New Distant Friend (Prose)

SONY DSCLet me preface by saying the reason I have been writing so extensively and exclusively about this situation is because of the feelings I have felt towards the media, and the close proximity of the subject.  I am in no way attempting to disparage, mislead, or confuse readers…  I believe that every interaction, whether over the course of 10 years, or the course of 10 seconds, has a great impact on our lives.  And so I say, learn from moment to moment, because the next moment things might change indefinitely.  After that we can’t go back.  I will probably never forget this person.



And this is life…




Boom it hits you.  You are at your desk preparing your work area on a Sunday Morning and you read in Friday’s paper that your classmate has been brutally murdered.  Not only that but you read the papers in chronological order; friday, then saturday, and then Sunday’s.  At this point all have lost hope.  They know for a fact, but they don’t…


You search about in your mind to when last you saw her, maybe this could be a mistake, maybe this is a different person…


Chances are not that great when you are dealing with such a unique name.  A unique person.


You knew her for two weeks; 5 days the first, 5 days the second, and then you have nothing to go on.  There is no future.


As you hold the paper a cold feeling comes over all happiness you have within.  Your day begins like this.  You will be in solitude between books and floors, shelves and paper, everyone will be silent accept for those asking questions you have little hope to answer correctly because your mind is off wondering, in another place.


We met with a joke.  I noticed her because of her laugh.  She said something to counter my question of, “Is she really 16?”  The response was, “Look at how confused she looks.”  A sort of half-smile darted across the face next to me.  She had headphones on and was asking me what last night’s homework was.  This person was Anarae.


The next day, in a classroom next door, I promptly went up to her during our one-on-ones and interrupted with “Ich heiße Terry!”


We are now speaking Deutsch.  I imagine we are friends in Germany.


We had a prompter-a piece of paper with calls on it, telling us what to say.  First I asked for her number.  She gave me the 10 digits, then she asked me the same.  We both sort of laughed at the forced assertiveness of the questions.  And that was it.  I thought of the awkward call for help and the conversation about homework.  I thought about it, but I dialed the numbers I had asked for in German.


Later that night I called her for help with the homework.  She was willing to lend a hand.  We spoke for awhile, longer than expected, and she told me things about herself.  I kept making jokes and giving her shit and she told me things like, “Why don’t you tell me more about your life?” and, “Tell me more about myself, because you know.”  This was as if I knew.




took to a warm friendship with her.  She was more than intelligent, and more than willing to help.  A selfless person, on the verge of being genuine on first impression, not like most people you met.  Not like the Minnesota Nice way.  The people you seek out and never find, the people you just find by chance; they are two different people, but one in the same.  By pure chance they are found, and then in a moments notice they are gone.


I held the paper in my hand.  There was no body.  No evidence other than the evidence they couldn’t talk about, the police.  You know.  There was this and that.  A lot of really nice photos, a lot of likes on social media, but what really happened?  I couldn’t imagine.


Her family was saying that she was certainly dead.  I don’t believe you are dead until a doctor pronounces you dead, and you need a body to do that, so I will have to wait.  I did.


A few days earlier while another classmate was telling me she would have to get dressed now, as Anarae dubbed her, “Scarlett Young-Love”, Anarae walked up and asked if I would like to get coffee.  She spoke of some guy on the walk.  He wasn’t a good guy, I sort-of surmised.  She spoke of how he was sort-of this and sort-of that, and on the run and such.  More like mum, there was not much more of an explanation.


At this time her phone was cracking more and more, and the screen was kind-of hard to read she would say.  Here and there.  We had coffee and sat on a bench.  She described math I would never understand, but only better when she explained it.  I wished her well that day.  I said that I had to blow my nose in the bathroom, she gave me a look as if it were drug related.  It was not.  I walked away.  I dropped some dirty pennies I found and she asked me if I was going to pick them up for later.  I did.


A few days after, we met and did math on the West Bank and spoke on life.  I wanted to take her on in chess, she told me I would have to wait, she didn’t want to “deliver a beating” that day.  I am still waiting.  She told me other things, like how my notebook should look beautiful-“Your notes are what you study from, they are important.”  I took this into account.  Now my notebooks are my art projects.


I would see her walking from class to class.  I would give her a wave and a holler, she was mostly on the move and couldn’t talk.  I told her to call in sick and skip work to help out with math, she never did.


The last time I saw her she told me that she would be unable to help me study, she had to work, and her phone was not working right.


I was usually spåt, which is german for late, and she would look at me disapprovingly like she was making the grades as I would stroll into class.


I don’t know.


Something told me the day before when she mouthed to me that she was drinking vodka that things weren’t normal.  She was in sweatpants and looked tired, or buzzed, or just plain out of it.  The test went.  I was a bit put off by some of the questions.  I was hoping Anarae would wait after.  I wanted to at least ask her what she thought of the exam.


Moments before I was done I heard her get up and turn in the test.  She didn’t look towards me.  I looked up again and I saw her back just as the door came shut behind her.


I finished the test and walked out into the hall.  Only other students from a different class were waiting.  I looked in the direction we walked a few days back while getting coffee and exchanging stories.  Nothing, no sign of anything.  I thought to myself, wow.  The test must not have been so bad for her.



After that I didn’t hear much.  No texts on homework, no calls on coffee, no chess.  She didn’t show for a week or so.


I found the paper this morning.  School is fucked up.  Wow.  The media is fucked up looking for readership.  Things happen fast.


She thought we should improve the education system for everyone, she was one of the smartest individuals I have ever met…  And that is a short friendship I will never forget…  The rest is just thought.


About Terry Scott Niebeling

Hello, My name is Terry Scott, a human being with flaws. twitter: @sirterryscott Buy my ebooks:
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One Response to New Distant Friend (Prose)

  1. Scott White says:

    Great as always Mr. Niebeling.

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