A short story I wrote as a seventeen year old, thought I’d share.
It was the start of November, a bitter cold and dull day. The wind battled with our bus in its frustrated, stubborn, resentful way and believe me my feelings were mutual. We turned a corner, in the dirty, depressing streets of Dublin that oppressed our small fleet. Just like the road underneath, I was turning a corner in my own life, only I didn’t know it yet.
Looking around the class I was traveling with, reminded me of ‘Grease’; the pink ladies and the Grease boys; however just like my two friends before me, I was just an onlooker.
My mind reflected on the performance I had been in two years previously and of the certain ‘Patti Simcox’ that was at this very moment fighting for her life. She hadn’t left my mind for weeks now, as I had worried constantly about my dear friend who meant so much to me.
Looking out the window, I can still remember the view now, like it was yesterday. I had hope in my heart, I wished and yearned so hard on the stars that sat above the bus, I almost started believing she was getting better and would be up again someday.
Then as shooting stars fall, my vulnerable delicate hopes were dashed upon the sidewalk. There was a phonecall, the phonecall, my tears started to run as I saw and heard the girl’s expressions change. People around me told me to be strong, there’d been rumours filtering our minds for ages, this would just be another. But in my heart, I knew something wasn’t right, even though my mind begged every lucky star to believe it wasn’t true but then came the second call and it was.
My body heaved into tears as my heart gave in to despair and pain, my world shattered into pieces before my very eyes. The person who swore she’d never leave me, left me.
One of the girls, a fellow onlooker, took me in her arms, her heart also breaking. From that very moment deep within all the trauma , grief and commotion a friendship was born. One so powerful and needed that we had come to realize later on down the line, our friend had not left us at all. Somehow we made our way to the first area of destination , the Lottery Building. Yet in this place of good fortune, I felt no security, my mind far far away.
A few of us, it had been decided, would be sent home, skipping the play that had been arranged, and those on the bus, less fortunate not to have met our recent angel, would attend.
I’ll never forget the atmosphere in the taxi coming home. The five of us knew we would never feel the same again. The pain I felt engulfed me as I sat there, glancing through my watery eyes once again at Dublin, my body paralysed like stone, my breath hard to find. The driver, a happy little man chatted of small trivial matters, unaware of the emotional baggage we withheld, and turned on the radio.
None of us listened to the man, it was impossible to do so, but politely we nodded and agreed where appropriate. “Five people killed”, said the radio presenter. I nudged my friend beside me and pointed to the window, it was as if I myself was looking through a window to my own life. There was a hotel outside that seemed to take forever to pass with the same name as the one we’d lost. Little did we know that was the first of many symbols to come throughout the following prolonged months.
Looking back, her funeral was a beautiful one; filled with love and music just like she had been. She altered my past, enriched it, her death alters my future. Looking hesitantly into the future, I feel pain, a soft, sharp, tugging pain that never really goes away, a loneliness that can’t be fixed, a sense of something missing .
But as my friendship that took flight on the bus strengthens, I know she’ll always be a part of this small ambiguous world. In the smiles and the laughter of the people around me, whenever the sea gently hugs the sand and in every blooming sunflower. She’ll never stop making a difference in my life.
In memory of Claire Kelly. My dearest angel.