Nothing says I’m having all the support I need more than a warm smile and a tight hug from a friend who’s always showed interest in everything I did. She was the only one I ‘opened up’ to. For every problem I stumbled across, every loss of breath, every sleepless night and every heartbreak, Hazela was my shoulder.

She was beautiful and shy, her face was smooth, she had beautiful black wide eyes, a sharp nose, small lips and a smile that always warmed my heart. She was brown-skinned, friendly, lovable, had a sense of humour and she was a people’s person. She was a happy soul. Well, that’s what we thought, but behind all her happiness, there were thoughts of ending her life. Deep down she was still grieving her father’s loss of nine years ago. She felt defeated inside, hurt, lonely, weak, guilty and a failure. She blamed herself for her father’s death because she was there; she experienced it and saw it with her own eyes. She was right beside his bedside when her father took his last breath because of heart failure. She watched him fight for his life instead of helping him. It was a very shocking and disturbing experience, but traumatic as it was, she pretended to be strong and forced herself to move on.

She felt defeated for a very long time and that’s how she felt when she locked herself in her room. With us, she was a very different person; she was a happy soul. She hid everything with a smile and we didn’t know that she was building anger inside, and that every time she hid from the crowd, it ate her up inside. No one knew that she cried herself to sleep every night, because she always wiped the tears away in the morning. No one knew how she felt inside. We only saw and loved her look from the outside. Maybe if we knew what was happening, we would’ve at least tried easing her heart, to mend what was broken and wipe her tears away as she did with us when we were down.

It took only one razor blade to realize that she wasn’t what we thought she was; that she wasn’t as happy as we thought. She decided to cut deep into her emotions, deeper so that she couldn’t feel the pain she was feeling inside but that of the razor blade on her thighs. She kept cutting and cutting and cutting, not aware of the tears falling down her cheeks. She wounded her body for all the years she felt guilty, for her wrongdoings, for her guilt at not saving her father when she was supposed to, and for all the anger and hatred in her heart. She kept cutting her strength away, hoping to die as fiendishly as no one else could. When her mother found her, she was lying next to her bed, losing consciousness, with blood all over the place.

Her mother quickly called an ambulance that came and took her to hospital. We were so astounded when we heard that Hazela had tried committing suicide. We kept asking ourselves why such a friendly and joyful person would take her own life. No-one knew.

She was hospitalized for a week and she woke up in that hospital bed a different person; a better person. All the feelings and thoughts of ending her life changed to rather be a helping hand. She wanted to help those with problems like hers. Right now, not one, not two but four young girls in our community live to thank her for changing their lives every single day. That’s why I’m saying there are many reasons why I wouldn’t judge a book by its cover.