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Nayely Pena

United States

You Never Know Who You'll Meet

February 14, 2016

    “I still don’t understand the concept of linear equations and we’re already in May. Prom is in three weeks and I still don’t have a dress, or a date. Did you know Matthew asked Cara to prom? He’s the love of my life and I’m not going to prom without him, since you’re not here, of course.” My thoughts were interrupted when my mother barged into my room without knocking, again.
    “Yeisliany, we have to leave and you’re still not ready,” my mom complains as I lie on my bed in sweatpants and a hoodie, with my hair up in a bun.
    “Mom. I am ready. I’m going to visit my best friend, not meet the president.” I roll my eyes and beg her to leave so that I can put on my sneakers. She exits the room with a sigh and I close my eyes, just so that I can see her face one last time before all I have in front of me is a tombstone rock with the name “Scarlett Williams” engraved into it.
    “I’ll see you in a few minutes, best friend.” I smile to her and her face fades away quickly as if she’s telling me to hurry up. I rapidly throw on my sneakers and run out the door. I turn back on my heels and run back into my room to take a last look in the mirror. Scarlett always told me, You never know who you’ll meet, when you’ll meet them, and where you’ll meet them. I laugh my way out of the room and think to myself, “Who will I meet at the cemetery?”
My headphones are warm around my ears and the music flows through my body as I gaze out the window at the endless tombstones. The number of moms, dads, sisters, brothers, and best friends that were taken from our lives by terrorists is terrifying. My mother and I step out the car and walk on the gravel path with balloons and flowers in our hands. As we reach the tombstone, the memories come back to haunt me, as they do every night and every time I visit Scarlett. I wrap the balloons around the balloon holder and place the flowers in front of my best friend’s tombstone. My mother pats me on the back and steps back. I close my eyes and try to remember Scarlett’s beautiful face, but all I see is a plane crashing into the twin towers.
    “Mom let me go! Mom Scarlett’s in there, I need to get her! I need to let her know what's going on! Mom you’re letting her die  Mom!” I didn’t stop yelling, and I never once gave up on trying to run into a burning building to take Scarlett out. I woke up in a hospital bed on September 11, 2001, while Scarlett was lying in a morgue. Scarlett had been there for an internship that she attends every Tuesday. We were supposed to meet for lunch with my mom, to talk about college. Scarlett never made it to lunch.
    I open my eyes and stare at the tombstone that marks where my best friend lies.
    “Scarlett. I hate Cara so much. She got asked to prom by Matthew! Yes, I know. Apparently they’ve gotten close since you passed away. Him and I still talk, I mean he’s still
OUR best friend, but Cara wants him for something else and I hate her for it. I miss you, Scarlett. Thank you for listening to my non-sense. You’re the only one I can talk to and that won’t change. Your mom wanted to come by today, but ever since you and your dad passed away she doesn’t leave the house. I passed by yesterday and spent time with her, and I realized how much you guys look alike!” I take a breath and bow my head, wishing I could hug her one last time. Just one more time is all I’m asking. I feel a hand on my shoulder and tell my mom that I’m almost done. I feel a body sit next to me and my body twitches.
    “It’s okay Jeisliany, it’s just me.” Matthew’s voice calms my anxiety and my body relaxes.
    “What are you doing here ?” I ask Matthew in a confused tone.    
    “You weren’t the only one who lost a best friend a year ago today. I know I don’t come every day like you do, but I close my eyes and see her face, and feel like I’m talking to her just like you do,” he says and places the flowers next to mine.
    “I miss the days when it was just us three. Talking and gossiping about anything,” I say, looking down at the flowers. We sit there for hours talking. My mom leaves us, and comes back when we are ready to leave.


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