Over and out


Shelly Batterbee

Before she died, all three of us were best of friends.

It has been 365 days. Three hundred and sixty-five days since my sister died. It was a horrible crash—a T-bone. She was away at college on her journey to become a professor there.

The call was horrible. Crash. Accident. Friend. Then the words I dreaded the most: Scarlet is dead. Seeing her at the funeral two days later, I couldn’t handle it. I hugged my little brother as the day progressed. I wanted to find the other car and scream. How was I supposed to live without my older sister? My best friend I’d been separated from for far too long; I’ll never see her again? 

But here I am in this stupid school, fighting through the days. I’ve stopped going to Science Olympiad—the thing that consumed my life before last year. 

I look around at the room I used to share with her. Her bed is still on top of mine, made perfectly as she would have it—a contrast from my increasingly messy room. The ladder is collecting dust—even more so than the usual year when she’s at college. 

I check my PowerSchool. One “A.” One “A” in gym, but grades seem so minuscule now.

People keep telling me life moves on, and now it’s my turn to move on, but they didn’t lose their best friend. 

My pile of homework to do just keeps getting higher, and my teachers have stopped worrying about me. They’ve accepted the lack of effort as normal. The rest of my family barely notices me. Their busy schedules keep them distracted—I’m the only one stuck reliving the memories of the past. Most often are the ones of Scarlet and me fighting. How could I ever have been mad at her? Why are we allowed to be angry? Was the person who caused the accident angry? 

I’ve combed through the room in search of every last memory. There’s one I still have yet to relive—to live in the first place. See, she sent me a letter a week before it happened, but I was “too busy” to read it and somewhat mad at her from her last visit being so short. I didn’t want it to be the last thing she said to me, so it’s sat on my desk for 372 days. 

I side-eye it for the hundredth time this week, crawl out of bed, and tear open the white envelope covered in drawings of lilacs. 

Three pages of memories. Apologies for all of the moments and calls she missed. She drew a picture of us playing games like don’t touch the lava—back when we had an imagination. Then, at the end, “don’t give up, Lilac, keep fighting for what you believe in. You’re going to make a great lawyer and save the world from itself,” and neatly in her noteworthy font, “Over and out, Scar.”

I thought all of my tears were already dried out, but a flood came down. She said her goodbye in a beautiful note. I’m ready to say mine.