He wanted to keep up, but everyone was going too fast for him.
He huffed and puffed, his breathing letting out a little wheeze.
He stopped, panting as he placed his hands in tiredness on his thighs.
"Are you okay..?"
He looked up, seeing one of the boys had decided to come back for him, "You look exhausted."
He nodded his head, "I am." he said.
The boy let out a small chuckle and handed him his hand, helping him get back properly on his feet.
Years later, he was following with a crowd of teenagers as they lit a bonfire at the beach. Everyone was going into the waves to get wet and wild, and he copied. However, he had no strength in him. He felt the tide start to pull him out, and he yelped for help... but no one heard.
Then a hand reached forward, grabbing his own and pulling him above the waves. His old friend.
The two reached the shore again and his friend asked him, "Are you okay?"
He smiled in return and nodded his head, "I am."
It was college years, and he had gone to a local one due to financial issues. But at least he'd be with his friends. As he arrived at the college, he suddenly saw that the bus was pulling off and he had no lift home. He chased it for a good few minutes, but it was pointless. He then heard a beep, looking around and spotting the person who had honked their horn. His old friend.
"Need a lift?"
He smiled and nodded.
As he studied for his final year, he sat at the desk in his room, looking up at the calendar to see he only had a few days left.
He reached over to his phone... about to ring his friend for help... but as his hand hovered over his mobile, he decided to dismiss him, not wanting to call for help. He didn't need him.
The next day the news came on and he sat in his living room. He was about to flick to another channel but paused when he saw what was on.
A young man had gotten hit by a car when trying to help an injured old man across the road.
The young man... it was him... his friend.
He began to tremble and shake, tears without restraint poured down his face and he covered his watery eyes with his hands.
No one asked him what was wrong... no one knew...
As he sat weeping on his chair, his phone suddenly began to ring.
He blinked in pain, looking at it through his wet tears and recognized the number... it was his friend.
He picked it up and said timidly, "Hello?"
"You need my help?"
"N-no..." He cried back, "I... I..."
"You'll be okay without me. You're ready."
"No... I'm not."
"Yes," His friend said with a soft kind voice, "You are."
The call was hung up and the young man could only hear the line beeping, no one to answer.
His friend... was gone.
He stood at the grave a week later, flowers being placed around the grave. He was there by himself, and rain began to fall on him.
The sun broke through some clouds though, and shone softly on his face, his shadow casting behind him like a cape.
And he swore, he heard that voice ask.
"Are you okay?"
He smiled a broken smile, and nodded his head, whispering, "I am..."
He finally was.