Remembering Roee

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Standing alone in the empty cemetery, I hear my distraught voice bounce off the headstones. “Why did you leave? I will almost never forgive you.” The cold air settles around me. The tears stain my cheeks, but I don’t stop. I can’t stop. I made a promise to my friend, Roee, that I would always be honest and speak my mind. It’s a bit harder to fulfill that promise now that he rests six feet underground and is decidedly out of earshot.

Roee was one of my closest friends, and on February 6th, 2014, he took his own life. My cemetery scolding of Roee might seem jarring, disrespectful even, but I simply delivered the truth that no one else would voice. Suicide is selfish. Things would have gotten better. I could have helped. Candid as my statements were, I knew he would have appreciated them. That’s how we were with each other, open and honest. When we talked about his plans to join the Israeli army, I told him he needed to beef-up, and when I dyed my hair platinum blonde, he told me that I had gone too far. Honesty was our unwritten promise to each other, or at least that’s what I thought.

Roee never shared the devastation he harbored inside, and I never saw his angst hiding just beneath the surface. Knowing I overlooked something...

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