Bonus Chapter: Why were we here?
And so, now it has been nearly 5 months since it happened. I still don't feel any better about it unfortunately. Any dreams or hopes of Faith and I becoming friends again seems to have been completely quashed. While I myself am more than willing to talk to her, she does not talk to me. She doesn't even look at me; she avoids eye contact with me, as if she'd turn to stone if she looked into my eyes. It doesn't stop help the widening rift that has grown between us at all. Other things have improved; my math mark has risen, and that is a small cause for celebration. But it seems that Faith was an overriding thought that never left my mind. It's sort of a pity in a way. Well, for me at least. If I were just able to put her out of my mind, I wouldn't be suffering as much as I am now. But for some reason, I never seem to have the will to do so. But it makes me think.
"I wonder…what would have happened if we never met…?" I whispered to myself. I was sitting in my room, reading through our conversation history on my laptop. I read through a few parts that made me smile a bit, and a few other parts that made me almost cry. Ah, it seems that I am too sentimental at times for my own good. And, so, as I looked to the screen, I decided to recreate a scene inside my own head; one that would seem fitting for a moment right like now. Dreams and imagination can make the impossible possible, after all. The fantasy continues…
"…" I waited patiently in the classroom. I looked around, checking my surroundings to make sure I was in the right place.
Currently, I was in my old ELA classroom. It also just so happens, that this was the place where I first met Faith. I can't recall the circumstance completely, but Faith told me that the time I spoke to her I had asked her about an assignment that we had been given about poetry. She said my exact words were "Faith, was it? What poem are you doing?" I had absolutely no recollection of that, so I was quite surprised when she told me that. It really brings back memories though. I had so much fun in my ELA class back in grade 10. There were a lot of fun and whacky things we did. However, the most significant thing was that I met Faith here. To be quite blunt, and I'm not overdramatizing here, it was a life changing experience.
Right now, I was waiting for Faith. I had asked her to meet with me, so we could talk for a while. I don't know for sure if she'll even come or not, but she isn't completely heartless, so I figured my chances were decent. Surely enough, after a few more minutes of wait, she entered the classroom. "Yo." I said, waving my hand. "Can you do me a favour and shut the door?"
Faith closed the door to the classroom, and then turned to face me again. It was eerily quiet; might have had something to do with us being the only two people in the room. Or maybe I was just overly nervous. "So, what do you want to talk about?" Faith asked me.
I exhaled and turned to face her. "Just about things in general. And about what happened."
I motioned for her to take a seat. Faith complied, but did not speak a word. A quarter note of silence passed before I started talking again. "So, I wanted to ask. Why? Why did you do it? What did I do wrong this time?"
Faith lowered her head slightly, and spoke in a voice that I could hardly hear. "Do you remember what you had said to me? Back during the summer?"
I shook my head. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"After I told you about what happened to me, you said that if you were stepping out of lines, I should push you away as well. You said that you might not be the same person you were then." Faith kept her head lowered, and didn't look up to face me.
But she had jogged my memory. Yea, I did recall saying something like that. I was really worried about her at the time, but I thought that perhaps I was bothering her too much. Faith didn't, however, mention the disclaimer I had added to that.
"Yes." I started again, this time more cautiously. "But you do recall, that I also said that I might not take it well. And I certainly didn't. Directly as a result of your actions both over the summer and 3 weeks ago, I have sunk into an unprecedented state of depression and mental grief."
Faith finally looked up at me, but there was something peculiar. I can usually tell what she's thinking just by looking at her face. But this time, her face had a mixed expression of sorrow and hatred that I couldn't seem to read. "I told you didn't I?" Her voice had been raised. "Keep your distance. It's better that way. I'm not as good of a friend as you think."
I smiled sadly. "But I still tried to be there for you. Was I overdoing it?"
Faith bit her lip, and returned her gaze to the ground in front of her. A small moment of silence passed before she resumed her train of thought. "It wasn't that you weren't there enough for me. You're just…different. You don't react the same way to what I say to you as others."
It was my turn to look away. I let out a sigh, before I gave my response. "Well, if that's the case, why did you block me on Facebook right after I asked you what's wrong? Was Akira right about me? Was I trying to help too much? Or should I say, did I make you feel insecure?"
Faith nodded her head. "Yea…I hate to say so, but…You were being a bit too nosy. And I think the reason for that was…because…you were too nice a person to me."
I remained silent for a moment to gather my thoughts. So Akira was right after all, huh? Doesn't make me feel any better. I sat up straight again. "You know, things would have been easier for me if I had just left you alone, huh? I guess I dug my own grave in a way."
Faith didn't answer, so I continued. "But even after what you did, first time and second time, I still couldn't call you anything but a friend. I suffered more and more pain because of that. It would have all been over with if I had said three words to you. But I never had the will or the heart to."
Faith suddenly bolted up and stared at me. She looked like a pigeon that just had a shotgun fired right in front of it. "Wait. You're not going to say I love you, right?"
I shook my head slowly. "No, not I love you." I paused for a moment. "It was…I forget you."
I stayed silent for the next few seconds to let Faith ponder over that. She didn't say a word, only sitting back down and staring at the floor again. The floor must have been pretty interesting.
After the dramatic pause was done with, I resumed my terse speech. "And that would have seemed logical, right? If I just left the dead buried, I wouldn't have had such a burden on my mind. And perhaps, I would have been able to concentrate better on my studies."
"But you didn't. Why?" Faith looked up at me again. This time, her face was filled with confusion and curiosity.
"Because that's not the way I am. I value my friends, and I won't force them out of my mind just because of something like that. I'm unorthodox that way." I answered firmly. "Naruto never gave up on Sasuke no matter how much Sasuke hurt him. I wanted to be able to do the same for my friends. Because that's what friends do. They help each other, and forgive each other."
Faith's gaze didn't shift away from me this time. She continued to look long and hard at me, which made me feel slightly uncomfortable. Finally, she relaxed her stare at me. Her eyes, which reminded me of liquid helium, gave me the impression that she wasn't as tense as she was a moment ago. "Well James…I…I'm not too sure what to say. But I want to know. Why would you ever concern yourself over me? You're sort of crazy, don't you think?"
I laughed softly. "Crazy? Who do you take me for? Do I need a reason to be worried about a friend?"
Faith eyed me like I was a stranger. "Well, what was it about me that was so special? I doubt you stay up past 12:00 AM and worry day in day out for all of your friends."
I shook my head. "No, you're right. I don't do that for everyone. But like I told you before, I don't know. For whatever reason, I just didn't want to see you walk out like that. But that reminds me. Let me tell you a story. Before I met you, there was this girl that I used to really like. Her name was Samantha."
Faith's eyes widened, which indicated to me that I had her attention for the time being. "Samantha was sort of similar to you. For one thing, you had similar hobbies. Another thing was how kind hearted you both were. But she had a different personality. She was really outgoing, and always seemed cheerful."
Faith nodded her head. "Alright, keep going."
I continued. "I liked her, but she had feelings for someone else. A boy named Kurtis. Now, that guy and I didn't get along very well. And I was quite jealous of him. It was similar to the situation that I have with you and Akira right now, with one big exception however. I had told her how I felt, but I also said that I'm probably just being stupid. She said I wasn't being stupid, and that she had thought as much from the very beginning. She agreed that it would be best if we remained friends and just forget about what had happened before. Soon after, we graduated from junior high, and went our separate ways. Even so, we still remained friends, and things ended on a good note for us."
Faith remained silent. I don't think I gave a detailed enough explanation. Ah well.
"But between you and me, things did go quite so well, did they?" I said. "That seems to bother to no end. And I know you don't care about me anymore. So why do I still worry about you? I know not. So-"
"Well if that's how you feel, why did you bother trying to stay with me in the first place?" Faith interrupted me with a hint of anger in her voice. "You could have just stayed away like I told you to!"
I was unmoved. "Yet I tried to stay with you, didn't I? I knew after summer that by befriending you, I'd have to pay a very steep price just to stay by your side. It would cost me a piece of myself. It would cost nothing compared to everything I'd save. Or so I thought. And yet I've paid the price, and yielded nothing. Instead, my friend abandoned me, never giving me a reason that I could understand until Akira spelt it out for me."
Faith clenched her fists, but did not make any attempts to punch me. "I'm scared James. I'm scared of you." She spoke in a strangled voice. "The way you always looked at me in the hallways after, the way you'd stand at a distance watching me…I was so scared that I didn't even want to go to school."
"I did no such thing!" I yelled furiously. Faith took a few steps back, her eyes filled with fear. Oops. Bad move. I should probably calm myself down before I do something stupid. I tried speaking again as calmly as I could. "I never did anything like that. I promised Akira that I would never bother you again. Besides, you still had him. You didn't need me. I was like a broken tool to you."
Oddly enough, Faith lowered her head once again. "Actually, Akira and I…"
"Yea?" I urged her to continue.
Faith looked hesitant to continue, but she made her choice and decided to tell me. "We're…not really friends anymore. He's left me. Just like everyone else."
I closed my eyes for a moment, and then gently shook my head. No, Faith. That's not it. Akira didn't abandon you. He was just trying to help you. I don't think she knew, but Akira didn't want her to become reliant on him. Akira wanted Faith to be able to stand on her own. But it didn't come across to her as that. Another side, another story, simply put.
I decided against vocalizing my thoughts, and feigned ignorance. "What happened this time?" I asked.
Faith shook her head. "I don't want to talk about it, okay?"
I narrowed my eyes and looked at her. "So, that's it? You think that all your friends have abandoned you? You think that you have no real friends left, huh? Is that it?"
Faith didn't answer, and only avoided my gaze. I continued, though I was started to get rather pissed. "If that's the case, you should think this over carefully. Look at both me and Akira. You know why I'm gone. You threw me away, because you never thought me a friend to begin with. But what about Akira? He was your best friend! Do you think that sort of thing just changes easily? If you really want to know what the problem is, then don't wonder why your friends abandoned you. Instead, think about why you threw your friends away!"
Faith opted for silence, and never looked my way. Seeing that she wasn't going to fess up, lowered my voice before speaking again. "I'm done chasing a ghost, Faith. You're not my friend. Why? Because the Faith I know wouldn't wonder why her friends abandoned her when she knows that she casted them away. The Faith I know wouldn't hurt a friend, because she'd rather die than hurt another person."
"…" Faith looked like she was about to break down in tears at any moment. But I continued on with my banter. "So, if it pleases you, if you're that scared of me, fine. I'll leave. You won't ever have to see my face again." I paused to think about what I would say next. "But if it's not too much to ask of you, don't ever regret meeting me."
Faith finally looked up at me, but only to shoot me a dubious look. Whatever. I decided not to mince words. "If it's not too much to ask, please don't forget the time when we were friends. Don't forget the good or the bad. That's all. I'm leaving."
I turned my back to Faith and walked out of the classroom. I never had a chance to see her face. I didn't know whether she was shocked, or if she thought that I had a few screws loose in my head. Either way, it's exactly as I said. I'm not going to bother with a ghost. My friend died the day she left. And that's going to be the only thing that I remember of her. Since many of the truths that we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view, my truth will be this: My friend had left me, and that's all I remember of her. Now, no matter what I do, or how hard I try to get her back, I'm always going to fail, because that's what things between us are based on now.
"…" Even so, I was still sure that I would still retain my sad memories. Despite trying to be like a soldier as much as possible, I was still human, with all too human emotions. But, I don't regret meeting her. Sure, I suffered, but that didn't matter to me. Sure, she sort of stabbed me in the back, but I was fine with that. She was my friend, and that's why I trusted her with my back. And I guess, that's all I need to know. With those last thoughts, I walked down the hallway and didn't look back.
I stopped imagining, and returned to reality. I looked down at my uncompleted math homework, and then too my laptop with conversation logs displayed. I smiled. Even if I had been hurt badly, it doesn't really matter to me. Even though I had lost my friend forever, there was still one thing that put a smile on my face. I know now that even someone like me could be empathetic. Even someone like me could care about others. Even someone like me could go above and beyond for the sake of someone else. And that gave me a small feeling of pride and joy. I closed my laptop and looked outside my window. It was almost Christmas time. I guess I better start thinking about what I want for Christmas this year…Actually, I think I know what I want my present to be already. But, I don't think Santa is that omnipotent. Haha, we'll see sooner or later.
"If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared."