Chapter 2

"Love you. 😘" I smiled at the text and typed up my own.

"Love you too, bro." I bit my lip to suppress the grin that was trying to show itself.

I raised my head and watched the dark trees outside my car window pass by in a blur. The occasional yellow lights would flash through the glass and cast a blinking effect over my arm and lower body.

"What are you smiling about," my driver asked, causing me to turn to face him.

I felt a hand turning my body and shaking it, "Em! Wake up! You're scaring me with that smile!"

When I came to, I realized that I had been biting my lips, a smile threatening to split my face in two.

The smile was quickly wiped off my face when the pain in my head finally hit me full force.

I groaned, hands flying to caress my throbbing head.

"Yeah, I was expecting that." Kimmy said as she took one of my hands and placed pills on it.

I squinted through the slits that were my eyes to see what it was.

"Drink," Kimmy ordered as she held out a cup of water for me.

I forced myself to sit up, throwing the pills into my mouth and taking a swig of water.

The liquid was definitely refreshing. My mouth had felt as dry as sandpaper and I could feel a sore-throat coming.

I handed the cup back to Kimmy and laid back down to nurse my head.

"Are you sober enough to answer some questions? I've been dying of curiosity since last night! If I keep it to myself any longer, I'm pretty sure I'll explode." Kimmy rambled, bouncing on the bed like a little kid.

My hand shot out and took a hold of her hand, squeezing it to make her stop bouncing and making my headache worse.

"What?" I asked her without opening my eyes whilst massaging my temples lightly. The sunlight was still too much for me.

"Since when were you friends with Alex?" She asked.

I froze the second I heard his name.

I turned to her slowly, fighting the urge to wince from the sunlight like a vampire.

"Why?" I asked slowly as I looked at her intently.

"Don't you remember?" She asked.

I gave her a confused look, to which she shook her head at.

"Wow, you really were stoned." She mused.

My eyes widened significantly. "I was what?!"

"You were fine, you were knocked out cold but I called your parents and told them we were sleeping at my place instead." She said.

I breathed out in relief, "Thanks, Kimmy. You're a life saver."

"Don't I know that," she muttered, before she realized she was digressing. "Hey! You haven't answered my question, were you close to Alex?"

"And you haven't answered my question. Why are you asking?" I asked back.

"He saved your ass last night and started spewing stuff that even I didn't know. I thought I was your best friend; no one knows you better than I do." She sounded a bit offended whilst stating the the last part.

"You are, Kim." I assured her.

"So.." She trailed off, baiting me.

I avoided her eyes, running a hand through my hair. "It's complicated." I muttered.

"Oh, don't give me that bullshit, Em!" She called me out.

I leaned away from her, a bit taken aback by her outburst.

"I told you I've been suppressing my urge to find out since last night, this is all pressured curiosity that will explode anytime now." She gestured to herself.

One end of my lips quirked up into a half amused smile at her antics before it disappeared again once I remembered why she was being like this.

By this time, my eyes have adjusted fairly well to the brightness of the room so I was able to look out the room's window, at Kim's backyard.

"I don't know where to start.." I trailed off. Before she could snap at me again, I held up a finger and said, "Just give me a sec to arrange my thoughts."

There was no reason not to tell Kim. She's my best friend. And yes, as of this moment, she was probably the one person who knows me best.

"It's not that complicated, honestly." I started, "We were best friends in middle school."

Kimmy's expression morphed into a puzzled one. "Then why did you have that look on your face like you're constipated?"

I raised my eyebrows, realizing the my brows were furrowed and that there were creases on my forehead. I reached my forehead with my fingers and tried to smoothen out the lines.

"It's just not something that makes me happy when I remember it." I told her.

"Happy like that dream you just had?" She asked teasingly, poking my cheeks.

The dream.

Right, the dream.

I casted my eyes downwards, at my entwined hands.

"No.." she gasped. "Were you really dreaming about him?!" She shrieked as she jumped on the bed to scoot closer to me.

I stayed silent as I nibbled on my bottom lip.

"But.. what?!" She asked incredulously. "How did a memory that made you smile like that in your dream be something that's painful for you to talk about?"

I shrugged, still unable to look at her.

After a moment of silence, she calmed down and finally took my hand.

"Okay, Em. You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to. Just know I'm here for you no matter what, okay?" She squeezed my hand reassuringly, causing me to give her a smile.

"Thanks, Kim." I breathed in deeply before asking her if I could rest some more, using the pain in my head as an excuse.

"Yeah, of course. Are you sure you don't want to eat some breakfast first, though?" She asked me.

I never pass up on food. So, the worried look Kimmy gave me was fully justified.

I just wanted to lay under the covers and stay in my own thoughts right now.

A familiar surge of heaviness settled in me. It was an indescribable sadness that shadowed over me. I knew what was causing it. I knew what I had to do to break through it.

But just like 4 years ago, when he had left, I didn't fight the sadness. I embraced it and let it fill up the hole in my heart, even though it caused the organ in my chest to feel like it weighed a few extra pounds.

I knew what professionals call this feeling. Depression.

A lot of people fought to break through it and overcome it. I was one of them. But once in a while, when it pops up out of nowhere during days like these, I just didn't have the will to fight it.

On the contrary, I was more than willing to let it stay. Although it made me feel dark and heavy, the constant weight was familiar and can be quite comforting at times. The weight it carried made it easy to identify its presence and it made me feel like I wasn't really alone.

I stayed under the covers and brought it over my head as I let the sadness consume me.

I heard the door click shut as Kimmy left the room to give me some space.

Tears flowed from my eyes and dripped onto the pillowcase as memories flooded my mind, both the beautiful and the painful ones.

Memories of the laughter we had together, exchanging amused looks, sneaking gifts for each other to avoid being teased by classmates, our text messages, and most importantly how I felt at that time.

But what spoiled those memories was what came next. The reminder of why all of those things were only memories now. The feeling of abandonment as I remembered how he turned his back on me and left. The deep feeling of longing I can't quite shake off even after all these years. The ache that gnawed inside me that I had no permanent remedy for.

These feelings were an old friend to me. I once interacted with them on a daily basis before our encounters got reduced to twice a week, once a week and eventually, a few times a year.

But I knew there was no way I could break free from it forever. No matter how busy I was, how many friends I surround myself with, how happy I try to make myself, the reminder of him, of our old friendship, will still break down my walls and consume me whole.

It was a never ending cycle.

But I can't say that I hated it.

After all, it was the only reminder I had of the friendship I've cherished so much over the years.

The only reminder of the friend I loved.

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