The Diary of Riley Hamilton

February 10, 2009
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January 5, 2008
We just got back from winter break. Leah and I were supposed to go to Hawaii with her family. Instead I had to stay here at Jenkins Academy and stare out at the snow and wind slapping the window of my dorm. No one was even really there; I spent my nights alone cuddled up under the covers crying. On Christmas there was no joy or cheer just the bleak weather and cold dorm room. My parents didn't even send me anything. They were on a trip to Africa and hadn't even found out about Leah due to lack of cell service. I was alone, even James, my boyfriend was gone for a football tournament in Texas. Now Ms. O'Connell the counselor is having me write a journal to reflect on my progress to recovery form Leah's death. Leah was my best friend, the only person who really deserved to stay here on this earth, and she died. She was smart, student body president, and an amazing dancer, beautiful, kind, everyone's friend and she even did community service. Hopefully this journal thing helps because now I am a wreck and can't control my emotions. In Science today I broke out in tears, Mr. Rivers released me to my dorm.
January 6, 2008
Ever since Leah died in the car accident I start to believe even more that it is my fault. If I hadn't left the party early, Leah would have been in the car with James and me. She wouldn't be out when Johnny's car got hit. She wouldn't be dead. Why did I schedule my SAT's for that Saturday morning? Why didn't I just make Leah go back to school with me? Why. I have been asking myself that a lot. Everyone tries to comfort me, but nothing will help. I will never be happy again. It was all my fault. I hate myself.
January 7, 2008
I take ballet at Jenkins, known for its outstanding dance program. Leah and I were advanced ballerinas together, driven toward the same goals. We had ballet today actually. And for the first time ever I didn't enjoy it. It was awful. Leah's place on the bar right behind me is void. I used to turn around and we would giggle when one of us messed up. Today when I messed up, I turned around, began to giggle and saw the dust fly across the bar and skim the floor. I gasped and broke into tears again. The room got silent, and being excused from Ms. Laurel, I left the room. My cell phone rang in my bag. I pulled it out and answered it sniffling. It was James. He asked if I was okay then started talking, he said how he couldn't handle my emotions anymore. It wasn't going to work out he said, but maybe we could be friends, and he was really sorry. He dumped me. Bad. At the time I needed him the most. He was someone I could talk to, who could comfort me and make me feel good about myself, one of my best friends however nothing in comparison to my relationship with Leah. Now that Leah is gone, James was someone I could sort of go to for comfort. I broke out into tears again, and slammed the phone shut. I'm alone now. I don't have any one.
January 8, 2008
I got a letter from Julliard today. I had a scheduled visit to New York City for next month. I am one of twenty who were nominated for a scholarship. I should be happy, and I am, but this was something Leah and I were supposed to do together. A trip we would go on, a school we would attend together. That word together, no longer exists to me there is no together without Leah.

January 9, 2008
Today at lunch I sat down and began to take a bite into my sandwich. Johnny came and sat down next to me awkwardly. He started a conversation then out of nowhere asked me out. I was shocked and started yelling at him. I knew he had just come out of the hospital from the crash and I didn't care. I screamed, and asked him if he knew that he just killed my best friend, and that he was an insensitive jerk. I slapped him and ran away. I gasped and started hyperventilating. How could he ask me that? Every time I even see him I want to hurt him, how could I date him? I stomped through the hallway, and opened my locker with trembling hands. I shoved my backpack in and grabbed my science books and binder, and slammed the locker down. I gathered my tears and pride and walked into class. Now I am embarrassed and angry.
January 10, 2008
It's Saturday and I don't know what to do. Leah and I usually would go workout in the morning at the gym, dance in the studio then hang out with friends and go to a party. Now I cant think of doing anything at all. I am completely isolated from my school and friends. Everyone doesn't know hoe to handle me. Since James broke up with me everyone is so awkward with me. Everyone is scared of me because of what I did to Johnny today. I want my old life back. I want Leah back.
January 20, 2008
I have taken a while off, Mrs. O'Connell took some time to read my journal entries and evaluate my progress. She said I had been progressing through the stages of grief fairly quickly. It seemed as if I wasn't progressing at all. However without writing in a while I thought a lot. It is prom next weekend and I definitely don't want to go. I was going to go with James and Leah would go with her boyfriend. It was something we would experience together but none of that is really possible any more. I had gotten a few invites, but I have a feeling they were out of pity. The night of my life was a figment of my imagination that has just dissolved in my mind. I can't go. Not now.
January 22, 2008
This morning I found my prom dress I had bought with Leah. I can't figure out why I wanted to find it or why I did find it. It sure is beautiful. A white flowing taffeta gown, gathered at the chest with intricate pearl beading that weaves over one shoulder. I also saw Leah's dress, a silk emerald, strapless mini dress with a sash under the chest. She was gorgeous in that dress, her bright green eyes sparkled as she twirled in the Bloomingdales mirror. I tear rolled my cheek and I smiled. I smiled then realized what I was doing, that was the first time I had broke a smile since Leah died. This, I thought, must be progression.
January 24, 2008
I have now begun to understand that Leah definitely wouldn't want me to be sad all the time. We were best friends and me acting glum and angry would represent not only me, but her too. I have started to not forget Leah, but move on from what happened, celebrate the time I did have. After all, these past three years have been the best years of my life. Leah, wherever she is in heaven would be proud of me. As hard as it is to do, she would want me to continue my life and be happy.
January 25, 2008
Today I had lunch with some of my friends. Kayla, Annie, Jamie, Joey, Mike and Chase. At first it was a little awkward, but soon enough they accepted me and I enjoyed myself. In dance class, I tripped and basically fell on my face, for a second I thought I heard Leah laughing then realized that she was probably cracking up in heaven right then. I giggled at myself, then gradually the whole class did, glad to see me back. I was on my way to living again.
January 26, 2008
Tonight is prom. I really have been thinking lately and no matter how much I tell myself that I don't want to go, I want to go. I know Leah would want me to go, I just know it. After thinking all night last night, I have decided that I will go. Even if I would be by myself, I would enjoy it. But then as I pulled my dress back out of the closet a thought came to mind. It would take all the courage I had to muster up. I dialed Johnny. Stuttering, he picked up. I breathed in and poured out my feelings in a sincere apology, I even found myself tear up. I finished and gasped for air. Then I asked him if he had a date for prom. He said no, and I said that I wanted to go with him if he still wanted to be my date. He chuckled and said that he would love to. We both sighed with happiness. He is coming to pick me up at 7 tonight.
January 27, 2008
Last night was amazing. Yesterday afternoon, I went to get a massage, facial and a manicure and pedicure. I returned to my dorm gaily and slipped on my dress. I curled my hair into long waves and pinned some to the side with a pearl beret from my grandmother. I put in my gold earrings with pearls, and applied some mascara, eye shadow, eye liner, and lipstick. I stared at myself in the mirror as a tear ran down my cheek. I would move on, and Leah would be with me no matter what. Johnny came to pick me up and told me I was beautiful. We ended up having a great time, dancing the night away. When he brought me up to my dorm at about 1 am, we both began to cry a little, he kissed me and told me that he not only loved me but Leah too. I went inside, crawled into my bed and cried. Not out of sadness, out of happiness. Although Leah wasn't here anymore, the hole she left me would always be filled with her spirit. She truly is my best friend for life and I love her. The pieces of my life are finally being pieced together. Yes, I said it together.





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