The next fifteen seconds, I don’t remember them. I don’t remember anything about that phone call except that it wasn’t my friends voice, and that I knew within seconds that something was wrong. I drove home, crying. Yes, I know it’s not safe to drive while you’re crying, but I couldn’t control myself.
I didn’t revise that night. I sat in a daze, I didn’t eat, and I didn’t speak to anyone. I went to bed early, but I couldn’t sleep. A million thoughts whizzed around my head. So this morning, I looked exhausted, I’m sure. Despite the fact that I wanted to curl up and hide from the world, I dutifully got up and went to school. I didn’t speak to anyone all day – until my flute lesson of course – I knew that I couldn’t get away with that one.
‘Hi, how are you?’
She was the first person who had enquired about my welfare in the past 20 hours since the call. I’m terrible. I’m hurt. The pain. The fear. THE GUILT. ‘Fine, thanks’ I replied. My flute lesson was not very productive either, but I was lucky that my teacher sensed my mood and was kind to me, and careful not to enquire. I was her last student of the day, and just I was packing up she said, ‘I’m worried, are you sure you’re okay?’ She didn’t get a response this time, instead I simply burst into tears. ‘Do you want me to call T?’ – that’s my best friend – ‘No, she’s not here,’ I replied.
‘She’s not?’ ‘She’s in hospital.’ ‘Hospital!?’ ‘I got a call from her mum last night. She got taken in… after… well… she didn’t… eat for 70 hours.’ My sobs were now uncontrollable.
I was afraid to go. Afraid to go and visit because I knew that seeing her would cement the reality that this is my fault. I didn’t say anything when I should have. I should have expected this. I’m such a stupid, heartless, idiotic friend. Why did I have to be controlled by the fear that she’d hate me? That what she wanted was best? But now I’m here, and with my flute teacher here for support, waiting in the cafe, I pause at the door. I’m afraid of what I might see. I’m so GUILTY. My breathing is quickening and I’m beginning to panic so I just open the door and BANG. My world is crushing down on me. I see her lying there in the hospital bed with a tube in her mouth, looking so fragile and pale, and my panic mechanisms kick in properly.
And then it’s black, and all I can hear is the sound of my breathing getting faster and faster and faster. I feel a tear roll down my face, and I can just summon the energy to reach for the light switch. It’s just a dream. It’s just a dream. It’s over now, breathe. I count my breaths and work on slowing them. The shaking begins to subside and I reach for a drink. It’s not real. It’s not real. It’s not real. It was a dream. Relax.
But it’s on my mind. I can’t get back to sleep tonight, because a part of me knows how it could be real. Knows how soon it could be real. And it knows how damn scary that could and would be.
So, as I lie here in the darkness, I’m only loving again. Goodnight all.