Fire and Rain: Madison's story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
true story of my best friend

Submitted: December 05, 2008

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Submitted: December 05, 2008

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"Shush, just listen," she said to me, and so I did. I listened carefully while she sang her scales, as perfect as ever. I continued to listen as the lone mockingbird outside her window echoed her tune. She grinned as she told me how the mockingbird had kept her company durin her lessons everyday, much to her surprise and secret delight.

To me, the bird could not have chosen a better partner; Madison had a voice that even the angels envied. She was the mockingbird in my life, making it more pleasant with every song. When graced with one of her sweet melodies, everyone would get very quiet as if making a sound would stop this beautiful angel from singing. She played the drums, the piano and was strikingly beautiful. To say the least, her presence captivated me. Every time I looked at her or heard her voice, I knew that Madison was going to do wonderful things with her life.

We used to sit by the piano for hours singing James Taylor and Carly Simon songs; our favourite was "Fire and Rain." She taught me how to harmonize. When we sang together, nothing else mattered and the world melted away. It was always a way for me to achieve instant happiness - I only wish Madison could have achieved the same.

She was always moody and depressed; no one was on very good speaking terms with her. For most of her friends, Madison had become too much of a burden. They had no interest in hanging around with someone who was so bleak and in so much pain; they did not understand her, but I did. I was her best friend, her confidante.

I knew the pressures her parents put on her: to be thin, to be a musician, to be a straight "A" student...to be perfect. I knew she was struggling to keep up her 4.0 GPA; I knew she was suffering through her life, striving to meet impossible expectations. I knew everything about her, and yet I was so sure she would have a fulfilling life. I told her everything would be okay; I told her everything would turn out just fine.

It never occurred to me that any of the assurances I gave her would not be true. After all, we had planned out our entire lives together; everything from what college to attend, to who our husbands would be. So, on that night when the caller ID read "Maddy", it did not occur to me to answer with any haste, for I was busying myself with homework. I picked up on the fourth ring, only to hear the dial tone; I had missed her call, but I would see her the next day.

But I never saw her the next day. As soon as I returned home, I called her house, but there was no answer. I was told two days later that Madison was dead. Her mother came to my home and told me everything, though I did not want to hear it.

Madison had come home that afternoon in tears, but would not disclose why. Her parents had a meeting and told Madison they would be back later; she said that was fine, she had something to do anyway. When they returned home, they found Madison in the bathroom, with a razor in hand and drenched in her own blood. They told me she was smiling, that she looked almost peaceful; I did not believe it.

As I regarded her parents, I could not help but notice that the father she always described as "tyrannical" was sobbing beside his wife, who just looked exhausted. The sight of her father, a strong man, in tears sobered me, yet it still took several days for reality to set in: Madison, my brst friend, was gone without so much as a note. Every day following her suicide was filled with guilt - what if I had just answered that phone? Would she still be alive, would it have made any difference?

She had blamed her parents for all her problems, but on the day of her funeral, I felt like the one to blame. Sitting through the ceremony, I did not grieve for myself because I did not deserve it; I grieved for her parents, who had their trophy daughter stolen away because I was too busy doing homework to answer her calls for help. Afterwards, I tried to apologize to them, but they told me it was not my fauly. I did not believe them.

That dreadful day, her funeral, was nearly four years ago and the responsibility I felt then is still with me. Sometimes I sit quietly, scared to make a sound. I only wish that I could hear her singing. I softly hum the tune of "Fire and Rain"; sitting outside my window, a lone mockingbird harmonizes with me. It has come and kept me company everyday since her death.

Its song does nothing to fill the empty space in my heart; it is merely replicating my sombre words. This mockingbird does not have a song of its own and neither did Madison; she merely lived her life the way others wished. Looking down from her place in Heaven, I know she can hear me, so I sing our song the way she taught me to. The mockingbird is silent, satisfied, and somehow smiling as it takes flight, its job done.


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