This letter is for your eyes only.
First off, I’m sorry for leaving...I just can’t deal with this anymore. I may seem like I’m happy on the outside, but I’m really hurting. A lot has happened.
I know you have a crush on me. You’re way too obvious about it.
Because of that, I’m going to tell you something important, that you should not share with anyone else. If you do, I’ll trust your judgement, but make sure they can keep a secret.
I’m not dead.
There’s no way that I could ever kill myself. There’s too much to leave behind. So instead, I ran away. I may rejoin the school in a few months as a different person, but for now, if you ever want to see me, leave a message behind that loose stone on Waterbury Way with the time and place.
Don’t worry about me, I’ve been planning this for months. I have someone who took me in, and I’m going to change my look completely to come back to school. I will go under the name “Starr.” When I show up again, please do your best to introduce me back into our friend group. I already miss them.
Elysia Vivien Langdon
As I finished reading the letter, I sat down in shock, questions racing through my mind.
Wait, she knew I had a crush on her?
How can I help her?
“Hey...you okay,” a voice asked. Looking up, I realized it was Luce. “This must be hard for you...you did have a crush on her.”
“I didn’t!” I said furiously. Why was it so obvious?
“She’s gone. Just admit to yourself you liked her.”
“Anyways...are you okay?” Luce asked, genuine concern in his voice. “I don’t want you following in her footsteps...” he trailed off.
“Don’t worry. I won’t.” I said. I knew I wouldn’t. I wasn’t going to run away.
I spotted Violetta walking in front of me, her head bowed, seemingly lost in thought. Saying a hurried “bye” to Luce, I ran and caught up to her.
“You okay?” I asked.
“Huh?” Violetta said, startled. “Oh, yeah. I’m fine.”
“Are you sure? I mean, you and Elysia had been best friends since you were little...and now that she’s gone...” I said, reluctant to lie and say the word “dead” when she wasn’t.
“Why can’t anyone say she’s dead? Even her letter to me...she uses the word ‘gone’ and not ‘dead’ - it’s like no one can accept it! Even I can’t!” with that Violetta burst into tears.
“Look, I don’t think any of us can accept it. She was the most fun and outgoing of our group; she was the most emotional, and the one that attracted drama like a magnet, all while being the best student in school. So I don’t think anyone can let her go that easily. I think she was reluctant to die anyways - that’s probably why she used the word ‘gone’ instead,” I said, trying to sound reassuring. It didn’t really help though. Violetta kept crying, even when the warning bell for class sounded.
“Just go to class,” Violetta said through her tears.
“You’re skipping?” I asked, worried. Violetta was the second best in the school right after Elysia, and she had never missed a class before.
“Nope, you’re not. Come on, we’re leaving,” a new voice sounded up. I looked up and saw Anica, another girl from our friend group.
“Hey,” I said. Anica nodded back in acknowledgement, before dragging Violetta to class.
I guess I should head to class too. I thought. I walked to my classroom, lost in thought. I arrived just as the bell rang, and settled into my seat.
“Alright class, in light of what has happened to Miss Langdon, I feel that many of you may not be able to concentrate properly in class today. So, today is a free study period, and I encourage you to make the most of it, as I highly doubt that your other teachers will be as generous,” Ms. Ann said. Immediately everyone started talking among themselves, remembering to keep their voices at a whisper. I pulled out a book, but could hardly concentrate on it, everyone was gossiping and talking about Elysia.
“Why do you think she killed herself?”
“I heard it’s because the stress got to her.”
“I heard her parents killed her.”
“I heard that she’s not dead, just pretending to be.”
At that last one, I gave a start. Who else would know that Elysia had just run away? I shook off that thought though. It was likely just another theory like our school always came up with.
“Anica, can’t I just skip? I really don’t feel like going to class...” I whined.
“Just because Elysia’s dead doesn’t mean you don’t have to focus. You think she’d want that?” Anica replied furiously. I could tell she was on edge from this mornings assembly as well, though her tears seemed to be long gone. Instead, she seemed to be angry instead. Maybe she was angry at herself, or maybe at Elysia for leaving us. I wouldn’t blame her, Elysia was our best friend, and at times, the only reason we were all still friends. It was highly likely that we would fight a whole lot more now that she was gone.
As we sat down in our class, Anica grew quiet. This was the only class the three of us shared, and not having her here made the place feel weird. I supposed we’d feel that way at lunch too. Lunchtime was always fun because of her.
Back when we were in 8th grade, Elysia had been a little trickster, and it was always fun to see her annoy Kile. She used to always take his water bottle, and she always gave it back, but it was fun to watch Kile chase after her to get it back. Plus the fact that Kile was much faster than Elysia, but she could always hold out by weaving through people. Elysia was very good at ducking through crowds.
Now though, what would happen to our friend group without her? She was the fun one, whenever she was out sick we’d always be bored and just read or do homework instead. She was the one who really kept us together in a friendly way. Elysia was the one that made all 8 of us the 8 best students in the school.
“Good morning, class,” Mr. McGhee said. He was an old man, but one of the nicest teachers on campus. “Today, in light of the recent events, we will have a simple class; we’ll have a class discussion on any topic. Would anyone like to start?”
Anica raised her hand.
“Yes, Miss Cabot?” Mr. McGhee said.
“I’d like to hold a miniature memorial ceremony for Elysia in this class, where we share good memories. Is that alright?” Anica asked. I straightened in my seat. What memories did she have with the others?
“Of course, Miss Cabot. Would anyone like to share?”
A girl named Maiga raised her hand.
“Yes, Miss Delossa?”
“I remember when Elysia helped me out after school once...” Maiga trailed off. “She saw that I needed help with my math homework - and she’s the one who helped me get an A during the Rationals unit.”
“I remember when she was trying to get Paige to smile on one of her sad days...it was adorable,” said Blaine. Anica rolled her eyes. Blaine was one of the boys who had a hopeless crush on Elysia, and everyone had known it but her.
I was pretty sure that he just wanted her to help him pass his classes.
“She was my best friend since we were kids, I remember her trying to be the most helpful person in elementary school, but she told me it was hard because she hated sharing, and almost everyone went to her now for an extra pencil,” I said. Anica smiled slightly. We hadn’t met her until 6th grade, but now she was our other closest friend, and she knew about that too.
A girl named Cindelyn spoke up. “I remember that once we got to high school she changed; she went from a trickster to a study machine. Except somehow she had time to have fun as well, so she was the most responsible of us all.”
Many more people volunteered to share memories of Elysia, but after a while I zoned out, thinking of my memories with Elysia. We’d shared so much - we even had a secret code! From preschool to now we’d been best friends...
How could she leave us like this?