BY: MELISSA MARTONE
My sham of a life began to unravel the moment I met her. Melissa Jean turned out to be exactly what I needed, a best friend. I met her while I was drowning in my lies, and despite her unconditional trust, love, and friendship, I couldn’t bring myself to tell her the truth.
Immediately after we met, we spent all day every day together. There were never two friends closer than her and I. We both had our problems, but we turned a blind eye to each others’ weak moments and enjoyed our friendship immensely. Of all the people that I’d lied to, I’d lied to Melissa the most. Being my best friend, I spent the most time with her; she knew more details about my lives, both real and fake, than anyone else. But I had carefully crafted this persona around myself and couldn’t let my guard down, even in front of her.
Melissa was addicted to drugs. She snorted lines of Oxycontin multiple times a day, leaving her more often than not in a pleasant mannered daze. Sometimes though, she couldn’t get her drugs on time, and she plunged into a deep, dark, impenetrable place. Her hands shook, her eyes darkened, and I knew; how could I not? But I said nothing, ignoring her habit as she ignored mine. My habits? I was still purging after every single bite of food, of which there were few. I was still injuring myself on the regular, and I indulged in a bowl or two of pot with her every so often.
Our friendship was mutually beneficial. We were unstoppable together, the dynamic duo, Melissa2. We went on countless adventures, got into tons of trouble, and were popular in any crowd that we entered. We brought the drugs, we threw the parties, and we supplied the alcohol. Our friendship burned hot and fast, like the wick on TNT. We felt invincible, like there would be no end to our friendship. We even had a suicide pact. We decided to kill ourselves on April 16th, 2024. It was exactly halfway between my 30th birthday and hers. We planned to take ecstasy and jump off of a building while holding hands, because 30, we decided, was too old. It’s funny (in a sick way) that we planned suicide as a birthday present to ourselves considering how our friendship ended.
On the morning of my seventeenth birthday I headed over to her house. Melissa and I had plans to smoke pot and walk around town together. We would go get slurpees, hit the mall, whatever I wanted, because it was my day. I couldn’t drive yet, so I walked. I took the shortcut through the woods in my backyard, ran across the busy main road in our town, and made my way through suburbia to her house. I never texted or called her when I went over; I just showed up and let myself in. I had a key.
I proceeded downstairs to her room, barely containing my excitement. I loved being friends with Melissa. I loved being skinny and punk. I loved going on adventures, flirting with boys, and getting into trouble. And I was only confident enough to do those things when I was with her. I was so excited for our day out together. In a haze of happiness I pushed open her door. I couldn’t believe what I saw.
There was my boyfriend, Mark, naked, on top of Melissa, who was also naked. He was thrusting and she was moaning, and I just stood there unable to speak. I caught Melissa’s eye as I turned away. I ran. “Melissa! Wait!” I heard her say. But there was no way. I ran as fast as I could up the stairs and out the door, only stopping to grab Melissa’s pack of cigarettes off of the kitchen counter. I ran down the street and into the woods. I parked myself on the bench we had once dragged through the woods, so we would have somewhere to sit and smoke. I lit a cigarette and lay back on the bench; my mind was cloudy and my thoughts were dark, a storm was brewing inside of me. I heard them before I saw them. They crunched their way through the woods and straight towards me. And before I could get up and leave, there they were, standing before me.
I wasn’t even crying; I didn’t have the emotional capacity right then. To spare you all a very long, very sad story and lots of dialogue, I’ll give you the summary. Mark had found my journal, the one with the truth in it. All of my lies were there for him to see. He had taken it from my bedroom when he was there last, and read it cover to cover. Worried about me and not sure what was true and false, he went over to Melissa’s house, to ask her. She had never seen it either, but read it all, learning about my double life. It was then, they said, that they felt compelled to have sex, to “heal from the tragedy of it all.” Uh-huh. The worst, most humiliating part was that they intended to help me; they wanted to talk about it all, learn the whole truth, whatever.
I told them both to go to hell, and watched them walk away as I lit another cigarette. I shut my phone off, pulled the altoids tin out of my purse, and cut myself into sweet oblivion all afternoon, while smoking every cigarette in both Melissa’s pack and my own. As the sun set and it got cooler, I walked home in a daze. It was dark when I got home. I walked inside and sat myself on the living room floor, in front of my parents. Ignoring the horrified looks on my their faces as they realized what I had done. I sat there, reeking of smoke and bleeding heavily and said, “I think I need some help.”