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Growing up Sammi

~Samatha Salina Culver~

Chapter 1: My world crashes

I sat here for few minutes trying to think of where to start, then it became obvious..May 11th, 1996. The day my world came to an end.
In Miami a plane takes off with 105 passengers headed for Atlanta. 670 miles away a 14 year old girl is busy cleaning her room so when her parents get home from their trip to miami they could all go out to eat at a restaurant. That girl was me...
Our neighbor stopped by to see if I needed anything and let me know he was headed into Atlanta and was picking up my mom and dad when their plane landed. I watched as his brown van left the driveway. I finished cleaning my room and started cleaning the rest of the house because I knew my mom would be tired when she got home..
Hours went by and I would stop cleaning occationally to see if the van was back. Finally it pulled into our driveway. It was going real slow, which was odd to me. Our neighbor Phil got out and just stood by the front of the van. I waited and wondered, why isnt mom and dad getting out?
The neighbors wife came over to him and said something..then she just went limp to the ground crying. It was only then I realized something was wrong. They slowly walked to the house and as they got closer I could see his eyes were red from crying too. My heart started racing and I could feel blood going to my head for some reason.

Chapter 2: Darkness

They asked if I had been watching the news. I told them no, that i had been cleaning for mom. At that time two more cars pulled in with six people. Phil grabbed my arm and knelt beside me and said that there had been a plane crash in florida, the plane my mom and dad were on, ValuJet flight 592, had crashed into the everglades and there were no known survivors..
I fell to the couch as the people from the cars came in and started asking phil questions about me. They were there to help i suppose. They turned to me and started asking if I was ok and if I needed anything. It seemed like I was being turned and pulled every which direction. I was going into shock.
The mental part of my brain couldnt comprehend or process all that had happened. The voices became just distant sounds and the faces became blurs. Everything went black. I had collapsed. My doctors would later explain to me that my brain had shut down to protect me.
I came to briefly and could tell someone was carrying me, but then I blacked out again. When I came to, I was in a hospital. Phils wife was sitting next to the bed and I could hear Phil talking outside the door. Two women came in with him and said there were there to help me until my aunt sara could come from salt lake city, utah to get me. The two women were therapist and councellors. I was given sedatives to help keep me calm, but I began to look forward to the blackouts because it was only then that I didnt have to think or feel any pain..
At a time when other girls my age were planning dates, proms and parties, ...solitude became my best friend. I became reclusive and withdrawn, never trusting anyone except my aunt.
I didnt really know my aunt sara that much at the time, but we quickly became friends. I went down one night and seen her crying holding a picture of my dad. I had been selfish..I never thought how she must have felt. My dad was her brother...

Chapter 3: Picking up the pieces

We had a long talk the next morning at breakfast and we both felt better. I felt sorry for her but it was good to know we shared this common tragedy and could be there for each other.
Our atlanta neighbor Phil's son was an attourney and filed a suit on my behalf. ValuJet was ordered to pay me 32 million, which my aunt was to oversee until I became 18.
She would take out only enough to get us by. That would upset me and would constantly tell her that if she needed anything to just get it. Apparently my aunt is a financial genius and didnt even know it. She had all the money in one account and all the interest from it went to a separate account which was more than enough for us. When account 2 reached a certain amount, its interest reverted back to account 1. the 2 accounts just fed each other.

Chapter 4: Relapse

Christmas 1997... My first christmas alone. While most looked forward to christmas and all its joy, it has a vastly different meaning for me. It quickly became a day to dread.
My aunt took me to the mall to do some christmas shopping with her. I would look around and see the other kids with their families laughing and having fun..I wanted to hide. I felt alone again, wondering why me? what did I do wrong? I felt the familar feeling of blood rushing to my head again. My aunt noticed I was having a panic attack and rush me out of the store. She said "its ok, lets just go home and cook something." I felt better.
My aunt became worried that I wasnt socializing at all... That christmas my aunt got me a new piece of technology that had just came out..said it might help me socialize more....

Chapter 5: Internet

The little box the size of a vcr sat on my dresser 3 days before I opened and hooked it up. Like the box said, i was surfing the internet in no time. I had found something that interested me. I started searching and reading up on the human psyche, how the mind works, and lucid dreaming.
I noticed on one of the upgrades they put a link in the corner for chat. I clicked it and went to a room. There I just sat and watched. All of this was new to me and I didnt know anyone here. My typing was below poor...
I seen someone do a /me action and this puzzled me as to how they did that. After a while I finally got up the nerve to ask and they told me how. I wanted to type /me says hi , but after I hit enter and looked on the tv, it said
(S_Culver) ?me says hi.
I had messed it up, I was horrified..then came the worst part..everyone started laughing. Looking back now, Im sure they were just trying to break the tension and meant no harm. But I seen everyone laughing at me and was instantly filled with rage and anger. I yanked the webtv, ripping the cords from the tv and threw it out my window.
I looked out , it had crashed onto the sidewalk below with the shattered window glass. For a brief moment, i felt good, but that wore off as I remembered it was a gift from my aunt. What would she think of me? She had been ironing clothes and came rushing in to see if i was hurt. I explained what had happened, expecting her to get mad..but instead her face went blank and she said "Its good to see you still have some emotions". I was speachless...
She went downstairs and grabbed a bag. I told her that it was my mess, i'll clean it up... she said "no samantha, its our problem and we'll fix it together". I told her, some day I'll figure that internet out.
She laughed.

Chapter 6: Sixteen Candles

I wake up and another birthday has come. Like all holidays I pray for the day to be over with. I just want to lay in bed all day until it passes. My aunt has other plans though..she tells me she has planned a party. This was totally unthinkable for me, couldnt she understand that i was alone not because i couldnt make friends? I was alone because thats how I wanted it.
I got dressed and promised her I would try to have fun. Inside, I couldnt believe I said that.."fun" left my world two years ago. This wasnt MY birthday party, my birthday party was suppose to at home with mom and dad.
But still..disappointing my aunt was unacceptable for me to even think of. She had invited about 15 other kids from the neighborhood, a few about my age, but most a little younger. They seemed to be having a good time..I sat at the table eating some ice cream. I noticed in the living room another girl sat in the corner eating some cake. She was about 13 and I had seen her before from a distance when she would wait on the bus. Every once in a while she would glace up to see if anyone was looking at her. I kept asking myself if something was wrong. Wasnt she having fun like everyone else? Then it struck me..oh my god, she is just like me! Suddenly I knew how my aunt felt when she looks at me..
I wanted so bad to go over to her and try to talk ,but I knew if she was like me, that would be the last thing she wanted. Another girl goes over and talks to her for a while. The girl head always looking down..After she left, I thought I have to give it a try. I walked over and sat on the couch about 6 feet from her. I didnt want to get too close, let her still have her space..Its what I would have wanted.
I told her I was Sammi and thanked her for coming to my party. She looked up startled and said her name was kim. When she looked up I noticed something I hadnt before. There was a huge scar on the side of her face running across her cheek to her neck. I knew she was trying to hide it, it made her self-conscience. I wanted to say something about it and query as to how she got it, but I didnt know what to say. Anything I would have said would have made her more aware of her "flaw" and make her want to run and hide...god, how i knew that feeling..I thanked her again and left.
It bothered me all night that I hadnt said more to her. I told aunt sara about it the next morning, and she said I should go talk to kim's parents and maybe I could help her. Help her?? That never occured to me. How could I help anyone? I cant even help myself. I had my own scars on the inside..
I rang the bell at kim's house and her mom answered the door.. I was stuck, I didnt know what to say or how to bring up the scar, so I told her I just wanted to stop by and thank her for letting kim come to my party and hoped she had fun. Kim's mom invited me for a sandwich and a coke. I felt more relaxed now. I got up the nerve finally and told her i noticed the scar on kims face and was wonderin about it. Turns out when she was seven and learning to ride a bike, she hit a curb and was thrown forward. The end of the handlebars cut deeply into her face. I told her mom with reconstructive surgery, they could probably fix it. Her mom said they had looked into that and it was more than they could afford at the time. I told her mom that I wanted to help and would pay for everything.
We grabbed a phonebook and started looking for a place that could do this. We contacted the Gateway Aesthetic Institute & Laser Center in Salt Lake City, Utah and set up an appointment. To make a long story short, three laser sessions later and there is no sign of any scar. No one could possibly know how good I felt.
Kim still tells everyone I'm her big sister and I tell everyone I got a sister for my birthday...

(Kim before laser surgery)

Chapter 7: