My Epiphany

My Epiphany

A Story by Cait
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This was an essay for my comp class and got an A. It's a personal essay about an experience we had with an epiphany in it. I wrote about when my best friend's drink got spiked and she was overdosing.

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I met my first best friend when I was in fourth grade. I was new to public schooling and a lot of the kids in my class thought of me as mousy and quiet. One person, however, though of me as someone who was soft-spoken and a little shy. Marissa* and I became amazing friends.

 

I will always start with our childhood when we did everything together, such as spending hours on my father’s quad or playing sharks and minnows in her pool. It then progressed to our “anime” phase to when we would draw comics depicting our middle school years with our other friends and all of the funny situations that occurred. For instance, I depicted a time when Marissa, our friend Amy*, and I were walking from Health class and a boy that had liked her had asked her out and had apologized for putting any pressure on her when she had refused his offer. I remember drawing our expressions when he had said that, not realizing he had made a huge fool of himself. I also remember when it occurred, our friend Amy had slammed her books in her face to stifle her snickers, giving Marissa and I even more reasons to start bursting into laughter. Little situations like those remind me that middle school truly was the best years of my life and it was all due to Marissa and my other friends that attended middle school with me.

 

Things began to change about our friendship once boys started invading our lives. We both blossomed from our caterpillar stages into beautiful, mature butterflies. However, my caterpillar stage lingered a bit longer than hers. She began to get the attention I had wanted and put boys before her friends. I felt betrayed and wounded about her carelessness of our long friendship, so I began to put less effort into it. I had given up… until one fateful night reminded me of why I tried.

 

Our friend Gina* had begun her second semester at Drexel University* and had yet to have any visitors from her hometown experience the nightlife in Philadelphia*. Marissa and I were invited and were welcome to bring anyone else. It ended up being just the two of us. The train ride to 30th street was filled with awkward pauses and short conversation. I began to get a little upset by how much our close friendship has really changed. Before, we would be able to just sit and talk about anything: sad, random, funny, happy, even angry. Now, I could barely get her to continue talking about how her classes at the community college we attended together were. Instead of trying any longer and possibly embarrassing myself, I just sat in my seat, listening to the conversation of others, smelling the cold, polluted air coming from the window and watching as the city lights began to peek from all the twists and turns of the train.

 

After almost an hour on the train in silence, our stop was up and we began to pour out of the train along with the other train riders. I almost regretted stepping off of the train due to the crisp cold air that pierced my face, legs, and hands. Since it was the late evening, there was no sunlight visible, therefore the temperature had dropped significantly since the last I had been outside. The various smells in the train station clouded my nose and thoughts, filling them with mold, body odor, perfume, chemicals, fast food, and sewage: possibly the most disgusting combination of smells I have experienced yet. Marissa and I immediately began our search for Gina and her boyfriend at the time, Brandon*. It wasn’t too hard because Gina and Brandon had been behind two groups rushing to get onto the train and to get out of the cold. We were instantly smothered with hugs from both Drexel students due to how much we all missed each other. However, the cold wind was chopping at us so we wanted to get to the warm dorms as soon as possible. Gina and Brandon then lead us to the streets of Philadelphia and I was amazed by the beauty of the city lights contrasting the purple and blue sky. There wasn’t a single star in the sky, but they were nothing compared to the different shades of colors gleaming off of the buildings. It was almost like looking at a lunar rainbow. I could then see why people loved the city life. The beauty never ends. I could barely pay attention to anything Alicia and Brad were saying due to the skyline’s distracting artistry.

 

After walking two blocks and overpowering the wind’s freezing temperature, Marissa and I were elated to finally be presented with Myer’s Hall, Gina’s living quarters. Gina then told us to have our I.D.’s ready to give to the people at the front desk. Once we walked up to the desk, the young man behind it took our I.D.’s and examined them. He took a particularly long look at Marissa’s and glanced at her, smiling. Anger fired within me and I could feel my cheeks blushing, my chin jutting out. Once again, Marissa can’t go anywhere without having a guy stare at her. Marissa was the five star steak with flavor and looked appealing while I was the bland salad that everyone glanced away from. I was absolutely sick of having to be the one that was being turned away. Marissa and I couldn’t possibly be that different in looks. We both have straight, white teeth, dark, naturally curly hair, long eye lashes, petite figures. How different could we possibly be? Why is she getting all of the attention? I didn’t see the fairness in this situation at all and this is always what happened.

 

After giving myself self pity and calming the fire within me, we continued to walk down the hallway into the dormitories. There was really nothing special about them, aside from the funny messages outside of each student’s dorm. One in particular had the silly caricatures people pay for at amusement parks and fairs. The two cartoons were of two guys, one with a long face and a large smile playing a keyboard with the name “Josh” underneath and the other had a short face with some hair along his cheeks and chin, sporting a crooked smile and playing a guitar. Under his cartoon was “Salmon.” I found it strange and asked Gina who’s dorm this was. She looked at the pictures and twisted her face in disgust.

 

“That’s Josh and Sam’s dorm,” she said, her nose turned up. “Josh is cool, but Sam likes to call himself Salmon for reasons I have no idea why. He’s an idiot and likes to think he can get girls when he can’t. Avoid him at all costs.” My eyes widened, wondering how she made an assumption like that. Then again, I looked at his caricature and could kind of understand why. He seemed like a bit of a jerk, afraid to look foolish unlike his room mate. I turned away, hoping I would avoid him. I really didn’t need any jerks tonight. In addition, it was likely that he would be hitting on Marissa, like usual.

 

We walked a bit further down the hallway and at the end was Gina’s dorm. Once we walked in the room, I could smell the usual aroma that came from Gina’s room back at home: Febreeze and vanilla. Each side of the room was completely different. Gina’s room mate, Katelyn’s side was a bit bare and very clean with every item on her desk in a particular place. In contrast, Gina’s side was cluttered and busy. There were so many pictures of her friends and family along with her photography of different bands and skylines of a local park, our hometown, and Philadelphia. Her desk was covered with more pictures, posters, jewelry, and sticky notes reminding her of homework assignments that need to be finished and concerts she will be going to for the next few months. I wondered if she and her room mate got along despite the differences with their organization and personalities within their decorations.

 

Marissa and I then set our back packs and sleeping bags on the floor in front of the window of Gina’s room. I was excited to use my new sleeping bag due to how warm it was going to be. Finally, I wasn’t going to have a problem with being too cold or too hot when sleeping over, nor was I going to be uncomfortable. I was finally going to have a good night sleep away from home. Gina then informed us that we were going to be hanging out with her other Drexel friends and they were going to show us around the campus to find something to do. Marissa and I began to ready ourselves to walk around such as re-touching our make up, fixing our hair, and finding warmer and better clothes…well at least I was trying to find warmer clothes. Marissa was going to be wearing a loose, thin tunic with a suggestive neckline with black tights and shorts over top. However, to keep her warm, she was going to wear an open cardigan. Jealousy boiled in my blood due to Marissa’s “perfect” body from her active schedule in gymnastics. I felt a bit stupid next to her with her cute outfit while I was wearing my typical knit sweater, skinny jeans, and dirty boots. I made a silent note to myself to visit Forever21 when I got home from Drexel.

 

Once we walked out of Gina’s dorm, we were greeted by her friends, Sabina*, Harley*, and Tyler*. Suddenly then, someone else was behind the small group. The boy’s face was familiar, similar to the caricature that was on the dry/erase board outside of Josh and Sam’s dorm. As soon as Gina’s face went from happy to horrified, I then knew who the guy was.

 

“Oh…hi Salmon,” Gina struggled to say with a fake smile. He smiled that stupid crooked smile typical jerks do and looked at Marissa and I. Once he saw Marissa, he of course looked past me. I didn’t care if he thought of me as attractive, but by the look in his eyes, I was a bit scared for Marissa. He looked at her like a lion eyeing his prey, ready to pounce without any warning. I knew he was going to be trouble, however Marissa was dense as could be and didn’t notice his eyes staring at her with hunger. I then blocked her from his sight and cut him out of the conversation between us visitors and the other Drexel students. Harley then explained that she had planned to go to the pool hall in the campus and hang out there. She had also mentioned that there would be plenty of cute boys with a small wink, which was always an added plus. Hopefully I wouldn’t be cast in Marissa’s shadow, however I made sure not to have any expectations. Especially if I were to be protecting Marissa from the hungry eyes of Sam/Salmon.

 

The pool hall wasn’t far from Myer’s Hall so we weren’t completely frozen from the winter night, but it was still cold. The pool hall smelled of musty cigarettes and beer, a typical man cave smell. The room was dark with a few hanging Tiffany lamps bringing a bit of light in the room. It was a comfortable feeling, but still a bit shady. I tried to calm my worries once I saw that Gina and the other Drexel students were comfortable and laughing like this place was not full of uncertainty. I joined in with playing pool trying not to embarrass myself, however it completely backfired. At one point, I hit the ball with the stick so hard that it flipped off the pool table and onto someone else’s table, completely messing up their game. After many apologies, I tried again, however I became distracted when I noticed Salmon watching Marissa and inching closer and closer to her. She kept trying to back away, however he would corner her to the pool table, leaving her no place to go. I tried to aim my ball to his fingers on the table, but once again missed. He got the message when he looked at me, my eyes saying “Back away, buddy or else this stick is going over your head.” He gave her little room, however I felt it was time to mention a little detail that would completely throw off his game.

 

“Hey Mar, how are you and your boyfriend?” I yelled from across the pool table, giving a playful smile to Salmon. His face turned red, his eyes wide.

 

“Oh we’re great!” she replied, a smile beaming off of her face. I’m pretty sure she knew what I was getting at by taking this opportunity to describe her boyfriend some more. “He’s so sweet and caring, he’s mature and cute. Oh let me show you a picture!” She then flipped out her phone and skipped over to me to show me a picture of a strong, tall looking man. He looked a bit like a body guard, his stern face giving off the feeling that he is not one to be messed with. I then took this moment to inform Marissa to be careful.

 

“Sam is obviously flirting with you,” I whispered. “Be careful.” She nodded and mouthed, “I will. Don’t worry.” She then turned away from me, taking her turn to hit the balls. I smirked at Salmon from across the pool table and he looked back at me in annoyance and hatred. A few minutes later, I noticed that Salmon had disappeared. I had hoped that he had gone home in disappointment to not being able to get closer to Marissa. However, twenty minutes later, my heart fell when he came back. This time, he came back with two coke bottles from the vending machine. He offered one in particular to Marissa. When she opened it, the carbonation didn’t release and there was no hissing sound. It had already been opened. Yet that didn’t stop her from gulping it down until it was empty. From then on, Salmon had kept an annoyingly close on watch on her, not leaving her side. About fifteen minutes later, Marissa had begun to act strange. She was giggly and stumbling all over the place. Her speech was slurred and she could barely get a clear thought out. It was then that I knew she had been drugged. The signs were all there: drowsiness, confusion, slurred speech, lack of coordination, the works. I then had her sit down and informed Gina and Brandon of my suspicions. Immediately, Brandon had helped me carry Marissa out of the billiard and toward the dormitories while Sabina, Harley, and Tyler retreated back to their dorms like I had requested for them to, promising an explanation of all that was happening in the morning. Salmon tried to get in between Marissa and I and kept suggesting to take her to his dorm. I looked at him, mortified and angry.

 

“Get your hands off of her!" I shouted at him.  He backed way, confused.  "You must be out of your mind if you think I’m going to leave her with you!” I shouted at him. Gina then interjected and cut in front of him. I could hear her voice piercing through the winter air, screaming at Salmon.

 

“We know what you did to Marissa!” she shouted with confidence. Salmon’s face was emotionless, but his eyes gave his fear away. “We may not do something now, but if you don’t leave us and Marissa alone, we’re going to call the police and make sure they take you down!” She then stomped away from him and joined us in our slippery and struggling walk to Myer’s Hall. We could barely get her inside the dormitory, however we were lucky to have the guy at the front desk allow us in and open the doors for us. Once we entered Gina’s dorm, I sighed in relief that we were away from Salmon, however the danger wasn’t gone yet. Marissa began to breath really heavy. Her eyes began to water due to her fear of something being wrong with her. She was struggling to speak due to her lack of breath and confusion. I took it upon myself to feel her neck and check her lymph nodes. Her neck was swollen and it was clear to me that her throat was closing up, making her have trouble breathing. Brandon and I laid her on Gina’s bed, shushing her and trying to calm her down. Her eyes kept rolling to the back of her head, fighting to stay conscious. It was obvious she didn’t have a normal dosage of pills. Salmon probably had put more than what was needed to knock her out. She was overdosing.

 

“We need to get her to a hospital!” I demanded to Gina, but she shook her head.

 

“No, we can take care of her here,” Gina said. “She just needs to sleep it off. She’ll be fine.” I looked at her in disbelief. How could she think that Marissa was fine here? She clearly needed medical attention and that wasn’t available in the dorm room. None of them had any idea of how serious this really was. Nevertheless, I held Marissa’s hand and talked to her to keep her conscious and see if she was responsive. She was replying back with giggles and nods, but it was surely a struggle for her. I felt so helpless having no idea what to do besides give her support. At this point it was midnight and I wasn’t sure if I could let her sleep. I took it upon myself to make the decision of what we would do. I made Brandon sit in my place and have Gina talk to her as I stood up and walked towards the door of the room.

 

“Where are you going?!” Gina squealed. I stopped at the door, having dialed the number we should have called as soon as this happened.

 

“I’m calling an ambulance,” I stated calmly, or at least I was trying to achieve a calm appearance. “We can’t have her like this any longer.” I shut the door before Gina could protest my decision. As soon as the woman on the other line answered the phone, I made no hesitation to tell her everything that happened while telling her she needs to send out the police and emergency care as soon as possible. However, my peace of mind faltered once Brandon opened the door telling me something I had hoped I wouldn’t hear.

 

“She stopped breathing!” he said. I dropped the phone and ran into the room to Marissa and sure enough, she had passed out. I checked her breathing and there was nothing. I kept tapping her face to get her to wake up, but it wasn’t working. I was screaming for her to wake up, tears falling down my face onto her. I shook her, slapping her face, screaming as loud as I could. Finally, her eyes fluttered and she took a deep breath. Her eyes were half opened, but it was enough for her to see me crying, my mascara streaming down my cheeks. She began to hyperventilate, panicking that I was upset. I picked her up in my arms, shushing her, hugging her and telling her everything was okay and that she was okay. It wasn’t enough and I was hoping the police was going to be here soon before she would stop breathing again. I didn’t know if I would be able to wake her up the next time.

 

Within minutes that felt like hours, I could see the flashing lights of the police cars. My heart fluttered and I thanked any divine power that we were nearing the homestretch of this danger, however we were still far from being safe. Three police men entered the dorm room and began assessing the severity of the situation. It didn’t take long for them to realize that Marissa’s life was in danger. They immediately demanded for an ambulance to come to the university within five to ten minutes. The police men then began to ask for Marissa’s information, such as her name, date of birth, her parent’s number, what medication she uses, and if she had been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. I answered all of the questions without hesitation and kept asking when the ambulance would be coming. I could almost feel my best friend’s life faltering in my arms and I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted her to be okay and safe. I wanted her away from all of this. I didn’t want her to die.

 

Within ten minutes, another pair of flashing lights beamed through the window. I couldn’t have felt more relieved as I had been in that moment. Marissa was on her way to being revived. It was so close to being over, I could almost touch it. The police then nominated me as the person to go to the hospital with her due to my extensive knowledge of Marissa’s many emergency numbers. Moreover, I seemed to be the only one at this point to get her to respond. A man and a woman entered the room, sliding a stretcher next to Marissa and I. They took Marissa from my arms and I felt emptiness, a terrible void that was cold and worrisome. I wanted to hold my best friend again. I wanted to know if she was still breathing and if her heart was still beating. I didn’t want to be in the unknown. I kept my eyes on Marissa as I followed the first responders to the ambulance. As I climbed into the vehicle, I then tried to collect my thoughts and make sure I didn’t come off as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

 

After a bumpy and tearful ride to the hospital, I continued to follow the first responders through the emergency room, the nurses and doctors staring after us with worry and concern. Even they knew this was a serious situation. We then reached a small room next to the front desk and all I could hear were Marissa’s protests and her calling for me. I stayed next her, telling her I was here and that she’ll be okay as the nurse injected her with an I.V. that would sober her up.

 

“I-I don’t want my parents to find out,” she whispered, that or her voice was becoming raspy. “They’ll be so pissed at me.” I smiled, amused that despite all that happened, she is worried about what her parents will think.

 

“Don’t worry, you’re not a minor so they won’t be contacting your parents,” I assured her. She then squeezed my hand and brought it to her face, kissing it.

 

“Thank you Cait,” she said. I was a bit taken back and I could feel tears prick my eyes. “You’re such a great friend. I’m so sorry for everything that has happened. I just want you to know that you’re like a sister to me and I’m so sorry for putting you through this.” My tears betrayed me and began to roll down my face. I wiped them away before Marissa could detect them.

 

“It’s okay,” I said, smiling. “And I know. You’re like a sister to me too. And I know if I were in the same boat as you, you would go above and beyond to make sure I was safe and okay, which is exactly what I am doing for you.” She then was able to smile and keep my hand next to her face.

 

“Thank you so much,” she kept saying. “You’re an amazing friend, the best one I could ever have. I’m so glad you’re with me. I couldn’t ask for anyone else, because I know you will always take care of me and I would always do the same for you.” It was then that I realized the importance of this event. This was the resolution of our friendship, but it wasn’t an ending. It was a brand new beginning, reminding both of us the promises we had made to each other once we became best friends. This was one of the biggest epiphanies of my life. Not only did I realize how much of a dedicated and great friend I can be, I also then found my calling for a career. I then realized becoming a nurse would the best occupation for me. In the end, we both sat in the hospital until the next morning, Marissa asleep while I watched over her, smiling about my new discovery of how I will be running my life. My new purpose in life was to care for others, my friends and strangers alike.

© 2011 Cait


Author's Note

Cait
I would like your opinion on the whole essay and if my teacher graded fairly.

* names and places have been changed for respect of privacy.

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Added on February 3, 2011
Last Updated on February 3, 2011
Tags: epiphany, friendship, date rape, change, college, jealousy, horror, essay, assignment

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Cait
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A Book by Cait