by Sydney O’Donnell, age 13
D’Aja was my best friend, and I trusted her with everything. She was funny and she could sing gorgeous, like an angel. She loved school, and her average was an 87. She had just turned 15.
The saddest thing was that I was on the bus with her when it happened. We were coming back from a sweet sixteen of this boy she knew. We had just stopped in front of Baisley Pond Park and we were getting ready to leave that stop, and the next thing you knew there was gunfire.
They missed her twice and they kept shooting, trying to get my other friend China. It was gang violence. China’s brother was in the Crips.
They finally got D’Aja instead of China. There were six bullets in her head.
I was just shocked. I couldn’t take it in as fast as the gun shots were coming, but five seconds later when she was bleeding and saying, “I’m leaving. I love you guys,” I wished I could have just hugged her and said I love you.
It’s empty in school now. I feel like a big piece was just taken from me. A big one.
D’Aja wasn’t a fighter, she was a lover. Her mother knew that China and I would protect her on the streets. If it was a street fight or a knife fight, I would have helped D’Aja, but seeing as it was gun violence, I couldn’t help her.
On September 18, it was the six-month anniversary of when she passed and I was crying in school the whole day. They had a lighting and I couldn’t even go. But I went to her grave that day and I spent the whole day with her, me and China and these boys, and her brother and her mom.
We gave her flowers and teddy bears. She loved chocolate so we put that there. That same day, her mother went to get a tattoo. Her whole back is full of D’Aja with the carriage that 50 Cent did, and D’Aja’s pictures from kindergarten and the last picture she had taken.
It kind of made me feel better for a few hours, but honestly it didn’t help as much as I thought it was going to help. She’s gone and she’s not going to come back.
Sometimes I feel like everybody’s leaving. My friend’s mother is on life support and my uncle just passed.
What makes me feel better is, I will get up and go to her banner or look at the pictures we had. Sometimes I think of how it would be in heaven with D’Aja. I just hope she’s looking down on us and letting the good spirits and angels help us.
I got into a fight a month after she died, because this girl said it was karma that made her die.
I said, "I bet if it was your mother that died, you wouldn’t be saying it was karma."
I’d fight for D’Aja any day.