When Kacey Left - Dawn Green

August 14th

Dear Kacey,

When you left, everything changed. I mean everything. You always hear adults saying some crap about how life can change in an instant. The kind of talk that always made you roll your eyes in that dramatic “please don’t talk to me about this again” way. Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t stay out too late at night. Don’t play with fireworks. Don’t drink and drive—it’s like, we know, already; leave it alone. But for real … life really can change in an instant.

For me, the instant was that phone call from Drea. You know, she called me and asked if I’d heard the news, like it was the latest gossip and she had the first scoop or something. I could hear the excitement in her voice when I told her I hadn’t heard anything about anything. Then she told me—

It was 11:14 in the morning—the “instant” when it all changed: 11:14. That time will never be the same for me again.

I was still sleeping. And when she told me, I actually thought I was still dreaming. Then my mom walked in and I saw the look on her face and I knew it was real.

Drea and I aren’t friends anymore. Friends off!! Just one of the many life changes that happened after

To be honest, I think you were the only reason I was friends with her in the first place. Since you left, she’s actually become kind of popular. I think everyone just feels bad for her. I think she’s using the whole thing to get attention. The last thing I want is to talk to people about it. Which is why, I guess, everyone is so worried about me. My mom says that everyone deals with grief in a different way. Drea wants lots of friends around her and I don’t want any. I just don’t want anyone around me. Just leave me alone!!

I think that’s all I want to write for now.

It’s funny, the OC (obnoxious counselor) woman told me how to start but she didn’t say how I should end.

Later, I guess.

Sticks

August 17th

Dear Kacey,

When you left, I had to start seeing this OC woman twice a week. It’s summertime and there are so many places I’d rather be, things I’d rather be doing—okay, not true. I’d probably be in my room, staring at that stain on my ceiling that you said looks like an elephant. But still, it’s summer and that’s, like, sacred time. Granted, this is officially the crappiest summer ever but still, I should be allowed my own free time. Instead, I’m here, in this stupid yellow office that smells like vanilla candles (you know I hate vanilla). I obviously don’t want to be here, but my mom says I have to go or I’m grounded. When she told me that, I slammed the door in her face and yelled, “Fine, then ground me.” And I would have been totally fine with it, but then my dad came to talk with me and said that sometimes we have to do things we don’t like so others can be happy … or some crap like that. I don’t really care if my mom’s happy or not—I’m the one who lost a best friend—but then he told me that I’d get ten dollars every time I went (something I can’t tell my mom).

So now I’m here and writing in this stupid journal because, every appointment, the OC checks to see that I’m writing something to you. She says she doesn’t really read it, though, just kind of looks to see that I’ve written something. Not sure I believe her, but anyway, this is me, writing something.

This is so stupid.

Sticks

August 23rd

Dear Kacey,

When you left, I stopped sleeping. That’s why it’s 2:19 AM and I’m writing in this STUPID JOURNAL!! Not because I want to (let’s be clear), only because I have nothing better to do.

I can’t sleep. Well, I sleep sometimes—mostly in the day when I’m watching TV. It’s just something about the night. I try falling asleep, but then I start thinking about you and I start to wonder where you are. Did you end up in heaven? You know how I feel about the whole church thing. I had to go, by the way, to your funeral. Well, they didn’t call it a “funeral”; it was a “Celebration of Life”—like somehow that makes it all better. It didn’t feel much like a celebration. It was awkward and weird. It felt like the whole school came