I miss you, Jayah
I'm gonna be honest: if you were walking past me on the street, it wouldn't seem like my best friend had died. You would see just a normal teenage girl, wearing her skater skirts and Doc Martens, worrying about softball practice and friendships and that upcoming APUSH test.
You wouldn't be able to tell that, on February 13, 2014, one of my best friends from middle school jumped off of her grandmother's building.
I never knew it was going to happen. I didn't know anything about what happened at her high school or how she was feeling depressed or anything along those lines. I'm always the friend you go to the movies or have a picnic or walk around the city with, talking about hot celebrities and middle school teachers.
I'm not the serious friend, or, at least, that's what it seems to me.
I mean, we met while I was running late to school. I was on the basketball team (woot woot 8th grade Caitlin) and had forgotten my practice shoes (basically normal sneakers). My coach was notorious for being harsh, though normally in class, so I decided to brave the threat of being slightly late to school in order to head back home and get my sneakers. On my way back to school, I saw Jayah ambling along at Jayah-miles-per-hour and decided to strike up a friendship right then and there.
Basically, we met due to circumstances.
What would've happened if I didn't go back for my sneakers?
Sure, we were in the same orchestra class, but we bonded initially over our shared walks to school.
After that first meeting, she became one of the standard fixtures in my life. We joked around about her and another boy in our orchestra. I finally had an actual friend to hang out with during recess. With her came a slew of vibrant people, each with their own spontaneous and hilarious personalities. Instead of reading by myself in the corner of the yard, I was a part of coat/blanket piles and summer escapades and general amusement.
And then, she was suddenly not there.
To sum everything up, it was sudden.
All I remember was coming home from a tutoring job and seeing a bunch of Facebook messages in our group chat. After scrolling through them, I just broke down. My sister was on the other side of my shared room, but she didn't know I was sitting in front of my laptop, silently crying.
The worst part was telling people about it.
I was numb. I didn't feel angry or depressed or anything. I didn't want to laugh or smile ever again. It just felt wrong.
When I had to tell my mom what had happened, she had more emotion than me. It made everything more...real. I realized that the news articles and Facebook messages/posts about it weren't the product of some sick hallucination.
Today is her birthday--she would be 17. She would've gotten her driving permit, fought through junior year, gone to visit colleges, started to comtemplate the incoming FUTURE.
It's not as though I can forget about her. I'll be in the middle of laughing at a joke when I'll have the dark realization that she'll never get to laugh again.
It's the worst when I go to the movies.
One of the last times I saw her was at the movies, to see the second installment of "The Hobbit" trilogy. It was a great day--we got to spend three hours in the cushy reclining chairs at the 84th street theater, talk about high school and celebrities and the shirtless guy we had seen playing soccer over the summer, and buy identical barcode sweaters at Forever 21. It's difficult for me to accept the fact that I can go and enjoy myself in the places we used to hang out at, but she'll never be able to.
I guess I just wanted to post about her because I don't want to forget the *real* her. Everyone knows her from the news articles detailing her depression and passing, but I know her as the spontaneous, bubbly, hilarious, fashionable person she was--is. I don't want to forget how she yelled "SIR YOU ARE VERY HOT" to a shirtless guy in the park or how she was able to fit like seven marshmallows in her mouth during the Chubby Bunny challenger or how she got me into the high-waisted skirt craze.
She was--is--one of my best friends, and I want to remember all of her.
So happy birthday, Jayah, wherever you are. I miss you <3