As the months passed I had to go through many different events without Alexis. A month after she died a new Michael Jackson album came out,and I was almost excited about it, as close to excited as I could have possibly been back then. Then the Harry Potter movie came out, Alex and I had been counting down for it, and had read all four books multiple times. I had to do that without her, and of course didn’t enjoy the movie one bit. I ran away from school almost every day, I just couldn’t emotionally handle it anymore, so my parents agreed to let me be homeschooled, which meant I was home alone almost every day which I was fine with because that’s how I wanted it for the most part. I was still in therapy two times a week, which didn’t feel like it was helping back then, but I realize now really was. The biggest change I had to go through after I lost my best friend happened three months after her death when my parents sat my brother and I down and told us they were getting a divorce.My brother went through all the normal emotions kids feel when that happens, I honestly didn’t care. My Dad was seldom home anyways, and I had known for the past couple of years that he had been cheating on my Mom. The only thing I had left was Mitchi. We were still together constantly, but we had both changed.Instead of going on excursions along the beach, or in the woods like we used too, we just sat in his room and played video games and watched movies. Neither of us had any motivation to do anything. Elisa still came over sometimes, but most of my friends had backed off because instead of playing my usual games with them I would now suggest a new game. “Let’s pretend I died and you just found out,” of course Mothers didn’t want their children subjected to my seemingly demented grief, but really it was all very normal. Kids act out their grief through play, but for the next two years of my life, my Mother would warn parents of this before they let their children come over, just in case. I would sometimes go over to Mrs. Dennison’s house to go sailing or use her library, but she was always good about giving me my own space. Alex’s family still came over all the time, which was hard for everyone I think. The minute her parents saw me or Mitchi they would burst into tears, it must have been hard to see us together without their daughter, it felt wrong for us also.
One day in late January I was sitting in the front yard of my house playing with sidewalk chalk, when a boy came over and sat beside me. “May I join you?” he asked, his bald head glistening in the sunlight. I knew who he was right away, Adam, he went to my school but was a year older; he had been absent quite a bit because he had to go to Vancouver all the time to get chemotherapy. He was known at my school as “cancer kid”, just as I had been known as“the girl with a dead best friend” just before I had left to be homeschooled. Before Adam got cancer he was our schools star soccer player, he was actually amazing, and almost every girl had a crush on him, just as I had been known as the nicest girl in my year.
Every day Adam would come over, I never introduced him to Mitchi, I just wanted to keep my friendship with him to myself, and I felt like he wanted the same thing. He told me how more than anything he wanted to be on a pro soccer team in Europe, I told him how I had no idea what I wanted to do other than feel normal again. Adam wasn’t afraid to answer difficult questions,which was wonderful because I certainly wasn’t afraid to ask them. “Are you afraid you’re going to die?” I asked him once and he shrugged his shoulders. “I was at first,” he said, “but I’ve just accepted that it could happen to me,once you accept it it’s not so scary anymore,” he said. “What do you think happens?” I asked next. “Something, definitely not nothing. You know how you told me that story about the ring on your bed the night Alexis died? That couldn’t have been a coincidence, I’m telling you that something definitely happens, but we just won’t know what until it is our time.” “Do you think it is your time?” “No, definitely not yet.” “Good, because I don’t want to lose you too,” I told him, then told him about how I got anxious whenever my Mom went out, because I was terrified of losing her, I was terrified of losing almost everyone I loved. “Kids aren’t supposed to feel those kinds of things, only grown up people do usually, but we do, because you and I both know how precious life is now,” Adam said to me, and I nodded in agreement. “How come I feel all of these things then, but I haven’t cried since the day she died?” I asked.“How come I haven’t cried since I got sick?” he asked back.
All of that changed on my eleventh birthday. I was firm when I told both of my parents I didn’t want to do anything at all, but they rented out the roller rink, and invited everyone I knew. It did quite honestly start off really fun, Alexis had been gone for six months, so I had long accepted the fact that all of my birthday partied would have to be spent without her. Mitchi even lit up a bit, because we hadn’t been to the roller rink since Alex had died, and it used to be one of our favourite places to go. I think all of my party guests were relieved to see me skating around, smiling and giggling. I was sad Adam couldn’t be there because he had an appointment at the Childrens Hospital in Vancouver, but it was still great company, and the pile of gifts I got was bigger than ever, because everyone felt terrible for me. We spent a couple of hours skating, and then we were all ushered to the tables for pizza and cake. The pizza was devoured within minutes, and then my Mom brought the cake out, with eleven candles and one to grow on. That’s when everything hit me. My friends began to call out “MAKE A WISH CHELSEA!” and “YOU’RE GETTING SO OLD!”, “11 WOW YOU’RE ALMOST A TEENAGER.” I looked to my left where Mitchi was sitting, now looking concerned, and then I looked to my right where another friend was sitting. Not Alexis, I was getting older, and she wasn’t. There was no more Alexis. There never would be again, year after year, I would get older without her. She would always just be nine. I bolted from my seat and ran to the washroom. The tears were already spilling out of my eyes, and I began to scream. I could hear Mitchi calling me, and my Mom but I just kept on screaming. Eventually they both opened the door and put their arm around me.“Just get it out,” said my Mom. “I knew this would have to happen eventually,”they both sat there and let me scream, while my Dad (who didn’t really appreciate children) had to entertain my party guests.
After that I couldn’t stop crying. At the drop of a pin I would start again, during my therapy sessions I would cry at the very mention of Alex’s death, when I found out Eitan, and his parents were moving back to Montreal in July I started bawling, they were the only family we had in Victoria, and they were all I had left of her. For my birthday they dropped off about three gigantic boxes of Alex’s toys, “we know you’ll take good care of them,” her Dad told me as I tearfully dug through piles of Beanie Babies that just a few short months ago I was playing with at her house. I also had started to try and talk to Mitchi about my feelings, I needed to, but he definitely did not want too. He just wanted to keep on playing video games, even though I felt ready to go out again. “I just can’t do it Chelsea,” he would say. “What can I do to make you want too?” I asked him. “If you can find some sort of magic drug to make me feel like doing anything ever again please give it to me, that’s what you can do.” That answer would come back to haunt me for many years afterwards.