12 October 1998. It was 6 AM and I was still awake. Monday morning in Massachusetts was always beautiful. The way that the sun rose over the over mountains and shone through the trees never ceased to amaze me. I decided to do something special for my best friend Kate. It was her birthday the next day and I wanted to do something special for her. After all, we have been best friends for almost eight years.
We met in second grade when she joined my class. She had brown hair and hazel eyes. She introduced herself as Catherine and she was placed on the seat in front of me. We weren’t friends at first. In fact, we didn’t become friends until December. That day, I was walking through the cafeteria hall holding my tray of food with my friend Jared. The cafeteria hall was a mess. There were food stains on the wall and overflowing trashcans everywhere you looked. I stopped to talk to my other friends who were already eating. While this was happening, Jared thought it was a good idea to tie my shoelaces together. When I was done talking, I tried to continue walking but I tripped. Just then, Kate was walking towards me. My food flew straight in to her face and all over her clothes. The entire cafeteria saw it and laughed as if they were in a circus. She screamed and ran away. As soon as I got back to my feet, I ran around the school looking for her. I found her under the slide teary-eyed trying to clean herself off. I walked over to her and tapped her shoulder. She looked at me and she turned away in an instant. I apologized but she still would not talk to me. I felt guilty about it even if it was an accident. I apologized again. She still would not talk to me. I apologized one more time and told her that I would do anything to make it up to her. “Anything?” She asked me. “Anything” I replied and I reassured her with a promise. I told her that for as long as we live, I owed her one favor to do anything she wanted me to do.
Since then, we became best friends. We helped each other through school in the day, and talked to each other until the morning of the next day. We were always together since our parents became close friends as well. We spent our vacations together and every weekend together. A day without Kate for me was like taking the sugar out of cookies. It becomes bland, dull, incomplete, and like something was missing. I told her everything about me and she did the same. She was comforting and was always there to listen to you as well. This is why she was special to me, why I considered her my best friend, and why I wanted to do this special thing for her. I decided that I would compose a song for her.
I had been playing guitar for years as well and it is Kate who originally introduced it to me. Although she had already dropped the guitar for her ballet, I decided to continue with it. Every Tuesday since I was ten, I went down to the pier to play songs for money since I didn’t get a large allowance. Over time, I have earned over $ 3,000 down at the pier. This was the first time I had written a song for anyone so I was nervous. It was a short song, but it meant a lot and I hoped that she would like it.
I left my house that day feeling good about everything. I got to school and talked to Kate. I teased her a little about her birthday and she blushed. I told her I had something special planned for her and to meet me at the pier the next day to see it. She tried to force what it was out of me but I resisted temptation and just stood there and smiled. We went on to go through our regular day. However, at lunch, I was asked to go to the principal’s office immediately.
When I got there, Uncle John, my uncle who was visiting from Seattle, was in there. I politely said hello even if he and I never really got along yet he looked at me with an unusual look. “Daniel, your parents were in a car accident this morning.” I gasped. I could not imagine that my parents in a car crash. He continued, “Your mother is in critical condition but your father—your father–” He hesitated ”Your father is dead” I broke down, I couldn’t believe it. I was hoping I was dreaming. I pinched myself to try and wake my self up. “You’re lying! You’re a liar! They’re not dead!” I tried to run and hide but Uncle John held be back. “Come on Daniel, we have to get to the hospital we don’t have long”
We got to the hospital as quick as we could. They didn’t make me wait for long and I got in to the ER quickly. I saw my mother first, she could speak but it was hard for her. “Stay strong Daniel, don’t ever lose hope. Do not regret what life has given you. ”I was tearing and I could not reply. I just nodded and nodded. She was covered in scratches and she looked broken. She was struggling to breath and clinging on to life. She turned to my uncle John. “John, take care of Daniel, take him with you back to Seattle and watch over him there. “ “Of course, whatever you wish” he said. Just then, they wheeled out my father’s dead body. I could not look. It was too painful for me. I said one last goodbye to him, even if he could not hear me. I stayed at his side and closed my eyes. All of a sudden, I heard the heart monitor behind me beeping.
Flat line. I turned around hoping that it was anyone but my mother but to no avail. She was dying. They tried to revive her with the defibrillator. “CLEAR!” the doctor screamed her body reacted but there was no change. He tried again. “CLEAR!” it didn’t work they tried and tried “CLEAR—damn—CLEAR–Damn” I tried to keep hope alive but it was slowly fading. I had to run out of the room. I could not take it. I waited outside for the news. I was outside for an hour just hoping for good news. Uncle John came out of the room with a solemn look on his face and he told me the news. “She didn’t make it. I’m Sorry” I didn’t want to believe him but I just had to accept the truth. I left the hospital knowing that my life would never be the same again.
We had the funeral the next day. I hadn’t told anyone about it. I had forgotten about the entire world. All I knew was that my parents were dead, I was moving to Seattle, and my life wouldn’t be the same again. It was a small outdoor funeral. It had started to rain before the service started so people brought out their umbrellas. Only family and close friends were invited. It was a short service and I left directly after it. I didn’t want to talk to anyone or see anyone. I wanted to get everything over with and done. I stayed home and stayed in my room for the entire night.
I was told to pack my bags the and that night. We got to the airport and I saw Kate there. She gave me a hug, a kiss on the check and a few reassuring words. Right before I was about to go to the gate, she tapped me on my shoulder and I turned she said “Can I ask you for that favor now?” I wondered why she would do it now but I said sure. “Promise me you’ll keep in touch. Write to me once a month call me or something. Just promise me that we’ll keep in touch with each other”. I responded simply just saying yes, and then out of nowhere, she kissed me. It was my first kiss, and as far as I knew, it was hers too. I grinned but immediately frowned at the thought of leaving her here. I was about to leave her until I remembered about her birthday gift. I mentioned it but she said not to tell her. “It gives us a reason to meet again.” I left her that day not knowing what I felt about it. I had mixed feelings about her and everything around me. The only thing I knew is that I was leaving everything I knew behind for a new life in Seattle.
September 1, 2000. I have been living in Seattle for more than two years now. Honestly, I do not like living here. For the first few months, I didn’t have any friends or at least no close friends. Everyone in my school was polite to me but I never made a connection. I was only surviving through my letters with Kate. Her letters made me feel like I was still in Boston with her. I didn’t like my new school, my new environment, my home, or my Uncle John. He was too overprotective of me. He didn’t let me go down to the pier alone and I was not allowed to do much. He had this routine he wanted me to follow all the time. Wake up – Shower – Eat Breakfast – Go to school – Come home from school – Do homework – Shower again – Eat dinner – Play scrabble – Go to sleep. It irked me how he wanted me to follow this routine over and over and over again.
In school, my teachers do not pay attention to me. My “friends” treat me like an outsider. Although they do talk to me and sort of act how friends should act, they are not the best of friends. Ian is cool to hang out with and likes playing video games but he can get crazy wild in parties and in daily life. He shouts out random things, and is emotional he’s always preoccupied with his girlfriend Carla as well so I barely spend any time with him. Colette is smart. She is nice and talks to me a lot but she treats me as if I am her pet. Then there is George. He can be nice at times but is really like a bully to me and other people he’s a cliché jock. He feels it is like he is joking around with us but I can get annoying after a while.
I have gotten somewhat depressed recently as Kate stopped writing back to me. I try occasionally to write to her but all I can do is hope that she will write back to me. Overall, life in Seattle is not pleasant. If it weren’t for my mom telling me to live with Uncle John I would still be living in Boston, maybe even with Kate but I am stuck here and I cannot do anything about it.
Today I got home from school excited because Colette invited me to a movie tonight and I was excited to come. I really needed it. It was the first time someone had asked me to go out with them after Kate had stopped writing to me. I felt I really needed this for me to be able to fit in and to become better friends with Colette and her friends. I did my homework, and took a shower. I asked Uncle John if I could go to the movie. He just said no as soon as I mentioned going out. “Why can’t I go out?” I said. “Because I said so.” He replied. “And how is that a good reason” I was shouting already in retaliation. “Just listen to me and stay in” He said with an annoyed face. “I want to go out!” I screamed at him. He paused for a while. Then he flared his nostrils, and opened his mouth and started to scream at me. “NO! And just for screaming at me, you are grounded! No television or going out for you. Now go to your room!”
I was shocked. It was the first time I had ever been grounded. Not even my parents did that to me. I ran to my room and slammed the door shut. I sat in my chair thinking about what just happened and what I was going to do. I thought that I could just accept the fact the he was taking control over my life and move on. Wait for another opportunity to go out or I could just run away in an instant and never talk to him again. I packed a suitcase of clothes, got my earnings from playing at the dock and my guitar, and climbed out of my window. I left my stuff in a locker from in the subway. I went to the Theater and waited for Colette there. I sat outside the theater for an hour and no one came. I stood up to leave and it started raining. “Great!” I thought to myself, Things couldn’t get any worse than this. Or at least I thought so, till I realized it was only raining over me. The rain stopped and I looked up. It was George, and Ian laughing it up on the roof, with an empty bucket. I was confused. What were they doing up there? Why did they have that bucket? I kept asking myself questions. Why did they do this? Why – I stopped. The puzzle formed in my head and I was pissed about it. I screamed at them. “How could you guys do this to me I thought you were my friends!” They just kept laughing. Just then, the water started to smell ripe. “What did you guys throw down?!” They kept laughing. “Damn! Will you guys just tell me?” I’ve never seen them so red faced in my life. It was like they were in a mad house and started going crazy. They kept laughing till I recognized the smell. “How could you guys dump piss on me!” When they heard me they started laughing even louder. I ran away from them to get the laughing out of my head but it was like a recording in my head. I ran to the park and my fell asleep on the bench that night with my clothes still drenched.
I woke up that morning with a bad headache and a nagging cough. My clothes were still wet and I was so cold. I smelled like someone threw up on me and I cleaned it up with sewer water. “I have to get out of these clothes.” I thought to myself. I went to the nearest port-o-potty, and changed in there and dumped my used clothes in to the toilet. I went to the nearest clothes store and bought a new pair of clothes as well as a hoodie. I went to a camping store and bought a lantern and sleeping bag as well. I had to decide my next move. Where was I going to go? What will I do? How will I get there? I walked around town thinking about this, and honestly, I was lost. I heard my stomach growl and felt the stomach pains. I tried to remember the last time I had eaten. I couldn’t remember.
I went to the Burger King across the block and ordered their biggest sandwich I could see and ordered a large coke as well. When I opened my wallet, the answers to my questions were found. There in my wallet, was a photo of Kate and I on our trip to Peru for a school trip. It was then I knew the only place I could go was to back to Boston. It only made sense to go back.
“ I’m coming back Kate, just wait. I’m coming back…”
I decided I was going to take a train to go back to Boston. It was the quickest way by land and it was the most straightforward. Before I left, I snuck back in to my house and took some other things with me. Uncle John wasn’t home at the time. He was probably at work or something. I took a shower while I was there, I took some photos and my guitar and I left ass quick as I could, trying not to leave a trace.
I got to the train station at one pm. My train left at four PM so I had time to kill. I decided to get some lunch first then I took a nap on the bench. While I was sleeping, I dreamt about Kate. I dreamt about that day I left her. The day she kissed me and how I was so confused. When I woke up, it was three thirty PM. And my train was just about to arrive.
I was sad and depressed about everything. About the thought of leaving again and about what my “friends” had done to me. I was mad but I tried to get it off my mind. I tired to think about Kate. She was the only thing in the world that mattered anymore. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t know why I get up in the morning, why I exist, why I’m still trying to live everyday to the fullest.
I got on the train and fixed my stuff and I got comfortable. The train left right on schedule and I was on my way. I said goodbye to Seattle and everything it had given me. I thought about the memories I had here whether they were good or bad. I waved outside one last time and I never looked back again.
The train was going to take three days to get to Boston so I had a lot of time to waste. I spent most of my time in my cart. The train itself was hellish. I was dirty and unmaintained. The lights didn’t work half the time and I kept running in to bad luck everywhere. I had lost my guitar and some money and my cart kept malfunctioning. I was starting to take this as an omen. I was starting to doubt if I ever should have left Seattle.
What if Kate isn’t there anymore? What if she doesn’t remember me? What if she never really cared for me at all? What if I never get to Boston? What if I’m dreaming? What if I never left Seattle? What if I never even left Boston? What if my parents didn’t really die? What if… All of a sudden reality didn’t seem so real. Everything seemed to be out this world. Nothing seemed to be real. The three days went by quickly and soon I was back in Boston.
I took a taxi back to my house. On the way there I passed by my old school. I was still the same as I remember. I passed by the old park and the library that was down the block from my house. There were so many places and things that I could remember from Boston. So many memories were ruing back from when I was here. I can’t believe that I was home. I finally got to my house. I went inside and explored. It had barely been touched. All our old things were still in the house. I started to cry. I missed this all so much. I couldn’t believe I was here. I started to tear a little bit. Now I really thought I was in a dream. I thought it was impossible for me to ever come back. I sat down on my old dining table, overwhelmed by all that came back to me. I was silent. Everything was silent. I finally calmed down and got my head on straight again. It was 12 noon and Kate wasn’t home till 6. I had started to question everything again and I started to get dizzy and light headed. I decided to sleep till Kate got home to clear my mind. I started to dream about her again. She was the only thing left in the world that mattered to me. Nothing else was important anymore. I just wanted to see Kate. I wanted to be in her arms and tell her that I loved her and I miss her and I never want to leave her again. I wanted everything to be back to normal. I wanted everything to be right again. Everything else didn’t matter anymore. If she wasn’t here, I didn’t know what I would do. I dreamt of her again that night. I hadn’t stopped thinking about her ever since I left her. I missed her.
When I woke up, it was seven in the evening. I rushed over to Kate’s house. I was going to finally do what I set out to do. I was running there. I couldn’t help it. It was like she was calling me towards her. I finally got to her house, the big beautiful house that I loved. I knew every corner of it, every nook and cranny. I ran up to her front lawn and to the side of the house where Kate’s room was. There was a fencing there as always. I climbed up as quick as I could. I inched my way up to her window till I could see her through the window. She looked perfect as always. She was just sitting in her room talking on the phone. She looked exactly the same, like nothing had changed. I wanted to gaze at her forever. I was about to enter when the door opened. A guy came in. He was tall, and tan. He was bulky and looked like a jock cliché. I hid from their view, being able to peek at them. I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but I didn’t need to. As soon as he entered the room, he walked over, and kissed her on the cheek. She reciprocated it by kissing him. They were approaching each other slowly. They were on a direct course for each other, doomed to collide. I started to climb down. I thought she loved me. I thought she cared about me. I thought that she would never leave me. Everything I thought wasn’t real. This had to be a dream; she would never do this to me. I ran a way from her house. I ran as fast as I could. I ran and ran and ran. I ran past my house, my old school, the playground, everything I once new and it all looked different. I ran on and on. I couldn’t feel any pain in my body anymore except for my heart. I ran so fast I didn’t even realize I bumped in to someone.
“Hey Kid! Watch where you’re going.” He held me back but I tried to run more. “Kid where are you going?” I was angry and mad I just wanted to run away. I couldn’t hear the guy it was all just muffled nonsense. I kicked him by accident and he got really pissed. He picked me up by my collar and stared to shout. “Hey punk you better watch it, or else!” He was talking so fast and he was so angry I couldn’t understand what he was saying, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to leave here and leave everything I knew. He was still talking when I interrupted him. I started shouting at him. “You know what if you’re going to hit me, just do it! I don’t care anymore! Do whatever you want! Nothing matters anymore! So punch me, I won’t feel it. You and everything else don’t matter anymore I just want to get out of here so just punch me or let me go!” That did it. He snapped and punched me.
I woke up about an hour later still on the sidewalk with my jaw throbbing. I looked around and I was on the pier. I walked around looking at everything that was there. Everything was new and everything was unfamiliar. There were new buildings and an amusement park there. Everything had changed. I couldn’t believe it. I walked and walked around and I ended up on a cliff overlooking the sea.
This ever-changing world wasn’t for me. Everything has to change, nothing stays constant. This life isn’t meant for me. I looked down at the waves crashing in to the mountains. I saw Kate and everything else I had left behind. This world wasn’t real. It couldn’t be real. I knew there was only one way out of this world. I had to take a leap. I looked down one last time and jumped. I was falling, leaving all my memories behind. I was falling down and couldn’t stop. I was falling down and hit the water and everything turned to darkness. I was happy now. I was safe. I didn’t feel alone. I was at peace.