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By , burien, WA
I wish I had helped my friend better. I saw it in her I knew what was happening to her. I was not uncontrollably blind I chose to keep my eyes closed; I just didn’t want to see. I wanted to believe that anyone who was friends with me would see all the good decisions I had made and they would fallow.

We sat in our little table as the teacher chatted away. Today we were learning about how we shouldn’t smoke. The colorful pamphlet had pictures of nasty blackened lungs and nasty yellowed teeth. A musty scent of an old classroom drifted under my nostrils. Bumps formed on my arms each time I placed my forearm on a new place on the cold counter. She and I laughed at the pictures as a new one appeared with each new fold. I cringed at the sight while I remembered the real black lung that I saw in 2nd grade. My eyes averted to the window. It shook and rattled, I heard the wind rustle and hustle past. She looked at me and said “You know my mom and dad smoke. And my cousins do too; I don’t think it’s that bad.” A chuckle escaped from my mouth, it caused her lips to turn up into a spacey smile. “No you’re not going to smoke you have to stay alive with Me.” I stated it in a sarcastic tone. I kind of believed that she would try it, and I thought to myself she isn’t serious.

I messed up; I believed just my presence was enough, apparently not. My ego was inflated. Maybe I didn’t have enough time. Maybe it’s not my fault; maybe I did do all I could.

I saw her. I hadn’t seen her for such a long time. Sure we used to be best friends but I have moved on so has she. My feet plopped in my shoes each time I took a step on the wet pavement. I gripped my binder to my chest as my friends next to me were laughing and laughing. My eyes burned when the wind blew by me ruffling my hair. I walked towards the school. She flung her obviously newly dyed hair and chuckled. She yelled something I couldn’t comprehend to her colorfully dressed friends and smiled to me. I blinked my eyes and walked up to her to give her a hug. She grabbed at my arms pulling on my thin jacket just a bit. Her fingers felt like stone and I could feel the coldness radiating off her fingers. Her hug held no warmth; somehow I knew she wasn’t the girl I left 4th grade with. She talked into my ear “I was totally high last night.” It was so casually said. She giggled a bit and walked with her colorfully dressed friends in the opposite direction that I was going. She smiled once more at me and a raindrop landed on my cheek it trailed down my down my face as my other friends tugged at my arm. My heart sank and I shivered. I realized I had no ties left with her, besides memories.

I feel guilty. I should have told her to stop multiple times. I want to believe she would have listened, but I didn’t so I will never know. It wasn’t like one day we woke up and everything was different. It’s kind of hard to say why and when it happened. It was like she was supposed to fight against her background. I think she would have fought, I think if I would have stayed by her side that she wouldn’t be doing what she is doing now. I knew and still know that I couldn’t and can’t control her life, but maybe somewhere along the way; a long time ago I could have helped her shove it on a different path.

My phone rang. I jogged over to it and picked it up the smooth texture felt nice on my sweating palms. “Hello” I said I could feel my cheeks were a bit red and my nose was a little crisped from the sun. “Hey Marisa do you want to come over?” my ears pricked up like a cat. It was nice to know someone wanted to talk to me. “hold on…” I said to her, I held the phone to my chest right above the tank top line. “Mom! Can I go to Stephanie’s house?” I yelled down the stairs. I put the phone to my ear. “Hello you still there?” I said into the phone piece, I heard the crinkle of the transaction between lines. “yeah my sister is freaking out and throwing stuff at my little sister, oh wait hold on she is bleeding…” the other line was just mixes of yells and cries. I trotted down the stairs to my mom and I asked her again. “Sorry Steph, I can’t.” I wasn’t crushed it was just what ever. She laughed “its alright I will figure out how to get out of here.” She said to me. We said our goodbyes. I didn’t realize I was just 10. But I should have realized.

I wish I had stopped her, because now I am here and she is back there. She was my best friend and I loved her. I shouldn’t have left her but I did. I don’t think she realizes but I do. I wish I had done something. I am really sorry.

I ruined her life. Ok so maybe I shouldn’t be so dramatic. I mean its not like she vanished and will never come back, she still has a healthy face and a twinkle in her eye when she smiles. Of course I miss my old friend but I guess I have to learn to help the new one.





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