Monday, April 23, 2007
There is a season~
Yesterday when school reopened after spring vacation, teachers learned through a whispered grapevine that a high school girl-- a junior in the district-- had died during vacation week.
The details were sketchy as they often are in such stories. People try not to be overly graphic when sharing details, which is probably for the best, but this leaves me grappling with images that come anyway.
She was crushed by a car, we heard. Later a friend said the girl had been sneaking out. Not wanting to wake her parents she didn't start the car. Instead, she shifted into neutral to let it roll silently down the driveway. Something went wrong-- she was half in, half out of the car. The car wouldn't steer-- and she was crushed somehow. The paper carrier discovered her body at 4:30 in the morning. Her family was still asleep.
Her friends know things-- and her family must, too-- that I don't know. Like, where she was going. To meet a boyfriend? To get together with girlfriends? To drink? Someone had found a buyer, maybe? Was there a party her parents had said "no" to? Had she been grounded? Did her friends encourage her to sneak out?
She doesn't get a second chance to "learn from her mistake," to cry and say, "I'm so sorry, Mom and Dad. I'll never do it again. I promise."
And her parents don't get a chance to discipline her, to tell her they're doing it because they love her, because they never want anything to happen to her. They don't get a chance to tell her they forgive her.
She'll never know that her parents had done something similar when they were seventeen. Her parents will never know why they lived, and she didn't.
Today I learned why this girl-- who they say is a "good" girl-- was sneaking out. It was none of my speculations. She was going to spy on her boyfriend. They'd had a fight; she thought he was cheating on her.
I remember the intensity of teenage love, the jealousy and insecutities, how all encompassing it is. My mother used to tell me there were other fish in the sea, but I only wanted my familiar flounder. I thought he cheated on me, too,this highschool boyfriend, if you can even call it cheating at 17. What if I had snuck out to see what he was up to? What if I'd died doing it? I later broke up with him in college. Maybe this girl would have done the same if she'd lived.
My ex-boyfriend committed suicide at age 40 when his marriage was breaking up. He jumped out of a Piper Cub in an attempt to land on his lawn, a punishment for his wife-- and himself.
And this girl's boyfriend . . . what becomes of him?