It was a sunny Monday morning. I stood all alone in the cemetery, looking at my friend's grave with tears filling up the corners of my eyes. If you only knew how stupid I was for taking everything for granted between us. I did love her, my best friend, with all my heart and soul. It's just that… we had spent so little time together. It was then that I knew the real value of friendship that changed my life forever…
I once had a friend in high school named Lily Dwyer. She was a quiet girl, shy and looked dead appearance-wise. She was a highly misunderstood person, that's why she always used to get harassed by other students. They made fun of her as if she was the object of laughter, and when that happened, she quietly walked away without any other word. And I, the most famous girl in the school, was one of those people. For me, she was a pain-in-the-butt as she always gives us headaches. Not only her shyness made us hate her, but also her outrageous clumsiness. I was always pissed off at her, like I'm ready to kill her at any minute.
There was one time I got into a fight with a junior student (that time, we were seniors in high school) that it was actually my fault. Because of my unstoppable and unwavering pride, I fooled my enemy and defended myself. No one in the class, or maybe in the whole school, stood up for me-except for Lily. I couldn't believe her. I knew I was wrong and I was alarmed at what she did. She was old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. It's as if fate suddenly brought us together in that particular instance.
"Don't worry, Cass. I don't care if no one stands up for you. I know what's right, but I'm here as a friend. You can open it up to me." she softly said to me when we talked in the girl's bathroom.
Was she okay? Did she just bang her head on the wall? Was she suffering from a brain damage or something?
I just ignored her, but she still smiled.
The next day, nobody-eve my classmates- talked or greeted me. It was kind a bit of change somehow, but I still faced everybody with poise and confidence. The first half of the day, no one still talked to me. I found myself searching for Lily, hoping to find someone to talk to.
And I did find her. We talked on our walk home; the leaves on the trees were starting to bud again. The freshness of spring made the view perfect for two friends- if Lily and I were really friends.
"You know, I really love spring time. My dad and I used to stroll around the city this time of the year." she started, saying it matter-of-factly.
We walked slowly, taking and savoring every moment by heart. It was the first time that we talked like this. "Where is he now?" I asked.
"He died a few years ago. It made me terribly sad, but I still managed to smile." she replied, her voice was sad. She looked at me with joyful eyes after a moment.
"Cass, I know were too opposite. But I want you to know that I think of you as a friend. I'll be here for you. You can always count on me."
Yeah, right. Lily didn't have any friends because of who she was and how she looked. I didn't like her, but now I was beginning to feel it.
"Do you have any dreams or hopes in life? I mean…"
She cut me off. "Yes. I just want to be free from harassments, and gain more friends. It's just simple, Cass. But I know it won't come true." She replied with bitterness.
"Aside from that?" I asked again.
"That's my dream, so simple but very hard to reach."
I felt my conscience knock my heart. I realized how mean I had been to her. She had been unfairly treated since our freshman year in high school. She had zero friends, and if I were in her shoes, I'd feel the same also. In that short sentence, I felt what she feels, for the longest time. It was then that I swore to myself that I would be a friend to her.
"What's been bothering you lately? I know you have troubles, and I'll be prepared to listen to them."
She said it as though we were already close friends. I smiled at that thought. I sighed before I started.
"You know about the trouble, right? I thought I had so many friends who would be there for me when I fall, but none of them, even my closest pals, came to save me. To be honest with you, I was the one at fault, and I was deeply humiliated when no one stood up for me."
We stopped for a while when she put her hand on my shoulder. "It's part of life. We just can't avoid that." she said, meaning it.
I smiled and hoped that my problem would be over.
From that moment on, after our walk home that spring, Lily and I became the best of friends. We told each other our deepest darkest secrets, and I changed the way she dressed and looked. She was once an ugly duckling and I felt like a fairy godmother who transformed her into a beautiful and stunning swan. Many eyebrows rose when they saw us, wondering why on earth the most famous girl in school and the ugly duckling became the best of friends. It seemed so ironic, but who cares? It's not their problem, either.
My life seemed happier since my friendship with Lily. Everything was simple, like you're living in a country where fresh air is abundant. I didn't have to pretend to be someone I couldn't be. I never had a friend like her, and I had the best moments in my life with her. I discovered her horrible past, which made my heart soften with sympathy.
"My mom used to beat me every day, not until my dad saved me and we fled away. But my dad died when I was thirteen, so I was forced to live with my godparents. They always abuse me verbally, that's why I'm like this right now." she once said to me.
As months went by, our friendship became stronger. We were living like we were the only people in the world on earth, and we treated each other like we were sisters. Within that time, a storm caused us to drift apart.
Corey Aniston, a senior student in our school, was the one guy who broke the friendship between Lily and I. Yeah, he was a handsome guy, a consistent honor student and a member of the school varsity, but he was the world's worst cheater. He first courted me, then dated me and said that he loved me. I opened everything up to Lily. She was the one girl I could trust, you know. She was happy for me.
For the first two months of my relationship with Corey, I was happy and contented. But then when Valentine's Day came, a painful realization hit me. Corey cheated on me…and worst yet, it was Lily-my best friend- was Corey's other woman.
I saw them from a distance, kissing each other passionately right before my eyes.
It was the worst view I ever saw.
After that, Corey and Lily explained everything to me. Lily said Corey forced her, but I never listened to her. She was happy for the two of us but how could she do this to me? I treated her as my best friend, and this was what I got. Corey kept on denying what happened.
I was alone again. I never listened to them, and people started to talk about me, and sometimes, laugh at me. The famous was now out of the spotlight. Now, a nobody.
I still had the courage to smile, amidst of the betrayal that happened to me. I didn't want to talk to either Corey or Lily, or even listen to their lame excuses. I was so sick of it, until one day, an accident happened.
I learned that Lily died in her room. She took all the pills that were supposed to be for her uncle's high blood pressure. She also drank a poison that totally ended her life. A letter written in free hand was folded beside Lily's lifeless body.
Thanks for being a friend to me. You were the only friend I ever had. The truth between Corey and I is that he lied to me that he broke up with you. I was carried away and had fallen in love with him. I never thought this would happen to me, and to both of us. I'm sorry, Cass. I really am. Goodbye.
Tears began to stream down my cheeks. I lost a friend…one true friend who showed me the real joy and pain of friendship, the one who showed me the other side of the world, the one who taught me that being famous is nothing compared to genuine happiness. I never listened to her, not even once, and it really made me feel guilty. I wanted to wake her up, to be with me again, but I just couldn't take it back. What's done is done. She was dead. I had to accept that.
The sky began to compress, forming a gray view in the sky. I still looked at Lily's grave. My heart was full of regrets, for letting her go, for wasting a friendship that would have lasted forever. I won't forget Lily Dwyer who really changed my life.
I left the cemetery before the sky would cry on earth.
THE END : [