Letter to a Friend

Dear: Matthew Lawrence                                                                                          June 15, 2012

It has been a while since I write to you. You probably will never receive this letter; no I am positive you will never see this letter. I have been thinking lately about our time together, about the secrets we shared; I kept thinking what would’ve happened if none of our misfortunes had occurred. I remembered the time we met; at that time we were both so young, I was scared to make friends but something about you caught my eye. You were passing in front of the Central High School entrance, where we both attended, you stared at me with your light blue eyes and as you approached the front gate where I was standing, with a social smile on your face you said to me: “Good morning”, and passed the gate. At that time I was trembling and my heart was beating like never before. I know, this is probably the first time I’m telling you this, although you probably knew how I felt about you before, but you always pretended not to. It’s not like you’re ever going to read this but it is something I wanted to get off my system, after all you are long gone and this letter will never get to your hands. After that one time I saw you, I knew that my life would never be the same. That same day while I waited for class inside the classroom you entered and asked me with a cool voice: “Is this the Algebra class?” “Yes”, I answered with a meek voice followed by a difficult swallow. After that, we only talked to discuss different school matters.

When was it that our friendship developed such tight bond? I kept thinking all this time I have been here, and I realized that it all began that day, the last day before our winter break in 9th grade, that winter of 1996. You stopped me at the front gate and asked me what I was going to do that Christmas. I had nothing to do that Christmas, I mean, I lived with my sick grandmother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer and barely remembered me and my aunt who never really liked me. As you know my parents passed away in a car accident when I was just 5 years old. Of course you didn’t know at that time since we hardly ever spoke, but that day something about your sad eyes and sweet smile made me open up to you. I told you things that I have never told anyone else. Every time I looked at your eyes was like there was something upsetting you, I sensed a bitter torment in your expressions but I never really bothered asking, for I just thought that your expression meant only sympathy towards my stories.

I found it kind of strange though, why was I the only one to tell you my concerns? I always wondered what went through your mind but it really didn’t trouble me, after all I assumed there was nothing interesting for you to tell me and you’d rather listen and support me through my crisis. We became closest friends after that day. I visited you often to your place and you visited mine and helped me take care of my grandmother. Everything seemed at place, your house was so neat, nothing seemed to
be wrong, and although every time I asked you if I could meet your father you always said he was busy working or he had a business trip. I should have been more attentive to what was occurring at your home but it all seemed so normal that I figured you were living a happy comfortable life. I never read the signs of your adversity; perhaps I was being too selfish to realize that you were also having a hard time.

My time here has made me reflect of those times together, how could I have not known what you were going trough. You always seemed so calm although your face projected otherwise. I was naïve and couldn’t see beyond my misery. I regret not asking you if you were alright, if you had concerns or if you were actually living a joyous life. Maybe I wouldn’t have encountered these events and we wouldn’t have ended this way.

You were my best friend, my only friend, and it’s true I felt attracted to you in many ways, I did not see you as merely a friend but I remained quiet about my feelings, it was better to have you as a friend than not have you at all. I know it may be worthless saying all this things now, now that is too late and you will never see it, I know I should have said it when I had the time but I was such a fool. I cowardly reacted at the thought that if I was honest I would never get to see you again, I feared
to be rejected, without knowing that not telling you would actually lead me to loneliness and despair, would actually take you away from me and I would never be able to see you again and would regret it forever. I wasn’t going to be able to talk to you or even gaze at you from afar.

It was at our 12th grade graduation that you for the first time came to me and said with a choking sound as if you would burst into tears any second: “Thank you for all your support I will never forget you” and hugged me passionately to the point I almost couldn’t breathe. Somehow I felt like this was our last goodbye, and our memories would only last those short four years of high school, little I knew that it was true.

Why did you keep it all to yourself, carrying that heavy load on your shoulders? When your grades began to drop and you kept missing class, I should have suspected but I kept the idea that it happened due to teenage negligence. I mean, every now and then young people get lazy and don’t want to study, but I didn’t realize that was not your case. You had a burden that was too much for you to handle and didn’t ask for help. I was there for you just like you were there for me when I needed you the most, why didn’t you lean on me? Did you think I wasn’t going to help you once I knew? You meant everything to me, I would have tried everything possible to help you, and of course I never told you how much you meant to me, how could you possibly know? I should have been honest while I could, but I chose my pride. How selfish of me, I should’ve known.

I will never forget that day that drove me to insanity. All my life I have been a reserved person, at that time I didn’t even imagined I would find a friend like you, a friend whom I can share my secrets with, and still feel comfortable, a friend that would be by my side during hard times, someone like you that wouldn’t make me feel ashamed of myself no matter what I did. That is all in the past and I can’t turn
back time to when we were most happy, and save you from this tragic end. June 25, 2000, I remember I called you many times before that day, since after graduation. I tried contacting you in every way possible, I visited your house about ten times but you or your father were never there. The day before that date I remembered what you told me on graduation day, panic stroke me thinking something had happened to you. I went house to house all over your neighborhood; I looked for you at the park we frequently visited, the Wakefield Park, where we would stay till dark talking nonstop, but you were nowhere to be found. Finally, the last place that came to mind was Ridley Creek State Park; it came to mind when you said that only thing about yourself, you said your mother used to take you there many times before she died. The only thing you felt free to share about your family, how your mother died from stomach cancer several years ago, when you were ten due to alcoholism, and that was all you said. I rushed to that park, searched everywhere till I got to the creek. I saw the most dreadful and frightful thing in front of me. I saw your body floating, lifeless in the creek, I had no idea how you had gotten there- What was before my eyes? Without thinking I rushed to get you out of the water. I tried to give you CPR and called 911 but it was useless by the time I got there it was already too late, you were long gone. Gone to where I would never see you again, where I would never be able to tell you how I felt about you.

Inside your pants’ left pocket there was a note, it was wet and soggy, for it had been in the water for several days, the time you were inside that creek, about two to three days. A police officer came to me and asked: “Are you Sam?” “Yes” I responded. “This note is for you it was inside his pocket”, said the police officer. I took the note and read it. I remember clearly the words you wrote. It said:

DON’T WORRY ABOUT ME SAM; THIS IS THE PATH I HAVE CHOSEN. I
WILL NO LONGER BE BEATEN OR FRIGHTENED BY THOSE WHO
REPROACH ME AND BLAME ME. I’LL BE OK BY MY MOTHER’S SIDE, NOW
THERE WILL BE NO MORE WORRIES. THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE
DURING THESE DIFFICULT TIMES, GOODBYE MY BEST FRIEND.

Why didn’t you tell me that your father blamed you for your mother’s death? That he told you that the reason your mother died was because she started drinking after you were born. That he hit you to the point where you couldn’t move when he arrived drunk to your house, and that’s why you had so many absences at school. He blamed you over and over again. He wasn’t really working or on business trips, he was drinking with women and you had to work 3 part time jobs to pay the bills, and
on top of it all you had to study and had transferred already to 6 different schools. Why didn’t you let me help you and console you, instead you took your own life just like that? Why did you keep it all to yourself? Why?

I was devastated after reading the note you left me, and broke to tears. I wondered if you ever thought how this would affect me but how would you have known since I never told you that one thing I really wanted you to know, that all you needed was me. By the thought of losing you, you have no idea what I went though, I didn’t think straight, I didn’t eat, and I was throwing myself to waste. I was admitted to a mental hospital three days after the incident, it was my aunt’s idea, you know how much she hated me, and she blamed me for being the cause of her suffering since I was the product of the man she loved and her sister whom had stolen him. She was glad to have abandoned me there, now she didn’t have any excuse to take care of me, I was already 18 years old and I had lost my mind, she was finally free from me.

I have been here in this hospital ever since. I wrote to you every day for the past 12 years, I haven’t written you in a while; I’ve been quite busy, that’s why I write this today. Maybe I am completely insane thinking you would actually read these letters and respond but I still long the day where I’ll be able to see you again and tell you how much I love you.

Sincerely your best friend:
Samuel Wright

By Jess

Happy Pride Month!

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