Toby is dead. T-o-b-y is dead. I kept repeating it over in my mind and I simply could not grasp this concept. I had known him all of my life. Sandy’s brother Sam said that he died instantly when the car he was traveling in, went out of control at a high rate of speed. The car finally ended up wrapped around a big oak tree. Sandy was my best friend. I had known her since I was eight years old. I was the same age when I met Toby.
It was 1967, and I was the new kid at school. The school I had been attending closed down, so they were merging all the students into two nearby schools. Most of my close friends got transferred to one in our town, and I was sent to another located a few miles away.
It was my first day. I was an ugly duckling sort of kid. I was tall and lanky for my age, and everyone thought I was a boy because Mom had the notion that my dark, brown hair being cropped above my ears looked adorable. I wasn’t pretty enough to be in the “girls” group, and the boys thought I was ugly.
I walked into the school cafeteria. I just stood there looking around like a lost puppy. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see who was touching me.
Before me, stood a chubby boy with red hair and freckles. “I’m Toby,” he said, and grinned sort of sheepishly. He had a beautiful smile. “You wanna eat lunch with me?” he asked.
“Uuh, okay,” I said. We both had sack lunches. I hated the sack lunches Mom always made me take, but it’s all we could afford at the time. Toby and I sat down plunking our sacks onto the table. Before I could even convey my feelings about my lunch, Toby chimed up and said, “Hey, do you wanna trade lunch with me?”
“Sure,” I squealed back at him.
“I don’t have many friends,” he told me.
“Me either,” I said.
“I’ll be your friend, and we can trade lunches every day,” he said with excitement.
“I like you Toby,” I replied back.
“Thanks,” he said blushing.
We swapped lunches and began gobbling our new entrees while constantly chattering in between bites. We even stuck out our tongues showing off our new morsels of food, and giggled uncontrollably. It was as though we had known each other forever. From that moment on, Toby and I had lunch together every day. It became routine to walk into the cafeteria, sit down, and toss our sacks across the table to one another.
We obviously grew as the years went on, and we no longer shared our sack lunches anymore. We didn’t even hang out as much as we once had, but we always had a special bond between us that had never been broken. Now, death had come and taken my friend.
Toby IS dead. I began to feel a sensation of needles pricking at my heart. My vision blurred as my tears started to flow. Even now as I write this, those same feelings rise up in me, and my vision once again begins to blur. Many years have gone by and I still miss my friend. I will cherish him in my heart forever.