Yesterday, I found out one of my best friends from middle school passed away. I haven’t had a full conversation with this girl in probably ten years. But immediately I remember how she wore her hair with the purple headbands and matching eye shadow. And this baby doll red shirt she liked to wear in middle school. She was exactly one day older than me.
Her name was always directly after mine at roll call. I cried on my way home last night, and on my way to work from the gym this morning. It’s a dull aching feeling. I’m broken hearted. There something so tragic about a young life leaving us. A life that was supposed to be around for 60, 70 more years. Feels like unfinished business. I think about her sister and her family. I can’t imagine greater pain.
I can’t but think about all the ghosts I carry in my mind. People who are still walking the earth, but who no longer exist in my world although there are remnants of them. Old paintings, photographs, gifts, secrets, memories. Noises and songs and places and smells that trigger memories that we shake away before they root themselves. I entertain the ghosts sometimes though. I wonder how all the people I stopped talking to are doing. I wonder if they ever got to do that thing they always talked about doing. I wonder if they’re still pursuing their passions or if their paint brushes are hardened. If their favorite show changed. If they still cry about the same things. If they ever got over that fear. I never bring myself to reach out, I’m not sure why. It’s weird how it’s awkward to talk to someone you once told you loved.
It’s sad how sometimes it takes death for us to appreciate life. Funny how it’s always the little things we remember.
Diana Ozoria began writing short stories and poetry at the age of twelve as a cathartic outlet. She is now twenty three years old, and has found her voice and her peace as a brown feminist who is unapologetically comfortable in her own skin. Born to immigrant Dominican parents, Diana was raised in the hyphenated limbo space that lies between the other and the “American,” ni de aqui, ni de allá, never belonging here nor there. As the oldest in a family of five living under the poverty line, moving from one relative’s basement to another’s empty bedroom, privacy was impossible growing up. She escaped into the realms offered to her by books, and created her own reality in her writing. There, no borders, no limits, no ceilings existed. She saw a door in every character she befriended. She was her own heroine in every story she wrote. Her inspiration sprouts from love, trauma, culture, sociopolitical ideals, the intersections between gender and race, and the relentless human struggle to define our identity and purpose. Twitter: @papercutblisss