"We can't go," I say as she finishes her sandwich, "I can't hold myself up."
"This is your best chance. I'll be there for you." She tells me, reassuring me that I have her to lean on.
As we finish our dinner and begin to find clothes suitable for public appearance, I cannot help but keep thinking about how I'll feel once we get there. I'll feel scared, out of place, unsure, and torn. But I know that this really is the best time for me to go. At least I'll have her there with me.
So we leave. We say goodbye to my wonderful roommates and they wish us well and give me words of reassurance. We open the door and I am feeling better. I have people behind me, and not only that I have the steadfast and unyielding love and support of my Lord Jesus Christ holding my hand. What could be better than that?
We make our way down the first stretch of sidewalk. With each step I take I count the blocks of cement. I am distracted for a moment until I realize where my feet are taking me. What am I doing? Why do I even have to do this? What am I supposed to say? Wait, stop. Everything will be fine. I do my best to gather my thoughts once again and I focus on the incredibly wonderful and resolute friend I have walking beside me. She smiles in my direction, and I feel consoled. As we make the turn to walk behind the second building and up my street I am sure that it will all be fine. It won't be normal, but I am a strong woman of God. I have the power of the universe on my side, nothing can defeat me. We come to turn beside the library and we enter the quad. No. This is it. The last stretch. I don't want to do this. I never wanted to do this. I just want it to all be back to normal. If its not normal I don't want it. I can't stand strong when all I want to do is fall. My knees start to shake and I'm sure that I am going to fall. There is no way I can carry myself any further. But my feet keep moving. My legs keep picking up and setting down and my body moves forward. Now we are past the quad and we turn onto the sidewalk that faces the building. His building. My heart is pounding and my knees keep shaking. I then realize that this entire walk has been in silence.
I turn to her and say, "This is crazy. I'm going to fall apart. I'll go back, you go visit. I can't do this."
She stops, looks at me, and says, "You are more than this. God is more than this. Life will go on whether you want to go with it or not. I've never known anyone more determined than you, and I know without a doubt that you are capable of getting through tonight."
She turns away, takes my hand, and holds it tight as she leads me, shaking hands, knocking knees, pounding heart and all, to the building. We step onto the first stair. Then the second. Then the third. Before long I lose count and we're suddenly at the top. There it is. The window. His window. And his door. As she continues to hold my hand she turns to me and hugs me tight. The kind of hug only she can give. She then knocks twice on the door and proceeds to turn the knob. After what seems like an eternity she sees the people inside and smiles wide. My eyes quickly dash across the room to find him. He sits on the couch. Looking so incredibly worn. I quickly avert my gaze to avoid eye contact, but my heart feels as though it is going to come through my chest. I can hear each pump of blood in my ears and I can feel my knees being to give under the weight of my body. My hands are noticeably shaking and I'm sure everyone can see my chest beating up and down in rhythm with my heart. My friend proceeds to greet them with hugs. After each person hugs her they move past to me. The first is a friend I've known to be more helpful than most people know, especially in the times when his friends need him. He smiles at me, and holds me for a moment. Then comes the next. He is a friend who was with me through everything. Supporting me and helping me every single day of my hurt. He gives me a look only I can see and says hello in the most caring tone he can possibly produce. Then he is there. To avoid any awkward confrontation I move to hug him before any palpable pause can be noticed. We pull away and he immediately turns to sit down again. The jokes and laughter begin while small talk is contrived in side exchanges.
And so begins the night.