Not everything ends with a happy ending.
You watch things fall apart. Watch as your best friend since nursery school gets into an abusive relationship with an abusive and controlling boyfriend who keeps her more and more isolated. Another friend falls deeper and deeper into addiction with drugs and alcohol. Said that these things made her "more creative." You watched her spiral out of control until one night she spiraled way too far out of control and didn't wake up.
Going to the funeral was one of the hardest and most trying times of your life. You watched a friend since diapers kill her because no one cared enough to step in and stop it. You watched her best friend throw herself on the casket, wondering why no one stepped in and stopped her. Her parents watched as their youngest daughter was lowered into the ground, stone faced and guarded. Their wild child finally at rest. You wanted to rally at them, yell, and scream.
But you stayed silent.
For once in your short life, you stayed silent, instead of being the loud, boisterous one who was known for the great ideas. You were silent as they lowered the casket into the ground, not crying, not blinking, and not doing anything. Standing there like stone, you watch shovels and shovels dirt cascade over the casket. Wanting to wake up from this nightmare, but knowing all too well that this is real.
You think back on how different your life is from those that at one time you considered your best friends in the world. Mary Anne is a controlling relationship, further and further away from the friends that she once had. Her whole life is Logan. You see the bruises, the way he talks to her, but yet you can't help her. She's slipping further and further away. You want to reach out, to shake her and wake her up, but you can't. You fear that the next funeral you go to will be hers.
You watch as Stacey trembles. Her best friend beneath the ground. You wonder how you can reach out, help her through this, but when she turns towards you, you see that there is no life left. That she wishes with all her heart that she was in the ground beside her. They were more than best friends, the two of them. They were linked by something that no one could understand but them.
You knew that she had been in pain since Mimi died. While everyone seemed to somehow move on with their lives, she was stuck in a time warp, living like she was still 13 that Mimi would be there when she came home from school. To make the 'special tea' with, to help with the homework. To be the one out of the whole family who seemed to understand her passion for art, for funky clothing, for things that were looked down by her parents and her genius sister.
Janine. The genius of Stoneybrook. The one who always made Claudia feel like she was worth nothing, even though Claudia was smart in her own way. But Janine and her parents could never see what her art meant to her. She tried, but was never up to their standards of perfection. So she dealt with the pain the only way she knew how. She escaped into art, into drugs, into drinking. By sophomore year, she was gone, heavily into the drugs that would kill her.
So you just stand there, not blinking, feeling, moving. The clouds gather in above your head and the wind turns colder, even though it's the middle of August. You start thinking about the years go by, the things that were left unsaid, how happy she was when she met Stacey, how much she hurt when Mimi died. She turned into a shell of herself over the years. Now she's gone and you're left all alone.
You're shaken out of your thoughts by a gentle tug on your arm. "Come on, honey. Everyone's going back to the Kishi's to have food and talk."
"Can I have a minute?"
"Sure honey. Watson and I will be by the car."
You walk slowly to the grave, unaware that the wind is picking up. You pick up a handful of dirt and let it slip through your fingers. "You know…" you start hesitantly, staring at the mound of dirt that will be your friend's resting place. Clearing your throat, you try again. "You know, I never thought it would end this way. That you would be the one who would do this. Why didn't you come to me for help? You know I would have tried to help." You pause, wondering how to continue. "I know we weren't close, not like we were when we were kids, but we had been friends all these years. Then again, you didn't tell Stacey either, and she was your girlfriend."
Sighing, you let the dirt trickle some more through your fingers. For the first time in your life, you've run out of words to say. Blinking back the tears (because you know Claudia wouldn't want you to cry. You're the strong one, the leader), you look at the bare earth, the place marked for her headstone. How you wish her story didn't end like this.
Not everything has a happy ending.