The day that I heard the news started out like pretty much every other day. I was sitting at my kitchen table eating a bowl of cereal with the newspaper spread out in front me when the phone rang. I picked it up hesitantly, having dealt with so much bad news in the recent weeks that I was almost afraid to answer the phone.
I could barely understand the words she was saying through her tears, but I knew that I had to go. I was in the car and flying down the interstate before I could even think about it, my own tears blurring my eyes to the point where I was barely staying between the lines.
When we were growing up, the four of us were closer than any group of friends I had ever known. Born all during the month of September, we had done everything together growing up. Somewhere along the way, we had started drifting apart. It wasn't that we weren't friends with each other anymore. It was more that where we had once lived one life together, we were now living four separate ones that visited the other's circles once in a while.
It was the secrets that were our undoing. At some point, we stopped sharing the bad things with each and made everything all smiles. Life wasn't all smiles; everything wasn't happy. Each of us had our own problems, but we became afraid to share them with each other. We all wanted the others to think that it was all okay, even in the times that it wasn't, because we were afraid of what they would think if they knew the truth.
When I walked into the hospital room that day and realized that she would never smile again, never flip her hair, never breathe…something inside of me broke. The three of us sat there in silence with her, each of us, I'm sure, wishing with all of our hearts that we could go back and know the secrets in time to save her.