I just want to tell you I’m sorry

Kelsey Spurrier, General columnist

Every day at the same time since I was 5 years old, you would knock on my front door. When we were younger, it would be to ride our bikes or to make a lemonade stand, but as we grew older, you would ask to go for a walk, or we’d sit on my porch and you’d tell me about how wrong your day had gone.

You told me about your first kiss and your first heartache. When we’d have deep conversations, I’d always try to sound as smart as you. You were always so bright, even when we were little. You made me promise to still come see you after I moved. “I promise,” I said.

This afternoon, it wasn’t a knock — it was a phone call. My friend Heather told me you killed yourself the night before. Did you hear my heart sink? I couldn’t help but blame myself for not sticking up for you more when the kids on the street would laugh at you and call you names. Instead of beating them to death like I know you wanted to, you’d raise your hand and curse.

On the days this happened at school, you’d run home at recess and all the third graders would stop and watch you do what they knew they’d never have the courage to. You always had anger issues — remember that one time they made you so mad you picked up a desk and threw it at them? I know that must have stuck with you, that it affected you to your core.

After I got that phone call, the worst part was seeing your mom’s red, puffy eyes, her shaky hands clutching a porcelain mug as she stood by the garage. I don’t think it had clicked for her yet —  “He pushed these trash cans around yesterday morning,” she commented. And then she began to whimper. “You know … nevermind, I shouldn’t say this.” She ran into the house. I could hear her shrieks all the way down the street. It went on for hours.

But even in this crushing sadness, can we still joke about the time you brought a whole meal and ate it in the middle of the street in front of my house, and when my mom and I asked what you were eating, you shouted “Refried beans!”? Are we still allowed to make fun of you for the night I was sitting on my roof and your house started smoking, the ambulances and fire trucks parked all along our street because you wanted to grill with the garage door shut at 3 a.m.? For months, you didn’t have a garage door, just plastic to cover the gaping hole.

I had no idea that wouldn’t be the last time the ambulances would line up along our street, like cones on an unfinished road.

I don’t know anything anymore, but it hurts knowing that every time I passed by your house, I thought about how I was going to see you, and now I’m too late.

I’m sorry.