Tragedy

May 23, 2012
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“Lauren, can I see you in the hall for a second?”
The words that changed my life, the words that ruined me. Mrs. Laden led me to the hall, I could tell it was bad news because her face was filled with sadness. Being pulled out in the hallway was bad enough, but the guidance counselor was there too.

“Lauren, there was a car accident… a drunk driver… your parents…they died instantly” The sourness of her voice, and those words were enough to send me into a downward spiral. I stared at a blank wall for days. Did not eat, sleep, just stared. Soon enough my aunt snapped me out of it with the sound of cardboard boxes slamming to the ground of my room. Guiding me out to her Toyota, she tried to make conversation, but I never really talked to her. Of course she was at the family Christmas parties, and Easter dinners, but other than that she might as well have been invisible. We arrived at a shabby looking house. “Well, here we are!”

My cousin, Callie, came out of the house with a sympathetic smile, and shorts so tight that I was surprised her legs were still intact. She gave me a hug and re-introduced herself, I knew who she was but every time we have a get together she is with her dad. She then directed me to my new room which I was going to share with her. The hard wooden floors creaked when you stepped, but other than the pale turquoise color and the floor, I would say it was pretty decent. I dropped my duffel bag on the bed and looked around. Callie nodded, and left.
I don’t talk much since the accident. The memories of them are lodged deep in the back of my head, maybe one day I’ll be able to revisit them without bursting into tears. I went into my bed, just stared at the wall till my eyelids got heavier.
The beeping of an alarm clock woke me up. Callie got up after at least two snooze button hits. She brushed her hair, and went into the bathroom. Twenty minutes later I heard the door slam, and her shoes against the gravel driveway outside. The car started, and I heard the wheels screech, and the car pick up speed. Then I realized, tomorrow was my first day of school.
After the car wreck, I stopped school all together basically. My grandma forced me to take up homeschooling. Now I am going to be a Titan of St. Jude Senior High School. Although it was my senior year, and it was halfway over, might as well say I am going to he** till summer. I tried unpacking, but I accidently opened the box of pictures, and albums, then went back to bed. I was woken up by the sound of R&B music coming from a car outside. A car door slammed, I knew it was Callie. Callie ran upstairs and came into the room. She was more enthusiastic than before. All I thought was great. She somewhat reminded me of myself before my parent’s surprise death. She babbled about how much I was going to love her high school. I realized she was the closest thing I ever had to a sister. I had a best friend back home, but we’d grown out of touch. So while not thinking I smiled and asked, “Can you take me to school tomorrow?”
She was ecstatic. She hugged me and started jumping. Callie asked if she could help me get ready and involuntarily I said yes. She flooded me with questions. All I heard was, “Oh My God, your green eyes would go great with this new shadow I got!” grinning ear to ear now. I couldn’t help but laugh. One, because of how excited she was about makeup two, because I was imagining her expression when I told her I didn’t wear makeup. One of the first times I have actually laughed.

The sound of the alarm clock startled me in the morning. Yesterday, Callie could barely get out of bed, reminded me of a zombie on its prowl. But, today she jumped out of bed so fast it gave me whip lash. She’d already prepared an outfit for me, and was getting ready to do my hair. I couldn’t believe I even agreed to this. One grueling transformation, and 45 minutes later, I looked in the mirror and there I was, in a floral dress, a jean jacket, and some cowboy boots that went to my mid-shin area. I hadn’t really “dressed up for school” in a while so this was a major step. I must admit Callie did a pretty good job with me, the blue and red floral dress brought out the tan I didn’t know I had, considering I’d spent countless hours watching television, or on the computer. The jacket’s color made my curled hair stand out, and the makeup she convinced I must have or “the whole outfit will fall apart” actually was not half-bad. Callie She looked stunning as usual. Her bright blue eyes popped from the green scarf she was wearing. I can never get how her look, was so effortless. We got into her Honda; as soon as she turned on the car music shot out to my ears. She muttered a “sorry” and turned it off. After about a minute of silence Callie exclaimed, “Well I will get you to the Counselors, then I need to go to class. Here’s a copy of my schedule so you can meet me after first period, and I can direct you to your classes, and look for me at lunch, sound good?” I nodded carelessly while staring out the window at the corn fields. I heard the car stop. “Well, we are here,” Callie sang.

St. Jude Senior High School was smaller than my old high school. It looked like it held about only 500 kids. I was having second thoughts about this. I could hear my aunt say, “You need to be with kids your age,” in my head. I did not want to argue with that. Had I not been taken in by my aunt, my best friend right now would probably be a can of Pepsi, and my lap top. I hate the feeling you get when you 100% know people are staring at you, but they try to hide it, which makes it more awkward. You could kind of tell this was one of those schools where rumors took over, and once something big was found out,it was like a wave crashing to shore. I will have to ask Callie if any drama has happened with her. Callie introduced me to her friends and I swear all the girls’ names rhymed. But the guy who stood out was Danny; he had that modest smile and dark brown hair but with the natural looking caramel colored highlights. I haven’t really had crushes that were serious before, so I was shocked to find my interest in Danny bloom so quickly. Callie jerked me away from her friends.

The counselor’s office was a drag. “Ok, welcome to St. Jude, your paperwork says you have 20 credits, and our requirements are 22 credits, and considering your GPA I do not think you will have any trouble with earning them, here is you schedule, and your first period actually is right next door to you left.” She stood up and shook my hand and attempted a smile. She could not have gotten me out of there any quicker. I glanced at my schedule: Art, Calculus, History, Literature Comprehension, and Home Economics.

I was ready to brace myself for whatever is behind the door of my art class. I knocked softly, maybe they won’t hear me; maybe I can just walk home and pretend this day never happened. Depressingly, as I walked away, a small man walked out and looked at me. He smiled with crooked teeth. I get really embarrassed when teachers feel the need to stand up and introduce me, so I was thankful when he did not. I sat down in the back of the class while he filled me in on how we were drawing our inner-most feelings. I might as well have torn that piece of paper up because I felt nothing.

Calculus was good, for math that is; History was a blur; I hate reading, that’s why I just watch documentaries. Literature Comprehension (which is just a fancy name for English) wasn’t so bad, except Mr. Baffle introduced me in front of everyone, and Callie was in there so at least I have one friend. Home Ec. was probably the worst. Mrs. John had a thick English accent and probably complained at least five times, in the first minute. I knew this class would be long since I almost cannot even make cereal.
Driving home with Callie after school is unspeakable-- you really can’t speak with the music blaring in your ears. I thought my ears just dropped off my head. She started talking about Delilah’s “Big Bash” at her house this weekend. Callie said I had to go. I was still not on ease about it. She told me Danny was going to be there which convinced me. Once I said it was possible Callie went off the edge, saying how happy she is. I wonder if she thinks of me how I think of her; she might be the closest thing to a sister I have.

Today is the day before Delilah’s party and I am stoked. First time in awhile that I have something to look forward to. I hope forgetting that my parents are gone will last. I have been thinking it is time to move on…


Callie Griffin looked up from the pages of the journal, her eyes red from crying. She spoke: “Lauren Coris, This was her last month worth of journal entries before going to the party; she and I stepped into my friend David’s car not knowing he had been drinking. We then continued on our way home with him driving. He swerved into the wrong lane, and we were hit. He died instantly. Lauren was in the ICU for about five hours then her heart stopped. Her whole family died from drunk drivers. We need to stop this.”
Callie stopped to breathe, “Thousands of people are killed each year from car accidents already, add alcohol? It’s worse.”
She stared blankly out at the high school seniors, where she once sat to receive this type of lecture but she never listened. Now her family and friends paid the price. Callie walked off stage,
Then she heard clapping, first one, then a wave. Later that day she drove to Northridge cemetery, and came upon the gravestone of her dear cousin, her uncle, and aunt. She placed a different flower for each of them. Her aunt Shirley, a white rose; her Uncle Burt, a daisy; and last, Lauren, a daffodil. She put her sunglasses back on to cover her bloodshot eyes. Callie got up, brushed herself off, and got back to her car. She backed out and crossed the bridge to go head to her next destination, wherever that was.





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