Fragile October, 1993

1994 Fragile October USE0001

The day my best friend left
I held my tears in pretty well.
We walked to her dad’s office at church
and I breathed in the spicy scent of his pipe smoke
for the very last time. He drove me home like usual
and dropped me off in the setting sun.
If I had spoken the levee would have burst
so she and I just hugged and let go of fingers one by one
through the open car window.
Then I collapsed into the darkness of my bed
and slept for fourteen hours straight.
Mommy took me to work with her the rest of the week,
allowing me to sleep on the couch in the break room.
When I woke an unbearable weight
descended upon my chest.
Even the beauty of the fall colors outside the window
struck me down. I slept and slept and slept
to escape the pain
to escape the darkness
to escape any feeling at all.
The next Monday, Mommy watched me tremble
as I dressed for school, fearful
like a kindergartener on her first day.
I wondered, “How will I face school without her,
the only one who really understands me?”
Mommy reminded me that Jesus suffered
the loss of his friends too,
when he needed them the most.
When she dropped me off I asked Jesus to take my hand
and walk beside me through my day.
I pretended to close my fingers around his palm
inside my coat pocket where no one could see.
But the weight of schoolwork, the pressure to perform,
and the constant social drain wore me down by 3:00 p.m.
I avoided the noisy chaos of the bus
and the pitying offers of rides from classmates
and walked home instead.
I breathed in the quiet air
until I crossed paths
with eastbound junior high kids
who hurled wicked insults at my face.
As their laughter cackled
I remained silent
but their slingshots left deep marks.
Finally I reached the door
then covered my wounds
with an entire package
of cool, creamy chocolate pudding.
Afterward I laid in silence, contemplating
thoughts like: If heaven is free from pain and suffering,
why not just go now?

The deep dark place where I’ve stuffed everything
has exploded,
leaving a mess everywhere.
Her departure somehow blew the locks off
and I can’t push the darkness back down.
I don’t have the energy to find the light
so I slip back into the dark
oblivion of sleep
and shut everything out.

You might also like

A Letter to the 15-Year-Old Me, June 1993

June 24, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Memories: Marriage

September 30, 2016

How God Lifted Me Out of the Pit

July 13, 2016
  • Chris Warren

    Sarah, I had to move in the middle of my junior year from a school of 400 to a graduating class of 800. Oh how lost I felt. I have shared that story with my students, especially the new ones who joined us. Thank goodness we were both logical enough to know that we could persevere. I now see this experience as one of my life layers and without it, my life might be different. Do you still have a relationship with your friend who moved?

    • Sarah Geringer

      Yes, I am still best friends with the one who moved away. We’ve enjoyed over 30 years of friendship. I plan to write more posts on friendship, perhaps as a theme once this memoir phase is finished. I’m glad you feel comfortable sharing your story with students, so it can help others, as I hope my story helps others also.