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Her Patch of Heaven

By , Shoreline, WA
In the darkness surrounding me I try to picture her. She’s propped up in the hospital bed, smelling like medicine, holding her mother’s hand, trying to smile and be strong for her. Her eyes are closed as she talks about the things she wished she could’ve done, the things that I still have the opportunity to do. I wish I could’ve been with her, wrapped my arms around her and told her it was going to be alright, like she would’ve done for me. Maybe it would’ve been different, maybe I could’ve changed something. But I didn’t, and now it’s too late.

She had been my best friend since forever. We would laugh at the silliest things, dance with no music, bounce on the trampoline carelessly, and share the deepest secrets. I still vividly remember all the nights spent in her cabin, giggling at the movie we were watching, listening to her sing or just talking endlessly into the night. Even though she was home schooled, I saw her more and knew her better than anyone else. On our baseball teams we were always the only two girls. Playing soccer, we always managed to be on the same team. She was the first person I would go to at the dance studio to tell of the recent news at school or at home. I was the first person to know of her frustrations, joys, or successes. In that small fishing town she was the one person that I knew wouldn’t judge me, but tell me it was going to be alright, everything would work out. And I believed her, because she was my angel.
The first call I received nearly broke my heart. She whispered into the receiver through an inconsolable cry that she was moving… all the way to Colorado. Colorado. That was over 2,500 miles away. She was weeping into the phone and I was shocked, my eyes open and frozen with terror. I didn’t know what to do or say, she had always been the strong one. All I could do was repeat with a hollow assurance that it was going to be O.K. I told her we could still talk all the time and send letters, emails and pictures. But even I knew it wasn’t going to be the same. I knew once the words left her lips, that I would miss her everyday single day. A rare tear rolled slowly from my eye onto the hard plastic of the telephone.
After the call, most of my time was spent trying to keep in touch with her. I began writing a letter I was going to send to her and her family. My camera went with me everywhere to take pictures of all of our dance classes, our soccer team, our baseball team, our Sunday School class, everything. Songs from Hannah Montana, Taylor Swift and all the countless Christian bands we enjoyed were put on a CD to send to her. I was going to do anything to stay close to my best friend. Finally, I had all of my pictures printed, my CD burned, and a handful of stamps for the package I was going to send to her. Excited for the sun to rise the next morning, I fell asleep with ease.
On March 23, 2008 at 5:57 a.m., I was woken by my dad. He looked frightened, vulnerable, and sorry all at once. I didn’t know what was happening, I just knew it was important because it was still dark out. He told me with a cracking voice to come downstairs. The slow descent down my stairs was the most confusing moment of my life. What was happening? I kept asking, but my dad just shook his head all the way into my parents’ bedroom. They sat me on the bed. When the words, “Ella has passed of pneumonia,” were spoken, everything went dark, like a giant light was turned off and my eyes were unable to adjust. That was when my heart really shattered, because that was the worst answer I have ever heard in my entire life. If my dad was still talking I couldn’t hear it. My mom gave me a sympathetic look. I just shook my head over and over again. Tears didn’t even reach my eyes, because it wasn’t true, my strong, bold, other half of me couldn’t die. She was god-sent. My teeth sank deep into my lip until I tasted the squirt of blood, but unable to feel the pain. Staring into the darkness, all I could see was her smiling at me, holding my hand, and then I squeezed my eyes tighter, picturing her in a white, lifeless hospital.
My parents told me to stay home from school, but I couldn’t. To stay curled up in loneliness all day would only make the agonizing heartache worse. I rode to school an hour early in silence, the trees and ocean and houses flashing past my window in the still darkness. I climbed the gray stairs, slick from the rain, and thought about going inside, into the warm, lighted room. No, it didn’t feel right. Instead, I faced the street with my back against the smooth glass door and sank slowly to the frigid, hard concrete. Placing my head on my knees, reality began to slowly eat at my heart, and the tears finally began to fall. They fell as hard and as fast as the rain coming from above. It was as if God was crying with me.
It didn’t stop raining all week. Still, I walked to the beach, where I’d spent so much time with her. My aquamarine balloon trailed behind me, floating in the wind. I sat down on the soft, damp sand and thought about all the times we’d spent together, about the things we’d talked about, and the dreams we’d come up with. I tilted my face to the sky, feeling the streaks of rain and tears blend together and slide off my cheeks. Finally I released the message that I now live by, that changed my life. “Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth. –Mark Twain” Then, the twirling balloon waltzed with my angel all the way into a patch of sunshine, all the way into a patch of heaven.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

just a girl said...
Mar. 14, 2010 at 7:09 pm
i'm so sorry.... beautiful writing though.
 
Annirae said...
Mar. 9, 2010 at 10:13 am
YOU ARE AMAZING POOR BABY IM SO SORRY ALL OF YOUR LIFE STORIES ARE WAY TO SAD ):
 
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