The Last Steps

My head sat heavy in the palms of my hands. I could barely comprehend the words of my physics teacher. I could feel my eyes began to sting. I tried to ignore my urge to remember the memories stored at the surface of my mind. The memories we formed over the past three years. The memories she decided to throw away.

Why? was the only question I could ask myself. Why did she become the girl she always judged? Why did she leave me behind after all the times I stuck with her?

I blinked away the newly-formed tears. I tried to clear my mind. I tried to clear it of the myriad collection of advice, tears, and chaos that formed our three years of friendship.

I stared at the clock. Eighteen more minutes until I met with Ellie during our lunch period. Eighteen minutes until I fathomed a new sense of hope; only for it to be gone within the next hour.

The bell rang. My heart pulsated and I felt my hands grow clammy. I checked my phone to make sure we were meeting at the correct place and began to type.

By the entrance of the school, right?”


My mind was racing. But it instantly stopped the moment I spotted her.

This was Ellie. This was my best friend of three years. I knew her from her chaotic siblings to the way she insisted that I blow her a kiss on FaceTime. I knew her from the day she showed up at my eleventh birthday party, solely to wish me a happy birthday when she barely knew me.

Hi, I’m Ellie! Happy birthday!” 

Those words rang in my head as I stared at her from across the hallway. They started to fade as I neared her and she barely even glanced at me.

“Hey.” I sounded brief. My voice lacked its usual bubbly and carefree approach towards speaking to her.

Her lips formed a smile. The same smile she formed while she was with her new friends. The same smile she formed after a night of searching for new schools to transfer to and endless sobbing. The same smile she formed when she assured me that she’s still my best friend.

I knew this smile. And it was not Ellie.

“Hey.” Her face remained still. Her green eyes glistened in the golden sun, as we started to walk down the school steps. Our steps synchronized almost automatically, the same way they always have since the past year.

My body longed to laugh with her; the way we have a million times before while walking down those steps. I wished to seek her advice and break out into tears in the comfort of her arms.

But my face remained straight.

Our steps continued to synchronize. We walked mostly in silence. Neither of us knew what to say. She kept her head down and stared into her phone.

“So,” She started with some uncertainty, a few minutes into the walk.

I looked into her soft eyes again, searching for at least some familiarity. “Yeah?”

“What did you want to talk about?”

To name everything I wanted to talk about was like trying to count every star in the night sky. The girl standing in front of me was an Ellie-faced stranger.

She barely looked up from her phone as I looked at her.

Hi, I’m Ellie! began ringing in my head again. The words that initially started our friendship. The words I longed for her to repeat and erase our past month.