All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The Lost Red Riding Riley
Riley screeched over the phone, and I held it at a safe distance. Yet, I could hear her. "I love Rihanna's new single. I'm thinking of stopping over at ..." that was the last I’d heard from her, since the 21st of December- the day she first went missing.
I turned up the heat in the house, It was freezing and the cold seemed to find a way to get to me through my woolen mittens and double layers of clothing. As I pulled on Riley's red beanie, a tear streamed down my cheek. Wherever she is she must be freezing, I thought. The memory of her, squealing, and excited when I bought her a red beanie for her birthday made me cry. She was so fond of it she used to wear it at all times. She always used to find a way to match it with the rest of her wardrobe. The hat adorned her face, so often that it earned her the nick name of: Red Riding Riley. It felt like it was just yesterday that she hugged me for being the best sister in the world, when I made her my famous hot chocolate.
"Mom! Mom! Look, it’s Santa Claus." Ron said excitedly, beckoning towards the door. I spun around, half hoping it would be Riley and I saw my cousin Mike.
For the next two minutes, I was lost in my thoughts. I had a flash back of one amazing Christmas, "Holly! Merry Christmas." an elated voice exclaimed, I didn't even bat an eyelid. Knowing it was Riley. After all when you surprise your sister every year showing up as Santa Claus, it doesn't remain a surprise does it? It blooms into something more...A tradition. But this was one Christmas, I remember vividly. One Christmas, I'd actually spent with her, and how I wish I would've known back then how things would turn out.
"Mike, do you mind watching Ron while I take a walk? I really need to clear my head." I said abruptly. Picked up my muffler and bag and stormed out without waiting for an answer leaving him and Ron staring after me. And no Ron, mommy's not insane. I know what's going on in that little head of yours.
I rummaged through my bag, and retrieved my car keys. I recalled how Riley used to opt for long walks rather than long drives. She always liked walking, taking in the breathtaking beauty of nature. Although I never really tried doing things her way, I shoved the car keys back in the bag.
I was staring at the enormous Christmas tree shining bright in the dark of the night it was Christmas eve and I was missing the one person I really wanted to spend it with- Riley,. I admired the ornaments that draped it, and made it extra ordinary. I felt like I was the only one here, my own little sanctuary. I was so caught up in the moment, that I didn't notice the presence of a young girl standing near me. Only when she spoke to me, did I come to realize that she was there at all. "Hi, I'm Sasha." And I wondered why we're having this conversation. “Look I now, you don't know me. But I know you. Mind taking a walk?" And I walked off, keeping pace with her. Knowing the news might not necessarily cheer me up.
If I only knew, if there was anything I could do...If I could change anything. If I knew...I would've made her stay. There was no stopping the tears; I wasn't unaware of what Sasha told me. I was just reminded, once again. I was so tired of crying, I had no idea how long I had sat there not longing to leave my place on the prickly grass. I'd known that Riley had been missing for over three years, but that tiny ray of hope, that beamed inside my heart. I believed that a Christmas will come when the actual Santa...My Riley would be the one to say Merry Christmas to me. But now that hope seemed to fade, and I wanted to go with it.
"She loves you a lot, you know? She's very fond of you. The day she went missing, was the happiest I’d ever seen her." Sasha whispered kneeling down on the grass, next to me. "That Christmas, a massacre took place. It was no one's fault. If I’d have known, I would've stopped her from coming to my place..." she said, and I continued "And I wouldn't have reminded her to carry her cell phone..." "And I wouldn't have made her listen to Rihanna's new single..." "I could've insisted on driving her..." "...And I could’ve spent my holidays in a ski resort as planned. Then she wouldn’t have come, right?” “And then maybe… Everything would be different?” I whispered timidly, waiting for a response. “Yes, but you see. Everything happens for a reason. This is our destiny, its fate. There’s no changing it.” Sasha, said trying to comfort me. “I guess I don’t know for sure…” I was lost for words, And Sasha completed them. “All I know is, Riley wouldn’t have wanted this. And hey! You have her lucky Beanie…I remember how she never took it off…Except that day.” I laughed feebly, imagining Riley without her infamous beanie and got on my feet “Well, it’s getting late; Ron must be waiting for me.” “Ron? You mean Riley’s favorite nephew! Tell him I say hi.” And with this she smiled, and turned on her heel, walking towards the exit of the park.
I said a little prayer in my heart as; I saw a shooting star streak across the sky. Although, I never believed in it, But Riley did- That’s all that matters.
Riley, if you’re out there. I hope you’re safe and happy. And I hope you know how much I miss you, and I’ve been missing you for a while now. But in a way the excess of it has punctuated my life, living in the past will not shape my future. I will never stop looking for you, nor will my door ever be closed. Anytime you find your way back, I’ll be the one to lock you in a hug and never let you leave my sight, ever again. I’ll always wait for you, I love you Riley. But I won’t cry no more. Ron’s six now And I’m sure he misses his Ree. The same Ree that hugged him close, when his dad passed away. The same Ree that watched Ed, Edd and Eddy with him till he, himself turned the telly off. Merry Christmas, Riley. Your beanie keeps me warm, and I know god will keep you safe, He’s my sister’s keeper.”
As I was about to close the gate, I thought over what I’d just promised my self and unlocked the gate as a gesture; Riley could come anytime. It may seem crazy but it would help me sleep at night. I flicked open the lights of the lounge and found Ron curled up in a corner. Ed, Edd and Eddy chasing a jawbreaker, and his eyes glued to it. “Ron what’s wrong?” I asked wiping his tears, as I heard him sob. He said through his tears “Ree always promised me she’d get me a jawbreaker.” That sentence broke my heart, but he continued. “Will you bring her back? Mom, I want ask for a Christmas present. I promise I won’t ask for a jawbreaker. Please bring, Ree back to me. I’ll even get her, her own jawbreaker.” He cried, as he spread his arms the widest he could; indicating the size of it. I didn’t know what to say, that would make him understand but I scooped him up in my arms and told him, “Ree’s gone to get you a jawbreaker.”