Patrick's new idea was to lay in the back of the truck and drink beer whilst watching the stars. He was excited, as usual, the kind of excited that makes everyone think he's super happy in life, but if they thought that then they didn't know Patrick. His way of coping was to hype himself up and convince everyone he was fine until he couldn't do it anymore.
When I looked at him, I could see the dark circles under his eyes and how frizzy his hair was as if he had been running his hands through it frantically. His clothes were crumpled, he kept making too many hand gestures when he spoke and his lip seemed to wobble at times like he was about to cry, and he had to take a deep breath before carrying on.
Patrick wasn't like me; when I got sad, I sat there until the tears started to fall, like a slow wave moving into the shore before all the other waves crashed on top of it. Patrick was like a tornado, sweeping in and moving too fast until everything was broken; only it was Patrick who was left broken.
I didn't want to see him get drunk, so I asked if we could go to his house and meet up with Sam. He looked sad at that, I think he wanted to be out in the open so he could forget his life for a bit, or maybe he wanted to just sit with me because I could listen. I knew that if we stayed, though, he'd fall to pieces because he was really hurting and I think out here, we'd lose him.
I think that Sam knew he was in a bad way because she was sat on the porch when we pulled up the drive. She tried to smile but it didn't really work because she was thinking about what happened to her and how much it hurt and though Patrick wasn't going through the same thing, he was going through something, and it hurt just as much. This was what I loved most about Sam and Patrick, they saw what was happening to you and they understood.
We took Patrick out to the back garden so that he could lay on the grass and look at the stars. Sam sat in the middle, one hand holding mine and the other Patrick's. I kept looking at her and wondering why all the good people in the world never felt good enough; I kept thinking why we act like who we think people want us to be instead of who we really are, but I think that's just because we don't know ourselves.
That's why I'm writing this. Because Sam told me to write about us and that should include the sad days; this is who we really are.
At some point, Patrick started talking. He told us that he really loved Brad and that it would hurt less if he knew that Brad loved him, but really he only liked kissing him. Patrick said that doesn't mean anything unless you love someone.
Sam said she hated how useless she felt, how she couldn't stop things from going wrong and how if she failed school it would be another thing she couldn't do right. She talked about how being popular and liked didn't get you anywhere and she wished she had taken the time to decide who she was, instead of making a mask, because now she didn't know what life she wanted.
I didn't tell them about Aunt Helen, I knew it was a good moment but some things should stay secret. Instead, I told Patrick that Brad was wrong not to love him, and how some day someone will look at him and love everything about him instead of just liking the kissing. I told Sam she wasn't useless because she made me feel part of something and I liked who she was, I said she'd get to do whatever she wanted if she really believed. Then I told them I wondered why I was here because I didn't really fit into life properly; everything felt wrong and uncomfortable as if the world didn't need a Charlie, so it was trying to squeeze me out. Patrick squeezed my hand and said that there'd always be space for me in his life. Sam told me things wouldn't be right without me, because now that she loved me she couldn't imagine life without me. I think we'd all had a bit too much to drink by that point and so I didn't really believe them, but I let myself be happy and feel loved in that moment because that's what my friends were aiming for.
The night ended there really, I slept on the sofa and in the morning, we went out for breakfast and talked about school and normal things, as if we'd never been sad. I'd catch Sam and Patrick's eye at times, though, and everything would go quiet because we were remembering what happened to us and wondering where we went from there. When that happened I gave Patrick my toast and bought Sam another milkshake and we'd smile again. I think we all knew that as long as we had each other, we'd find a way through.
I hope you have a friend who understands your pain and can help you through it, and if you're reading this now and something bad has happened to you, please know that I'm sorry and I promise there will be good moments in your life to make it better, even if it is just a friend buying you a milkshake.