“I hope the wind carries you to the farthest dogwood tree along the east coast, and that the stars shine just a little bit brighter where you’re planted.”
That was the quote printed underneath Emma Lockley’s picture that was hanging in our school’s memorial. I grimaced at the picture they chose for her; her school picture, really? I didn’t know Emma too well. We had English and Biology together, but I didn’t sit near her. In fact, I hadn’t mumbled more than, “Can I borrower a pencil from you?” the whole school year.
I still remember the day that letter got sent out to all our parents informing them of Emma’s death. Texting and driving. They said she died instantly. I went home that day and sat through a lecture from mom and dad about the dangers of texting and driving. My arms were crossed as I nodded through each, “It can happen in the blink of an eye.” And “It’s the other drivers, not you.” Dad thought it was best to download that app that shuts your phone off while in the car. I was annoyed, but I complied.
I scrolled through Facebook that night reading each person’s status – all dedicated to Emma. It had been a week since her passing, but our high school was still shaken up. I think it was a wakeup call to a lot of the students; everyone thinks they are invincible at that age.
I clicked open Emma’s profile. She had a big smile on her face in her default picture, the kind that looks candid, like right after you settle from a long hard laugh. She had on a navy sundress with a mustard yellow cardigan. She was standing in a field with her strawberry blonde hair blowing in the wind; typical senior portrait.
I clicked through a few other photos. There were some goofy duck face pictures, prom photos and team portraits from the cheerleading squad. One photo stuck out to me, she was on the top of a pyramid during our school’s pep-rally. She had one leg held high in the air, with the other hand balled into a fist high in the air. The odd thing about this photo was that she had a frown on her face. I remembered this photo from our yearbook, it was one of the first few pages of the Homecoming section.
I dug through my bookshelf looking for the yearbook. I couldn’t believe they had published such an awful photo. Books smacked into each other as I pulled the yearbook from the shelf and started thumbing through the pages. Just as I had thought, they had printed this photo. I looked closely at Emma’s face, except in this photo she was smiling. In fact, it wasn’t just a smile. It was a full-blown mouth open type of smile.
I ran back to my computer and looked closely at the same picture, she was definitely frowning in this picture. Maybe they took two shots that looked the same? I huffed at the difference and clicked out of the screen. I scrolled through her page and read a few of the posts on her wall.
I have thought about you every day. Your memory will live on with me, I hope you are enjoying it up there.
Fly high up there, thanks for letting me copy your homework. You were always way smarter than me.
Always missed, but never forgotten.
I was starting to feel the depression radiate off my screen, I figured that was enough Facebook for one night. I scrolled to the top of the page to click out of the screen when I noticed something that frightened me to my core, Emma’s face was now frowning in her default picture.
I enlarged the picture and glared down at every facial feature. How was she frowning, I know she was smiling just seconds ago, suddenly, I hear a “ding” sound. I click out of her picture, and down in the right-hand corner of my Facebook, there was a message from Emma Lockley.
I felt my insides twist as the weight of the matter settled.
I don’t know how something like this could be possible. Surely, someone had hijacked her Facebook account.
I re-read the message a few times before I fainted.
The text read, “HELP.”