Thursday, June 12, 2008
I graduated valedictorian, was the first thing she ever said to me. She was bright, funny and pretty and we became fast friends. Soon we were inseparable and decided to get an apartment together. Our days were spent working to buy new outfits for the weekend. Saturday afternoons we’d dye our hair a wild color and paint each other’s nails getting ready for a night out. It was the 80’s, we were young and we drank too much and experimented with drugs. We relished the feeling of invincibility that only the young can truly experience.
One night after a marathon of dancing we headed home and started chatting into the wee hours of the morning. Our noses burning and gums numbed from cocaine, we passed a joint back and forth trying to relax. It was that special time, when you feel as if you’re the only ones awake in the world. A time secrets were shared. She tells me she tried to commit suicide a few times. I’m shocked and I ask her why. “I hear voices, she says quietly. I was put on Thorazine when I was a teenager.” I'm not quite sure what to say to her, I ask her if she still hears voices.
“Sometimes she whispers, but not like I used to.” I grab her hand and squeeze and tell her we’ll always be best friends. A couple more hits off the joint and we become drowsy and drift off to our beds for some much needed sleep.
The next six months we keep up this frantic pace, working long hours and then the crazy weekends. One particularly cold Friday night we decide to go to the bar around the corner. The roads were bad and we didn’t want to chance driving. The bar is dimly lit and practically empty, but an attractive guy with long blond hair watches as we take our seats. He makes a beeline for Lauren, they always did. We discover his name is Brian and he orders drinks for all of us. I’m beginning to feel like a third wheel, as they are deep in conversation. Finishing my drink I tap Lauren on the shoulder to let her know I was ready to go home. She says she is going to stay a little longer. I head for the door and ask her to please give me a call if she is going to stay out all night.
Brian begins to take up more and more of Lauren’s time. I feel left out and a bit jealous. I decide to go out with some co-workers on the weekend, because I think she and Brian would rather be alone. But it is not the same. Having more time to myself, I start taking on more responsibility at work. The wild weekends become a thing of the past, as I am much too busy to go out. At the end of the year, I am rewarded for my efforts with a raise and a promotion. I call Lauren to see if she would like to go out to dinner to celebrate and she readily agrees. I’m tired, but excited about the promotion and at the prospect of spending some time with Lauren. I have missed my best friend.
I enter the apartment and I’m stunned to find it in shambles. Cushions on the couch and chairs upturned, every container opened and the contents scattered and clothes in jumbled heaps on the floor. Lauren is in the middle of the chaos rocking back and forth with two black streaks running down her face from her mascara.
I’m terrified! I ask her what happened as I kneel down beside her. "Make them stop laughing, she whispers. They won’t stop laughing." I hug her close and tell her no one is laughing. Finally, with much coaxing I get her to lie down and she eventually falls asleep. I decide to call her father and tell him what has happened. A half an hour later he is there and he takes Lauren home with him.
Filled with anxiety, I can barely sleep that night. The next morning her father calls to tell me she is in the hospital for observation.
to be continued...
copyright Sherry Obsheatz