I never knew death. Yes, I knew of it, as one knows of a lion or a tiger, but I never knew it in a personal, intimate way until the summer of 2015. Sarai and I were best friends. We were so close that it became difficult for anyone to pinpoint the day we met. One of my fondest memory of us together was at a sleepover watching “Thirteen Going on Thirty”, a movie about two best friends who grew apart due to the social system in high school. After we watched the movie, we vowed to never grow apart and created a dream board together. Go to high school, get straight A’s, ace our SAT’s, and proceed to college where we would get out degrees from New York University. Little did we know, one of us would not be there to do it. I remember the day vividly. It was summer vacation and I was counting the days until eighth grade.
The phone rang and it was Sarai. We were supposed to go to the park that day but instead, she had to go to visit her grandmother in Boston. She did not want to go, but she had to. “We’ll go when I get back, I promise. Oh- and remember to ask your mom for the purple Sprayground, I’m getting the pink”, she told me. And that was it, the last words I heard her say. It had just finished raining. I was finishing up a summer reading book when my mom told me. “A car hit Sarai, we have to go”. I wasn’t scared, just worried. What’s the worst that can happen? I wasn’t there when she died. When my mom and I arrived, she was gone. “ Her body couldn’t take the trauma”, the doctor said. I didn’t understand at first. This was my best friend, the one I was supposed to go to high school and college with. It took a couple of hours for it to sink in.
She was gone, and she was never coming back. This event shaped my character completely. Sarai’s death had no diagnosis, no timeline. It just happened in an instant. This taught me that life is short and uncontrollable. One may map out their entire life and still fall short due to circumstances. There is no time for tomfoolery or petty drama. There is only today and what you will do with it. This situation has strengthened me personally by giving me the ability to live in the moment without dwelling on the past. It has also strengthened me academically by helping me to identify my short and long term goals and to truly pursue them. I still plan to do well on my SAT’s and to get into NYU. Sarai didn’t get a chance to, so I will use the life that I have to do whatever I can and to accomplish all my goals.