Grade School- We met in 1st grade and learned to read and write together. Her dad was my bus driver and also a school board member. They lived just up the road. Then tragedy struck when her older brother accidentally shot and killed her younger brother. My friend was there when it happened. She never spoke of it.
High School- We were in a lot of the same groups and activities together: band, choir, volleyball, track, speech, and drama. We shared rides to school events. Sometimes in the summer, we would meet up to swim and sunbathe at the lake. We listened to the radio, scoped out the boys, and talked about almost everything. Her oldest brother did some jail time for drug trafficking. She was worried when she spoke of him, but always hopeful.
Post high school- I went to college and got married. Her oldest brother was found murdered in another state. I went to his funeral. That may have been the last time I ever saw my friend. I tried to contact her for class reunions, but her parents had me mail her invitations to them. She didn't attend. There were always rumors of problems: a marriage gone bad, problems with the law, and finally mental problems.
This weekend my friend died. She hadn't been feeling well for about a month. When she finally saw a doctor, they said the cancer had spread throughout her body and that she wouldn't last a week. She didn't. In just a few days, she slipped into a coma and died. Alone.
Hers was a life of tragedy. I'll never know what she went through. I'll never know what her family went through. I only know that the horrors of her life are over. No more demons can haunt her.
Goodbye, old friend. May you finally rest in a peace you never found on earth.
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