Monday, 15 May, 2000: Why?
It’s the first day I’m back at school after -
I can’t even say it out loud, although it’s cast into the stone tombstone that’s resurrected, unlike him, at the head of his ‘forever-bed’. It reads: “Here lies Colby, a good son, friend and man. R.I.P."
I miss him, he was my friend since the day my father left me, he was my neighbor at the time, and he saw me crying to my Da- father begging him to stay and do his job. He didn’t turn to look at me as he shoved his suitcase into the tiny boot of his BMW, got into the drivers seat and drove off, leaving me with tear stained cheeks and a lack of foundation to build a life with. My world tumbled to the ground that day.
My neighbor - who was three years older than me, eight - seemed so grown up to me as he jumped the waist high wall separating our two properties. He pulled me into his arms and he let me weep.
No one’s here this time... HE is gone.
I’m fourteen and he decides to leave me here. Alone.
My mother, who’s probably got work for the paper, has probably left a note on the kitchen counter saying something along the lines of:
“On a job, I gotta get there before the hounds sniff the story out.”
‘The hounds’ is her name for the other reporters from the other newspapers and magazines.
She’s never home for more than a week, and she can be gone for weeks at a time. It got so bad this one time that she was in Vancouver, Canada for two months working on a story about toxic waste dumps.
I love my mother but she doesn’t seem to care if I’m looked after, I spend- used to spend most of my meals and nights at his place... and now, even he’s gone.
I don’t remember my father, he left me when I was about five... I used to get phone calls on my birthday, and even that stopped three years later.
“Spider.” I’m being called. I look up from the book I was pretending to read, I think it’s Lord Of The Rings.
They call me Spider, I’m not to sure why. I’ve come up with two theories:
1. They see me as creepy and small, which is an awful analogy, and spiders - therefore myself included - are misunderstood creatures, and,
2. I’m the perfect wallflower, or not popular or socially adapted...
I’m more partial to the second option but I’ve learned to deal with it...
I still remember who gave me the nickname, he did. And it was for an entirely different reason.
When I was ten - he was thirteen - a spider crawled onto my hand while we were picnicking in his back yard. I lifted my hand and watched with interest as it crawled around for a little bit. Then I replaced my hand on the ground and let it creep away.
He was watching me intently, I noticed. And I asked him what he was staring at me. All he said was “Spider”.
Tears rim my eyes as the person who’s trying to get my attention repeats, “Spider!” a little louder and closer to me.
It’s the girl I sit next to in... I think it’s biology... wait, I don’t take biology. Was it accounting? Probably, and I don’t really care.
“What?!” I snap.
Colby’s funeral was yesterday and I need another week, month, year. Lifetime. To grip this reality.
“I just wanted to see how you were doing.” she holds her hands up as if she’s walking up to a wild, scared, cornered animal... I feel like that’s what I am.
“I’m fine.” tears threaten again.
“You don’t look fine...” she half whispers. She crouches in front of me and I can see the concern on her face.
Her pale canvas face, with her painted on green eyes and framed by shoulder length flat and dead straight blonde hair, is in my line of vision.
“Please just leave me alone.” I whisper.
She doesn’t move.
“Don’t you get it, I want to be alone. I want to mourn the death of my best and only friend who died because I got drunk at a party and I asked him if he could take me home. If I wasn’t around he’d still be alive. If you want to know how I feel then imagine that if I hadn’t existed he would still be fucking alive. He wouldn’t be sleeping six feet under with broken bones and bruising that didn’t heal because he died. Why did it have to be him? Why not me? I was in the car too! Why didn’t I die?!” I’m hysterical now.
How did I think I could deal with going back to school? The school he went to. Where we used to hang out at lunch time. We used to walk to and from this school every morning and afternoon together.
She looks at me, concerned. Then she sits down beside me and pulls me into her arms. “Shh...” she whispers to me, and I don’t want to hear any of it.