Hysterical Friendship.

                 “Hey hon,” said Rosa sticking her cell phone between her shoulder and her ear, “Did the Suns win, or did you just miss me?”

                “No, it’s- I gotta tell you something.” He had a contemplative, drawn out voice that usually would have already had her beaming, but something in his tone hinted that she should brace herself.

                “What?” she asked, fighting the trembling of premature panic.

                “It’s… it’s Becky.”

                The June air started to feel icy as it blew in thorough the screen.

                “What about her?” His tone was sickening her with worry and she felt her hands slowly starting to shake.

                “She’s- she…”

                “What about her Eli?!”

                “She attempted suicide.”

                Rosa could no longer feel herself, the blackness and the hysteria came charging at her before she even had time to blink. Her heart felt like it was falling out of her chest as she began to gurgle incoherently.

                Her body felt too small to contain this as her voice sobbed into the phone.

                “No! No! Eli! Where is she?! Where- where?!”

                “Methodist Hospital.”

                Rosa was flying around the room, willing all the numb and frozen useless parts of her body to find her car keys.

                “There’s something else.” Rosa heard Eli’s voice in the phone she’d completely forgotten was in her hand.

                “No, no. What?!”

                Shards of daylight were scattered in beams as she struggled to pull herself together enough to walk out of the room.

                “She blamed you.”

 

&&&

 

                The parking lot smelled like gas and French fries from the Hardee’s across the street.

                The steering wheel felt taut and bloated under its incasing of leather.

                The red Honda in front of her looked a little too new, a little too shiny.

                It was too quiet. Too absent of any kind of noise that could possibly battle with the uproar that was going in between her ears.

                When five minutes passed, she felt like vomiting.

                When six minutes passed, she felt like leaving.

                When nine and a half minutes passed, she went inside.

                Eli was there at the entrance waiting for her and she didn’t protest when he came to wrap his arms around her. They’d always been a miracle drug of sorts, but today they did nothing to allay the soft panic that curled up in her toes and sizzled in her heart. Other than the panic, she felt nothing, just numbness.

                “It was terrible Rose,” he muttered into her hair.

                Some animal instinct told her that he needed comfort too. She blindly fumbled at his back and shoulders, trying to find a landing point for the fierce pressure she could provide.

                “I come-,” he cleared his throat, “I come home and all these ambulances are surrounding her house. There’s a crowd and a stretcher and police tape.” He still hadn’t let go and his messy, rushed sentences were right on her ears.

                “She jumped out the window. The highest one too. She just jumped. Cracked spine, cracked skull, broken leg. Thank God she’s alive. We’ve been- we’ve been friends since forever, and I just, I just…”

                “Mmh.” Rosa felt the suckerpunch of fear mixed with surrealism.

                “I want to see her,” she said, pulling away.

                Eli shifted his glance to the window.

                “The note-,” his voice cracked, “The note,” he continued after clearing his throat, “was crumpled up beside her. Aaron told me, he had it in his hand. And, and I read it and…”

                “And what?” She didn’t want to hear, but she needed to.

                “It said, ‘I couldn’t be Rosa.’”

 

&&&

 

                She walked into the room without thinking, because without thoughts her feelings had nowhere to land.

                She looked small. Of course she always looked small. But right then, pale against the sheets, Becky simply exuded juvenilia and vulnerability.

                “Do you have to come in here like that?” asked Becky, some kind of unspecific contempt spinning outward from her.

                Rosa’s preplanned words stuck in her throat.

                “Like what?”

                “Too beautiful.”

                Rosa didn’t say anything. She watched the sunshine out the window without seeing the way it illuminated her cerulean eyes.

                She sealed her lips and nodded swiftly before walking out.

                It was ten minutes before she returned, hair slicked tight against her scalp in a low ponytail and every vestige of make-up gone from her face. Red borders rimmed her eyes and made it look like she’d been either crying or scrubbing too fiercely.

                The silence felt a little like airborne nausea. Rosa tried not to occupy her mind with anything other than the feeling of her arms crossed over her torso as she walked back in.

                Her throat caught and her voice stumbled as she attempted to say something, anything.

                “Better?”

                “Hardly.”

                “Becky?!”

                “What?”

                Becky’s eyes were gently emitting only a small fraction of the hate that leaked out through her words.

                Rosa slowly made her way to the uncomfortable-looking bedside chair and sat. She pressed her nose between a pair of folded hands and let a few stray tears escape. The only thing she could see, feel, or smell was the mixture of skin, snot, and saltwater.

                “Why would you do this?” she asked quietly.

                “Like you don’t know.”

                “I don’t!”

                “Please.”

                Rosa wasn’t acquainted with the Becky that attempted suicide. The one swaddled in plaster who had eyes like stone. But she was best friends with the Becky that hated to fail, the one who kept a bit of angst always in her back pocket, the one that never gave up.

                “I just don’t understand.”

                “You seriously don’t understand?!” Becky looked like she was on the verge of tears herself.

                “No, I don’t. I don’t understand Becks, explain it to me.” Rosa was already crying fat, heavy teardrops that blazed slick trails down her cheeks.

                “You’re perfect! You’re beautiful, you’re smart, you have the perfect family, the perfect friends! You have the grades and the confidence and the social life!”

                “Stop it, stop it, stop it,” Rosa kept muttering as Becky spoke.

                “And you have Eli. You won him. God, it’s not like it was even a competition. Why the hell would he want me when there’s you?” Becky was crying now also, spitting the words the deluge and her wavering sanity.

                “What the eff do I have? My bookshelf? My butler? My silver Jag and my so-called family who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about one another?”

                “That’s not true!” cried Rosa, braking through the rant.

                Becky fiercely wiped at the puddle of water collecting around her eyes.

                “Then why don’t you enlighten me as to my many blessings, oh perfect one?”

                “Don’t call me that!”

                “It’s true. It’s so goddamn true!”

                Rosa stood up from the chair shaking her head and crying

                “I could never live up to you, and you loved it.”

                “You don’t see my cracks Becky!” she cried, the sharp edge of scream in her voice. “Everyone has hard times, everyone has issues! You think I like living in my sister’s shadow? You think I like feeling guilty about Eli and worrying about how I’m going to pay for art school?!”

                Becky rolled her eyes, “I bet you never even liked me.”

                “Becky, I love you! Why would I be your best friend if I didn’t love you?”

                “I’ve always wanted to be you, that’s why we’re best friends. I satisfy your vanity.”

                “You’re crazy! Don’t ever talk like that! Don’t ever say that again! I love you Rebecca Wilks. I love you because you’re hilarious and witty and smart in offbeat sort of way. You teach me something new every time we talk. I love you because I know you’d drop everything to help someone if they needed it. I love you because I know you’re such a good person through and through.”

                Becky had broken down into sobs that contorted her face and shook her torso.

                Rosa picked up the tissue box on the window ledge and offered it to her.

                While her best friend cried, she took hold of her tiny, pale, left hand just to let her know she was there, just to let her know she wasn’t going to leave.

 

&&&

 

                It was an hour of hell and silence before Becky spoke.

                “I don’t hate you,” she said quietly.

                “No?”

                “No. I think it’s more of myself that I hate.”

                “Please don’t.”

                “I’m sorry. But I’m not sure that I can help it.”

                Rosa swallowed and squeezed Becky’s hand a little harder.

                “Just tell me this. If you could try suicide again, would you?” It was almost a whisper, but she needed to ask.

                It was a full minute before she responded.

                “No. No I don’t think I would.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think something in this could be better? Let me know.

Thanks for reading.

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~ by Jade Elizabeth on June 9, 2011.

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