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“Coop!” I screamed.
“Cooper! Answer me!”
“Damn it Coop! What is going on?!”
I ran up behind him, grabbed his shoulder and tried whirling him around.
“Cooper Benjamin Quince!”
He finally turned around, looking me with his turquoise colored eyes, with a fearful gaze.
“Whose there?” Coop said as tears filled his eyes. That’s when I realized, my best friend couldn’t see me, but he could feel my touch.
Attacked in the woods behind Cooper’s house by someone I knew well, someone I saw at school on a regular basis. Only 17 years old, I died.
April 20, 2010
“Leighlyn! Hurry up! We are going to be late!” Cooper yelled up the stairs that lead to my zebra stripped bedroom. I had a tendency of making us late to school on a regular basis.
“Calm down, Coop. I can just have Mr. Shards mark us down as present later.” I said as I made my way down the stairs.
Coop walked out the front door of my house, heading towards his new shiny white Lexus. I mockingly followed.
“Besides Coop, it’s Friday, the Shards man knows we’ll be late. We are always late on Fridays”
“You need to get our license.”
“Why? Then I can’t depend on you anymore, Coopie! And plus, who would pay for your gas?” I smiled at him, knowing I had him on that one. Since he didn’t have a job and I did, I paid for most of his gas.
“God.” He joked.
“Yeah but then you’d had to get a job to pay him back.”
Cooper just glared as me.
We didn’t really talk much on the way to school. I just stared out the window thinking about school and some of my teachers. Some of the male teachers always had the tendency of staring for several seconds at some of the girls.
“Perv’s” I said under my breathe, too quite to be heard over the rap music Cooper had playing on the radio. He had just started listening to rap. He never use to too until the entire football team did, and he was always willing to anything to please the boys on the team because it was his first year playing.
“Thank you, I now have Lil’ Wayne stuck in my head.” I said as I glared at him.
“You’re very Welcome Leighlyn.”
“What? And don’t call me that.” Coop said while trying to concentrate on finding a parking spot in the school parking lot. I laughed before getting a more serious state of mind.
“Do you think Mr. Shards ever hits on any of the girls in class a little too much?”
“Only you and Callina.” He said kind of jokingly.
“Seriously Coop! I’ve been watching how some of the guy teachers look at the girls. Well maybe they want the attention but still it’s kind of creepy!”
We were walking into the school and he stopped and
“Well... Uhm.. I don’t know… I never actually payed attention to if he really did or not.” By then we were already at the doorway of Mr. Shards class, standing outside the doorway, ten minutes late. Mr. Shards then appeared in the doorway.
“Well, Mr. Quince, Ms. Black. How kind of you two to join us. Late. Take your seats.” Mr. Shards said seriously at first, then smiling.
We took our seats and I tried to zone out, but Coop interrupted me by throwing a crumpled up piece of paper at me.
“Open it.” He mouthed.
You were right.
What the hell are you talking about Coop?
I threw it back and it continued the rest of the hour. Coop had noticed Mr. Shards constantly looking in my direction all throughout class, along with Callina, Shannon and Macy’s direction.
Later That Night
Coop and I were hanging out in the den in his basement, just like we have been doing out entire lives. And since his father was a little bit wealthier, he always made sure we had what we needed, as long as he was the one to buy it and not Coop.
“So Coop, what are we gonna do tonight?”
“Uhm order a pizza. Dude, I’m fricken hungry. Sausage okay?”
“SICK. Half of it must be pepperoni & pineapple.”
“Jesus Leighlyn, what the hell. Are you pregnant or something?”
“Uh, no. I just really want some pineapple on my pizza jerk.” I laughed at him as he looked at me like I was on crack for wanting pineapple on my pizza.
“Hi uh, can I have a large pizza with sausage on one half and uh...” Coop still looking at me with a grossed out face, “pepperoni and pineapple on the other? I guess… Oh and the cinnamon thing too. Yeah.”
“Jeeze Coop, let’s tell our life story to the pizza guy, hurry up already I’m hungry.” I barked at him. Coop always wants to over order things and spend way more money than really needed.
“Just a second. Leighlyn shut up, you’re gonna want some later, with you’re weird cravings. Alright, and chicken wings too. What? Medium. Okay that’s all. OH no, and a thing of Mountain Due. Alright, now that’s all.”
I glared at him thinking ‘you’re dad is going to kill you for ordering so much food. Especially when you’re using his credit card to pay for it. Crazy weirdo.’
“568 Hickory Court. Alright thanks bye.” Coop hung up the phone, getting a slightly angrier look on his face from what he saw on his phone.
“Finally you finish ordering our Thanks Giving meal” I smile jokingly at him.
“Ooo, new movie? Can we watch it?”
“Uhm sure, whatever.” Coop snarled as he got up and headed toward the stairs.
“Uhm, what’s you’re problem. I just asked to watch a movie.”
“It’s not you, it’s Callina.”
“Oh, tell her to come over, we haven’t all hung out as a three in SO long.”
“Leighlyn, there’s a reason for that remember. She likes me, and is epically jealous of you always being with me. She’s crazy”
“Oh Coopie, be nice. I don’t see why you don’t give her a chance, she would stop being jealous of me and we could all hang out as a three again!” I squealed in my high pitched voice Coop honestly hates.
“Holy Jesus, Leighlyn. Shut up. Do you have to be so damn loud? My god. And no. I heard she spent a couple weeks in the nut house after I said no to her to prom, and pizza. & every other time she’s tried to get me to hang out with her alone. Leighlyn, she’s crazy. With a capital C!” Coop waved his phone at me as he continued walking up the stairway filled with pictures of Cooper and I as little kids until now.
I just laughed at him and mocked him while he glared at me with that ‘Seriously Leighlyn... Do you have to do that EVERYTIME?’ look.
“I love you best friend!” I smiled at him, remembering the time when we were six and I climbed up to our tree house and found a lizard and Coop insisted on naming it the Gicko Gecko after the car insurance commercials we saw when we were stuck inside on a rainy day.
“Yeah, yeah. I love you too Lynnie.”
“AWE! You haven’t called me that in such a long time. It’s as if we were kids again.” I said pretending to cry.
The night went on and our pizza came. Cooper teased about my choice in pizza topping’s, well aware ever since we were little kids; I had always had weird choice in foods. We talked about all the crazy stuff that we use to do as kids. Laughing so hard we were crying half the time. Some crazy kids we were. Always getting into trouble with the neighbors dogs and finding baby birds and lizards in the woods, bringing them back home. Skinned knees, scraped elbows. Day’s we couldn’t go outside since one of us were sick. The rainy days were we’d grab a swimsuit and run out in the rain, even if it was thundering and lightning. We were inseparable.
It was a little after midnight when we finally fell asleep, and about three in the morning when I woke up hearing noises just outside the basement window. But since Cooper wasn’t waking up to come with me to investigate this noise, I ventured up the staircase and out the side door just at the top of the stairs thinking to myself it would just be a cat or something rooting around in the brush by the window. Little did I know what I was about to encounter. I don’t remember much after a blunt object hit my head, causing me to go crashing down, face first into the gravel, creating a ringing sound in my ears, starting to lose consciousness. Feeling every bump, every sharp rock on the ground as my attacker dragged my limp body into the woods. After that, thing’s pretty much went blurry. Waking up a few times in what looked like the early morning, seeing faded images of tree’s, faintly hearing birds chirping, and Cooper’s voice of in the distance. Feeling excruciating pain, everywhere.
April 21 2010
“Leighlyn! Where are you!?” Cooper screamed, heading deeper and deeper into the woods, coming closer to where I laid bleeding out, unable to move, crying for someone, anyone to save me.
“Coopie...” I faintly whispered.
“Lynnie!” he screamed again. “Where the hell are you?!”
“Cooper... Help...” I managed to choke out again, a little louder this time.
“Leighlyn Kendra Black! Where are,” He stopped, directly in front of me stared in disbelief and terror.
“Coop... help...” tears ran down my face, stinging each inch of my face they touch. My throat burning. I mustered up enough energy to scream help as loud as I possibly could at Cooper as he dashed to my side, with tears already raining down his face, turning his eyes a beautiful turquoise green I just fixated on them, causing my pain to subside for a moment. Only for it to come back when he broke our gaze looking up and down my mutilated body, my clothes torn to shreds. Blood soaked up by most of my torn clothing making feel cold and slimy. All I wanted to do was lay there in his arms and somehow be okay again. Cooper quickly took off his hoodie he was wearing and pressed it on my stomach as I cried out in pain.
“Lynnie, what happened? Just...” Cooper looked afraid; I could see it in his eyes.
“I love you Coop.” I whispered as Coop wrapped my in his arms. Then I started losing consciousness again, I saw Cooper’s mouth move but I couldn’t hear his voice, and my eye lids suddenly became heavy, as if someone had drugged me with sleeping pills. I don’t remember much after that.
“I need an ambulance at 568 Hickory Court... My friend’s been attacked. Please hurry! I don’t know how much time she has left…”
Cooper dropped the phone to the ground not caring if he hung up or not. He focused all his attention back towards me trying to figure out what happened and to see if there was anything he could do to help me. Even though he and I both knew there was nothing to be done. There was too much damage done to my body for a single 17 year old boy to fix.
“I don’t know…” I choked, struggling with my words.
“Shh, Lynnie just rest. You’re safe now... I got you.” Cooper continued putting pressure on my stomach, trying to make me as comfortable as possible.
“Cooper, help. Please it hurts so badly. Please make it stop.” I just cried in his arms.
“I’m trying Lynnie, I’m trying. Just breathe.”
It was hurt too much to breathe; it hurt too much to think. I was in unbearable pain and I just wanted it to stop and I didn’t want to leave Cooper’s arms. I grabbed a hold of Cooper’s now bloody shirt and didn’t let go.
“Don’t let me go, Coopie. Whatever you do, don’t go…”
“Never. I’ll be here. Don’t worry.”
I must have passed out from the pain because the next time I woke again, I was in the ambulance. The paramedic tried to ask me questions but I couldn’t register what he was saying. I passed out again before I had the chance to look at Cooper’s face.
I don’t remember much from the ambulance ride other than the paramedic hooking me up to all these machines to try and keep me alive, and Cooper squeezing my hand, crying telling me that everything’s going to be okay and that he wouldn’t let me die. But that was the last thing I heard from either him or the paramedic before passing out again.
When arriving to the hospital I woke again, in even more pain that I had been in while we were still in the woods. Maybe it was because Cooper was there to help take away some of the emotional pain. Maybe it was just because I hadn’t fully realized what happened. Or maybe because I hadn’t had time to think about why someone would do this to me or who.
As they wheeled me into the ER, the doctor walked up to Cooper taking in his blood stained jeans and the blotch of blood across his white t-shirt from where he held me tightly against him, trying to keep me alive.
“What happened to her?” The doctor asked Cooper while quickly examining the wounds on my body, writing it all down in scribbles on the paper held down by an oversized clipboard.
“I don’t know, I woke up and she wasn’t on the couch… so I went looking for her… She wasn’t anywhere in the house so I decided to look outside. I heard like little sounds in the woods, so I went and found her deep in the woods in my backyard covered in blood and leaves. Her clothes were torn. She had gashes all over her stomach and chest where her heart is and scratches on her face.” Cooper said as he gasped for air and trying to clear the tears from his eyes. “I noticed dirt and stuff under her nails... I don’t know though… I just noticed every time she would breathe in and out, blood raced out faster and faster every time, I don’t know how much blood she lost or anything. I took off my hoodie to try and put pressure on her wounds that I could grab hold off but I don’t know if it did anything.” Cooper started to break down again, unable to handle the thought that I wouldn’t make it through this.
“Alright son. Thank you. You’ve done all your work here. I need you to go tell the nurse her name and have the nurse call her parents. But you can’t be back here. I’ll come out later when I know more on what her chances of making it through this ordeal are.”
The doctor disappeared behind the giant white doors; Cooper watched as the doctor walked at a faster pace, practically running down the hall making a left into the ICU. Cooper stood there for several minutes as tears streamed down his face while he tried to figure out why all this happened. Why someone would try and take my life. He turned his back to the doors to discover Callina standing there, with a worried look on her face. Confusion rushed to his face. Cooper cocked his head and blinked profusely to see if Callina was really standing before him.
“Callina... What the hell are you doing here?” Cooper demanded.
“I saw the ambulance from across the street. What happened Coop?” Callina asked frantically trying to get closer to him. Cooper rushed passed her before she had the chance to touch him and kept heading towards the waiting area.
“Cooper!” Callina yelled. “I’m here for you! Please talk to me! It’ll be like old times…”
“No! No it won’t! You know why?! Because Leighlyns lying behind those doors, with a lifeless body that’s just holding on by a thread! Go home Callina. You don’t belong here.” He snapped back at her in range that she would even think of showing up at the hospital when she didn’t even like me.
“DON’T call me Coopie. Don’t talk to me. Don’t talk to my parents or Leighlyns. Just leave Callina.” He turned his back from her and just kept heading for the waiting area where he found his parents along with my parents. My mom took one look at Cooper, seeing all of my blood now stained onto my best friend’s clothes and she dashed over to him and hugged him. Callina followed Cooper back to the waiting area, seeing him crying in my mothers arms; looking away she headed toward the doors to the parking lot.
“I’m so sorry. I don’t know what happened,”
“It’s okay sweetie…” My mom cried. “All that truly matters is that you were there for her to help her get through this, just like you are now.” My mom said as she walked over to Cooper, taking him in her arms, holding him tight. Cooper just fell apart in her embrace, causing her to cry harder as well.
“Wendy, come here. We need to let the boy relax and go home and change.” My dad, Pete said to my mom.
“No! I will be here when the doctor comes out!”
“Cooper, honey. You don’t want to sit there in those clothes.” His mom said approaching him. Cooper looked at her with a piercing look.
“Don’t touch me! I’ll wait here until the doctor comes out damn it! This is all I have of her! You won’t take it away!”
No one argued with him after that. Cooper was still in shock, still not willing to fully except what had happened, or realizes how his image looked to others, not that he cared anyway. He went and sat down in one of the new chairs they must have put there when they redid this portion of the hospital. He sat there staring at the rough green fabric. Nonstop tears streaming down him face, leaving his once turquoise eyes now bloodshot and swollen. Raw from being rubbed one to many times in effect to get the tears away from his face. Cooper, his parent’s and mine waited there in that newly furnished waiting area for about 45 minutes until the doctor finally came out those big white doors.
“Hello, my names Dr. Haven. I’m working on your daughter’s case. It seems she’s been stabbed in the stomach numerous times. Seven to be exact. The stabbings have punctured her stomach and kidney. She was also stabbed pretty close to the heart, but it just missed puncturing her lung instead. She has some internal bleeding. We are doing our best to try and stop it. But I do believe whoever did this new what they were doing.”
“Oh my… is she going to be okay?!” My mom cried.
“For now. She’s in the ICU. I’m sorry but no one can see her at this time. Not until we know she’s going to make it through the night. She’s asleep right now, but she can’t quite breathe on her own. So we have on a machine kind of like life support, but it’s not quite as extreme. I’m here if there’s anything I can do, let me know. I’ll be keeping you updated on her condition. But I suggest that you all go home, get some rest and come back in the morning” Dr. Haven said as calmly as he could considering the situation. I think Dr. Haven just didn’t want Cooper sitting there in bloody clothes scaring the nurses or any of the other patients in the hospital.
“And find out she’s dead?! No. You’re crazy. I’ll be waiting right here in this chair until you, Dr. Haven, say I am allowed to go back there to see my best friend! Which who I may remind you was attacked in MY back yard. On MY watch. She need’s to make it through this and she will. And I will be here so don’t even think about telling me to leave.”
The doctor nodded his head at our parents, giving a slight smile full of worry and disappeared again down the long white hallway he came from, going back behind those giant white doors that held his best friend, back to what seemed like a completely different world to Cooper.
Cooper sat back down into the chair as his father said, “Son, I want you to know your mother and I will support you through all this. If you need anything just let either your mother or I know.” Coopers dad said while keeping his distance from his son.
“Yes, you’re father’s right. Anything, anything at all honey. We’ll go home and get you a change of clothes okay?”
Cooper didn’t reply. He just continued back to staring into the green fabric of the newly placed hospital chair. His mother slowly approached Cooper, and slowly went to touch his shoulder, and kissed the very top of his head. Causing Cooper to let out silent tears. Feeling them roll down each of his cheek. Cooper closed his eyes tight, trying to hold himself together, bringing his knees up to his chest and hugging himself.
“Please make it through this Leighlyn… I need you.” Cooper said under his breathe. My mother just looked at Cooper and I could feel such intense agony in her heart for Cooper and me both. My mother had helped raise Cooper and I. Cooper was just another one of her children to her. My mother never liked seeing one of us in such pain. It killed me to know there was nothing I could do but look on and hope they could get through this themselves, without me around to try and cheer them up.
Cooper’s parents returned with fresh clean clothes for him. But it didn’t make a difference. His best friend was still in critical condition, in the ICU and he couldn’t be by her side if she were to wake in a strange place she didn’t recognize as Cooper’s basement.
How could this happen? Why didn’t she wake me up? I don’t understand… Cooper thought to himself over and over. He had stopped crying by now, eyes puffy and red, unable to move from the chair he had been sitting in for hours, continuously staring into the green fabric. He hadn’t had any idea of how much time had passed since he had arrived with the ambulance. He hadn’t any idea how long his parent’s had been sitting directly across from him staring in worry and fear. Or how long his best friend was laying in unimaginable pain in the woods.
Cooper was still sitting in that same chair, staring at the same spot on the fabric, with no sleep, still waiting for the doctor to come out and tell him that I was going to be okay.
His parent’s came and went throughout the day, along with my parents. Not wanting to try and make him leave, knowing he wouldn’t. When the doctor finally came out, that’s the only time Coop sprang to his feet wanting to know whatever bit of information he could get out of her.
“Do you ever go home?” The doctor said while flipping through the pages on his clipboard. My parents came running up behind Coop. My mom grabbing hold of Coop’s shoulders.
“No. What’s the news? Is she okay? Is she gonna make it? What, tell me?” Cooper was fidgety, worried and anxious. All he wanted to here was I was going to make it and he could go back and see me now.
“Right now, I don’t know. She wakes up at random times, but she’s unable to talk. She’s only awake for several minutes before she passes out again, from which I believe is pain that causes her to pass out again.”
“Isn’t there anything you can do to take that pain away?!” Cooper cried.
“No, not without putting her into a drug induced coma. Which, if we do, with her conditions, she may not wake up again. We have to wait until her body is good and ready to wake up.” The doctor said with a slight smile.
“What the hell is that suppose to mean?!” Cooper started getting frustrated. He wanted to go back there and be by my side.
“Her body needs time to heal, recover from it all. Until then I don’t think she’s going to stay awake for very long if at all.”
“What are her chances of making it through all of this?” My father asked the doctor.
“Well… right now I’d say she only has a forty percent chance of making it.”
My mom fell into my dad’s arms crying. Cooper just turned his back to the doctor and ran outside, kicking a rock half way across the parking lot almost hitting a car in the process.
They continued to wait for news from Dr. Haven for what seemed like days. They didn’t know my condition had only gotten worse, they didn’t know I stopped waking up hours ago and my heart was ready to stop pumping blood throughout my body to keep me alive. They didn’t know how badly my lung had been punctured, or where I had been stabbed exactly. They didn’t know that my eye lids felt like windows, locked shut. I could feel my heart beat weaken as the time past, but I didn’t know how much time pasts. Not until I found myself walking up the same white hallway Cooper had been watching me being wheeled down. The hallways elongated, and the same bright white, but still seemed so dull and dark, I hadn’t realized I died yet. I walked into the waiting area, saw Cooper and all of my blood stained to his clothes and screamed.
He didn’t answer me, or notice. Nor did my parent’s or his. I walked up to them tried doing anything and everything to get there attention.
“Mom! It’s me! Dad? Hello! Can you guys here me?”
Cooper suddenly bounced up from his chair; I turned around to look behind me, seeing the doctor… My doctor.
“Well! What’s going on? It’s been hours.”
“Cooper! Please… let the doctor speak.” His mother said as she approached him.
“I’m sorry. She, she just wasn’t strong enough to pull through. She bleed out too much in the woods and there was too much internal damage to be repaired. If there is anything I can do, don’t hesitate.” The doctor gave a smile filled with remorse. I stood there in awe. I was dead, and alone. Cooper stood staring at the spot the doctor had been standing.
“Cooper I’m sorry! I don’t know what happened! Cooper!” I disappeared from the hospital. Although, I suppose it was for the best I did... I didn’t have to watch my mother and father cry over the loss of my life, there only daughter. I didn’t have to watch Cooper scream and cry, although I could feel it. I could feel all the pain my parents and Cooper felt, which only made it as bad as being there.
“Cooper... It’s time to go home.” His mother stammered.
Cooper turned his back to the hospital and walked straight for the car. His parents watched in pain as there son’s world was being carefully ripped apart with the loss of my life, his best friend since birth. I already missed Cooper, I wanted nothing more than to hug him and tell him how much I loved him, my little Cooper. I could feel he missed me too.
I’ll find out who did this. Damn it Leighlyn! Why did you have to go? Why?! Now I have no one… My best friend is dead. Leighlyn how could you do this to me? Didn’t you know I needed you? That I don’t know how to get through this without you? As if I could. How could you…
Cooper though to himself. Which he had been doing a lot lately, and I found it strange that I could hear what he thought. I was able to sense his pain. It was so powerful is took over and I just cried, tears streaming down my newly healed face. Cooper and his family drove home in silence. I was there when they arrived, he did nothing but head straight for his room, locked the door and bellowed out screams of pain and tears until he passed out from all the emotional stress he had been feeling. He did this for days, not speaking to a single person.
My funeral was held at the church where Cooper and I were baptized as babies. My entire family was there, my friends from school, teachers. My mother was crying like a baby, and my dad was right there next to her, doing everything he could to stay strong but I could see the tears in his eyes just waiting to fall.
“It’s okay to cry daddy.” I whispered faintly into his ear as a silent tear ran down his rough cheek.
Cooper sat quietly in a chair directly in front of my casket. I kneeled down by him, resting my hands on his knees. He couldn’t feel it, but that didn’t matter. My summer dress I had been wearing the night of the attack was new and clean. It sprawled out around me as I looked up into Coopers sleep deprived eyes. The once beautiful turquoise color of his eyes was now a dull hazel. He was pale, with dark purple circles around his eyes. He hadn’t slept in days.
“Coopie, I love you so much!” I said squeezing his leg. “I miss you more than anything, and I’m sorry I couldn’t be stronger. Cooper, you don’t know the pain I was feeling. I’m sorry.” I kissed his forehead as someone snapped a picture, that someone being Callina. I looked at her and she turned around and walked away. I got up to follow her, but she ran out so fast I couldn’t keep up.
“Cooper, Honey. I know you’re in pain sweetie. But…” his mothers voice trailed off as her son looked up at her with his now hazel eyes filled with tears and she couldn’t speak another word, she just wrapped her arms around him as he cried again. Just like he did when he was little.
“Oh Cooper. I love you so so much. I know it hurts now, but it’ll be okay.” His mother finally spoke out. But Cooper wouldn’t hear it; he just shook his head and continued to cry.
Meanwhile I found myself trying by best to search for Callina, and why she walk at my funeral taking pictures of my best friend who was in no way shape or form to be messed with, especially by her if she’s as crazy as Cooper says.
I searched the parking lot and found her sitting her lime green VBug. She was staring at the picture of Cooper she had snapped just minutes before. Her window was down and since I knew she couldn’t see me I stuck my head in and that’s when I saw it. The picture of Cooper, face lost in his hands. And me. ME, Leighlyn kneeling up to him with my hands of the lower part of his thighs kissing his forehead. How in the world did she capture me, someone dead in the picture of Cooper’s misery?
I ran back into the funeral home as Callina raced off, I didn’t know what to do. I tried everything I could to get anyone’s attention but it didn’t work.
I waited until my service was over and got into the car with Cooper. All the way back to his house she just stared out the window with his music playing so loud everyone in the car could hear. That was his way of ignoring the world and going to his own. As soon as we came into the driveway, I raced up to Cooper’s room finding a letter addressed to Cooper. I knew exactly what it was. Callina had somehow gotten herself into his house. And left him the picture.
When Cooper got up to his room, he discovered the letter and opened it. It didn’t say who it was from but I knew when the picture fell from the letter. Cooper carefully picked it up, staring in disbelief.
“Leighlyn?” He said to himself, continuing to stare at it until he realized the letter on the ground. He picked it up unfolding it and revealing what it said.
She’s still there. STILL. But don’t worry, I’ll fix it. She won’t hurt you anymore.
Cooper had no idea who left the letter. He put the letter down, looking at the picture again. He couldn’t cry anymore. He was no longer sad, he was angry. Angry with me for letting go, angry with my killer, angry with the world for ripping apart his life.