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This I Believe: I Believe in the Butterfly Effect

Kheriss Turner - Southeast High School
Beatrice Bonner
NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS
Kheriss Turner - Southeast High School

Dear Kaysha Lynea:

It’s funny how two people can look exactly alike and know so little about one another. At once we shared everything: toys, a womb, and bedroom.. and now, next to nothing. At times I wonder if you would’ve played volleyball; how dynamic our duo could have been if you were a setter and I was an outside. How we would’ve had a chemistry that no one could touch. Or if we would have stayed up at night watching reruns of The Bachelor, placing our bets for who we believed would walk out with a wedding ring. Or if you would have enjoyed some of the same food combinations as me, like hot Cheetos and cream cheese. (don’t knock it until you try it.) 2021 This I Believe Illinois author Kheriss Turner of Southeast High School discusses how a significant event changed the course of her life.

Since the day you died, my fate was sealed. I was to work twice as hard to make up for what you couldn’t experience. I put in two times as many hours on the court, I studied two times more, I laughed twice as much, and loved twice as hard. I felt I always had something to prove; Everything I did I put my 100% into. The countless all-nighters I pulled to ensure I would ace my tests. The numerous injuries I faced from putting too much of myself into practices and workouts. I developed a toxic perfectionist lifestyle but I had to prove that your death meant something to me. That I didn’t take it lightly. To prove that there is a reason why God left me here and not you. 

In 7th grade I broke down after science class because I had not only failed the test, but failed you as well. I feared that I had let you down. I was afraid that you thought I forgot about you. My freshman year I hardly drove with my permit because I was afraid that if I got in an accident, your death would have been for nothing. I could’ve let the survivor's guilt eat me alive. I could’ve let the thoughts drive me insane. But when I once asked “why me?” I now ask “who is going to stop me.” And although I was too young to form an unforgettable memory of you, I wouldn’t be who I am without you. You motivate me in more ways than you could ever know. 

The butterfly effect says that one event can change the course of everything. Maybe if you were here, I wouldn’t be as determined, stubborn, or optimistic. Maybe your death uncovered my potential which might’ve been overshadowed by being known as someone’s twin. Maybe it was an honest mistake. Your death changed the course of the life I was to live. You are my butterfly. This, I believe.

Love, The One You Left Behind

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Kheriss Turner