Forever, a short story by Lee. Date added: 2008-08-17. Times viewed: 781.
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- Intro: Friendship never dies
- As I hugged her I felt her letting go. This wasn't "see you later" this was "good-bye".
We had grown up together, been friends since we were in nursery school. I remember the day I met her, I was playing in the playhouse, making the dolls and teddies tea and cake, when she walked in clutching her blanket and sucking her thumb. She had wide brown eyes and they were full of tears. Dry tears stained her face and she had snot running down her nose. She looked at me with desperation. I took one of the dolls from the seat around the play table and said she could sit down. She hesitated a little, but when I turned my back to take the imaginary cake I made out of the oven and turned back to lay it on the table, she had sat down and I smiled.
We were inseperable from that day onwards. Every morning as I stepped into nursery I looked for her, and her for me. We sat together, ate together, listened to stories together and took naps together. As we grew older we went to the same schools. Everyone said we were like sisters and would always ask where the other one was when either of us were alone. I was an only child and so was she, so our friendship was perfect for us. Our Mums became friends because of us. I was either at her house or she was at mine after school and during the holidays. Both our families went on holiday together sometimes.
As we grew older I could sense things were starting to change, she could too. We realised that there were a few things that we liked to do that were different from each other. We met different people and started to hang out together less. When we were coming to the end of college and were sitting down for coffee and cake one afternoon. We talked about how we were feeling. I will never forget that day. It was like we were closing one chapter and preparing to move onto the next. We both sat staring at our lattes, hoping the other would speak first. I looked up and caught her eye. I placed my hand gently on hers and smiled, just like the day she walked into the playhouse. We talked for what seemed like a day and left each other feeling relieved and at peace.
We had both chosen different universities. I was going off to study architecture and she was off to another to study English literature and philosophy. We were really happy for each other but also sad that the person that we had grown so close to, and knew everything about, was no longer going to be there everyday.
On the day we both left for university we held each other so tight, our heart beats almost became one. I don't think I have ever cried so much, I felt like Alice in Wonderland. We went our separate ways and wished each other luck with our new lives. It wasn't the end though, we spoke almost every day and the moment we had time off she either jumped on a train to see me or I did to her. It felt like the old days again. Our new friends grew to see us as a pair again, asking us how the other one was and when we would see the other again.
The next year I was off to Germany for a year and a half to study on the job. She stayed at University in England. We emailed a lot at first and then we both grew really busy with one thing and another, before we knew it the year and a half had passed and we hadn't spoken for a long time. I was sitting in a coffee shop one afternoon sipping a latte and staring out of the shop window. I had just arrived home from Germany and I was waiting for a friend to pick me up. As I took another sip of my latte, I caught a glance of something passing swiftly by the window. As I took a closer look I could see it was her. I took a sharp intake of breath and rushed outside calling her name, nudging the table as I went, spilling latte onto it.
I caught up with her and tapped her on the shoulder. It felt bony, hardly any flesh covered it. She slowly turned to me and the same could be said for her face. It was lifeless, her eyes looked lost in her eye sockets and there was no colour in her cheeks. It was like she was there in body but not in mind. It took her a while but slowly as she recognised me a smile began to appear across her face. She hugged me briefly and took my hand in hers. Holding it gently, not saying a word.
We walked back to the coffee shop where a waitress had kindly cleaned up the spillage. I gave her a nod and she bought over to fresh lattes. As my friend sat opposite, a million things went through my mind. What had happened to her? was she ok? why didn't she call? My friend must have sensed my bemusement. She looked down at the table and slowly told me she had been ill, very ill. The doctors said she had cancer. It had been left without being detected, so it had spread throughout her whole body and there was nothing else the doctors could do. My eyes began to well up with tears as I held her hand as tight as I could. She said she was supposed to be in the hospital right now, but she had to get out, she felt like she was going crazy in there. She didn't want to call me and worry me, I was doing so well and we hadn't spoken in awhile. She didn't want the first thing she said to me after a long time, and down the phone to be that she was dying. I felt a mixture of sadness and anger that I hadn't known sooner, that I hadn't kept in touch. She looked into my eyes knowingly, "it's ok" she said.
We sat silently sipping our latte's and staring out of the shop window. Once we had finished I called a taxi and drove her back to the hospital, all the time holding her hand and talking to her about the fun times we had had. Once we arrived at the hospital i made sure she was back in her room safely and knew I had to leave, get out of there. I couldn't see her in this state any longer. I was still trying to take it all in. I would come back in a few days.
I said I would see her later and gave her a reassuring smile.
As I hugged her I felt her letting go. This wasn't "see you later" this was "good-bye".
She died that night in her sleep. It was as if she had held on just long enough in the hope of seeing me one more time. I will always have her in my heart and the day we met at nursery will be an everlasting happy memory.
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