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A Memory Never Worth Forgetting
The more I remembered, the more I wanted to forget. I can replay every moment of what happened. It was only last week when I had the biggest fight with my best friend, who we’ll call James Taylor, who I’ve known since I moved here 3 years ago. It wasn’t just any fight though, it was something truly life changing. It was something that could’ve easily been prevented. Anyway, here is my account of what happened.
Last week, on March 12 it was my 16th birthday. I am one of those people who don't like to celebrate their birthday. In fact, I don’t want anyone knowing when my birthday is. I am definitely not one of those girls who throw huge over the top parties when they turn 16, like you see on that MTV show My Super Sweet Sixteen. Usually on my birthday I curl up in front of the television and try to forget what happened exactly 3 years ago. Right now, I live in Connecticut where the winters are treacherous and the summers are humid. If you I could sum winters in Connecticut it would be to imagine Antarctica but with nature. I am used to the cold here by now but it doesn't compare to where I used to live in warm and sunny California. Whatever, I could never go back there. Too many memories I forced myself not to think about. It brings me too much pain. Death is a terrible thing and people that you love die too young.
James came up to me a couple days ago right before school started and asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I said the same thing I had been telling everyone else that day, "Nothing." That only caused James to throw out ideas of what I might want. A night out, games, jewelry. I stopped him at jewelry.
"Oh jewelry? How about a bracelet, some earrings, or how does a necklace sound?" a cold, deathlike shiver ran up my back.
"No!" I shouted little to loud, "Sorry just, uh no thanks." I picked up my pace and began traveling down the hallway towards my first period class, Algebra. I did not want to dwell on this conversation any longer. James grabbed my arm and turned me around to face him.
"Okay, I understand," he said with a sympathetic look, "I'm sorry." It's like he could tell exactly what I was thinking. How did he know? Wait, did he even know?
The next day, James stopped by my locker with a tiny light blue box that was small enough to fit perfectly into his slender pale hands. "Here, I hope you like it. It took me a long time to figure things out but...yeah. Here you go." He thrust the small box towards me, leaving me no choice but to grab it.
You know those awkward moments when someone hands you your present and expects you to open it up in front of them? Then you have to plaster a fake smile on your face and pretend to love the present they gave you even when you hate it. Yes, well this was one of those times. I opened the lid and the second I saw what was in the box, sadness drowned me. This time, there was no pretending required. "You won’t ever understand.” I slowly shut my locker and turned away.
"Wait," he stammered, "Zoey! Wait, no don't do this now. Let me explain." I didn't let him.
"I’m sorry I got to go to class, you wouldn’t get it even if I tried to tell you." Before I turned away I could see a shocked look on James’ face. He looked hurt and torn apart. I noticed a single tear fall from James's eye. The bell rang and snapped me out of my thoughts. People crowding the hallway began to scuttle to class. I was left feeling sick, empty, and alone. I took the silver locket out of the box and noticed in tiny letters the words best friends was inscribed on the back. I shoved it to the bottom of my bag and into the back of my mind.
During class my biology teacher was lecturing us on the advantages and disadvantages of genetic engineering. About a half way into class the muffled tune of my ringtone, My Life Would Suck Without You by Kelly Clarkson, began to play from the inside of my backpack. After the first few seconds it got louder and louder. Finally, it was belting loud enough for the entire class to here. I frantically searched around in my bag, ripping out all my textbooks, pencils, and old packs of gum. When everything was out of my bag except two things, I found it. It was at the bottom next to the locket. I snatched my cell phone and quickly opened the text message. I scanned it as fast as possible searching for the idiot was who had texted me during class. It was James. He wanted to know if I still needed a ride home from school today. I noticed a pair of black pointed heels appear under where I was holding my phone. I lifted my head and saw my teacher glare at me from behind her bright red framed glasses. Her slender fingers uncurled and she held her palm out. Signaling, I no longer would be having my phone. I handed it over and looked around me, about 20 pairs of eyes were glaring at me as if it was all my fault that my phone went off. Without a word she turned on her heels and sauntered back to her desk where she glared at me over the rims of her circular glasses. Her dirty blonde hair came to about her shoulders and she was wearing way to much bright red lipstick on. She looked like she was from the 1930’s with her cheeks covered in rouge and skirts that came up to mid-calf.
I waited a couple of minutes outside the school for James. Yes, I was upset, but there was no way I was taking the school bus home. It smells like moldy apples and sweat. The kids that sit in the back are trouble. They are the seniors who will all be attending community collage or even summer school. All bus ride they sit there and throw spit balls at random bystanders. Last bus ride, I was picking spit balls out of my hair for the rest of the day. Finally I spotted James walking to the parking lot. I quickly
ran up to him and got in his 1989 grey Chevrolet Silverado. He looked at me, a slightly puzzled look on his face but he knew better than to say anything.
The car ride was mostly silent. James only mumbled the songs on the radio to himself. I ached for him to say something. The awkward silence was killing me. When he finally pulled up to my house I knew this was a good time to say something. “James, I am really upset. I specifically told you not to get me anything and you did. I don’t know if I can forgive you. Don’t bother calling me later I need time to think things through.” I climbed out of the car and slammed the door behind me. I dashed to the front door of my colonial house. I turned around to see if he was waiting for me to get inside but he was already out of the neighborhood.
I grabbed the house key from inside my back pocket and shoved it in the lock. Both my parents were at work so I had the entire house to myself. I ran upstairs and collapsed on my bed. I told James not to bother calling but I wanted him to call me so badly. I knew he wouldn’t. Whenever I ask for space, he gives it to me. Even when I am just saying that so he will chase after me. After a few hours of barely moving a muscle, I sat up and gathered the courage to try calling him. I had his number memorized. I punched the digits into my home phone and quickly pressed send before I could change my mind. Ring...ring...ring. Nothing. I heard his voice on his dorky recording. “Hi, it’s James. I am probably wrestling a bear. Don’t worry I’m winning! Call you when I’m done. Bye!” That was a joke we had together when we went camping last summer up in northern New York. I was scared out of my mind that a bear would come and eat us while we slept. He said that if it ever did, he would fight it and win. Before even realizing it, I let a smile sneak its way though. I snapped back to reality. No point in leaving a message. If that is how he wants to handle things...then fine.
I became bored with my own thoughts and needed to get my mind off things. I grabbed the remote off my end table and clicked on the T.V. I flicked through every channel waiting for one to catch my eye. Unfortunately, one did. It was the news channel. The words BREAKING NEWS was flashing behind a reporter's head. "16 year old boy suffers from car accident on route 36 A. The boy is currently in the hospital struggling for his life after he slipped on the ice and slammed into the car. The other driver has been killed. Support for the boy's family will be appreciated. A praying service will take place at his house at 68 West Side drive."
That was James's house! James was in the hospital? All I could think of was how that couldn’t be, I had just seen James a little while earlier. I sat down and tried to sort through what I knew. The reporter said that the praying service would be at the boy’s house. That was definitely his house. I knew that in order to get from my house to his, the fastest way is by taking Main Road that went through town. That was where the accident happened. I immediately ran out of my room and down the stairs. I threw on my jacket, grabbed my backpack, and ran out the door.
I was going 20 mph above the speed limit trying to get to the hospital as fast as I could. I could care less about getting a speeding ticket. Heck, all the tickets in the world would be worth seeing my best friend in his time of need. My mind wouldn't stop thinking about whether James would die or not. Right then I got a flashback. I tried to force it away but it dug its way back in. I remembered it all too well. I was living in southern California, it was my 13th birthday, my best friend in the world gave me a necklace that was half a heart. She showed me that she was wearing the other half. On my half it said best, and on hers it said friends. Not a day after, she went surfing with her older brother and his friends. She was showing off and attempted a move that she had never tried before and smashed into the waves. The waves were too powerful and she never came back up. All I could think of is how she died with the necklace on. The pain, it hurts too much to bear.
As soon I got to the hospital I quickly parked in the spot closest to the hospital entrance. I raced into the hospital and stopped at the main desk. "Where is James Taylor?" I said rapidly.
"Well sweetie he was last in the room down this hallways and to the right," said the woman at the front desk in a southern accent.
"Thanks," I shouted over my shoulder.
"No problem doll face," she shouted back.
I sprinted down the hall as fast as my legs would let me until I got to the room on the right. I ran in but halted when I noticed that no one was in there except the janitor. "Where is James?" I yelled, "He should be here!"
"I don’t know. I’m just the janitor. All I heard was that he won’t be suffering through the pain anymore." She rolled her cleaning cart away and left me standing there all alone in shock. A big empty hole found its way into my heart. I shuffled around in my bag, looking for an old book of his I remembered that I had. I moved my hand around but it fell upon something else, the locket. I carefully studied it as best I could with my water soaked eyes. There were tiny hinges. I opened the locket and inside, was a tiny folded up piece of paper. I took it out and carefully unfolded it.
You're probably wondering why I got you this necklace, and the reason is pretty simple actually. You are the strongest person I know and I don't want your own fears keeping you from excelling in life. You have so many things going for you and this locket represents the minor road blocks. I want you to realize that they are small pebbles on your highway through life. If you are wondering how I know, then you probably underestimated me. I know you too well for you to hide something from me. Plus, a few years ago you left your diary laying on your bed. Don’t be mad! Always remember that the sky isn't the limit, there are footprints on the moon. I love you. I always have and I always will.
Apparently he doesn't know me well enough to know my real feelings. My heart dropped to my stomach. I love you too but more than you will ever know. To say that a pang of guilt stabbed at me, would be an understatement. I felt so many emotions at one time. Guilt, sadness, fear. None if it felt real. Instead it felt like I was in that dream state where you are half asleep and half awake. I was the reason he was dead. If I hadn't caused him to leave my house so quickly the two cars never would have collided and no one would've gotten killed, injured, or heartbroken. It is all my fault. I killed him. "He's gone... forever... and he will never know how I feel about him!" I kept repeating to myself.
"Depends. How do you feel about me?" A sincere and kind voice asked. I whipped around and saw a boy. He had sparkling blue eyes and band aids scattered across his face. I noticed he was in a wheelchair.
"James!" I screamed with all my might. "You're okay! I thought you were gone... I thought you were gone...” I gave him a huge hug as tears fell all over his pale blue hospital robe. This was a moment in my life that I never wanted to end.