I’d love to say that I’m fine with it all, that I’m glad it’s all over. I’d love to put a smile on my face and, for the first time in over 10 years, mean it. I’d love to wake up and have this all be a nightmare. But I can’t.
I lost all of my friends, the ones who promised they would always be by my side through everything, in less than 24 hours. Sometimes I wish we were never friends in the first place, that I would have cut it off as soon as things started getting worse with me. I would trade in all of the happy memories, the laughing until we cried and the movie marathons when we stayed awake until we couldn't keep our eyes open anymore; I would trade all of that, if I knew that it meant they wouldn't get hurt. I’d give up everything to go back a few years and stop myself from knowing them - stop them going through any of this. I would pay any fee to make it all alright again, to wipe away all the pain that I've caused them and to give them all the opportunity to make new memories. Without me.
It wasn't fair of me to share that with stuff with any of them. I thought friends could share everything, apparently not. I thought my best friend would stick by me, like she always promised she would. But when she came up to me and asked to speak to me in private, just after a few other people had just done exactly that, I knew nothing would ever be the same again. She guided me into the staircase of our school, it was lunch time and everything was very desolate. She told me that she couldn't do it anymore. She couldn't deal with me anymore and that it was affecting her too much. That I was ruining her chances of passing her exams. That it affected her concentration and it was hurting her and our other friends too much to continue speaking to me anymore. She wanted no contact at all; no texting, no talking, and no instant messaging. She didn't even want me to acknowledge her when I walked by. Then she walked away, leaving me to break down into floods of tears, sobbing. It felt to me like she had just died, she was gone so suddenly and I couldn't handle it.
I actually don’t remember too much detail about that day; everything was a blur; like a deadly fog descending over a mountain top. I remember vague details. There are a lot of strange details, things that didn't really matter or affect what happened in any way. When she had taken me into the staircase to talk, after she had walked away I remember a poster on the wall. It was just behind her, about level with the middle of her nose. A muted beige poster screamed out in oversized black italics ‘WE NEED YOU!’ and underneath was a time and a place. I don’t remember what the poster or what the time and date were. But I remember the image on the poster. It was one that was typically used for WWI propaganda posters to recruit soldiers. It was the kind of poster that had an aggressive looking man on the front of it, pointing directly at you and appearing to stare right into your very soul. However, this poster didn't inspire me to enlist for the army; instead it made me want to cry even more. I needed them. I needed my friends. Everything seemed impossible to do without them. Who would I talk about things with? Who would text me on a Friday morning asking if they could copy my homework answers? Who would I laugh with?
In my shock and hysteria, I decided that I would rather all of my friends told me that day if they felt the same way, I hoped and prayed that they wouldn't stretch it out any longer. So I wiped the continual flood of tears as best as I could and went out to face the battle. I was defenseless, no sword or armour on. It was inevitable that things wouldn't go well. Somewhere in the confused mess that was my brain at the time, I felt like it was better to rip the plaster off straightaway than to peel it back slowly. So, as I walked towards the group of people who I once thought understood me, I could see the looks on all of their faces. I knew what was coming but I needed to hear it from them. I braced myself as I came face to face with them, uttering just five words; ‘Do you feel the same?’ They all nodded, spilling out various reasons and excuses. Everyone kept telling me how hard it was for them, their voices getting louder and louder as they tried to be heard over everyone else. None of that mattered anyway, all I could hear was a buzz of noise. I could see everyone in my entire year at school looking at me with disgust; I knew they all felt the same way. The people I thought were my closest friends didn't even look that bothered about it. The next time I saw them they were laughing and joking like nothing was wrong.
While they were all telling me this, there was a girl, we’ll call her Lily. She was standing there, makeup caked on as usual, smirking. She also said how she didn't want to know me anymore and would rather I wasn't in her life. Were we ever friends to begin with? Maybe in nursery but since then, it was like we were strangers. There’s a picture of us sitting together when we were younger, maybe 4 years old. If only I’d known then how this would all turn out. Thing is, I had always accepted her back as my friend when she drifted from group to group. I knew she didn't know who she was or who her real friends were. I was always there though, in the background, waiting for her to turn around and just come back like nothing had ever happened. But soon she began to see my weaknesses, saw that there was room for her in our close knit group of friends, if she could only push herself in further. While pushing me out at the same time. On the day I lost all of my friends, she pretended to know them. To have always been best friends with them. I doubt she knew the slightest thing about any of them. My (now old) best friend, we’ll call her Alice, Lily didn't know her at all. What was her favourite colour? Food? Drink? When is her birthday? Lily probably didn't know any of that. And yet, just because she had driven all her friends away with spreading rumours and lying, she felt like the appropriate person to take her place as Nora No-Friends was me.
After dealing with all of that, feeling like everyone I loved and cared about had just died, I went to see my guidance teacher and asked to be sent home. I broke down. I couldn't breathe, I was sweating, and I was shaking worse than ever before. I didn't just break down, I broke. Everything that was piled on top of me before had just come crashing down, shattering me into tiny pieces. To this day I’m still broken; it’s been 6 months this week. I want to share my story, for people to know that you’re not alone if you’re going through this. I’m here. And you might pick up a couple of tips along the way to help you recover. I’m broken but I’m still alive and I’m trying to pick up the pieces.
However, I’m not going to pick up the old pieces again, at least not all of them because they’re broken now. They can’t ever be fixed. They can be glued, taped and bound back together but they still won’t be the same. They won’t ever be the same again. It’s time to make new parts and start again.