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Reprieve of Regret
You know I’ll always love you right? The text came to me at midnight. My best friend, Katy, was apparently trying to make up after our fight. I ignored her. I would rather talk about the issue at hand than profess love over a text. I went to bed with the plan to make everything right in the morning.
I woke up the next morning as foggy as usual. I showered on auto pilot and got dressed with little care of matching. Today was just going to be one of those days. I went to wait at the bus stop in a half sleep laden haze.
On the way to school my phone never went off, not entirely odd, she could think I was still mad at her and she was the only one I would text this early in the morning. I walked to our usual spot where we waited for homeroom to begin, the decrepit apple tree that never produced a single apple. The tree had absolutely no future and it had produced its last apple long before we were born. We always sat there because the tree seemed to shield you from the rest of the school.
I waited and waited for her to come. The cars drove by and not once did her old honda drive by me. I texted her and asked where she was, but got no response. I walked to homeroom alone and waited for the rest of my classmates to sleek into the room too tired to really talk on the Monday morning.
Mr. Gray walked in, his usually happy face grave. As he walked in he looked at me and looked away really quickly. “There is an assembly this morning, kids.” He walked out of the room without answering the questions of what the assembly was about.
Everyone filed out of the room, and followed Mr. Gray into the auditorium. We were to sit with our homeroom so I couldn’t talk to my friends to see if they knew where Katy was. I had a weird feeling in my stomach, but I ignored it. Instead I thought of the weird glance Mr. Gray had given me. I had no idea what it had been about, but I imagined I had just done badly on the latest physics quiz.
The principal walked up to the podium and began to speak, “I have terrible news to share with you all. Last night a student at this school committed suicide.” I stupidly asked myself who it could have been. “You may know this girl for her artistic talents on the mural in the lobby.” No, Katy had worked on that mural.....alone. “Kaitlin Resond has passed away.”
The school was as silent as the dead. One by one hundreds of heads started to turn towards me. I laughed. It was a little hysterical laugh that made me sound crazy. Once I started to laugh, I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t deal with this right now. Katy could not possibly be dead.
We had been friends since preschool. We never separated for more than two days, never. I had always been with her. We were known as the inseparable two. She couldn’t be gone. Who was going to help me deal with all of my issues? Who was going to be there when I cried, who was going to be there to laugh with me?
I noticed that people were starting to give me disgusted looks and turn away. I just couldn’t stop laughing. I couldn’t fathom what would happen if I did. Would I believe this foolish lie?
The school nurse came and took me away to the guidance counselor's office. There they talked to me about grief techniques and therapy. My laugh had turned into a hell of a lot of hair twisting.
They asked me if I wanted to go home and I simply said, “No.” I walked to class hearing the whispers that I was a bad friend and that I didn’t care. Of course I cared this was just so unbelievably stupid that it could not possibly be true.
It was AP Biology, the one class I shared with Katy, that’s when things became clear. The teacher came around with papers to hand out when she passed one to me, I automatically asked, “Can I have one for Ka...” My question drifted off into the air. Everyone’s voices had gone silent, their eyes plastered to my body.
I wasn’t aware of my lack of breathing, when all of a sudden the teacher told me it would be alright and that I needed to breathe.
“No, no, no, NO.” My voice getting louder and louder until the scream shattered the eerie silence of the room into intangible shards of suffering. The empty desk beside me seemed to hold every piece of information I wanted.
I shot out of my seat and pounded on the desk. “WHY?” I pounded again, only briefly aware of the shattering pain on my left hand. “WHY DID YOU DO IT?” I screamed and screamed it over and over again.
I felt arms trying to pull me away from the desk and to stop me from hurting myself and the desk, mostly myself though.
They succeeded and I felt the hug and the familiar scent of the nurse’s lilac perfume as she hugged me and tried to console me. It wasn’t working. A sentence had entered my wailing though, “I SHOULD HAVE SAID I LOVED YOU.” I would wail the high pitched screams, my eardrums long accustomed to the terrible ringing that accompanied them. “IT’S ALL MY FAULT.”
I had done this. If only I had told her I had loved her last night she wouldn’t have killed herself. All my fault, all my fault, all my fault, all my.......
I woke up in my bed at home, I must have fallen asleep. This had all seemed like a dream, a horrible dream, but the sore throat did not lend to the dream idea at all.
I looked over at my nightstand and saw the picture of me and Katy at the beach in Mexico. That, we both agreed, had been the happiest days of our lives. What would make her want to kill herself from three months ago to now? What could happen to change the happiest time of your life to the need for suicide?
I had no answer, the only answer was the utter guilt that travelled through my body like the razor sharp talons of an evil beast. I wanted her back, I wanted everything back. Everything I loved about her. Her laugh and smile. The way that she always was there for me. I even wanted everything I hated like her stupid smoking habit. I even wanted her to bring a rude horrible boyfriend to meet me because she always managed to be attracted to them. I wanted my best friend.
I cried and cried and knew that I would never stop.
It was two weeks later that I returned to school. I had gone to the funeral, and cried. I had gone home after, and cried. I went shopping with my mother, and cried. I had gotten into the college of my dreams, and cried. Always crying, never out of happiness.
I avoided the apple tree as I walked into the school building, I was saving that for later. I went through my schedule with absolutely no detours, people stared, but never talked to me. I put off an aura of antisocial power because no one, not even the teachers, even said I’m sorry.
At lunch I prepared myself for what I was going to do. I walked out to the apple tree and sat beneath it. There I had a conversation with a dead friend, too bad she could never answer. Instead of asking her questions, about why and if I could have done anything. Instead I talked about me.
“I really don’t know how I am going to go on. How can I go to Harvard when it was our dream not just mine.” I laughed a little. “I hope that you are happier where you are, because you really screwed me over on this end.” I looked across the lawn and into the traffic of the busy road. “No matter what, I will always love you.”
I went to stand up and I heard a thud at my feet. There resting in the grass was a beautiful red apple fresh from the tree.