A Year Without Johnny

Harry Mitchell is a young boy whos best friend commited suicide. Since the event, even more terrible situations have come to pass and Harry is left making heart wrenching decisions. This is his letter that lets you into his life, his thoughts and feelings, as he lives a year without Johnny.


3. Two months without Johnny

So, it was a month later that I eventually returned home. I can still smell the fresh paint my father had slapped on the gate in an attempt to cover the rust. I loathed being back in that garden. The cracked path and discoloured plant pots filled with nothing but mud were nothing to brighten my mood.

I stepped to the door. The last time I stood there, my bags had been packed barely an hour and I was waving my mother goodbye. Her face so sympathetic.

The door was unlocked, as per usual, and immediately the sound of my mother’s old radio filled my ears. I must admit that I did love that.

I barely recognised the sound of my mother’s own voice as she called to me from the kitchen, thinking I was my father. The second she found out it was me, the radio was of and she was beside me in an instant. It seemed to her as if I was some form of illusion or something. In hind sight, it would have been a good idea to let her know the date of my return.

I remember so clearly her telling me that she didn’t think I would ever return. Her arms wrapped around me and a slight whimper approaching her lips. She didn’t usually cry.

That was when my father came downstairs, complaining to my mother about his tie or something similar. He stopped in his tracks when he saw me. His expression was dark and cold. We had never possessed a steady relationship and, honestly, I think he hated the thought of having me back home.

The rest of the day consisted of my mother groping over my photos from France. She was quite insistent that she saw them and heard all about my experience while I was over there. It saddens me to think that it was the first time she had ever show real interest in my life.

It was later on that she started a proper interrogation of how I was feeling after the ‘Johnny incident’. I didn’t want to answer so shrugged my way through most of it, until she mentioned Lizzie. Mum told me how Lizzie took a turn for the worse after her brother committed suicide and that she was handling it all pretty badly. I never even considered Lizzie’s feelings in my state of grief.

I visited Lizzie the following day. She looked terribly ill but that was seen as ‘normal’ in her status of depression, her face was so pale and bony, her body withered away. Her normally shiny, brunette hair was knotted and darker, somehow. Black surrounded her green eyes, a forest haunted by a shadow, and it was clear to me that she was deprived of sleep, just as I had been.

Her expression was so unreadable when I entered. There was nothing but a vacant glance, and a cold one at that. She wasn’t the person I remembered her to be. Instead, she was a corpse searching hopelessly to find her soul so she could feel once again.

Her room had always been a dark place as it was lay at the back of the house, Johnny’s was the front bedroom, so the only thing that let me see Lizzie’s face was a small lamp close to her, flickering lightly. I offered to change the bulb. She regarded me. The flashing light was something she seemed to enjoy and I feel as if this was because it masked her feelings, on and off, unsteady and broken.

As I sat beside her, her hand rest on my knee and she squeezed excruciatingly hard. Her eyes never left the opposite wall. I couldn’t understand why she was doing it until she spoke.

“I thought you were my friend,” she cried out, forcing me to turn to face her. “Where were you, Harry? Why weren’t you here?” I couldn’t reply. Not even as she started to whimper. “Did you think it was my fault?” She continued.

I put those accusations to rest straight away. It was nobody’s fault, or so I thought. I didn’t really understand why Johnny had jumped or how the hell he found it necessary to leave us - leave me - without some form of explanation.

I asked Lizzie to come out somewhere with me and her only reply was that there was no point in going out. Apparently, there was no point in anything anymore. I couldn’t grasp what she meant or why she was feeling so depressed.

I slowly pulled Lizzie tightly into a hug. She was quick to jolt as a soft cry made its way past her lips. She was in clear pain and that was when I noticed the most obvious obscurity. Bandages filled her arms. I don’t think she cared about them though as, even when I started to remove one, she seemed oblivious to them.

Her arm was filled with cut after cut, burn after burn, pain after unspeakable pain. It was my turn to whimper, catching her eye. Her attention turned to her destroyed arms, red and white. She was unfazed by what she saw. I wonder what she must have been feeling to do such a monstrosity. How much of a terrible state she must have been in the do that, to make herself feel physical pain, while coping with mental. I could only imagine how much blood she would have shed, but I ultimately wondered if her heart had bled more.

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