Submitted by Marcel Williams
October 2009

lit_candlesMarcel attended a local college but chose to live at home. Her best friend, Rachquel, went to the same college. They actually met in the 10th grade where there was an instant connection. It didn’t take long to establish a special bond. They did everything together. If you saw one of them you knew the other was close by. It had been like that since they met.

One day Rachquel stopped by after class and asked Marcel to please run some errands with her. Of course, Marcel agreed like she always did, but she was a little puzzled at the vibes she was getting from her friend. It seemed as if Rachquel was almost pleading with her to go. Marcel jumped in the car and they left.

First stop was Rachquel’s grandmother. They visited with her for awhile then they went to Rachquel’s mother’s house. While they were there they decided to eat. Normally Marcel would just make herself at home as instructed by her friend, but this time Rachquel fixed her a plate of food. Again, her behavior was odd. It felt as if she was waiting on Marcel, thankful that she was with her. They left and spent the rest of the day hanging out and reminiscing about the past.

It was getting late by the time Rachquel had to go pick up her boyfriend, Jamie, from work. Normally Marcel would have accompanied her but this time she had to excuse herself. She had a paper due for class the next day so Rachquel dropped her off at the house.

An hour later Rachquel picked up Jamie from work and he jumped in to drive. They were traveling through a neighborhood that quite honestly wasn’t in the best part of town. The driver’s side window was partially down because it was broken. Pulling up to a stop sign, they were startled to see a figure right next to the car. For a split second Rachquel saw a pistol shoved inside the window right against Jamie’s head. She jumped as a blast exploded from the barrel. Frightened and panicked she jumped out of the car and began to run. She could hear footsteps behind her getting closer and closer. Then as quickly as she heard the shots, she felt the burning sensation rip through her body.

Marcel had been diligently working on her paper totally unaware of what her best friend was going through. Her god-brother was deep in conversation on the phone when it beeped. He answered the new call only to get the horrible news from a neighborhood friend that Rachquel and Jamie had both been shot. Marcel raced out of the house straight to the hospital.

When Marcel arrived Rachquel was still clinging to life but the prognosis was not that good. She had been shot 3 times. Marcel clung to the belief that her friend was going to come out of this. She even saw herself taking care of Rachquel and being there for her. The thought of losing her friend just wasn’t an option.

Jamie, being shot in the back of the head, was on life support. There wasn’t really any hope in his recovery and the next day he passed. Rachquel hung on for one more day before her body finally gave up.

Marcel was devastated. Shocked and in denial she just couldn’t accept the fact that her best friend was gone. She wasn’t prepared for that. How could this happen? Feeling lost and depressed she began to deteriorate. She started hanging around the wrong crowd, lost interest in school and eventually dropped out. Missing Rachquel so much, she just didn’t know what to do without her. As a last ditch effort she decided she would move and try to pick up the pieces of her life and put them back together.

One evening before she moved, she had fallen asleep. She began dreaming about Rachquel. They were together in a waiting room preparing to have some professional pictures made. Marcel remembered thinking to herself in the dream, “Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you’re alive. I guess I was just dreaming. I’ve missed you so much.” Rachquel quietly got up and touched Marcel on the shoulder as she walked out of the room. She said, “I’ll be back.” Marcel sat there and waited until she realized her friend wasn’t coming back. She woke up crying and upset, but realized her friend was trying to communicate with her.

One night, after moving to another town, she had settled down in her new bedroom to get some sleep. She was lying on her side facing the wall. She remembered closing her eyes and feeling the overwhelming presence of her best friend leaning over her shoulder. She then heard a voice call out, “Hey Boo!” That was the nickname Rachquel had given her. Her body froze. She was afraid to move and would not turn around. Through tears she told Rachquel how much she loved her and missed her. Rachquel responded by telling her the same and then said, “Don’t worry, you’re going to be okay.”Marcel suddenly awoke in tears. She wanted to go back to that place where she could talk to her best friend but knew it was impossible.

She got up the next morning and for the first time felt that she really was going to be okay. She took what her friend said to heart and began the process of turning her life around. She enrolled in school taking business courses and ended up moving back home where she was accepted into nursing school. She succeeded in putting her life back in order and feels like “Smiley” played a major role in her recovery. Smiley was the affectionate nickname for Rachquel. As the name suggests, she smiled all of the time. Marcel now knows that Rachquel is watching over her and smiling proudly.

Eventually, she had a son who was born just one day after Rachquel’s birthday. What a wonderful way to celebrate and honor her best friend.