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Most days I take a trip to the bathroom during second or third period, and usually no one’s there. But on this particular day, there was. And she wasn’t going to the bathroom.
It wasn’t exactly my fault that I stumbled upon her; she didn’t lock the stall door. I opened it to find a girl kneeling and her head in the toilet. At first, I disregarded it, and thought she was sick, so I went into the next stall.
Midway through washing my hands, the girl came out. It was Joelle. She was my lab partner in chemistry. She reeked of vomit.
I glanced down and noticed that she had vomit on only one of her fingers.
She was one of those girls that made themselves puck to stay skinny. I always wondered why she was loosing so much weight. I never thought she would be stupid enough to do something like that. I was going to tell my teacher after class.
Sliding into my desk, a note dropped on my desk. It said:
A bunch of us are going to Burger Bar, wanna come?
Looking up, Keaton O’Bryan was staring straight at me. He mouthed, “You coming?” I nodded, forgetting all about Joelle in the bathroom.
The next day was the first day of Christmas break and other things were going on. Joelle slipped into the back of my mind again. Keaton had asked me out again and nothing else seemed important at the time.
Upon returning to school, I saw Joelle everyday in class, each time I saw her, she was more and more emaciated. I never did tell, I kept telling myself that someone else would do it. I was too absorbed in my own little world to care.
About six months after the bathroom incident, Joelle stopped coming to school. After two weeks, I got worried, so I asked her friend Meghan if Joelle was alright.
Meghan stared at me as if I was crazy. “She had a heart attack,” Meghan’s voice quivered.
“Is she still in the hospital?”
“S…She’s gone,” she sniffled.
My mind was racing. Bulimia doesn’t cause heart attacks does it? I didn’t pay attention during health; I never thought it applied me.
My inkling was correct. Mrs. Miller, my heath teacher, even told me that Joelle had died of bulimia.
I felt so guilty. I knew, but I never told anyone. Joelle would be alive if I had.
I went to Joelle’s funeral and talked to her mom. I ended up telling her and that I was sorry.
Do you know what her reaction was? It wasn’t one of rage, it was calm and understanding. She told me that I could only help other girls with their struggle and that Joelle was in a better place.
I won’t forget Joelle, even though I didn’t know her that well. I now know that I need to appreciate people more, because you’ll never know when they’ll slip through you hands.
*Joelle isn't her real name"