I distinctly remember your guarded eyes as they met mine on that fated day. We were out on the playground during recess, and you were sitting on the mulch with your hands fisted by your sides, tear tracks on your rosy cheeks. Seeing your distress, I had approached you and casually plopped myself next to you. I had asked you what was wrong, but you didn’t respond. That was okay. I was content to just sit there.
I didn’t see you for a while after that day. I wanted to see you again, but I hadn’t even known your name. So I forced myself to wait, like the teachers always told us when we were in line for lunch.
It took a few months, but I saw you again. I had been looking outside, the rain pattering against the window, when I saw you hunched over on the side of the road. So I had grabbed an umbrella and walked over to you and asked what was wrong. Again, you didn’t reply, but that was okay. I just handed you my umbrella and told you that you should go home. You looked at me and laughed, as if there was something funny about what I had said. I was confused. I told you that your parents probably missed you. You just shook your head and walked away.
The next time we saw each other it only took a week, and this time, you approached me. You just held out your hand and gave me a thumbs up. I thanked you, and then asked what the mark on your cheek was from. You reached up, touched the yellowing bruise, and shrugged it off. Like as if it was normal. I tried to say something to you, but you walked away, shoulders slumped and your hands in your pockets.
I found out a week later you had moved away.
I had tried to brush it off, but I had gotten used to seeing you around, and I was going to miss you. You were unique, different, and I wanted to help you because you always looked so sad, so defeated.
You moving away wasn’t the end of our relationship, though.
It took ten years for me to see you again, but this time it was different. The other boys on the basketball team had been talking about the new student - the "emo freak″ - that just started attending our school. I really didn’t think anything of it.
But then I passed by you in the hallway, and my entire body had stiffened painfully, because the other members of the team - my friends - were following you, shouting insults. You looked ready to cry, just like you had all those years ago. I wanted to do something, but did I really want to lose all of my friends for one person?
I confirmed that it was really you when I walked up to you the very next day. You looked at me and smiled, weakly, and gave me a thumbs up. I almost cried, because I just shook my head and walked away. I didn’t give myself a chance to look back at your crestfallen face. It might have made me reconsider my choice.
It took a week, but you walked up to me, while I was with the rest of my team. They shouted and scowled and insulted you, but you just walked up to me and handed me the umbrella I had let you borrow all of those years ago. I tried to find something to say, but I couldn’t. You didn’t let me, anyways. You just walked away.
Two years later, and the supposed people that were my friends had left me because I had quit the team to focus on my failing academics. And as I sat there, thinking, I remember who you had been, because tomorrow was the second year anniversary of your death. You had killed yourself because there wasn’t a single person that had given a damn.
And maybe, just maybe, if I had treated you right, you would still be alive.