This is the trust story of how I watched my best friend William tear himself apart for nearly a year. That was 2 years ago. I sometimes wonder if I could've saved him. Maybe by the end of this I'll have my answer. It still hurts to say his name.
“Are you okay?” I asked Will who was staring blankly out the window in the classroom. It was gloomy and dark outside because of the rain but Will seemed completely unfazed by it. He just stared out the window like he was in some sort of trance with his eyes glossed over. I was just glad we sat in the back next to the window so the teacher wouldn’t notice and he wouldn’t get yelled at again for not paying attention. He already had 4 detentions this year and it was only January.
He turned his attention to me, different emotions crossing over his face in a flash- first confusion, then realization, and then anger. He rarely showed anger towards me, even when I messed up big time but when he did, I was scared for my life. He glared at me like it was my fault he had been acting so strange all morning, making me shrink back in my seat, feeling fearful and confused by his reaction. For all I knew it very well could’ve been my fault but William wasn’t telling me anything. He’s barely said anything to me all morning and it made me worry that I had done something wrong. I liked him better when he was happy.
I looked down and focused on picking at my fingernails so I wouldn’t have to make eye contact with him. I’d break down if I did.
“I’m sorry…” I mumbled, letting my dark hair fall in my face and cover my pale grey eyes. I didn’t know exactly what I was saying sorry for but I was hoping that if I did, he would forgive me for whatever reason that had made him mad and we could get back to being the best friends that we were. I wasn’t even sure if I was the cause of it but I was hoping that if I was, he would forgive me.
It must have worked because Will’s look softened and he pulled me into a sideways hug. He tried not to attract any attention from anyone else since we were in the middle of class and he didn’t want to get in any trouble for PDA. He did a quick scan of the room before turning his attention back to me.
“Chess, you did nothing wrong. You have nothing to be sorry for,” he whispered in my ear, kissing the top of my head before letting me go and trying to figure out what the hell the teacher was talking about. He was pretty good at doing that because he immediately picked up on the topic where as I was still lost.
I continued to look down, knowing that Will was just messing with me again. Not about it not being my fault but with how friendly he was being towards me. He teased me like that a lot. He would treat me like I was nothing more than another toy to him.
He also picked on me a lot because he was older and bigger than me. I was 5 feet exactly and just barely 12. Will on the other hand was 6 inches taller than me and would be 14 in December since he had been held back sometime before he moved here in the 4th grade. Because of his height he would hold my things above my head and I’d jump to try and get them. Sometimes he’d sit on me and try to crack my toes or stand in front of the TV when I was playing video games online. He’d unplug the TV when I was watching my favorite show or steal my food just because he thought it was funny.
I don’t know why I put up with him but I did and he never made it any easier on me. Maybe it’s because he didn’t judge me and actually cared about me when he wasn’t being a total dick. He could be a loving person. It was just hard for him. By the end of the day though, he was and always would be my best friend.
I squeaked and fell out of my seat as the bell rang. Most of the class laughed at my reaction making me blush. There were a few who didn’t, thinking it was immature and left. Will rolled his eyes in response but had a goofy smile on his face as he helped me to my feet. Like I said, there were times when Will really could be a good friend. I was still blushing like crazy and looked at my feet as everyone continued to laugh.
“Alright everyone, shut the hell up before I choose to claw your vocal cords out with my fingernails,” Will snapped. Everyone went silent. “Good, now scram.”
People started flooding out of the class room while I glared at Will. It was pretty obvious a lot of the other 6th graders were scared of Will since he was older and turned cold so suddenly. It hadn’t always been like this. He used to be a very caring person. He was probably the nicest kid on the block up until this year. I think it had something to do with his brother’s suicide but I never asked because he got really angry whenever I brought it up.
“You can’t just threaten people like that William! They’re younger than you!” I hissed as Will draped his arm across my shoulder. He picked up both our backpacks and guided me out of the classroom, still smiling in only a way that Will could get away with without being called a psychopath. I just stared at him and let him pull me off to wherever he wanted to go. I tend not to over-think things he does.
He shook his head, the smile now looking a little forced and I could see there was that serious glint in his eyes, one that scared me. It was the shine he got when he was angry about something but still was able to remain calm.
“They were making fun of you, only I’m allowed to do that,” he said, his real smirk coming back into place. “Don’t worry about it Chess. If I get a detention then I get a detention. It’s better than going home.” I didn’t question how he could change his mood so quickly. I noticed he had been like that a lot lately, even more now than usual.
I sighed. “Why don’t you ever just stay at my house? If going home is so bad then you obviously need a break. My mom won’t care if you stay over for a little while. You know she sees you as her son.”
We continued to walk and talk but I didn’t like where this conversation was going. He was angry. I knew it. I didn’t know how I knew it but I did. I could read him better than anyone else ever could. I was good at reading peoples’ emotions in general but I never said anything. I figured it was an invasion of their privacy. This was the one thing I never told Will about. I was scared to tell him because I thought he would laugh at me.
Will shook his head. “Whether I like it or not, home is home. I’d love to stay with you Chess but… it’s just not a good idea right now.”
“Alright… are we still going to hang out after school?” I asked, having to tilt my head back just to look at him. I was really hopeful he would say yes. He hasn’t come over in a few weeks and I could barely get him alone. He was different when it was just the 2 of us, he broke down more walls than he did when other people were around.
Will sighed and shook his head again. “I’m sorry but like I said… now is just not a good time, okay? I’m not trying to ditch you. I just have some things I have to sort out on my own,” he answered. He looked guilty when he saw the disappointed look on my face. “I’m sorry.” He kissed the top of my head like he had earlier.
“But Will-,” I started but he cut me off before I could finish, a flash of anger streaking across his face.
“I said no Cheshire, what part of that do you not understand?” Will hissed, letting me go and standing in front of me. “Do I need to spell it out for you? I said no, okay? Fucking deal with it you friendless faggot.” He dropped my backpack and stormed off down the hall with people standing silently as they looked between the 2 of us- one standing in shock and the other running down the hall. That left me to try and figure out what had happened to my best friend.