Fabiola Cedeno, Columnist

     I walked in and took a left, down to a hall full of family pictures. Dents and “do not enter” stickers surrounded her door. After knocking twice, I let myself in. Blood shot eyes, a mess of a room and four pills were what I saw as soon as I opened the door. Rachel glanced up with an expression of confusion and despair. My heart was racing and a million questions popped into my head. She walked over to where I was standing and fell. I stood there, staring at her bruised knees and her raw red nose.

     She sobbed from her spot on the floor for what felt like an eternity, but then she stood up, walked over to her desk and wiped away each tear. I contemplated for a good two minutes whether to walk over there, two minutes that felt like two hours. I was frozen and unable to come up with a solution. Eventually I walked over, grabbing the purple chair that she rescued at a dump across the street from her house and sat down next to her.

     I knew she did drugs, but I’d never been around when she was consuming them. The only thing she ever told me about her drug use was that she was fine. Every time she told me that, I knew she wasn’t. I looked over at her black Hello Kitty clock. It was 10:45 a.m. Without speaking she sat there gawking at those four pills as if they were devouring her thoughts.

     Thirty minutes passed, minutes filled with painful silence. The only noise breaking that silence was the sound of her breathing. I couldn’t help but get distracted from all the miscellaneous items filling the room. Two empty liquor bottles peeked out from the bottom left side of her bed. I looked away and saw an excessive amount of pot that was sitting on the pink dresser that her grandmother bought her.

    An hour had crept up. Finally, she brushed her thin brown hair out of her face and turned to me. I didn’t know what she was going to say, but I didn’t expect the worst.

     “I want to die.”

     I felt the pain in each syllable that spewed out of her chapped lips. It felt like she had been trying to find a better way of saying it, but that’s all she could come up with. Saying nothing, I took the pills, rushed over to her bathroom and flushed them. Suddenly, I was unable to stand. Tears rushed down my face and I found myself desperately trying to catch my breath. I wiped away any evidence of weakness and walked back. She was in the same place I had left her. I hugged her cold, shaking body. We didn’t speak; there was nothing that needed to be said.

   As I learned more about Rachel, I got to see just how dark and miserable her life was. She dealt with a negligent biological father, an abusive mother and an addiction to alcohol and drugs.

      She went to rehab shortly for about four or five months after we stopped talking; just enough time for both of us to think and heal. What I thought was a remedial experience for her, only hurt her. I intended to talk to her when she got back so we could sort through everything and forgive and forget.

     Instead, the day after she got back I received an email from her mom saying that Rachel had committed suicide the night before. I was in school when I read it. My head was spinning and my body tensed up. I had to go on with my day knowing my best friend had hanged herself.

     All I could think of is how I never got to talk to her. I never got to tell her I forgave her for all the yelling and insensitive comments. I never got to apologize for ignoring her texts and calls. All that I have left of her are the 20 letters she left me, her last thoughts and struggles were all for me. After that, everything became harder. I couldn’t find it in myself to move on. And finally the only thing that did lead me to come to peace with her death was that she was no longer miserable.