I was disgusted. Disgusted by her. Disgusted by her perfect life. Disgusted by all the friends she had. Most of all disgusted by the constant smile on her face. I don’t know how she did it. Stayed so happy in the ****** world we live in. Especially with the things I hear about her. She had sex with him. She had sex with her. How did she manage? It repulsed me how capable and perfect she was. She lived in the house next to mine since we were young kids. She would always smile, wave, and try to walk to school with me. I gave her the same dirty look everyday. Knowing she was trying to mock me. Just like everyone else at school. Trying to get close to me. Just to hurt me and laugh at me later down the road. I remember the day it all finally stopped. Every painful and horrific detail imprinted in my brain. The day the girl with the smile, stopped smiling.
It had been a normal day at school. Shoved repeatedly, tripped around every corner, and laughed at constantly. I don’t know what was different that day. The school day was finally over. All I looked forward to was getting sucked into the fantasy world of T.V. and video games. I hung my head low. Trying to discreetly escape school. That’s when I heard the cheerful greeting yelled from behind me. I heard someone run to catch up to me, and there she was. That same perfect smile on her face. “Mind if I walk with you?” she asked through bleach white teeth. I grunted and continued on with my walk home. I don’t know what it was. Maybe the perfect rhythmic steps coming from her. Maybe it was the sound of her humming to herself. I never will know, but I finally snapped.
I turned around. My voice coming out harsher than intended. I finally asked her the question I’ve had in my head all these years. “How can you stand to smile in this world? A world so full of pain, why are you bothering talking to me?” I finally asked with an inner sigh of relief. Unexpectedly perfect, crystal blue, tears started to build in her eyes. It seemed like a dam broke and a river of tears poured forth. I saw years of sadness, regret, pain, and hatred all pour out at once. It was an unstoppable flood, worse than any hurricane. There was nothing I could do to stop it. I tried apologizing. I should have tried harder. She ran off before I could say anything else. I got the response I wanted, so why did I have so much regret?
On my walk home I couldn’t help but think. I had hated her so much, but seeing her cry. An amazing and beautiful girl like her. I wanted to make sure she never cried again. No matter what it took. I always wanted to see her happy. I don’t know what it was but something in me changed. For better or worse, I’ll never be able to tell. Before I could second guess myself, I headed to her house. Determined to make things right.
As I knocked on her door, and it slowly swung open. I looked over my shoulder, and saw no cars in her driveway. So her parents weren’t home yet. I walked inside. Glancing to my left at the beautifully decorated living room, and to my left at the black and white, modern, kitchen. “Hey can we talk?” I yelled through the house hearing it echo. Such a weak and futile question. I headed up the stairs figuring she was lost in thought. I remembered her mentioning something about seeing my house from her room. So I turned left at the top of the stairs. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw.
I stood there not believing my eyes. Unable to process it all at once I took it in once piece at a time. I saw the bottle of antidepressants spilled on her desk. An orange bottle, with a white prescription label. Prescribed by Dr. Schwartz. He was both our family’s doctor. I saw the beautiful plant on her desk. It was in full bloom. It was an orchid I remember her mentioning. They were her favorite. It’s soil was still dark from a recent watering. Then my eyes moved to her fan. It was bent at a strange angle. Almost as if there was a heavy weight on the end. My eyes moved down the fan. Curious to see what they would find. That’s when I saw what I hoped to unsee. I saw a rope hanging taut from her fan. The rope attached to a neck. A neck covered in bruises purple with age, and bruises brown and fresh. The neck was attached to a face. It was a beautiful face. The sunset piercing through her window, only to reflect of her hair and dance around the room. Her eyes were closed peacefully. Seemingly ready to wake up at any moment. Her face would look almost insignificant compared to the beautiful dress she was wearing. It was a beautiful wedding dress. A pure, angel wing white. Her arms were covered in these horrific cuts. Some old and scarred, some still red and bleeding. Flowing down her hand and dripping off her index finger. Staining the carpet below. Then it finally registered. This was Arianna. Dead. Hanging in front of me. I fell to my knees, eyes agape. I wanted to cry but nothing came. I was sad and angry. Why couldn’t I cry. I was so angry at myself. At God. At teachers. At my peers. I stood up riged, turned, and punched a hole straight through the wall. I turned and left, headed home. Not knowing who to call I started with her Mom’s cell.
Over the next couple days I was asked an infinite number on questions. Asked by the police, her parents, my parents, and my very few friends. Every time I was asked I could barely choke out an answer. Always on the brink of tears. Finally two weeks later it settled down enough for me to stop and think. I almost thought I could move on someday. Then a letter came in the mail.
The envelope was blank. No address, name, or stamp. Slowly and carefully I opened the letter. As soon as I unfolded the paper I recognized the handwriting. I didn’t believe what my eyes were clearly telling me was true. My eyes scanned the page. Searching for it. Hungering for it, and there at the bottom of the page I found it. Her name. Written as perfect as ever. Tears started to well in my eyes. My face turned red with anger and sadness. I couldn’t keep them in. Not anymore. I cried, and I cried. I cried for hours. I cried until the sun unknown to me rose high in the sky. I didn’t even read the letter and I couldn’t stop crying. I was so weak. So pathetic.
Finally I stopped crying long enough to pick up the letter. By now it was soaked in tears, barely legible. I could read only pieces. I read “Don’t miss me” and “It wasn’t your fault.” Finally I saw the 3 words I both longed for, and hoped to never see. “I love you.” she wrote. How could you love me I thought to myself as I headed to my closet.
I didn’t know the answer, and I might never know. I was still going to try and ask you though. I would apologize. I would make sure you are happy. No matter the cost. So Mom and Dad please don’t miss me when I’m gone. I will always be with you in your hearts. Most of all. Ariana I love you too. I’ll tell you to your face soon enough. – Love, Thomas.