Nick Baumgart share his poignant momories of victim, Rachel Scott.
Prom date reminisce the good times spent with his friend, Rachel.
By Stepanie Simon; Los Angeles Times, April 24, 1999
He's thinking about Rachel.
Nick Baumgart has a show - me face. He's just 17, a high school senior, with adolescent acne and eyes full of promise. He likes acting and cooking and his is an eager face, a what-will-the-world-unfurl-for-me-today face.
This week, though, pains haunts it. He tugs at his lower lip a lot and he does a lot of hard swallowing. His eyes are dry but red. He hurts. He, too, is thinking of Rachel.
Rachel Scott- an actress, a musician, a poet, a kid -was 17 when she was shot deaad Tuesday. Nick had taken her to the prom the Saturday before.
Nick sees her as she was last Saturday night, the only girl at the prom in a sleek, black dress. (Everyone wore pooky pastels)
He tugs at that lower lip. He sees her in the limo, talking the crazy talk that made her so fun. She had a good time pndering, he rmembers now, if elephants have toes. He sees Rachel in the resturant, the only one in his group who dared sample the pate. He looks at the photo of her, so pretty, so bright, see her laughing as she struggled to pin on his boutonniere.
Nick sees Rachel alive, and he's hopeful. "Shes' certainly not gone. She's going to be a part of us."
Nick and his friends have spent hours remembering Rachel. Joking about how she used to imitate the spitting dinosaur from "Jurassic Park". Laughing at how she would take any dare you could throw at her.
They're decided to finish the play she was writing and produce it next year at Columbine. They hope, too, to publish her notebook of poems. As a tribute to Rachel, Nick's even considering a career in acting. He's always wanted to be a chef, but he met Rachel through the drama club, and somehow sticking with acting just feels like a good way to honor her.
"In a lot of ways, she's going to keep living." Nick promises, sure in this case it's not a cliche.
Surrounded by friends from his church youth group, Nick broke down and sobbed Tuesday night when a classmate told him she had seen Rachel dead in the schoolyard. Since then though, he has tried so hard to convert his hurt into hope. Unlike many of his friends, he evens wants to go back to school- not back to Columbine, but back somewhere- to finish out the last 19 days of his senior year. He thinks that will give him closure.
His mom, Bonnie, worries he's being too much of a trouper. "There's a lot buried in there," she says.
Holding on always to that image of Rachel in her black prom dress, Nick has decided it's not constructive to be mad. Or to feel scared or even ask why. Rachel, he says, "would absolutely kick our butts if she saw us making such a big deal over her."
So he's trying to heal through positive thinking. He's concentrating now on all the good that has com from the Columbine killings.
His Exhibit A: Students have bonded.
The meanest boy Nick has ever known- a guy who trips people and laughs, who teases kids till they cry- spent the hours of the shooting helping others. He boosted girls over a chain-link fence to safety and combiled lists of everyone who had made it out. He was nice and cared. Nick is sure the transformation will last.
"When you're running through the halls fearing for your lives, it doesn't matter who's a cheerleader and who's Johnny football star." he explains. "That's all so petty. I don't think anyone in the school could go back to it now."
Nick's Exhibit B: The community has bonded.
Littleton looks like so many affluent, anonymous suburbs. Strip mall after strip mall. Tidy lawn after tidy lawn. But business owners came forward by the dozens to donate food, money, flowers, even building supplies to fix up the school.
"It's ironic, that something like this could do that."
So far, there is no Exhibit C. But Nick's working on it.
Today is Rachel's funeral.
She will be remembered by her parents, her younger brother, and her many, many friends as a girl who found much joy in life and who spread much joy around her.
Rachel wanted to be a Broadway actress. And a poet too. She was beautiful, fun, and sparkled.
The other afternoon, Nick and his friends got together again to reminisce about good times with Rachel. "We spent 2 1/2 hours without a pause and we weren't even close to done." Nick realled, smiling.
"I'm doing OK", he said, and rubbed his lip, "I'm OK."
So, where is Nick now?
Rachel would have been 30 years old today, August, 5th, 2011.