16 Candles

16 Candles

by Nadia Ibbetsom

Skylar woke up very happy one morning, because it was her 16th Birthday. Becoming sixteen was a big deal to her, and she wanted to make the very best out of it. She went downstairs, walking past her mother who was in the kitchen, herr mother was just simply sitting there and did not say a word. Then her father came downstairs, he also walked right past her. Skylar kept wondering to herself, over and over, but was still so confused that she ran upstairs. She got dressed for school and fixed her hair. She walked into her little brother Justin’s room, as he was fixing his school tie in the mirror. Skylar called out to him, but he did not budge or turn around. Skylar was in a panic. She ran downstairs, and saw her family get into the car. She followed, thinking that ignoring her was just a prank or maybe a surprise? Her family stopped at a graveyard, walking towards a small tombstone. With the name of Skylar Williams. That was her.

It all started a week before on Skylar’s 16th birthday. Skylar went to a concert with her friends downtown. They went to see their favorite bank. Skylar was so happy.  She went with her two girlfriends, and three other boys. That night they all got drunk at the concert, and decided to still drive home. Because he was older and the only one with a license, Brandon, Skylar’s good friend, was the one driving. As they got onto the bridge, they drove over the long river beneath them. They blasted music, laughed, sang and did not pay attention to their surroundings. Brandon was looking away, until Skylar screamed, “Truck!” That was it. They flew off the bridge crashing into the river. Skylar remembers going down under the water, but then everything turned black.

Skylar broke down, dropping to the grass on her knees. Her mother placed Skylar’s charm bracelet on top of her grave, following with flowers and a pink candle – Skylar’s favorite color.  They cried in silence, while Skylar got flashbacks from the crash and started to put the  pieces together. The name Tara Richards caught Skylar’s eye on the tombstone across from hers. That was her best friend, who had been in the car. Soon enough, Skylar had found everyone’s name she had crashed with. Skylar was dead, nobody can either see or hear her. But she still decided to get more information, especially about why she was still lingering in this world where she didn’t belong.

Skylar walked to her high school, down the block from her house. Kids were crying everywhere, especially teachers and staff. Her locker, and the others were decorated by students with candles, flowers, and pictures. Signs saying, “R.I.P” or “We miss you”,and “Happy Birthday Skylar”. Skylar was so heartbroken, seeing her classmates and teachers walk through the halls with so much sadness. All she thought was, why did I go to that concert? After roaming through so many hallways she seen one of her best friends Marissa Lewis at her locker. Staring at a picture of her and Skylar, and slowly tearing up. There’s something you don’t know about Marissa. She was supposed to go to the concert that night, but she refused because she didn’t like the fact that they were drinking. Marissa felt guilty for the death of her friends, especially for letting Skylar go. Also, Skylar and Marissa got into an argument that night. Ever since then, they haven’t talked but now it was too late.

Skylar walked slowly through the halls, not knowing of what to do. She thought to herself, why am I even here? She was completely invisible, she had no way of proving she was still in this world. She had to show she was still here, looking over her family and friends. Skylar walked into the cafeteria, instead of everyone happily laughing all she saw was the sad faces of every student. Conversations were not about good grades, sports, or fun weekends, it was all about the crash. She found Marissa again, sitting by herself studying for a test. Marissa was super smart, she often helped Skylar with her math work. Skylar never got to thank Marissa for not wanting Skylar to go to the concert that night. So much guilt ran through her body, and hit her heart. She wanted to call out and scream, but could not. After many hours of simply wondering and  lingering around school, was over.

That night at Skylar’s house, her family had a small cake for her. A pink cake, with exactly sixteen candles. They had her picture on it too. They did it out of respect, and even Marissa came over. As they sat in silence, Skylar came over to the table and watched everyone celebrate her birthday. She didn’t want to leave them, and she wished this moment could last forever. If only they could see her. So, Skylar blew out the candles, after the song. She wanted to show a sign she was still there. Her family and Marissa saw the candles blow out, and finally saw Skylar’s reflection. They tried reaching for her, but Skylar was just a spirit you could not touch. They tried reaching for her, but Skylar was just a spirit you could not touchTheir eyes got wide, and they paused. No one could believe what was actually happening. Skylar felt happy she got to show them she was okay. She wanted to show her family that they should not feel guilty and to know she would always be with them.

Soon enough, Skylar crossed over, knowing now the only thing she needed was hope. The hope that her and her family lost due to the crash. Thankfully, everything was finally at peace. But, most importantly Skylar got to spend her last birthday with her family and best friend.

Nadia Ibbetson is a student at String Theory Schools in Philadelphia.