Do we ever really leave this world?

So something that has been on my mind 100% of the time since June 1st came around is my best friend Alyssa. I love telling the story of how we met.

It was a Saturday morning in the fall of my Freshmen year of High School.  I was at school. On a Saturday. Yes, you read that correctly. It was mid-September and I was in student council (being the nerd that I am) and was there on Saturday morning, bright and early, setting up for the Homecoming dance later that evening. In the fall, there also happened to be a photography class that could be taken for extra credits that met on Saturday mornings. My friend Amy was in this class and we met up for a lunch break in the early afternoon. Amy had another girl with her who I had never seen before. She seemed distracted, in her own world almost. Amy turns to her, “what’s wrong Sa?” This girl, Sa, apparently had left her money and sugar packets up on top of the field hockey field where they had just come from taking pictures. Amy started laughing and told her she was fine to go get them by herself. I saw the look on this girl’s face and blurted out that I would go and help her find her sugar packets. What did I just do? I am super shy and super impulsive…not a good mix. So now here I am walking towards the field with a girl I don’t even know. She is just talking and talking and all smiles. She loops her arm in mind and says, “so what’s your name, I’m Alyssa”. I laughed and said that was my name too. She replied simply with, “Good. Lyssa Squared. I always wanted a sister.” I was immediately comfortable and we ran up the hill laughing and talking about anything and everything under the sun. We got to the top, she handed me a sugar packed and we simultaneously ripped the tops off and started chugging. It was perfect. We looked at each other and burst out laughing, spewing sugar everywhere. I knew it then. We were connected in a way I had never been connected to a person before. She stayed and helped me finish setting up for Homecoming and then we went back to her house, got ready for the dance and ended the night with a sleepover at my house. Less than 12 hours prior we had been complete strangers and we already knew everything about each other. Since that day, we were attached at the hip and everyone knew it.

I replay this moment over and over in my mind and I catch myself smiling into the empty space in front of me with a single tear forming in my eyes. A happy tear. I am very aware of the presence Alyssa still has in my life. Her anniversary is coming up. This August will be six years. It’s the number six I struggle with. It honestly still doesn’t feel real to me. I obviously know her body is not here anymore but I can still see her plain as day, hear her voice, feel her pulling my arm. I can’t accept the fact that she is not alive anymore. I am not in denial. I am fully aware of the heart-wrenching, horrible accident that killed her and three other teenagers the summer before our senior year, the year that was supposed to be ours. I just cannot wrap my head around the idea that I am never going to see her again. My brain can’t, or won’t, comprehend the thought. I stay up all night replaying everything we did together, replaying the last time I talked to her, the first time I talked to her, the moments she literally saved my life when no one else even knew something was wrong. I start sobbing when I think about that. There are so many emotions still, so many things I want to tell her still. When something happens, she is still the first one I think to tell. Sometimes, I even catch myself with her number in my phone ready to text her before I realize the number is disconnected. It’s all still habit. It’s unconscious. I wonder if this is okay or if this is something that doesn’t normally happen. I still feel that connection with her soul. I know she is still here. Which leaves me with the question, do we ever really leave this world?

…to be continued.

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