A year ago, I woke up to a phone call.
My friend, Jennifer, had been struck by a car.
She was pronounced dead at the scene.
My heart sank.
She had lived in the same house for nearly two years.
Her parents were both dead.
She loved me dearly.
The call from the hospital was urgent.
I was told to get home as soon as possible, and I needed to get her to the hospital.
I told her I’d be there the next day.
When I got home, I realized I hadn’t checked the Facebook status of my friend, because she was gone.
I had missed her.
And I missed the fact that her parents had died so young.
I missed my own life.
So I went back to sleep.
When Jennifer died, I was on my way to the funeral.
I called my mother and told her what happened.
She told me to be strong.
I knew the best thing for me was to be brave and to keep trying.
I stayed strong.
My mom kept telling me I could never leave home.
I made sure to check the Facebooks of all my friends and acquaintances.
I went through my old Facebook messages.
I did everything I could.
But I didn’t know how to keep going.
I’d spent so much time and energy thinking about this family and all the things I had lost.
I didn, either.
I felt like I was going to die.
My thoughts were clouded with guilt, guilt, and more guilt.
The guilt drove me.
I thought, I’ll never get my loved one back.
I’ve lost so much.
The pain never went away.
I needed closure.
I wanted to cry, and it didn’t help.
The more I talked to my friends, the more I wanted closure.
But they weren’t going to let me.
They said, If you want to stay here, you’ll have to leave.
They were afraid of my anger.
My family, they said, was too damaged to handle it.
They didn’t understand.
My parents weren’t the ones who’d gone to the doctor or gotten a diagnosis, or been told if they needed help.
My brother was in jail.
My sister and I were alone.
My grandmother was dead.
I wasn’t sure how I would cope.
So, I made the tough decision to leave home and go back to school.
The decision was hard.
I couldn’t get into a normal conversation with my friends.
I struggled to find friends.
We were so different.
My life had changed.
I would go to a normal school, I would stay home, and then I’d get into trouble.
So when my mom told me I had to leave, I didn.
I spent months on the run.
I broke into a restaurant, I stole a car, and a friend was killed.
I became a target.
I could barely talk to my mother.
I took drugs, I robbed banks, and now I’m back in prison.
It’s been four years, and this has been my life.
Now, I have to go back.
Every day, I struggle to keep up with the news.
I worry I might lose my job.
I can’t afford my mortgage.
My kids are getting ready to go to college.
The fear of losing my home keeps me up at night.
When the zombies come, I think I’ll be gone.
The zombies will have a new home.
They’ll move in, and my family will be gone, too.
I’ll live in fear, but I’ll not be scared anymore.
I know it won’t be long before I’m out of this life.