Matthias had an tough life for a seven-year-old. She had lost her mother recently, as well, as her father, and she lived with her older sister. Maisha always told Matthias that she loved her, though Matthias questioned it sometimes. Maisha never seemed to remember that she had a sister and that Matthias was a girl now. It upset her and made her sad. Actually, almost everything that reminded her of her parents, of her dead kitten, or of her ever being a boy made her sad. But there was always someone there who always made her happy. His name was Joey.

Joey loved her for who she was, not what she was. It was just one of those first-grade crushes, though it meant more than most. It had started on the first day of school. They were instantly best friends. Matthias, didn't want to keep her "birth defect" a secret from him because she, even at a young age, knew that if Joey found out later, he might hate her for keeping that a secret.

They held hands everywhere. At the end of school before they each went home, Joey gave Mattias a kiss on the cheek. Whenever one of them went somewhere special, they invited the other to come along. Joey's parents didn't mind, and Maria did everything she could to keep Matthias happy.

Then one day...Joey was gone. It was so sudden. Matthias would never have guessed that that goodbye over the phone would have been their last. He was her best friend in the whole world, and he loved her, and he ignored her "birth defect", which no one had ever done before. They all thought she was gay, they called her a homo, and they bullied her for it. Joey was the only one who both knew about it and didn't acknowledge it, and didn't bully her.

He was taking a walk with his mother when his dog ran over to the wash to check it out. Joey went to retrieve him, but he slipped and fell and fell on his head and drowned.

Matthias went to his funeral, dressed in black. It was something she never did, even when she was really depressed or when she lost her mother. Joey was the most special person in her life and now he was gone. She remembered what had happened only three days ago.

"Matthias," Joey said over the phone, "I'm sorry I won't be at home today. I'm going on a walk with my mommy. She said we needed some bonding time."

"Oh, okay," Matthias responded. "It's fine. My me and my sister goed on a walk together yesterday."

"She just sayed that I gotta get off the phone now. See you later, Mattie. Bye!"

"Bye! Have fun!"

Joey hung up. Later that day, the phone rang, and Matthias picked up. It was Joey's mother...calling to inform the little girl that Joey was dead.

"Just...take a break from life, okay?" Maria said softly. "Right after you say your speech about Joey, we can go home if this is hurting you too much."

"I made it through Mommy's funeral," Matthias whispered back. "And I made it through Daddy's. I can make it through this one, too."

She stood up and walked up to the pedestal. "All of you, I have something to say."

The room went silent.

"Joey was an amazing young boy," she continued. "He loved everyone, no matter who they were, what they did, how they treated him, or what they looked like. He loved them because he knew, deep down, no one is exactly the same, but no one is truly different either. He was a beautiful addition to all our lives, and I pray he is never forgotten. He was the most special boy I have ever met, and almost the most specialest person, too. I want to sing a song, and please, pay attention the the words. Take them to heart. Don't ever forget them, because each goodbye you say to someone could be your very last."

She sat down at the piano and started playing, her fingers easily moving across the keys.

If I die young, bury me in satin.
Lay me down on a bed of roses.
Sink me in the river at dawn.
Send me away with the words of a love song.

She took one of the roses out of her hair and the first love note Joey had written her and set them both on the piano.

Lord make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother.
She'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors.
Oh, life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no.
Ain't even gray, but she buries her baby.

She bowed her head for a few moments and ran one hand quickly over her stomach.

The sharp knife of a short life.
Well, I've had just enough time.

She let a few tears fall.

If I die young, bury me in satin.
Lay me down on a bed of roses.
Sink me in the river at dawn.
Send me away with the words of a love song.

She stood up and walked over to Joey's body, which was lying in a coffin.

The sharp knife of a short life.
Well, I've had just enough time.

She set a bouquet of roses on his chest, putting the stems under his hands.

And I'll be wearing white when I come into your kingdom.
I'm as green as the ring on my little cold finger.
I've never known the loving of a man.
But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand.

She placed her hands over his.

There's a boy here in town, says he'll love me forever.
Who would have thought forever could be severed by
The sharp knife of a short life.
Well, I've had just enough time.

She kissed him lightly on the cheek, just as he had done to her every day after school before they went home.

So put on your best, boys, and I'll wear my pearls.
What I never did is done.
A penny for my thoughts, oh no, I'll sell 'em for a dollar.
They're worth so much more after I'm a goner.
And maybe then you'll hear the words I been singing.
Funny, when you're dead how people start listening.

She walked back over to the piano, an unreadable expression on her face. She was probably too sad to even cry or show any emotion.

If I die young, bury me in satin.
Lay me down on a bed of roses.
Sink me in the river at dawn.
Send me away with the words of a love song.

She took the other rose out of her hair and placed it with the first one. She stood up and walked over to Joey once again..

The ballad of a dove,
Go with peace and love.
Gather up your tears, keep 'em in your pocket.
Save them for a time when you're really gonna need them, oh.

She put a note on his stomach, and put her penny in a jar around his neck.

The sharp knife of a short life.
Well, I've had just enough time.
So put on your best, boys.
And I'll wear my pearls.

She went back up the the pedestal. "Please, everyone, remember that death is a unfair thing. It can kill a innocent person and still leave a awful thief running free. Say thank you and I love you to the ones that you love, don't be mean to anyone, try to make peace, because life is too short to miss even a little second of it."