AN UNBREAKABLE BOND
Becca and I met in the first grade. She was a new student registering at our school and I, well, I was in trouble for daring Kenny Boucher to stick raisins up his nose. WE spent the entrie afternoon in the principal's office together and came away from the experience completly inseparable. At the parent-teacher conference, my firstgrade teacher told my mother that elementary friendships never last, that within two months everyone has a new best fiend. She was wrong. Through elementary when best friends change every week, middle school when no one is ever"cool" enough and junior high when everyone reevaluates everything about themselves, we remained steadfast. And together, with excitement and apprehension, we entered high school.
It's truly amazing how your entire priority system changes when you enter those intimidating double doors. Instead of sleepovers and birthday parties, it becaomes dating and dances. the first dance was homecoming. I didn't really think about it; I had better things to do such as football games, seeing movies or going out to eat. Besides, I wasn't allowed to date. I didn't want to be another freshman dork at a dance without a guy. My reasons were good enough for me, but they didn't satisfy Becca.
The Friday morning of the game, she appeared at my locker where i prentended to be furiously looking for my biology book.
"I didn't know you weren't going to the dance,"she accused me.
I shrugged, still burrowing.
"Come on," she pleaded. "please go with me>"
I dug still, wishing I'd never heard of homecoming.
"why won't you go?"
Silence from my end.
"Is this because you don't have a date?"
I stoped furrowing through my stuff. "Maybe."
She sighed in frustration and turned away. I sighed in relief, although i knew she wasn't going to forget the conversation even if she had to find me a date.
The second confrontation occurred at the actual game.
"I don't have a date either," she announced to me.
"Becca, you told me you had a date. YOu've had a date for several weeks. " I was starting to get slightly annoyed. slightly."would you just leave me alone already?" I looked up at her. that was really the wrong move to make Becca had that"wonunded puppy"look in her eyes.
I hated that look.
"Will you leave me alone if i give you an answere?"
She grinned a characteristic Becca grin. "yes," was her quick reply.
"call me tommarow, okay?"
At promptly two o'clock on the day of the dacne, I recived the dreaded call.
"what have you decided?" she asked, trying to sound like she really didn't care.
"I gues..." I moaned, desperately searching for the I'm-sorry-but-I-can't-make-it speech I had been rehearsing all day.
"Yes!thank you. thank you! YOU have no idea how happy i am!we'll pick you up at seven, 'kay?"
"you don't need to pick me up..." i began.
"don't worry about it. It's on our way. Love ya, bye."
"bye." i didn't want to admit it, but her excitement was catching. Maybe that night wouldn't be so bad after all.
Okay, I"ll say it, the dance was fun. Becca and I had the time of our lives, dancing like maniacs. It seemed like eleven came way too fast. ONe second we were dacning to "time of your life" and the next the lights were coming back on in the gym. Becca threw her arm around my shoulder.
"So, what do you think? Glad you came?"
I grinned at her. " thanks for talking me into it."
"No problem, babe. Come on , let's go home."
Arm in arm, we left the building, totatlly wrapped up in life. It seemed that we were heading into the happiest time of our lives, and the next three years were looking really good.
"this is weird" Matt commented, turning on this windshield wipers. I casta nervous glance out the back window,. It was beginging to hail with a ferocity that you usually don't see in the middle of October.
" are we almost home?" becca asked, with just a twinge of anxiety in her voice.
"yeah, a few more miles."
squinting out the front window, I watched the tree limbs laying in the bed of the truck in front of us wave in the strong wind.
"I Don't htink I like being behind this truck" matt said nervously. "i'm going to get in the other lane."
Just as he turned his blinker on, I caught sight of the truck again. "Matt!" I screamed in terror. The next few seoconds seemed to last forever, yet they went by faster than my mind could process what was happening. The huge truck spun out of control, landing on its side. tree limbs, leaves and everything else imaginable came flying towards Matt's car in a tangeled mess. With a sickening crash, we came to a reast on the side of the road.
I pried open my eyes. Bropken branches and twigs were piled on my lap. The speed and force of the twigs hiting me had etched a pattern of bleeding scratches into my arms, face, and generally every other exposed are of skin. I couldn't even see anymore in the front seat.
No reply. Flying out of the car at warp speed, I ran around and pulled on matt's door. he lwas lost in a tangled mess.
"hold on. Hold on. I can get out." He emerged, and I could hardly believe he was still alive. It didn't even look like he had actual skin remainging on his face. But he was conscious, and at that moment, that was all I cared about.
I ran around to the other side and flung open Becc'as door. Small tree branches were so densely packed into the front of the car that I couldn't even see her. IN a mix of fear and frenzy, I broke them away until finally uncovered her.
"Um-hmmm. Are you alright?"
"yeah, i'm fine. i think...you look awful. are you okay?"
I think at that point my heart started beating again.
"yeah, fine. I'm glad youare. That was way too close. can you get out?"
"I'm going to find someone who can call for help," Matt announced, sprinting back in the direction we had come from. I prayed that someone would drive by' however, I knew that in the current weather condition, it was highly unlikely.
"Okay, we'll wait for somebody to get here. " I knelt by the door to keep her company.
"I'm really glad you came to the dance with me," she told me with a smile.
"i'm glad i came, too"
Her smile turned to a grimace, and i followed her glance. suddenly, i thought i was going to be sick . a large tree limb, at least as big around as my arm, protruded from her chest. her entire left side was covered in blood and more was added to it with each pulse of her heart.
"You'll be okay, " i told her, feeling the phelegm in my throat. taking her hand, i held on to it for dear life. my heart was smashed into a pulp as i watched her. with every breath i took, i could feel tiny, razor-sharp daggers stabbing every square inch of my body.
she smiled again at me. again, my heart took a beating.
"you're so sweet, thanks."
My face was wet, and I wasn't sure whether it was with blood, rain or tears. It was probably all three. Soon, her chest became significantly less with each beat.
"hey, sara?" she whispered.
"hmmm?" i managed, barely a sound at all.
"girl, i love you so much. don't let them keep us apart, okay?"
Not really sure what she ment, i was willing to agree with anything. "yeah, i'll ride to the hospital with you."
She shook her head. "that's not what i ment, and you know it. Promise?"
I searched for my voice for what seemed like priceless years. "I promise." Becca smiled in her characteristically sweet way at me. Nodding, her eyes shut peacefully. The grip on my hand lossened.
In a panicked choke, i thrust my head into the car, mere centimeters from hers. "becca! Becca! stay awake! Becca, no! come on, girl! bec-"
Running out of voice, I stared in disbelief at the blood covered, cold body of the person who had been closer to me than anoyone else for eight years. Eight long years that had ended in a singgle un believable moment. I laid my head on her lap and sobbed her name until every last ounce of strength in me was gone. Dissolving into body-wracking tears, I fell onto the cold ground and grasped her hand again. the cold hail prounded my back, and i was all alone.
Walking throught those double doors again for the first time in two weeks, i braced myself as yet another wave of grief and loss blasted me in the face. it took complete concentration to make the interminable walk to my locker. I was aware that people were actually stopping to watch me go by. finally i got there, and all i could do was stand there and stare at the cold, gray metal door.
Looking to the ceiling for some kind of help, some kind of comfort, i prepared myself for the ineveitable. there would be no little card taped to the top shelf, no recent sighn of someone else's presence besides my own there. bracing myself against eevery emotion that beat againist my body, i slowly spun my comination lock. twenty-one ...thirty-nine...twenty-two...click. i painfully swallowe dhte hard lump in my throat, removed the lock and slowly swung the door open.
a new card was taped to the shelf, the handwriting on the envelope so unmistakably familiar. and yet...it just couldn't be. using every bit of control i had left, i peeled the evnevelope from the shelf. the wel-known scent it carried actually knocked me over. sitting hard on the floor, new tears caeme running down my cheeks in a rushing torerent. there was nothing left to do. i had to open it.
Opening the card, i could barely read the lines thre my blurred vision.
Hey, I know you didn't really want to come to the dance tonight, but i'm glad you agreed to it. Girl, i love you, and i hope i didn't drive you nuts trying to convince you to do this. we've always stuck together, and it'll never change, right? hope you have fun. i'll see you soon.
I let my eyes wander to the inside of the locker door and found exactly the picture i didn't want to see. it had always been one of my favorites, dating back only about two months to band camp. we had our arms around each other, saluting with our instruments. the picture showed us laughing about something or other. we were always laughing about something....
id din't know how i was going to keep my promis to becca. it seemed that fate had done a pretty good job of separating us. already, i couldn't vividly recall her smile, her laugh, her voice, her expression.
the bell rang, but as everyone drifted to class, i slepped aoutside. i lifted my face to the sky and let the sunglight dry my tears. new resolve filled my being. i grasped every memory, insignificant as some seemed, of my best friend and locked them into the big, emptry space in my heart. they came nowhere near filling the gap, but i would never let them go, and for the first time i understood what becca had meant in her final breaths. there was nthing that could ever keep us apart; time had proven that was impossible. turning back to the school building i had entered for the first time not long ago, i knew that this time i had the strength to go back inside.
after all, this time i wasn't alone. i carried the spirit of my best friend, and she and i would never truly be apart. she lives on in every smile i give away.