School Girl

The first time I was sent to the counseling center in middle school, I went to sit at the “time out table” and this boy says to me:

“The aides sit over there, this is for the trouble makers.”

I didn’t say anything, or if I did I don’t remember, and sat down next to him.
He laughed and said “What’d you do, School Girl, get a B in science?”

For years afterwards, every time I saw him, he’d call me School Girl. Through the halls of middle school, high school, parties. Even when I bumped into him on my 21st birthday. I honestly didn’t even know if he knew my name.

Until one year on Thanksgiving, I saw him skate boarding downtown alone. He called me by named and asked me for 5 bucks so he could get some food. His family kicked him out and he didn’t get to have Thanksgiving dinner. I invited him inside to the Hole, where we were just cleaning up our annual feast. He made a turkey sandwich, thanked me and skated away.

I didn’t see him for years after that.
Until one day I popped into a meeting and someone squeezed by me and said “Excuse me, School Girl.”

And there he was.

Sober. Healthy. Happy.

The best I had ever seen him. We chatted for a bit and he thanked me for that Thanksgiving dinner, said it was a real low point in his life and it wasn’t long after that he went away. But he was getting married soon and life was good. We waved goodbye and said we’d see each other around.

We never did though…. and now he’s gone.
Like so many of my friends before him, and unfortunately like so many more to come.

Please get sober. Stay sober. If you relapse, come back and let someone love you until you love yourself again. Don’t run. Don’t hide. Choose life. This disease just keeps getting more and more deadly.

I’m tired of burying my friends.

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