|Extraordinary Story- Tribute to Tiffany from Nicole
"I Love You, My Hero"
"And then a hero comes along
In the fall of 1998, I lost a dear friend of mine to cancer. Her name was Grace, and I had gone to her with almost all my troubles. She had always been there for me, even though thousands of miles had separated us-she lived in Canada and I lived in Texas. Grace's death devastated me, but right before she died, she had told me that I would meet someone who would mean more to me than Grace had-who would be the world to me and in a sense be the missing part of me. In short, this person would be my everything.
I wasn't certain on whether to believe or not, but I did because Grace had never told a lie to me before, and there was no reason for her to lie then. Months passed, and nothing happened, and the thought still ran constantly under my thoughts. What had Grace meant?
I finished eighth grade and prepared to start my freshman year of high school, along with summer marching band camp. The summer was drawing to a close.
But one night, while I was asleep, Grace came to me in my dreams. She told me that when I awoke, I would meet the person she had so told me of before her death-the person who would give my life a new meaning.
The next morning I started summer marching band camp. And as I was going inside on our break, something made me turn and look back. And there I saw a girl who was so familiar to me that I found myself asking "Do I know her?" But there was no way I could have. Still, the feeling of familiarity wouldn't leave me all through the day.
Summer marching camp continued-it lasted for nearly two weeks. I learned that the girl's name was Tiffany and she was one of the band's drum majors, as well as a senior. I talked with her a few times throughout the course of camp, and found myself realizing that she was very dear to me. Then I realized this was the person Grace had spoken of. This was the girl who was to change my life-and she already had. Upon meeting Tiffany, my whole outlook on everything had changed for the better, and I grew into a stronger person-a person that I loved being.
When we received our school pictures around September or October, I wrote Tiffany a lengthy note on the back of one and gave it to her, adding my phone number on the bottom. In the two months we had known each other we had not phoned each other once. But marching season was drawing to a close and I didn't want to lose touch with Tiffany.
Two days later, at one of our football games, Tiffany called to me as we were getting on the buses to go back home, and told me she would bring me her school picture on Tuesday, after we got back from a three-day weekend. I was surprised, but pleased that she was doing that for me.
True to her word, Tiffany caught me before marching practice started and handed me a folded sheet of paper, her picture secured inside by a paper clip. We hugged, and I slipped the paper into my backpack, running out to practice.
After practice, in the car on the way home, I drew the paper from my backpack and unfolded it, finding Tiffany's senior picture and a long note on the back, as well as a letter on the sheet of paper. As I read what she had written, tears burned in my eyes. She told me in her letter how much I meant to her-how she was glad we were friends, and that I had inspired her in a way. I had no idea she felt that way, and I was so happy I found out. And at the bottom of the sheet of paper was her phone number.
The week before marching band ended was Homecoming week, and on the afternoon of the football game, a ceremony took place in our high school band hall dedicated to the seniors. Each senior received a flower and recognition for their years in the band, and above all, the ceremony was highly emotional.
The night before, Tiffany had called me, and as we were getting ready to end our conversation, she asked me if I would come up to the front of the room when she got her flower so she could give me a hug. I was flattered, and said that of course I would.
So as the ceremony started, I sat in the back of the room with a group of my friends, camera in hand, trying desperately not to cry. When I knew it was near time for Tiffany to stand up, I handed my camera to my friend Corey, and told her to take a picture for me. I didn't need to say anything more than that. Slowly I began to make my way to the front of the room.
The room was crowded, and I progressed slowly towards the front, where I stood to the side and waited for Tiffany. I had not begun to cry yet, and for a long while, I thought I would make it without any tears. I was wrong.
Light music had been playing over the band's music system, adding to the atmosphere of everything. Mariah Carey's "Hero" began to lilt from the speakers, and at that moment, my eyes found Tiffany, who was sitting down in the front of the crowd. She too had been dry-eyed, but when "Hero" began to play, I saw tears begin to roll down her cheeks. And at that moment, I started to cry myself. Standing slightly back, I watched Tiffany stand and immediately be surrounded by a group of her friends. I didn't move at all, and just stood there, watching, not wanting to intrude in the slightest.
But as "Hero" went into its final chorus, Tiffany lifted her head from the shoulder of one of her friends and her eyes met mine immediately. Breaking away from the group, she ran towards me, and I rushed to her. Flinging our arms around each other, we embraced fiercely, sobbing on each other's shoulders all the while. We held on for a long while, and when we finally broke apart, I smiled at her and silently retreated to the back of the room.
I couldn't stop crying. As the ceremony continued, I stood off to the side, a steady stream of tears running down my face. But then Corey approached me, smiling gently, and handed me my camera.
"I took a picture of you and Tiffany hugging. I figured that was what you wanted," she said, smiling. Behind her stood about five of my other close friends, and one by one they hugged me. I managed a smile and was able to get through the football game.
Tiffany and I kept in touch after marching band ended in the first week of November, and my birthday came around in the middle of the month. It's tradition in my family on anyone's birthday to go out to dinner, and the birthday person can bring a guest. That year I wanted to bring Tiffany, so I called her up and invited her to dinner. She was able to come, and on the afternoon of my birthday, I found myself standing on her front steps, ringing the doorbell.
Tiffany came out the door wearing her letter jacket and carrying a present for me, a smile on her face. We said goodnight to her mother, who was waving to us from the doorway, and went to get in the car. My mother and sister were up in the front seat, and as they drove, Tiffany handed me the present and card.
"I kind of did this backwards, so open the present first, and the card will explain," she said with a laugh, and I smiled. Opening the bag, I gave a soft gasp of surprise. Inside, wrapped in layers of tissue, was a silver whistle on a rainbow lanyard, the exact kind Tiffany had worn as drum major to band rehearsal every day. She knew I wanted to follow in her footsteps, and the gift said that she believed in me. I wrapped the lanyard around my hand and opened the card, reading the message inside. Turning to Tiffany, I saw her smiling at me, and despite the fact that we were in the car, I hugged her tightly.
After dinner that night she came back to my house, and we sat up in my room, talking, and we shared many deep secrets-ones that I had never dared to tell anyone before. Tiffany even let me wear her letter jacket, and before the night ended, I gave her a crystal on a golden chain which she kept in her car.
The months went by and the school year began to draw to a close, but Tiffany and I still stayed in touch. We saw each other many more times, and talked on the phone even more. More special events occurred for us-such as Valentine's Day, the Blink 182 concert, and the Spring Concert, which was the band's final performance. I wish I could detail every single part of every moment that she and I were together, to show what a unique and rare relationship she and I share, but that would take even longer than this tribute has already.
If anyone out there reading this has a special person in their life as I do, or would like to know more about Tiffany, please feel free to contact me at my email address specified on my name.
Best friends are truly rare and hard to come by, but I have found mine-my one and only best friend, who if anything, is more like an older sister to me. If anyone was ever everything to me, she is it. I can't even begin to put into words everything that I long to tell her.
Tiffany, if you're reading this, you already know all that I wish to say because all you have to do is look in my eyes. You know everything about me, and you're the only one that ever will. I love you, my sister, my hero, my everything, and thank you for being the most important person in my life.
"I would give up everything
"For a shield from the storm
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