Really, there was only ever one thing I was going to talk about with this letter. I picked my brain for an alternative, as it’s something that is slightly uncomfortable to discuss, even now. But I was left fruitless, with only this one subject left.
So here goes: R.
When I was about eleven, I met a my first real love. A boy called Rory. He had long hair and listened to rock music like me. Therefore, he was the coolest boy ever and oh-so-dreamy. He had the loveliest eyes I’d ever seen and a contagious smile. He was a troubled young man who hid that fact best he could.
He remained my best friend for many years. We laughed and tormented and generally had an amazing connection. When we got older, our friendship matured into something more. We mutually agreed to leave this new aspect of our friendship as an acknowledged, but unspoken understanding; we didn’t want to risk years of friendship for the sake of teenage lust.
We went on as usual, hanging out with our friends, being moody goth kids and trying to out-embarrass one another in public. Many times we came close to throwing in the towel and just accept that there was something more than innocent friendship between us now we were older. He tried to tell me a few times that he wanted to turn a relationship out of this. Every time, I told him no. That I wasn’t willing to risk our friendship, while secretly fighting the same feelings.
I knew from the start that Rory was troubled and his home life was something like a living nightmare. I tried to help him as his mental strength slowly disintegrated under the stress of his abuse. Ultimately, his home life and his slowly developing mental illness overtook him, and he spiraled into a routine of self-destruction. Though I tried to help him, my efforts were futile. In the end, my best friend took his own life at the age of 15.
That was the worst day of my life.
In the time since Rory’s death, I’ve moved on from it. It took a long time and a lot of my own self destruction before I finally acknowledged there was nothing I could have done to save him. When I met his abuser in the street two years ago, I gave him a broken nose on Rory’s behalf.
Though I still miss my friend, and regret not telling him how I’d really felt about him, I still keep the two surviving photographs I have of him, the necklace he left me and his brief note of goodbye safe.
Although loosing him was one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through, it is also something that has taught me the most. Some might think it’s absurd to have been so heartbroken at such a young age, but I know how I felt about him, and how he felt about me. And that knowledge got me through those dark years after his death.
So that’s my the letter R in my life in letters. And I will never forget that mischievous, infectious smile that helped me through the hardest times of my life.