You have no idea how popular you are. Your name alarms listeners. Sometimes, it stirs up a maelstrom of radically contrasting opinions. It still haunts some minds. But it never fails to leave behind a moment of silence. An acknowledgment of the beautiful soul you were. Something we all owed you way back when you were with us.
You know what’s funny, Hannah? You know what’s beyond ironic and disappointing? People still judge you.
Even after you are gone. Under a different light, of course. While everyone was dead sure of their blunt comments before, now everyone is confused. Some are making up conspiracies; others find solace in your absence. A few went out of their way and beyond to get to the root of the problem. Loads miss you. Maybe not the amazing person you really were but, a “Hannah Baker”. They pretend to. Because they’re supposed to.
Almost everyone talks about you for just a few seconds. Like a hot geyser spurting out of the arid desert land. Sudden, unexpected and never seen again. But very few cry every night. They think about you everyday. And it breaks their heart that you’re gone.
You see, you took the hard road. Maybe plenty went down the same road. A few survived, the others gave in to the torment, but somehow I can’t decide whether or not you emerged victorious. You left behind a trail of lessons and an extremely powerful message that reverberates in the depths of our hearts. You changed lives.
But why did you have to go? Did you win that way?
Why did you succumb to the harsh words, the brutal mindsets, the sick jokes? I know there were countless times when your voice felt like a shout into the void, your tears like a drop in the ocean, and your hope a flickering speck of light in a starry sky.
It’s a shame that no one noticed. It’s a shame that we still need suicide stories and bullying reports to channelize empathy.
And it’s downright remorseful knowing it’s always the good people who fall to the prey. The evil doze peacefully every night, their cold hearts blissfully unaware of their silhouettes haunting the soft hearts, keeping them up till the dawn. It’s a shame. But let’s face it. It is the harsh reality, staring right back at us.
So what do we do in this scary world of ours? How do we carry on? I wish I knew. And when I really come to think of it, I don’t think anyone does. The secret is, what Haymitch told us in ‘The Hunger Games’, “Here’s some advice, stay alive.”
I wish someone had squeezed your hand and told you it was going to be okay. I wish people had seen what you went through. I wish people acted. Sometimes, I also wish you had turned into one of them, at least that way you would be with us.
But you stayed true to yourself till the end. You wore your scars like an armor and made them look beautiful. You embodied strength, valor, and more than anything else- the ability to trust again, 12 times after you’d been hurt once. You never resorted to petty measures and revenge. You taught the world a lesson so loud that everyone rethinks their actions today.
And that’s how I know. You won.