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A Regret Too Late
A Regret Too Late
It wasn’t that they didn’t miss me. I knew that for certain. It was just…they were moving on with their lives. Learning to live without me around, adapting to the new reality. I wasn’t there anymore, but that didn’t keep them from living.
Alright, maybe that sounds a little narcissistic. But you have to understand what this is like! Not too long ago, I was a normal teenage girl, with a great family and some awesome friends. I mean, it’s not like I thought the world revolved around me or anything. But I was still a part of it all. I had the lead role in the school play. I played volleyball and basketball. I was popular and pretty and smart and the kind of girl you’d want to be friends with. I liked to think that, anyway.
I think one of the worst parts is how quickly they’ve moved on. Oh, I’m not making any sense, am I. Alright, let me take you back to the time when I was alive.
“Cassie! Oh, I love your shirt! Is it new?” One of my best friends, Angela, chattered about my clothes as we walked down the school hallway. I had to laugh and shake my head at her. “Angela, I’ve had this shirt since, like, last year.”
Her eyes widened in surprise, and then, predictably, she giggled in embarrassment. My other best friend, Vickie, rolled her eyes. “I don’t know how you’re going to get through life, Angela. It’s like you live in your own world.”
Angela nodded confidently and said, “Well if that’s true, I don’t mind. It’s a very nice place, my world.”
We all laughed and then hurried off to our classes before the last bell rang. I had history first, one of my least favorite classes. Actually, the only reason I’d taken it was because one of my crushes, Cedric, was also in that class.
At the start of the year, I had been delighted when he chose a seat right next to me. The only problem was that on the other side of him sat Kaitlin. She was nice and all, but I could tell that she liked him too. However, I didn’t see her as much of threat. While she was kind of pretty, she was not the flirting type, and Cedric would never be able to tell that she liked him.
“Hey, Cassie.” Cedric said as he sat down. His long brown hair was in an adorable permanent state of messiness. His dark eyes seemed full of laughter and I couldn’t help but smile.
“Hi, Cedric. How was your weekend? Do anything exciting?” I asked, feeling quite flirty that day.
He shrugged. “Just did homework and stuff. And you?”
Our conversation managed to last for at least seven minutes, because the teacher had spilled his coffee and came to class late. It certainly made me feel pleased with myself for the rest of the day.
Alright, alright, I won’t bore you with every little detail. Yes, I was a normal, air headed teenager. The only things I cared about were my friends, my family, and of course, boys. Looking back at it all is almost embarrassing, in a way. But that was my life. Maybe it seems insignificant, in the long run. I mean, I didn’t become a doctor and find the cure for cancer or anything. The world didn’t go into mass chaos when I died.
But that was. My. Life.
We teenagers don’t like to think about death. I mean, who does? In high school, it’s like there’s no limit. We can do anything, have anything, be anything! We didn’t need to work yet or worry about adult things. Yet we had a sort of adult freedom. It was all a big adventure, every day.
No one expects the adventure to end so soon.
I was completely surprised when Kaitlin came up to me one day at lunch and said, “Could I talk to you for a second? Like, alone?”
Angela and Vickie glanced at each other curiously. I stood up and said to them, “I’ll be back, guys. Don’t share any juicy gossip without me.”
Kaitlin and I walked out of the cafeteria and into the hallway, where it was quiet and empty. “So what did you want to talk about?” I prompted. She bit her lip, frowning a little.
“Well it’s just…you always seem to know what to say around guys. I mean, guys love you and it’s because you’re so pretty and popular and you’re smart too. I guess I just wanted to know how…how I can do that too. Talk to guys, I mean. Get them to notice me. ”
I felt touched that she had come to me about this. “Oh Kaitlin, that’s so sweet. Is there one guy in specific?” Like I didn’t know.
Her face went bright red and she looked away. “Yeah…but promise you won’t tell anyone?”
I nodded, smiling encouragingly. “I promise.”
She looked around to make sure no one else was near, and then she placed her trust in me, saying, “Cedric.”
Not to brag, but I’m a pretty talented actress. The surprise on my face, and then the encouragement, the typical “oh I can totally see you two together” and all that other stuff. I could have won an award. Shallow, well, yeah. But hey, I really did try to help her, gave her lots of flirting tips and that should count for something. Of course, I didn’t ever think any of it would work. She wasn’t a geek or anything, but she also just wasn’t Cedric’s kind of girl.
Obviously, I was.
“Okay, you guys, you’ll never believe what that Kaitlin thing was all about.” Angela, Vickie and I were in art class the next day, the perfect time to catch them up the news. I went into great detail, fed by the attention I was getting from them, and other people who were nearby. We giggled and laughed about it all class.
Afterwards, I made my way to my locker. I had a spare next block and so I could take my time getting my stuff.
“Hey, Cassie.” A voice said behind me. I turned and felt my heart dance a little. “Oh, hey, Cedric.”
He leaned against the locker next to mine while I rummaged through my binders. “So, uh, Cassie, have you seen that new comedy movie that just came out?”
I shook my head, smiling a little. “No, but I really want to. Why?”
I just knew what was coming, and I had to suppress a little feeling of triumph. For goodness sake, was that guilt I could feel too?
“Do you want to go see it with me this Friday night?” He asked, blushing just a little bit. I beamed at him, not having to act my excitement. Of course, a tiny little voice tried to convince me to say no. But what did that voice know anyway.
“I would love to.”
Survival of the fittest.
That’s what high school was. So what if I could have dated any guy I wanted to? Cedric just happened to be the first one to actually ask me out, and so why wouldn’t I say yes?
I still remember the look on Kaitlin’s face when Cedric and I first started dating. Holding hands in the hallway, or kissing before classes, I made sure the world knew we were together. Paws off, girls, he’s mine.
Are you rolling your eyes yet? Are you thinking that this is a stupid, typical teenage story? Well you should be, because that’s what I think. My entire life was stupid and shallow. Everything I did was for show, and a pretty good show, I might add. I had everything, and too bad for the people who didn’t, including Kaitlin.
Things tend to get out of hand when you think you’re invincible. You start to see nothing except yourself. Most of us were like that, but it was alright because we still had plenty of time to grow up. I think in the back of our minds, we knew we couldn’t play these social games forever. Most of us would probably mature and look back at all of this now, like I am, with disgust.
But you see, I never got a chance to mature. To stop playing the game. My life was cut short by a stupid driver who was too busy texting to see me crossing the street. And even as my blood poured onto the street and over my clothes, I thought to myself, “Oh great, this shirt cost me $80. I’ll have to throw it away.”
“We are gathered here today, in a time of mourning.” The pastor said, and many people began to sniffle. Vickie and Angela could barely keep it together, except they didn’t want their makeup to get messed up. A few seats behind them, Cedric didn’t even seem to be listening. His dark eyes were full of tears and I could see that his hands were shaking.
I was dead.
It was nice to see how many people came to the funeral, in a weird sort of way. A lot of people there were people that I don’t think I had even talked to. But they all knew who I was, the great and popular Cassie. I hadn’t even known that I was this popular. Which is kind of ironic, in a way.
Kaitlin was there too, to my surprise. She didn’t cry, of course, but she still looked sad. It was only after the funeral that I began to understand her.
People were trickling out, while others were talking and crying and giving hugs. Kaitlin walked over to Cedric. I could see her bite her lip, and then say, “Hey, Cedric.”
He looked up at her in surprise. She sat next to him, her face a perfect display of sympathy. “I am so sorry about Cassie.” She whispered, placing her hand over his.
I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to. The things I had taught her, she was doing everything just like I would have done. If I was the type to steal a boyfriend at the girlfriends’ funeral, that is.
They left the funeral house together.
Another dead person that I met explained everything to me. About me still being around. She said that when a person dies, a part of them is still there, as long as they are remembered. When the living begin to forget you, you start to fade away.
I had remained strongly remembered for about a week.
And now I’m fading away.
Cedric and Kaitlin are pretty much a couple, except it’s still too early for them to make it official. Vickie and Angela have latched onto another girl, Samantha, and already, she’s replaced me.
What did my life mean, in the end? I have done so much thinking, so much wishing and agonizing about myself and my life. I could have done so much more, and been such a better person. Why had I been so selfish all the time?
I won’t be around for much longer. My anger, my sadness, my childishness, everything is gone now, and I’m empty. Ready to fade away, out of existence forever.
There’s just the regret, and I think that somehow it will remain, even after I’m gone.