Losing Friends Is Heartrending

Submitted into Contest #104 in response to: Start your story with a character saying, “Are you coming tonight?”... view prompt

34 comments

Friendship Sad

“Are you coming tonight?” Rachel asks me from across a table that offers six seats. She is sitting opposite to me while I am in the middle between my two friends; Meghan and Ella, and opposite to them are Rose and Lily.

This is our group. We have been together since early months of first year in university. Rose, Lily, and Meghan hang out together most frequently while Rachel and Ella are closer. As for me, I show no favoritism but I usually spend more time with one of them when it comes to helping their assignments.

Our surrounding is filled with unnecessarily loud chanting, sound of students masticating canteen's food probably out of anxiety, and boys’ nonsense, nasty jokes. We’re taking a break from our previous exam in the spectacular university's canteen. We still have another one after break. Even if my surrounding is loud enough to break my ears, it is unsuccessful because my attention is on the exams; both previous and the coming one.

It is the final examination that decides if we are qualified to continue our studies. So, me being me, I am as nervous as I am being tested whether I am qualified to hell or heaven. I can’t fail this. I don't want to attend the same year and learn all the same boring lessons while my friends are enjoying their time in an advanced year. Besides, all the tuition fees, all my hard work, all the sacrifices I've made to dedicate my life and time in studying will all be in vain within seconds just because of answers I write down on an exam paper.

“Lauren, I’m asking you,” Rachel waves her hand right in front of my eyes.

“Huh…...what did you say?”

She rolls her eyes and repeats impatiently, “I said…...are you coming to my home, tonight?”

“OH! Of course, I will,” I say nonchalantly.

Rachel is talking about our after-exam-celebration at her home. Usually, before that, we go to the grocery store and buy everything that is edible and then we will party at her home. It is traditional for our group. But sadly, I ain’t involved most of the time; partly because of my parents but mostly because after a long, exhausting examination I prefer to clean my chaotic room, then lay in my cozy bed with some soft songs playing in my earphone and let myself fall into a deep sleep. We’re always eating and chatting together nearly everyday anyway. But, having said that, Rachel has been asking me a million times to come join them. This time, she threatened me that she would not take NO for an answer. So, I said YES without any concern.

“Girls, it is only five minutes before the exam. We should go,” Ella says after looking at her watch.

Rose and Lily groan at the same time while Meghan laughs at them.

“All right, we will talk in detail after the exam. Wait for each other if any one of you finishes the exam first,” Rachel say.


That’s definitely Rachel, the leader, the most beautiful and popular in our group. I sometimes wonder why a person like her wants to befriend me in the first place. She is beautiful and everything about her including exam results is perfect. I am completely different from her, I don't own a good shape of body, my hair is always messy and my genetically curly hair doesn’t help the fact that I wash my hair only once a week, and my outfits are mostly outdated. But I have to admit that I don’t care those things too much. The only thing I value with my life is to graduate and have a stable job.


I enter the exam room and sit on a spot where my roll number is written. My hands and feet are cold and the weather doesn’t help at all. It looks like it is going to rain, a bank of murky clouds cover all the light that the sun has previously displayed and the temperature has significantly dropped.

The examiner checks the time and says calmly, “You can start your exam from now. We will collect papers after three hours.” And everyone starts reading a question paper.


NO. The exam was far from OK. There were many blank spaces I had to leave unanswered. At some point, my hands and whole body started to tremble, I became dizzy and my head started to burn. The anxiety was unbearable. It was like my brain was being boiled in a hot water.


“Time’s up. Stop writing and do not talk to others until we finish collecting every paper,” one of the examiners says with her stern voice.

By the time I leave the exam room, my headache worsens. I start looking for my friends to tell them I will not join them. The environment is again filled with noises from students who come out excitedly from exam rooms no matter how hard the exam was. They seem to forget about it since they are arguing about where they can chill out.

After a five-minute walk, I see my friends at their usual gathering place. Rachel is sitting on a bench under a giant tree and Ella is looking at her phone and smiling at whatever she is looking. Rose, Lily, and Meghan are laughing at whatever Rachel is telling. It looks like they did well in the exam or they don’t care about the exam at all. Probably, it is the latter.

“Hey,” I greet them with my face which says I want to die.

They all look at me, then look at each other.

“Let me guess, you didn’t answer the questions properly,” Rachel says.

I nod and rub my temples with a little force, hoping to ease the headache.

“Well, we didn’t answer it very well, too. But Lauren, today is the last day of our first year, and let’s forget about the exam. We always pass even if we did worst, right girls?” Ella says, encouraging others to talk.

“Yes, we always pass,” says Rose.

“Yeah, let’s focus on the future and have fun,” Lily says.

“Just forget about the exam,” Meghan says.

“Ella’s right, Lauren,” Rachel replies while holding my hands into hers.

They all say simultaneously, but their words go in different direction rather than into my ears.

“Uh…... Rachel, I think I need to cancel our celebration, I am not feeling well. I will call you later, girls” I say and leave, leaving no room for them to protest. Surprisingly, no one stops me. I am glad because I might collapse if they beseech me more.


I go straight to my home, take a shower and then try to calm down. It is so relaxing to dress in a giant pajama and sit on a window-seat from where I can outlook a magnificent landscape. It rained heavily during our exam, but now the clouds are starting to disperse letting faint sun rays fall on the world. I can smell the earth which was damped by the rain. Feeling the fresh and cool wind touched my skin reminds me that life is worth living even if I fail the exam.

My headache starts to disappear. These natural sounds, smell and views are much better than crowds, the smell of overly fried foods, and the loud noises of the city.

Occasionally, my thoughts wander to my friends. They are probably enjoying their time without me. If I was twelve years old, even a thought of that might leave me broken-hearted. But I am now twenty-two and time have successfully and mercilessly trained me to enjoy being alone.


My parents returned from their book shop at ten p.m. They were surprised to see me home because they thought I would be at Rachel's. Nonetheless, they were happy that I was with them to eat dinner together. After I've washed the dishes, I went to my room while my parents were enjoying their favorite TV show.


I don’t want to sleep yet. Eleven p.m. is a little early for me. I scroll through my phone and check our group chat. None of my friends are online. They’re probably sleeping.

Nevertheless, I leave a message,

“Guys, how was your celebration? I wish I am with you. If you've taken photos of today, I want to see.”

After texting them, I play soft instrumental music on my phone. This kind of song always helps me sleep and I fall into a deep sleep.

…….

No one replies me the next day. My friends don’t even see my message. They are surely upset. I heave a heavy sigh. The least I want to do is handle furious friends.


I call Ella, the easiest one to approach. She doesn’t answer the call.

Then, I call Rose, Lily, and Meghan. They all don’t pick up.

Finally, I build my courage and call Rachel. She is the hardest to approach when she is angry. She too doesn’t answer my phone.

In the end, I shrug it off. After overcoming stressful first year in university , I don't want to spend my holidays apologizing to friends and making myself worried like a boyfriend is worried that his girlfriend might abandon him. But, I can't deny the fact that I am still worried to lose my only friends who have been together for one year.

By the time it is night, I check my phone again, no texts nor calls. Again, I call all of them. Finally, Ella answers.

“Yeah, Lauren,” she sounds annoyed.

“Hey Ella, I have been calling…...”

“I know you have been calling,” Ella interrupts me.

“Uhh…....Ok?” that is weird. I can feel her exasperation through the phone.

“So, is Rachel still mad at me?” I ask.

“Why don’t you ask her?” she replies rudely.

“She doesn’t answer,” I reason.

“In-person,” Ella is telling me to meet Rachel in person instead of calling her.

Ella continues, “Lauren, I am busy and I am not in a good mood right now, so call me later.” And then she hangs up. I don’t even have the chance to say goodbye. Call her later? It is not Ella. Ella is always like “I will call you later.”

I rub my face with my hand and sigh. Ella is mad at me too, not to mention the others, especially Rachel.

……

From the next day, I texted nearly a hundred messages to each of them to how sincerely I apologize for my absence in our traditional celebration.


The thing I hate most when it comes to friends is trying to make them forgive me even if I find nothing to be mad at. I only skipped because of my headache. We can do it the other day anyway. Aren't best friends supposed to understand each other? I put all my effort into writing those texts. I am not sure that will make them forgive me or annoy them more.


I begged them to go out together again. On the fifth day of me continuously texting them, Ella finally agreed to watch movie together, but no reply from others. Anyway, I prepared for that day. I overdressed than my usual self with a tight, long, white jeans and a pink tank top, and applied some light makeup to my face. It is uncomfortable but to appeal to my friends, I have to do this.


When I reach our meeting place, I find my friends taking group photos near a beautiful bookshop, again without me. Do they intentionally get here early?

“Hey girls! You all look pretty!” I almost squeak. They look at me from head to toe. They're surprised that I dressed decently but quickly mask it. I receive no reply like “Oh My God! you look so pretty, Lauren!” which I usually receive even if I am not. But now, all I receive is an uncomfortable silence and a forced smile from Lily and Ella. Rachel is looking in opposite direction, it is like she doesn't want to see me.

“Girls, I am sorry. I….”

“We should hurry. The movie is going to be played,” before I can finish, Rachel interrupts and goes to the cinema room without acknowledging me. Everyone follows her.

Ella comes to me and says, “Let’s go, Lauren. It is not easy to take a seat when a cinema is crowded.” I sigh. Why is it so hard to make them forgive me? I follow Ella silently, like a puppy who is scolded by its owner with its tail down.

When we reach the cinema, Meghan wants some food. So, we decide to wait outside while she is queuing for her food. I try again to approach them. I push myself between Lily and Rose because Rachel and Ella are going to the bathroom.

“Hey Lily, can I ask what’s wrong with you all,” I ask with a low voice.

Rose snorts and says, “it is more like what’s wrong with you.”

“Rose!” Lily warns, “Nothing, we’re fine. Rachel is ok. We’re ok too,”

I know it is fake, I am not that dumb. Before I open my mouth to speak, Meghan comes back with trays of food and hands us our respective order. She hands me a hamburger, and I says 'Thanks' but she doesn’t reply like usual. I also notice that a smile stuck to her face quickly disappears when she turns around to pass my hamburger.


My attention is not on the movie. It is on what have I done wrong that they all don't want to talk to me. I don't think not being with them on that day is a tremendous problem. I occasionally glance at my friends. They are all engaged in conversations but ignoring me completely. They turn to their side to tease each other every time a protagonist kisses his girl. Their smiles are so genuine, not like the one that is given to me previously.


After watching the movie, we decide to head to a nearby fancy restaurant.

“Oh My God! This place is so beautiful! Let’s take a group selfie,” Meghan says excitedly.

Everyone starts to post beautifully, but the camera can't take all of us, one is excluded which is me. I try to squeeze myself among them. As soon as my face appears in the camera, Rachel says, “I don’t want to take photos anymore. I am hungry,” and then she goes ahead of us.

Everyone looks disappointed. It is like I destroyed their moments. It is so painful to be outside of the group even though I am with them. It is so obvious that they don’t want me here. I bite my lip to stop the pain inside me.

The atmosphere is quite awkward while we are waiting for the food to arrive. No one utters a word, they are tabbing and scrolling their phones. In a big and crowded place like this restaurant, we are the strangest people.

“I want to buy something. I’ll be right back,” Rachel says suddenly and Meghan follows her.

Both of them don’t get back even after half of the food is gone. I know they are just trying to stay away from me. I stay silent the whole time. I have always been terrible at starting a conversation, not to mention in this situation.

After finished eating, I asked, “What’s your plan after this?” to no one in particular.

“None,” Ella said.

“OK.......... Then, I will go home now,” I say.

I know they have plans after this, but without me. They're intentionally doing this to me.

The post on Rachel’s Instagram confirm me that they had plans after I went home, Ella is squeezing Rachel, Lily and Rose are kissing on either side of Meghan’s cheeks. They are absolutely happy. At least, I am glad that they could take photos together.

"So, this is how I will end up with them," I says to myself.

Tears well up in my eyes as I recall what happened today. Every memory reinforces a tear in my eyes. I should not have befriended them in the first place. After all, me and them are so different. They like to enjoy their life outside of their home while I like to enjoy my life inside my home. Still, I long for that type of friendship, which will last forever no matter what the diversity lies between me and them.

I may love being alone but it doesn’t mean that I don't love my friends. I may enjoy more to be alone than being with my friends but it doesn’t mean that losing friends is not painful.






July 28, 2021 14:16

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34 comments

Alizah Muhammad
15:30 Jul 29, 2021

I loved the story Johana. The flow was great and it kept me engaged till the end. Also, this was so relatable. I could feel the narrator's pain since it was expressed very well

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Johana Htwe
00:57 Jul 30, 2021

Thanks again for reading and commenting me. I appreciate it so much😍😙

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Alizah Muhammad
19:48 Jul 30, 2021

Anytime! 😁😁😁💜

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Francis Daisy
02:19 Aug 09, 2021

Johana, Such a sad, but sadly honest account of friendship. Girls can be so petty! Keep your guy friends, they will always be true! Great story! Keep reading and writing and your grammar will improve. :)Amy

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Johana Htwe
03:10 Aug 09, 2021

Thank you so much for reading!! Yeah, ya know, girls can easily get mad for no reasonable reasons and they want to be apologized. I find it unnecessary! Also, having different likes and tastes doesn't mean we can't be friends anymore. I want to point that out.😁😁 You're right, I have to read a lot to improve my grammar. Thanks a lot😙😙

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Francis Daisy
02:01 Aug 10, 2021

Johana, Sometimes the best friends are the ones who are the most opposite of you! If we were all the same, it would be a very boring world indeed. :) Amy

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Johana Htwe
07:07 Aug 10, 2021

Ahhhh!! Such a true and beautiful quote!! I agree😊😗

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Keya J.
04:57 Aug 01, 2021

Another perfect story of Johana! Well, I thought you do not like sad endings...huh? 😁😁 But really, I loved your story!! Your writing and the plots you choose is just amazing. A little proofreading and I bet this will scale its peak. For eg. When we reach the cinema, Meghan want some food. I think, 'want' would be grammatically correct if replaced by 'wanted' or 'wants'. Moreover, I loved the way you provided the details and introduced every character. I also loved the way you depicted how Ella had a soft spot for Lauren. Good Job!

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Johana Htwe
07:32 Aug 01, 2021

Oh My!!!🤣🤣 Yes, I definitely said I want the story to end happily but it is for the other writer. I tried to end happily but it didn't make sense and too cliché. I am still trying to learn how to end happily though😁😁 And I m so suck at grammar!! Right now, I m not even sure if the grammar is right in the whole story. Again, Thanks for your beautiful comments. They are my vitamins😜😜.

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Keya J.
09:18 Aug 01, 2021

😘🥰

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Eric D.
03:05 Jul 31, 2021

Sad ending :*( felt for her.

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Johana Htwe
05:01 Jul 31, 2021

Thanks for reading, Eric. Yeah, it really hurts Lauren.

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Annalisa D.
16:52 Jul 30, 2021

This is such a sad story, but so well done. I really enjoyed reading it.

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Johana Htwe
23:52 Jul 30, 2021

Thank you so much for reading and for your beautiful comments. I appreciate it so much, Annalisa.

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Cannelle L
11:33 Jul 29, 2021

Hi, Johana! I love that your story is easy to relate. I can see a lot of people losing their friends and trying their best not to let it happen. Although what baffles me the most about the plot is how Lauren became friends with these girls in the first place. They seem to have almost nothing in common, and Lauren often seems excluded from the group (even before she decides not to go with them). But I still love this story because sometimes it happens. Life is weird, and you did a very great job portraying it! Keep it up!

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Johana Htwe
11:55 Jul 29, 2021

Yeah, you're right, Cannelle L. I just wished i could write more but it is already 3k words. Also, thanks for suggesting that I should include how Lauren became friend with them. In fact, it is based on my life. Lauren was me and Rachel was my friend who wanted to befriend me in the first place, i don't know why though. But later, i just found out that i am the one trying so hard to be a friend of her. Anyway, thanks for reading, I appreciate it so much. Thanks for your beautiful compliment too. I will remember it forever cuz these comments...

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Cannelle L
12:39 Jul 29, 2021

Oh, I didn't know. I'm sorry about what happened, Johana. No one deserves to go that kind of pain, especially you. But now I know what made your story so real. And believe me, it just became one of the most special stories I've read. You're truly brave for sharing this, Johana. I really admire you, and I would most definitely want to be your friend! :)

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Johana Htwe
12:51 Jul 29, 2021

Awwn😍😙😗you're so sweet, Cannelle. Don't worry, I get over them and now I know how to handle those type of friends. And I want to be friend with you toooo!!

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Cannelle L
13:33 Jul 29, 2021

Great to hear that you're happy now, Johana! Awww thank you.☺️💗

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Johana Htwe
13:57 Jul 29, 2021

😙😍

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Jon R. Miller
10:52 Jul 29, 2021

Oh my gosh! I felt so sorry for Lauren, I was hurting inside. Well done!

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Johana Htwe
11:14 Jul 29, 2021

Thank you for reading, Jon. I appreciate it so much😍😍

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Ms Rat
06:22 Dec 25, 2022

i loved it johana, you expressed t so well

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Moon Fox
01:20 Aug 27, 2021

ow.

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Johana Htwe
16:38 Aug 27, 2021

😄😄 Just ow?

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Moon Fox
14:58 Aug 30, 2021

Nothing else can say it. I love you story. :)

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Johana Htwe
01:07 Aug 31, 2021

🤣😄😍😍 Thanks a ton, Moon fox.

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Andrea Magee
12:06 Aug 07, 2021

Very good story.

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Johana Htwe
12:45 Aug 07, 2021

Thanks a lot, Andrea

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Johana Htwe
01:54 Jul 29, 2021

Dear authos who read my story, if there is any mistake, please kindly remind me. If it is boring, please tell me honestly.

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Alizah Muhammad
16:13 Jul 29, 2021

It wasn't boring at all, I really enjoyed the story. But I think with more complex sentences and vocabulary, the description can be more precise and I am also working on that for my own writing. Perhaps we can help each other whilst working on it for improvement. Please take some time to read my story and I'd love to hear your views about it and fix any mistakes in there. While I read your story, there were just a few parts where the sentence structure was odd, but I'm sure it's just an unintentional mistake that might've been overlooked. I...

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Johana Htwe
00:56 Jul 30, 2021

Of course, I would love to read your stories. Thanks for letting me know this😍.You're right. I've been trying to improve my vocabulary too. Mine are just childish vocal. Also, thank you so much for such kind comments. I will surely check out your stories😜

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Alizah Muhammad
19:47 Jul 30, 2021

Not at all, you deserve the praise and I'm sure you'll do great!! 😊 I really appreciate your feedback on my story 😁😁

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Johana Htwe
23:50 Jul 30, 2021

Pleasure is all mine! Alizah. I am looking forward to more of your stories too. Thanks again.

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