Okay. So… in my “what to expect” post about what I’ll be sharing on Friday’s I said that I would possibly share excerpts from my memoir in the future. However, I have been so taken back by all of the support I’ve received thus far with my blog, I decided to share a huge excerpt (from my memoir) today! *Cue celebratory balloon & confetti toss!
The portion I’m sharing is what I assume to be chapter four & is totally unedited. It’s the very, very first draft of this particular piece, so it’s very, very raw (& I’m so very, very freaking out about sharing it). I would really love some feedback, of all kinds, about this piece.
Here goes nothing…
After a month of disconnect, it was Bj’s 19th Birthday. I figured the least I could do was give him a Birthday call. He didn’t answer the first time, so I hung up and called again. He answered.
“Hey! I just wanted to call and wish you a Happy Birthday!,” I said, suddenly excited to be talking to him. It seemed like he was somewhere loud. Somewhere where people appreciated and loved him.
“Thanks! I’ve missed you!” He said excitedly, “But hey, can I call you right back? I’m out to dinner with my family right now.”
I immediately felt like I was missing out. “Ya, of course! Have fun tonight.”
“Will do, love.”
“I miss you too… by… the… way…,” I trailed off.
I wasn’t sure if he heard me, so I waited up the rest of the night for his call back. I must’ve fallen asleep because It wasn’t until I woke the next morning to my alarm, that I realized I hadn’t talked to him again. With a fresh morning and new text from Sosa, I carried on with my day. I showered, got ready, and headed to class. It was a typical day of classes, brief conversations with my roommates, and falling asleep before any homework had been done on my tiny twin bed in my dorm room.
The next day I skipped all of my classes for my cheer team’s golf event. I was cheering for a different colleges’ team because I worked with the coach previously. The event went by fast. It started really early with coffee and pastries before the men tee’d off and the afternoon was spent tumbling and stunting on the part of grass that you weren’t allowed on. By the end of the tournament, the golfer’s were drunk and the cheerleaders were bored. We weren’t allowed to have our cell phones on us, so as soon as my coach wasn’t in sight I went to where my purse was hiding to grab my phone. I, of course, was hoping for texts from friends and Sosa, but all I had instead were 7 missed calls and a text saying, “call me,” from my Mom. Before I could respond or call back, my Mom was calling me again.
“Hey, sorry, I’m at a cheer event, everything okay?” I said, knowing already that something was wrong.
“Tara…?” She said, crying.
“What? What’s going on Mom?” I said frantically.
“There’s been… an accident,” she said, choking back tears, “Someone’s been in a car accident.”
“It… It was Bj,” and before she could say any more she began to cry hysterically.
I knew it was bad, but I didn’t feel anything in that moment. My Mom was always dramatic about things, so I assumed it might have been just a fender bender.
“Okay… what does that mean?” I said annoyingly.
“Tara, it’s really bad,” she finally got it together and continued, “why don’t you see if you can get home and then call me.”
Of course, I couldn’t do as she said, so I pressed it further. Frantically, I asked her what was going on. I needed every detail. “…What do you mean it’s bad? Like a broken leg? Arm? What?”
Finally, she gave in and answered my request. “He… he… he rolled his truck and he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt. His brain stem was crushed and he’s currently in surgery. They don’t know if he’s going to make it,” she explained between tears and gasps of breath.
I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t breathe. I felt like the air was being pulled from my lungs.
“Tara? Honey, are you there?”
“Honey, why don’t you sit down. Please don’t dri…” She said before I hung up. I ran to the bathroom, opened the handicapped stall door, closed and locked it behind me, and fell to the floor. I felt dizzy and still couldn’t breathe.
I must’ve blacked out because the next thing I remember is being surrounded by other voices. When I opened my eyes I could see my teammates’ feet below the stall door and could hear them asking, “Tara, are you okay?” I peeled myself off the floor and opened the door. While I pushed through their smiling faces and made my way to the sinks, I explained, within a few words, what was happening. The large mirror above the sinks exposed my red cheeks and smeared mascara. As I began to splash water on my face, one by one a cheerleader appeared behind me. Each one speaking consecutively about experiences they heard of or people they knew that had been in a car accident and didn’t die. Without any response to them, I walked out of the bathroom, grabbed my belongings, and headed straight to my car. I didn’t even ask If I could leave, I just did. I drove home bent over the steering wheel with the windows down and no music on. No tears fell during the drive and no thoughts were had.
As soon as I made it back to the dorms, I jumped on my bed and called my Mom. The rest of the evening was spent in my cheer uniform sans the shoes and socks, talking with my roommates, bouts of hysterical episodes, and phone calls with my Mom.
The next morning I woke to my alarm with a puffy face and stuffy nose. I remembered everything, but I couldn’t cry, so I started getting ready for the day of classes. After my second class, my Mom called and told me I should sit down. I hung up with her and made my way back to the dorms, knowing that she was going to tell me he didn’t make it. Oddly, I felt so numb and couldn’t feel much of a reaction. Before I made it to the front door of my room I called my Mom, because I figured I didn’t need to sit. I knew what she was going to say anyway. By the time she finally said, “They pulled the plug this morning,” I had already made it to my dorm. I barely walked through the front door and into the kitchen, when she finished saying, “he’s dead, Tara, I’m so sorry honey.” Suddenly, the tears I couldn’t cry earlier that day began to fall from my eyes. I lost my balance and fell to the floor. And that’s where I laid for the next few hours, curled into a ball on my side, with my belongings spread nearby.
What a sight it must’ve been for my roommate Samantha when she came home that evening. She was stopping by for a quick dinner before she had to head to her night class. I didn’t realize I had laid there through sunset. She helped me off the floor without saying a word and walked me to her room. I laid on her bed, motionless, while she grabbed water and crackers from the kitchen. She tried to force feed me and spoke her first words.
“Did he die?” She asked, so sweetly and calmly.
Tears uncontrollably fell from my eyes. Without words, she knew the answer to her question.
Whew! I know it was a long one and if you’ve made it this far, just know I have insane butterflies and cannot wrap my head around the fact that I just shared this.
Also, here’s a picture of Bj & I from a long time ago: