Twenty-Four Years Old
The storm was raging outside. The world was dark, grey and the train just passing through it all. It was on days like this that always made me think, about all the bad things that had happened. Not only to me but those whom I knew and sometimes those I didn’t. The strange thing was, it seemed, that sadness can envelop even the happiest of people. And no one notices that change. That moment, the slip into the unknown. That black hole of nothing. There are people we assume are there already, they are the lucky ones. They get help, hope even. I am not one of the lucky ones. No one noticed me slip through the ice. At least that’s what I always thought.
‘You’re still the same stargazed dreamer, aren’t you?’ I tore my eyes away from the rain stained window. Harry McNair, one of my oldest friends, was sitting beside me. Smiling at me, with his eyes, that seemed look into my very soul; they always did, even when we were little, though I didn’t notice back then.
‘I guess’ I said shyly. I reopened the book I had abandoned, when I got lost in the world that was just passing me by. ‘I’m not five anymore, Harry’
‘I know that, it’s just that you always seem to be wonderstruck at the world around you! I always liked that about you.’ He laughed. I rolled my eyes at him. ‘Oh, come on. Don’t be like that. One day you’ll see things differently’
His optimism was, as always, refreshing. Harry definitely had a way of getting me out of my head when I needed to get out of my head. However he wasn’t having as much success as he used to. ‘You keep thinking that. I still think I’m seeing things damn clearly!’ I snapped my book shut. ‘You didn’t see what I saw, you weren’t there!’
‘That doesn’t mean, it means what you thought it did’ Harry reasoned. ‘You said it yourself you didn’t hear the entire conversation. You could have missed something, something that would have put everything you heard into context.’
‘How would you explain it, then?’ I snapped ‘How would you explain what they were saying about me?’ my gaze returned to the storm outside the train window.
‘I can’t,’ Harry replied softly. ‘but I know you and sometimes you only hear what you want to hear.’ I knew he was staring at me, but I couldn’t look at him. I started tearing up just thinking about what those girls said. ‘Don’t get me wrong, you have every right to be upset. You just let somethings get under your skin a bit too easily.’
‘It’s easy for things to get under your skin, when its been torn before’ I wiped the tears from my cheeks as the train stopped at one of the stations. ‘Over time you just get better at hiding the scars’
Harry looked away, I knew he felt guilty, I just didn’t know what about. There was something he wasn’t telling me, or something I was too blind to see.
‘I’m sorry’ Harry said, out of no where.
‘Sorry? about what?’ I said, startled ‘Harry, you’re not making sense, what could you have to be sorry for?’
‘It’s not for something I’ve done. I just get the feeling that I’m going to hurt you, or do something that will. I just want to apologise in advance’ Harry looked scared, as if he really believe he was going to hurt me, that he could hurt me. Harry couldn’t hurt a fly, no matter how many times it tried to get into his nose. It just wasn’t in him
‘I can’t think of anything you could do that would make me doubt how much you care, Harry’ I told him, pulling him into a hug. ‘Which is your stop?’
‘The next one I think. Are you sure you can’t come home with me?’ Harry had practically begged me to come over to his house earlier that day, but I had told him that I couldn’t; I had to take care of my little sister that night. Sometimes I wish I had said yes.
‘You know I can’t, Harry. I promised my parent’s I’d baby sit, remember?’ The cheeky smile on Harry’s face faltered for a second as the train went through one of the many tunnels on our line. ‘I’ll see you at work tomorrow, though’
‘Wait, you mean I won’t see you for a whole fifteen hours? How will I manage without you?’ Harry laughed shaking his head at me. He was more outgoing than I was, always getting me out of my comfort zone. He got me to try so many new things. He was my champion.
‘You’ll do fine’
Arriving at Greendale the automated voice announced.
‘Your stop, Harry. You’ve got everything?’ I asked, making sure he had all his bags.
‘Yes, Mum’ Harry joked, ‘See you tomorrow, bright and early!’
‘Okay, stop rubbing it in, we have to be up early, I get it!’ I burst out laughing, this was on of our running jokes whenever either or both of us had an early morning. I gave Harry one last hug before he left. I waved as he stepped off the train onto the platform.
That day is still fresh in my mind. I never thought it would be the last time I ever saw him. That I would ever see him. I miss him. He was the only one who ever saw me for who I was, even when I couldn’t see myself. I lost my best friend that day and I can’t stop myself from thinking that I could have done something, anything to save him.