The Highschool Days of Life and Death, The Inseparable Two
Two beings, connected since the very beginning, were inseparable, unwilling to leave each other’s side, not even if the world was crumbling around them. The knowledge they knew of each other was as if they were the some mind and body; ironic, seeing as how their personalities couldn’t be anymore night and day. Life, a girl full of spirit, confidence, and enough energy to run the world, wanting to be friends with anyone and everyone she has and will meet. She always wears a smile on her face, always acting eager to meet someone new, and to make them happy, always wearing formal clothing to compliment her petite body. Life was the most popular girl in her middle school, and was the most well known face to all the students the school held.
Then...there is death, a boy that was shunned and bullied throughout his childhood, being called nothing but a nuisance, and a waste of space. Even his parents didn't care much for him, going so far as to give him over to life’s family so they wouldn’t have to deal with him anymore. This made death quite the loner in his middle school years, as people are turned away not only by his appearance, being saggy clothes with unkempt hair, but his brutal honesty. He never sugar coated his words, nor did he care who it was, not even Life. Even with the harsh viewpoints, Death still stood by Life as his only friend; He trusted her, and she trusted him.
As their middle school ends, both Life and Death were able to get into the same high school they have been wanting to go to, although the school they wanted to go to was the same was the same for both of them, and not because of the quality of the school, but just so they could stay together. Freshman year comes in quick, and the duo were already aware of what was to come in their lifestyle, and they were right. Life was already the main focus in her classes in the first few weeks, as her cheery demeanor, helpful attitude, and straight A’s landed her as the top freshman in the school. Then, there was Death, a nobody in his classes that did the bare minimum to keep him passing, looked down upon by both his teachers and fellow classmates and, honestly, he couldn’t care less.
Every lunch, Life and Death would stay together and eat the same passable cafeteria meals, but they were just happy that they could still stay together in the same school. Life had tried to reason with the principal to let both of them be in the same classes with each other, but the request was swiftly denied, for it would be too distracting to have the two so close all the time. So, even with the class change failing, Life and Death just tried to be together as much as possible out of class. As the final school bell rings, Life would always wait for Death so that they could walk home together, and Death would always walk to her with that “inside of his thoughts” look That always gave charm to him for Life.
As weeks turned to months, and the duo’s daily routine unchanging, Death started to see a change in Life, albeit very slight at first, but he has known her too long for him not to see it. It’s as if Life started to become tired after having conversations with her friends, like it was draining her in some way. Life would usually talk about the conversations she had with her friends and some gossip going on between kids in school, and sometimes how her friends are wondering why she is with a slob like Death, but as time went on, she started to sound more and more tiresome and encumbered about telling him about the conversations, then, at one point, she just stops talking about them, like the conversations didn’t happen to begin with. Death began to become increasingly concerned with the way things have been going with Life and her attitude. She started to look more and more gloomy, with a somewhat vacant look in her eyes. This broke something inside Death, and he knew he had to say something, So as they were eating their usual lunch together, he just went ahead and said it.
“What has been going on with you?”
Life, a bit taken aback, takes a minute to respond.
“What… exactly do you mean by ‘What’s going on with me’?”
“By your reaction, you know what I’m talking about. You have been getting a lot less...motivated, I guess you could call it. You look like you just ran a mile every time you talk to your friends. You always look like you are having a fun time, but right after you leave, you just look… tired. Tell me, Whats going on?”
“It’s nothing, really. There is no need to worry about me.”
“Oh, I know for FACT that it isn’t nothing, and how could I NOT worry about you? You are the only person I ever talk to, and the only true friend I have. We have been together since we were just toddlers, and you are the only person who has been with me in my hardest times, while everyone else didn’t even bat an eye. I need you to trust me like how I trust you and tell me why you look so burdened.”
Life looks at Death with a puzzled expression. She wasn’t expecting that answer from Death, but she should have known. After thinking about it, that would be to only response he would give. She then gives a slight chuckle.
“As brutally honest as ever. I guess I couldn’t keep up the charade forever, now could I?”
Death’s concern rose exponentially after he heard those words.
“The truth is… Being nice to everyone is becoming… tiring, like putting up the effort feels like just a giant hassle. I’m surprised I have been able to hold this up until no---”
“Wait!... wait. Are you telling me that your kindness, your confidence, your feelings towards me and everyone else...was an act?!”
Death stood up, slamming his hands on the desk in the process. He would have none of it. He couldn’t stand the thought that the girl before him, whose generosity and care lead him to keep going, and for him to see the next day with her next to him. Her cheeriness and her energy, were all just a lie. He wouldn’t be able to handle it... he would break.
Life just sits with her head down, not wanting to say another word. She knows that if she were to say anything more, his image of her would immediately shatter, and she didn’t want that, not in a million years, not even if time were to end, she would never want Death to think ill of her. She didn’t want to show him this exhaustion for that reason.
Death began to become impatient.
“Well?! say something! Tell me that my answer wasn’t true! Please!”
Tears began to well up in Death’s eyes, as he began to become emotionally unstable. He never thought that he would be this upset about anything.
Tears also started running down Life’s cheeks, her guilt began to consume her. She needed to say it, she needed to. Everything needed to be said here and now.
Life stood up and, with her body acting on its own, quickly embraces Death, and not wanting to let go.
“I’m sorry! I’m so sorry… I have been selfish.... I was only thinking about myself.”
Death just stood, shocked.
“I thought that making friends, and being nice to everyone… would make things easier for me. If I had no enemies, or people that disliked me, I thought that goals I had for the future would become easier…. But I realised, that being nice to everyone, and always being energetic, was not good for me. Being nice started to drain me, and I began to become exhausted from smiling. I thought everything would be fine, that if I just kept up a smile, people wouldn’t be as difficult to deal with. I was so filled with selfishness, I didn’t even think about how you felt until recently. I knew you would be hurt if I told you this, and I didn’t want you to leave… I never want you to leave, I wouldn’t be able to stand it… I’m so sorry.”
Everything made sense to Death after that. He had realised that anyone can put on a mask, even the one he cared for the most. Death had realised that Life was so adored her entire being because she was filled with beautiful, deceiving lies, and that he was despised for being the center of the cold truth. Nobody likes the truth, people are afraid of it. People are cowards towards the truth, and run away to be soothed and sedated by sweet counterfeit words that can make anyone feel just a bit better, even if it doesn’t actually help the situation.
“Then… what about me? Have you been lying to me as well? Is everything you have done for me just a facade too?”
“No! I would never, not even in a million years, lie to you! You are the only person that I have been 100% truthful to, and put my full trust into. Every time I see you, or have you sit next to me at lunch or just be together at home, I always feel like the happiest person in the world. Just seeing you always puts a smile on my face…”
Death was still feeling skeptical after what she had told him, but why would she still lie in this situation?
“Is that… how you truly feel? Do you actually feel that way towards me?”
“Yes! There is no way I would give away this feeling for you, not ever! Without you with me, it feels like my being has a hole inside of it, like a void that should never be there. That feeling terrifies me… that you wouldn’t be there for me. Please… will you forgive me for doing something so terrible?”
“...On one condition.”
Life looks up questioningly at Death, with her cheeks still a bit puffy from the crying.
“Just be yourself. No more hiding behind a mask. No more fake smiles. If you feel sad, be sad, if you feel angry, be angry, and if you feel happy, then just be happy. Don’t do it for others because you feel like you should, be happy for you. You don’t have to be all sunshine and rainbows; you can have a few rain clouds come in every once in a while too. But when they do, I will be there to clear them back up for you. So just… be you.”
Life slumps onto Deaths chest and begins to cry again, harder and harder, and Death just holds her for as long as she needs him too.Then, before they realised it, they had missed the rest of their classes, and the school day was coming to an end, as the school bell rings its final bell for the end of the day. But, for Life and Death, sitting next to each other in their little spot, with their hands linked together... they really didn’t care.