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Gone and Painted in Pink MAG
They say her favorite color was pink. She had blonde hair, blue eyes, and her favorite color was pink. I trace the pattern of flowers on my sheets and wonder if the dead have favorite colors.
I remember her walking in the halls and talking to her friends. How she was slightly bigger than the other popular girls and seemed so quiet when her friends were all so loud. My chest aches as I think about what everyone else remembers, what memories they'll hold onto out of fear of truly losing her forever.
Sydney's eyes were red on the news. Seeing her on the nightly headlines was like a dream. She smiled through her tears and wiped her nose as she talked about her. I didn't know that Sydney could look like that. I didn't know that anyone could look like that. Sydney is a celebrity at my high school, and seeing her perfect face so heavily drowned in sorrow was like seeing yourself for the first time with a new hair color. Under different circumstances I might have laughed at her and the gray yoga pants she was wearing at the vigil. I might have told my friends that her long red hair looked dirty. But as I watched her on the screen all I could think was that I had never seen her look so beautiful.
I try to lie in bed, really lie down and force my head to stay on the pillow. The nighttime silence feels heavier than usual. Emptier. I wonder how empty it is for her family. I stare into the silence and know that tonight something is missing. Someone is missing, and she will never come back. I grit my teeth as I think that she should be here.
He was drunk. Well, that's what they said on the news. He was drunk and speeding and took a curve too fast. She was dead instantly. He lived. He was drunk and he drove and he took the curve too fast and she's dead.
I keep trying to picture it. In a sick way it's like I need to so I can really feel like she's gone. But I can't. I can't imagine her not smiling or laughing or breathing. Monday morning she won't be there. It never made a difference to me before if she was at school, but now it changes everything. My whole day will be changed because I won't see her in the 200 hallway between third and fourth period.
I roll on my stomach and breathe in the stale smell of my pillow. We weren't even friends. She didn't know my last name, she barely knew my first. We attended the same school for three years and I never said more than a few words to her. I squeeze my eyes tight. All I can see is Sydney's face, wet and bloated, as she mourns her friend.
As I get up, I don't even have to think about where I'm going. There's no question about it, no debating it or having to think of how to get there. I know the neighborhood. The corner's has been repeated over and over on the news.
The air is cold as I get into my car. I hesitate before starting the engine, thinking of how he must have started the engine as they left the party. How he gripped the steering wheel and pressed the gas as they neared the corner. I wonder if, maybe just for a second, it felt like flying. As they sped down the street, if she closed her eyes and thought she was in the air. Her head must have been dizzy and full and confused, but she was flying, so maybe it didn't matter.
My car hums as I drive the empty road. He wasn't even her boyfriend; everyone knew that she was in love with Henry. They had that sort of relationship that makes you jealous and want to gag at the same time. I wonder if he's single now or if somehow he'll forever be taken. Just because someone stops breathing doesn't mean you stop loving them.
As I turn into the neighborhood, I slow and try to retrace her steps. I can see the curve in the distance and a lump forms in my throat. The accelerator melts under my foot and I'm going faster and faster and faster. Tears roll down my face and I squeeze the steeling wheel as I cry hot tears for a girl I didn't know who was young and didn't deserve it and was nice and could have been me.
I can see where the road curves ahead, and I press on the brakes until I'm almost at a stop. The turn isn't that sharp. I fully stop the car as the road straightens out. Instantly I know which tree he hit. Hours ago it might have been big and beautiful, but its bark has been chipped and scattered sadly in the grass. I guess it wasn't as strong as it thought.
Tire tracks lie next to the tree's remains. Thick, muddy tire tracks that have left a map to her death. Flowers have been carefully laid next to them and are surrounded by pictures and candles that are still lit. I try to count all the bouquets, but I can't. There are too many. Every stem and every rose is a life she touched – a life that will never be the same. The flames flicker in a somber way, as if they know they're in a place of mourning.
My vision blurs as I watch the flame of one candle sputter before finally flickering out. The concept of her not being here just doesn't make sense. Energy can be neither created nor destroyed, so what happened to her? I've never been the type to think about heaven or life after death, but somehow I know she's watching, smiling.
I wipe tears from my face and look toward the early morning sky, almost expecting to see a sign. The clouds are thick and sunlight peeks through the fog, illuminating the sky in a deep pink.