Thinking about it all, every last drop of it.
She kind of died in a way, without actually ceasing to exist.
Without a funeral. Without a kiss goodbye.
Not a black dress in sight.
Instead, a slow heartbreaking realisation she wasn’t who she once was and never would be again. Dead, at least to me.
She sits somewhere now and it isn’t here as we always had thought it would be.
I am sure she still has her same kind heart, but it is faded and jaded and tucked underneath.
No baby bumps growing big together, no children to play hide and seek, no sitting on a veranda side by side as the sun sets.
No matter how hard I would beat my fists against it all in defiance. No matter how much convincing, telling her she could be anything she wanted to be, if she would just try.
Sleepless nights tossing and turning waiting for the phone call. I finally swung it all down in a thump and broke the last piece of sinewy tendon that had kept our fractured friendship together. Walking ahead and not looking back until I was in the clear. Consumed by guilt for not going back and carrying a broken, wounded bird.
To be someone breathing, while she lay crumpled, heaving.
Thick, suffocating smoke from a fire, I had to leave behind.
We were best friends at a time in my life when I needed one. Two peas in a pod. I had never been so close to a female friend. She rescued me definitely, in so many ways. When it really mattered.
In our 20's we were everything to each other. She scooped me up time after time when the boy I thought I loved threw rocks at my heart.
I was the wounded bird first.
I would lay in bed with her of a night as she would stop the tears and make me laugh till tears came again. We told each other everything the way all good cliché best friends do. Our hopes and our dreams, our fears and our doubts.
She always stopped me on my way out the door and filled my ears with sparkly compliments, from head to toe. Her way of giving me a suit of armour to face the day. It was more than I could stand but it secretly built me up strong, to handle the rocks being thrown from the boy down the road.
We spent every minute of every day we could together. Time in the sunshine, excited to grab life by both hands and shake it upside down. There were early signs for sure, but they were more like quirks I told myself and I shrugged them away as quickly as they came.
I sometimes close my eyes and imagine what life would be like if she had still stayed as she was.
If she didn’t have demons passed down from mother to daughter. If her head didn’t grow heavy from all the schizophrenically grey thoughts consumed. If she didn’t seek some kind of peace in denial through drug addiction. If she still had her long, wavy black hair and her loud booming laugh.
She loved to laugh before she had no choice but to cry.
If only I could have drawn an outline of her then, with a magic marker.
I still reach out to clasp at ghosts, to hear her voice. But I know now it is not her who shows up anymore, it is someone else – an intense stranger with painful emptiness behind those eyes.
The worst part is I know deep down she realises it too.
That little feeling you get like you have forgotten to do something or you need to be filled up by something…a piece of your tummy is missing, that is her and I ache for the hole to be plugged up and shut tight and be OK again.
I guess that’s what happens though when someone you love dies.
She didn’t mean to make the splash created. She didn’t mean to get me wet when she stepped off the ledge and fell in.
Sinew severed forever.
A good friend left behind.
So missed though, every day.
Emma Kate xoxo