Trigger And Content Warning: Graphic Suicide
“You really did it.” I sobbed, holding her limp body in my arms, blood trickling from the veins on her wrists.
“I didn't think she would really do it-” Grace started, but I held up my hand to silence her.
I should have seen the signs. I should have realized when her short sleeves turned long. When “I'm just tired,” became the excuse for everything. When her smile didn't reach her eyes. When she stopped hanging out with him in public. When she spent more lunchtimes than not in the library catching up on work. Erin was never behind on school work. In retrospect, I can put the pieces together. But there are still missing pieces of the puzzle. I am - was - her best friend. I should have noticed. But I didn’t.
Glass breaks downstairs quickly followed by a strangled cry. She finished reading the note. Heavy footsteps come up the stairs. Pamela appears in the doorway. We make eye contact. I want her to weep, to scream, to do something. I want someone else to be hurting as much as I am. More than I am. I want someone to wish they could go back and fix this, as much as I wish I could. I don't want to feel emotion alone.
“Hi girls!” Erin's mom, Pamela, smiled, oblivious of the reason we were there. “Erin! Jocelyn and Grace are here!” She called up the stairs. No response. “Erin!” Grace let go of my hand, causing the note we were holding to fall onto the hardwood floor. Pamela reached down to grab the paper as Grace ran up the stairs. A small gasp escaped from her lips as she read the note. “What is this?” I couldn't bear to look at her. To try and explain what it was because, in all honesty, I didn't know. I'd been presented with so many life-changing events in the span of twenty minutes. My brain hasn't quite caught up yet. I took off up the stairs, following Grace.
I turned the corner onto Erin’s street. Grace let out a shaky sigh. Time began to move in slow motion as I put the car into park. Grace took the note, folded it up, pressed it into the palm of her hand, and got out of the car. I followed her up to the front door and took her hand in mine.
“She sent me a note.” She paused. “A-a suicide note.” My breath got caught in my throat. I wasn't expecting that. I don't know what I was expecting exactly, but definitely not that. She reached for her crossbody bag. One that she borrowed from Erin. I focus my eyes back on the road. “Grace,” she recites off the paper retrieved from her bag. “We always joke about the fact that me, you, and Joce can never not be friends. Because we know too much about each other. And as I'm writing this, I'm realizing that there's so much more that you guys didn't know about me.” She stops again, wiping her nose on her sleeve.
“Grace.” I started, but my voice cracked. You don't have to.
“I need to. I- I need to know something, I- I need to know that this isn't real. I need to feel something.”
“We need to go.” She. Her s-shaped eyebrows were arched in fear. Something was wrong. I took my keys off the table and locked the door, no questions.
The tone of her voice scared me. “Grace. Talk to me.”
She took a deep breath, but her voice still shook. “Have you been able to get a hold of Erin?”
I shook my head, “No, why?”
Grace's bottom lip began to quiver, “Oh god.” She whispered.
I dialed Erin's number and held the phone to my ear, looking down at my half-filled page of science notes. The doorbell sounded in the middle of the second ring. “Can someone get that?” I shouted. I got sent to voicemail. I redialed, assuming she was just busy, two calls in a row and she would definitely answer. But before I could press the call button, the doorbell rang again. I sighed and rose from my beanbag to get the door. It rang once more as I was halfway down the stairs. “I’m coming!”
When I reached the door and opened it, Grace was standing on the other side, tears streaming down her face. She was trying to say something but her sentences kept running over one another. “Woah, calm down what's wrong? Come inside.”
I tried to grab her hand, to guide her inside but she yanked away. “No. We need to go. Now.”
-- The Week Before --
I should have seen the signs. I should have realized when she started glancing at him from across the room. When she laughed harder than anyone at his jokes even when they weren't funny. Especially when they weren't funny. When she started going to soccer games, even though she swore against all sports. When she started dragging me, to those soccer games. I think I saw it but decided to ignore it. When she watched him play, she was mesmerized. I'm her best friend. I should have noticed. But I didn't. And now, as she gets up from her seat, accepting Grace's dare, anyone could tell that she was definitely head over heels in love.
“I didn't think she would really do it-” Grace giggled, but I held up my hand to silence her. We watched as Erin confidently sashayed over to the lunch table where the jocks resided. They looked up and quieted their conversation. Our friend approached and started a conversation easily. They all looked taken aback by her boldness. A few moments later, she nodded, and turned around, making her way back over to us.
“And guess who successfully got a date to prom,” Erin announced, her tone was an attempt at nonchalance but the smile tugging at her lips gave her away. Jake, the generic soccer player that my best friend had somehow fallen for, waved over in our direction and winked.
“You really did it.” I laughed, holding her as she blushed.