My sophomore year of high school a freshman named Pete joined the cross country team, which I was a part of. We were immediate friends. He was goofy, warm and always had me laughing. He would come meet me by my locker every day and we would walk to lunch together. He would always do the thing where you poke the shoulder opposite of where you’re standing and I’d fall for it most days. This became our ritual. The morning he died we found out through an announcement made over the school’s loudspeaker. It was devastating, to say the least. I can still remember the announcement word for word. The hallways at school sounded like what I would picture a battlefield sounding like after war – moans, screams, cries, people walking around with blank stares, unable to fully make sense of the events surrounding. The rest of the day at school was a complete blur and unbelievably exhausting.
I went home that afternoon and straight upstairs to my room and fell asleep. In my dream Pete and I were standing in the school hallway by the lockers. The school was completely empty except for the two of us. He was wearing a starter jacket, which were big at that time and to my knowledge he didn’t own. He passed two weeks before Christmas and I often wonder if it was a gift he was going to receive from his parents. He hugged me and said goodbye. I kept asking him, begging him to stay and he said to me several times “this is my way out of here”. He then walked down the hallway and disappeared. Dreams are often forgotten by the time we are fully awake, but this has stayed with me all my life. We had a special bond so without a doubt in my mind, this was him consoling me and saying goodbye.