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Nothing is Okay

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    This wasn’t okay. None of this was okay. Nothing would ever be okay again.

 

    Michael wasn’t okay. He was sobbing and hiccuping grossly, angrily wiping away the tears from under his now fogged-up glasses. He didn’t say anything, but inside he was yelling and screaming about how this wasn’t fair, none of it was. It wasn’t fair that his best friend of thirteen fucking years had decided to abandon him now. It wasn’t fair that after everything they’d been through, Jeremy hadn’t thought to talk to him. It wasn’t fair that after everything Jeremy had put Michael through in the beginning of Junior year, he decided to put him through this. It wasn’t fair that Michael loved Jeremy more than anything, and Jeremy hadn’t even thought to say goodbye.

     Michael wasn’t sure how he was going to go on. Aside from the beginning of last year, Jeremy had always been there for him when he was in pain, and now he never would be again. Michael wished he had realized something was wrong and been there for Jeremy. Michael wished he had pulled Jeremy aside that day before he left and told him just how much he mattered and how much everyone loved and needed him. Michael wished Jeremy would’ve at least said something to him instead of silently leaving. Michael wished so many things, but it was too late. Wishing wasn’t going to bring him back.

 

     Michael, you’re my best friend. I hope you know I love you a lot, but you probably don’t. Not after how I treated you last year. God, I don’t know what to say. Sorry. Sorry for everything I’ve put you through. You’re the best, and even after everything, you’ve still stuck around. I hope you don’t miss me, you deserve a better friend. Hell, you have a better friend. Six of them. I knew it was a good decision getting them all to hang out with you, they all love you. Hopefully that’s enough. You’re my best friend, my player one, my brother, my counselor, and just about the most perfect friend I could ask for. I don’t know what I’ve done to be blessed with you, but I most certainly don’t deserve you.

 

     Christine wasn’t okay. She was one of the ones in the worst shape. Her hair wasn’t brushed and it looked like she hadn’t showered in a week. She wasn’t crying because tears wouldn’t come out anymore. Her eye were puffy and red and her breathing was uneven. She was muttering something that sounded like ‘I loved him’ over and over again, and she wasn’t lying. She did love him, she loved him so much. She just didn’t understand why he would leave her like this when he knew that she loved him just as much as he loved her, if not more.

    She had plenty of memories with him, but she could never make more. She wished she had not taken all those small moments for granted. Those small moments that they enjoyed together that no one ever thinks about, like geeking out about theatre before play rehearsal or just going out for ice cream together and having fun. She was his girlfriend, but somehow she had never questioned why he always wore a jacket in summer. Somehow she had never questioned why he would constantly deny requests to go out because he ‘didn’t feel well’. Somehow she never questioned why he was rapidly losing weight. Somehow she never questioned why he got quieter and quieter until he barely spoke at all.

 

     Christine, I love you, and you know that. I know you do. You mean so much to me, and I’m so glad we got together, but I’m surprised you still stay with me. I’m so much work, and it would probably be easier to just move on. I know there’s at least three guys at this school who want to be with you, and they’d probably do a better job at being your boyfriend that I would. I’m sorry. I love you, I love you so much. I’m not even close to deserving you. You’re the best. Thanks for being a wonderful girlfriend, I couldn’t have asked for a better one.

 

    Rich wasn’t okay. He too was sobbing, droning on about how it was his fault because he was the one who told Jeremy to get the SQUIP, and he should’ve known. He had had his SQUIP for far longer than Jeremy had had his, but he turned out alright so he figured that because Jeremy had had his for a shorter amount of time that Jeremy would turn out okay too. What he didn’t realize was that he was rather open about his feelings, and Jeremy wasn’t. He also figured that all of their friends would be able to help because they all loved and cared about him, but that wasn’t the case.

    Though it was true that Jeremy had not had his for nearly as long and had so many wonderful friends, some people are frail. For some people, hurtful words stick with them, and they still believe those words even after love and validation from friends and family. Jeremy was one of those people, Rich wasn’t. Rich just wished he knew that, because if he had maybe on of his closest friends would still be with him.

 

     Rich, believe it or not, I never hated you. Not when you were bullying in sophomore year and at the beginning of junior year, and not after the SQUIP incident considering you were the one who told me to get one. Not ever. You were just doing what it told you. Sure, I strongly disliked you at times, but I never hated you. Aside from all of that, you’re an awesome guy and great friend, and I’m glad you stuck around. I don’t get why you’d want to be my friend normally and not because the SQUIP said so, but thanks. Thanks for being a great friend, and thanks for being there.

 

    Brooke wasn’t okay. She was crying silently and looking down at the ground, her hood up—which was surprising considering she never wore anything with a hood unless it was raining. She didn’t know what to say. She too had loved Jeremy, but it was only spur of the moment, an attraction you could say. Nonetheless, she still missed him more than he could and would ever know. She thought it was partially her fault, but she did not regret what she had done, she regretted what she hadn’t done.

    She had questioned why he always wore a jacket, even in summer. She had questioned why he would constantly deny requests to hang out because he ‘didn’t feel well’. She questioned why he rapidly lost weight, and she questioned why he got quieter and quieter until he barely spoke at all. But she didn’t say anything. One day, his sleeve slipped down just enough for Brooke to see a thin red line on his wrist, but she didn’t say anything. She knew she should’ve, but she didn’t want to because she didn’t want to believe it. She convinced herself it was a cat scratch because that’s what she wanted it to be. She convinced herself he was okay but part of her knew he wasn’t, and now it was too late.

   

     Brooke, you’re a really sweet gal. You were always there when I needed help despite what happened between us. Honestly I’m surprised what you saw in me when we met at the mall. I’m sorry about how our relationship ended, me and Chloe just kind of ended up in that situation. You’re going places Brooke, and you don’t need me holding you down, you need friends who can actually help you. Keep going Brooke, go places and be amazing. I’m sorry, and thanks for being awesome.

 

     Chloe wasn’t okay. Her eyes were red and she was holding back tears, biting her lip intensely. Part of her wondered if it was her fault. She was always rather harsh and brutally honest toward her friends, and she never stopped to think once that maybe her remarks hurt. She wondered what would’ve happened if she had stopped   to compliment him every once in a while. She wondered what would’ve happened if she had stopped to help him pick up his books when he tripped. She wondered what would’ve happened if she hadn’t criticized him on what he said or how he acted.

    She wondered what would’ve happened had she listened to him last Halloween. She wondered what would’ve happened if she had said okay and let him go when he said he had to go or had to get back to wherever he was. She wondered what would’ve happened if she had stopped to ask ‘is this okay?’ She didn’t get why he was apologizing, it was her fault. She was disappointed that night when Jake interrupted them and Jeremy took off, but looking back on that, she’s glad he did; there’s no telling what drunk, late-night Chloe is capable of.

 

     Chloe, despite how you act sometimes, you’re a good person. You may say rude things sometimes, but you also say nice things. You tend to be really supportive, and your good moments outshine your bad ones. With a little work one watching what you say, you could be someone incredible. Funny I’m giving you advice. I hope you aren’t still hung up on what happened last Halloween, you were giving me some looks this October. I’m sorry. I hope you go places too.

 

     Jake wasn’t okay. His eyes stung as he stared at the casket. Why now? There was only seven months until graduation. They all vowed they would make it to graduation together. Why ever, really? Even though some of them were barely friends they all vowed to be there for each other as well. He should’ve leaned on them, and told them what was wrong. Even Jenna would’ve come to his aid. They all loved him.

    He and Jeremy were never best friends, but still, they were friends. He couldn’t help but think about what could’ve been. He had always imagined that they would all graduate together like they’d promised. He’d always imagined that they’d walk together and get their diplomas and hug and have a celebration, maybe a party perhaps. He’d always imagined they even when they were going their separate ways after high school, they’d still keep in touch and meet up for get-togethers, happy that they still have each other. There’s no telling what’s going to happen now.

 

    Jake, what to say to you? You and me competed for the same girl and were never really close, but you’re nice. You’re a cool person and you were always there to help. My only request is that you be there for everyone, you tend to lead the pack, and you always know where to go. I don’t see why I’m like this, I mean, you have it way worse than I do. I guess I’m being kinda selfish. Anyways, you go to show just what people can do even if they don’t have the best conditions. Stay awesome!

    

 

    Jenna wasn’t okay. She knew it wasn’t her fault, but she couldn’t help but feel awful. She was the least close to Jeremy, but she still cared. He was a nice guy who tried to make everyone happy. He was a great friend, and she just didn’t get it. She didn’t get why someone who had so many friends thought that they’d all be better off without him—that he’d be better off dead. Did he think that none of them cared? Did he think that they all actually hated him?

    She glanced around at the kids around her. Some of them were his friends, most of them weren’t. Jeremy was fairly popular, so most of the school showed up. She knew that some of these students really did care, and she knew that they’d do it for anyone, but she also knew that that’s not how it was for most of them. The girls with their ugly fake crying and the boys trying to look sad—they didn’t care. It was obvious to her, she knew these kids. They just showed up to boost their reputation and look better. Disgusting, Jeremy deserved better.

 

     Jenna, you’re pretty cool. You may not look it with your constant gossip and need to know everyone’s secrets, but you’re really a nice person. I never doubted that, not even before I knew you. You never intended to hurt anyone with your gossip, you’re just...an extrovert. You’re really fun, and you’ve always been able to make us smile. I don’t know you too well, but I know you well enough to know you’re a good person. I hope you go on to make many more people smile.

 

     Jeremy’s dad wasn’t okay. He was a complete mess. He barely even made it today, it took him forever to get out of bed. He was crying by himself, separated off from everyone else. He didn’t know he had done wrong. Sure, he wasn’t the best at first, but he cleaned up and he really tried to be a father. He tried thinking back to a few days ago, why hadn’t he realized something was wrong? A good father would realize their child was in pain.

    What had happened a few days ago? He had said good morning, made breakfast, said ‘have a good day!’, asked him about his day when he got back, asked about homework, made dinner, said goodnight—what had he done wrong? what had he done to wake up to his son on the bathroom floor with a note in his pocket? Had he not tried hard enough? Of course, maybe it was not a matter of what he as done wrong, but rather a matter of what he hadn’t done right, He would give anything to find out what he had or hadn’t done. He would give anything to go back and fix it.

 

     Dad, it seems weird that I’m not writing to you first. I guess I was putting off writing this, I don’t want you to be sad. Thanks for trying though. You didn’t at first, but then you did, and you really tried, it’s amazing how you went from a lazy middle aged man who doesn’t wear pants or take care of his son very well to model dad. I love you dad, thanks for taking care of me. You’re a great father, and sure, you’re not going to win father of the year award, but you’re more than I could’ve hoped for.

 

     Jeremy’s Mother wasn’t okay. Yes, Jeremy’s mother , the one that had abandoned him because she just didn’t care anymore. She was having a breakdown be as she knew that this was partially her fault. She knew that if she had stayed there would’ve been a much higher chance that he would still be alive. She felt bad for all of Jeremy’s friends, they were in pain because of her .

    She had rushed back as soon as she got that phone call. She ran back to her ex husband with questions but he didn’t want to talk to her. Understandable, but it still hurt. She wanted to know why and how, and she wanted to know if there was anything they could’ve done. She had loved her son—she still did love her son, but because of her dumb decision, he would never know. Her child died hating her and believing it was reciprocated.

 

     Mom, fuck you. I don’t usually swear, but seriously, fuck you. When a child is in pain, they need their mother, especially when they’re growing up, but you didn’t care. You didn’t care that you were abandoning your child when he needed his mother most. I don’t know if you’re reading this, you could be all the way across the country for all I know, I don’t know where you went, but if you are reading this then know you failed as a parent.

 

    Michael made his way over to Christine, admitting that he knew how she felt. She was confused until he flashed her the rainbow patch on his sleeve. Rather than being upset at him or jealous in some way, she buried her head in his chest, grateful that someone knew what she was going through.

    Jake and Jenna found their way to Rich. They had barely known Jeremy, but Rich had known him well. They asked him more about Jeremy because they wanted to know him well, and they tried their best to comfort Rich. They weren’t very good, but Rich accepted it. He was glad to tell them more about Jeremy, he never wanted anyone to forget, and they were glad to remember.

    Chloe placed a hand on Brooke’s shoulder and Brooke flinched. She didn’t want to be with Chloe. Key word, want. She looked up and saw the pain in Chloe’s eyes before throwing herself onto Chloe and sobbing into her shoulders. They needed each other.

 

     Everyone, I love you. You’re all more than I could’ve asked for (except you mom), and I hope you don’t miss me too much. Friends, you’ve got your whole lives ahead of you, you don’t need me holding you back. Dad, your life should be easier now. I hope you all just forget about me, it shouldn’t be hard. I’m not a good friend, boyfriend, or son, and I don’t know why you all stick around. I’m sorry for everything I’ve done. I love you.

 

-Jeremy

 

    In the end, Christine clutched a sobbing Michael’s arm, her breathing shaky—dry sobbing because no more tears would come out.

 

    In the end, Rich was bawling because he thought it was his fault, and he would most likely never get over it.

 

    In the end, Brooke blamed herself while she clung to Chloe tight and sobbed, and Chloe finally let go of the tears she had been holding back for days.

 

    In the end, Jake and Jenna felt awful as they tried to comfort Rich, wishing they had done more.

 

    In the end, Jeremy’s parents would never be the same because his father thought he didn’t do enough and his mother knew that not only did she not do enough, she hurt him.

 

In the end, this wasn’t okay.

 

In the end, nothing was okay, and it was never going to be okay again.