September 11, 2011

Caroline Hawkins

3:00 PM

Ground Zero

I'm standing here at Ground Zero. I'm looking where the North building used to stand, tall and proud. I gaze to where Daddy's office was and how high it was. I remember that day like it was just yesterday. I was just a little seven year old girl with her hair cut to her ears. The same seven year old little girl who woke up, got dressed, and greeted her brother the same as she would any other day. She kissed him goodbye before he dropped her off. She told him she loved him and he said the same. And that was it. That was just it. I walked out of the building that day looking for you. I was the last one out of the classroom. It was around 9:05 AM. I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach like I had just lost a really important part of me. Once I saw the towers, I knew what it was. I looked around the road in front of the school, but you weren't there. Tears ran down my face like two taps on full stream and ashes rained down like snow. My shirt collar was stained with tears by the time Dad showed up to get me. He didn't have to tell me what happened, I knew what it was. But to hear him say it, it shattered my world.

Ten years later, and driving past that school urks me. Seeing the spot I stood for 10 minutes or so, its unbelievable that I was that close to where you were. Ever since you died, my hair's been past my shoulderblades, the girls at school were nicer to me, and I've happy to say that I've never thought about picking up a ciggarette. I'm 17 now and there's so much to tell you. I'm in the 11th grade now and I'm making all A's and B's. I'm in the drama club, and we just wrapped our first performance of Les Miserable. I've been a cheerleader since I went into middle school. I was also in the talent show this year. I hope you saw, I was proud of my performance. I know somehow, you were watching over me because I sang it without crying for the first time. I imagined you sitting in the front row, smiling at how well I was doing. It was like while I was up there, your arm was around me and you were there through my whole performance. I've never had stage fright because of you. Dad gave me your diary to carry with me and on the very last page, it said something about whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but its very important that you do it. So, that's exactly what I've been doing for the past ten years.

After you passed away, I isolated myself completely. But I opened up to one girl in particular, and she helped me through coping. And when Dad gave me your diary, I felt safe, and secure. I carried it with me every single day to and from school. It never left my backpack. But I was afraid that someone would try and steal it from me, so I began leaving it at home. I left it under my pillow. That was kind of my spot for everything. Its stayed in good shape for all of these years. I've kept it nice and tidy for you. And now that I'm in high school, I've started carrying it around with me again. I read the last page every single day. Its comforting to know that you thought like this, because if I'd never had your journal, I'd be this big cloud of pessimistic energy.

I miss you, I really do. I make sure theres an extra chair for you every night at the dinner table. And everyone in the house knows not to sit in your chair. Its been that way for 365 days, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for ten consecutive years. Sometimes I sit and think about what you'd be like now that I'm older. I know that if you were still here, we wouldn't be like those siblings that always fight. I would be the friendliest sister you could wish for. I would never disagree with you, I would never go through your stuff, I would always give you hugs and tell you I love you. I'm going to have to stop now, because I'm starting to get emotional. But just know that I love you, big brother.

Tyler Hawkins, you're my hero. I'll remember you forever.