Life Happens

By , Atlanta, GA
Dum-Du-Dum, my heart raced; my head pounded. I was frozen, shocked. My body submerged in a dark pit of sorrow. It can’t be. It’s too soon. Dum-Du-Dum, no! No! “NO!” My eyes shot open. Slowly my panting stopped. I figured it was only my imagination getting the best of me; a nightmare forcing me to believe my fears have become a reality. I began to drift back into a peaceful slumber only to realize it did happen, and I can’t change that.
July 27, 2007
“Bye! I’m going to miss you so much until next year!” I said smiling up at Bar, and pulling away from our hug. As I got into my car and looked back one last time for a quick wave, that would have to do until next year; I thought of how great she was. An amazing person and great friend, her life is lived with the terrible curse of a horrendous heart disease. It’s really heartbreaking for me though that I only have the chance to see her once or twice every summer when any moment could be her last; especially when she’s a great friend that I’m so close with, who grew up with me, and who I feel I can share everything with. At the same time it’s a special relationship, because each year we go on as if we were never separated. This year however, when I waved good-bye, was different; I just didn’t know it then.
March 4, 2008

“Noam! Noam, wake up!” My mom shook me awake deep into the night tears drenching her face, eyes red, and hands shaking. Alarmed, I quickly sat up, turned on the lights, and ignoring their glare and the eerie darkness outside, asked what’s wrong. “Bar’s dead,” she managed to choke out before collapsing into my arms for her much needed hug. I felt her tears soak my shirt and her body shake mine, but it was the only thing stopping me from falling down myself. I was overcome by shock. “Dead?” I thought trying to comprehend it, “How? Why? She was only fourteen!” Slowly, the news seeped into my mind and my body regained the ability to function. “Oh my God!” I whispered and then the shaking started, and the tears came flooding down my face like a waterfall. Before I knew it, I was clinging onto my mom just as much as she was clinging onto me.
Time went by; it could have been minutes or even hours, I wasn’t sure. All I knew was the pain overcoming me, the sadness engulfing me, and the terrible truth that started it all. Suddenly BEEEEEEEEP! My alarm clock went off.

“Are you sure you want to go to school?” My mom asked for the tenth time, concern written all over her face. “Yeah, I’m fine,” I meekly replied, as I regretfully opened the car’s door. Although she didn’t look convinced, I was already in my carpool’s car heading off to start a day I hoped I could survive without a break down. Immediately, as we drove off, my friend, Rachel, started blabbing, filling me in on the exciting events of the former night. Events I had no interest in or intention of actually listening to. As I continued to ignore her, the chattering died down and at the same rate my tears began again. Suddenly, I felt her warm hand on my shivering shoulder, but I didn’t have the nerve to look at her. We continued to ride that way until the school appeared before us, and while wiping tears from my eyes, I plastered a smile onto my face.

I reluctantly made my way down the stairs, stumbling over my own feet a few times before beginning to open the suddenly heavy door,
“Wait!” Rachel demanded, “What happened?”
I paused, took a deep breath, and tried to get the words out “My friend… in I-I-I-Israel…”
“Yeah…”
“S-S-She’s dead!” I managed to choke.
“Oh my goodness, Noam! I’m so sorry!” She quickly embraced me in a comforting hug.
“It’s ok… I’m fine,” I finally whispered after a few minutes, but I wasn’t very convincing. She hesitantly let me go anyway and I walked into the building letting her follow close behind in case I needed her to be there for me.
Tic-toc-tic-tic-toc…
The day went by. The morning activities consisted of sending people the message to leave me alone and the afternoon spent in solitude. My energy went into my schoolwork, and nothing else, for everything else reminded me of her, which made the tears start pouring. Finally, the day of holding back tears came to an end, and at last I was able to enter my abode, trek up the endless staircase, collapse onto my restful bed, and sob in peace.
June 11, 2008

“Are you ready?”
“I think so…”
“It won’t be easy.”
“I know.”
“Just stay home! I completely understand if you’re too upset to go to her house.”
“Mom, I already told you… I’ll be fine.”
“I know… I’m just worried about you.” I looked into her eyes realizing she may need me more than I needed her. I looked at her kindly, and provided her with a hug for comfort.
“It’ll be okay,” I said beginning to feel her tears roll down my shoulder.
“I know, but it’s just so unfair! She was too young, and especially to have heart failure!”
“There was nothing we could have done. The disease got to her a long time ago, we should be thankful that she lived as long as she did.” She looked at me for a second, and then nodded, and we began the drive.
My mom and I arrived. We walked down the stairs, took a deep breath and together knocked on the door. The same door we knocked on so many times before, only this time was different. This time my friend won’t be there to greet me. Sure her sisters and her mom would be there, but she won’t be standing by their side, and I would have to force myself to ignore that fact. As the door opened and hugs and kisses were exchanged, I relaxed. It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. We had coffee, talked, and deliberately avoided speaking of her. After a while though all I had drank caught up with me and I excused myself, rushing upstairs in desperate need of the restrooms, but the second I stepped foot on the second floor I froze. I had forgotten where her room was located. I had forgotten that it was the first thing to greet you. I had forgotten that the family neglected to empty it of her stuff. One foot after another, I proceeded slowly towards the door. Stepping through the threshold, my breath caught in my throat. It looked exactly as it had the year before. The same bedspread we slept on that sleepover, the same pictures we took hanging on the wall, the same books she let me borrow, the same everything, and the memories came flooding back. I sat on the bed and cried feeling as the tears covered my cheeks, clogged my eyes, and drenched my shirt. For the first time, however, I felt that I wasn’t crying from shock, but from acceptance. I was in a place that once was completely hers, and was able to accept the fact that she wasn’t there anymore and never will be. Just then the door cracked open and a gentle voice spoke, “Noam, we have to go.”
“Alright, it should be right around here.” The guard smiled and we proceeded to walk in the direction he directed us in. After a few rows, I saw it; her grave. It was the most beautiful grave I had ever seen. In fact, it resembled a garden more than a grave, with its top consisting mostly of soil and colorful flowers growing all around. The headstone, heart-shaped with her name inscribed into it, was carved out of pink stone. I smiled at its beauty and cried at its contents. It really was the perfect grave for her, for she was always so lively and beautiful even though she knew any moment could be the end. Finally, my tears slowed down and the world became a little less of a blur, so I could finally read what it said about her. It was written on a smooth black stone, in pink cursive writing, with all the necessary information. Underneath however was added “you lived amongst us like a wildflower ”. I smiled, the tears immediately flooding back. Yes, a crazy, beautiful wildflower indeed.
March 4, 2009

BEEEEEEEEP! My alarm clock awoke me, yet I moved nothing except open my eyes. I lay in bed staring at my clock as it continued to ring. One, two, ten minutes passed by, and finally I gathered the strength to sit up and slowly drag myself to the bathroom. After going through my redundant daily routine, I hauled my legs back into my room, collapsing onto my cozy bed, and stared at the wall. Suddenly, my eyes focused and my brain began to register what I was looking at, a picture of her. Immediately I began to cry myself a river, as I realized it has been exactly a year since the phone call, since my mom woke me in the middle of the night, and since Bar died.

Although it took me quite some time, I was able to get ready for the emotional day ahead. Entering the kitchen, my eyes caught something flickering. I looked to my left and saw a candle, a memorial candle, and my mom crying. Trying to comfort her, I hugged her hard and told her that it will be okay, but she kept repeating “Why? Why did He take her? Why did this happen?” All I could do was keep comforting her and repeat “I don’t know… I don’t know.” Suddenly, my carpool pulled up my driveway, so I was forced to kiss her good-bye and head out the door, hating to leave her in her state of misery.

I went through the long school-day with a broken smile and a heavy heart, trying to make it seem as though everything was fine. Although I felt that I was pulling it off quite well, I knew from the looks I was getting that I seemed to be in my own “bubble”. Friendliness and happiness were two things I was obviously lacking, but I was simply satisfied with the fact that I was able to control my tears. At some point in the day however, my best friend, who I unfortunately can’t hide anything from, pulled me aside and demanded to know what’s wrong. It only took a second for me to collapse into her arms, but she just held me, until my flood receded.

On the way home, as I stared out the window continuing to live in my little bubble, the words my mom kept repeating that morning haunted my mind. “Why? Why did He take her? Why did this happen?” Soon I found myself answering the question for myself. Things happen, life happens, and there’s nothing you can do about it. No matter how much it hurts you have to accept the fact that there is something greater than us, and whether it’s fair or not, we must accept it because eventually you will find it’s easier to live accepting it rather than to live questioning fates we have no control over. We must also always remember that those fates have a reason for everything they do, and we may get angry and think it’s unfair, but we will understand some day why they did it. Beginning to understand this, gentle tears dripped down my face. I looked around at the blue sky, the bright sun, and the beautiful trees realizing what a wonderful day it really was. With this realization I took a deep, painful breath and whispered, “Good-bye Bar. I’ll miss you.”





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