A response to “What is your saddest memory?”
By Kerri Loughran
It was a couple of weeks before the school term was over and the Christmas holiday began. I was 15 and the focus was on working hard towards my GCSEs. All my peers were stressed, but I knew the work would pay off if it meant I could relax a little over the Christmas break.
The news came on a Wednesday morning; each of the class years were pulled into the assembly hall separately and delivered the news that one of the boys in our 6th Form College had been killed in a car crash, just 2 weeks after passing his driving test. The reactions from my classmates were somewhat of a mixture; some knew him well and totally broke down, others didn’t know him at all and so were a little unfazed. I was somewhere in the middle.
What made it particularly difficult for our year though was that the girlfriend of the deceased was in fact, a girl in our year. I didn’t know her that well; she was extremely popular, gorgeous and a bit of a rebel. I, on the other hand, was a chubby teacher’s pet. Anyway, the announcement was then followed by a dangerous driving campaign video, which most of us were forced to watch through blurry eyes. I personally cried less for the tragedy and more for my classmate; I couldn’t begin to imagine the loss she had suffered. And, we all know, that at the age of 15, everything is hormonal and emotional at the best of times.
The saddest part of the memory came the following week though. A remembrance assembly was held for the boy and all classes attended. As we all had to sit in alphabetical order, I was sat next to the girlfriend. Honestly, I really didn’t want to be there. She managed to hold it together for the beginning of the service, but then, the deceased’s ex-girlfriend took the stage to make an emotional speech in memory of him. Well, the girl next to me broke down. I couldn’t really believe that the school had been so insensitive; I was left consoling a girl, who really, was totally beyond consoling. My heart broke for her. After the ceremony, I went to question a senior teacher about why my classmate hadn’t been asked to do the speech. The teacher told me that it was because the school couldn’t be seen to be promoting under age relations! I felt totally let down by my school and my emotions soon transformed into burning anger.
By the time we returned to school after the New Year though, it seemed as though everything had returned back to normal. But, every night, as I walked home, I’d see my gorgeous classmate sat at the grave of her boyfriend. I saw her there every night until I left for university 3 years later.
Kerri is a graduate currently living and working in Vietnam. She teaches at a language centre and the tales of her travels can be found on her blog: http://cokerri.wordpress.com