I started out in 6th grade. Like most kids, I wasn’t thrilled on the first day. My parents drove me to school. We talked a little and things were pretty easy. I was always a lonely child. I never talked to anybody and I kind of liked it that way. I always got good grades, yet I still felt like my life was missing something. I needed friends. Everyone I talked to thought I was just some weird kid who only focused on school work. But there was one person who didn’t reject me. Emily.

She was a sweet girl, always giggling and having a good time. While waiting for the staff to let into school, I would sit with her at a small bench and we’d talk. There never was any topic. One day we talked about different TV shows and that somehow changed into what we’d do after we graduate high school. We both liked to be around kids so we thought about working at an elementary school one day. I used to love those days.

One day during one of our discussions, she brought up the topic of death. This seemed out of character for Emily. She went on to ask me how I think I might die. I didn’t feel comfortable answering so I just said, “I don’t know. Old age, I guess.” She paused. She replied with a slight bit of shock in her voice, “That’s it?” I wanted to ask her if anything was wrong. All she would say is, “I feel great!”

My 6th grade year had gone by so quickly. By the time I knew it, it was already time to go back to school. It was a big change for me. I was now taking the bus to school instead of my parent driving me. They would just say that it was a waste of gas to drive to my school 13 miles away. My bus wasn’t on-time so I couldn’t talk with Emily as much. We soon became distant from one another.

I would occasionally see her in the hallways and just have time to say hi. One day, she started to get a little more aggressive. I heard other people talking about how she got up in the middle of her math class and left. After that, we had to have school police patrolling the halls 24/7. I would always talk to her when I could. She wasn’t in any of my classes, so it was hard to do so.

8th grade had to have been the worst year of my life. Emily and I now had our 5th period class together. I was excited while she didn’t seem to care about me anymore. She didn’t want to talk to me anymore. In fact, she didn’t talk to anybody. Some days, she wouldn’t even show up for class, or school in general. Then, it all went to hell. She was caught in the 6th grade bathroom… cutting her wrists. I didn’t want to believe it. It hurt me to even think about that poor, sweet, innocent girl doing something like that. But one day, after school, I saw it on the news.

“This is a special report. 13 year old, Emily Jackson was found dead in her attic. The teen had hung herself after cutting several scars into her body. The body was found by her mother when she was looking for Emily.”

It felt like someone had cut open my chest, ripped my heart out and crushed it.

The next day at school was dreadful. I couldn’t drag myself around knowing that Emily had killed herself. Everyone was sad that day, but I was no doubt, the saddest one there. I felt guilty. I felt sad. I felt angry. As soon as I got home, I the largest knife we had in the kitchen and I lunged it into my crest.

I woke up dazed and confused on a hospital bed. My mom was there to comfort me.

“Honey, are you OK? The doctors said you’re going to be OK.” Her face had lit up with joy. I told her what I was thinking.

“I don’t want to be OK. I was responsible for what happened to Emily. I wasn’t there for her. I needed to be there for her.” My heart rate increased. All I could hear was the beeping of the machine and a loud ringing. I blacked out.

I woke up again in a dark room. I couldn’t feel anything. Then, I heard her voice. It was warm and inviting.

“Come here, Kyle. It’s OK now. We can talk now.” I was confused.

“I thought you killed yourself, Emily. You wer- were…”

“Dead, I know. But come. Follow me.”

Without any hesitation I followed her. She lead me to a beautiful garden. There were plants, flowers, and animals everywhere.

“Where are we?” I asked.

She quietly replied, “Home.”