Finish the Story:
” I felt lost but also didn’t want to be found.” she wrote in her journal. She, then, closed the book and looked up
and glanced at the framed picture of herself, with Max, she had hung on the wall. Four years has passed since that horrific July night; but, Laura felt every minute of it as if it were just yesterday. What if she had paid a bit closer attention? What if she had picked up that call when he tried reaching her? What if she made a little more time being in the moments that she spent with her best friend. Would she have heard his pain? Would she have seen the truth in his eyes and behind his constant radiant smile?
Max hid his grief like a pro. Always laughing and smiling, he seemed to havw had the world perfectly in his hands. He was always available when Laura needed a listening ear or a tight squeeze. He was the first to extend grace in conflict and forgiveness in the end. Max was an amazing guy,…. Oh how Laura ached to never have expressed such to him.
One particular summer afternoon, four years ago, Laura was out having ice cream with her best girlfriend. Lyndsay and Laura had known each other since they were 5. Through their 12 year friendship, they fought and cried over breakups and pettiness, broken friendships and poor grades. They’ve also confided in one another when either had a secret or needed to talk. They’ve experienced so much together, middle school graduation, Lindsay’s rape and abortion, school dances.
Around 10:30 that summer morning, the girls met up at the local theater to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie. Laura has always been a fan for Disney movies, and it’d been a few weeks since the two had spent quality time together.
“Hey Beautiful! How have you been?”, Lyndsay greeted Laura upon reaching the theater entrance.
“Hi babe, I’m good. Been super busy with work and the family. My mom and dad are driving me crazy! Meeting up today has been much needed, so thank you for getting ahold of me!” Laura replied as the two finished purchasing their tickets.
“Oh yeah?! I totally get what you’re saying.”, Lyndsay continued, “My mom has been on my case about a summer job and my brother won’t stay out of my business.”
The girls made their way to the specified theater and sat down.
Two and a half hours later, Laura and Lyndsay came out squinting their eyes, as everyone does, trying to readjust their eyes to the light.
“The movie was phenomenal. I absolutely adore Emma Watson, and she played the role of Bell beautifully!”, Lyns had commented.
“She did indeed! Yellow is the perfect color on her, too.”, Laura added.
As the two ladies continued chatting about the movie, they switched their ringers back on. Their parents had taught them to be respectful of others, especially in close corners such as this. No one appreciates disturbances during something they’ve paid to do. Really, during anything for that matter.
Less than 30 second after Laura turned her ringer on, her phone was vibrating. Shortly thereafter, it vibrated again, and again, and again, and again.
” Good grief, what’s up with your phone?” Lyndsay asked. When there was no response, she continued. ” Earth to Laura.. Why is your phone…” But the question faded to silence as she looked at her friend. Never before had Lyndsay seen such terror displayed on her friends face.
Laura didn’t answer. She couldn’t respond at all.. Her face felt heavy… Her eyes were full of salty water, in a matter of seconds. She felt her heart beat in her throat, and her palms grew sweaty. She tried to breathe; but, rapidly even that became an impossible challenge. Her mind was spinning, searching for all answers. She thought back to the last year, to the moments when she and Max had their amazing Heart-to-Heart lunch dates. How did she miss this? How could she have been so selfish, so self-absorbed, and blind to the fact that he was struggling?!
“Oh my God, Laura,” Lyndsay managed to piece together, ” what happened? What’s wrong? Are you OK? Is your family hurt? ” Laura weeped and trembled. She did so as she took her phone and handed it to her best friend.
Lyndsay took the phone as she felt a cold chill race down her spine. “Breathe!”, she reminded herself, “Laura is going to need you to be strong!”.
There were 35 text messages and 8 voicemails from Max. That wasn’t including his attempts to reach her via Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.
Lyndsay took a few minutes and read through the texts. She was more flustered after each one. She had know Max since she met him at Laura’s 8th grade graduation, six years ago. Although she wasn’t as close to him as Laura, she still cared and respected him because he meant a great deal to her best friend.
As Laura brought herself back to the present, she grabbed a tissue from the box, sitting on the corner of her desk. Dabbing her eyes and then blowing her nose, she allowed herself to grieve… Once more. Reminders of Max’s suicide still have such a deep impact on her.
She barely remembers arriving at his mother’s house, having gone straight there from the movies. She barely remembers the funeral or the wake following it. Maybe it’s better she didn’t.
” Maybe it’s better to not think about him at all?” she questioned herself. “But, how is such possible when everything around you is a memory. How is such possible when every song is his story?”
Laura glanced back to the picture framed. She knew she’s gotten stronger since that summer. She’s been visiting a therapist, and really diving into this as bravely as possible. She’s taken care of her heart, writing and journaling, accepting days when she’s both weak and strong.
She felt so lost in the beginning. Lost in sadness, anger, denial, in all the emotions that transpired upon hearing the news. It wasn’t a safe place for her, mentally to be so lost in her thoughts and with no desire to be found. Endless agony and suffering she felt she deserves for failing her friend.
Four years has passed since that horrific July night; but, Laura felt every minute of it as if it were just yesterday.
” Today,” she declared, ” will be the day, I choose to begin to let go of the suffering and allow myself to feel.” She reopened her diary, and she finished her daily entry,
….. Max wouldn’t approve of you living in such an emotionally numb state of being. He’d click his fingers with the “Maxsine attitude” we called it, and say, ” There’s no time to waste on pity sugar, for time waits on no one and neither do I!”
His sense of humor with a slight twist of feminism attitude always made her laugh. That’s who she remembered in her best friend.
“Today, that’s who I’ll hold on to, while I choose to let the rest go” She wrote.
With that, Laura closed her diary and redirected attention to the little birds splashing in her birdbath right outside her window.