I went to college for a brief period of time, still I managed to find some good people there. There was this particular girl that really stood out to me. We used to catch the same train, although I’m not really one to start a conversation, we would sit together so often that we eventually befriend one another. Most of the times we would sleep through the whole journey, but sometimes we would talk about college, the books we were reading or just little nothings to fill in the silence. She was easy to talk to.
It was the beginning of my second year, from what I could gather her first year hadn’t been spectacular but she still thrived in spite of it. She was pretty, very quiet but approachable. Once you got to know her you would find out she was pleasantly nice and could even be a bit funny at times. Although she didn’t really seem to connect with anyone in particular, she got an invitation to all the gatherings. It was always a gamble, would she show up or not? But at the beginning of the second year, she started to show up. A lot. Everyone was excited about her different take on the new year and from outside, it looked like she was enjoying it as well.
Once, while at a party we talked briefly about it, she told me how she felt like she missed out on a lot on the first year and wanted to seize the college opportunity more. She sounded more cheerful than usual and had an excitement that would shine through her words. Still, something felt off. There was a certain emptiness in everything she said, almost as if she was convincing herself as much as she was convincing us.
I notice she started to stay over more often. She would go to parties and drink a little bit too much, she would get very talkative and slip up some information about her once in a while. No one really knew that much about her, so it was nice to find out little things. It still seemed like she wasn’t comfortable enough to talk freely, she didn’t want to talk about certain things, it seemed as if hopping she would forget them herself.
I really didn’t pay enough attention to notice when exactly it was that things started to turn south, but they did. She started cutting class so that she could sleep through the hangovers and she would only show up if there was a party later, otherwise she didn’t bother coming to college at all. Everyone still liked her, but her niche got smaller. She started to hang out with the girls that went out the most. There was nothing wrong with that, but it was a very different behavior from the previous year. You would see her often at six in the morning stumbling home, going through cigarettes like it was candy.
She ended up disappearing completely one day. We later found out she had a really bad break up. She was kind of alone, that boy often seemed to be the only reason she was still there and apparently that had been swept away. It was unfortunate that whole situation. It’s too bad such a nice girl would give herself up for a boy like that. I was always left with this sour taste in my mouth, I wish I could have been more of a friend to her. It seemed like she needed someone who would have dared to ask the right questions. She kept everyone at bay, so the truth is that there wasn’t much to be done. You can only get as close and someone will let you. I tend to do the same thing so I understand where she is coming from – the less they know, the less they can hurt you. But it also means that you’ll be left helpless eventually. And I guess that’s what happened to her.
I have no clue as where she could be now, but I hope she found her path and herself. I know that hindsight is 20/20 and what I know now I didn’t knew then, I can only learn from looking back. But I hope I can be more of a friend to the girls in my life today than I was to this girl before. Support them when they need it and call them out when they start to fall out of grace. Sometimes all you gotta do to help someone is dare to ask the right question.