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It’s 11:11 and all I wish for is that you’ll call. Everywhere I look, I can see you. I close my eyes and you’re still there. Last summer when I was here in this same exact spot, you were calling or texting every minute of the day. But, now I don’t know where you are. I have no one, or at least that’s how it feels. I drove by the movie theater the other day and it struck a nasty chord, you know those chords that just don’t sound right. It was the theater that I went to the day your daughter died. I was so afraid to turn my phone off because I knew you needed me and even though I wasn’t there the whole time, I was always thinking about you. That day, our relationship changed. We became so much closer that day and now, I don’t even know if it will ever be the same. I miss you. I wish I could hug you and never let go. If there was any possible way to talk to you, I’d be the first one to call. I feel lost without you, without someone to tell me when I’m doing something wrong or letting the wrong people in. I did that and it wasn’t until now that I realized that I never listened to you and for that I am sorry. You showed me what love really is and without you here by my side, I don’t think I will ever know again with it’s like to love and be loved without questioning anything. I always said that love was a feeling when you look at that one person and you just know that they can make you happy and there are no questions asked. That’s how it was with you. I would wake up in the morning thinking about you and knowing that life would be worth living because you were somewhere on the Earth thinking the same thing. I love you, and I always will., but I’m scared. You disappeared and I’m lost. I need your guidance, I need you to tell me what I’m doing wrong, why nothing I do ever feels right anymore. I don’t know who to trust or who to tell. With you, it was as easy as breathing, in and out. With anyone else, it’s constant jumping up to gasp for air. With you, it was simple, the way love should be.
That summer, my whole life changed but even before that, you were changing me and I was changing you. You didn’t seem to dependent on drugs, you cared for things, you tried to make things work with your dad and step mom. You made me realize who I truly am, someone who can blend in but will always be my own individual person. There isn’t anything else on the planet that can change who I am, and I won’t let it happen either. Ever since you came to Laredo Middle School in September, I knew you and I would become so much closer. That April, I put my number in your phone and we never stopped talking after that. I introduced you to who you call “the love of my life” and although I’d like that to be me, I just wanted you to be happy.
I remember that one day when I was babysitting, Alex, the kid across the street and you texted me the whole time and never did the smile drop from my face. It was raining outside when I got home and you told me that you loved the rain, as did I and we talked about why and how much we loved the rain for hours. But slowly I started to drift off to sleep and you continued calling me just so I would wake up and text you and after about 3 am, I was out. That next day, and all the days after that, we always talked, whether it was texting or calling. It was always something and just knowing that you cared was enough for me to get through the day with a smile on my face and make the day worth fighting for, just to talk to you.
Another thing you taught me last summer was to appreciate music. I never gave much thought to what music was until I started really listening to what it was. I listen to the lyrics instead of just hearing them. They make sense, and make me feel every emotion possible. My mind is going out of control and I can’t help it. I wish you were here to make sense to all of this chaos, to tell me which song to listen to that would help me. I’ve always been passionate about music, but never in the way that you showed me.
We had a song that summer, a techno song. You said it was “orgasmic”, and all I could do was laugh and wish that it were enough. I would listen to it everyday just because I knew it meant something to you. Somehow, that song was just a part of you that I always managed to latch on to. Even though it’s been almost a year since then, I still remember every part to that song like it’s my own personal soundtrack that courses through my head whenever nothing else is going on up there.
It was August 3rd of 4th when I woke up and automatically looked at my phone. 13 missed calls and 4 text messages. I looked at the messages first. R.I.P. Kayla Walters. What? That can’t be. It wasn’t even two weeks ago that he told me he had a daughter 4 years ago. I texted him:
Me: Hey. Is everything alright?
Brady: No. Nothing will ever be right. Not ever again.
Me: Brady, what’s going on?
Brady: She’s dead. She’s gone.
Me: Your daughter? How could that have happened?
Brady: Call me
I couldn’t call him. I wasn’t even supposed to be talking to him. I was at my grandma’s which was even worse, she would never understand. I excused myself from the breakfast table to the “bathroom”. I ran upstairs to the study and called him.
“Hello?” he said. I could hear the emptiness in his voice and that broke my heart.
“What happened?” I needed to know.
“She died. It all happened so fast. You fell asleep on me last night and like an hour later I got a call from the police in Maine saying that something happened.”
“Brady, what’s going on? What happened last night?”
“Skylar, she’s dead. She’s gone… forever.”
“H-h… How can that be?” I barely managed to choke out the words of realization. It didn’t matter how, all that matter was that she was gone and there was nothing I could do about it.
“Jackie was driving home drunk last night and Kayla was in the car. She crashed and Kayla… she didn’t make it.” He was inches from tears and there was nothing I could do about it.
I was silent. I didn’t know what to say.
“Jackie is still in the hospital and they don’t know when she’ll wake up, but I don’t know what to do… It all happened so fast. She was only four! Sylar, she didn’t even get to live. I’m never gonna see her again…” he hung up the phone. I knew exactly why. I didn’t know whether to let him be to cry away the tears of denial or to call back to try and comfort him.
I walked back down to breakfast and sat down at the table. My brother and sister knew something was wrong but even they knew better not to ask unless I spoke aloud. I swallowed my breakfast as fast as a pig at supper time and ran outside, with my phone firmly in the grip of my hand. I redialed the last number and pressed call. Two rings came and went and then he picked up.
“Skylar…” he said my name with desperation. It was like he thought I could bring him a bright, shining light at the end of this hell hole.
“Brady, I’m so sorry. I… I don’t know what to do.” I wasn’t sure what to say without setting him off again. If I ever did that again, I would never forgive myself.
“Hey, breathe. It’s okay. I don’t know what to do either but we’ll get through this, alright?” I questioned his question. Suddenly, he was the one comforting me. What the hell is up with that?
“Are you sure? Is there anything that I can do?”
“Just be here for me, that’s all I need. You, Gina, and Fresh Prince of Bell-Aire. That’s all I’m asking for.”
“Brady, you know I’m always here for you no matter what. You’ve done more for me then anyone ever has and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay you so for now I am your eternal slave.”
He chuckled, “I could get used to that.”
I could hear the smile on his face, I wondered how long that would last.
“Hey, I’m gonna go take a shower. You said those always help.”
I smiled, I’d told him about how showers just seem to be a place for thinking and they always helped me in my time of need. “Of course, don’t take too long or you might hurt yourself.” I said teasingly.
The phone clicked and I stood there, looking at the wildlife around me. There was green surrounding me, like being thrown into a crayon box and the earth puked out green and brown everywhere. Bugs were flying, air conditioners buzzing, and thunder which was probably going to roll in later today. Welcome to Louisiana. My mom had been living down here since I was in fifth grade so it wasn’t all new to me, but considering it was the middle of the summer and the humidity was absolutely terrible, I still couldn’t get used to the feeling of having water shoved down my throat twenty four seven. I lived in Colorado my whole life, where the air was hard to get so adjusting was never quite easy.
I couldn’t believe how close we’d became in just these two summer months and then I realized what was really going on. I was falling for him, hard. I was so convinced that I was in love with this other guy who I’d been talking to everyday since the beginning of summer, Sam, but then I look at Brady and I see so much more. Even though Sam was the preppy boy that I’d always seen myself with, Brady who’d been involved in drugs, sex, and crime his whole, was the one. The sudden realization startled me and I almost tripped down up the stairs leading into my grandmother’s house.
My grandma, nor any of my family, wanted me talking to Brady. They thought he was a bad influence on me, but they didn’t understand. They couldn’t realize that this boy was making me happy and never once turned his back on me. He was real. My family was so convinced that I was so happy during that summer because I was always talking to Sam, but they didn’t know that I was always talking to Brady as well. He was the one who truly meant a lot to me and no matter what I did, they’d never understand.