Hi, my name is Syd Shepard, and my world just collapsed around me.
I was sitting in History class, debating with the teacher about the rights to cry (It's perfectly permissible, Syd). I disagreed. Crying to me showed weakness, vulnerability. And that got you hurt. People take advantage of that fact. Take it from me, I know from experience. So anyway, as we were arguing, the phone rang. Mr Wilson motioned for Andrew to answer it and then he went to see who was needed. As soon as he started listening his eyes hit mine. He got off the phone and asked me to come out to the hall with him. My heart dropped...I never got into trouble. As I followed him out, I could feel every eye on me.
Once I was in the hallway, I stood against the wall and looked at Mr Wilson, who was avoiding my eyes. That was unusual for him..he was big on eye contact.
“Sydney” Uh-oh. He used my full name. This isn't going to be good. “I'm afraid I have some terrible news.” I looked at him, as he struggled to come up with the right words. “Sydney, that was the secretary in the office. She told me that the police just came. Sydney, your parents and sister were in a very serious car accident.” I zoned out at that point. Mom and Dad had to take my sister Alli to the University today for her to register. It was in Princeton, New Jersey. “Sydney! Did you hear me?” I was shaken from my thoughts as Mr Wilson touched my arm. I looked at him and asked “Just how serious was it?” I felt dread furl up in my stomach as he avoided looking at me. My heart dropped. He looked at me and said “They didn't make it.”
I collapsed into sobs that racked my body. My family, my rock, my shelter, were gone forever. Mr Wilson walked back into the room and came back out with some Kleenex's and a bottle of water. He sat down with me and just held me until my sobs subsided. He just rubbed my back and said soothing things in my ear. I looked up at him through watery eyes.
“Where am I going to go?” I had no other relatives and as far as I knew, I had no godparents. Mr Wilson just shrugged his shoulders softly and whispered, “I don't know, but why don't we get you down to the office?” With that he gently pulled me up and guided me down the hall.
I was devastated. The only people in my life that really cared for me were gone. My parents were fiercely protective of Alli and I. They were hard workers who worked for everything they owned. Alli was beautiful; everything I was not. Tall, skinny, popular. I, on the other hand, was 5'5”, not all that skinny and was more of a wallflower. For me it was hard to trust people. I'm an easy person to get along with once you get past the mile high wall I've built around myself. And now, the only people who were past that wall were gone forever. I was crushed. All I wanted to do was curl up in a corner and die. I had nobody. Where was I going to go?
I don't really remember much from the next few days. I was staying with a friend of the family, Jay, but it was made clear that it was only temporary. I made it though all the preparations, wakes and the funeral in a haze. Then the most dreaded day came. The lawyer reading Mom and Dad's Will. We had never discussed who Alli and I were to live with if anything happened. I'm only 15 so I can't live by myself! When I walked into the lawyer's office with Jay, I was tense. What was going to happen to me? The lawyer walked in and the session began.
“Ms Shepard, your parents left you a will and a guardian. Were you aware of this?”
“The will, yes, the guardian, no.” I answered quietly.
“Well, have you ever heard of a man called Richard Sambora?
“Yeah,” I said. “Mom and Dad spoke of him. I don't know him, but they did.
“Well, he has been named your legal guardian. Everything is being given to you that your parents owned to do with as you please.”
I sat there in a daze. The house and everything was mine. We had just moved here so everything was still pretty much packed and or in storage. The only things I really wanted were the things handed down for generations, and my parents' wedding rings.
“Sir, if you don't mind me asking, what happened to my parent's wedding rings? Were they ever found?” I asked, afraid of the answer.
“Well, you're in luck, dear. They were found in the wreckage. Here.” He handed me a small box. I looked inside and tears filled my eyes. There laying on a blue pillow were the rings. I always loved their rings. Mom's was a ring that had once been Dad's grandmothers. It was a white gold band with a solitaire diamond in the middle with blue sapphires surrounding it on either side. Dad's was a simple gold band. I held them in my hand and slipped them on my right hand. Dad's was a bit big but it was almost as if they were there with me. I felt comforted, for the first time in a few days.
Richie Sambora...I vaguely remembered him from my early teen years...Haven't seen him since then. He was pretty nice if I remember straight. If I only knew if I could live with him or not, or if my parents told him he had a goddaughter.
He knocked on the front door of Jay's house. I was pretty nervous about meeting him again. I mean, who wants a screwed up girl like me? I can barely speak 5 words to anyone! I looked up as Jay and Richie walked into the room. My jaw dropped. He had changed a little, but not much. He was about 5'11'' and was lean. He had brown eyes and longish brown hair. He wore jeans and a layered shirt. Looking at him brought on a new wave of tears. He reminded me so much of Dad. He wore a tentative smile to show that he was just about as nervous about this as I was. I noticed that his eyes were slightly red rimmed and puffy, as if he had been crying.
“Hi, Sydney” He said.
“Hey” I managed to get out. He walked over to sit beside me and looked as though he was going to hug me but decided against it.
“I heard about what happened.” He said. “I came as soon as I heard I was your godfather. Came from Europe as a matter of fact” he said smiling slightly. I must have looked confused as he added “The band and I are on tour promoting the new record” He said this with a hint of pride in his voice. He looked at me and said the thing I learned I hated most: “I'm sorry about your loss”. Did people not realize that my life is over? I have nothing now. My family is dead. Nothing left for me.