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I never knew it would be this hard. People were relying on me. I couldn't do it, I couldn't cope... I couldn't do it. I had tried, and now I've failed.
He never thought he was special. He was bit of a geek, a bit of a tool. It all depended on who he was with. For his parents, he was the silent, respectful boy they wanted. For his teachers, he was a perfectionist. For his mates, he was funny and dramatic. For his girlfriend, he was the most wonderful, sweet boy in the world. He had blonde hair that swept over his forehead and got in his deep brown eyes. He wasn't tall, and he needed glasses to see the board at school, but he never wore them. He said they made him look stupid. He was right.
Angie was cute, not hot. He'd had a crush on her since we were 12. But she wanted to be friends. We were awesome, us three. Oscar, Angie and me, Jacob. The cool misfit, the cutie and the... I don't know what I am anymore. I used to be the cool one, the centre of attention. But Oscar had taken over, with his loud voice that broke before mine and made me sound idiotic. Oscar, with his abs and his skills. He was the drama wiz. The teachers worshiped him. He was captain of hokey and got all As. He was perfect.
I loved him. No one ever knew how I... How I was. I hated the thought of people knowing I had feelings for another guy. For a cool guy. For someone like him. I was there when everything blew up in his face, I comforted him. I kissed his bruised lip, I touched his black eye. I tried so hard to help him, but I made everything worse.
I can't. The blood, it's too much. I never meant... I was just trying to... What have I done?
Nothing was simple from when we turned 13. Angie got pretty. She developed, and a lot of boys had a crush on her, but she only had eyes for Oscar. We used to go to movies together, just the tree of us, and Oscar and Angie would sit together, his arm resting on the back of her seat, her head on his chest. It hurt my heart to see them, my two best friends, already so far beyond anything I'd thought of. But I never looked at her. Just Oscar. I needed his presence like I needed air.
We played basket ball in the park outside my house sometimes. Once, we were changing and I saw things on his chest and his back. Old scars, new burns, and a lot of bruises. He pulled on his jumper the second he saw that I had seen.
"It's nothing," he said "just some stuff from hockey." I knew he was lying.
Blood seeping from my arms, making pools on my living room floor. I'd thought it would be okay. But I was wrong. What have I done?
Oscar had a gun. I never knew where he got it from. He came to my house one day, covered in sweat and blood and crying his eyes out, pointing the gun at his head. I remember it so well. He was holding a dark coat around himself, huddled into it. It was raining, and his hair was slicked down over his forehead, drops of rain dripping from his fringe onto his face. He was sobbing like all the hope had drained from him, holding the gun to the right side of his head.
"I don't want it anymore, Jacob. It doesn't count." he'd said.
"Stop it! Put the gun down, mate."
"I don't... I don't care anymore."
He ran away, stowing the gun in his pocket. He showed up at school the next morning looking awful. He was hungover, he was exhausted. His pale face had a bruise the size of a large fist below his left eye. We never spoke about it again.
No pulse. He wasn't breathing. I'd killed him. It was over. Pain radiating from my chest, from my arm and from my head. It was self defence, right? It wasn't my fault, was it? Blood dripping from both of us. United in pain for the last time.
Oscar was the lead in the school play. He got a standing ovation. His parents didn't show. His mum had promised, he told me. But neither bothered come. They had to put on a lot of make up for the second performance to cover the cut on his cheek. He swore it was from shaving, but I knew he didn't even own a razor.
I met him for coffee the morning before he committed murder. He seemed so determined to do right by Angie and the child. He told me he was going to marry her, even if it destroyed his life. His baby was not going to go without, not ever. That's what he said. Angie turned him down. She had gone to a clinic that morning to 'deal with the issue'. He turned up on my doorstep with bruises on his face, with blood on his shirt, with six cigarette burns on his arm to join the others. I kissed his swollen lip. I touched his black eye. I kissed him again. He looked at me like I was a freak. Like I was insane, like I'd betrayed him. I felt so empty. He didn't want me to like him. But I loved him so much. He needed me. He showed me the gun he had had all that time before.
"If you tell anyone about what I told you, or about what you just did, I will add you onto my hit list" and I knew he was going to kill.
The metal felt cold and strangely comforting against my head. The end of the barrel fit exactly into the dent in my temple, like it was meant to be there. Maybe it was.
The joint funeral was attended by the whole school. We stood on Oscar's side. Four people stood by the other coffin. I cried when we sang All Things Bright and Beautiful. I had loved him for years. A few people went to pay their respects to the other coffin after the funeral. The body looked at rest, except for the hole in his head, similar to Oscar's own. The man who had caused my friend so much pain lay dead before me. Oscar and killed his father. Then he had killed himself. The two lives that had destroyed each other, ended together. That's how it works in Shakespeare. That's how it works in poetry. But it shouldn't happen here, in real life. Not to the soft spoken, basket ball playing, dramatic boy in my class. It shouldn't happen to him.