20 Letters.

I thought my best friend had committed suicide, 20 letters have now shown me otherwise.

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3. Discovery

Quiet.

That's all I ever hear now.

It's not a good quiet though. It's a sickening, heart-wrenching quiet that makes me want to completely submerse myself into its deep nothingness. The quiet reminds me that my only friend is never coming back to say "Hi" or "I love you" to me ever again.

I lean my head against the cool pane of the bus window. I wish I knew earlier that Julianne loved me. I wish I knew earlier that she wanted to die. But maybe I knew all of those things all along, and I just didn't want to admit it. I was too scared to face what was right in front of me.

"This movie's so long Alex, I'm getting tired."

"It's Alexander, and you're the one who wanted to watch Die Hard again not me."

"Ugh, OK, geez, you don't gotta point fingers. Can I lie down with you?"

"Um, I guess-"

"Thanks."

"Hey! You said with me not on me! And Jesus you're heavy!"

"What? You don't want your best friend in the whole entire world to lie on you?"

"Not really, I actually enjoy my personal space."

"Well I don't care what you want, because I like being this close to you."

"..."

"Hey, don't take this question seriously, but what would you do if I disappeared out of your life forever? Like just really randomly."

"Hmm, well, I would probably disappear too just so that I could be with you."

"What? Seriously?"

"I don't know, maybe; it depends on what you wanted my answer to be."

"You're such an asshole."

"What? What the hell did I do wrong?"

"Nothing, just forget it."

"Look, it's a hypothetical situation right? You don't have to take it so seriously. Yeah, I get it, we're both obviously gonna die one day, but there's nothing we can really do about it you know? So in the end, as long as you're with me now, that's all that really matters."

"That's true, I guess. And how did you know I was even talking about death?"

"Well, that's the only way you would ever leave me right? If you died?"

"Um, yeah, right."

When I talked to her that night, it never even once crossed my mind that her "disappearing" would be the result of her killing herself. I always thought that Julianne and I would stay close forever, that we would just die of old age you know? I never thought that it would come to an end so quickly. I took her for granted, and maybe yeah, deep down somewhere I did have feelings for her, but I didn't want those feelings to ruin our friendship. I didn't want anything to ruin our friendship.

"Hey, you alright over there?" I hear a voice suddenly zone into my consciousness. I glance over to where the voice came from. It's a boy, he looks to be my age or just a bit older. He has a buzz cut of red hair and the palest skin that I think I've ever seen in my life. His dark green eyes are gazing at me warily.

I blink and immediately feel some wetness trickling down my cheeks. Shit, am I crying? God, I probably look like an idiot right now. I quickly wipe away my tears and nod to him. "I-I'm fine thanks," I spit out awkwardly.

"You sure about that? 'Cause you kinda looked like you were about to explode into a river of sadness for a second." He laughs softly.

I give him a weird look. Why does he even care? I know he's trying to help me, but his words, his voice, they mean nothing to me. How can he even give a shit when he doesn't even know what I'm dealing with?

He puts his hands up in defense and leans back slowly into his seat. "Sorry man, didn't meant to offend you, just tryna be a good citizen of the Earth."

I try not to laugh at his words. A good citizen of the Earth huh? What does that even mean anymore?

**

I climb off of the bus at my stop. I can feel the boy's eyes on me as I walk towards my house, but I don't turn back to meet his gaze. It doesn't mean anything to me. Everything in this god damn world no longer means anything to me anymore.

I reach my house and I unlock the door slowly. The door creaks loudly into the dark, empty space, ricocheting off of the walls and bouncing into the floors. A house of quiet.

My mom is usually never home before me, so it gives me about an hour or two more to continue suffering silently.

Every day I walk into the same hallway that Julianne left that night to her death. Every day I walk into the same hallway where I was told that I was never going to see my best friend again. Every day, it hurts more, and more.

I walk upstairs, struggling to push the suffocating lump back down into my throat as I do. Every day is the same God damn thing, the same god damn thoughts, the same fucking feelings and emotions. Every day I get closer and closer to wanting to be wherever Julianne is right now.

I tread to my room, my chamber of darkness.

I love your room Alexander, it's so relaxing and comfortable.

"Really? I honestly don't see it that way.

"That's because you don't always have somebody watching you while you're in it."

"Wait, what did you say? I didn't hear you."

"It's nothing, I was just talking to myself."

"OK. Hey, can you pass me that sweater over there?"

"Oh yeah, your favourite maroon hoodie? You wear this thing like there's no tomorrow."

"Well like you said, it's my favourite hoodie."

Wait, my favourite hoodie. What even happened to that thing?

I drop my bag onto the floor with a loud "thump" and pace over to my closet. It's not there. I glance quickly around my room. But where the hell could it be? I haven't worn it since Julianne was alive, to be honest, it could be anywhere.

"Yeah. Oh, by the way, is it alright if I take a quick nap here? It's been a pretty long day, and I'm too lazy to go home."

"Um, I guess so if you really want to. I'm just gonna be doing some homework over here."

"K, good night for now best friend."

I walk over to my bed. Why the hell would it even be here? My first instinct is to check underneath it, except there's nothing there just like I thought. But then I remember Julianne's frail figure lying on my sheets that I haven't changed in such a long time. I can still smell her on them. I know, that's weird, but I honestly don't care; I loved the way she smelled. It made me so feel safe and at home.

My hands for some reason then, reach for my mattress and lift it up slowly. My flattened sweater lays in the middle of my box spring, staring back at me like I'm an idiot. When did I even put this thing underneath here? I reach for it and pull it out carefully towards me.

Shit, this thing is as flat as a pancake. How long has it been under here I wonder. I shake it out to get rid of some of the wrinkles, and a slightly crumpled envelope flutters down suddenly onto my toes.

I stare at it for a long time, suddenly feeling scared and highly suspicious. I bend down slowly and pick it up.

"What is this?" I whisper to myself as I inspect it. There's a small number one in the corner of the envelope, and my stomach immediately drops when I see it.

This, T-This is Julianne's writing; I-I'm sure of it.

B-But how?

 
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