The Skeleton Tree

For the Fault In Our Stars competition.
Rowan remembers the days spent with her old best friend, Henry, who seems to have disappeared out of her life. Wanting to get their friendship back on track, Rowan finally realises why they had drifted apart in the first place.


4. 4

For the next few days, I hear nothing from Henry. Never, or at least for a few years, have I felt so lonely. I guess I had forgotton what it felt like to have a friend, and now one is back, I miss him more.

It's sad really. I used to be such a happy, normal kid, without a care in the world. Now look at me. I am a socially awkward, solitary, plain girl, who lives out my life on the outside, watching those within, never really interacting. Sometimes I look at a photo of my self as a baby and wonder how all that hope and promise just disappeared. I will never do great things, and I have to accept that. Just something in me keeps hoping that one day I will change the world. To be honest, I think it is the only thing keeping me going.

At last, he calls me. I am lying in bed, reading a book, so intensely that I hardly hear the phone ring. It is eleven at night, so I stand up, shut my bedroom door and pick up.

"Hello?" I say, quietly.

"Hi, why so quiet?"

"It's eleven, some people like to be in bed at this time." I tell him, struggling to stay in a whisper. "So what's up?"

"I just wanted to call you." He says, innocently. "There doesn't always have to be a reason."

"Okay. Sorry. I'm not used to being called." I say, before realising how much I sound like I am asking for sympathy.

Henry is silent for a while, then says. "Well you have me now, okay?"

"Yes. Thank you."

"That's alright. You want to come to mine tomorrow?" He asks, and my heart sinks in the most unexpected way. I should be happy, yet it's been ages since I was last there. It is unknown territory now, and I am no good with those. However, if I want to stick with this friendship then I should go. I need to start giving myself challenges if I am going to be normal again.

"Sure. What time?" I say.


"Okay. I'll see you then. Now if you don't mind, I might go to sleep, I am so tired."

"Okay. Night."

"Night." I say, and the phone goes silent. As I climb back into bed, I realise my heart is beating fast, and I can hear it in my head. This solitude has gotten too much, if I can't even speak to someone on the phone, then I cannot do anything. But this is Henry. Maybe it is a Henry thing, rather than an everybody thing.

As I switch off my lamp, I let my head fill with memories of my childhood. Maybe those days are not just the past, but the future too.

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