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Short Story: The Long Goodbye

The Long Goodbye

Samantha Pape
1992 – 2007
Taken from this world but never taken from our hearts. Free from all pain, your smile touched so many. You were my heart and my armour; I know you’re still living your life after death. I will love you always and forever, until we meet again.

That’s me, Samantha Pape; well that’s who I used to be. Unfortunately, I was taken from my world, my family, my friends, and my life. My story is without doubt, special. I can say now that I have realised how much everything and everyone meant to me. Yet words can’t express truly what my heart feels. I took many things in my life for granted. I miss the simplest things in life, the autumn breeze whispering through the trees, and then flowing through my hair, revealing their secrets. But then I miss the most important things. I miss being able to hold my family and friends close, feeling their warm embrace. If I was given one more chance, to live and breath again amongst the ones I love, I would really only change one thing. Every single day, I would tell those who mean something to me, would it be family, friends or those who simply touched my heart. That where ever they go, and what ever they do, they will always close to my heart, because you never know one day it could be too late. My life tragically ended on the 11th January 2007, but my soul was left behind. I guess you could say, I had some unfinished business to take care of:

11th January 2007.

‘’It’s absolutely freezing, why does it have to be so cold’’ Laura whispered, her jaw chattering.
‘’Always moaning about something, aren’t ya’’ I jokingly responded with a slight smile on my face.
Laura and I had been best friends since, well forever. When we were younger, we promised that we always would be friends no matter what happened. We’d been through some good times and bad times, yet we always overcame those obstacles as our bond was always too strong to break.
The night was drawing closer, and the skies grew darker and darker with each and every second. Above, prodigious, obscure clouds over-shadowed the earth, eclipsing the natural light, leaving the only source from the beaming streetlights.
We were both heading home from an after school revision class. My hands were as cold as ice so I hastily shoved them into my coat pockets, clenching my fists tight as I shuddered and tensed my body. We both halted as we came to the side of an unusually hectic road. I perched impatiently on the brink of the path, waiting in the blistering wind that rocked the towering trees. They appeared to be swaying to the rhythm of the bustling traffic. With each car rushing by with their blinding headlights, I grew more and more impatient. It then began to rain; Laura looked up into the ill-lit sky frowning, and then pulled her hood over her head. In the distance along the road, I could see a generous space between two cars that were coming towards us. I knew that if we were quick, we could hastily dodge through to the other side of the road.
‘’ You ready, after this next one,’’ I proclaimed, placing one foot out onto the road.
The car rushed by so I made my move.
‘’Saaam!!’’ I heard Laura scream at the pitch of her voice.
I froze! My heart was pulsating, I felt like it could explode. The intense lights were suddenly upon me. The car horn furiously bellowed. I needed to move. I needed to move quickly. But I couldn’t. I just stood there. “Move,” I told myself “Move”!
The huge ton of metal came aimlessly screeching towards me. I felt a sharp sudden impact, and before I knew it, I was jolted across onto the grass verge opposite. My limp body hit the floor hard. I couldn’t believe that I had managed to escape. I was in complete shock. I laid still on the grass verge. The rain came slashing down like a million daggers slicing through the moist air; it trickled down the side of my face as I slowly closed my eyes. It suddenly went silent for a split second, and then the silence was pierced by the sound of a girl’s cry.
‘’ Help, someone help…please anybody,’’ the girl screamed, her voice began to shake and break down, ‘’just please… help’’. Slowly, I began to raise myself off the damp cold grassy verge, whilst a man came rushing passed me not even offering any assistance. I brushed down my damp clothes, and held my hands up to see if I had wounded them, but to my surprise they seemed fine. I clenched them together and turned around to see what had happened. There in the middle of the road, Laura was knelt in a puddle hunched over someone; it was her cry I could hear all along. Rocking back and forth, she held someone in her arms. I slowly ambled towards her, my body stiffened almost like I was paralysed.
“Laura, what’s happened,” I asked, leaning over her to see the body she held tight.
I froze, my eyes fixed upon the lifeless body that lay before me. “It couldn’t be, that’s impossible,” I thought.
It was me! I began to shake; I stumbled round to where my corpse lay and collapsed to my knees. I gripped tight onto my thighs, grasping my trousers. I stared hard at the cold body that lay lifeless looking up into the aphotic night sky; Laura clutched the limp body and rocked it back and forth.
“Please don’t leave me, Sam, please wake up,” Laura whispered gently shaking the body. Her friend.
Ambulance sirens could be heard in the distance, a middle-aged man came over, placing his hands on Laura’s shoulders.
“Come on, It’ll be alright, the paramedics will take care of her, there’s nothing you can do now.” The man whispered softly taking his hand away from where it rested. Laura gently lowered the body to the floor, still clasping the cold hand. Still distraught and crying, she rested the hand on the floor and slowly began to pick herself up. The world seemed to freeze for a moment, as I knelt in the rain, a tear slowly fell from my eye disappearing under my chin. I reached my hand out to the body; my arm began shaking as I paused over its face. Gently, I tried to touch it one last time, but as I stroked it I couldn’t feel anything. I pulled my hand back and placed it over my heart, not even a single beat pulsated through my chest.

Suddenly, a luminous glow appeared behind where I knelt. Slowly, I turned and raised myself to stand before it. Above in the dull night sky, a magnificent crystalline light came blazing down on me. A delicate mist began to encircle softly within, revealing many beautiful light anomalies. I reached out to touch the spectacular colours that radiated from it. I was completely mesmerized, as I gazed in disbelief; the lights began swiftly spiralling round my arm. A powerful, yet warming feeling came streaming through me. A magnetic impulse began to over power me, freeing me from all feelings that had recently overwhelmed me. As it beckoned me, my mind flashed with memories of my life, weakening me inside. Tears began flowing softly down my face; each one shimmered as the stunning lights reflected off them. I turned around to see my friend, my life, for the last time. Laura’s body weakened as she slumped on the curb crying. Paramedics lifted the limp dead body onto a trolley, slowly lifting it on the back of an ambulance. But I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t bring myself to leave my best friend like this. As I pulled myself away from the charming light, it suddenly faded and disappeared into the damp night air. Still looking into the dusty night sky, there was now no evidence of the heart-stirring light. I quickly returned to my friend’s side on the curb. A policewoman came over taking off her hat as she crouched down in front of her.
“Hey… I understand what you’re going through right now, I am so sorry for what you’ve gone through tonight, but we are going to have to get you home to your family… you wanna come with me sweetheart? I’ll make sure you get home safe.” the policewoman softly expressed.
She placed her arm round Laura with a reassuring and warming grip. They headed towards a police car, so I began to follow.

Back in Laura’s family home, hours passed by. Laura had been up in her room with the door locked since she was brought back. I remained downstairs at the doorway of the kitchen; her mother was sat with her head in her hands at the table. The policewoman who brought Laura back home was seated at the opposite end of the table talking to her about the accident. The atmosphere in the house felt uncomfortable.
“ I don’t know what I am gonna do, how am I gonna get her to come round.” Her mum sobbed, she felt the pain Laura was going through.
“ The best thing for her right now is to be left alone, it may seem harsh, but she will come round after she takes everything in. She is still in a lot of shock. Losing anyone is hard enough, but your best friend is like losing a piece of you. When she calms down, try talking to her about it, it could ease the pain talking to someone.” The policewomen insisted.
She rose from the wooden table with a kind-reassuring smile. And with that she headed towards the front door.
“ Thank you, you have helped a lot tonight, she just shouldn’t be going through this sort of stuff at her age. All this just doesn’t seem to be, real.” Her mother sighed.
I looked up the stairs towards Laura’s room, and then turned and watched as the policewomen said her farewells and exited. Laura’s mum gently closed the door behind her, and then returned to the table wiping a tear from her cheek.

Slowly, I walked up the carpeted stairs to Laura’s room. As I travelled, I glanced at all the photos that elegantly hung from the magnolia walls. They were all family pictures; everyone who posed in them had a smile, each and every one looking happy. At the end of the hall, I came to a white painted door. In the middle, a colourful piece of paper was blue tacked to it, with the words “Laura’s Room” drawn artistically across it. As my eyes glanced over the illustration, they then fixed on a picture that was placed below. It was Laura and I. A sudden emptiness overpowered me. I gently raised my hand and placed it over the picture blocking out my face, leaving Laura alone yet still smiling. “That’s the way it is going to be now, my smile will forever by hidden, not being able to touch and free people’s hearts,” I thought to myself.
I reached to turn the small silver handle on the door, remembering that it wasn’t going to work anymore. As my hand went straight through it, I took a deep breath and froze for a mere second. I was going to have to walk through the door. It made me feel almost scared thinking that this is what it had come to. Taking a deep breath I closed my eyes and stepped forward.

Upon opening them, I saw Laura curled up on her bed with her head buried deep in the comfort of her arms. I carefully sat down next to her, knowing she couldn’t hear or see me. I felt lonely.
“ Laura… I know you can’t hear me, but…” I paused; my mouth dry like the deserts of Egypt.
My head collapsed onto my chest, and as I closed my eyes a tear fell, gliding down my face and disappearing into the comfort of my lips. “ I… need a friend right now, I don’t know what to do. If only you could hear me, I need to let you know I’m still here. I’ll always be… no matter what.” I whispered gently.
Laura unwrapped herself from her arms and began to sit up. I steadily lifted my head and watched her as she wiped her eyes and then glanced around her room. Picking up a cushiony pillow from where she had laid, she gripped it close to her chest and began to speak.
“ Sam, if you can hear me, I can’t believe your not here. It’s like I feel empty inside without my best friend. I assumed you’d always be there, I sometimes took your presence for granted but I always cared. Now that you’re gone, I can still feel you near but I can’t hide the tears that my heart is crying. I’m sorry; it’s my fault… now look what’s happened. You’ve been taken, forever. I couldn’t even say goodbye.” She murmured as her head sunk deep into her pillow.
I reached out my hand to rest on her shoulder, but she couldn’t feel me.
“ Please, don’t say that.” I replied, ” Never blame yourself! There was nothing you could have done… now I seem to be stuck in between worlds, but I can’t leave my best friend like this.” I knew she couldn’t hear.
Laura stretched over to some sturdy shelves opposite and pulled out a CD. She carefully placed it in the CD player on her bedside cabinet and pressed play. After turning the light off, she curled up again on the bed, clutching her pillow close. A song began to play quietly; it was my favourite song. I sat on the end of her bed, just watching her as she hid herself from the cruel world. Knowing she was going to wake up in the morning and carry out her life without her best friend to guide her made me feel guilty. As the song played, she pulled the pillow closer, quietly singing the lyrics.
“Sorry, I never told you, all I wanted to say. Now it’s too late to hold you. Cause you’ve flown away, so far away. Never, had I imagined, living without your smile. Feeling and knowing you hear me. It keeps me alive…”
Suddenly the song paused, and a bright light began glistening behind me. As I turned around, I was faced once again with the welcoming light and its warming presence. I looked back to where Laura laid, and realised she had sat up and was looking straight at me. I steadily stood up and smiled, tears came flowing down her face like an elegant waterfall.
“ Sam… it can’t be.” She murmured losing grip of the pillow.
‘’Laura, how do I say goodbye to our friendship? My time has ended, but you still have so much of your life ahead of you. But take with you the memories we’ve shared, to be your sunshine after the rain. I promised you once that I would always be there for you, but now don’t think I have let you down. I will still always be here, just because you can’t see or hear me doesn’t mean I am not there. When you smile, I’ll smile along with you, and when you cry, I’ll cry along with you. You’re never alone. When you need me, I’ll be there to carry you through those tough times. And in a very long time, when your time comes to an end, you’ll see me once again. I will be there to take your hand and guide you through the night, sharing our past memories that our friendship has treasured. I won’t let you down…” I smiled and turned to the light, Slowly I walked towards it. The warm glow shone through my body, the mist spiralled around me taking my soul. I could now leave peacefully, knowing my dearest friend would always remain in my heart. Safe.

Moral: Always show friends, family and people who you care for, just how special they are and you will always be there for them, because one day it may be too late.

Journal Comments

  • Melinda Kerr
  • Samantha Pape