It’s hard to stare in the mirror without thinking that today is the day that I would have to say goodbye. My eyes still have the remnants of last night’s tears. I leave out a sigh and plastered on some makeup. Today, I would have to say goodbye to people who’ve mattered and maybe even spare a glance to that one bully I had in 3rd grade... That is if I see him.
I head down the stairs, putting on my joker’s mask, greeting everyone a sweet good morning. It would seem like my parents were wearing the same mask as I did. Mom was fixing up a batch of potato hash, Dad kept staring at the same page of the newspaper, while I sipped at the sweet, creamy coffee. This will be my last cup.
“Where are you off to today?” Mom asked.
“I’m off to school to see Liz. She said she made me something nice. I wanted to see it for myself.” I said to her. She didn’t face me as I gave her my answer. The hash started burning slightly.
Dad peeks from his newspaper. “Come back safely.”
I put on my warmest and comfiest clothes and walked to school. It’s been 7 months, 6 days, 3 hours and 24 seconds since I last seen the halls, the classrooms, the teachers and my friends. Liz, who said, would meet me at the entrance of the cafeteria, is late, as usual.
Who knew I would have to say goodbye so soon. I’m only in my sophomore year. I could still join a lot of activities, make more friends, eat more sloppy joes, read more books in the library, go on dates. I stand at the entrance, smiling slightly. Tempting as it is to let the warm tears flood onto my cheeks, I didn’t want to ruin the image I wanted to leave people with. People start to pass by me, smiling, and I do so too. Whispers start to quiver through the halls and the anxious noise builds up slowly. They knew of course. It wasn’t a secret to hide, anyway. Liz is too late.
What was it that I still wanted to do? Go to the aquarium with my family? Travel to another country? Write a book? Ahhh, so many things, left to dust. There’s still so many things to do. So many possibilities, so many stories for me to make. I feel betrayed.
Liz arrives, forcing a smile. She had on her hands a small paper bag, with a ribbon laced to close it up.
“Okay, what is that?” I ask her.
She doesn’t answer immediately, as if she wasn’t listening. “Huh? Oh. Uhh, this is a mixtape. My brother, Tyler. You remember him?”
How could I forget Tyler? He was the first guy I ever liked. He’s a little odd because he doesn’t like to fit in to the norms of society. He like heavy metal music but all the hipstery stuff too. He makes macaroni towers and he has a pet iguana. He also won $50 on the instant lottery. Liz knows how I feel about Tyler and she feels slightly weird about it, but she doesn’t need to worry about it now.
“Yeah, of course. Tyler. Anyway, a mixtape? What gave you that idea?”
She motions for us to go sit down. I am getting quite tired. “We saw The Perks of Being A Wallflower before, right? And you said that mixtapes were awesome, so I decided that maybe I should get all the as many songs of your favourite bands. You said, you love Imagine Dragons, right? That they’re your most favourite band ever?” Her voice is starting to crack and her eyes were already welling up with tears. Her body is shaking slightly and her face was starting to redden. She faces me and her voice raises into a shout.
“You’re so unfair, you know? I thought we were gonna go to the same schools and stay at the same dorm? I thought we were gonna switch boyfriends, get married at the same time and have children who had the same birthday? What happened to that? I can’t think of doing all these things with another person! You are my best friend, why are you leaving me!?”
She holds onto the mixtape, as if her life depended on it and starts to bawl out, her voice echoing through the school. She slumps forward, her tears raining down. I try to hold my own. I can’t break now. I think I’ve been broken far enough.
“I don’t want to go, of course. I mean, what 17 year old would like that anyway?” I rub her back, comforting her with my words. “But I’m sure that whatever happens, you’ll still be happy, because a lot of people love you. I love you and that won’t ever change. You’ll forever be my best friend and confidant. That’s already cast in stone. I’ll watch over you. I promise.” I go in for a hug and she cries harder.
After a while, she stops crying. She hands me the mixtape. “Listen to that okay? Make sure you listen to that tonight or earlier. Just please, listen to it. Treasure it, even just for today.”
I nod at her incessantly. “Thank you. And yes, I will. I will listen to it carefully and tell you what I think if I can call you. But I promise to listen to it. I will.” I start to walk ahead. “Oh by the way, tell Tyler, thanks for everything.”
Liz waved goodbye. The school said goodbye. The earth, the wind and the sky said their goodbyes. The clock is ticking fast. Goodbye, kind, cruel world. Thank you. Goodbye.