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Friends

Friends

6 mins 8.7K 6 mins 8.7K

It was quite a warm day, classes seemed unending and the words in my text book seemed to be in a print that was smaller than usual. I looked out of the window, towards the football field. I stared at a spot under a tree longingly. That was where we would all warm up before playing football every day after college. I looked at the clock and sighed. Two more hours until classes end. I looked outside the

window at the tree but this time I saw someone standing there. I thought that the heat was getting to me, I rubbed my eyes and looked again. It was my best friend. There she was bunking class with an ice cream in her hand. She was signalling to me, telling me to get out of class and come and play football. “I can’t, I don’t have enough attendance.” I mouthed. She laughed and walked away to get another ice cream.

Under that tree, in that very spot, that’s where I had met my best friend. College had begun just a week back and I wasn’t exactly an extrovert. I was quite lonely, and I had tried to come to terms with it. No matter how hard one tries, one needs a friend and I didn’t have one until one day when we had a class specifically for fitness. They were going to make us do push ups and everything. That’s when I met a girl called Kate who was a fitness freak unlike me. That was the first time I had seen her in any class. She was so enthusiastic and obviously topped the test. After her 50 th push up she flopped down on the floor beside me. “Do you have some water?” she asked. “Yes, but I put mint in mine.” I replied. She looked up at me puzzled. “It helps in weight loss and gives the body natural electrolytes”, I explained. “Wow, so many words in that sentence I don’t understand!” I laughed, and the conversation went on. She was more of a sports enthusiast and I was someone who loved reading and writing. We were so different from each other. She was a cheer leader and I was a part of the math club, she would wear the most perfect clothes and I would show up in sweatpants.

However, the bond grew stronger. She tried to convince me to try football and so I did. One day I went with her to the field and we kicked the ball around for a bit but that was it. I was clearly a terrible foot baller, but she would make sure I came and practiced with her every day. I would in

return help her with her assignments and turn her into a geek like me. She joined the math club too and we would go there dripping with sweat right after football practice.

I was still looking at the tree and thinking of our fond memories. That’s when there was an announcement on the loud speaker. “Jo from the 1 st year, you are to meet the principal in his cabin right now”. I was surprised and a little scared. What had I done? Everyone in class glanced at each other. They gave each other knowing looks. I got up from my seat cautiously and stumbled out of class. My mind was racing as I tried to figure out what everyone else knew that I did not. I knocked on the principal’s door anxiously. “Come in”, he said in his heavy tone. He looked at me with sympathy written all over his face and told me to take a seat. He folded his hands and said “Jo, is something bothering you?” “Uh nn-no, Sir. Why?” he adjusted his spectacles and said, “Your classmates tell me that you talk to yourself very often. Is that true?” at this point I was taken aback. Talk to myself? When? Why? I had a friend to talk to all the time! “No, sir” I replied nervously. “You have to tell us what’s on your mind, so we can help you.” I was so confused that I started getting a headache. “I’m not sure what you’re referring to, sir” I said in a more confident manner. He sighed. “let me show you something”, he said and turned his laptop towards me. It was a video of me from the day before. I was sitting where I usually sit with Kate to have our lunch but she was not there in this video. It was just me, sitting alone and laughing. I did look like quite a psychopath, eating and laughing alone. I was astonished. When has this even happened? I peered at the screen and looked

at the principal. He was still giving me unsure stares. Before he could say anything, I said, “Sir, this video has been tampered with. I was not alone. I was sitting with a friend, we always sit there and eat our lunch together.” “Well, are you sure you’re not imagining all this?” there was a lump in my throat. “No of course not! She’s my best friend! She is definitely real.” “What is the name of this friend of yours?” he asked. At this point I was so frustrated that I was sobbing. “Kate” I replied. He gasped and looked at me like as if he had seen a ghost. He hurried out of the room and came in 5 minutes later with a photo frame. The picture in it was that of Kate. “Is this the girl?” he asked in a shaky tone. “Yes, that’s her” I replied.

He looked at me with a straight face, but I knew he was trembling from the inside. Why? I still didn’t know. “She died last year. She took her life because everyone ignored her. No one wanted to be her friend.”

This was all too much to take in. My brain felt like it was about to explode. Who had I been talking to for the past one week? What was going on? I felt faint. I could not believe it but then I realised that even though she was an irreplaceable friend, she was also a little strange. She would never take pictures with me. We hadn’t even hugged once! She would never come to my house or meet my other friends. Her excuse was always that she was busy and had to stay back to finish some extra work at college. Little did I know that she lived there and couldn’t leave because that’s where she dies, from that very tree at the football field. She never even interacted with anyone except for me. What was even more surprising was that no one in the entire college took much notice of her. She was smart, beautiful, funny and enthusiastic. Yet no one ever spoke to her. It all made sense now. She didn’t really exist.

I got up and walked out of the cabin without saying a word. It was as if I was hypnotized. I went and sat under the tree at the football field hoping that I would get some answers and sure enough there she was. She looked at me quietly. “You were such an introvert when you came here. I knew you’d be overshadowed by the other kids. I knew college life would get to you, I did not want you to end up like me. I was lonely, scared and silly. That’s what drove me to do what I did, I did not want the same to happen to you. Everyone deserves friendship. Even if it’s from a ghost.” I looked at her with tears in my eyes. She wasn’t a ghost. Ghosts were scary and mean. She was an angel in disguise. She

helped me, she gave me confidence, she made me who I am today, and I will never regret making friends with her. That’s what makes friendship a light that never stops glowing.


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