DON’T STOP THE DANCE

DON’T STOP THE DANCE

From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul IV

Don’t Stop the Dance

Christy Gonzales killed herself in the spring of our senior year.

She was beautiful. She played volleyball. She was homecoming queen.

Everyone was more than shocked. She’d always been so happy, so popular and so active in extracurriculars. She had so much love and light. She always signed her name with a heart above the “i” and included her middle name, which was Valentina.

Why she did it is a human mystery, but the obvious reason given was that she was heartbroken because her boyfriend—some sophomore, no less—dumped her.

I remember the silence in our homeroom class—except for the sounds of people crying, boys and girls, jocks and nerds.

As the hour wore on, Nick Denver, the quarterback, quietly spoke to Fred Gregory through his sniffles.

“Remember,” Nick said, “when Christy punched me in the face at the seventh-grade dance?”

They both started to laugh, softly. Nick had been making fun of her, and she lost her temper and gave him a sock straight to his nose that started him bleeding.

He was shocked, but recognized he deserved it.

I could imagine Christy doing something like that. Although she was the sweetest person in the world, she had so much fire—she lived so in the moment of her feelings and emotions.

In English class, freshman year, we’d read the other’s stories aloud to class because we were too scared to read our own.

She’d let me cheat off her geometry test my sophomore year. We’d both been caught.

I’d once had a secret romantic view of suicide. I thought that it would be nice to have everyone miss me, to have my name forever bound with the tragedy of a depth no one could fathom. I imagined the kind of silence in the classrooms, the people sobbing in the halls. I imagined how people I didn’t know or barely knew would try to remember every detail—what I had said to them, what I had worn the last day.

She had worn red the last day. At lunch the last day, she had said she was tired of always getting the Tater Tots, tomorrow she was getting fries.

I could not have imagined a better funeral for Christy with the heavens outpouring rain like tears. The entire town was there, mourning.

I just kept thinking about how we all kept on going but Christy’s life stopped.

When I want it all to stop, I remember that you can’t dance without a body, and you can’t cry without eyes, and you can’t have the luxury of feeling when you aren’t here.

I wish she could have loved herself when she didn’t feel it from anyone else.

Simone Would

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