All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Thunderstorms were always the most intriguing part of my spring. The raw, uncontrollable power that came out of them was exhilarating. The way the lightening became the organic flash of a camera that never has its pictures developed. The way the rain fell so hard I felt like I should see through it, because water is clear, after all, but I couldn't. The way the clouds made the world grey, and the way the grey world reflected itself in the raindrops that purified all the winter souls. It excited me, the way the gales of water were like the fresh white snow of people’s affections, untainted by stomping, muddy winter boots or the making of a snowman.
But it also confused me how one of my favorites could get rid of one of my necessities as easily and thoughtlessly as it did. Because Daz was as necessary to my life as the storms were to a daffodil. And like a daffodil in a soccer field, Daz wasn’t meant to survive very long in this world.
I just hate how it happened. Because it made me hate one of my favorite things when I needed it most.
It makes me feel old how I think about all this. How I relate everything to something else, something concrete and constant. How the cause of all my pain became something I looked at as a basis for everything else in my life.
I keep waiting for it to fade into the realm of distant memory but it won’t. The day it happened, the moment that defined my life, stubbornly lingers in the forefront of my consciousness like rain on the day of a carnival. Unwanted but inevitable.
So as I sit at my old, vintage computer with the frame almost thicker than the screen itself typing at a keyboard fingerprinted darkly with words of the past, I wonder. Wonder wether or not my life would be better if I let apathy overcome me like the thick black waves on a nighttime beach. Because I decided a long time ago that the only way life could ever hurt you is if you cared.
But then what would be the point of living even be?
I was sleeping. My eyes were drifting into a pleasant doze as I savored the last few seconds of the pleasure of falling asleep to the symphony of raindrops on my windowpane. I was groggily trying to remember why I ever thought the fingertips of the trees tapping on the glass of my window was scary when I was a child. Now, it was just comforting. It was like the subtle reminder from a best friend.
I’m always here for you.
I didn’t know it, but Daz had just been a tree branch against the windowpane of my life. The priceless treasure of her friendship was something I was in the process of becoming conscious of. It hung in that hazy phase of unrealized but recognized.
As my eyes lingered in the stage of closed but still conscious, a shrill, dreadful ringing winded down my ear and into my mind, waking me up and shaking me to the core.
Something about midnight phone calls. It always seems like they carry bad news.
I feel like my eyes should have opened faster than they did, but my heavy eyelids took their time reveling my pupils to the black night and by the time I completed this monumental task, I realized someone had picked up the phone.
I sat in the still night air with the moonlight cutting through my windowpane like an insubstantial knife and waited for my life to change.
A knot was tangling itself through all my internal organs, like every inch of me knew there was a problem but my mind was already in denial from what I could not possibly have known yet.
I think that may be a a defense mechanism for sanity. Expecting the worst makes bad news seem so much easier. But that only works when the worst you can imagine isn’t better than what happened.
I heard footsteps. Soft, padded footsteps up the roughly worn bubble gum pink carpeting of the stairs. I heard a heavy hand, trailing wearily up the banister. It sounded like the rain outside. Smooth but determined.
I heard the lack of footsteps, and I could listen to the tangible hesitation at my door. The way my mom’s shaking fingers wrapped themselves coldly around the unforgiving doorknob but were having a hard time turning it. Open doors mean confrontations. And sometimes it’s easier to let things slide. But not this time.
The light beneath the door morphed into a triangle that enlarged with every inch my mom pushed. I stared at it. Stared at the light like my life depended on it.
My heart was running like a child runs when there is nothing else to do. With a passion. Without stopping. And fast.
Whispered. A broken whisper that barely reached my ear. Had I not known it was coming I wouldn't have heard it. I didn’t respond.
A cleared throat.
This was louder. A flicker of broken voice permeated this one.
I flipped over in my bed and sat up as best as my knotted insides would let me. The knots tightened and pulled me into my core, hunching my shoulders and bringing my hands around my scabbed knees.
My heart was running like a child runs when there is nowhere familiar. With a desperate need to get somewhere safe.
“Amy.” The voice was stronger now. The lights stayed off but my mom walked over with a hunch in her back I had never seen before.
The hunch never went away after that night. I shoulder the blame for that.
“Amy. Daz was in an accident.” Back to a whisper.
I locked my eyes on my trembling fingers and intertwined them with each other. I could not bring my lips to part and form the question but I did somehow and the words came out strangled and abused and bruised.
“Is she ok?”
There was a profound silence. A pin dropping would have been deafening.
A tear dropping from my mother’s scrubbed cheek onto my comforter was loud.
“No. No Amy. Daz is dead.”
And my fingers shook so badly it scared me but I let them because I didn’t care. The rope in me tightened into a knot I would never find a way to untie as long as I lived but I didn’t care. My stomach flipped and threatened to reject everything it contained but I didn’t care.
I just wanted to sleep. Waking up, that wasn’t even necessary. I just wanted relief. So that’s what I did. I slept through the next two years of my life until I decided waking up would be safe.
I think I finally woke up because I decided that guilt was pointless when the one person who knew to blame you was gone.
I went through so many shouldn’t haves in those two years of numbness. I shouldn’t have let her leave my house that night. I shouldn’t have let her out into the pouring rain and frozen black roads with a car she barely knew how to drive. I shouldn’t have let her drink what she did. I shouldn’t have yelled at her for being the one person who would tell me things like they were- that I was turning into a person I would look back at and not recognize.
Her fervently soft words, slurred slightly by the drinks she’d had, ran through my head like an endless song.
Amy, I know I might be drunk, but you have to listen to me. You’re different now. Stop changing. Changing is for people who didn’t like who they were before.
I was so angry at her. It was the kind of anger that could only mean that I knew she was right, more right than I could admit. I only wish that I could tell her I was sorry that I could not take her advice and stop changing. Because her dying changed me in a way that would ensure that I would never stop becoming a different person.
Like she said, people only change when they don’t like who they are. I can never like who I am. Somehow, I became the kind of person who had everything and threw it all away in a moment of angry denial.
And maybe it wasn’t my fault. But I’m the only one to blame.
So I pinched myself and opened my eyes and began to feel again. And as the tingling feeling of life began to once again wind itself slowly through my veins and out to my fingertips I realized that the best I could do was go back to the person Daz first liked in me.
And while I would never be the same, while I could never be careless or purely happy, I could be good. I think that’s all Daz was ever asking of me.
What a selfish move of me. Using her death as my life changer for the better. But I think that’s what she would have wanted.
The rain is finally turning into a drizzle, and that’s okay, because even though I love thunderstorms, I can’t see through them. I can see through a drizzle, see past the gaps between the raindrops that foreshadowed the sun, even when it remained hidden.
I now refuse to look at myself as a thunderstorm.
I prefer to be the first sunbeam that breaks through the storm cloud.