My Almost Perfect Summer

I was studying abroad for what was supposed to be my most perfect summer. Phone calls were expensive, so the plan was for me to only call home twice a week. On my third day in Florence, in an apartment full of basic strangers I talked to my mom, dad, and both little sisters. Then, about an hour later when I checked my phone for the time, I saw I had numerous missed calls and text messages, some from friends, mostly from my home. So I called my house, wondering what possibly could warrant such a costly phone call. My sister answered. I remember every word that was said.
She said, "You know your friend X?" I immediately thought her mom died, she had been having heart trouble lately. "She died." My world crumbled. Here I was in a foreign land with foreign people and the one person I wanted to be with I couldn't. I didn't believe my sister. I demanded to talk to my mom, but she only confirmed the unthinkable. She asked me if I was 'ok' to which I answered I was, even though I clearly wasn't.

When I hung up I was in shock. I didn't know what to do. A million thoughts flooded my mind. Was I supposed to tell my roommates? Was I going to go home for the funeral? Was I even breathing? I chose to get drunk, very drunk off of wine (I was in Italy). I told my roommates. I don't think they knew what to do, we had basically just met each other, and now I was a drunk, crying mess. They tried their best to console me, but I was not having it. Some of them were going to a bar, I tried to go with them. I was too drunk and they had to bring me home.

When I woke up the next morning I thought I had been dreaming, but then I was struck by a hangover and pain. I had my first art history class in an hour. I debated whether or not to go. I did. My roommates looked at me differently, but I didn't care. Nobody mentioned my previous nights antics or my news. And I was glad. These people didn't know my friend, what could they possibly do for me? All I really wanted was a hug and to be around my family and friends. But I stayed in Italy for the rest of my scheduled trip. I just pushed every inkling of grief to the back of my mind and had one of the most amazing summers of my life.

Now, more than six months later I am back at college. Being as X was a friend from high school, and I go to college out of state, nobody here really knew X either. And I've only told two people that she died. I am terrified to talk about her. I don't think I could, really. I have only seen my other high school friends twice since she died and both times were at the end of summer. Being around them is too hard for me.

I feel stupid for still feeling this way because of how much time has passed, so I only allow myself to feel these emotions alone in my room at night. I don't know what else to do, but I do know that what I AM doing is not working. It's horrible. She was only 21. Died in her sleep. Horrible. I feel so guilty for staying abroad and actually having the time of my life, when the life of my friend, one of my best friends, had ended.

I dream about her constantly, some good dreams some bad dreams. And I think about her all the time. I know I will never forget her, but I am terrified others are already forgetting her and her unruly curly hair, and her quirky mannerisms, and her unique laugh, and the way she could turn any day into an amazing one, and the list goes on and on.

So for now, I will just sit in my bed every night and cry and relive the day I found out she died, and then every memory I have of her, which, there are millions of. Because I will not allow myself to forget anything about her or the way she was the best friend a person could ask for.

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