Caitlinby Samantha Epps, 13
Robbie and Kate Lyn were like my mom and dad. They were always like that to me, though. I’ve known them for about 4 years, but I’ve never really known them. That is until Caitlin died.
When Caitlin died, the world I knew disappeared. And a new world opened up.
Let me tell you about Caitlin. She was the best person I’d ever known. She had long golden hair and bright blue eyes. When I say her hair was golden I mean it. Not just blonde, but gold. And her eyes were as light as the sky, so full of love and care for everything. Everyone who met her liked her. I loved to come over to her house to spend time doing a puzzle, or taking a walk in the park, or just watching a movie with her, Robbie, and Kate Lyn.
Now let me tell you about Robbie and Kate Lyn. That’s Mr. Robbie and Mrs. Kate Lyn to me. But if I could, I would treat them just like my friends and not adults. They’re Caitlin’s parents. Robbie is big and strong, with a blonde hair and a hint of Caitlin’s gold. Even though I would never admit this to anyone, I say this now: Robbie has a great body. Plus he’s the nicest person I’ve ever met, even nicer than Caitlin. Kate Lyn has got Caitlin’s eyes, her name, and her attitude. She’s always willing to have fun and is real motherly at the same time. Sometimes I picture her in a hippie costume saying, “Where is the love?”
Now that I’ve told you about Caitlin’s family, let me tell you about mine. I never felt any real attachment to my mom, dad or brother. They put bread on the table and listened to me talk about my day at school, but otherwise they were nothing like Robbie and Kate. My brother, Noah, and I didn’t really talk much except maybe a little about school sometimes. My mom and dad were pretty much the same mould. Then there’s me: Samantha. I was pretty much like my family until I met Caitlin and saw how much more her family meant to her. And saw how much fun they had together.
One day my family told me that they we were taking a trip to Mexico. Well okay, I thought. Sounds like a good time, I suppose. But the exact same day Caitlin came running up to me in school, smiling like crazy.
“Sam, oh Sammy Sam-eroo!! Guess where you’re going in two weeks?” she asked holding up two fingers in my face, and still smiling.
Caitlin was angry and wouldn’t rest until I could go camping with her. But in the end we simply asked my parents and they said it would be fine if I went with Caitlin and they had a three-travellers discount pack for the airfare anyway. I was so excited about the trip I could hardly contain my eagerness.
However, the trip was the start of a terrible experience.
Robbie was inside the tent. Kate was sitting near the fire. I was by the river trying to carve a stick like Robbie had showed me. Caitlin was about ten feet away from me, gathering stones from the river. And everything happened in a blur of colours and blood.
Caitlin was reaching in to the river trying to grab a stone. She lost her balance. She fell in. The violent rapids carried her. Faster and Faster. She was being pulled under. I screamed. Kate screamed. We chased after her. Robbie dashed out of the tent. His eyes were unlike I had ever seen them. Blood. The rapids slowed. Blood. The red and white colours of the ambulance. The blurred lights. I covered my face. Looked at Caitlin one last time. Screaming. Crying. Blurred through tears, lights, colours, blood.
It would have taken a great effort to get me to talk about that night. We all cried the whole way home. The kind camp director offered to drive us. She must have been glad when we were out of the car because it was so sad. Nobody spoke to each other; we were so overcome by grief. But when we finally reached home, and had no more tears to cry, we did speak.
“Samantha, honey, I am so sorry,” was what Kate said to me. “Stay here until your parents are back.”
And that’s why I ran. I took one look into Kate’s sad blue eyes, and Robbie gold tinted hair and ran out the door in a rush of tears. I ran and ran and ran until I was a good mile away from Caitlin’s house. I wanted to die. I wanted to just disappear and get away from this moment when I felt so horribly awful. I was out of breath. I walked to a bridge overlooking a river a stared into it. I couldn’t help it. I cried my heart out.
But then I thought about Robbie and Kate Lyn and about running away from them. Somehow I felt that I was intruding. I shouldn’t be a part of Caitlin’s family, sharing their sorrow and grief. Ever since I met Caitlin’s parents, I had wished I could have a family like that. So was it fair that I got to be with them and Caitlin didn’t?
“Geez, God,” I thought, “I was happy just knowing Robbie and Kate. I didn’t mind sharing them. You didn’t have to kill her!”
Tears trickled down my cheek. Just then I heard a car pull up behind me. The door opened and closed. Someone was walking up to me. What if it was a killer? A mass murderer? A rapist? I didn’t care. I wanted to die. Please. Please end my pain, I thought.
I heard Robbie’s voice behind me.
But Robbie had been inside the tent. At least I’d been near the river, when Robbie was inside the tent. He had been running but hadn’t tried to catch her when she... no, don’t think about that, I told myself. But I couldn’t help it.
Robbie walked up and looked into the water, standing next to me. He just stood there for a few seconds, staring into the flowing water.
Caitlin was gone. She was gone. Anger surged through me.
I stood there facing him, my face wet and shaking. I didn’t know what I was saying, just that I was so angry I wanted to hurt Robbie… kill him for just standing there, staring into the water, so calm, not doing anything. I buried my head into my hands, and leaned over the bridge sobbing. Wishing that Caitlin would just come back.
Then I heard a sound from next to me. Robbie was crying too.
Shocked, I tried to wipe my eyes as best as I could. What had I done? I had ruined it again. It wasn’t Robbie fault. Why had I said that? I was just so angry.
Robbie wiped his eyes with his sleeve and took a deep breath. “I’m really sorry about Caitlin. I wish I could make her come back. I wish…” He bit his bottom lip to keep from crying again, “I wish I could just die... but please… I know you feel as bad as Kate and I do about this, so just please stay with us. We want you to. Please don’t run. You’re almost like a daughter to us.”
This time it was my turn to hide my tears. I looked anywhere but at Robbie. He thought I was like his daughter. I knew I didn’t deserve this.
We drove back home to find Kate Lyn on the phone.
I didn’t feel like eating anything, more like throwing up, but I didn’t tell her that. I just nodded.
When the pizza came I tried to take a bite, but couldn’t.
I awoke with a start. I was sitting straight up on the couch, sweating like mad and breathing hard. Robbie and Kate were kneeling next to me, looking extremely concerned.
Don’t think about that, I told myself. Robbie opened the door.
“I heard you scream in your sleep from my bed, so Kate and I went to see if you were okay,” Robbie explained. “You were tossing like crazy and sweating and yelling. We didn’t know what to do. But then you just sat straight up, sweating.”
Okay, okay calm down, I told my self. Let’s go over the facts. My parents are in Mexico. Caitlin died just over a day ago. Then Kate and Robbie asked me to stay at their house. I was scared so I ran. Then Robbie came and he was crying. I threw up and fell asleep and then…
I stared at the ground and silent tears ran down my face. No one said or did anything for a few seconds, and then Kate got up and sat next to me. She put her arm around my shoulders and tried to pull me next to her but I pulled away. I wasn’t going to give in. I wasn’t going to make that mistake again.
“Samantha, you have no where to go, though. Your parents are in Mexico and they won’t be back for another few says,” Kate said sadly.
I kept staring at the ground, wishing that I had gone to Mexico with my parents, wishing none of this ever happened. I wanted to die. Finally Kate stopped crying and took my hand.
I heard Robbie make a sound and saw him get up and walk to the kitchen, wiping his face.
I remember waking up sweating and shaking again, but not as bad as the last time. This time when I woke up it was daylight out and Robbie was kneeling down next to me, asking me what happened.
But I won’t describe every detail.
In the end, there was a funeral. I went, of course, and so did my parents. But after that I went to see Robbie and Kate everyday. The truth was, I had never really recovered from Caitlin’s death. But in a way it was like giving up something, but getting something too. Though I had lost my best friend, it was like I was gaining new parents, new people to love and care for me. I never forgot about my real parents because no one could ever replace them. But I also never forgot to visit Robbie and Kate because, like Kate Lyn had once told me: Caitlin would want me too.
And I knew she was right.
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