One Year Later

One Year Later

A Story by Kelsey

A year after Thomas' car wreck.


A year ago today I was sitting in a chair filled with far too many pillows eating popcorn with too much butter and laughing at a movie that, in all honesty, wasn't that funny. I hadn't been expecting a phone call and when my dad passed the phone over to me I was laughing.
      The news I received didn't wipe the smile off my face right away. Unsure of exactly what I'd heard, I had to ask for it to be repeated. Even when it connected it didn't really click. Have you ever reasoned in your mind that if you don't accept something as reality then it never happened? If I didn't agree with the news that I'd just received then it hadn't really happened -- I could think it was all just a cruel joke that I would yell at someone about later.
      So at once I had two very overwhelming emotions taking over. One being shock -- strong enough to finally steal the smile away from my lips and render it impossible for me to form my face to show any sense of real emotion. And anger -- that someone would even dare to joke about the life of another person and the feeling of another when telling them that they were dead. Even while I wanted to scream, the shock blocked off my throat keeping me from speaking and prevented my hands from shaking with rage.
      It amazes me even now that I didn't lash out when my friend said that he wasn't sure if it was true or not. The rumor about a car wreck could be completely false. He hung up to double-check that the story was accurate before I could ever find my voice.
      I'm not sure how many calls were made to various different homes and hospitals before it was confirmed that the story was much more than a rumor. At that point the anger had vanished to be replaced by an emotion I still can't explain. It's not quite grief and not exactly denial. All I knew was that I had to go to school the next day to be one hundred percent sure that this was reality and not a nightmare.
      Some parts of the school day were a blurr -- passing by so quickly that I barely registered what class I was in and if I'd managed to sit in the right seat. Other times the seconds dragged by in lifetimes that were filled with torture. I clung to your picture like a talisman. The only thing to keep me grounded and out of the counselor's office.
      Carrying around his picture isn't going to bring him back. a boy said to me during the first month.
      I was never under that delusion. To be honest, I still couldn't bring myself to believe you were really gone. I carried around your picture for months because I wasn't ready to let go.
      A year later and I no longer carry around your picture and I can't remember your laugh as well as I used to. I remember you smelled and tasted like cinnamon, that your eyes were warm, that your smile was gorgeous. A year later and I'm still marveling at the fact that a person who was so full of life and energy in everything that they did could suddenly just be gone one day.
      Three hundred and sixty-five days later and I am a new person. You always told me to 'be a lion not a kitten,' and I feel like in a lot of ways I'm closer to being a lion than I have been in years. I know more of who I am and am surprised to find that I'm not as ashamed of myself as I have been in the past. That day at the funeral, the pastor said that your death was meant to bring someone closer to God. I felt so compelled to walk up to the front of that church but shame kept me seated. I regret not having done it because I've never felt that way before.
      You always wanted me to read the bible and, even though I haven't done any extra reading, I have been praying more. For our friends, our families, and more recently for myself.
      I wish that you could be here to see all of the positive ways I've changed. I would really like to hear if you're proud of me when I finally do get that book published. I love the memories I have of being able to call you at any time when I got a letter and opening it with you to tell you if I'd been accepted or rejected. You always sounded so excited and when I told you that it was a rejection you'd always find a way to cheer me up. Something I admired about you was that you were always able to make me laugh.
      I go to visit your grave for the first time today and I'm not going alone. I'll be with friends who are just as close as family and I don't know what I'm feeling right now and I don't know what I'm going to say or do when I get there. I just know that while the pain has lessened, it still hurts. I'm not sure if it'll be like that night at the viewing when Kat had to physically pull me away from your coffin and I cried, begging her no. Because I knew that was the last time I was going to see your face. Once I'm at your side again, I may not want to leave.
      I've learned something, though. I'd always thought that if something had happened to you that I wouldn't be able to live without you. Now I've discovered that I can and it's made me a stronger person, even if I don't like the way it came about. I've learned that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. And that, no, everything isn't easy. But then a day passes, a week, a month, and then a year later you find yourself thinking, "I don't know how I made it through all of that but I'm here and I'm alive."
      I'm a lion, not a kitten. I love you. I'm here and I'm alive.

© 2009 Kelsey

Author's Note

Nonfiction, if you want to know more about how I knew Thomas or how close we were, feel free to message me. I am better with talking about it now.

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Added on January 20, 2009




I'm 22-years-old. I am a Christian writer-singer girl who enjoys fried chicken, the color green, and the ability to dance about ridiculously in the rain. I hope you enjoy my writing (new and old!). more..

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