One of my students had is phone run over by a car – he was distraught as his father was out of town working and his phone was his link to his Dad. I had decided that it was fitting to give him Ryleigh’s phone. I have not accessed Ryleigh’s phone since September. It was too hard, it was too close to the pain, I just couldn’t. But now, it seemed to make sense. This phone was a replacement phone that was generously given to her after her phone was stolen at school. It made sense to give it to someone else who needed it.
As I looking through Ryleigh’s phone for the last time – reading her last texts to family and friends, looking at the quotes she had left for us, and reminiscing through the pictures, I found her google docs app. Not sure why I did not see it before – perhaps I was not ready. The treasury of stories that she had written astounded me. I knew she was an amazing writer but she had not shared any of her work. So, I found another phone to give to my student and will keep this phone as it obviously made a difference to Ryleigh.
This particular story has left me feeling hopeful that Ryleigh was at peace with her decisions and actions. It has given me hope and peace as I place Ryleigh in the character Henry’s shoes.
The lobby was always changing. The walls were currently a pale blue color, the ground
a soft white carpet. Chairs lined the wall, a dozen in total, and several tables had
magazines on them, as well as a television in the corner playing news. The only other
furniture in the room a receptionist desk, where a slender blond woman sat, typing on
the computer in front of her.
The door on the far side of the room slowly creaked open, a man in a business suit
carefully stepping into the room.
The woman smiled, “Hello. My name is Claire.”
“Uh… Hello. I’m Henry.”
“Just take a seat. I’ll call your name when they’re ready for you, then you can step
through this door.” She gestured to the wooden door behind her.
Henry nodded slowly and sat in a nearby chair. He spent several minutes watching the
tv disinterested, then looked up at Claire. “This um… This might be weird question, but
what am I doing here?”
Claire, went back to typing, looked back up and smiled, “Oh, that’s not a
strange question, I get it a lot actually. Just give me a moment and I’ll check.” She rolled
the chair over to the side and bent down and dug around in several drawers, before
sitting back up and setting a bright yellow folder on the desk. She opened it and flipped
through several papers, before speaking,
“Let’s see…” She scowled and looked up at
Henry for a moment, before looking back down at the papers. “It seems like… You have
a heart disease, correct?”
“Alright, seems like I got the correct papers here. It is so annoying when the papers get
all messed up.” She shakes her head, “I swear, they really need to digitalize all this.”
She glances up, “Oh right. Why you’re here.” She went back to the papers, “Yes… It
seemed your heart just stopped, nothing too dramatic.”
“My… Heart stopped?”
“Seems so.” She smiled gently, “Do you have any other questions?”
“Is this… A hospital or something.”
Claire sighed and brushed some hair out of her face, “No. This isn’t a hospital. Would
you like me to tell you the truth?”
“I’d just like to warn you that ignorance is preferable in this situation.”
““I’d like to know.”
She nodded, “Of course.” She paused for a moment, “It seems… Henry, that you have
died. This is the waiting room, and soon you’ll pass through that door,” She pointed
behind her, “And go on to whatever happens after you die.”
Henry was silent for a moment, “You… Don’t know what happens?”
“I’m afraid I do not.” There was a soft beep and Claire looked at the computer.
“Henry. It’s time for you to go now.”
“But…” He swallowed, “Do I”
“You have to. It’s alright Henry. It’s okay.”
Henry nodded and stood up, slowly striding over to the door and pulling it open. He
glanced through then looked back at Claire. “It’s a hallway.”
“Yep. Go on. Close the door behind you.”
He obeyed, slowly stepping into the hall and closing the door.
by Ryleigh Johns-Crampain