A girl in my community died on Saturday.
She was 17.
She used to ride my school bus. I tutored her in debate sometimes, during high school, but somehow, I don't remember her as the beautiful cheerleader. I remember her as the awkward, gangly kid that had a crush on one of my best friends. I remember when she first started wearing makeup. I remember when she first joined debate. When I won a tournament in my senior year of high school, I heard her telling one of her friends that we grew up together, but that's not true. Neither one of us is grown up, not entirely. And one of us never will have the chance to.
The girl was not perfect, but she was often very sweet and she was very, very young and she was beautiful. She was obstinate and she was goofy and she should have lived for many more years.
I don't remember her as someone old enough to drive a car, let alone someone to crash her car.
Side Note: Wear your seat belts. Please -- just wear the damn thing. I don't care how old you are. I don't care if you're just driving into town. I don't care if it messes up your dress.
Second Side Note: If an animal runs in front of your car and it will hurt you to swerve, then hit the animal. You have no idea how much it hurts me to say that, but it's not something to forget.
They don't know how her car crashed, but I know that road. I've almost spun my car out avoiding deer on the way home from late night movies. I've swerved to avoid squirrels. I took my Nissan off the road one winter because the curves were covered in ice. I've checked my phone to see if my mom has texted me back and I've spent too many moments changing the music on my Ipod.
I drive that road fast and I drive it stupid, and so do all the other kids that live out where I do.
Why wouldn't we? We drive it every day.
Please, for the love of god, and for the love of all the people that care about you, don't drive stupid.
Even if it's funny. Even if you know the road. Even if you could drive the road with your eyes closed. Even if you're trying to impress a friend. It isn't worth it.
I drove past Monica's memorial on the way into town today. She lived out by me -- about ten minutes out of town, down a winding country road that seems to go on forever. There were a bunch of girls at her memorial, just sitting in the flowers and not saying anything.
Maybe that's because there isn't much to say.
Rest in peace, sweetheart.