When I was 13, I lost my best friend because of a cyberbully. I watched her entire world crumble beneath her. The once happy, quirky girl became nothing but a hollow shell of a person.
My best friend and I met when we were placed in the same class for two years in a row. Our friendship began after an impromptu mall visit. We bonded over similar interests and shared complaints about the extreme workload our teacher gave out every night. She was happy and quirky.
The bully came out of nowhere — a student from another class hidden behind the mask of a username. I saw the polluted messages cloud my best friend’s phone as she cried on the bathroom floor of our school. “You’re too fat, too ugly. Why are you even still here? You’re a pig.” The messages arrived every day destroying her.
I tried to help. I sat next to her, comforting her as the malicious messages continued to roll in. I stood by her when she skipped school and spent days in the safety of her own bed. I supported her when she became afraid to go to school, knowing that the monster was in the same vicinity.
The phone calls we had every night were filled with tears. When a notification sounded from her phone, she froze, thinking that it was another malicious message from her attacker. Fear crept inside her. She stopped talking to her friends. She would throw her phone away from her not caring who sent her a message. I stopped texting her in hopes to get rid of the fear.
My friend was trapped. For her, the only solution was to get as far away from the bully as possible. So she did. She had packed her bags and moved away. Looking back, I wish I had played a bigger role in helping her face her bully. I wish I had been able to stand up to the bully for her. But I didn’t know how. In the end, it feels like I did nothing.
I miss my friend, but I hope she found the new start — and the peace — she needed.