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A Perfect Heart 2

written by: Sarah Gent


By that time, I had realized something bad had happened. I assumed that the relay carnival was canceled or something, but that didn't seem major enough to make Shelley cry. I looked at her and she wiped her eyes before speaking. Her words blured as they came out of her mouth. All I understood was that Olivia and Carly were in a car crash and Olivia died. I stood there in shock, I felt a shiver creep up my spine. I heard Mom gasp and Shelley start to shake. She reached her arm around my shoulders and squeezed. I didn't respond. I didn't know what to do. She took my swim bag from my hand, put it in the front seat of the car next to Mom and led me to the other swimmers. I had no idea how to handle the fact. I didn't know what was expected of me. I wanted to crawl in a corner, cry and never see anyone else again. Someone took my hand and squeezed it, I felt my knees collapse and I was on the floor. Tears started pouring out as I knelt there on the white line. I blindly reached for a tissue, blew my nose, and started gasping for breath.

Shelley led all of us to the pool some time later. Time just went by that day; it had no meaning any more. I remember dipping my toes into the water, wishing none of this had happened. I remember seeing someone jump off the life guard chair in their clothes and start swimming laps. I remember seeing a little girl cry, although she didn't know what was going on. I recognized her and gave her a hug, thinking of how Olivia gave her a swim lesson just the day before. I sat down and submerged my entire legs into the water, trying to understand how this could happen.

I remember the vigil that night at the pool. I sat in the corner, refusing to speak to anyone, not being able to cry any more tears. I remember the funeral, again in the corner. I had to stand up during the entire service, but about halfway through I couldn't take it. I felt like I was going to faint so I sat down next to a handicapped teacher that taught at my old school. We went to Olivia's grave then, her white casket over the metal right underneath the big tree. I saw Carly sitting, staring straight ahead, and tried to imagine how she must feel. It was impossible. It hurt enough that Olivia was gone, and then Carly had to deal with the fact that she was the driver of the car. I ran up to their dad and gave him a hug, accidently wiping my newly shed tears on his shoulder. I looked for Carly, and noticed that she seemed to have disappeared. With no one else to talk to, I imagined Livs' grave stone, something I never thought I would be doing. I remember visiting her later and being happy with the words her parents printed underneath her name. ‘She had a perfect heart'. It was completely true. All I could think at the time was that she should still ‘have a perfect heart'.

Now, as I sit on the dock, I realized that there's no explanation for something like that. I used to think that there couldn't possibly be a God if he could allow someone like Olivia to die so young. I decided that God can't control everything. I allowed myself to believe that he swerves in and out of your life, saving you sometimes, but having it out of his power to do so other times. Your life is your story; it's up to you how it ends. Sometimes, horrible mistakes happen end your story early, but that never stops people from rereading it and remembering you forever


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