Today is the anniversary of the first death of someone I loved. Four years ago, she left this world, and left her friends and family grief-stricken and wishing for an explanation.
For those of you who don't know, I'll first tell you about her, then about what happened.
Taylor Hayes was one of those friends that you have in elementary school, but then when you don't have classes together you drift apart. Not because neither of you liked each other - if you saw each other in the hall, you smiled and waved - but because it's hard to hang out with someone you never see.
Freshman year of high school, she sat behind me in drama class. We became good friends again, and easily. She was a sweetheart, full of laughter and love and light. She had red hair and these great big, beautiful blue eyes, and she was short and tiny. I was only an inch or so taller than she was, but she still seemed so small. Nick, one of the boys in class, would pretend to throw her in the ceiling.
She wore the coolest clothes - bright colours mixed with black, neon EVERYTHING. Taylor had one Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends shirt with Blue on it, and the jeans that accompanied it with jeans the same shade of blue.
Every day, she ate a Snickers bar.
That semester ended, but we ended up having history class together.We didn't talk as much, because she sat farther away. But sometimes, after school, she'd be waiting for her mom to pick her up and see me walking home. She would always get the biggest smile and jump and wave and shout.
This made me so happy. Taylor and I may not have known each other very well - I didn't know the trials of her life, and she didn't know mine - but I loved her anyway. She cared about me, and tried to cheer me up when I was sad, and rooted for me when we tried out for the school play together. No one beyond my parents and my best friends ever did that for me. In middle school, I was what's known as a pariah. Freshman year, some of that still lingered. That someone as popular as she was would care about me, even the slightest bit, meant the world.
One night, while Krystal was over, she got a text. She asked me if I knew a girl named Taylor Hayes. I responded in the affirmative. Then Krystal said the impossible: There had been a car accident, an awful one, and they thought Taylor had been in it.
I prayed and prayed and prayed for hours. Taylor couldn't leave - she wanted to do theatre class next year, and she had her family.
It turned out that she had been in the accident. Her friend Stephanie had been driving. Taylor's boyfriend had been in the car as well. Stephanie and Taylor hadn't been wearing their seatbelts. He had.
Taylor literally flew out of the window, being as tiny as she was, and hit the pavement. Thankfully she died upon impact, and didn't have to suffer. Stephanie died as well. Taylor's boyfriend survived, and from what I hear, he blamed himself for their deaths. He could have told them to wear seatbelts, MADE them. But he didn't.
It wasn't his fault.
So yeah. Everyone at school the next day was numb - this was not the year for Western Branch. Earlier in the year, a football player had been killed. I don't remember much about that one, though. Anyway. Teachers were crying, students were crying, administrators were crying.
For some reason, I can't cry at death. Or at least I haven't been able to yet. Part of me wants to, screams at me to just be normal for once in my goddamn life. But the rest of me sits in a state of serenity, knowing that those who have died are in Heaven now. Why should I be sad?
My mother says I can be sad for me, for those of us still here who don't get to be with that person anymore. But I can't. I mean, I'm sad, but not in a way that makes me cry, or feel grief. I just know that the person is gone, and there is nothing I can do about it.
I did write Taylor a poem. It wasn't very good, but it helped others in class.
Before she died, I hated Snickers, because I hate peanuts.
Now I love Snickers.