The greatest tragedy I encountered last year was the loss of a close friend.
Not a loss in the sense of a death or a freak accident or a serious fight, she and I just slowly faded into nothingness and I haven't seen her since.
There was sill a choice along the way, a promise to myself to move forward and leave her in the past but that choice felt empty. Similar to when you've been running for so long that the last 100m feels numb. That's what it felt like to shut her out of my life.
To this day I still hold a feeling of guilt in my heart, guilt that I don't think will ever leave.
I feel guilty for not being able to help enough or do enough or say enough to fix her problems... because she always had problems.
Each moment with her was like stepping into the endless soap opera of her life. There was always a new scene starting, a new act that I was privileged enough to be a part of.
It felt the same way when I met her. She was mid-story telling some long tale about her recent adventure, she looked animated like a truly born actress, making eye contact with everyone in the room as she recounted the weeks before.
I was transfixed. We hit it off instantly. Having just moved states mid-way through Year 11 I was looking for a fresh start and she was offering adventure after adventure filled with excitement and fun.
It didn't bother me that her stories would always be far more thrilling than mine or that her tragedies from her past would always be capable of one-upping mine or even that our friendship teetered on me allowing her to be the star. I was too enraptured.
But as the time went on her stories were no longer for me, I became a prop in her show as she retold the adventures we'd had to others without making eye-contact with me or allowing me to share in the moment. Then the stories became just things she'd done without me presented as a story told to me in whispers at the back of the classroom that were really loud enough for the entire class to listen in. Because it wasn't about what I thought, it was about how much she could shock or thrill the audience she was speaking to.
Then at the start of last year she met him, and the last part of her that cared about me disappeared.
Her time was his time, she spent hours driving long distances to see him only to come home in tears because he never gave her the time she needed. But she was adamant she loved him and my opinion of him was deemed insignificant. After a few months of her slow torture she relented and left him, claiming a new understanding of her self-worth, openly ignorant to my helping hand for the time she had suffered.
Initially I thought this meant everything would return to normal, but her heartache stayed with her months after they ended and metastasised into toxic friendships and a lack of connection to the men she chose to hang around.
But still I stayed. I picked her up from clubs at 3 am, continued to listen to her stories both new and old, allowed her to complain of her life while keeping silent on mine because she didn't want to listen to my petty problems.
Then like a dying flower he crawled back into her life and the last part of her soul that gave a fuck about where she would end up died inside her. He cried for a safe place to sleep and she opened her arms to welcome him.
She lost more than she realised because of him. She lost money keeping him and his habits afloat, she lost time that could have been spent on school and her future and she lost her friends because she was too caught up in him and blatantly ignorant of our begging for her to see.
So our friendship became clouded in silence.
But when she came to me crying about what happened behind closed doors I did everything in my power to help her, to take her where she needed to go, help open her eyes and just support her through everything.
She thanked me that day, for being there.
But alas she did, as she always does, refuse help.
Then weeks later she shared a post, wrote a paragraph requesting that we as a society look our for our friends who might be in problematic relationships and help them. Because no-one was ever there for her.
As she always does she made claim that she got out herself, she paved her future with no outside help because she doesn't need it, she never does.
But when the dust settles I truly believe she chooses everything that comes her way, after all it's all a larger part of an excellent story, a masterpiece if you will of the soap opera that is her life.
But I wish her the best. I know she'll go on to do whatever her heart desires and find comfort in it. She'll go on to tell incredible stories, draw crowds of listeners and manipulate even more people to follow her pied piper tune.
Because she can, that's what she is good at.
Last year I lost a close friend, but I also gained a much better understanding of the types of people I want and do not want in my life.
So, to her I say thank you. I learnt last year that real friends care about you, they want to hear what's going on in your life, goof or bad. Real friends don't ask you to do impossible tasks for the sake of festivals or trashy boyfriends because they care about your well-being. They would never try to blackmail you into things because of help they gave you months previously, and they would never attempt to use your past to try and influence your future in a negative way.
Last year I learnt that I can only do so much for someone before it begins to dig into me.
I learnt that cutting people off is okay when I have tried everything to help them.
Because from the day I am born till the day I die the only absolute constant in my life is me, and if I spend my life anxious about other peoples lives I will never find true comfort in my own.