My best friend and former roommate Ron came over with his wife and children to check up on me. He does this every so often. After college, he became a successful webcomic artist, his schedule is hectic, but he would always make the effort to check in on me. We are the same age, but Ron, with his baby face and the way he dresses in graphic tees, jeans, and sneakers, always comes off as younger. One night, after his little ones became tired, his wife took them to the car. She called for Ron but he told her he wanted to speak with me. His wife, picking up on his seriousness, left without arguing.
"Why so serious?" I asked, feeling a bit worried.
"You know, it's almost been a year, right?" Ron said and I arched an eyebrow. "Since the accident?" he continued. Once those words left his mouth, all I could hear was a loud truck horn and the crunch of metal. My knees gave out and Ron helped me back to my feet. "I know it's been tough, but she wouldn't want you to live like this." he says and pauses. "You didn't even go to the funeral."
"You know… What the fuck do you know!?" I yelled, my hands shaking with anger. Ron became silent.
"You think you're the only one who's suffered?" His voice had gotten low and I knew I upset him. "She was a part of my life too." Ron came closer to me until we were only inches apart. "Not only did I lose her and my goddaughter that day." I could hear his voice crack. The memories of all the time the three of us spent together flooded back. We were the three amigos,that had been what Alma had called us. She had been Ron's biggest supporter when he was just getting started in the webcomic business. She had even introduced him and his wife. We had become the 4 amigos. She had been there taking care of his children when he and his wife were unable to. My eyes stung. I remember how her eyes would light up when she took care of them. I remember the tears of joy in her eyes when she found out she was pregnant. I remember all the times she would send me to a corner store to pick up some absurd combination of snacks she was craving. She had been the one to suggest he be our godfather. She even asked him for name ideas. I almost smiled and then I remembered the truck. Ron pushed me against the wall and held me there. "I feel like I lost you too that day."
"Do you know how easily I could have done what you're doing? I didn't become the way you are because I had people to support me. You do too. You don't have to go through this alone." He stopped holding me against the wall and left.
Once Ron left, I was alone again. Whenever I was alone without any distractions, my mind would go back to the accident. I tried to keep myself busy but nothing was working. I searched for Ron and he was still nearby. I couldn’t lose my best friend. I tried to go after him. These would be my first real steps outside after the accident. It was overwhelming. I could hear the screeching of tires in my head. I could smell the burnt rubber and the gas. I called out to him but he couldn’t hear me. I panicked watching his back get smaller and smaller in the distance. I heard sirens coming from an ambulance racing down the street and a woman’s baby crying. My heart started to hammer in my chest until the world started to spin and I fainted.
I woke up in my bed and saw Ron at my bedside reading one of my journals. I had so many of those stupid things. He was holding one with a giraffe on it. Alma had gifted me that journal. She always enjoyed whatever I would write. "You're awake. I came back to apologize for getting physical and you were sprawled on the ground."
"Don't apologize. I was being a jerk. You're just so upbeat, I guess I'm jealous. You managed to achieve your dream, and I didn’t." The last part came out like a whisper. I always thought we would make the world our own, so seeing him be successful while I wasn’t stung a bit. I looked to see what journal he picked up and saw it was the one full of short stories and poetry. I laughed to myself. Those who can't do teach, right?
"It's never too late to achieve your dreams." He smiled and returned my journal to me. "I forgot how good your writing was. You know, if you ever try to publish, you'll be a bestseller." He was about to leave.
"I've always been more of a reader than a writer." He ignored my comment, closing the door behind him. It may seem silly, but I promised myself whatever I found in this journal I would meditate on. It was a description of a character. It was just details on their appearance. It was for an athletic female, with silver hair and purple eyes, her skin a beautiful mocha color. She wore an outfit similar to a well known genie. Ron had even sketched her. If I showed him this he would probably cringe. Not because it was bad but because he had improved so much since then.
I guess I stopped writing about her because there was nothing about her personality or past. She was just a shell. A body without a soul.
I've been meditating on this character for quite some time. She didn't have a name but I decided on her name being Rhea. I say I decided, but I asked her which name she wanted and she picked that one. At first, I had to concentrate so she would appear as if she were a real person, but if I got distracted she would vanish. Once I was more practiced, she would appear with ease. I know she wasn't real, but we would talk for hours and I felt her presence was comforting. I showed her my favorite books, TV series, and even my favorite spots on the internet. She enjoyed those things at first but she started to get bored.
I didn't want her to be bored and leave me so I would try to venture out every so often. We started small, with me taking my garbage to the dumpster. I would normally never do this, but Rhea was very persistent when she wanted something. The more I went out, the more confident I grew. Before I knew it, I could do more than take out the garbage. I went out and did laundry. I went grocery shopping. This was only possible because of my constant companion, Rhea. Whenever I did one of these things Rhea would reward me with a radiant smile.