finding out you were sick. Freshman year at college; life couldn’t get any better; we were all invincible, weren’t we?
A phone call from my mom; nothing out of the ordinary. You saw on Facebook she was going to a flower show, one you had gone to a few weeks ago. What were you doing down in Philadelphia? At the cancer research facility. I remember my hand went cold. I remember my mind racing. I don’t remember seeing anything in my room—not my bed, not my desk, not even my roommate. You couldn’t be sick. Not with that. You were so young. But you could pull through … couldn’t you?
we had become friends sooner. I heard of you from different friends, saw you around the hallways, but never thought that we would be friends. It was just one of those things. Then, tenth grade rolled around. I walked into algebra class and your face was the only one I recognized. I maneuvered through the desks to the back left corner where you sat and I took the seat right next to yours. You looked at me, no hint of a smile on your face except in your eyes. I smiled then, and somehow a conversation began. I don’t remember what was said; all I know is that we agreed to help each other out with homework because, let’s face it, we both sucked at math.
we had hung out more. And by more, I mean every day. Every other day wasn’t enough. We became best friends fast, and although we did pretty much everything together, we could have done more.
the first time we got together outside of school. You came over on Friday and we hung out in my living room with my mom and played Guitar Hero. We weren’t the coolest kids on earth, but we made a damn good band.
being in drama together, me on stage, acting and flouncing around, you backstage, painting the set pretty colors and being the boss of everyone when you weren’t doing something productive. The second night of the performance, when it was my time to go on, I walked on stage as confident as ever and started to say my lines, only to have to keep from bursting out laughing because there you were, waving at me from behind one of the set pieces. You didn’t make it backstage before the lights came up and were stuck there. You were crouched down so no one would see you, making faces at me, and then shooing me to go on with the show. You were such an ass but I loved you.
pray to God every day and thank him for the time he gave us together, even if it wasn’t long enough.
think about you more than I do.
be used to the pain by now, the pain of not having you here, the pain of knowing how we grew apart when college started. I should be used to it all. I’m not.
thankful for all you have ever done for me. You were my best friend and took care of me. You held me outside the girl’s bathroom in an empty school hallway as my tears soaked your shirt. You didn’t say anything, but gave my ex-boyfriend the second best death stare anyone has ever seen. I think mine is still better than yours.
in love with you. Not in the romantic way; you were the only boy who never wanted anything more. You were the only one who was real with me. You were the brother I never had, and when I got you, you were the brother I never wanted. But I loved you anyway.
proud of you. You did so much in your life, things I only dream about doing, and you taught me so much in the time we spent together. I look up to you; you are my hero.
always remember you. Your soft brown hair that you never let grow longer than your ears. Your blue eyes that never stopped smiling; how tall you were, and how we were the most unlikely pair. I only came up to your armpit, but that was okay with you because I was your armrest and that’s how you liked it.
remember the last time I saw you. I didn’t know what a prayer service was, but if I got to see you, even if it was only through a webcam, I was going. The church benches were hard and cold. My hand was wound tight around the tissues I knew I’d need. Everyone was filing in, and all of a sudden, there you were. The signal was a bit off, but I would have recognized your smile and your voice anywhere. Those were the only things I did recognize; your hair was gone. You were so thin and frail that your bones looked like they were going to poke through your skin any second. Your dad kept wetting a sponge and putting it to your lips and you could barely sit up. I could see how you weren’t winning anymore. Through my heartbroken tears, I thanked God for technology that day because without it I never would have remembered the last time I saw you.
December 27, 2013,
two days after Christmas and you were gone. I was standing in my boyfriend’s kitchen, brownie batter sitting in a glass bowl on the counter, the television on, and I heard my phone go off. I read the message and must have made a noise. My boyfriend looked at me and I looked at him and all I could do was start to cry. He told me, “At least you made it through the holiday,” but that wasn’t enough. I hated myself for not being there for you, like you always were for me. I regret not spending more time with you, not checking up on you. Life got in the way and doesn’t it always? That’s no excuse and I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
home a mess. My mom was still up, which was unusual for her, and I crawled into bed with her like I did when I was little and we just lay there and cried together. I couldn’t stop staring at the television, flashing different pictures at me, but all I saw was your face. Mom stroked my hair to try and soothe me but the sobs shook my body and I fell asleep crying.
remember you how you were before, not after. I will remember you being clumsy and playful and silly. I will remember how much you loved your dogs, and gardens and Boy Scouts. I will always remember the best things about you, because there were no bad things. I look forward to seeing you again someday.
I wish you were still here.
—Alyssa Fama has been an avid reader and writer from a young age. With a degree in English/Professional Writing, she constantly looks for ways to challenge her writing abilities and often finds inspiration in life around her. She hopes to one day become a screenwriter. Until then, she continues to write stories, her two cats always “helping” her. This is her first publication.