The Death of a Friend

April 5, 2011
Desperate to block out the country playing on the bus radio, I turned up the volume of my mp3 player until it was blasting into my ears. My breath frosted the window as I looked out at the trees going by in a blur of color. Trying to distract myself from thoughts racing through my mind, I focused on the lyrics of the song, “Somehow everything’s gonna fall, right into place.” The instant I heard the words, tears stung my eyes and I switched to the next song. How come everything has to remind me of it? I’d already cried enough today. And the day before, and the day before that. When will this end?

How could things just fall into place? That would never happen now, all because of the accident. Maybe that just proves that what happens in books is true, the wrong people always die. The people who are nasty, or obnoxious, no, nothing ever happens to them. It’s always the good people who are nice and have friends and are actually going to do something with their lives. Why does the bad stuff always happen to them? I wondered why the bus wasn’t moving anymore and realized quickly that it was my stop. Getting up from my seat, I walked to the door, trying to hold back the tears, to wait until I was alone. But as I stepped onto the dirt road a tear glided down my cheek and dripped off my chin.

Ignoring that my neighbor was now walking behind me, I trudged down the road towards my house. Her mom always picked her up, eventually. She never offers me a ride, even though they live right across the road. Would it really be that much trouble to just drop me off at the end of their driveway? Or are ten seconds of their lives too important to waste on me?

That night I couldn’t sleep. The rain was pounding on my window and lightning streaked across the sky, followed by booms of thunder that were so loud, they seemed to shake the entire house. I ended up reading for several hours and easily read the book cover to cover. Right at the end there was a car crash which made me cry for long after I had put the book down, and not because the ending was sad. My eyes were puffy by the time I managed to stop and I had a horrible headache that throbbed with every crash of thunder. At this point I felt like it was no use trying to sleep. Sleep is supposed to be calm and quiet, but mine would be filled with nightmares and snapshots of exactly what I was trying to forget. Short clips of moments of my life that changed everything. Especially the accident. It still haunted my thoughts, made me ache inside with misery and loneliness. Eventually I dozed off into a troubled sleep, despite the thunder still crashing in the distance.

My alarm went off. I groaned and hit the snooze, even though I felt like I would never be able to sleep again. I had slept for less than three hours yet I’d had at least five different nightmares. They had each been different, but about the same thing. My most recent nightmare was still fresh in my mind, and I would have woken up screaming had it not been for my alarm clock.

Just before my alarm sounded, I had been in my car rushing to the scene of the accident. I’ve had dreams like this before, my mind trying to make myself think I could have saved her, stopped the accident somehow. This time I was calling her, trying to tell her not to go down the road. Darn it, why must she be such a careful driver?!? I knew that Sage never answered her phone when driving, but why couldn’t she, just this once? I left a voice mail, sent a text. No reply. Desperately I sped to where I knew the crash would be and got there just in time to see the tree fall, crushing the car like a tin can. I knew what I would see if I went closer. Broken glass and wood splinters covered in blood. And Sage, crumpled and maimed in the drivers seat, visible because the door on that side had fallen off. I hate it when they say she crashed. The tree is what crashed, onto her. I had tried to stop her, but she still died.

The plans had been simple. Sage would drive to my house where we were all waiting, and pick us up, then we’d drive to the movie theater and watch the premier of a movie I now despise. It was pouring out, and half the town had lost power because of fallen trees on the main lines. It was foggy too, the worst driving weather ever, and I had told her not to come. Go home and we’d go see the movie next week. Yet Sage refused, she didn’t want to cancel plans because of a wimpy little storm. She said she wasn’t afraid of the weather, that it wasn’t as bad as everyone said it was. The weather couldn’t harm her. If only she’d known it could.

I’d gone to her funeral that weekend, and it was too sad. Everyone dressed in black, most didn’t stop crying the entire time. Sage was a nice girl, I felt horrible for her family. I was just her friend, Clover, who is awkward, unattractive, and a complete klutz. She was my best friend and now she was gone forever. It would have been different had she only moved, because we could’ve stayed in touch. That’s impossible now that she’s dead.

About a month after Sage was killed by the falling tree, I watched the movie we had planned to see with all our friends. The script was horribly written and I knew how it would end immediately. I hated the movie right away, the casting was the worst I have ever seen. It’s one of those movies you should never watch and is a complete waste of time. Not even worth watching, so why did Sage have to die for it? I told her it wouldn’t even be that good, she was the one who had picked it out. She hadn’t believed that the weather could be so dangerous, hadn’t guessed it could take a life.

I tried to stay focused on the lesson, but someone behind me kept whispering my name and it was getting extremely irritating. I knew it was my friend Clara, and she was probably confused by the problem our teacher was doing on the board. I’m pretty sure everyone was. She went way too fast and never fully explained everything, but got mad when no one knew what to do and made us do review work for a week. It’s not like we’re slow or anything, she just needs to explain more when she teaches us something new.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a piece of paper glide under my desk. Accidentally (but really on purpose) I dropped my pen and when I bent to picked it up, I palmed the sticky note. While reading through it, confusion must’ve crossed my face because Mrs. Hawkoman asked if I had a problem.

“No I’m fine. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I just figured it out.” I was surprised when she bought it because I had stuttered like crazy. Some teachers are so gullible. Reading the note I figured out it was from Amelia, who sat next to Clara. But why would she want to talk to me? She’s never said a word to me before, and always treats me like dirt. The note said (in the kind of handwriting you would find on a Christmas Card):
Do you have plans Friday night?
My friends and I are going to a movie,
and wondered if you would like to come

Well this was different. Wait a movie....that brought back horrible memories I had avoided since the nightmare. Angrily I wrote back:
Is this some kind of sick joke?

I subtly tossed it back to where I guessed Amelia was sitting. Pretending to do my homework, I waited for a reply. Soon I got one:
No why would it be?
I thought you might want to come,
we are seeing that new Harry Potter, the one that just came out.
Everyone says it’s really good.

Now I felt horrible, Amelia probably thought I was a jerk now. I asked:
When is it showing?

After tossing the the note back, I crossed my fingers, hoping it wasn’t tomorrow night. I was supposed to sleep over Clara’s then. Something she forced me into doing. Clara is convinced that I don’t spend enough time with friends, so she is making me come with her and a bunch of her other friends when they go to the mall. Just like Sage did, I absolutely despise shopping at the mall, but Clara told me to suck it up and have some fun for once. Amelia’s reply said:
6:30 on Saturday, so we’re going to go to a restaurant first
so we can eat before the movie. Do you want to come?

I hastily scribbled down an answer. We could both see that Mrs. Hawkoman was beginning to get suspicious, watching us with her hawk eyes. No wonder everyone hates her class so much. Her stares are so intimidating. I wrote:
Sure I’d love to. Let’s talk after class,
the teacher looks suspicious.

When Mrs. Hawkoman glanced at the clock I threw the note under my chair as fast as I could. I didn’t want to get a detention for ‘cheating’. Luckily I didn’t get an answer from Amelia until after class.

“Hey, Amelia wait up!” I said as Amelia raced down the hall obviously trying to avoid me.

“Wow I can’t believe you bought that!” Amelia laughed for what seemed like forever, while I stood there awkwardly, not completely getting the joke. Amelia sighed and said in a ‘if I must explain everything to you’ voice, “I would never invite you to go to a movie with my friends. Of course it was a joke, why would I waste my time with you?” With that Amelia turned to walk away, a satisfied look on her face. I couldn’t believe it! I thought she was just trying to be nice for once. It had seemed too good to be true in the first place anyways, so I wasn’t that disappointed. A tiny voice in the back of my head had been saying it was a joke all along. Without hesitating I slapped her right across the face, leaving a red handprint on her cheek. Quickly a shocked look replaced her satisfaction, and before she could say anything I joined Clara walking to science.

“Hey what was that about?” Clara asked, a puzzled look on her face. She had obviously been trying to finish her math before class ended and didn’t realize we’d been passing notes all class.

“Just a stupid evil joke from Amelia is all.” I said, not wanting to give Clara all the details.

“Oh I get it.” She simply said, and this is why we are friends. Clara understands when someone doesn’t feel like talking about it. I definitely didn’t regret slapping Amelia though, she deserved it completely.

Before Clara’s sleepover, I was trying to have an optimistic outlook on things, but it was just impossible. Going to the mall is never fun, especially shopping there. Then we are supposed to go out for pizza, and that wouldn’t be any better. After that Clara and her friends would stay up giggling all night and I wouldn’t get any sleep. As you can see, I was being very pessimistic about having even a little fun. This was going to be interesting.

Clara came by to pick me up around 3:00 pm and we were going to meet everyone else at the mall. I told her I couldn’t believe she was making me go to the mall with her, but she told me I had better come or else. I had no idea what the heck she meant by that, but knew I would find out once we got to the mall. Yet soon I noticed that we weren’t going to the mall. As Clara finally turned onto a road I had never seen before in my life, I spoke up.

“This isn’t the way to the mall.” I was positive now that Clara had gotten us lost, but didn’t understand how because she went to the mall all the time.

“Yes it is, you hardly ever go to the mall, so how would you know?” Clara got defensive, and I knew instantly she had no idea where we were either.

“Okay, but if we’re lost you are NOT blaming it on me again.” I still remembered the last time Clara got lost and said I had given her bad directions, yet she knew they were perfectly clear and easy. Clara didn’t like to admit it, but she’s horrible at getting places and gets lost frequently.

“Well I’ll admit, I have no idea where we are now. Why don’t we stop here and ask for directions?” Clara was clearly worried, so I reluctantly agreed. I don’t enjoy stopping and asking random people how to get places, it’s just awkward.

Clara forced me to go to the door of a house with her so we could ask them for directions, and I wanted to just get it over with. Only Clara could get lost while driving to somewhere she’d already been hundreds of times. Shortly after Clara rang the doorbell, we heard a muffled ‘come in!’ and I reluctantly pushed the door open.

I was met by shouts of ‘surprise!’ and I looked around at the decorations. Balloons and streamers were everywhere and a banner saying “Happy 17th Birthday!” was strung across one wall.

“What the heck’s going on?” I asked

“We’re throwing you a surprise party, dummy!!!” Clara replied, smiling widely and showing her perfect white teeth.

Now I was confused, “It’s my birthday?” I asked. I had totally forgotten. I guess I got too caught up in my misery about Sage’s death. It was then that I realized, Sage would be disappointed in me. She wouldn’t want my life to be ruined because of her death. Sage would be more happy if I just moved on and only remembered the good memories of our friendship, not ones that make me want to cry.

“Well yeah it’s your birthday, you’d think if anyone knew it would be you!” Clara exclaimed, and that made us all burst out laughing.

That night I was the happiest I’d been in a long time. We went to see the Harry Potter movie (during which soda mysteriously dumped itself on Amelia’s head, who we happened to unfortunately run into). After the movie we spent the night at Clara’s, and I actually enjoyed staying up late for once and giggled along with everyone else about the astonished look that had been on Amelia’s face right before she stormed out. I couldn’t believe I had been so caught up in being sad that I had forgotten about my own birthday. I think Sage would be happy to know that I’ve moved on, but I still treasure memories of our friendship. I’m glad to have a friend like Clara, she knew I needed something happy to make me realize it was time to move on, not people telling me to. I will always remember what Clara did for me and how Sage had been such a great friend before the storm that ended her life.

Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

JustinBieberGirl said...
May 5, 2011 at 7:45 am
I love this story!!! But it is really sad ='(
Tigerz101 said...
Apr. 29, 2011 at 10:38 am
ow! How awesome! But it makes me sad because it reminds me of guy who died at out school named Casey irish </3
BandGeek replied...
May 2, 2011 at 7:54 am
Thanks! I know that's what gave me the idea for this was so sad....
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