141 comments

Contemporary Coming of Age Sad

*A/N: I just read The Fault in Our Stars...leave me alone lol.*

The day she died, I knew I was a lost soul.

The moment the last breath left her body, I knew that it was going to be a long time before I loved people again.

The second she left, I felt a stabbing pain in my heart, and then nothing. Absolutely nothing.

***

I graduated high school with straight A's, even though I never studied for tests. Even though I spent all my after school time with her, running in grassy fields until dusk.

After she was gone, I lived life in dull colors. I no longer paused to watch a leaf flutter to the ground, or to watch the last rays of sun disappear behind the looming mountains. I tried to pretend I was okay, knowing I was anything but.

So one cold day I pulled out a notebook and a pen. The bare trees were outside my window as I wrote.

***

Monday: 1/17/2018

Dear Future Me,

I don't know how to start this letter, just like I won't know how to end it when I get going.

I guess I'll just start with what has happened since she left. I can't believe it's been four years already. It seems like just yesterday.

I don't like Subway anymore. It's crazy how the two of us used to go there all the time after school.

I watched this new show called Stranger Things. She would have loved it. I'm sorry that she didn't get to see it.

There was a solar eclipse last year. I watched it by myself, but I wasn't paying attention the way I should have. She would have been so pissed at me.

I've been out of high school for three years, and I'm slowly working towards a master's degree in drama. She always told me I would be excellent on the stage.

I thought I knew sadness. I thought that the gentle aching on the surface of my heart was all there was to it, something that could be removed through a kiss on the forehead by my mother.

I suppose that was rather stupid of me.

After she got sick, I didn't let myself think of the unthinkable. She was so strong, so powerful. The person least likely to get sick and die. But she did. She fought it for a long time, but one day her spirit died like a birthday candle, dragging her along with it.

I've always felt like I don't have a right to be sad about it. Her parents were destroyed and they moved away; I haven't seen them since a week after the funeral. If you could call it that.

She didn't want to be buried and have everyone wear black and be all "mopey". She wanted to be cremated and have a huge ash scattering party on Mt. St. Helens. She got very metaphorical and thoughtful after she got sick; we talked a lot about deep things when she was in the hospital.

She compared herself (and the cancer) to the volcano. She said there were warning signs that went away (or so people thought) but then erupted, taking those close to her (and the mountain top) with it.

I didn't realize how right she was until the funeral. We tried to have fun, but we were all too hollow. I got to throw a handful of her ashes into the wind. I had to throw the burned pieces of my best friend on the top of the symbolic mountain.

But sadness reaches a different level at some point; your heart sinks away and you feel so much that you don't feel anything.

She was more than my best friend. I'm trying to laugh thinking about her instead of feeling that numbness, and I'm only barely getting to that point. I try not to think about her sunken face and bluish eyelids. Instead I try to remind myself of her splendid hair, the color of a raven's wing. Instead I try to remind myself of her laughter, which will always be my favorite sound.

One time a few months before she got diagnosed, she told me that she loved storms. So I asked her why. She told me, "I love how every clap of thunder makes your heart race and every flash of lightning makes you gasp a little bit. And afterwards it smells so fresh and the world seems brand new."

That was when I knew how important you were to me. We'd been friends on and off for years, but that was when I really knew.

You were more than my best friend.

So I kissed you and you kissed me back as the storm raged outside. And it was, and still is, the best moment of my life.

It's been hard to come to terms with your absence. Even now I still find myself scrolling through my contacts to send you a meme before remembering you won't ever see it. I still find myself turning my head when I'm walking and think of something before remembering only your ghost and the wind is with me.

The last text I sent you was "I love you". And the last one you sent me was, "I'll see you tomorrow." But you died that night. I rushed to the hospital as you entered your final minutes. I was there when your soul left. And I can't get it out of my head. Even after all this time.

I guess I've been running from these feelings for four years. Maybe that's why instead of writing "her" I started writing "you". Maybe I've been wanting to tell her this ever since she died.

Now I feel like I have. I've felt her presence with me as I've been writing this. She's been guiding the good memories through my mind as I tried to remember all the wonderful things that came of our friendship.

Now I can. I remember everything. I remember the fireflies and the popsicles and the hair blowing in the wind. Now when I think of her, those are the first things that come to mind, not her hands going slack in mine.

Now I'm smiling as I write this, despite the ink splotches dotting this page like fireflies at twilight. I'm crying, but these are happy tears. For the first time ever. These are the tears she deserves. She deserves to be remembered for the fireflies and the rain, not the cancer and the volcano.

So I'm going to give her what she deserves, finally. Maybe now I can finally be at peace. Maybe it will take some time, but hopefully I can do it.

I'm in the production of Romeo and Juliet at my college, I should have mentioned that. She/you would have been so proud.

Love,

Me

***

The crisp air of autumn blows on my face as I stand on the peak of Mt. St. Helens. This is where we scattered her ashes seven years ago. I came to burn this letter and return the words of devotion and heartache and hope back to her. She deserves them more than I do.

Her memory will always be bittersweet, but with more sweet with each passing day.

Taking a deep breath, I strike the match that is more than a match, the match that means acceptance and peace and hope.

May 14, 2022 01:32

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141 comments

awww this story is so sad but sweet :( i know how it feels to lose someone you love, so that last sentence hit hard<3

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Pippin Took
19:49 Oct 29, 2023

aww thank u so much :) i hope you're doing better now :)

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Drizzt Donovan
13:54 Jul 25, 2023

Read your bio. Sorry for your loss.

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Pippin Took
23:30 Jul 26, 2023

Oh thanks! But I'm sorry what loss?

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Drizzt Donovan
13:00 Jul 27, 2023

Sounded like you had lost someone close to you?

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Pippin Took
21:41 Jul 29, 2023

In some ways, yes I did, but not in a similar way as the protagonist in the story.

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Drizzt Donovan
13:07 Aug 07, 2023

Either way. My condolences.

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Pippin Took
20:04 Aug 07, 2023

Much appreciated :)

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Hey, saw that you were on. How are you?

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Pippin Took
00:21 Jun 24, 2023

Sorry for the late response. I've been alright. I'm going to a new school in the fall and a romantic opportunity has crept back into my life. There's a lot of change going on and I'm not so good at that 😭. Anyways, how are you? I have to say I've missed talking to you.

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I’m very well. I’ve been reading lots, writing lots, having fun working on novel ideas. I’m planning on doing the NaNoWriMo challenge in November, maybe the Camp one in July.

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Pippin Took
16:14 Jun 28, 2023

ooo! that's amazing! have you got an idea for your NaNoWriMo novel?

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Yes, I do. The idea has been in my head for some time—maybe a year. I’ve got pages and pages of “Planning Snippets” consisting of notes, musings, ideas, and character personality and behavior descriptions. Some of the characters, their roles, and the overall plot have changed a bit since the story first came to me, but those changes have been interesting and good. I definitely want to do some more solid planning in Preptober, but as far as excitement and interest in my idea go, I’m ready.

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Pippin Took
21:50 Jul 03, 2023

Oh my gosh that's fantastic! I wish you the best of luck! Am I allowed to ask for a synopsis??

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Spruce Popsicle
17:34 Apr 10, 2023

Oh my goodness, that was amazing. I should have read this a long time ago, or maybe I already did, but forgot. Aaaanyways, that was amazing, and so so so relatable. I know that sometimes when things happen, it’s hard to actually live in that moment and be sad, happy, scared, or anything about it. Four years later, it’ll come back to you. You’ll smile, laugh, cry, or scream. Such an amazing composition, and I hope you come back to Reedsy at some point. I’ve been on break as well and just got back and wrote my first story in a while. However...

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Pippin Took
21:53 Apr 10, 2023

This was such a wonderful surprise in my inbox! Thank you very much :) Haha, that's goofy. How are you doing?

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Spruce Popsicle
13:56 Apr 11, 2023

I’m doing pretty good. I’m a little stressed about school, but not much. How are you? P.S. I was looking at your bio, and I took some ✨inspiration.✨ Hope you don’t mind.

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Pippin Took
23:52 Apr 11, 2023

I'm also alright. Ever since I've been on meds for one of my mental problems, the one I've been able to repress is just absolutely going bonkers. But otherwise I'm good. OF COURSE I DON'T MIND!!! I love your bio! The note at the end is making me so happy omg!! You don't understand!!! Funny story, I have a pet leopard gecko :D and I also play D&D!

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Spruce Popsicle
01:45 Apr 12, 2023

Oh. My. God. No way!!! What is your favorite class/race? I usually play a Bard and some sort of Elf. Any funny stories to tell? I have many. Tell your leopard gecko hello from me, whatever their name is. And about your meds, good that you have that resource. I hope you can continue to progress, and get better. You got this!!!!!!!

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Pippin Took
11:15 Apr 13, 2023

Hehehhe. I like playing some sort of magic user, usually a wizard. And my favorite race is a high elf. One of my funniest stories is this: We were in a bar and I was acting silly. I believe I stood on a table and showed my butt to someone. When the bartender asked what happened, I attempted to convince him that I had been possessed by one of the other members of the party. The Dungeon Master asked me roll for intimidation to convince him. And I rolled a NAT 20!!! Everyone was laughing for several minutes afterwards. I was able to convince h...

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Pippin Took
23:35 Jul 26, 2023

For real!! I love when the Elves show up. It's a drag at first but the finale is EPIC!

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Spruce Popsicle
14:58 Jul 30, 2023

Definitely. :D

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Pippin Took
20:04 Aug 07, 2023

What's your favorite part of it?

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Spruce Popsicle
18:49 Aug 12, 2023

I’m not entirely sure. Maybe the world building in general. The characters, settings and civilizations are in detailed and I love that. What’s yours?

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Pippin Took
01:32 Sep 11, 2023

That's definitely an amazing part. The whole trilogy is very immersive. I think one of my favorite parts is the montage of Pippin singing to Denethor as the soldiers are riding to their deaths. i get chills every time.

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Hey there, just something funny. Last night, I was at a campfire, and I had s'mores. My sisters and I discussed what hobbits would do with them, and decided: Pippin would love s'mores, and make a mess. Sam would be distrustful of marshmallows. Merry would perfect the art of roasting the perfect marshmallow. And Frodo would sit back and watch, smiling. Sound right to you? What do you think the rest of the fellowship would be doing while the hobbits made s'mores?

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Pippin Took
00:10 Aug 13, 2022

Haha! That sounds so fun!! Yes, I feel like those are all completely on point!!! Here are my thoughts: Legolas would be talking to Sam about their joint distrust of marshmallows. Aragorn would be nibbling on chocolate. Gandalf would be smoking his pipe and chuckling. Gimli would be roasting three marshmallows at once and make a triple-decker s'more. And Boromir would be eating his burnt-to-a-crisp marshmallow on his s'more, laughing with Pippin. Does it make sense?

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I know it's been a while since I started this conversation, but I have a thought to add, outside the fellowship: Faramir would come out of the woods with an armload of wood, drop it, and run over to put out the flaming marshmallow on the end of Boromir's stick, then eat it because Boromir was roasting it for him. Then he'd go over to the s'mores table and break up and neatly lay out all the graham crackers and chocolate. And another LOTR thing: My family just went on a road trip. Once it gets dark, we play a CD book. Right now we're list...

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Pippin Took
18:13 Oct 10, 2022

HAHA! I can see that happening. Whoa, what a wacky coincedence. I could never do that with my family as they would get bored right away lol! Of course, I'll check them out! Thank you so much, it's nice to know I have support from someone :D

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Hey, I have an LOTR-themed riddle for you! Why do dwarves carry axes? Why not pickaxes or mallets? They are miners, after all. Yet it's a thing that the dwarves have axes. It's even part of the traditional dwarf battle cry that Gimli shouts on multiple occasions: "Axes of the dwarves! The dwarves are upon you!" Why do dwarves carry axes?

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Pippin Took
19:49 Oct 29, 2022

Hm...I can't remember if it says it in the book because it's been a while since I read them... Do you think it's because they're strong enough to wield them against sword-bearers and can practically use them for chopping down trees for their forges?

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Hi! I just wrote another story. How are you?

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Pippin Took
22:23 Jul 24, 2022

GOING RIGHT NOW!!! Kinda lonely tbh...and obsessed with It 😂

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Obsessed with being lonely? How so? Maybe you could make a story out of it . . .

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Pippin Took
14:40 Jul 25, 2022

No no...It as in the movie based off the Stephen King novel.

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Oh, I see. "It" is capitalized. Missed that the first time. Besides that, what's up with you?

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Pippin Took
00:49 Jul 31, 2022

Haha, no worries! I'm doing pretty good, just got back from a vacation.

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Nandini Panchal.
04:04 Jun 05, 2022

Lovely story! It makes the reader feel that they are inside the story!

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Pippin Took
13:32 Jun 05, 2022

Thank you!

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Katie Odom
16:15 May 26, 2022

There was a great build in tension from the start of the piece to the catharsis at the end, where the main character says they can finally be at peace. It's a very moving work. I was so swept up in it, I didn't notice the shift from third to second person until the paragraph where you mention it yourself. That shift felt like I as the reader was zooming in on the thoughts and feelings of the speaker, and by the end you had zoomed back out by returning to third person. I would say this letter is more to her than the speaker's future self, I...

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Pippin Took
21:26 May 26, 2022

Thank you so much! Haha, same. As I was writing it, I didn't even realize I had switched pronouns until I reread it and I was like "Oops!" This story honestly just flowed from a well that I didn't even know I had. I've never experienced a loss like this, or anything remotely close. I was thinking that as well. To me, it's written both for her and for the narrator. Thank you again for taking the time to comment!

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Havana Summer
14:17 May 21, 2022

This story is amazing! I love all the things that she said to him!

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Pippin Took
15:06 May 21, 2022

Thank you so much :)

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Anissa Waterman
13:56 May 21, 2022

Very sad and yet it gives the reader hope for the letter writer.

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Pippin Took
15:07 May 21, 2022

Thank you!!!

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Desiree Haros
13:31 May 21, 2022

Beautifully written.

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Pippin Took
15:07 May 21, 2022

Thank you, it means a lot!

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Spruce Popsicle
14:00 May 14, 2022

Oh. My. Goodness. This is amazing! I love this story so much. You captured these feelings so well. I feel like I know both of these characters now. Amazing job.

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Pippin Took
14:52 May 14, 2022

Wow! Thank you so much!!

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Unknown User
03:10 Jul 09, 2022

<removed by user>

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Pippin Took
12:51 Jul 11, 2022

thank youuuuuu 😊😊😊

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