To say the first time Charlie saw Dan after she had gotten the news was awkward is a serious understatement. Charlie hadn’t even want to look at him, but he had come right up to her in the cafeteria.
“Hey, Charlie.” His voice had been light and Charlie had wondered how he could possibly be so casual.
“Hey,” she had said without looking at him.
“Any plans this weekend?”
Charlie had whirled around, looking at him as though he had grown a third eye. The she had seen the confusion on his face. “Oh, crap! You don’t know.”
At first Charlie had thought she might have a panic attack. Her breaths had shortened and she had looked around for an escape, but there had been none.
Someone would tell him eventually. He should hear it from her.
She had set down her tray and said, “Follow me.” She had led him to a fairly deserted corner of the cafeteria, turned to face him, and took a deep breath.
“Lindsey killed herself.” Charlie hadn’t been able to look at him while she said it. She had kept her arms crossed over her chest and her eyes cast down.
Charlie hadn’t think she could say anything else, so she had just let the news sink in.
“You’re joking right? You can’t be serious.”
She had finally looked up to meet his eyes. “Joking? You think I would joke about this shit? My best friend is dead because of you.” She hadn’t meant to say that last part. It had just come out.
“But she can’t … Because of me …?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. Of course it’s not your fault. I’s just that she took the breakup really hard.”
“She killed herself because I broke up with her?”
“No. Dan. She had problems, OK? She always did. She thought having a boyfriend was the only thing worth living for.”
“She just wanted someone to love her…”
“I loved her!” Charlie had lost it. Once the words were out, the tears had followed with huge, racking sobs. With all this anger and no where to direct it, Charlie had turned and beat at the wall with her fists, her feet, her whole body. Dan had grabbed her and pulled her away before she could hurt herself. She had collapsed into his arms, crying her heart out onto his chest.
“Hey! Is everything OK here?” One of the campus security guards had been alerted by the commotion and come to investigate.
“No! Everything is not OK!” Charlie had launched herself away from Dan to scream at the security guard. “My best friend is dead because I wasn’t good enough for her! I loved her, but that wasn’t enough so she killed herself!”
“OK, why don’t we just go down to the counselor’s office and talk about it?”
To be continued …