I wanted to die.

the world felt empty without him and it was not a place I wanted to be. my brother meant everything to me and it felt impossible to keep going knowing he was gone. I contemplated how I would do it, razor. pills. kitchen knife, as I walked down the hall the morning after we got the phone call. I didn’t want to be here, everyone staring and offering their empty apologies. the scene between second and third period hadn’t helped quiet the whispers or avert the stares. I really hadn’t meant to yell at her like that, but I needed her to back off. she was only making things worse.

I didn’t have the strength to sit through another class, silently crying and unable to hide from the curious eyes surrounding me. I just couldn’t. as everyone scurried off down halls and up staircases to beat the final bell, I settled onto the floor in front of a row of lockers. as I sat there with my head resting on my knees and my hood pulled over my head to block out the light, I closed my eyes and wished it all away.

my name sounded like honeyed words spilling from his lips

he didn’t come with empty apologies or pity-filled eyes, instead, he talked to me like it was any other day, and reminded me that I was late for class. so witty and sarcastic. whether he knew it in that moment, I’ll probably never know, but his blase demeanor was everything I needed. all day people had been walking on eggshells and their solicitousness only made me feel more fragile. I needed a distraction, I needed moments that made me forget, even for a second, that I was suffering from the greatest pain of my life.

I laughed

he held out his hand and helped me from the floor. his smile was a comfort and, for the second time that day, I did something other than cry. he walked beside me until I reached my classroom door, then he nodded with a slight grin and disappeared around a corner.

our story has just barely begun

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