Monday, February 13, 2012

What Do I Title a Story Like This?

There are just some mornings you wake up and you hope things are going to get better. You hope that all the fighting from last night is left in the past, that you'll look upon your arm and all you see is unbroken skin, and that things will just go smoothly as a typical Monday. But that's what wishful thinking is. Waking up I was that na├»ve... Nothing had magically changed overnight. Things with my mum only got worse, the TV was on as she watched Grimm, an episode I had yet to see. So I put on my head phones to keep out the dialogue so that the episode didn't spoil. And then I had to run back up to my room to grab some pieces of ducktape to make a bracelet for a friend who is moving to West Virginia. Thus me doing that and then having to run back up to grab my water bottle made my sister and I miss the bus. So my mum drove us up to school where the feeling that more bad things were to come settled in the pit of my stomach.
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I swear sometimes I have dead on feelings. God goodness I honestly did not mean to make a pun but I'll leave it there to keep the realness of this post. What I wrote above is just a mere background to what I found out as I get ready to work with a little preschool girl on her numbers. The preschool teacher showed me a name from upon her phone and asked if I recognized it. I knew who it was, and then she showed me the text she had gotten before that. (Both were from her daughter, a girl in my grade). "Mom, a kid in my grade died this morning." I honestly did't know what I was feeling... even now as I write this two hours later I'm not sure what's running through my mind but each moment after that. I took the little girl into the workroom and she counted from 1 to 20 and then went beyond like she always does, getting stuck on 26. Then we did 1 through 10 flash cards, and then she started to work on how to write the number 7. Then the bus arrived to take me back to school, my internship being over for the day. I had to carry a boy's backpack because he didn't want to go to kindergarten today. (Now i can't help but wonder if he had the feeling that something was wrong in the balance of Dallas School District.) We join all the other kindergartners that were on the bus, and we ride over to the elementary school. The bus driver answered her phone and words of "Oh my God" and "No way" in doubt and pain escaped her lips. When she got off I asked her if she had just heard about the car crash. "I drove past it.... I knew I recognized that truck." The other seniors interning at the elementary school joined myself and the last few kindergartners (those who attend the other elementary school.) We talked about the little we knew of how it happened and all the other crazy accidents that have happened this year. No one, not even the kids with cancer or who ended up in a coma had died. When we got to the school, kids were still at C lunch. It was like someone had placed a spell over the majority of the kids. Some, mostly underclassmen, were laughing and talking like nothing had happened. But those who knew him, all the seniors and a lot of the juniors, sad somber, staring into space. I joined some of my friends, and held the hand of one as she cried before she found comfort in the shoulder of her little (but big in height) brother. I got to homeroom and just sat down, not really sure what to say or do. Another friend came in, tears were in her eyes as well and all I could do was wonder where were mine? As I turned around in my chair and took her hands those tears found me. I tried to keep them away, but was to stay strong? Or was it because I felt that the tears were mainly there for show? When we started to head to the auditorium for a school wide assembly, I met up with my friend who's brother was up on the third floor now. We joined hands as we slowly made it through the halls. Everyone seemed to be dragging their feet. All around I saw girls crying who I never thought would shed a tear over this boy. Friends were consoling each other walking with arms linked, as if that feeling was the only thing keeping them standing, or from maybe dying themselves. All the while I'm waiting for some one to say that it was all a mistake, that nothing really happened. When we get to the auditorium doors we hear the vice-principal saying in his loud voice "Juniors to the left, Seniors to the right." Together we are one of the last ones to get seated. Near by I see the girl that had been my best friend, who I wish still was my best friend. I wonder what she's thinking, but for the moment it seems as if she isn't bothered by the news. I talk to those around me. To the girl who's hand I had been holding we attempt to catch up. I tell her the story of how the other friendship ended, how she didn't want to talk to me anymore and didn't want anything to do with me. I include that I barely have anyone now to confide in and that maybe all of 3 people know who I really am. She points out to me one of those 3 people... "What about... oh... what's her name?" I called out her name and got her attention.We talked about the spring musical for a little then I asked her if she got my text on how we need to talk. "No... was it before school started? My phone beeped and it died." "It was..." I found out how hard it is to try to have two different conversations at once, so before I went back to talking with the girl next to me I told the other, "I broke last night." Her look was serious as she said, "Yeah, we need to talk." I then filled in the girl next to me what has been going on with me, how tomorrow is going to be a stressful day. I know that the tears that came this time were honest and even though they came slowly they took out all my feeling with them. From there I lightly bumped into the boy next to me asking how he was doing. His answer surprised me as he said something along the lines of "I'm used to it." I think we talked a little after that but I can't remember what was said. All I do remember is the pressure of his hand on my knee as maybe an act of condolence as the school superintendent opened the assembly. They talked about what happened, not nessessarily the details because we weren't sure of any, but how there are people here to talk to and that grief will hit us all at different points and that we will all deal with it in different ways as the days come to pass. I kept on hoping that maybe the boy next to me would try to make me feel better again, maybe he would take my hand and make me feel less alone. Instead I picked up on that my friend to the right was crying again so I chose to put away my foolish heart. I placed my hand lightly upon hers, hoping that she realized I was there for her. I had been the first one to say hello to her last year when she was the new girl and our friendship had never quite been the strongest. But at that point I really hoped that she knew I would hold her hand forever just to have her realize she's not alone either. As the assembly came to a close (there is no arrangements yet, but they'll let us know when they find out, although us students will probably know before that.), we walked out again hand in hand. Her tears were flowing freely again, and I told her to find me in the library if she needs me. So I went back to homeroom, gathered my stuff, walked to the greeters desk to make sure that I wasn't going down for my other internship at the elementary school, and then filled up my water bottle and headed up to the library.
And so that's where I am now... writing for the first time in my life a blog post as detailed as my memory. I could include how there isn't a cloud in the sky making it a beautiful day. That cars have been constantly coming in and out, how the news sites have barely anything on the story besides "an 18 year old boy [some referred to him as a man] died today around 7:50 heading to school." Sure there are other details such as the road he was on, and that speeding may have been an issue, but nothing more than that. Around me I hear conversations about prom and friends doing drugs and suicide and classwork and leaving school earlier. But all I hear in my head is this story... that I will never be able to forget.
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I wish that I had started my day out better, that things with my mum were on better terms currently. Missing the bus seems like forever ago as I sit here now. You really don't know what you have until it's gone... and it kills me (bad word I know) as I realize how quickly it can be taken away from you.

2 comments:

  1. Losing people the same age as you is so hard... I remember a guy who was in my Boy Scout group (back when I still did it). And he was only 18 when he died in a car crash. His brother in the car survived, but didn't remember anything. I've never seen so many people at a wake. I think part of it is just the shock -- people aren't supposed to die that young. But I think that God always has a purpose, and that He wouldn't have taken them if it wasn't their time to go. Regardless, it's not easy. During my time in high school we had 3 or 4 kids die... and even if you didn't know them, it still hit hard. There was one guy where we even had a candlelight vigil and ended up painting his parking spot in memory. I hope that since this day, you have been able to heal somewhat. If you still need to talk, let me know.

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  2. Thank you so much... Tom had just recently become an eagle scout and accepted into some branch of the military that he had been dreaming about... People were saying that he was so excited and he had his life figured out and that he really knew what he wanted. I attended both viewings from start to finish, one Thursday night and one Friday morning, and then the funeral on Friday. The amount of people that showed up... It truly was amazing. All the kids from school and teachers and friends and family, and in regards to that attendance at the funeral... the home they had it at was relatively small so at least a hounded people waited outside during the service to pay their last respects at the end while many others stood squished inside.
    Now there's a Boy Scout fund in his memory to help those who need financial aid for going on trips. It's such a loss but there's so much he'll still be doing for everyone. He'll always live in our hearts.

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