October 9, 2012

[ 3 ]

“Hey!” Ding.

“Aw, hey…”

“How are you sista?”

“Uhm I’m good I’m good, you?” My fingers were texting fast but they were shaking. Do I skip the small talk? Do I bring it up?
“Gosh, same. It’s been forever, what’s new??”

“Well,” I didn’t know how to say it. It had only been 24 hours. “Do you remember the girl…”


My heart flops on it’s side as a vibrant purple bomber jacket runs away with my phone, pulling out the jack and leaving my headphones dangling from my ears. Sammi’s soundcloud abruptly stopped.

“What the...FUCK! HEY!”

I run faster than I’ve ever run before. I’m gonna get her back. I’m gonna fucking get her.

Past the line of pedestrians. Away from the open doors of the bus. Flying thru the empty lot of dead grass and out the fence on the other side, into the McDonald’s parking lot.

As soon as I reach the asphault it’s like I opened my eyes. She was gone. I expected her to just be standing there, talking with friends. But she was gone.

“You have no idea what was on that phone!!!!” I cry, tears welling up in my throat. My voice was so loud it almost echoed in the daylight. I stand tall on an island curb in the drive thru, not giving a shit about the people in the cars below me. I couldn’t believe how fast my heart was racing. I couldn’t believe she was gone.

It felt like slow-motion, my legs heavy with adrenaline as I walk back to the bus stop. I’m gonna find a way to get it back, I have to get her back…

Solutions paced my mind for the next 25 minutes, but by the time the bus dropped me off at my corner tears were streaming down my face in defeat. I didn’t know this feeling. I felt like I was sinking.

I lost the music I had saved on my phone. I lost the photos. I lost the last text message.

I’ll see you soon! Love you.

Two days later, I sat at my computer, going through old photo-booth videos. I tried to write a new song, but only broken poems came out. Nothing sufficed, inside me was too big a wave to let it just crash. It needed time. So I had resorted to old videos to jog my musical memories. Suddenly, the songs started to pause themselves. Then the videos started to skip. Then that scary twirling loading mouse popped up and everything stopped. Force quit? I pushed buttons and clicked and clicked. My heart raced as I begged for the video to keep playing…

Black. The screen went dark. My heart stopped for probably a literal second and I slowly shut it. That same, heavy feeling dragged the laptop to close on itself. My face went limp and my body numb.

I tried to get it fixed, but it was too old. My computer was lost. The first photo in that photobooth was a picture of my mom and dad, they had left it for me when they moved me into the dorm. I thought it was so funny, and so sweet. Their proud faces. They’re not big on surprises or mushy-gushy parent stuff. They show their love in other ways. But this photo was special. It’s what normal parents would do...and I still remember the lump in my throat when I saw it.

The second photo was a double chin face Sammi and I made. The third was wide eyed, curious new friends. The fourth was us laughing, and the fifth was a video we later made. We put on beanies and San Francisco jackets and recorded us singing Folsom Prison. Thank God she sent that video to Frankie. It lives on the internet now. But the others are gone.

One. Two. They say bad things come in threes.

Three. My computer.

Two. My phone.

One. Her.

I remember the first day I met Sammi, I don’t think I could ever forget it. People say when the feeling is strong, the memory stays. Sammi had the brightest blonde hair I’d ever seen. It was fine and long and flowed over strong shoulders. She had incredibly light blue eyes that looked like clouds but somehow felt as deep as the ocean. She grunted and dropped all of her bags in my doorway, and I cracked up laughing. Her energy was so huge and bright, I immediately liked her. I was standing on my bed hanging things, and she introduced herself.

“I know,” I laughed. “I already met the other two.”

“Fuck yeah!! This dorm RULES.” She smiled and dragged her stuff into the next room.

Later that night, the four of us (Sam, Sammi, Heather and I) got drunk off the wine our parents bought us and got to know each other. It wasn’t long before the other dorm rooms heard the laughter and joined our party. Then were lighting candles, singing songs, playing dress up...smoke break. Down to the DSA — designated smoking area.

After Sammi died, Shirin had a dream. It was all of us, the entire 7th floor (the art majors) down at the DSA smoking. Sammi and I were sitting on the concrete ledge, leaning against the fence, it was nighttime. Shirin said then something happened and Sammi had to leave. We walked her over to the end of the parking lot and each hugged her goodbye. She was vibrant, white, and almost glowing. We sent her off in an elevator like beam of light, and off she went. She said she loved us.

One of the first times I met Emily, she told me that Sammi said to her once, “After I die, I’m going to come to people in their dreams. Just like my grandma did!”

Before she died, Sammi wrote a catalog of songs about life, death, and grief with her brother Frankie. They were making a musical called The Funeral, about their grandmother. She went to New York every break that first and second year to work on it with him -- they had just finished it before she died. All the songs were recorded and they had hundreds of video documentation of them working on it. Frankie recording, Sammi playing guitar and being silly.

She speaks to us in her music, so SO vividly. The last song she uploaded to her SoundCloud was an original song, unrelated to the musical, called City Girl and at the end of it, it kinda sounds like she’s crying.

“I’m gonna be out there on my own. Oh, don’t stop taking care of me, no darlin’. This City Girl’s all alone.”

We’ll never stop Sammi girl, and because of you, we’ll never be alone.

<3 <3 <3

ariana tibi