“I’m freezing my butt off!” I exclaimed, while waiting for the Ramen noodles I had ordered to heat up. “I got dragged down with a whole bunch of people and fell three times by myself in less than ten minutes, but it was hilarious.” She gave me a smile as big as the sun, and laughed sympathetically, patting me on my left arm. “Aw turtles! I wish I could have seen it, it sounds hilarious,” she said. “Hmm, now I don’t know what to get. I have three dollars but I don’t want to keep any change. Would you like something?” she offered. “No it’s okay; I don’t need anything, thank you.” I responded. It was so much like her, to want to give and give, without expecting anything in return. “I see the way you’re looking at that muffin Aylin, I know you want it…” she said half-singing, with a smile on her face. “I might as well spend money on the people that I care about. Plus, it’s only a dollar and you’re starting to drool a little bit.” Who would have thought that in only a few hours, she would be gone?

December 21st was field trip day. Our school was taking us ice-skating on the last day of classes going into our winter vacation. It was a simple way to have fun, but it meant a lot to us. People fell at least once, scraping the ice beneath them and getting their jeans slightly wet, but not Roxi. She was a somewhat of a pro-skater, knowing all sorts of techniques and never fell. Not even once.

After a while she got tired of skating, managing to work up an appetite. She stepped out of the ice rink and onto dry land heading towards the concessions stand where she encountered and greeted me with a warm hug. After our charming conversation, it was time for the school to get going. Roxana was excited because after her ice skating adventure she was going to hang out with her boyfriend. Her eyes sparkled as bright as the moon every time he was brought into the conversation. She said he was a true gentleman and an intelligent human being. They could talk for hours on end, usually about very intellectual topics, even for their age. Things such as politics, religious beliefs, or scientific inquiries. But as with anyone else, she could also talk hours on end about the new meme that came out on 9Gag, or the new Michael Bublé song she heard, or the teacher that ticked her off that day, usually Dr. Carrillo; even if we had all passed her class the past year.

I heard the news from my aunt at eleven o’clock that night. I was at my friends’ house having a movie night when the phone started ringing. “Hey, I’m getting a call from my aunt, pause the movie please! This is the best part and I don’t want to miss it!”, I bellowed as I walked into the hall. “Hello? Aylin, where does Roxana’s father live?” she sounded tense and scared. “Umm, I don’t know, why? Did something happen?” her words made me uneasy, and once she noticed this about me, she tried to play it off. “No, nothing happened…”, I could tell she was lying. “Well, actually, I didn’t want to be the one to tell you this, but Roxana got in a car accident today after the ice skating trip.” I couldn’t make sense of what she had just told me. Her words gave my body chills, and a wave of mixed emotions filled me. “How? I don’t understand?” At that moment, tears filled my eyes and I couldn’t breathe. “I promise I’ll call you with any other details as soon as I hear something. Just calm down, everything will be fine.” There wasn’t much to do that night but to do as she instructed, calm down, and think positively.

The next morning, I woke up to the phone ringing. It was my aunt with the promised news. “Hey, what’s been happening? Is she out of surgery? Is she okay?” There was a pause, the most intense pause of my life. “Aylin…”, at that moment, I knew. “Roxana passed away.” The words kept echoing over and over inside my head, they kept haunting me. The night before, I was certain I was going to hear something good. I was certain that Roxi was going to get out of surgery and recover fast because she was a fighter. She never gave up on anything, and she always proved people wrong when they said she was going to fail. This would be a piece of cake.

I wasn’t expecting to wake up to something so cruel and awful. The days leading up to her funeral service were a blur. The ceremony was held the following week, and all her friends and family attended. We united as one, helped each other with our grief. Although, after that, nobody was the same.

The feeling of despair and sadness hasn’t gone away to this day. It’s easier to believe that an angel came down to Earth looking for the most beautiful thing to take back to heaven and found her, rather than to call it a sudden death. She was the purest soul out of all of us, and a source of inspiration for anyone that knew her. Roxi was very talented, she did exceedingly well in everything she put her mind and heart to, and was an advocate for all good causes. She had great potential, and a way of changing your outlook on life with just one conversation. Her name means “dawn,” but the sun had barely begun to rise when she was taken away. We never know what life might throw our way, so if tomorrow never comes, we have to make the best of today.