As I walk through the paved road downtown, I remember the times we shared. The laughter, cries, anger, stupidity and fights amongst us. I stop then sit by the big rock we used to meet at. The memories flash and tears start rolling down my cheeks. I often live with regrets, the ‘what ifs’. Wondering how you’d appear at this stage, could you have already had a family or not. But then, my friend, let me tell you what has been going on since you left us, that incident caused by us, leading you to death.
Samuel, now 25, has a beautiful, elegant mistress. They look adorable together. Sam found it hard to move on after your destination to the Unknown Universe. He spent 3 years in rehab because he got addicted to drugs, he found comfort in them. He now lives in his own apartment, no kids yet though. He is a qualified chemical engineer. His life has gone on pretty well even though he sometimes calls to just talk about you. He misses you dearly.
Annette, 24, is still at college studying nursing. You must be wondering why is she still at college at this point in time. She took a few years off school but it’s her final year now. She is doing well. She still glows, hyper and sensitive, she hasn’t changed a bit. She is still that girl you knew. She wishes you could be at her graduation ceremony next fall. We know you will be there, your presence shall be felt as your soul will be present.
Jackie, 25, is a much more serious guy than he was when he was still a teenager. That funny side of him still tingles me. His life is just fine. He got himself a job at an art gallery as a permanent artist. He still has his groove on, enjoying life without a girlfriend. We all know how girls can make him shy, yet he likes them anyway. He says he doesn’t want to get involved with anyone, for now. His parents are so proud of him. He is taking his younger brother, Isaac who is 11, to school with his own money. Isn’t that great? He even bought his parents a penthouse.
Then Chloe, 26, our sister. She has a baby girl, Felicity. She’s 10 months old, a cute little girl she is. Chloe is engaged to that nerd, Jim, but he is a ‘sweetheart’ as Chloe says he is. They are planning their wedding to take place on November this year. Chloe still has that picture of the six of us all dirty and grumpy when we were at secondary. She has a degree in law, amazing hey.
Last but not least, myself. It’s funny how I have been living my life. Since we lost you, I have become a better person. That naughty, arrogant side of me no longer lives. I am a born again Christian, serving at church and helping the needy. I’ve managed to do this by motivations you used to write to me when I felt like dying. I don’t have a man yet but life is going smoothly for me. No hassles and trouble so far.
3 a.m. in the morning, I lay awake. I can’t seem to sleep peacefully. After yesterday’s incident my mind can’t rest. Maybe if you could just appear fine and get out of that hospital bed, those long scary tubes you are in. Things were fine yesterday, we planned everything so well, we knew nobody could get hurt or pass out but you did. You couldn’t breathe properly. We tried the mouth-to-mouth but it did not help in any way. Was it because we were almost your state too?
Our parents were so mad at us and we all got grounded. Whenever I sit alone and close my eyes, I see you right there on the hospital bed, lying there helplessly. Talking to you so faintly, thinking that maybe you hear me, you’d simply reply soon but from then, I only felt your cold hands, saw that precious face of yours, your big blue eyes shut.
The night comes back to haunt me again. Starting with Wednesday afternoon when we were having lunch at the school fields, planning our birthday party which was to take place that Friday night. I remember our last birthdays; our parents bought us all the same sweaters. They were so ugly, mine is still at the back of my closet. I can’t stand the sight of it.
Our big sister, Chloe, being 17 at that time, insisted on organizing the party for us. We were so excited about our 16th birthday that we wanted to do everything ourselves. We jotted down everything; from the venue to the drinks, food, outfits, hairstyles and the amount of money we were going to spend. We made sure that we kept everything simple and sassy.
Every one of us told our parents about our little night out together. I remember your mother refusing to let you join us. I almost forgot how she doesn’t like the idea of you going out late at night, even though she knows you will be with us. But we managed to convince her to let you come with us, since it was to be our epic night. Thinking about it, it was as if she could sense that something will not go according to plan. The words I could utterly get out were, “If only we listened to your mom…’’
The night came. Chloe picked us all at our houses, since she was the one who had the driver’s license. We were lucky that night that Chloe’s parents let her use their car, they surely trusted us and knew how important the 16th birthday was to us. We got to the park, the Odensey Community Park. There was a slow breeze in the night; the moon was at its apex. The breeze made us feel the coldness from the tiny pond there.
We played blissfully on the seesaws, merry-go-rounds and the swings, supposing to leave childhood behind as we thought 16 were to close doors to childhood. As we were playing, we were smiling from ear to ear, with such happiness. We got tired, thought of going to the benches to rest. Nobody ever thought you would have that thought, the thought of the naughty side you that you kept hiding. We thought your thought was brilliant, but somehow it wasn’t.
As we were sitting down, relaxing, we started talking and shared our fantasies, advising each other. Big secrets were revealed. I hardly believed what Annette had told us, I still remember her words very well, and I know you do too because you always had a good memory. I keep laughing whenever I reminisce about that moment.
“When I go to varsity I am gon’ hook up with a 3rd year hunk on campus and give him my precious fruit, since he will be experienced in that department…’’
Were we drunk already? We sat there, looking at her with our jaws dropped. Then she cackled into laughter, swearing she was to do that no matter how filthy and gross we thought that was. Do you know what is funny? She didn’t do it, not until she met a guy three years back, Steve. She phoned us the following morning to tell us about the romantic night she had with Steve.
Then it was the talk about our future and careers. We sat quietly; hand on the chin and some scratching their heads. That was the first time we ever got to be serious about something in our lives. All we were interested in was booze, chicks and boys, food, fun and just more fun, nothing to do with serious issues about life.
It is so surprising that none of us liked or loved books, especially school books, but everyone had that one subject that they excelled in. You were a math whiz, Chloe and Sam; Sciences, Annette with languages, especially French and Jackie with arts.
I was just good at nothing, I think. I’m kidding, geography was my favorite and throughout my life it seemed so pretty easy. Funny thing is, Chloe was a genius when it came to sciences but she did law, how insane that was. What can we say; we tend to change as we grow up.
We got quiet, still, then everybody looked at you. Your plan, your naughty plan. We hadn’t eaten a thing, so we decided to eat before doing that deed. Soon after our snacks, you told us you had already bought Mary Jane (marijuana). We were so amazed. How could you? We thought that was just a thought, a naughty thought from a teenager, but no, you already bought the drugs.
Well, we went on to roll it, everyone had their turn for puff. I remember Chloe choking and coughing, that was when I pulled out. You kept going on and on, we tried stopping you but you listened to none of us.
I don’t remember any laughter, except yours. It was like what you wanted to do all along; you just didn’t get the chance to. We were all amused. Was it your way of trying to commit suicide? Or did you want to experiment with drugs? I still don’t know the answer up till this day.
We sat there, all panicking, we shrieked. Annie almost fainted. That night really changed our whole programmed lives. As it went on dripping, you were extremely weak. You hardly stood firm on the ground. We cried for help, till Chloe said we should take you to the hospital. But what are we going to tell the nurses and doctors when we got there? That we were experimenting? No. That was not an option.
We sat there, all silent, watching you hardly breathing. Chloe went to the car, warmed it up and asked Sam and Jackie to get inside, we were taking you to the hospital, and we will have to deal with the consequences. Tears rolled down our cheeks, nobody moved while on the way to the hospital, you were just bleeding through your nose, trying so hard to breathe. As soon as we got there, we realized we didn’t tell your parents, we were so afraid to because we knew your mom would freak out, we called her anyway. I remember her screaming on the phone, shouting, that was really heart breaking.
The gaze your parents gave us when they arrived was just cold, I felt my blood rush. They put the blame on us. Asking if you would’ve died, would we replace you, since you were their only daughter among two brothers. We kept quiet and wept sorrowfully. The following day your parents shared the unfortunate news with our parents, they were all disappointed. They said they trusted us, but we betrayed their trust. I went to apologize to my mom, she hardly looked at me. That same night, I went to bed early, I barely ate.
I decided to pay you a visit the next day. I didn’t tell the others because I wanted to be with you alone. As I got there, I saw that pale face of yours, your hand with that scary tube. I didn’t see your chest going up and down, that was the moment I panicked, I thought you were gone.
As I approached you, finally, you were breathing. I took a deep sigh and sat beside you. I wept and couldn’t say a word. That night, the moment you were unconscious in the car, came back to haunt me. I felt so miserable. Your parents came in, I don’t know how and when. I stood up the moment I saw your dad’s fumed face. I got out of the room, head down.
I sat outside your room, waiting for your parents to come out so that I could see you again. I sat there for hours, eyes red. The moment your parents came out, I couldn’t face them. I remember saying I’m sorry over and over again.
After a few minutes, your dad went to get us some coffee. Night came, I was weak. Your mom called my house, letting my parents know of my whereabouts so that they don’t panic. The next morning I came to the hospital, sitting by you, I felt my blood turn into ice, my whole body was shivering. I could tell there was something wrong.
I felt the dark shadow over me, I smelled sour grapes and knew from then that that was the end, and it was over. My mind refused to believe yet my heart had already given up on trying to convince my mind that there is no other clue.
I got up, cried for a doctor. I waited outside. Tears rolled down my cheeks, I couldn’t help but cry. They tried everything they could, nothing helped. I screamed the moment the doctor told me it was over, I must say my last goodbyes.
I kissed you on your cheeks, forehead and hands. That was it, my friend. I saw you take your last breath. I felt something being taken away from inside of me. I tried calling everybody; I couldn’t, so the receptionist helped me.
Everybody was traumatized, paralyzed! Your death touched us all. Then came the funeral arrangements, your mother asked me to make a speech at your memorial, the school principal as well. I didn’t know whether to agree or not, I was confused, then I remembered that you would’ve done it if I were you, so I agreed.
I wrote my speech about you, while tears ran down my face, I smiled though.
“Mia Grande was my best friend, a true friend indeed. She never let me and our friends down. She was always happy, smiling. You’d never see her angry or mad, even if she was, she wasn’t gonna show anybody, instead she’d smile and be herself. She was a hard worker, had a bright future as she was passionate about pursuing her dreams and helping the needy all across the world. She was a giving soul. I remember one day in primary when I forgot my lunch, she shared hers with me. That brought a smile on my face. She will be deeply missed. I cannot say much because I will end up crying. In a nutshell, Mia was a great soul and her passing on touched us all. May your soul rest in peace, buddy. You will forever live among us.’’
I cannot say more than this Mia, but we still love you, we will never forget you.
Farewell, my friend.
Tell us: Have you ever lost a loved one to drugs? How did you cope with your loss?