From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Love & Friendship

Forever Beyond a Good-Bye

I waited patiently until the mailman placed the mail into each of the mailboxes and drove away before I checked to see if my much-anticipated college acceptance letter had arrived. I truly believed that since my abusive father had finally moved out of the house a month before, and I was developing an unbreakable bond with my mother and brother, that things were finally on the right track and nothing could go wrong. I wasn't ready to handle any additional downers in my life.

I opened the mailbox with drops of water from an afternoon rain shower tracing through my hands. I searched anxiously through every envelope. My eyes finally landed on a small envelope with the name of my hopeful future college printed on its face. I vaguely remembered someone saying that the small envelopes only contained letters of rejection. I quickly muted that thought. As I opened the tiny envelope, all my fears were born into reality. And drops of water now traced my face, all leading up to my eyes.

I jumped into my truck, afraid to go home and see the disappointment written across my mom's face. I drove to my only place of comfort and support—my best friend Dave's house. My stomach was doing so many flips that I had to stop the truck several times to catch my breath and regroup. I finally arrived at Dave's house, trying my hardest to keep my composure. I spent the next few hours sobbing to Dave about my lost future. He said all the right things that a best friend could say.

I was so full of anger, shame and fear that I decided tonight was going to be my last night on Earth. I knew that if I were to wake up the next day, I would see a

smile on my dad's face as if to celebrate my lack of success—the only kid in the family who couldn't get into college—a bum with no future. I could not stand that my past, consisting of anger and sadness, was catching up with me.

I decided that it was time to leave Dave's house. I got up to say my good-byes, forever, but before I could open my mouth he grabbed me and gave me a huge hug and told me that he loved me, in a brotherly kind of way. As I sat in my truck to leave, he cradled my head in his hands and gave me a kiss on the side of my head. I closed my door and left—my eyes so filled with tears that I could barely see. As I left his driveway I whispered, “Good-bye forever,” hoping that maybe he heard me.

I walked into my room and saw my butterfly knife staring at me, screaming that it was the answer. I then got in my truck and drove to a place where I knew I would be alone. I opened the butterfly knife and rested it on my wrist, contemplating the amount of pain that I would encounter before my life would end. I tightened up my arm with a “no-turning-back” expression painted on my face. Just as I placed the edge of the knife on my wrist, my cell phone rang and interrupted my focus. I couldn't understand why anyone would be calling me this late. I answered it.

Dave's voice cracked through my cell phone. ''I'm just calling to tell you that I love you. I don't know what I would ever do without you.”

With tears once again welling up in my eyes, I said, “I love you, too.”

I put the knife away, drove home and went to sleep. A few weeks later, the first time either of us spoke of that night, Dave told me that he had an urgent feeling that he should call me and tell me he loved me. He called it a gut feeling or an intuition. I broke down and told him what his gut feeling had done for me, and for the first time I saw my best friend with a tear in his eye and a smile on his face as he told me life would just be “life” unless we experienced it together.

I now have a steady job with a future in the culinary arts. I live on Maui with my other best friend, my brother. I can never fully thank Dave enough or understand what kind of miracles actually took place that night. Or what's going to happen now since we live so far apart. But I do know he will be my best friend forever.

Adam Cohen

Submitted by Mary Olsen Kelly

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