There was a girl at the front of my class who I swear I’d never seen do anything but laugh. She’d always be in the middle of a group of people laughing and joking. She was really beautiful, tall with long, wavy, chocolate coloured hair and bright blue eyes. She was the smartest in our year too, and the kindest. Whenever someone was down she tried to fix what was wrong. I’ve seen her many times sitting wordlessly beside them offering silent support.
I met her in the bathroom once, crying and I offered her a small smile which was all could muster. She hastily tugged her sleeves down and wiped her tears away.
“Not a word, promise?” she pleaded. I had a bad feeling about it but I nodded anyway.
In science one day she got a little too close to the Bunsen burner flame and her skin started to go pink, but she didn’t move. It was only when another girl grabbed her arm in alarm that she reacted.
She was in my class for three years and I think I was the only one who noticed. By the start of our second year her eyes were glazed over like newly cut glass. The ghost of a smile hinted at her face and she laughed when they said “who’s on first base?” She smiled less that year though; but if someone was unhappy she still tried to help. How does someone so loving learn to hate her own guts? Drawing pictures on her arms with a blade, as if her mind isn’t dark enough. She stopped wearing short sleeves and her clothes got baggier.
We had to pair up and find the other person’s pulse one day, but she put off hers being found and when the bell rang without her sleeves having to be pulled up, she looked incredibly relieved.
The next year it was quite rare to see her smile or laugh and when she found herself in the situation that required her to laugh she just closed her eyes and entered her mind. How does someone so perfect feel so insecure as to scar her skin with cuts and burns and still want to hurt more?
It was about halfway through that year when she took the breath that was her last. It was the first day that she hadn’t come in to school in the three years that I’d known her so I guessed something was up. She’d left some notes, I'm sorry I didn't say, but my mind was messed up. You couldn't save me anyway... And to the girl in the back of the class, who feels the way I did, how does someone so perfect feel so insecure? As to scar her skin with cuts and burns and still want to hurt more? I could feel my throat closing and my eyes getting damp. She noticed me, just like I’d noticed her but neither of us had tried to help each other. Maybe we’d both be alive if we had.
I still miss her and I always will. Last year, my daughter was born and I called her after her so that she won’t be forgotten; as a way of saying that she may be dead and gone but her memory will carry on. So remember, you may be gone but your shadow lives on without you.