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Have you ever thought to yourself that life seems to be unfair? Or wonder why the young pass away too soon, before their lives have begun? These are questions that nobody seems to be able to answer, questions I wish I could answer myself.
On October 1, 2009 somebody I called my best friend, soul mate, and partner in crime passed away right before my eyes. It’s never easy to let someone to special go, and face that he is gone to a place I cannot bring him back. I’d like to just remember all the good times I shared with him. I’d also love to share those times with you.
Let’s go back, way back from the beginning. His name was Shawn Keith Shields; he was that chubby cute little boy who often found himself in some kind of trouble. He had a smile that could make me smile, a voice that would give me a strange feeling in my stomach, a feeling I never felt before. I know we were young and only in Head Start, but I had to be around him. Many people say I had a “crush” on him; others would say it was “puppy love.” Call it whatever you want to call it. In Head Start, he was the boy I wanted to play outside with, share my cubby with. Whenever I was around him I couldn’t help but laugh. Even though we were young, I still felt very safe by his side. To me, it wasn’t a “big brother” kind of safety; it was more like a “super hero” safety. Yeah, I guess you can think I’m a dork, but come on, I was only like 4.
Now, let’s jump ahead a couple of years to around the time I started high school. Shawn was my body guard throughout my 7th grade year. At times he liked to embarrass me, but I didn’t care. He was my best friend so therefore he was allowed to. Shawn would always say, “ It’s my job to embarrass you and make your face all red in front of everyone.” Whenever he would hear I was upset in school or that I was having a bad day, he would search the whole school for me. For example, I was really upset over a boy. His way of looking for me that day was screaming my name down the hall ways, “Nicole! Nicole! Where the hell you at!? NICOLE!!!!” I can still hear him screaming. His voice was so high pitched, so loud you could hear it throughout the whole school. A voice that would send chills down my spine, like an echo in these halls. There was no question about who was calling my name. I knew it was him; I knew that voice. It was very embarrassing! But it would also make me cry to know he cared that much.
Our relationship grew stronger and stronger as the years went on. He always did know how to make me feel better about myself, taught me to never care what others think about me, and never to change who I am for anyone. Whenever I wanted to give up, he would push me to finish. He always gave me a shoulder to cry on every time I needed one, no questions asked, an ear to listen to every word that came out of my mouth, a hug whenever he saw I needed one. To me he was like a big teddy bear so he was my Shawny bear.
Throughout our relationship there were bumps where we’d be mean to each other and stop talking for a while. Whenever Shawn would bring over a girlfriend to meet me, it would just make me mad, jealous because in away I wanted to be his girlfriend, but I know he felt the same way when I’d bring a boyfriend home. So I put a happy face on just for him. Shawn stole my heart and didn’t even realize it. We both knew one another had love for each other. I would have done anything for him, and I know he would have done the same.
Our whole life of knowing each other we told people and were told by many people, “Oh, you guys are going to be married when you’re older.” Even though he told me he was serious, I didn’t mind because I saw it myself. He and I did crazy stuff together. We liked to walk around where I live, stay up ‘til 7 a.m., just talking and eating toast with cream cheese, passing out, making movie dates, and a dance date to mum bowl.
September 27, 2009, Shawn and I made one of our lazy days, and I spilled my heart out to him letting him know exactly how I felt about him, and he just turned around and said, “This is our date to remember forever, k?” I responded, “Always and forever.” He then whispered, “Promise me.” I finally answered, “ Always and forever, promise.” So that whole day we just laid there and watched two movies he picked out which were Bolt and Wall-E . During that day, we just laid in bed, took naps, and watched movies, and then we made macaroni and cheese. We were going to watch Pearl Harbor, but Shawn had to go to work. I dropped him off at Bank of America, and said good-bye with a hug and kiss on the cheek. That whole week we made plans to go to my school dance that was coming up that Saturday. Shawn helped me pick out my dress and everything. We were very excited to go, and to come home after to watch Pearl Harbor.
September 30, 2009, Shawn was acting different a way I had never seen before. He texted me telling me he was upset, but wouldn’t tell me why. I came home from school, and Shawn came in after me. After he got dropped off, he came into my room to hang out like he always did. I kept asking him what was wrong, but he would not tell me. Later that night, I was trying my mum bowl dress on texting Shawn. I was being really mean to him and texted him saying, “I’m busy” forgetting he was telling me earlier that today he was upset. I texted back saying, “I’m sorry talk to me, what’s wrong?” No answer. When he came back to the house and came into my room, I knew something was wrong by how he looked, but he still would not tell me. All he respond with was, “ I have feelings for you.” I just answered back, “Aww, me too!” He asked for me to talk to him, but I told him I had to finish my homework first so he sat there and waited and he ended up falling asleep. I woke him up to go outside. I told him, “You look really tired Shawn you should go to bed.” he told me to go inside because it was too cold, I asked him, “ You coming?” He answered, “ In a few.” I got up and yelled, “Goodnight Shawn, I love you!” he said nothing, so I went inside. I heard him come in and go into the living room instead of my room; I figured he went to bed. Never did I think that was the last conversation I’d have with him or the last time I’d see him again.
October 1, 2009, I was running late for school so I was in a rush. Normally, I wake Shawn and tell him goodbye and make plans for later in the day. I didn’t bother since I was running late. I figured I’d just text him. I rushed out of the house; I took a glance of the half wall to see him, and he looked asleep so I just left. I got to school and reported to homeroom. The phone rang; it was the main office. My homeroom teacher told me I had to go down there, so I did. My first thought was that I was in trouble. My cousin Ray came walking in through the doors and I asked him, “ Ray, what is going on?” He turned to me and said in a low toned voice, “Nicole, I guess Shawn had died in his sleep last night.” I didn’t believe it; I didn’t want to believe it. I fell to the ground crying, screaming, “No! No! You’re lying! He can’t be dead! No!” I went home to find cops everywhere. I was hoping Shawn was still there for me to see him, but he wasn’t he was gone. I was hoping and praying that he was at the hospital and that he’d be okay, that he’d be back over later in the day. No, he was gone; gone forever.
It’s be over a month now and I still haven’t switched into reality that he is really gone and never coming back. If I would have known that would have been our last conversation together, I’d keep him up and say more than goodnight. I’d spill my heart out to him. I also could have done something. That absence of him is everywhere. It feels like I giant piece has been ripped out of my chest. He took apart of me with him; he took my heart up to heaven with him.
The memory of him will never fade in my head, the sound of his voice and laugh will never leave my ears, the vision of his face and smile will always be in my dreams, and the feel of his warm touch and hugs I will always feel. The love we shared will always be in my heart. He will forever and always be apart of me.
Shawn is like the wind, I can’t see him but I can feel him. A feel of warmth, comfort, strength, and hope. A feeling I will feel from him ‘til we meet again up in heaven. Until my time comes and I see him again I know he will guide me down the right path, and push me to the finish line.
There is only one thing that gets me through the day, the only thing hat gives me hopeis that I know, I’ll see him again someday.
Shawn Keith Shields
June 28, 1991 - October 1, 2009