I met her when she was 13. Even with over four years age difference, we were instant friends—I’m not the type of person who makes friends easily. She was hired as a bus girl at Royal Jade, the restaurant I worked at during my senior year of high school. I “took her under my wing” and when I left to move away to go to college, she took my place as the owner’s go-to girl.
We kept in touch while I was away. I invited her to come down on multiple occasions, but without transportation of her own she was never able to make it. I frequently came to the restaurant and saw her when I was visiting my mom, but other than that we kept in touch through texting.
We talked about how she should take lots of AP classes so that she wouldn’t have to spend as much time in college (something I deeply regret not doing myself), we talked about boys she was dating, and we always made plans that never became a reality. When an opening for a waitress was open at the restaurant she made sure to tell me. I was looking for work and moving back into the area soon—not to mention I missed working there—so I took it.
In the time I was gone, she had blossomed into a teenager. At 15, she often tricked my mind into thinking she was much older. She was taking those AP and honors classes and had a nice boyfriend. I had my Peanut in my belly and she loved it. She was constantly making jokes about how I needed to make sure I had an “urban baby” and that I should name her Nastia. She gave us a plant named Nastia from the Farmers Market as a wedding gift. I ended up leaving Royal Jade again when I was 4-5 months pregnant because I couldn’t work anymore with the pregnancy.
She met Peanut a few times and just loved her. She was one of the only people that Peanut didn’t cry when she held her during her phase of no one holding her. She was so excited that I was breastfeeding and wanted to do it herself one day.
She was so beautiful that I was constantly jealous, so smart that I was sure that she was going to do great things, and so vibrant and strong willed, and responsible. I can’t come up with a single bad adjective for this girl. It is a true horror that she is gone from this world. We’ll miss you Rachel.
This photo is the only one I could find that I have of Rachel. She was one of 5 girls at my wedding
who I wasn’t related to. I feel sorry that I don’t have more photos of her.