Everything I Didn’t Say

Here is a poem that I wrote. It’s my first try at one so it may not be too great, but I hope that it is at least decent.

 

 

I say this here

Because I don’t know if there’s

Trust in my voice to say it aloud

But I’m sorry.

 

Out of everyone, I’m the worst of all.

You lied there so broken while I sat without a clue.

I should have been there to help take the fall.

Every other time you were there for me and on your turn, I fail you.

 

Pieces of my heart are now scattered across the floor, once again,

I look down on them with a silent hope that they will fall back together.

But you were here last time

Now you’re not and I look down, screaming, “I can’t do this anymore.”

 

Laughter radiates from the room next to me

As bittersweet memories are all I can see.

You’re one masterpiece, crowding up the space in my mind.

Without you here, there’s nothing left.

 

Now I go through the motions, just to go to sleep,

With old messages you once sent lying unread

Just as my new ones stay with the words left unsaid.

Then I wake once again, but close my eyes,

Because a world without you is not a world I want to see.

 

So here it is

With every ounce that I have left,

Every moment that has fled,

Every tear that I have wept,

All the words left unsaid.

 

Don’t go.

I love you.

Please stay.

 

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Homebody Moving Away

I always was a homebody. From the time I was born to the time I moved away. I went through this huge journey looking at different colleges all throughout my high school career. At first it was schools around my hometown. It would be schools that I could commute to and from or schools that I would be able to go home every weekend just to see my family. Unlike most teenagers, I had a close connection with my family. I absolutely adored my mom. I had an okay relationship with both of my siblings. My life was good at home.

So, why did I choose to go to a school that was seven hours away from my hometown? I’m glad you asked.

Essentially, in my town there was not many options. My town consisted of farmers, teachers, and random other stuff. Things that I was not interested in. It was a small town. Everyone knew each other and everyone would continue to know each other. What do I mean by that? Basically whoever was born in that town seemed to stay. They didn’t seem to go off and see other parts of the world. They were just stuck there. It was like an endless cycle. Now for some people, being in the cycle is great. It’s unifying and it’s all they have ever known. For me, not so much. I didn’t want to be a part of the cycle any longer. I had to break the cycle while I still could. However, I couldn’t think of a way out.

Was I capable of going to a school miles away from the place I grew up? 

Then one day a former student of our school came to speak about her college experience out of state. It made me realize that if she could do it, I definitely could. With that, I began looking at colleges from surrounding states. This led to some of the best road trips I could ever imagine having with my mom. We visited schools in Virginia, New York, and Tennessee until I finally settled where I am now. After that I was determined on breaking the cycle set forth by many generations before me. I was going to get out and see the world. My mother even encouraged it. She knew I was not destined to live in that town for the rest of my life. She knew way before I did and she told me that. Granted, she is my mother and she is supposed to believe these things. However, she was genuine and meant it. I wasn’t supposed to be there.

What is it like being a homebody in a new town?

It’s honestly kind of hard. Especially because I don’t have the best communication skills. I can’t just go up to some random person and hold a conversation, not for a while anyways. It always turns out really awkward. However, I can say that it has gotten easier. The more I get involved, it seems, the more I am able to communicate and feel a part of something. And it honestly feels great to be a part of something here. On the other hand, I still miss my family. That doesn’t just go away. I’m actually really excited to be going to see them in a few weeks. But I like to think that I’m forming some kind of relationships here that make it easier for when I miss them. It’s almost like starting over.

Now that I’m here, do I want to ever go back to living in my hometown?

Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever physically live there again. I will definitely visit many times because my family is still there and will most likely always be there. However, as far as me, personally, living there I can’t say that it is my plan. Now that I have seen another portion of the world, I want to see more and more and become more cultured. I also have a dream that cannot be fulfilled there.

Nevertheless, the little town in North Carolina will forever remain my home. Even if I’m a thousand miles away, my heart will always have a place for it. It will be the place I reference back to and say that is the place where I grew, changed, and developed into the person that I am today. That is the place where everything started and that is the place where everything changed.

When He Left For Basic Training

Now this isn’t about a time where I found some genuine change in myself. Or about a time that holds any kind of significance in my life now. But this is about a time that, I guess you could say, changed my way of thinking to some degree.

On a hot, summer day in the beginning of July, I said a temporary goodbye to the boy that I loved. I stood right there on the sidewalk and watched my boyfriend walk into the building where he would wait to be taken to basic training. Now for some people, this may not seem like a big deal. For some, it may. All I know is, at that moment in time, it was a huge deal to me. He would be gone for eight weeks with no communication. That was the only thing that went through my head.

At first, I’ll go ahead and tell you, it wasn’t easy. It was anything but easy. I had grown so used to him just being around. I was used to texting him into the early hours of the morning. I was used to calling him when I needed to speak to him. I was used to him being just a 15 minute drive away. Then, just like that, a drop of conversation. I was just thrown into a depth of eery silence and I had no clue what to do with it all.

The thought of not being able to talk to a person you want to talk to anytime you want is essentially terrifying. I would know. I’ve been through it twice now. I had so many fears and I only ever voiced a few of them. I had a great person to help me through this time though and I’ll never forget that. My best friend constantly sent texts just subtly checking up on me. She would even stop by and just hang out with me. There were even nights where I couldn’t sleep and she stayed up with me until I finally could. Just as they say–It’s the small things that count.

As time went on, however, it got easier. The letters started coming and that became our form of communication. Then he got random phone calls and for some reason I was the one that got them. I still missed him, but it was easier to deal with not having him around.

Though it did not necessarily work out between the two of us, I am here to tell you that it can be done. I’ve seen many good relationships come out of this. Yes, they leave, but it’s only temporary. It took me a while to figure that out. This lifestyle; however, was just not for me. Or maybe it was the boy. I’ll never really know. This whole thing now seems crazy thinking back on it, but it was a part of my life. As the significance of this moment wears away day by day now that we aren’t together, I begin to think of what significance it still has. It wasn’t so much the moment anymore, but what stemmed from it. It was the power of choice and whether or not I was supposed to be where I was at that particular moment.

Understanding What Has Come To Be

Yesterday, I was listening to this song. Shoreline by Deas Vail. It wasn’t the first time that I listened to the song. In fact, I had listened to it multiple times before then. But yesterday, yesterday was the first time I actually heard the music. After that I couldn’t stop listening to the song. I grew so fond of the song that I even researched the band a little and interpreted a meaning from the words that were being spoken.

It turns out the whole song is a lament. A mourning of something that is impossible to have. An essential expression of grief at its finest. Well, not finest, because nothing about grief is fine. It’s normal. I guess that’s the word I’m looking for. But even with the knowledge of knowing it’s normal, doesn’t help. However, besides the point, while it has the lament it also holds another aspect. A simple understanding. Closer to the ending of the song, the singer sings the words “I’ve figured you out” around three times. This is an understanding of a bigger purpose. Something that should be fulfilled. Something that should be done by the person themselves.

With that being said, I entered college smothered with grief. I had just lost my only friend–my best friend. Then I had to dive into the world of college in just under two weeks after. I was put in this new world with new people, seven hours away from my home. I had to figure out how to be happy. How to meet new people and become someone without her. College was supposed to be this big, new adventure. A fresh start, in my case, being so far away from where I actually grew up. However, when I came here, I questioned it all. Of course, people didn’t know because I didn’t want to tell them or they never asked. I wandered around with thoughts of my best friend in my head, with memories and regrets. Words I never got to say clouded my brain. I simply did not understand. I didn’t understand why she had to leave this earth. I just wanted more than anything to be with her. In the midst of all of this, I watched the people around me socialize and make friends. I also didn’t understand how socialization was so easy for them. I mean I was never good at that to begin with. Anyways, with all of that going on, I felt alone. I even asked myself if this was where I needed to be, even though I knew it was before she was gone. I just wanted to go home, because at least there someone would understand.

However, after listening to this song, I realize this is just where I need to be. Not just because I listened to this song; but, because there is something pulling me to stay here. It doesn’t get easier. Well, not at the moment, because I still have many days where all I can do is think of her. However, I know where I need to be and that is here. For what purpose? I’m not sure yet. I realize that at this point in my life I don’t need to understand everything, but I do need to have a sense of understanding. I need to believe that I’m here for some reason and that later I will understand exactly why. That’s enough for me at this moment in my life.

Lost Things

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A place where I used to spend most of my childhood summers. It used to be connected to a pool.

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Swing set that my siblings and I used to play on. It is now moved away from the spot it once was close to the woods.

Basketball goal that my siblings and I used to shoot with. Now it is in pieces.

Basketball goal that my siblings and I used to shoot with. Now it is in pieces.

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Vines growing up an old horse fence and stuff stored in the barn.

An old car just gathering leaves, not bothered in being used.

An old car just gathering leaves, not bothered in being used.

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This old stable used to hold my grandfather’s horses. Now, it’s full of grass that probably reaches my height.

A pond that dried up after the hurricane.

A pond that dried up after the hurricane.

Carnations weathered away after the storm

Carnations weathered away after the storm

img_4690Each of these pictures exhibit things that have lost their purpose or their purpose was used for something else. These things exhibit the action of moving on from things–of letting go. What more is there to explain than that?

Speech By Speech

fullsizerender-3I walked through the double doors of the school. I thought I would only see this place maybe once more in my life, but here I was right back here. My palms were sweaty and I was already shaking. My mom could tell that I was nervous. Everyone else probably could too. The lady at the front instructed us where to sit and we entered into the gymnasium. There were already people sitting down and some at the front looking at Stancil. My sight first landed on her when I walked in. An overwhelming amount of longing rushed over me as I wished, for the thousandth time, for this all to be a nightmare that I would wake up from. My mom found us a seat and I sat, not paying attention as to where. There was only one thing I was focused on.

It reminded me a lot of my graduation day. The way all the seniors gathered in one of the hallways and talked, joked, and laughed. I was with Stancil that day and my former boyfriend. I remember being so nervous that I couldn’t say anything. That I didn’t want to. I was set to give the valedictory speech for my class. They both told me how it was such an honor and that I would do amazing. Then we had to line up, forming two lines—it was time to walk into the gym. I waited, anxiously for our turn to walk and to get to my seat. I felt like I could not stand. Like I could not hold myself up any longer. I was so nervous, but I had them to look at.

I was feeling that among other things at the moment. Natural dread mixed in with the feelings. I just watched her. She was lying there, sleeping peacefully—never to wake again. The funeral hadn’t started yet, but I knew it would soon with all of the people now filing in. Kourtney, a former student just like me, came up and asked me if I wanted to go outside for a few minutes and wait for her friend. We went outside and just stood while other people walked up. We didn’t talk, there was nothing to say. One of my favorite teachers, and Stancil’s, came up toward us and enveloped us in a hug. I cannot remember what she told us, but I remember blurting out.

“I’m speaking.” I remember the feeling I got in my chest as I said it. It just continued to tighten as if it would eventually just explode. She looked at me, sympathy filling her eyes.

“Do you have a tissue?” I said no and she began searching through her purse for an extra one. She handed it to me. I stuffed it in the pocket of the dress I was wearing. “Take your time up there. Feel free to cry.”

“She was- She was leaving my house.” I said, feeling as if it took every last ounce of me to say those words. I felt the tears forming in my eyes, but I did not let them fall. She hugged me one more time before telling me something about the speech and going inside. Kourtney’s friend came up shortly after and we all went back in. As we sat down the funeral procession started, I could feel my heart beating faster by the second. Everything was such a blur until the moment arose for me to get up from where I was sitting and walk to the podium. Time began to move slowly as I got up from my seat. I walked the same path I walked on graduation night. Walked up the same stairs. Walked across the same stage. And then, finally, stood behind the same podium. I remembered in that moment, as I was unfolding my paper, on my graduation night that I looked out into the crowd as I spoke. I looked at three teachers that had shaped my life in some way. Then I took a look at my boyfriend. Then I searched the crowd for Stancil until I found her. As that moment went on, before I began to speak, I looked out at the crowd. There was probably less people in the gym that day, but it still felt the same. The weight of what I had to say. I searched for her and then glanced at the casket that lied before me. With that, I looked down at my paper because I realized then that I no longer had anything left to look for and began to speak. After I finished, I don’t even remember if the audience clapped or did anything. I didn’t expect them to. I just remember walking off the stage in a different way than last time and sitting back down in my seat. The rest of the service also went by in a blur, until my attention was caught by someone handing me a flower to load in the car outside. Almost everyone had gathered outside, just like our graduation day, except this time they were replaced with solemn faces. I couldn’t take it anymore so I went back inside to find my mom. When I got to her, a teacher that Stancil and I both knew, and had a class together in, came up to me and hugged me.

“You have to keep going for her now. She will always be with you.” I remembered murmuring something, but I can’t remember what it was and she hugged me again. Then the teacher I had met before the funeral came up and hugged me once again.

“You did good.” I nodded. However, in my head I was saying, it wasn’t for me. Then my mom asked if I was good to go and I nodded. On the way out, two other members of the school’s faculty tapped on the glass from the office and mouthed “You did good.” I nodded and took it even though I didn’t want the credit. I only did it for her. After that, we went to the burial site and I hugged her stepfather and talked to a few more members of her family before leaving.

Later that night, I had wondered if she was proud. If I had done the speech justice and if I had captured basics of our friendship in three short minutes. Just as I had wondered the same on graduation night. I caught myself starting to text her and ask her, like I did on that night. Then I realized looking at her name on my phone that I would never honestly know how I did on that night, because she will never be able to tell me. I checked my phone once more, just as I had the nights prior to, hoping to have a response. But nothing good would come of it. Then I realized something more devastating.

I would never be able to read the line she would always say to me— “I’m such a proud friend.” Everything had changed forever.

How Five Minutes Can Change Your Life

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Five minutes. What can happen in five minutes? You can heat up your food in under five minutes. You can brush your teeth in under that allotted amount of time. It can take five minutes for your whole life to change. Or it can take five minutes to drive away from my house and to the stop sign at the end of the road. Five minutes. That’s all it takes. Just five minutes. It took just five minutes for my best friend to leave my house and come to the crossroads, where she would meet her untimely demise.

Now, I can’t tell you much from our time together that day. Quite frankly, I don’t remember what we sat on my couch and talked about for hours. I do remember, however, the way she walked into the house with one of the biggest smiles. She said something about my hair, because I had just had it done and she liked it. I also remember what was on the television behind us as we talked. It was the TV show that I introduced to her and that she ended up loving. The only other thing I remember about our time together that day is walking to her car as she was getting ready to go. I remember talking about her mom’s car, which she was driving, and the car that I was going to have—almost an exact replica. Then we said a few other words before she got in her car and started it up. I had already gone up the steps to my house ready to go in, but I turned back around and there she was. Through the tinted window, I saw her waving at me with a big smile on her face. I smiled and waved back before going directly inside.

It took me ninety-five minutes before I figured out that she was gone. What was I doing? I was joking around with my sister and my mom. I was also looking up different things that went toward my dream. All of this I planned to tell her when she texted me that night. It was then as I was looking more into my dream that I got a phone call from an unknown number.

“Hey. Is this Brianna?” I answered. “Where is my sister? Is she still with you?” With this question, I could feel the rapid beating of my heart as I searched for an answer. It was as if someone had knocked the breath from me.

“I thought she was with you. She left to go pick up her sister.” My sister who was near heard this and was now looking at me trying to figure out what I was talking about.

“Yeah this is the sister. She never showed up.”

“She’s not here.” That’s all I could manage to say.

“Well could you give me your address? We are going to go look for her.” I gave her the address and she ended the call. After that, I ran around the house trying to find my shoes and my keys. I wasn’t just going to sit here and wait for answers. I was going to look too. Or so I thought. As I had gathered my things, about to walk out, my mom and stepdad walked in.

Completely panicked, “Stancil didn’t show up to get her sister. They don’t know where she is. I need to go find her.” My mom’s eyes grew wide.

“You’re not driving. I’m coming with you.” She began to look for her keys and our neighbor, who is a detective, pulled into his yard. My stepdad stopped us in our tracks and told us not to go. By this time, we were all gathered in the kitchen. Well, all except my brother. Me, well, I was trying to hold back my own tears. I knew what had already happened without having to physically know. Just then, my brother walked in the door.

“There’s cops all around the crossroads.” With that statement, I attempted to dart out the door once more only to be stopped by my mom.

“I’ll call the neighbor. He just came back.” My mom said. As she was on the phone with him, she dropped back leaning on the freezer for support. Then they ended the call and she began talking.

“There was a bad wreck,” she inched toward me. “Stancil was involved in it.” A hint of optimism seeped through my mind. What hospital was she in? Why are we still standing here? I have to go be with her. I have to make sure she is okay. These were all of my thoughts. “She didn’t make it.” And as to reiterate, just in case I hadn’t heard the first time, “She’s gone.” I wanted to run down to the intersection. I wanted to do something, anything. How could I make this right? How could I save her? But instead I stood there in the corner of our kitchen—frozen. My mom pulled me into a hug. One that was not returned. How could this be? She was just here and now she’s not. Just like that. She is gone, forever. I murmured lost words to my mother as I tried to make sense of it, but nothing would make sense. Not to me. I had just lost my only friend. How were things supposed to make sense now when the only thing that made sense was being friends with her?

So now you see how I am stuck at the crossroad—literally and figuratively. I wish there was something other I could say than there is no answer on how to deal with this. Not yet. Not for me. There is a light in all things, like there was in her. However, I just haven’t found the light in this yet. And I’m not sure when I will.