I’m so glad you’re reading this. I’m really glad you’ve taken the time to read something I wrote specifically for you. No one really pays attention to me, but you do. I really appreciate that. You read everything I write and listen to all my rants and say something nice about all of my paintings, and that’s brilliant.
I remember the day I came up to you and introduced myself. We were in home economics, and the bell had rung about fifteen minutes before you got around to putting your scones or whatever it was in the oven. Your hair was tied up, but the sand coloured strands of hair were falling out – you were obviously stressed. Mrs Carson had gone out to get a coffee and it was just me, you and that boy Issac in the room with us, but Mrs Carson and Issac aren’t important.
I walked up to you, tray in hand and asked if I could stick my scones – they were scones, I remember now – in your oven because mine’s wasn’t working and yours was preheated anyway. You gave me the prettiest little smile and said, “Sure,” and made a little joke about the three of us – you included Issac – being last in, but I can’t remember it. I remember us laughing together though, and it was brilliant.
I asked your name, and you smiled again. “Lauren, you?”
“Allana,” I smiled back. We shook hands and talked for fifteen minutes until the scones were cooked – and burnt, you turned the heat up too high, you numpty – and we walked out the school together and I walked you to the bus stop, even though the cold air was blistering and I lived in the completely opposite direction. You were so fun to be with; I just had to walk with you anyway. I know when you found out where I lived shortly after you felt guilty, because I said I lived right around the corner from your stop, but if I hadn’t lied we wouldn’t be best friends, would we?
The next day, I was walking along and to my sheer delight you called me over to talk to you and your friends. I didn’t really talk to your friends – just you. Some were familiar, I’d seen you with them before, but I had never really met them. I was the new kid, remember? It was still my first or second week in your school and your friends didn’t seem interested in meeting the new kid. I’m over it; at least I got to meet you.
These past six months, we’ve been working together in home economics, studying together, texting each other non-stop, I stay at your house, you stay at mines, and we are best friends. It feels good to have a best friend.
One night, I told you what happened to me. When I was twelve, I was bullied. It started off with a few names, and then to tripping me up in the hallways, and then one night a group of girls beat the shit out of me. I came into school the next day, with black eyes, a bruised lip and a sprained arm. A tiny little part of me was expecting apologies and sympathy, but I was so wrong. I was laughed at; people made jokes about how ugly I looked and pinched my arm when they thought they could escape my notice. Sure, teachers felt sorry for me and spoke to me, but I knew they didn’t really care; it was their job to pretend.
You were shocked when I told you. Your hands covered your mouth and a tear rolled down your cheek. I just went on, and told you about how I took some pills that night, more than I needed. I passed out but my mum and dad came home and they took me to the hospital and I lived. I spent the next five years in hospital, getting better. After a few months my body was as good as new but the doctors had to fix my mind too. My self confidence was depleted, I wouldn’t talk to anyone, I didn’t sleep…
But around June of last year, eight months ago my mum suggested I get a make-over, it’ll be like a fresh start and maybe it’ll build my confidence up. So my blonde hair was dyed dark brown, my mum took me to some tanning beds and I got contacts, so I could get rid of the thick, dorky frames. Within two weeks I became totally unrecognizable. A totally different person. I asked if I could change my name, but my mum said she’d feel like she’d be trading her daughter for someone completely different.
Of course my parents told me we could move, but I insisted on staying for two reasons. First of all, I knew that we really couldn’t afford the move after my mum quit her job to take care of me full time. Secondly, there was a reason for me to stay here, at my old school. Part of me wanted to see those girls who picked on me when I was so little. And of course, those decisions lead me to you.
No one really recognised me when I came back. The students didn’t care enough to remember me, and a lot of the teachers who knew me had left while I was gone. It really was a fresh start.
You shifted uncomfortably as I told you about the way I used to be, and I asked if you were okay. You nodded and pulled me into your arms, hugging me so tightly. You told me you were sorry about all that happened to me, and I hugged you back. I really did believe you were sorry.
I asked you not to tell anyone my story but the next Monday your friends were so nice to me, when I wondered what changed I realized that you must of told them. I didn’t care; there was no harm in more people being nice to me.
About a month after I told you my story (about two months ago) you got a boyfriend, Stephen. He was nice enough, but hot headed and sarcastic. The three of us were friends, yeah, but soon enough I got the message and left you two alone. We still hung out, but less. He and you would spend all Saturday together, and sometimes most of Sunday but I’d still get to go to your house after school on Friday’s and stay there over night, or you’d come and stay at my house. Stephen never walked you home; he was twenty and in college. You were seventeen and in sixth year, and we all told you to be careful. Thank God, you were. You didn’t do anything silly, no matter how much he wanted you to. Like me, he got the message and you two broke up after a month and fifteen days. That was fifteen days ago, and it didn’t faze you that much. But sometimes he’ll send you a nasty text, and you’ll get upset and I’ll hold you until you stop crying.
So tonight, as you’re reading this story and I’m asleep I hope you’re smiling and you know how much I appreciate your friendship, but here’s the thing…
You remember my story, about my attempted suicide and my depression. You know who started all the bullying that lead to that? Do you remember how you shifted uneasily when I told you about the way I looked? I know why you looked nervous. You started the bullying and the names.
When I was twelve, I approached you because I had heard about how nice and lovely you were. I suppose you were only that way towards your friends?
“Hi, I’m Allana. We’re in a few of the same classes, and I wanted to know if you wanted to be friends?”
You scoffed at me, and said, “Look at you, no. You’re a wee mess, I don’t want to be your friend,” and you laughed. I reckon you told your friends about my proposal, because I heard them whisper and laugh at me. One of your friends approached me, one day.
“Hi, I’m Darren. Would you like to be frrrrriends?” and he made a funny face and everyone around us laughed. I don’t even know why it was so funny; I was just trying to be friendly!
One day I sat by myself at lunch, I had no one else to sit with after all. You walked past me.
“You honestly have no friends? That’s so pathetic, oh my God!” and you laughed and walked off to get your lunch and came back again afterwards, back to your lunch table. In class after lunch your friends laughed at me again, chanting “No friends, no friends!”
A pencil hit the back of my head. Someone tripped me in the hallway on the way to class. Two girls and a boy approached me after school and beat me up. I cried, and swore, and punched a wall. I went to hospital and into school the next day. More people threw stationary at me. I cried more. I reached up for a bottle of pills. I guzzled them like tic tacs. I woke up in hospital for the second night in a row.
Lauren, I’m not asleep.
I know you’ve changed, but you still put me through hell. You can’t just walk away from that. One sorry isn’t good enough.
Your parents swore at me when they walked in. Your dad punched me and I lay down on your bed beside you, and listened to your mother phone the police. I wiped a bit of blood off of my face but I was not sure if it was yours or mines. Your little sister was crying and your dad told her to get out of the room. I looked over to you and you didn’t breathe. I did my job right then. My knife got you good.
So now I’m back in hospital, dictating this to a nurse because I told her I thought it would be good to finish our story.
She asked me to say goodbye to you. Goodbye, Lauren. I’ll see you soon.