By Diego Sandoval
New York University Abu Dhabi
I met Iris in the last day of seventh grade, right before I moved to a different school. She ran towards me yelling from across the hallway, “I now we haven’t spoken much but I hope to see you soon after the break!” I told her that might not happen, since I was moving schools. That didn’t stop her from introducing herself to me. “Doesn’t matter, we’re best friends already,” and she gave me a big hug and as she walked away she turned and said, “We’re hanging out this summer okay?” That’s the beginning of a friendship I hold very dearly in memory. Despite our distance, we would go to the beach together. We saw our favourite band live together. We did many things that summer and she was right, we were already best friends.
After summer, I started to lose communication with Iris. As I expected, we each started to drift off to our own realities and a week of not talking quickly turned into a month, a month turned into a year, and Iris was quite frankly entering the abyss of my memory, until the following June that is. I got a text from her phone.
[Hi Diego, this is Iris’s sister. I’m sorry to tell you this, but I know you two were close, unfortunately, Iris is in a coma due to a recent car accident.] I frantically called, I sent voicemails, and I exploded the phone with messages demanding that I get information of which hospital I could find her at.
I heard nothing from anybody, including friends about her whereabouts, for the longest three weeks of my life, when suddenly; I get a text from her phone again. [Hi Diego, Its Iris. I’m sorry for the stress you have been feeling. I am fine now.] [IRIS, youre okay?! What happened?! I tried so hard to know where I could see you, I thought I could never see you again.] [I know Diego, I am sorry. I was in a coma, and thank God, the doctors say I will be okay if I rest for the next few months.]
In those next months we spoke like never before despite our distance. Then Christmas came, [Hi Iris, Merry Christmas!] [Hi Diego, this is Iris’s sister again, can’t really talk right now there has just been an accident and we think Iris may be in a coma, please try not to message this phone for the meanwhile, we will get back to everyone as soon as we hear good news.] I called, texted, nothing. I was furious. Helpless. And scared.
My parents witnessed my stress. They said I should forget her. I’ll be honest, with all this confusion, I did try to forget her. So I gave up on trying to hear back from her sister.
Months later I had a reunion with my seventh grade friends. We walked along the mall sharing stories when suddenly they started rushing into a mattress store and in my confusion, I follow them as they all start to hide behind different beds.
I’m kneeling next to Alexandra, asking her to explain what we were hiding from. I looked around the mattress store and there she was. Iris! With her parents. I try to stand up at the sight of my presumably dead friend but Alexandra pulls me back down and tells me. “Diego, there is something you should know. Iris is schizophrenic. She is crazy. I know you were friends. But you have to let her go.” I stared back at her blankly. How could you say that, Iris is not crazy, she has been hurt twice! “She lied to you, Diego. Everyone knows she has been physically okay and at home school since you left because the school said she could be a threat to us. She was never in a coma; she was never in an accident. Let her go.”
I felt my head getting lighter, my hands started to shake, this can’t be happening.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I stayed up looking at our photos, her facebook pictures, she can’t be crazy I thought. Why would she invent those horrible things?
As I scrolled, I noticed something strange.
It was a beautiful photo, but there was something deeply wrong with this particular family photo.
That’s when I realized.
She never had a sister.
Iris lives on, but in my mind, I lost my best friend that day.