I should have known better.
When you told me about your history, and you went through every criminal charge and pulled up all the court documents, I should have known better. And by known better, I mean I should have been a little less selfish and a little more caring. You were completely honest, and I should have known what I was walking into. You had every right to be guarded, and I was wrong to push for answers when you didn’t have them.
When you said that you had changed, I should have known that you didn’t. Maybe you did for a few years, because you thought you were strong and past all the shit that you had put yourself through. But I should have known from the friends you had around that you were about to fall right back to where you started because you didn’t know where you were heading. I think you let people lead you down a dark path that you weren’t ready to disclose with those who thought you escaped into the light.
When you said that you were telling the truth, I should have known all of it was a lie. Well, maybe not all of it. It was so easy to tell when you were lying and when you were telling the truth, because when you told the truth, there was something so deeply real about it, that it was frightening. But I should have known better to look past your lies because I think there was a lot of truth behind the reason you told them. You had so much to cover up because you felt the obliged to impress unimportant people. But you were just slowly falling back into the burden you spent years throwing off your back, and I didn’t bother to help take that weight away.
When you said little to nothing in conversations years past, I should have known that was a cry for help. You were always so talkative, and instead I just treated you like every other guy that I had seen. I let you fall off my radar. I should have been more careful. You did a lot of hurtful shit, and I should have known that you had no idea what you were doing instead of being upset with you. I should have known that you were slowly letting the drugs get the best of you.
I should have known.
But instead, I just got annoyed with you. I blew you off. I didn’t answer your calls because you stopped regularly answering mine. I blocked your texts, blocked your social media accounts, I blocked everything. It was easier to block off a problem than to try to fix it, and you weren’t a regular problem I was used to.
I should have known.
I’m so sorry I didn’t.
I’m so sorry I treated you like every other douchebag I decided to spend my time with. I’m not saying that you’re not one, but I’m also silently punching myself in the stomach because it makes me sick to think that all of this time, I treated you like nothing, and that was not what you needed. I’m not saying I could have saved you, but I should have looked at the situation a little differently because I’m not sure if anyone else did. You lived in a world with fake friendships and people who only talked to you when they wanted to get messed up. And I was just another person who did that to you instead of trying to help you.
You were the most honest person I knew, even through all of the lies, and I’ll never find that in anyone else. I should have taken your lies as a sign for help, but I didn’t.
I should have known, I should have known, I should have known.
And I don’t think I could ever say I’m sorry enough times for not saving you when you needed it most.
This piece has been published on Thought Catalog. You can view the published version here.