answer that question yourself, kid.” Jonah smirked and let out what Elliot believed to be a laugh, but it was hard to say.
“I know, I was just being polite I guess.” Elliott began to cry “I just want you to know how much I love you. Even though you won’t be around anymore I feel as though I’ve known you for so long that there will always be a part of you with me forever. And I just want you to know that I’m going to miss you all the time..” Elliott couldn’t speak anymore; it was far too hard for him.
“I love you too, Elliott, I am so grateful to have met you during my short stay here on earth. You and Aiden are the most important people to me and I love you both so much and I’ll miss you even more! Oh! And how could I forget Zeus?! I wish you could have brought the big guy with you.”
“Me too, I’m sure he will miss you as well... You were always his favorite to cuddle with.”
“Elliott, make sure you take care of Aiden. I know he isn’t doing so well right now and it’s so important that you too stick together, no matter what.”
“I will.”

That was the last thing that Elliott was able to say to Jonah. Almost immediately after his heart monitor set off and he was hurried out of the room. Elliott didn’t see anything happening around him. He was awake; his eyes were open but he didn’t take anything in. He was totally numb. Elliott snapped back into it when he went into the lobby. He didn’t even know how he got there but the better question was where Aiden was. He was supposed to wait for Elliott in the lobby for his turn to see Jonah, but he wasn’t there. Elliott asked the receptionist where his friend had gone and she told him that he left about a half hour before. Elliott already knew what had happened.

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