I sat in the truck, staring out the window. It was a bleak, dreary, day outside. Fitting for a funereal. My brother was in the driver's seat, waiting for the light to turn green. I remember when he learned the news. When he learned that she died.
Unfortunately, I had to tell him. When Sarah died. Sarah was my best friend. And she was my brother's girlfriend.
It was my sophomore year in high school. My brother had just returned from his first suspension of the year. He was known as the town bad boy and, because of his reputation, never had a girlfriend. Most of the other parents wouldn't let their daughters near him. He wasn't a bad guy; he just had a bit of a temper that got him into bad situations.
Anyway, it all started that day. Sarah and I were in the lunch room and this burly jock came over to our table.
"Hey there! Your name is Sarah, right?" He asked.
"Yeah." Sarah said, taking another bite of her lunch.
"I heard you were really smart, so I was wondering if maybe you could help me out a bit." He smiled. I didn't trust him, and neither did Sarah. I could tell.
"Depends on the subject." She said.
"Physical education…" Obviously, we knew it wasn't football practice he was talking about.
"Not interested." We said simultaneously. He didn't take rejection lightly.
"And who are you? When did I include you in this conversation?" He said, turning to me.
"Doesn't matter, I gave you my input anyway." He grabbed my shirt and pulled me up to face him.
"Listen, bitch, no one would have sex with you if you were the last girl on the planet." His breath smelled like onions.
"I would appreciate it if you would unhand my sister." My brother suggested. He dropped me, and got in my brother's face.
"And who might you be?" Said the jock.
"I would be Michael Harris." He said.
"Oh, so you're the wanna be bad boy. What are you gonna do? Tell my mommy?"
"No. When faced with a problem, I normally turn to Mr. Fist. And Mr. Fist has a bit of an obsession with pounding peoples faces in when they're bugging me." No sooner had he finished his sentence than landed a punch on the boy's cheek. Ever since that incident, Sarah had a small crush on my brother that she harbored from afar, only confiding her feelings in me.
There was a sudden patter on the window. It was raining. 'Fitting,' I thought. Sarah always loved the rain. In fact, she probably loved the rain mostly because of Michael.
It was about a month after the incident at school, which, Michael had gotten ISS for three days for, when Sarah came over for dinner. After dinner it began looking rather nasty so my mom made Michael take Sarah home. They were about halfway to Sarah's house when the rain became very difficult to see through. Michael pulled over to the curb and waited for the rain to let up some.
"Sorry, it might take a while for the rain to let up." Michael said. Sarah nodded. The rain only got worse and soon an hour had passed. By that time my mom had gotten worried about them and decided to call Michael. The phone rang and Michael picked up.
"Hello?" Michael asked.
"Michael, where are you?" My mom asked.
"We're waiting out the rain." He said.
"Okay, call me when you get to Sarah's then." My mom told him.
"'Kay ma." He said and hung up.
"Michael?" Sarah spoke up.
"Why do you always get into fights?" She asked. It was a question many people had wanted to ask, but not many people did.
"I don't know." He said. "Why do you ask?"
"I was just wondering." She said quickly.
"You don't like violence, do you?" He asked. She nodded. They were silent for a moment. "Then I'll stop." She looked up, surprised. "On one condition," He paused. "Will you go out with me?" Needless to say, she said yes.
We passed the old factory. It closed down years ago and put a lot of people out of their jobs. Sarah always wanted to fix it up and turn it into something else. She was never sure what. She was always optimistic. Even when Michael was being a general pain in the ass. But no matter what he did, she always supported him and cheered him on. She was the reason he finished school. No one else really believed in him. But when he crossed that stage, the entire town clapped. She changed him a lot. It was obvious. He got a job. He went to the community college and was majoring in business. He planned on helping Sarah do something to the factory. Though, she still wasn't sure what she wanted to do with it.
It was a sunny day, the day before Sarah and I were to start our senior year, and Michael and Sarah were sneaking into the factory. It was really dusty, but Sarah saw past that.
"Wow. It could be anything." She said her mind racing. She spun around where a spot of light was coming through a hole in the ceiling. Michael ran and grabbed her around the waist and spun her faster. They both laughed. Sarah turned and gave him a small kiss on the lips. She grabbed the picnic basket she set by the opening in the boards where they had entered from. Michael helped her set out the blanket on the floor and they set up their lunch. They began eating.
"Michael! I know what we could turn the factory into!" she said excitedly.
"A restaurant! We could hire waiters and chefs, it would be great!" Michael smiled.
"Whatever you want, Sarah." He smiled and kissed her lips. Once they finished their lunch, they began cleaning up. Sarah reached to put something in the basket and her hand brushed over something hard. She picked it up and it was a small box. She looked at Michael and he nodded. She opened it and gasped at the beautiful ring that stared back at her. Michael took it from her hand and placed the ring on her left ring finger.
"Sarah? Will you marry me?" Needless to say, she said yes.
We turned the corner, onto the road that led to the cemetery. It would still be a few minutes before we reached our final destination. I dreaded every moment of it. Every second was a second closer to realizing she was really gone.
The months after that were full of planning for Michael and Sarah. They set the wedding date for June, the week after graduation. Unbeknownst to Sarah, Michael was in the process of finalizing a contract with the owners of the factory.
Michael picked up Sarah on the day of the meeting. They drove to the business district of one of the near-by big cities and Michael parked in the parking lot of a rather large building. They walked in, Sarah asking questions left and right. When they reached their final destination, Sarah became quiet, seeing the five men in black suits. The meeting went on and Sarah smiled when she saw the deed of the factory being handed to Michael. All of them shook hands and smiled. When they reached Michael's truck, Sarah wrapped her arms around him.
"Thank you! Thank you, Michael!" She smiled and kissed him. They drove home smiling and grinning. It was getting a bit late when they reached the city limits. Sarah began to wake up from a cat nap.
"Are we almost home?" She yawned.
"Almost." He smiled. Sarah smiled back as they headed through a stop light. A split second later, they were hit by a drunk driver.
That was a week ago. Michael had a few injuries, but Sarah struggled. She was bleeding internally and she wouldn't wake from her coma. Michael begged to see her. But no one would let him. Sarah's parents decided it would be best to pull the plug. The look on Michael's face when I told him was pure heart break. I don't know what happened after I left the room, nor do I want to know, but the nurses were called in a few moments later when something shattered.
That brings us to today. Michael has a few bruises left, but other than the emotional stress, he's fine. I'm amazed he can still get behind the wheel. But yet, here he is, pulling into the cemetery. We got out of the truck and walked a few headstones down to where Sarah was buried. Michael brought daffodils, her favorite. He set them in front of the headstone and I sank beside him. The tears steamed down my cheeks, and I wasn't about to stop them. I looked up at him. His eyes were dry. I felt myself grow angry with him. He said he loved her, but he couldn't even cry for her when she died?
"What's wrong with you? You should be down here beside me! How can you not have a tear in your eye? Why! Why Michael!" I screamed.
"I don't want to upset her." He said. It was then I realized how hard it was for him to stand there and not break down. His fists were clenched, he was breathing deeply, as if he really didn't want to. I stood up and looked at the head stone.
"Sorry, Sarah." I said, forcing a smile.
"I'll miss you Sarah. I'm so sorry. I'm sorry we couldn't get married. I'm sorry that you never got to accomplish your dreams. I'm sorry," he choked up. He took a deep breath. "I'm sorry our baby never got a chance at life." I stared at him. He turned to me. "We found out a few weeks ago. We didn't want anyone to know until after the wedding. Before everyone else got there, I told the doctor. I told him to try and save them both. But he couldn't save Sarah, without harming the baby. And he couldn't save the baby if Sarah died. I told him to do what he could, but…apparently that wasn't enough." I stood, shocked. Michael bent down to by the grave. "I love you both. Sarah. Baby." He stood back up and turned to the truck. I followed; still stupefied by the words he had spoken.
It's been five years since Sarah died. Michael can smile a genuine smile again and the factory has been turned into "Sarah's place." I've just graduated college with a degree kindergarten education and will be getting married in two months to a wonderful man. We visit Sarah's grave once a year, and sometimes more, if we're in an especially depressed mood. But the reason I'm standing in front of the grave right now, is unknown to me too. There's something about this place that's peaceful. It's not so much a place of death anymore, but a place to come and remember. I sit down beside the grave where my best friend is sleeping. And I start to sing. I'm not a very good singer, but I'm not the worst.
"Somewhere atop a cloud is where my soul shall rest. When the time comes for me to leave this world, my only hope is for you to remember me as I was; remember me as that happy little shining girl. And as I watch you from my perch above, I'll watch over you and protect you forever. I'll be your guardian angel, you're shining star. As long as you keep me in your memories." I smiled to myself. I looked down at the grave and noticed I wasn't the only one who thought of Sarah. There was a bouquet of daffodils lying in front of the headstone. She's our guardian angel. Watching over us. Isn't that right, Sarah?