I was eleven years old when I lost my best friend, maria. It’s a day I will never forget. Almost every detail is as fresh as it was the day it happened. It was a Monday, I was in middle school. I remember getting on the bus and feeling very strange and thinking to myself, “did I wear this outfit to school yesterday?” I brushed off the strange feeling when I concluded that no I did not because it was indeed Monday. I got to school went to my locker like normal and then went to my homeroom where I sat and talked to my friend. I remember asking if she had seen maria because I was waiting for her to get there. Maria and I always went to get breakfast from the cafeteria together in the mornings. I figured she was just running a little late and decided to sit and talk with my friend a little more.
While sitting there talking to my friend another classmate ran into my homeroom class and was shouting “maria just collapsed out in the hallway!” to which everyone in the class rushed out into the hall while I’m yelling back at her “Which maria!” to which she replied “Martinez”. I remember pushing through the crowd of kids circled around her lying on the ground. My teacher was holding her telling everyone to get back to class. My two other friends were standing there with us my teacher told the other teacher in the hall to call the nurse and again told us to return to our classrooms. We all did as we were told and I sat by the door of my classroom so I could keep an eye out. There were a lot of people in the library. Some that didn’t even talk to maria, some that were mean to her, and others that were close to her like I had been. The teachers were making their rounds consoling the kids. I wasn’t crying I just sat there staring at the ground. I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t want to. All I could think was it was some kind of twisted joke that I’d see her the next day and everything would be fine. I remember worrying about evelyn and sam, marias mom and sister. I don’t know how long I sat there until the teachers gave us permission to start calling our parents to come get us from school. There was a line, I listened to girls that would pick on maria call their parents and tell them that they just wanted to let them know they loved them and told them what had happened. I got to the phone, still not crying and called my house. My dad, who was working nights at the time, was home and answered. As soon as I tried to say what had happened I started to cry so hard he couldn’t understand me and was laughing at me. I had to convince him I wasn’t joking and I needed him to come get me. I could tell instantly the change in his tone as soon as I could muster out the words that maria had died he said he’d send my mom to get me. I don’t recall how long I had to wait for my mom to get there I don’t even remember the ride home. I just know that when I had got to my house my sister and a close friend of maria and I were there crying, my mom was crying as well. We just sat there in silence for a while hugging each other.
It turns out that maria, at the age of 12, had a heart murmur. When she collapsed her heart had stopped and couldn’t revive itself. Losing a best friend was really rough on me but I’ve learned I have to be happy for her, for the life she had lived. The last time I talked to her was the previous Saturday, she was so happy. I remember her telling me how much she valued our friendship and that she loved me. Losing her taught me not to take people or things for granted. To not be judgmental of people, that was definitely a lesson to our whole school that year. Life’s too short to worry about the negative things, to be angry, or to be mean to anyone. The most important thing for me now is to be happy and grateful for a healthy family, and my overall life. I’ve learned to see what is truly important and what I need to fight for. I also feel after losing her I’ve became a stronger person, more level headed, and less judging.