The Day I’ll Never Forget

Kelsey Campbell, Staff Writer & Featured Columnist

Some days are clearer than others. Some days begin and end in such a hurry that they get lost among the pages of the thick hardback book of life. Others haunt your memory, forever occupying a section of your brain.

One particular day I remember down to the last second. I couldn’t forget it if I tried. And I’ve tried. And tried. And tried.

I awoke mid-morning feeling nothing but normal. No headache, no soreness in my legs. Tired, but not exhausted. My lack of energy was not a cause for alarm. We’re teenagers – by definition, we’re lazy. I saw the empty bed next to me and moseyed down the stairs and into the kitchen where my best friend Avery’s mother had made us breakfast. The meal was neither glorious nor foul – but for some reason I can still recall the scent of the biscuits baking in the oven.

After breakfast, Avery and I retreated back up to her room to chat about girly teenage things; boys, gossip, and the latest Pretty Little Liars spoilers. Looking back on it, I long for the innocence of my embarrassed blush, or the annoying girlish squeals that came out of my mouth thinking about her mother or brother finding out the details of our conversation.

At some point we decided to make plans for later that day. Just an ordinary Saturday night spent with some of my closest friends, a night I expected to be filled with a few good laughs, but nothing monumental. I texted my dad to ask for permission to spend the night out. He replied, “You’ll have to come home first.”

I remember thinking out loud to Avery, “Why is my family so weird?” to which she replied, “Whose family isn’t weird?” It dawned on me that it would be weird if my family wasn’t weird. So the normal day continued.

Around four, my dad texted me and told me he was outside. The plan was to go home, spend an hour talking to my family, pack a sleepover bag and come right back to Avery’s to kick off the normal Saturday night festivities. As usual, I thanked Ms. Connell for having me over and listened as she shut the door behind me.

My ordinary Saturday continued to be ordinary for two more steps down a sidewalk I had walked too many times to count. I took a closer look at my dad’s car and noticed the two front seats were occupied. He was walking towards me, his head down and his eyes refusing to meet mine. My body knew what had happened before my mind could process it.

My dad quickly made his way to me, putting his right hand on the small of my back and his left hand on my shoulder as he slowly escorted me to the car. He opened the door and I gasped as I saw my grandparents sitting in the front seat. My stomach grew queasy as I noticed how rigidly they sat, like chiseled stone. As I slid into the back seat, I felt my body shut down in sections as I braced myself for the news. I could feel all eyes on me as I stared blankly at an old stain in the back of the driver’s seat.

In most high pressure situations, people feel like the moment of truth couldn’t come soon enough. I was the opposite. I was praying for seconds, begging for the freedom that this news would soon steal from me. And then it happened, whether I was ready or not. My grandmother said, without wavering, almost as if she had practiced, “Your mother has passed.”

Just like that, every seemingly normal event that I had partaken in that day was laughing at me. The irony smacked me in the face. Just like that every crack in Avery’s ceiling was forever etched in my brain. Just like that the smell of Ms. Connell’s slightly burnt biscuits stained my nose. Just like that an ordinary day I wouldn’t have even remembered fifty years from then became The Day I’ll Never Forget.