I transferred to pali in eleventh grade. The first week was hard, having few friends and feeling uncomfortable in a new environment. One of the first people I met was Dillon. We both were on the JV soccer team together, and we both shared Ms. Gilbert’s second period English class. Dillon always made an effort to include me in conversations during class and he was always down to just joke around with me after soccer practice. He knew that I was adjusting in a new place, and he really made an effort to make me feel at home. He offered his friendship to me at a time in which I didnt have many people to call friends. We only hung out a couple times outside of school, but nevertheless, whenever we did see each other he always treated me like I was one of his good friends. To this day the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Pali is a memory of Dillon talking to me and a couple other soccer teammates at practice, making us crack up over and over again with this one joke he was telling.
I saw Dillon in the village a couple days before he died. As soon as he saw me he waved to me and immediately came over with a huge smile, asking me how I had been and how my summer was. We talked a bit and he told me that we needed to hang out and play some soccer or something. I told him we would, then we said goodbye and he was gone.
For some reason I didnt want to go the funeral. My reaction to the news was strange. I obviously knew that he was gone, but I guess I almost felt like it was a big joke, like it wasn’t real. As if going to the funeral would destroy a part of Pali that meant something to me.
A few months later I started having a dream which I now have every few months. It always happens the same way. It’s nighttime at the village, and Dillon comes up to me, just like the last time I saw him. Instead of talking though, we turn and run and run to Palisades park and start kicking around a soccer ball, having a great time. I think that there is still some part of me that believes he is just on a long vacation or something, and that one day he’ll knock on my door and we will go play soccer.
That was my experience with Dillon, I dont really know what else to say other than I wish I could tell him that he was my friend when I needed him, and for that I am eternally grateful.