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Best Friends, Forever
You know the saying, bad things always come in three’s? In most cases, I guess this is true, like in deaths. When one person passes away, usually two more end up dying as well. But in Lauren, Amanda, and my case this saying was definitely not true.
Best friends- that’s not what we were, that was an understatement. We were like sisters, triplets, which is weird because Amanda and Lauren just so happened to be twins. We told everyone we were all related, but they would just laugh. I didn’t blame them, though. With my straight, jet-black hair, ice blue eyes, and pale skin, I looked completely different from my friends. They were like the typical California girls, long golden blonde hair, tanned skin, and chocolate brown eyes.
Amanda, Lauren, and I have been inseparable since fifth grade. That was when we became friends. We grew even closer when they moved into a house about a block away from mine, the summer after sixth grade. I rode my bike over almost every day, and together we got into tons of trouble. Our lives were going pretty smoothly, until the winter of eighth grade, right before Christmas. That was when something went horribly wrong.
It was Friday, the 19th of December, and the beginning of winter break. I was sleeping over Lauren and Amanda’s house, and we were camped out on their living room floor, surrounded by heaps of blankets and pillows. The smell of freshly baked cookies filled their huge house.
“Hey, Soph,” Lauren had said, standing up and then plopping down on the pillow next to me.
“Yeah?” I replied.
“Did Robbie say anything about me today? I saw you talking to him,”
Amanda looked at her and rolled her eyes.
“Hey, I saw that!” Lauren smacked her sister playfully with a pillow.
“Uh-” I didn’t know what to say, really. I felt horrible. Lauren turned back to me, a smile on her face, and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.
Robby was a boy at school, in Lauren’s and my homeroom, who she had been obsessed with since sixth grade. He also happened to be my next-door neighbor. With his army-green eyes, muscular build, and brilliant smile, I could see why Lauren liked him. He was a little too stuck-up for my taste, but I wouldn’t tell my best friend that.
“No, sorry, he was just asking me for… a pencil,” I said. The truth was, Robby did ask me about a girl, it just wasn’t Lauren.
“Oh,” Lauren said. Amanda started jiggling her foot. I knew this meant she was stressed or anxious about something, so I quickly changed the subject.
“But did you see Adam, Lauren? He was so checking you out,” I said. She shook her head.
“I know Robby like someone, he was telling his friends today,” Lauren said.
No one said anything else.
I knew who Robby liked. It was-
“Sophie, your mom’s here,” Mrs. DeVitis , Lauren and Amanda’s mom called from downstairs.
“Coming!” I called back, grabbing my overnight bag and slinging it over my shoulder, “Bye guys,”
“Wait, we’re coming down too, we’re going to snag some Christmas cookies while our mom’s are talking,” Amanda replied.
We all three snuck downstairs, and sure enough there’s my mother, laughing with Mrs. DeVitis.
“C’mon,” Lauren said, motioning towards the kitchen.
Just as I finished off my second cookie (Lauren was on her fourth, Amanda on her 5th), the moms walked into the kitchen.
“How many have you girls eaten?” Mrs. DeVitis chuckled.
“Just one, Mom,” Said Amanda, widening her eyes.
“Okay, good, I don’t want you girls getting sick, you’re going sledding with Maddie and Joe today,”
“Ughh…” The twins groaned in unison. Joe and Maddie were their cousins, Maddie was eight years old and probably one of the most annoying little girls you would ever meet, and Joe was our age, and obsessed with all things sports.
“Girls, that’s not very nice,” Their mother scolded, “Anyway, say goodbye to Sophie,”
“Bye,” Amanda said, as she gave me a big hug.
“Bye,” Lauren repeated, also giving me a hug, “Tell me if Robbie says something about me,” She whispered in my ear, and then broke away from the hug.
I nodded anyway, even though I knew he wouldn’t.
“Bye,” I called over my shoulder, and wave, “Thanks for having me over, Mrs. DeVitis,”
“My pleasure, honey,”
I followed my mom out to our blue Saturn Vue, climbed into the passenger seat, and turned on my favorite radio station.
As I hummed along to the song blaring from the stereo, I felt a bit uneasy.
Hmm…Probably too many cookies.
Little did I know, that it was the last time I would see ever see one of my best friends again.
“Sophie! Come do the dishes,” My mom yelled.
“Kay, coming,” I replied, pushing the ‘off’ button on my television as I walked out of the room.
I entered the kitchen to see a huge mound of dishes piled up in the sink.
This is going to take a while.
About a half hour later, as I’m still doing the dishes, the phone began to ring.
“Mom, can you get that? My hands are all wet,”
“Hello?” My mom answered the phone, “Oh, hi Jane,”- That’s Mrs. DeVitis’ name.
“Wait, what?” Her voice turned serious., “Oh my god, Jane, I’m so sorry…..is she-”
All this time I was waiting waving my soapy hands in from of my mother’s face, whisper-screaming, “What?! What is it?”
But my mom just waved me away, and took the phone into her bedroom. I really wanted to know what was going on, so I left the remaining dishes in the sink, dried my hands on a dishtowel, and walked up the stairs to my mom’s room. I press my ear against the door.
“I just.. I just can’t believe it,” My mother was saying, “Oh, of course, keep me posted, okay? Good-bye,”
That’s my cue.
I opened the door slowly, and found my mom sitting on her bed, staring blankly at the wall.
“Mom?” I called softly, walking into the room, “What’s wrong?”
She considered for a moment, and then replied, “Lauren,”
“What about her!?” I practically screamed, “ Is she hurt? Is she-”
“Is in a coma,” My mother said. She patted the bed next to her, inviting me to come sit, and when I did, wrapped me in a hug.
There were a million questions floating around in my head, the first one I said aloud.
“Is she going to be all right?”
She paused, and released me from the hug, looking me in the eyes.
“The doctors don’t think she’ll make it through the night, it’s a very severe head injury. Sophie, I’m so sorry,”
As soon as I heard these words, I got up from the bed, and bolted out of the door, tears welling up in my eyes. I ran into my room, and slammed the door.
This can’t be happening… It’s not happening…
How did this happen? When? Why?
My first instinct was to call Amanda, but as soon as I picked up my cell phone, I realized there was no need.
Eight-teen missed calls, the screen read.
All from Amanda.
I immediately pressed the call button, held the phone to my ear, and willed myself not to cry.
“SOPHIE!” She answered the phone screaming, in between sobs. As soon as I heard her voice, I began to cry, too.
“Come to the hospital, please,” Amanda managed to stop crying, “Please, please come,” She repeated.
“Okay,” I replied automatically, sniffling, “See you in ten minutes.”
On the drive down to the hospital, my mom and I didn’t talk. I wondered if she knew what happened, how this happened, but I don’t ask. After what seems like an hour, but in reality was only about ten minutes, we arrived at the hospital/
“Excuse me, what room is Lauren DeVitis in?” My mother asked a passing nurse. She looked down at her clipboard.
“316,” The nurse replied.
“Thank you,” My mom said, and headed towards the nearest elevator.
The doors slid open, and suddenly we were face-to-face with Amanda.
“Hi!” She exclaimed, smothering me in a hug, “Hi, Ms. Wallace,” She said to my mother.
“I was just going down to the cafeteria, but I’ll go back up with you guys, instead,”
I nodded, and the remainder of the elevator ride was spent in silence. The doors opened, and Amanda lead us out to a big hallway, and down a couple smaller ones, and stopped at 316.
“This is it,” She looked over at me, and I knew that she was close to tears.
“It’s going to be okay,” My mom said, patting her gently on the shoulder. Amanda sniffed, gave a small smile to her, and walked into the room.
The hospital room was crowded. I immediately recognized Mrs. and Mr. DeVitis, Amanda and Lauren’s grandparents, Maddie, Joe and their parents, and a nurse.
“Oh, there are too many people in here, I’m sorry.” The nurse said.
“Well, we’ve better get going,” Lauren and Amanda’s aunt and uncle waved goodbye to everyone, and lead their children out of the room. Maddie stole a parting glance at the bed in the center of the room, and that’s when I finally noticed my best friend lying there.
“Oh my god,” I couldn’t stop myself from saying. I just couldn’t believe it.
Lauren looked so small and fragile in that huge, white hospital bed. Her long blonde hair was sprawled out on the thin pillow supporting her head. And, unlike any time I had ever seen her before, she wasn’t moving.
The next few days were spent either at the hospital, or at home sobbing into my pillow. My mom took off of work for the week, so she could stay with me, even if all that consisted of was occasionally coming into my room and asking me if I wanted to talk. When I declined, she would hug me and assure me everything was going to be alright.
Even though it wasn’t.
“Soph,” Amanda had said the next day, as the two of us sat at a table in the hospital’s cafeteria.
I opened a chocolate pudding cup and slid it over to her. Amanda shook her head. She hadn’t had much of an appetite lately.
“C’mon, you have to eat.”
“No,” She pushed it back to me.
“Yes,” I pushed it back.
“Fine.” She plunged the plastic spoon inside, lifted out a mound of pudding, and shoved it into her mouth.
“Good, now… What were you going to ask me?”
Amanda let out a sigh, and laid her head on the table. She slowly lifted it back up, and looked me in the eyes.
“Sophie…What am I gonna do, if….. If I lose her?” Tears welled up in her eyes. I got up from the hard chair and wrapped her in a hug. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. I had to stay strong for my friend.
“Don’t worry, Amanda, you’re not going to lose her. We’re not going to lose her.”
“Sophia, Sophia, wake up.” A voice called softly. I turned over in my bed.
“Yes, honey. Someone’s here to see you,”
I looked over at the clock: 3:06
Who would be here to see me at three in the morning?
“Who is it?” I asked, sitting up in bed.
The light turned on, and someone stepped into the room.
“LAUREN!” I cried, throwing off the covers and running over to her.
She broke down crying, and sunk down to the floor. I looked at my mother for an explanation.
Then, it hit me.
No, oh my god, no.
“Sophie, that is Amanda. Lauren….-Lauren is… Dead.”
Everyone has their own ways of dealing with grief. My way was not speaking, not eating, and not sleeping.
I didn’t want to see my mother, though she did regularly check up on me, offering me blankets, extra pillows, and all of my favorite foods in hope that I’d eat something. I didn’t want to see my other friends, they just didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to see my cousin, Jill, and her husband Marc. Or my grandparents, or my aunt’s and uncles.
And I definitely did not want to see Amanda, for one reason, and one reason only.
She reminded me of Lauren.
The funeral was the day after Christmas. I filed into the church behind my mother, staring at the back of her black dress coat, and nothing else. This was the first time I had come out of my room for three days, with the exception of the bathroom. I didn’t even go downstairs and open presents on Christmas morning, my mom brought them up to me.
As we sat down on the cold pew, four men, one of whom I recognized to be Mr. DeVitis, carried a wooden casket into the church. They set it down slowly and carefully. I looked over at Mr. DeVitis, and saw that he was crying.
“Dearly departed,” The priest began. I tried to focus on what he was saying, but… I just couldn’t.
My gaze lingered on the casket. I couldn’t believe, that, right at that very moment, my best friend was inside of it.
I started crying. My mother gave me a hug, and kissed my forehead.
I can…,I can get through this.
And I did.
After the ceremony, I rushed outside the church. I needed some air.
Sitting down on the cold, snowy bench, I looked up into the sky.
Then, someone came and sat down next to me.
I looked over at her. She looked thin, a good five or ten pounds thinner than the last time I had seen her.
Amanda was looking up at the sky, just as I had a few moments ago, and I knew we were thinking the same thing.
“She’s watching us,” I whispered, glancing up.
“I…. I feel horrible,”
“No. Amanda, it’s not your fault.” I told her.
“Not…. Not about that,” She began. I started at her, a confused look on my face, and she continued,
“Robbie, -I….I kissed him,”
When she saw the shocked look on my face, she started sobbing.
“I- I’m so sorry!” She cried.
“It’s-” I was going to say something, but then I realized that Amanda wasn’t speaking to me. Her face was looking up.
“I’m sorry. You know I love you, I always will. And… and now, I don’t know what I’m going to do without you!”
I looked away from Amanda. What I was witnessing felt too personal, it didn’t involve me. This was between two sisters.
My knees went weak. I slumped down onto my carpeted floor, and held the photograph in front of my face.
The person I was looking at was laughing, so hard that tears were streaming down her face. I haven’t seen this person in almost five years, but somehow I have always felt her presence with me.
In high school, she was there in homeroom with me, twirling her blonde hair and jiggling her foot, something she had always done when she was bored.
And now, somehow, she was here with me, as I packed up all my things for college.
“Sophie, you almost ready?”
Amanda appeared in the doorway, holding a large box full of some of my things. We were both going to The University of Pennsylvania in a week, we were going to be roommates.
When I didn’t respond, she set the box down and sat next to me. She looked at the photo of Lauren, and then up at the ceiling.
“It feels like she’s still here, doesn’t it?” Amanda said.
“Yeah, it does.”
I half expected Lauren to just walk into the room, plop down next to us, and say “What are you guys looking at?”
I glanced at the door, and then squeezed my eyes shut, feeling like an idiot.
“What is it?” Amanda said, looking concerned.
I stood up, still clutching the photo, and started rifling through one of the boxes. I pulled out a picture frame. Inside was one of my old school pictures. I slid it out of the frame, and replaced it with the one of Lauren.
“Perfect,” I said.
“Perfect,” Amanda repeated.
After that, I could of sworn I had heard another “Perfect,”
I looked over at Amanda, who had a small smile on her face.
And I just knew she had heard Lauren’s voice, too.