Friendship Speculative Coming of Age

​​I met Sam when I was 16. She joined our class a month after the rest of us. She had originally decided school was not for her, but her mom eventually convinced her otherwise - which I would turn out to be very grateful for.

I had a tendency to think people were idiots, which of course included my new classmates. And, as they thought I was an idiot for thinking they were idiots, I failed to connect with anyone.

A lonely month went by, and I had already retreated into my familiar state of being chronically annoyed. I was annoyed at the stupid assignments, the stupid school system, and at my stupid fucking pants that never felt comfortable no matter how I tried sitting. 

I twisted in my chair and sighed in frustration as my stupid teacher kept talking about some stupid fucking vikings.

The label on the back of my sweater was itching more and more by the second, and I felt like screaming as I glanced over at the clock on the wall. I’d just been there for 20 minutes.

I sighed even louder, and one of the girls glared at me before rolling her stupid eyes at me. I glared back at her. “Fucking bitch,” I mumbled under my breath.

That’s when the stupid door flew open, followed by a frenzied Sam rushing through it.

“Sorry I’m late!” she panted as she smiled.

Sam was everything I was not, except maybe chronically late. She was loud, seemingly always happy, and she got along with absolutely everyone. Even with me. For some reason, she didn’t think I was an idiot for thinking she was an idiot, which made her way less of an idiot.

The only thing we seemed to have in common was a humor darker and dryer than a desert at night, and a - which we would soon discover - really fucked up past. We became best friends immediately.

She was the only one amused by my sarcastic comments and overly argumentative questions directed at the teacher, and I was the only one who wanted to smoke weed with her during lunch break. 

With her, my pants were always comfortable, and the label at the back of my sweater didn’t bother me even once. I hadn’t laughed so much in years. However, the laughs quickly shifted to deep paranoia for the teachers noticing our lack of sobriety - which we solved by simply not going back to class after the lunch breaks.

A year went by, and the two of us were avoiding class in the local shopping mall when Sam asked me if I wanted to do mushrooms.

Thanks to the high we attained just ten minutes ago, I looked at her with a precious absence of thoughts. “Sure.” 

Sam knew a lot of people, including drug dealers. Soon enough, I was sitting in an apartment smelling heavily of weed and cigarettes, in front of a guy who looked like he was half asleep. 

He seemed even higher than we were, and he was talking very slowly to Sam. “It’s been like a really good year for the shrooms you know, lot of rain this summer. So it’s very potent, you know.”

Sam nodded impatiently, grabbed the bag, and out we went.

“Is this your first time?” I asked as we were heading to my apartment, where I very conveniently lived by myself.

“I’ve done this before," she smiled. "I’ll trip-sit you.” Apparently, a trip sitter was someone who made sure nobody had a bad trip, and Sam sounded like a very experienced one.

We locked ourselves into my apartment and eagerly sat down in front of the bag with dried mushrooms. 

“Ok,” Sam exclaimed as she opened the bag and poured its contents on the table. She separated the pile into two smaller piles and filled a glass of water for each of us. She handed one to me. “Chug,” she commanded with a smile.

I suddenly felt uneasy. “Are you sure we were supposed to take the whole thing?” I asked hesitantly. “He said it was a good shroom year.”

“Mushrooms are less dangerous for your body than paracetamol,” she replied firmly. 

“Right,” I said and grabbed the cup from her hand.

Thirty minutes later Sam was looking at me from the corner of the couch with deep fear in her eyes. 

“It’s a good mushroom year!” she whimpered as she clung to a pillow.

I had forgotten how to form words at that point, so all I could do was absorb the terror she very clearly experienced. I assumed this was what she had called a bad trip. 

The room was breathing heavily at this point, and the bookshelf on the other side of the room started leaning very angrily toward us, threatening to fall. I wanted to warn Sam, but since I could neither talk nor move, I kept sitting in silence as the bookshelf fell toward us.

The bookshelf kept falling. And then it kept falling like that for a while until Sam suddenly stood up in a burst of fractals and colors. She swayed past me toward my bedroom, and a few hours later I heard her land on the bed with a jarring ‘poof’.

I kept clinging to my pillow as I watched the room gasp in colors. It was incredibly loud, so I tried closing my eyes. I was met by the extremely unpleasant sight of the colors gasping even louder behind my eyelids, and I wailed in fear. I couldn’t take this anymore.

I stood up with shaky legs and staggered in the same direction I thought Sam had staggered an eternity ago.

I entered a new space that had a very different personality. This space wasn’t gasping at all. It sighed heavily, almost like it wasn’t able to catch a proper breath. It really stressed me out, so I mumbled that it sounded like it needed to relax. In response, the room sighed even more heavily. I raised my eyebrows. “Sorry,” I whispered.

Something suddenly moved behind me, and I jumped as I turned around. I looked over to my bed, where something was pulsating with light on the mattress. It shifted repetitively in perfect movements, almost like a robot. Or an animal. A robot animal.

It suddenly moaned, and I realized that I was staring at Sam. I gasped. 

“Sam! Sam!” I exclaimed as I shook her shoulder. 

She snarled like I had just wounded her, and smacked my hand away. “Leave me alone,” she moaned and hugged her pillow even tighter.

The room kept sighing in pain as I stumbled back on the same path I had arrived from, and after a long argument with a very demeaning doorstep, I finally overpowered it by being even more demeaning. And with that, I was allowed to cross over into the gasping room.

As I sat down, I became the couch. Its colors were melting into mine, and we became the exact same sound. Amidst the sound of me, the couch, a quiet whisper began emerging from all angles. I froze as I heard what it was telling me.

“No escaping time,” it whispered. “No escaping time. No escaping time.” 

The whispers kept repeating, and I looked frantically around me to locate the source of the whispers. I suddenly heard a whisper right next to me, so close that I could feel the breath in my ear. 

“Killing yourself won’t end time.”

I cried out and hid behind a pillow as the whispers started growing into screams. I closed my eyes to protect myself from the piercing voice, but the screams only became louder and harsher with each second. 

Suddenly I heard something peculiar; soft whimpers had begun emerging from in between the screams, so quiet that I could barely hear them.

My cries stopped, and as I listened closer, the whimpers became louder as well. All of a sudden I realized that the screams were not directed at me at all.

Relief welled over me. I was not the target of the screams; the whimpers were.

I opened my eyes. The whimpers seemed to come from my left side, with the voice of a little girl - and the screams came from my right side, with the voice of a strict man. They felt like they came from both inside and outside me, at the same time.

For each scream, a whimper could be heard in response - and for each whimper, a new scream emerged.

I felt a deep sense of distress as I listened to them going back and forth… this wasn’t nice at all. Poor, little girl. This wasn’t fair.

Anger started welling up in me. I needed him to stop this. I needed to protect her.

I directed my attention to my right side and took a deep breath while gritting my teeth. “You stop that immediately!” I yelled at the man.

A feeling of horror rushed through me as I heard the sound of the voice escaping me; I sounded exactly like the angry man. 

The whimpers continued again, but this time in response to what I had said.

I gasped in regret. “No, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that,” I exclaimed, and was stunned when I realized that this time, my voice sounded just like the little girl's. 

I whimpered in fear, and as I struggled to understand what was happening, the man began screaming at me instead.

I sat back on the couch in shock and kept listening to the whimpers that reappeared, only to be followed by the lecturing from the other side. The voices seemed all-consuming, the sound of each word piercing through my whole body. 

“Concentrate. Breathe,” I whispered to myself. I’d read something about meditation somewhere, and it said something about breathing. This was just a drug, I just had to wait it out.

I opened my eyes and stared at the wall in front of me, trying my best not to freak the fuck out.

The voices kept repeating in a loop, but I was calmer now. And something started changing.

As I concentrated, the voices slowly began centering in the middle of my awareness… almost like they were reaching out to each other. The whimpers now sounded darker and firmer, and the screams became softer and brighter. 

Puzzled, but patiently, I listened to the voices as they slowly but surely neared the center of my attention. The screams moved slowly to the left, and the whimpers moved slowly to the right, each moment bringing them closer together.

The whimpers were no longer whimpers, and the screams were no longer screams. The two voices slowly but surely merged together - and as they met in unison in the center of me, all I could hear was my own voice.

Where there previously had been two sources of sound, there was now just one; and it had the weirdest feeling. It was definitely my voice, yes… but it spoke in a way I had never heard myself speak before. It almost felt melodious, like it was singing a song. As I kept listening to it, it started saying the most beautiful things I had ever heard. 

I tried to understand what it said, but as soon as I thought I was able to decipher the meaning, the words dissolved. All I knew was that it was speaking the truth. And it was exceptionally beautiful.

Each word appeared to me as the most wonderful tune, accompanied by a stunning geometric pattern that shifted like a kaleidoscope, in synchrony with the sound. Not only did the voice speak of the truth; it spoke the truth. It was the truth.

Mesmerized, I listened to the voice for what could have been a minute, or a lifetime. I suddenly came to my senses and realized what I was really listening to.

Was that really my voice? Was that how I sounded like? Or could sound like? How could something this beautiful be… me?

I suddenly felt like an insecure child; small and bleak in comparison to whatever beautiful thing this was.

That’s when the song disappeared.

I was left in deadening silence. The fractals and colors that had previously been overwhelming were now just a vague interference in my field of vision. I sunk down on the couch, completely exhausted.

I heard soft rustling from the bedroom, and soon enough Sam came through the door, looking just as tired as I felt. Our eyes met, and a mixture of relief and pain went through her eyes as she hurried towards me and embraced me.

She started crying, and I couldn’t help but do the same. “Sam,” I sniffled. “I… I’m sorry for treating you like an idiot. I’ve been so stupid.” 

As I said those words, I heard the echoes of screams and whimpers. I jumped as I realized what I had just said, and halted. “I mean…”

I felt a melody appear within me. “I love you, Sam.”

May 26, 2023 17:18

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John Siddham
12:43 Jun 01, 2023

Wow, you've captured your character's adventure spirit, inner feelings and emotions so well, and a beautiful friendship emerging. Well done!


Sol Eriksen
20:20 Jun 01, 2023

Thank you, John! <3


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