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Before I even finished reading the story, “I’m Sorry, Eric,” written by Avi Lurie, I was already tearing up. Yet another vicious act of bullying had taken Avi’s best friend, Eric’s, life. Avi was devastated when he learned that he lost the one person he considered his brother. When Eric moved away to Florida a few years back, the brothers made a pact to keep in touch, and in fact they kept their promise. After spending countless Tuesday nights on the phone sharing secrets, Avi flew out to visit Eric. Soon, however, he found out that everything was not how it seemed, and Eric was far from alright as he had managed to depict in every hour-long phone call they shared. This showed me how much a brave face can hide in a person, and Eric claimed he “fought back” but simply kept losing the battles. He was in pain—both physical and emotional—and it was the right thing for Avi to do to keep his best friend strong as well as he could in his time of need.

Left shocked when Eric said “I cannot…I cannot live” over the phone, Avi spent every night worried for his brother’s sake and well being. At this point in the story, I could greatly relate to Avi. A while back, one of my best friends was in the same state of mind as Eric was, and I spent every waking moment agonizing over how to keep her happy, as well as myself. I was constantly worried, and just like Avi I felt that it was my fault—that there was something I could be doing at that very moment to change her perspective on life and negative people for good. When I read that Eric had killed himself, it broke my heart and I knew how much pain Avi must have gone through when he read the suicide note that was left for him.

Avi’s story opened my eyes once again to the horror of bullying in our society, and how just one gesture can instantaneously change someone’s mood. It’s up to us now to decide whether our actions will influence somebody in a positive or a negative light. Just one compliment, wave “hello,” or a simple grin can save a life. As Avi said, “You never know what someone is going through behind those seemingly real smiles…I wish that boy who caused Eric to take his life knew that.” I, too, wish that people would realize how everything they do affects those around them in some way or another. It’s a shame that so many innocent lives have to be lost in order for us to understand.



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