When she was little, right after she’d started kindergarten in Miss. Olympias class, Amelia Foxbury died.
She was riding home on the school bus when a boy named Owen Davies tossed a peanut butter cracker at her.
Amelia knew she was allergic to peanuts, but she didn’t think anything of it. She wasn’t touching the cracker, she wasn’t eating the cracker, so what was the big deal if Owen threw it at her? Besides, he wasn’t being mean. In fact, she had just thrown her eraser at him a few minutes prior to the peanut butter cracker. They did that sometimes — finding any tiny trinket in the bottom of their school bags full of crinkled paper and finger paintings to toss at one another. It was a fun game, it wasn’t hurting anybody.
But on that Friday when Amelia was so excited to go home and get to stay up until nine pm, a whole hour past her bedtime, it was hurting somebody. That somebody would be her. She lifted the cracker in her tiny hands and threw it back at Owen, they laughed together and their school bus driver shouted at them to settle down. There was a sudden itch below Amelia’s nose and she didn’t think of how she’d just touched a peanut butter cracker because, well, she was only six-and-a-half years old. But after she touched her nose she reached down into her lunchbox to pull out her yogurt bites. They were strawberry, and strawberry was her favorite. She plopped it straight in her mouth and kept doing it — one after the next. They tasted so good she thought, she wanted to remind mom later to keep putting those in her lunchbox.
A few minutes passed until Amelia realized she was having a hard time breathing. Mom and dad had taught her what to do if that ever happened. She was supposed to use her epipen, but of all the days she could forget it in her cubby at school, it was that day. And that’s always how it works because a bad thing will always get worse. She tried to call out for the bus driver, but her throat was too closed to make any sound other than a quiet gurgle. She flailed her hands around in the air and the bus driver delivered a harsh shush! To the back of the bus where her and her friends were sitting.
It wasn’t until Owen saw her turning blue and screamed at the bus driver to help.
The bus driver, who was a chubby old lady nearing her 50’s, did what she could to try and help Amelia. She pulled the bus to the side and dialed 911, and performed CPR until they arrived, but CPR doesn’t help all that much when your lungs are closed.
All of the little kids on the school bus watched Amelia turn blue, when the paramedics arrived she was hardly breathing, and at the hospital she was declared dead. That night, all the parents hugged their kids a little tighter because it could have been their child on that bus. How helpless was she when she tried to call out for help but nobody answered?
Amelia’s parents held the funeral two days later. It was mom, dad, big brother Jayce, and her twin sister Caroline. They stood around and watched as strangers hugged them and said sorry for your loss. They weren’t sorry for their loss, they were sorry that they were glad it wasn’t their loss. Parents started picking their kids up from school, they started spending more time with them. But like most things it didn’t last long. Only long enough for them to rid themselves of their guilty conscience.
But this story isn’t about Amelia.
It’s about her sister Caroline, and what she did the year of her 19th birthday and the lies she told.