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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
I'm trying to write about painful subjects, and this is another attempt. I'm finding that if I put them on paper, I deal with them better. As for the quality of the writing, I'm not sure. Judge me.

Submitted: April 12, 2007

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Submitted: April 12, 2007




Kaylee was always the crazy type. We were friends, in a sense. I drank my first beer with her when we were twelve, got drunk for the first time with her when we were fourteen, snuck out of the house to meet her and go raise hell more than once, put my first car in the ditch with her when we were sixteen, and snuck into the Chip 'n' Dales show with her, also when we were sixteen. She wasn't in my circle, though. She disliked my friends, she had her own group of friends, and I think she took great pleasure in "corrupting" me, as she saw it. In reality, I would have been corrupted without her help, but probably not as quickly. But I never told her that.

In December of 2005, Kaylee told me she was quitting school. We were seniors; I tried to convince her to stay. It's only a few more months, I told her. You won't be able to get a good job, I told her. But it didn't change her mind. She was always the stubborn type as well.

It didn't change much. I'd left high school our junior year to go to Hibbing Community College, so we'd already grown apart. Kaylee had started doing drugs soon after I'd left and started dating a dealer named Caleb, so we didn't spend much time together anymore. We talked occasionally, and I saw her once in awhile at school functions. When we did spend time together, it was different, but we acted like nothing had changed. After I graduated from high school, we rarely saw each other.

I hadn't heard from Kaylee in almost three months; it was August, and I was preparing to move to Bemidji. My cell phone rang at 2:35 a.m. one morning, but when I answered it was pure static. I live in the middle of nowhere - no cell phone signal. So I checked the call log, saw Kaylee's number, and called her back from the house phone.

"Hi Kay--"

"Julie, I really need your help," I heard Kaylee's frantic voice before I could finish my sentence. She was breathing hard and it sounded like she was, or had been, crying.

"What is it?" I said.

"Can you come get me? I wrecked my car," she said, and by then it was apparent that she was still in tears.

"Where are you?" I said.

"Somewhere between Bigfork and the gravel pit, I think," she said. "Can you come get me?"

"Yeah," I told her. "I'm leaving now. Do the headlights work on your car?"

"I think so."
"Then turn them on so I can find you."

I hung up and got dressed, and headed out the door. I wasn't on the road long before I saw the beams from the car's headlights glaring upward into the woods on the side of the road. But I reached the light much sooner than I expected, and then I realized it was a flashlight beam I'd seen. I stopped, put on my hazard lights, and got out. Kaylee was climbing the ditch, and in the minimal light from the moon I could see her car. It was, quite literally, smashed. I couldn't tell which end was the front of the car. From the looks of it, Kaylee had rolled the car down the ditch, into the trees, at a high rate of speed.

"What do I do, Julie?" she asked me, and I looked back to where she was just straightening up in front of me. She was covered in blood.

"Where are you hurt? You're all bloody," I said. I could see a small gash on her cheek, but there was no way all that blood came from there. Her hair was in disarray; maybe she'd suffered a head wound too.

"I'm fine," she said. "It's not my blood."

"Wait, what?" I said.

"It's Caleb. He's hurt bad, I tried to get him out of the car but I can't, what do I do?"

"Why didn't you tell me he was with you? Did you call 911?"

"I'll go to jail, I'm high, I can't call them, what do I do?"

I called. There was nothing else to do. Kaylee swore at me while I was on the phone, then tried to take the phone away from me. She hit me once when I turned my back to her to go down into the ditch, to tell the 911 operator what I could about Caleb's condition, and sent me flying down into the dirt and broken glass. I managed to keep the phone in my hand, but barely. I got to the car and looked inside, and I knew that Kaylee was in trouble.

Caleb was coated in drying blood. It was running over his lips in a slow trickle, and he was barely breathing. I could see why Kaylee wasn't able to move him. The car had folded in around him, and there was a stick or metal or something through his shoulder, pinning him to the seat. I had to turn away, and it was everything I could do to keep from throwing up. By that time Kaylee was sitting on the side of the road, with her head in her hands. I could hear her crying as I walked up the side of the ditch. I could also hear the sirens in the distance, and it wasn't long before I could see the red flashes down the road. I stayed on the phone until the police car stopped in front of mine.

I watched the policeman question Kaylee, and answered the questions directed toward me. I watched the ambulance arrive, and the paramedics as they took their equipment down into the ditch in hopes of doing something for Caleb. I watched another paramedic examine Kaylee, and shook my head when she asked me if I'd been involved. I listened as the policeman read Kaylee's rights to her. I watched as the stretcher with Caleb's body on it disappeared into the back of the ambulance. I saw the doors close, and watched the paramedics get into the ambulance. They drove away, no sirens and no lights. I watched as the police pulled a bag of white powder from somewhere in the car.

Kaylee told me she hated me that night, as she was being handcuffed. Those three words were the last she's spoken to me, to this day. I helped her parents come up with the bail money so she could spend the time between the wreck and her trial at home, not in jail, but she didn't thank me. I went to Caleb's funeral, and I saw her there, but she wouldn't speak to me, wouldn't look me in the eye, wouldn't accept my hug. I went to her court trial, where they convicted her of vehicular manslaughter and possession of cocaine, and sentenced her to eleven years in prison. She looked at me as she walked past me after her sentencing. I've never had someone look at me with that much hatred, not before or since. She's always been the type to hold a grudge.

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