BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — On a star-crossed Saturday night, Amanda Quinto, a Bristol Eastern High School senior, climbed on the back of a motorcycle expecting a ride home.
She never made it — fate made sure she did not.
On that Saturday night, Mandi was taken away from us. The spunky girl we called “Firecracker” died a few days later from injuries she received when the cycle crashed with a car on Center
Her family and friends are still searching for the cause of that terrible accident.
Somehow we feel the need to find out in order to fully move on and justify some of our hurt and anger.
It will be easy to remember Mandi.
Whether it be the perfectly curly hair she slaved over, the fingernails she meticulously kept polished or her sassy attitude, she left a lasting impression and will be sorely missed.
For those who called her our friend, Amanda Quinto will always be “in the zone.”
We who are left behind are suffering and waiting for the pain to stop. We need to know why such a wonderful, beautiful person was taken from the world on Sept. 17, 1997 — a date which will be
etched into our minds for years to come.
We miss you Mandi, and wish we could see you once again.
It makes us feel empty not to be able to see your smile every morning, or even hear your attitude. I know many of us just want to say goodbye and give you a hug and others have things they want to tell you.
I am still in a great deal of pain, trying to find a way to cope and trying to find answers, to have my closing.
For those of you also searching for closing, I have this advice for you which I have been telling myself since the 17th: She loved us, she always will. I believe she forgives any of us who might have been on bad terms with her when she left. I know she wouldn’t want any grudges.
No matter where Mandi is right now, she is watching over us and is trying to fix all of our pain. If we open ourselves up, the good memories we have of her will help ease our pain.
Mandi wouldn’t want us to have any anger over her death, and we can’t because anger is not going to help any of us. All anger does is put us a step into the past. Mandi wouldn’t want us there. We all have to take a step into the future because the future is the only place where we will find our closings and peace.
If any good comes of her death, it will be this: We will all learn.
We will learn life is so short and we never know when goodbye will be forever. We have to do our best to live today for today and now for now.
I’m sure Mandi didn’t contemplate never going home again when she jumped on the back of that bike. She no doubt didn’t think of the deadly consequences of not wearing a helmet.
We must take responsibility for our actions, because for each of us — like there was for Mandi — there is going to be a time like that night at the party when we are in control of our own destiny.
Mandi would tell us that.
Jessica Norton is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.