The Boy With A Beautiful Smile
The Boy With A Beautiful Smile8 mins 827 8 mins 827
Within the closure of four walls, I listen to people share their grief with me. The people who just need someone to talk to, approach me day and night. All my patients keep telling me that I’ve changed their life by telling them my story. The story of how the girl who felt like taking away her life from herself turned out to be a therapist.
It all started on a November afternoon. It was snowing outside and I, a thirteen-year-old, was staring outside the window, admiring the beautifully shaped snowflakes. That is when a BMW distracted me. I saw a couple getting down the car and moving into the building next to my house. After what seemed like ten minutes, the back door of the car opened. A boy stepped out. He was dressed in a simple sweatshirt and jeans, but I was sure it was GUCCI. He looked handsome but there was a pain in him, the pain not everyone could see, hiding under the beautiful smile he wore. After some time, I went back to my room and didn’t really think about him for the rest of the day. I went to bed, exhausted, and before I knew it, I had dozed off.
“Cathy, get up” my mom whispered in my ear. “You’re late for school.” “Do I have to “I moaned. I hated getting up. I got ready as fast as I could and ran down for breakfast, skipping a stair or two. I didn’t even sit at the table. I grabbed my sandwich and my bike and rode to the comic store. I need something to keep me company as I did not have any friends. I bought two ‘X-MENS’ and hurried to school, even though I hated to go.
The first class was Biology and my teacher walked in. She said we had a new student in our class and called a boy inside. I didn’t care much but when I saw him, I recognized him instantly. He was the same good-looking, rich boy who I had seen yesterday. The teacher started her ‘treat him well, make him feel comfortable…’ lecture, but there was no need for that.
He had already stolen the hearts of all the girls in our class and all the boys would love to be a rich boy’s friend. She made him sit next to me, which wasn’t much of a shock because I was the only person in my class that nobody wanted to sit next to. All the girls gave me wicked looks, but it made me feel good. It made me feel that they were jealous of me, which they were.
We spoke and became good friends. Gale was his name. Although he became really popular, he still made sure he spends time with me every day, and he was the one person who made me comfortable in school and the only person with whom I could be myself. We became very close and in a month and a half, we were inseparable. We shared a bond that I had never shared with anyone before. I realized that all this while I was losing out on a very valuable thing. A thing I never really even cared to find, ‘Friendship’. We shared everything with each other and had no secrets between us. But I always knew he was hiding something from me, something that caused him grief, the grief that I had noticed from the moment I laid my eyes on him, but every time I asked him what it was, he would just deviate the topic or say “Hey, I’m fine. Just don’t worry, ok?” I would nod every time but I knew he was lying. This continued and soon it started becoming evident , his grief, and he did not know that he could not fool everybody with his charming and funny attitude. I decided to find out the truth.
The next day, when he was staying back late at the library, I went to his house. His mom opened the door. We knew each other quite well as I was at their house most of the time. She welcomed me and we started talking about a movie we watched last night at my house. I hesitated for a while but then came to the point. I told her “Mrs. Brown, I need to ask you something, something personal, that is if you don’t mind”. “No, not at all…Go ahead” she said. I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to ask her but then made up my mind. I asked her, quite desperately “Please tell me why Gale is always sad. You can’t fool me by telling me it’s nothing. I know something is wrong but he isn’t telling me anything. I’m worried. I need to know!” I said my voice choking. Before I could realize what I had said, I could see her in tears. I didn’t want her to cry. Before I could tell her that she didn’t have to tell me if she didn’t want to, she said crying “He has cancer”. My mouth dropped open and my eyes filled with tears. A teardrop rolled down my cheek and fell on my lap. “He doesn’t have long. The doctor said he will be gone in another five months. “she said, hiccuping, her face stained. I didn’t know what to say. I always wondered what a boy who had everything had to worry or feel bad about. What is the use of having money or good looks or good grades if he doesn’t have a life to live? The one person who I thought I had for the rest of my life was going to leave me as well. Leave his family. Leave the world.
That is the moment I decided that the next and the last five months of Gale’s life was going to be memorable. Unforgettable. I was going to make sure that happens.
The next day I met him in school and before he said anything I told him what I knew. His face became numb and emotionless but he held my hand and squeezed it. I said “Hey, it's fine. Tomorrow I’m taking you skydiving and you are not saying no. It’s not like you have any plans anyway.” I gave him a playful slap, trying really hard not to cry. He smiled. We hugged each other for what seemed like a very long time. The rest of the day continued very slowly as we were so excited for the next day. Finally, the day was over and so was the night.
The next day we packed some snacks and booked a cab. When we reached, we found our trainers, the ones accompanying us on our parachute. We got on the same helicopter, even though we had to go separately, and soon it was our turn to jump. Gale had to go first. We looked at each other in the eye and smiled, then he jumped, waving bye to me at the same time. Then it was my turn. I took a deep breath as the trainer buckled me to the parachute and with a smile, I jumped. It was beautiful. Thrilling. Adventurous. It was one of the best moments of my entire life. I couldn’t help but wonder how much Gale had enjoyed it. After about twenty-five minutes we landed. I searched for Gale but he was nowhere to be found. After searching for a while, I saw his instructor talking to a doctor. I ran to him and when he saw me, I knew for a fact that there was something wrong.
He said, “I’m really sorry...there was nothing I could do to save him... He landed wrong and passed away on spot”. I felt a pang. It wasn’t something I was prepared for. I started weeping my heart out. I started blaming myself. If it wasn’t for me, he would have lived for another five months. That wave he gave me before jumping was his last goodbye. I started banging my head to a pillar until it started bleeding. People noticed and pulled me away from the pillar and called the ambulance. I was admitted and both my parents and Gale's came to see me. As soon as I saw Mr. and Mrs. Brown I started crying again and they tried to comfort me. They told me that it is alright and it’s not my fault but that didn’t make me feel better at all. I fell into the traps of depression. I tried cutting myself in the hospital when no one was around, but then I just thought to myself, “Is this really what he would want me to do. He loved me and always kept me happy. By doing this I’m just disappointing him”. I threw the knife down, angry at myself, at my naivety. I started talking to him as if he was standing right in front of me. It made me feel better. After I was discharged, I started going to a therapist and she changed my view of life. She told me it wasn’t my fault and the path of life is rough. I made sure I live happily, for his sake, and I’ve dedicated my life to help people like me. Everyone deserves a chance to live and taking away your life is not a way of getting rid of the pain.
I just want to tell everyone out there, don’t be selfish. Think about your family, friends, loved ones, the ones who have left you. Think about how they would feel. It is the decision that I made that day in the hospital that changed everything. JUST THINK.