Dear my “best friend”,
Two years ago today we sat on the stairs of a German hotel. You told me the way one would remove a plaster, quickly and painfully. It’s amazing how those three small words sent my whole world crashing down:
“I have cancer”.
I cried right there on the stairs, I cried later in my hotel room, I cried when I told my mum over the phone and I cried every day after that for a week.
Every time something bad happened to me, I instantly felt guilty for complaining. You were going through so much and in comparison my life was perfect. I carried the guilt and the grief around with me constantly.
Endless texts and phone calls about your worsening state followed over the next 18 months. In school you seemed tired, sluggish, empty. And then, the night before a very important chemistry exam I got a text. In a similar fashion to the first news, it was short and to the point. There wasn’t anything more they could do for you.
You wouldn’t care either way but I failed the exam.
I’ll admit, I did wonder at this point. If you were truly dying, would you still be in school? Wouldn’t you seem weaker? But logic wasn’t much use when my body was still processing what you’d said. I was distraught.
So tell me this. Tell me why you let your mother stagger through my front door at half past 11 on a January night, 18 months after our trip to Germany, crying so hard she could barely walk. Tell me why you pushed me to the point where I felt I didn’t deserve to live, where I had convinced myself I deserved to die in your place. Tell me why my mum sat next to me on my bedroom floor only to utter the words “it was all a lie”.
What monster does this to a person?
You were my best friend. I trusted you. I was there for you and you abused me in the worst possible way.
I don’t care what the school forced me to tell you. What I forced myself to tell you. You deserved to feel guilty. You deserved to cry. You still do.
You lied to me about having cancer for nearly 2 years. For 2 years you left me feeling worthless and lost. You betrayed me in a way which I will never forget. You put me through 2 years of pain and it took you 2 days to forget. In the last 6 months you have mentioned it precisely 0 times. Instead, you used my weakness to isolate me from my friends. To push me into my own guilt and self loathing and to hurt me more and more every day.
All I ever did was put you first. I did everything I could for you and I never let you down. I forgave you instantaneously to ensure you didn’t “feel bad about it”. I kept the whole thing a secret so that it didn’t damage your reputation. And I let the school pamper you to make sure it didn’t adversely affect your exams.
But what about me? In doing all that for you I refused myself time to be angry. Time to process things. Time to heal. I isolated myself from my friends to hide what had happened. In a time when I was at my lowest ever, I pushed every support system I had away. And all to protect you.
And you have to audacity to treat me like dirt and continue to walk all over me with your patronising comments and your nasty remarks. To write “I hope you’ll always be there for me” in my yearbook. Was that some sick joke? Or are you really that insensitive?
I can’t say I’ll feel anything but relief the second I say goodbye to you for the last time next week. Forgetting you will be the hardest challenge I have ever faced, but you’re not worth my tears, my time or my happiness anymore. And you’re not forgiven.