Friendships Last A Lifetime, Until They Don’t…

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Driving in high school is the coolest thing. It is your first taste of freedom and doing things on your own time. For most people the first year you drive is one of the best years of your life. It was a little different for me. I had to drive my sister around all the time, to and from school, dance, and her friends’ houses, I felt like a chauffeur. The only benefit to having my license was that I also got to drive one of my close friends to school — to me this was a godsend.

Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

Every morning I would wake up 15 minutes earlier than I had to just so we could pick him up on the way to school. Every morning I would text him and he would respond almost instantly. As the school year went on and our car conversations got deeper, he began to share things with me he didn’t share with other people including his parents.

I never knew what to expect on our car rides, everything from light banter about sports to attempting to solve world hunger would come up. I knew we were going to talk about something serious when he would place his hands on his knees, it was his sign.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

One morning he got in the car and instantly put his hands on his knees — I knew something was out of the norm.

“what’s up?” I asked him

“I got a lot on my mind this morning is all,” he replied

“wanna talk about it?”

“I don’t know…. I don’t want our friendship to change..” he said with a forced smile

“Don’t worry man, nothing is gonna change us!” I said with confidence

A long silence followed.

Finally he broke the silence: “I think I’m gay”

“Hell yeah man, I’m glad you are finding your true self” I replied with a smile as we rolled up to a red light.

“How do I tell my parents?” he asked with watery eyes

“Don’t worry man your parents love you for who you are” I responded

We spent the rest of the car ride and a majority of first period in the car talking about how he was going to tell them. And on the way home he was his normal chipper self, eager to tell his parents and no longer hide things.

The next morning came and I woke up and text him ‘morning! Be there in about 20 minutes… how did everything go?’ I didn’t get a reply. I figured that his alarm hadn’t gone off and I was going to have to wake him up — this happened occasionally.

I finished getting ready for school and drove over to his house.

‘im here’ I texted him

Five minutes went by without a reply.

I tried calling him but it went right to voicemail.

Finally I figured I’d go wake him up and then we would head to school. I knew his garage door code so I typed it in and ducked under the door to get into the garage. I entered the house and it was eerily quiet.

I went to his room and knocked on the door. “Hey buddy time to wake up and start your day”

I opened the door to his room chuckling that he was a deep sleeper… my laughter quickly faded.

I was shaken by the scene in front of me. His body was hanging from the ceiling fan by his neck, a note taped to his chest with only two words ‘I’m sorry’

I snapped out of my shocked state quickly and ran over to get him down and hopefully keep him alive. As I got to his body I quickly untied the knot from the ceiling fan and watched as his body dropped like a bag of rocks. I checked for a pulse…. Nothing.

At this point I didn’t know what to do, his body was not a normal temperature, he felt cold. My eyes started to water as what was happening began to sink in. I dialed 911 and told them what had happened. They had me perform CPR on him for seven grueling minutes as I waited for help to arrive.

Once the police got there they took over and began to ask me questions. I can never remember any of them as all that was going through my mind was how I supported him in telling his parents and it must not have gone well. I felt responsible. I cried hysterically in his driveway as they rolled his lifeless body out on a stretcher covered in a white sheet.

I tried to wake up. Get out of this living nightmare. But every time I closed my eyes it became real again as his body was hanging in front of my subconscious.

My blame quickly shifted from myself to his parents as they arrived. They tried to scold me for touching his body and entering their house rather than mourning their own son. I was disgusted and appalled. As soon as they were done yelling at me I asked them one question.

“What did you say to him when he came out to you?”

Their response chilled me to my core,

“he was just a confused boy, he didn’t know what he liked.”

I told them they were absolutely fucked up and began screaming at them for killing my friend. I was removed from the scene by a police officer, his only advice for me

“Be there for others so it doesn’t happen again”

Now the only time I get those morning conversations is when I visit his grave. Don’t make the next time you chat with your friends be at a grave site, its nothing short of upsetting and lonely.

I tell this story in rememberance of one of my closest friends and as a call to every parent out there… Love your children and your friends, don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot be. Someone will love you for who you are and support you as the person you want to be. Never give up. Times may get dark but keep fighting, the light at the end of the tunnel is coming. Please share the useful tools below with anyone you think may be struggling… it may save their life.

Useful tools if you feel alone and scared:

If you need help, please call this number, it’s the suicide hotline 800–273–8255

Trevor Project hotline: (866) 488–7386 — a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13–24.

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English 306 Student at UNCW

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Colin

Colin

English 306 Student at UNCW

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