Today is normally a day where I post in my Fiction Friday. But in light of today’s meaning to me, I’ll be taking the day off to remember a long lost friend.
Thanks for understanding.
Not all memorials need to be for recognizable people, and in fact those who are nearer to us are often the most painful.
Kyra was full of life. She sang in the choir, performed in every talent show and loved to laugh. She was the real deal. She wrote poetry and told it just like it was. She was not afraid and it was because of that we all loved her.
She used to have long braided hair extensions and during class should would work them out of her hair in random places and slingshot them across the room when the teacher wasn’t looking. She stood next to me in the choir and cracked jokes, running her fingers through my hair and telling me I needed to brush my hair more often, playing the part of a Big Momma.
It was a Friday in Choir, we were getting ready for our spring concert. It was a Disney theme and we all spent time coloring in different disney characters that would decorate our gymatorium. Kyra was working on a Lion King scene. I know this because after the concert I claimed that picture for myself and it still lives in my hope chest at my parents house. I don’t remember what picture I worked on. Whispers of a fight between her and another girl in our class were on the rise, and before the end of the day I asked Kyra why she was angry.
“Because,” Kyra answered.
“Ok, well, I will see you Monday,” I answered. The bell rang and we departed for the weekend.
Monday came, but Kyra didn’t. After the second period of the day a friend of mine came running to me in tears down the hallway. I could barely understand the words that came from her mouth and after sometime I finally heard.
“Kyra killed herself.”
“Are you kidding me?” I asked.
“I don’t think so,” my friend responded, her face red with tears.
I didn’t believe it. I had just seen Kyra a few days ago. So I brushed it off, telling my friend that if she were wrong I was going to kill her myself.
I don’t remember how the news was really confirmed, but I knew it was true by recess. It was a sunny day in March and we were able to go out to the black top. I sat off to the side of the basketball court with my friends and none of us spoke.
After recess we adjourned to Choir, where our lovely teacher stood solemnly behind her standing piano. We filed in, the rest of the class seemingly unaware of our grief. When the bell finally rang the others slowly stopped talking. Our teacher, then Miss Price, waited patiently until the last of the chatter had stopped. The absence of Kyra was so very real. And we noted that Kyra’s best friend was also absent that day. We learned later that her friend Megan stayed home sick when she heard the news.
“I guess you have already heard about Kyra,” Miss Price said. Then, overcome by grief, she rested her head on top of her piano and wept. And those of us that loved Kyra wept with her.
Kyra “Providence” Porter took her own life on March 8, 1998. She was 15 years old. Her passing changed me forever. When I look back on my life, there is Before Kyra and After Kyra. None of us were ever the same again, especially Megan. I am still in contact with Megan and I know she is doing well. She is married and seems fairly happy, but I can tell even through our limited contact that in her heart she is still very lonely without Kyra there.
I went to track practice after school and couldn’t focus on any of our drills. I just ran. I ran and ran and ran. Lap after lap, the calls for drills were dull roars in my ears, and then it was over. I climbed into the van my parents had arranged to pick me up and the chipper driver smiled at me.
“How was your day?” she asked smiling.
“A friend of mine died this weekend,” I answered hollowly. The rest of the drive I was silent.
When I was dropped off at home my mother was already there. Someone from school must have called her because she already knew about Kyra.
That night, I sat by the window, a candle burned gently next to me and a pen and paper in my hand. And I wrote the first real poem I’ve ever written. I was 14-years-old. Later that year, the poem appeared in our yearbook next to her picture on her memorial page. And the following year a portion of it was engraved in a plaque that hung on the wall. It has been 14 years since Kyra passed, and I would like to think that her plaque still hangs on the wall in our middle school.
We miss you, Kyra. We are not the same without you.
Your Name Rides on the Wind
A rustle in the trees
A whistle in the wind
The sen setting in the West
The sun rising in the East
The chirp of a bird in the sky
All are signs of life that can go one
After the loss off a loved one
On the wind I hear your laugh
In the sky I see your smile
In the clouds I see your face
And I hear you calling at the night
But I’ll be strong
And I know you don’t want to see us cry
But the tears don’t hurt like the pain does
I burn a candle for you
Just to show I’m thinking of you
In my heart I carry all of the good times as well as the bad
I will carry my memories of you forever
And I’ll be thinking of you
As your name rides on the wind
Kyra “Providence” Porter
October 31, 1983 – March 8, 1998