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September 10, 2009
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The phone rings at ten thirteen at night.

You pick it up unsuspectingly, not knowing who and what you are about to hear on the other line. And when you hear, you think it's a bad joke, and hang up. But the phone rings again, and this time your mother picks it up, chiding your behavior.

And as she listens, and her face drains of color, and you want to know--and you don't--and you pray in your heart, please let her be okay, please let her be okay, please God, please, please, please, please, please--

And then she speaks those three words, and you are so stunned you cannot move. Hours later, you are lying in bed, but you can't sleep. What good is sleeping now? What good is anything?

In the morning, you get out of bed but of course you didn't get a wink of sleep. And you can't help but think that this shouldn't be happening, that she shouldn't have died. And you hate everyone who ever made her suffer, everyone who ever bullied her and called her names. And you find yourself wandering days in and days out afterwards, barely responding to anyone. Denial comes first, quick and close, whispering in your ears that it was still just a sick joke.

At the funeral, the body that sleeps in the casket doesn't look as though it's dead--doesn't look like it'll never stand up and tackle you again in a Gotcha! moment. That those michevious golden-brown eyes will never open again doesn't seem right, that it was someone else who was resting in there, and that she was going to say Gotcha! any moment now.

And you can't help asking the question, Why did you have to die? Why did you have to die?

And never getting a response, never ever hearing the real answer, because now she's gone. The words and whispers you hear are enough to make you damn them all, but what good will that do, now that she is gone? And so you walk on with deaf ears, walk blind and deaf to the pitying looks and words. Then depression falls unto your shoulders and you are left struggling to keep yourself together.

And now all you are left with are the bits and pieces of memories and moments of her that you cherish like diamonds in your heart. And you pray to God that, please, don't let me forget. Don't make me forget how she smiled, how she talked and screamed and laughed and cried. How she danced that whole night long, looking every bit the Cinderella--but so much stronger and beautiful it made your heart cry.

And those midnight confessions when you revealed your deepest secrets and truths, and she accepted them and shared her own. That one night where she appeared right beneath your window, and you knew without having to hear her speak that her boyfriend dumped her.

Or those good times where you found yourself going on a sugar high spree, chugging tall glasses of Coke while daring the other that it was downright impossible to catch 100 M&Ms in one minute.

Didn't she always say she wanted to live till the age of 100? To be the first woman president, the first person to find a cure for the common cold? To dive off the tallest building and land safely on a trampoline 50 feet down.

She wanted to travel around the world, to learn fifty languages and make her own fashion style that would spread worldwide. She wanted to get married and have ten kids, enough to make a baseball team and take up a whole cart in a train. Now--

Gotcha!

And so you cherish them and you cherish them, and when the truth finally dawns on you that she's gone--really and truly gone--and you'll never see her stick out her tongue at you when you two get in a fight you find yourself so lost that you're no sure you'll ever find a way out.

The days are lost in sleep and tears, of frantic pleading of your parents to eat and get out of the house--and then fights breaking out between you and them so often you find yourself going out to places so as not be alone--but to wallow yourself in the loneliness of sadness.

And slowly--so slowly you thought you would never heal--you begin to open up. The hole within you still remains, but the hopelessness that once left you broken has begun, like the sand grains of an hourglass slipping through, to replace it. You smile now, not berating yourself for being happy, but knowning that if she were here, it would be a smile she would want to see. Because now you know the truth.

She's not gone.

No, of course not.

She's resting, but she'll always be with you. Because even when you're walking alone on the streets, you can hear her chattering about the sky and the trees and all the things she loves.

And as she rests, you can finally too--you've suffered needlessly, and at last you can put down your arms and rest, because you're tired of this sadness.

Because it's not grief you want to show the world you're feeling.

Because, just like you adore me, I do, have, and always will adore you.

i adore you.





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