Walk away. Don’t read this; it’s far too horrible to bear. Head my warning, reader, this tale of my worthless life is but a small yet melancholy grain of sand on the beach that is the universe.
His name is Danny. A name in an ocean of people, I know, but he is so much more than that to me. I’ll take you back, ten or so years ago to how it all began. It was a mild September morning, the dew still fresh and the sky still dark. My mother walked me to the bus stop. It was my first day of school and my mom burst into tears on the way there.
“Mom!” I yelled. “I’ll be okay, I promise!”
“O-oh, alright,” she gasped between sniffles.
I slowly let go of her hand and treaded up the stairs of the bus. I waved and smiled at my mother who was at this point bawling like a baby. As the yellow monster’s door closed, I started prowling the aisles for a seat. Some were full; some people would rather sit alone than with me. I passed over all of them except for one in the very back of the bus. A boy of my age sat alone, staring blankly out of the window.
“E-excuse me,” I said softly. “Can I sit here?”
I seemed to startle him. He whipped his head around with such urgency and vehemence it startled me as well!
“Oh, hi. You scared me,” He said quite shaken.
“Oh, sorry… can I sit here?”
“Yeah, sure…” he trailed off. We sat in silence for what seemed like hours. I started to study his features. I stared at his dark eyes and his lemon-yellowish blonde hair.
“My name is Danny. What’s yours?” he said out of the blue.
“O-oh, it’s Isabella Nicole,” I recovered. He frightened me by asking such a direct question so quickly. And I was not paying attention!
“You have two whole first names?!” he asked, so astonished at the possibility of having two first names.
“I guess so…” I replied.
“Cool!” he shouted so amazed at such a thing. We sat and talked all the way to school.
“Who’s your teacher?” I pondered.
“Mine’s too!” I squealed excitedly. We walked to class together, and we played at recess together as well. We spent the entire day together.
“Hey, you wanna come over after school today?”
“Sure!” he answered with much vigor. Once again, we rode together on the bus home. We talked about our favorite songs, our favorite things to do, and other things children talk of. We finally had gotten to my stop, and my mother awaited my arrival anxiously.
“Bella, dear! How was your first day of school?”
“Oh, mama, it was so much fun! I even made a new friend!” I squirmed excitedly.
“…Hi….” Danny whispered shyly. “…I’m Danny,”
“Why hello there, Danny! Pleased to meet you young man,” Mother said with a twinkle in her eye. “I wish I would’ve known Bella was bringing a friend home or I would’ve made snacks…” She trailed off, worrying about the snacks she thought she should’ve made.
“That’s okay, ma’am,” he replied modestly.
Mother walked us home; Danny and me racing to see who would be at the door first. We approached the house with my mother walking behind us. She inserted the key in the lock, turning it just enough to open the door. I rushed in, Danny following fearfully behind as we went to my room. All afternoon we played games like ‘the frog prince’, ‘candy land’, ‘dungeons and dragons’ and other far away adventures. As we were playing ‘Robin Hood’, my mother knocked on the door.
“Bella? I brought you and Danny some snacks.” she told me as she handed us the tray of cookies. “I also thought you might want to know that the sunset will be soon,”
“Really? Wow today went real fast! Come on, Danny, let’s bring our snacks outside. I wanna show ya’ somethin’!”
I tugged Danny out to the backyard just before sunset. I took him to our enormous oak tree right beside our back fence.
“Come on up!” I shouted, lumbering from branch to branch.
“Me? Climb? Up there? Oh, I-I don’t know…”
“Don’t be such a ‘frady cat! Climb on up!”
“Oh…okay,” he sorely shouted up to me. He slowly climbed up branch by branch with care. He found me awaiting his arrival at the top.
“Isn’t it Priii-ty?” I questioned.
“What?” he retorted; confused.
“That, silly!” I pointed to the western sky; it showed a symphony of yellows, oranges, and reds going down with the setting sun.
“Wow!” he quietly screamed. We stayed up in the tree, staring at the sky until mom said it was time for him to go home. I told him good-bye and that I would see him on the bus the next day.
Our friendship grew as we did; getting larger and larger each year. We were best friends all throughout grade school and high school-well, most of high school anyway…. Each day was the same routine: bus ride to school, school, bus ride from school, come home, do our homework, hang out, and go up the old oak tree in my yard to watch the sunset. Before I knew it we were juniors in high school.
I was at my locker to get my books for sixth period, and when I closed it, Danny was waiting to go to class with me (as always).
“Happy Birthday, Bella!” He shouted.
“Awww, thanks man,” I thanked him. “But thank God it’s Friday, right?”
“Totally. But you’ll freak over what I got you,”
“Oh, really? What’d you get me, a pair of socks?”
“No, but since you were so mean I guess I’ll just have to take these back…” he condescended in a sing-song tone as he waved the gift in my face.
“Oh my God!” I screamed. “Two front-row tickets to Simple Plan’s concert tonight?!”
“-Aaand backstage passes,” he said with a sly smile.
“Oh my god, thank you SO much!”
“Pick you up at seven?”
“Now who said I was taking you?” I picked at him.
“Why you little-!” he yelled as he picked me up and carried me in class.
I couldn’t concentrate for the rest of the day. I was way too psyched for the concert that night and meeting my favorite band of all time. I twirled my hair and daydreamed of everything, and how perfect it would be. We rode home in Danny’s car and talked of nothing but the concert. He dropped me off at my house, telling me he would be here at seven after he had gotten ready. I couldn’t decide on anything to wear, I was so nervous. I decided on jeans and a t-shirt. Chances were that I was going to buy an awesome Simple Plan tee at the concert, so I just decided I would go simple. I was so amped and pumped on going I was ready two hours early and just paced until Danny arrived with the car, the tickets, and the backstage passes. Suddenly I hear the car horn honk.
“Get in!” he yelled from his car.
“Coming!” I yelled. I told mom good-bye and that I would be home after the concert was over. Before she could say another word I raced out the door and to the car. I would not waste another moment- I was meeting Simple Plan. Everything was going amazingly. My best friend was driving me to the concert of the century; only to meet the band when it was over.
We got to the arena an hour before the concert had started. We bought matching t-shirts and novelty items for the event. We went to find our seats in the sea of people that was the crowd. One of the funniest parts was when Danny sat down, he had so much food he could barely see the stage! I choked on my laughter as he shoved down all of the snack food. Finally the concert was about to begin! My anticipation was at its high, waiting in these last few seconds. At last, the band came out and the crowd went wild in frenzy. They played all of my favorite songs: Astronaut, Untitled, Shut up, Summer Paradise, and my all-time favorite song ever, Perfect. They played it last.
After the concert, we looked for where we would gain entry to meet Simple Plan. We showed the security guards our passes so that we could go inside. Danny knocked on the door, and after that all we could do was wait for the door to open. Finally, the door came apart; revealing all of the members of Simple Plan, in plain sight! I just could hardly believe they stood before my very eyes.
“Hi, it’s nice to meet you,” Pierre said to me. All I could do was gape my mouth open and mumble.
“Y-y-you’re Simple Plan… you’re Simple Plan, oh my God you’re Simple Plan!” I screamed at the realization. They all laughed, including Danny. I knew they were all joking, so laughed along with them.
“Sorry, this is my friend Bella. It’s her birthday and we are both really big fans and all, you’re our favorite band-” Danny explained but was interrupted.
“It’s your birthday? Well Happy Birthday! Hey guys,” David called to his band mates. “Come on,” They all gathered together and started to sing Happy Birthday to me. To me! I was so happy, and Danny was there right by my side, singing with them. It was one of the best birthdays ever, despite the events that followed. They talked with us for a while, until the band had to start packing up. I actually took a picture with them. It was the entire band, Danny, and I. I still have the picture on my dresser in my room to this day. We walked out to the old station wagon to leave. Danny was driving us home; he insisted on it because I said I was tired.
“‘Cuz we lost it all, nothing lasts forever, sorry I can’t be, perfect!” We sang in harmony on our drive. We laughed and talked and sang all the way home. In that moment, life was amazing. We came upon a traffic light, an ordinary traffic light to anyone, but now significant to me. The light had just turned green as we crossed. Everything was all right until I had seen the headlights of a black Suburban heading straight towards the car. I screamed at Danny to duck, but he turned to me and covered my head. Everything soon became a blur of terror. I was so terrified as the Suburban t-boned the car. I blacked out after the accident was over. I awakened on the side of the rode by sirens and flashing lights. I looked around frantically for Danny. I went up to everyone asking for him. I called out his name, screaming it into the icy night air. Finally I went up to the right person; an EMS and I asked him frantically the question that I had been asking for what seemed an eternity.
“Where’s Danny? Where is he? The guy in the car with me; I need to see him, please sir, please tell me you know where he is,” The man pointed inside the ambulance with a somber face.
“He’s in there…” He trailed off. I thanked the man and rushed to his side. I cannot even describe to you, my dear reader, how he looked in that moment. I don’t want to. All I can say is that he looked slaughtered.
“Danny! Are you okay? I’m so glad I found you, when they fix you up we need to call our parents and-”
“…They can’t fix me up, Bella; I only have a few minutes left….”
“That’s not funny! Get up and call your parents! Come on, get up!” I said, hysterical with tears at this point.
“Bella, I’m sorry. I want to be here; I want to be here with you…I love you Bella; I always have and I always will. It just really bites- Ow” he whimpered. “-that I got up the courage to tell you this now, instead of earlier. Bella, I know you may not, but I hope you feel the same….” He trailed off with a croaking voice. I couldn’t speak. I knew these were the last moments of his life, I finally grasped the truth. I decided not to waste another precious moment of his life while he had it. Crying; I leaned down and kissed him for the longest time until I could pull away.
“… I won’t ever forget you, Bella, always remember that I love you, even after death… I love…” He looked up at me with blank eyes, staring into nowhere. I held him. I held him until EMS had to pull me away. It turns out, a drunk driver ran a stop light, and we just happened to be in the way.
The viewing was Sunday night; Mom had to pull me away from his coffin. I held tight to the lifeless body that used to be my best friend. He was wearing the matching t-shirts we got at the concert that bittersweet evening. I didn’t say anything that night. The funeral was the next day; I couldn’t restrain my tears. I yelled at the Paul bearers. I screamed, begged, pleaded, and cried for them not to take him away.
“Don’t take him! You can’t! He has a life to live! We were supposed to be together always! Don’t take him!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. The day was a wet, rainy, miserable day. My mother walked me inside, bearing silent tears as she walked me to the couch.
“I’m so sorry, Bella, I’m so, so sorry…” The sky still gray and miserable, I crawled to my room. I turned on what I had always listened to in times like this: Simple Plan. I cried for hours, the sky still dark and gloomy, and the sunset unable to be seen. I turned to no one in my solitude. Mom came to the door, knocking, pounding, begging to know if I was okay. The months that followed were the worst in my life. At my school, there was a candle-light vigil for him. The staff asked me to speak along with his mother and father.
“Thank you all for attending this candle light vigil for someone…” my voice trailed off as I started to tear up “Who was very important to me,” I started to cry, tears falling down my face and onto the speech that I had prepared in remembrance of my best friend. “I have known Danny Sandley since our first day of kindergarten. We were inseparable, even to the last time that he was on this earth. We were coming home from the Simple Plan concert, and we reached a stop light. This stop light is just another of many in this country, but it bears significance to me. The light turned green, and we started to cross the intersection when a black Suburban T-boned the car from the left side. Instead of ducking himself, he covered me,”
I was a wreck reading this to the faculty and students of the high school. “He sacrificed his life, for me to keep on living, so I could give this speech to you all today. Please, with these candles remember the short but important life of my best friend and true love, Danny Sandley…” I ran off of the stage and drove home as fast as I could.
I slept all day the next day. I couldn’t move, sleep, or eat. I remembered every detail of the horror story that had changed my life. I had gotten up out of bed; it was near sunset. I had done what I hadn’t done in months. I had gone up in our Old Oak tree and watched the grand array of light fade when the wind whistled and said: ‘remember me’. At that moment I knew it was him, it was Danny telling me that our love would surpass death itself as the wind passed into the sunset. I loved him, and I always will. We will always have our love, and we will always have our Old oak tree.