by Dillon Armstrong
Short Fiction Winner, VSU Student Writing Contest 2019
How do you tell your best friend that you are in love with him? How do you tell him that his smile drives you crazy, that his eyes send butterflies fluttering through your veins, that his voice sooths your frenzied mind like sweet honey, that he is the most incredible human being you have ever encountered? How do you tell your best friend that you can give him the world, that you can calm him on a stormy night when the wind is howling and the rain is whipping the windows, that you would walk through fire, you would lie on a bed of nails, you would give your last breath just to make him happy? How do you tell your best friend that you want to spend eternity with him, that you don’t ever want to be apart? How do you tell your best friend that he has been at the front of your mind every moment of every day, that his face invades your purest and most simple thoughts and that you enjoy it? How do you tell your best friend, when he is standing at the altar, hand-in-hand with the person he has promised his life to, that he is making the biggest mistake of his life? How do you tell your best friend that you are in love with him?
How do you describe the pain that has consumed you since he told you he was getting married? How do you tell your best friend, the most incredible human being in the world, that he is driving the sharpest blade into your heart? That you can feel your skin being sliced open, you can see the blood trickling out of your body as he shoves his knife into your chest? That you can feel the blade of his knife as it goes deeper, as it slides through your chest and forces itself into your beating heart? How do you tell him to do it faster, that he is killing you too slowly and you need him to hurry up because it is the most unbearable pain you have ever felt? How do you tell him to finish you off with all his might, to put you out of your misery, to take you from the cruel world you’re living in, where you have to watch him make his biggest mistake? How do you describe your last heartbeat, the final flow of blood through your arteries, your last breath, at the hands of your best friend? How do you attribute your death to your best friend?
How do you be mad at your best friend when he is completely innocent? But he isn’t innocent. He did this to you. He squeezed your heart until it burst, your blood all over him. He held the pillow over your face and forced your last breath out of your body. He watched your arms and legs flail hopelessly in the air, he watched your body squirm against his weight, he watched you sink into your death bed. He felt the iciness of death overcome your body as he moved his pillow away, as he pulled out his knife for the last time, as he watched your eyelids close over your stony eyes and your head fall to the side, leaving your body in a lifeless lump for somebody else to come clean up. How do you be mad at your best friend, the most incredible human being you have ever met, for killing you?
How do you overpower the silence in the room? How do you stand up, in front of all these people who have come to see a union, and speak your truth? How do you tell your best friend that this person standing in front of him is not worthy of his love? How do you tell the crowd that you’ve been in love with him since the day you met? That his smile mesmerized you when you bumped into each other, that the brush of his shoulder against yours sent the most electrified sparks flying through your nerves, that his pure sugared “excuse me” made you melt in the afternoon sun as it drifted through your ears? How do you ruin the happiest moment of your best friend’s life? How do you embody the fact that you are about to ruin tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of beauty and planning? How do you accept the fact that as soon as you open your mouth, everyone in the room, your best friend included, is going to hate you? How do you accept the fact that you are about to become the most low-down, disgusting monster you can imagine? How do you speak now?
How do you force yourself to hold your breath? How do you convince yourself that this is the biggest mistake of your life? That your chance has passed, that you’ve had all the time in the world to tell him how you feel? How do you swallow everything that you have worked so hard to pull from the depths of your heart, your lungs, your stomach, your being? How do you sit quietly, like every other person in the room, and watch the love of your life marry the love of his life? How do you calm your nerves, stop them from pulling your body up in front of everyone? How do you finally let the pain settle within you, become part of you, own you? How do you accept your fate? Your death? Your murder at the hands of your best friend? How do you let yourself die when the opportunity to live is right in front of you, right within your reach? How do you give up the only thing that drives your heartbeat, that fuels your day, that powers your entire existence, just so he can be happy while you live the rest of your life in silent despair? How do you forever hold your peace?