I’d like to dedicate this to Alec Kornet, and his family, friends, community and anyone else mourning his departure. My most sincere condolences. It is too often that we forget what really matters in life. No matter if we are worrying about a bad grade we got, money problems, a falling out with friends, we tend to forget what keeps us here, as opposed to what makes us feel like leaving. Struggles always seem bigger than the best things in life.

My English teacher once told this story, after we finished reading The Catcher in the Rye, about a girl she knew in high school. The two were not necessarily best friends, and not necessarily strangers, but somewhere in the middle. Civil acquaintances.

There is this one vivid memory that my teacher has of the girl. One day, she was wearing makeup, and there seemed to be a little much on her face, to the point where it was extremely visible and caked on. In art class, the girl sitting across from my teachers acquaintance pointed out that her makeup was a “bit much”, and this embarrassed her, flushing her cheeks and making her hands sweat. She said, “Oh.. Thanks for telling me.”

This same girl ended up getting in a car accident on her way home from helping out with freshman orientation before her senior year of high school began. She was widely loved, and while my English teacher was not the one suffering most from her death, she was still so deeply hurt. But… why? She hadn’t even known her. Hadn’t known her favorite song, or her favorite book, just her name. Why do these seemingly insignificant people always end up making a significant impact on us?

I sometimes feel like I have it all figured out, but I still can’t answer that. These “insignificant” people, places, moments etched in our minds, end up being some of the most valuable memories we carry with us, until the end of time. Thinking back on these times that felt like they would never end, like they wouldn’t ever slip from the cracks between our fingers.. It’s hard to wrap our minds around it. What we must learn, and continue to practice, is love, and awareness of the present. Because before you know it, this moment will be a faint memory tucked into the corner of your brain, growing thick with dust, and it will soon be a thing of the past where you can still feel, see, smell, hear, touch it. Don’t stress over what’s happening now and don’t take it for granted; one day you’ll look back and wish to feel, see, smell, hear, touch that exact second in time.

I love u forever Sydney. With love, Jenna