Trigger Warning: Mention of death and drug use.
It was always during this time of the year when her heart had felt extra heavy. Just around the corner was the anniversary of her death. October 29, 2009. The date she lost her best friend. She was so young, only fifteen years old, they both were. They had their whole lives ahead of them. Such big dreams, become successful, travel the world together, have their own reality show. That’s what they aspired for. That was taken away when her life ended far too soon. Everleigh still has nightmares about that night, she can still hear the screams of her friends, their fighting, the crying. It wasn’t supposed to end like that. Not to Leah, she was supposed to be her best friend until they were grey and old. Their promise to each other, because neither girl had the perfect family, they were each other’s best part of life.
She had spent the last few days numb, tequila, pills, whatever she could get her hands on. She never handled this day well and even though it was still nearly three weeks away, the heaviness was still hanging over her. Especially, because Everleigh felt at fault. Deep down, she knew she couldn’t have helped her, they were too late, they hadn’t noticed when their friend had gone silent, but Everleigh should’ve known. Leah was always loud, always talking and laughing. She had this amazing spirit, despite what life threw at her, she was always the sunshine on Everleigh’s darkest days. That should’ve been their first clue. She just guessed they were two preoccupied, trying to get the last of the heroin out of the needle. Fighting over who got it next. Too busy to realize Leah had stopped talking, too busy to notice how she began to slump down, how her lips were slowly turning purple.
October 29, 2009
“Hey, you had your share, pendejo!” Jose punched Hunter’s arm, grabbing the drugs from him, lighting the 8 ball, the lighter underneath the spoon. “F.cuk off, who’s money bought it, aye?” The two argued in the front, Everleigh just rolled her eyes, laughing, nudging Ro’s arm, grinning at the idiots in the front seat. “Boys, aye?” The girl smirked. “Le, how you doinnnn?” Ro teased, reaching over Everleigh to smack Leah’s thigh. Everleigh didn’t hear a response. No quick witty comeback. The blonde looked over and she couldn’t get out the words, instead, she lifted up Leah’s head, her lips blue. “Guys, she’s not breathing!” Everleigh screamed, before opening Leah’s mouth, breathing air into her mouth. “Guys, help!” Ro screamed, the guys were silent, unable to move, no one knowing what to do. Everleigh’s eyes filled with tears, her ear moved to her chest; “She’s not breathing!” Ro screamed once more, a commotion began around them, shouting at one another, about how they would all go to jail. Hunter suggested putting her on the sidewalk and that’s when Everleigh jumped up at him, punching him. “Are you insane?!” She screeched; “That’s our friend!!!”
Everleigh’s face was covered in black-streaked tears. “Leah, please.” She was shaking her now, but her body was limp, her head lulling back, the color drained from her face. “Jose, drive, go to the hospital!” Ro screamed out, but Everleigh knew, it was too late. When they finally arrived twenty minutes later, Leah was pronounced dead. As much as Everleigh wanted to stick around and wait for her parents, she knew she had to go. Sobbing, uncontrollably as she left her best friend. “Ev, if we stayed, we would all be f.ucked.” Hunter said, pulling her further down the street. They dropped her outside the hospital. They stayed in the shadows, Hunter snuck in, hiding behind a curtain where they were working on Leah. When he came out, Everleigh could tell by the look on his face before he even said it. She was dead.
Everleigh awoke startled, her cheeks covered in hot tears, her arms were prickled with goosebumps. Her eyes blurry with tears as she pushed herself up, reaching for her bedside table, turning on the little lamp. A scream fell from her lips as she scooted back further into her bed. Her heart sped up, she was still dreaming, she had to be. In the corner of her bedroom, sitting on the windowpane, was Leah. Shaking her head, she closed her eyes but when she opened them, Leah was still there. She was standing up now and walking over to Everleigh, the blonde could feel the dip in the bed caused by Leah’s weight. She looked just how she did before she died, yet somehow; she looked more angelic. “Hi, Ev,” Her voice sounded so much softer, not her usual high pitched squeal. “Leah?” Everleigh asked, quite dumbfounded, she had to be still sleeping. “It’s me.” The brunette smiled, reaching out for Everleigh’s hand. It was warm, just as if she was alive, but she wasn’t.
“How…” Everleigh could only ask, still not sure she was fully awake or even sober. “You’re here.” Another angelic smile, Leah reached out and wiped away the tear that had fallen down Everleigh’s face. “I am.” She said simply as if that was enough. “I know you tried to fight for me, I know how hard it was to just leave me there…” Her own eyes began to water; “But it’s okay, I’m okay, stop blaming yourself, Everleigh.” She whispered as she moved closer, Everleigh lunged forward, expecting to fall but instead she was met with Leah’s solid frame. “I know how much you loved me, how much you still love me and that’s why you have to forgive yourself,” Leah whispered, smoothing Everleigh’s hair. She could feel her warm breath on her skin, Everleigh grasped her tighter. “I miss you so much, Leah, I wish you were still here with me.” Everleigh sobbed into the warmth of her neck. “But I’m not, baby girl, but you are and you’ve got to stop.” She pulled back looking at Everleigh.
“Please, stop doing this to yourself, you’ve gotta let me go.” Everleigh couldn’t phantom that, letting Leah go, it wasn’t possible. “I promise you, I am okay, I am happy and healthy, I’m with my Abuelita and my tia.” She looked happy and healthy. Everleigh knew she had to be losing her mind. “Promise me, that you won’t keep blaming yourself, I love you and I don’t want you to go through this every year, and if you must then remember the good times,” Leah said softly, her soft hands tucking a lock of Everleigh’s hair behind her hair. “Just know, I’m in a better place and it’s okay to mourn me but remember the good times, Evie, only the best times.” Everleigh couldn’t help but cry, nodding as she tried to keep herself together. “And I’m always with you, watching over you, I’m so proud of you and who’ve you become. I have to go now.” Leah said, getting up from the bed. “No, please, Leah, please don’t go.” Everleigh grasped her arm but Leah was able to pull her arm free. “Shhh, I have to go but I love you always, my best friend, my sister. I love you.”
Leah’s voice faded, as did she, and Everleigh was left alone. She could still feel her presence, feel her touch on her skin, smell her perfume below her nose. “Leah, come back..” Everleigh whispered softly and she was met with Leah’s melodic laughter. The calmness set over her and Everleigh just pulled the blankets up to her chest, staring at the windowpane where Leah had been perched. Slowly, she fell asleep, dreaming of Leah, of happier times.