Leon didn’t have much of a life anymore; his great life of carefree computer studying and hanging out with Desmond. It was all in the past. His life had become shallow all because of one girl. ‘Screw the computers,’ he would think. All he needed was a sedative named booze. It had been months since Alice and Desmond’s wedding announcement but he still felt the same. These past eight months had been terrible. Leon knew he would never feel better ever again because he loved Alice. He loved a girl that he could never have; a girl that his best friend has. No way that can happen!
He started feeling even worse again. He picked up his drink and had a drink. Then two more drinks, then three, four, five. Yeah, that was an appropriate amount of sedatives, Leon thought. Five drinks for a cold night with rain pounding on every window in the neighbourhood. This should hold him off until morning. Well, that was the original plan. But then Leon had an even better idea. He stumbled into the kitchen. His mother was already fast asleep as it was 11:13pm currently. He opened up a drawer and grabbed the sharpest knife he could find.
“Yes, this will do. Little Desmond will see what happens when you fuck with me,” Leon slurred as he stumbled towards the front door, swooping up his car key.
He walked towards his car, “You’ll come to regret taking that girl from me two years ago, Desmond, you prick. You’ll see! You will both fucking see!”
He opened up the car door and started the car. “Oh I hope you’re ready for this.”
Leon sped the whole way to Alice’s house, (they had the house to themselves as Alice’s mother was out of town) almost crashing many times. He went up on the roundabouts, almost jumped the curbs, but he got there, parking his car on the sidewalk. He got out the car without taking the key or locking the car. He bashed on the door but it seemed nobody replied. He turned to the nearby window and punched it as hard as he could and smashed it.
“HOLY FUCK!” he yelled, as his hand bled. He jumped into the window and walked into the lounge room where he saw the wedded couples, both unarmed.
“Leon? What the hell are you—“
“Shut up Desmond! Just shut up! You’ve been nothing but a problem to me these past two years. I love that girl and you took her away from me! Oh but now you get what you deserve,” he raised his knife.
“Leon, please don’t! I’m not worth it,” Alice said.
Leon ran at Desmond and punched him in the face and Desmond fell. He mounted him and pointed his knife downwards and threw his arm at Desmond who caught it just before it stabbed his throat.
“Leon, you’re fucking insane! You’ve lost it! You’ve lost your head you fucking lunatic!” Desmond kicked Leon off of him and stood up.
Panting, he blurted out, “Now stop it! Go home!”
“Fine! Then if I can’t kill you, I’ll settle with the girl.” He turned towards Alice and started walking.
“No! You won’t touch her. If you want to kill me, then give it your best shot! Come on tough guy! FUCKING KILL ME!”
Leon swung his knife and stabbed Desmond in the shoulder. Desmond responded with a shoulder barge against the wall as he was bleeding. Leon’s arm was pinned so he couldn’t stab him again. Desmond grabbed Leon by the neck and punched him in the face. Dazed, Leon dropped the knife. Desmond swooped it up and backed away, holding his shoulder.
“Des… Are you okay?” Alice said, supporting Desmond.
“Fine. But he wants a battle. I’m going to give him one.”
“No, Desmond! Don’t!”
“I won’t kill him, don’t worry. I just need to know that he remembers never to mess with us again,” he said with his head turned at Alice while he walked. Leon tripped Desmond and stomped his right forearm and took the knife. He pinned Desmond’s arms down with his knees and held the cutting edge to Desmond’s throat.
“You’re an asshole. I should have done this long ago.”
“And you’re a psycho!”
“LEON! DON’T DO IT!” Alice screamed. Leon didn’t move, but kept the knife firmly in place.
“Leon, I know love hurts. I know it can make you do crazy stuff, and I know that when you have strong feelings for someone it isn’t easy to cope with it.”
Leon seemed to begin calming down. Alice proceeded.
“You two are best friends! Doesn’t that mean more to you than some girl you’ve only known for two years? I love you both, but I love you as my good friend. You’re a great guy, Leon. You’ll find someone new. Someone better than I am.”
Leon looked at Alice.
“Drop the knife, Leon.”
Leon looked at Desmond, then back at Alice, then back at Desmond again. He got up off of Desmond and threw the knife. Desmond got up slowly and stared at Leon.
“I’m no killer, it’s true,” said Leon, “but there is still something that I’ll do. Something you’ll regret for the rest of your lives, you bastards. Judas!”
“Leon, don’t do anything stupid. Come to bed! We will talk in the—“
“No! If I can’t have you, Alice, then I don’t want to live anymore!” Leon ran out of the house. Alice darted forwards, “Desmond help!” Desmond broke into a sprint (which wasn’t very fast due to his injuries). Leon dived in the car which was still running and drove off too fast for the two.
“LEON! COME BACK! STOP THE CAR!” Alice screamed desperately.
Leon accelerated down the street. Fifty kilometres per hour became sixty, which became ninety, which became one hundred.
“Those assholes will regret what they have done. I love Alice and I can’t have her. There is no place on this earth for me.”
Leon broke out into a half laugh, half sob. It became more and more of maniacal laughter. More and more and more. He laughed as he drove out of the street. He laughed as he drove over the bridge. He laughed as he jumped over another roundabout. He laughed as he turned the wheel towards the left. He laughed as he was a second away from colliding with a tree.
BANG! The sound of the collision broke the eerie night silence.
Not twenty hours later, Leon remembers seeing four blurs which he could hear their voices but couldn’t make out their bodies.
“He’s awake! He’s awake! Oh my god!”
Leon’s vision focused and he saw a doctor, his mother, Alice, and yes, even Desmond standing there.
“Leon! Thank Christ! Oh my god, the doctor said there was a good chance you wouldn’t make it! Jesus Christ man, I can’t believe you’re alive!” Desmond exclaimed and hugged Leon.
“We were so worried, Lee,” said Alice, wiping her eyes with a tissue. "Urgh, I feel like crap," said Leon. "What happened to me?"
Desmond was the first to respond. "Well, you got drunk and came to us in the middle of the night extremely depressed and you crashed your car on the way home."
"Oh, that's right," Leon said, "I tried to kill myself."
His mother was the most affectionate. But Leon quickly broke off her grip. “I’m sorry, mum. I’ll never do something like that again. I was extremely drunk; I’ll never drink again. That was an insanely stupid thing to do… So what’s the story, doc?”
“Well,” the doctor said, “you’re lucky to be alive. You have broken several bones, you can’t walk and the noise of a car crash or anything like it will probably trigger your post-traumatic stress. Also, I’m afraid you will need to undergo physical rehabilitation. Should only take three months maximum. For now, we should let you rest. Let’s go everyone.”
Alice and Desmond hung back for a minute.
“Guys, how can I begin to apologise for—“
“Don’t, man. Just don’t. I’ve been the worst friend to you and I didn’t even realise. From now on, we will go back to how we were three years ago. Agree?”
Leon smiled and tried to hold back his tears.
Leon was still in bed three days later. Alice came to visit Leon straight after school one Wednesday.
“Desmond couldn’t make it, unfortunately. He said he will come tomorrow. His grandmother is pretty sick.”
“I understand that. It’s okay.”
At that moment, a girl had walked in. A girl that Leon recognised from school. She had apparently come to see if Leon was okay.
“I didn’t believe it when I first heard it. I know we don’t talk but holy crap, the news shocked me.”
“Thanks for visiting,” Leon said back to the girl.
“Oh I know you,” Alice said to her. “You’re Blair, right?”
The two girls continued talking. Leon found his gaze not into the eyes of Alice, no, but into the glistening eyes of Blair. Everything about her was beautiful. Leon hadn’t felt this way for… It couldn’t be? It’s been two years since this feeling has been upon Leon. Could this car crash, this rebirth of his friendship, and the arrival of Blair mean something? Could this all be a fresh start for Leon?
Sometimes we are forced to choose between two things – sometimes two people – which both hold equal value to us. It’s never an easy decision, and more often than not, the two things people must choose between is friendship or love. But it’s not always an impossible decision to make. Sometimes it’s easy, but you need to undergo experiences to realise that. If Leon had learned anything over the past two years, it was that.