Sara got into her mom’s car, giggling.
“What are you laughing about?” Sara’s mom, Stacy, asked.
Never being one to hold back her thoughts and feelings, Sara blurted out “It’s that girl in my class, Megan. She talks funny. And she looks funny too!”
“Have you ever tried to really talk to her?”
“No, mom. I told you. She talks funny. I can’t understand what she says.”
“Have you even tried to understand her?”
“Sara, we’ll talk about this when we get home.”
On the way home, Stacy and Sara stopped at the grocery store. They got the essentials, then Stacy bought two apples.
“Why are you buying apples, Mommy? You just got some the other day.”
“You’ll see, honey.”
When they got home, Stacy called to Sara.
“Come here, Sara. I want to show you something.”
Stacy showed Sara the two apples she had bought. One of the apples was small. It wasn’t very shiny, and it was lopsided. It even looked somewhat bumpy. The other was large and had a bright, shinny, red hue. It looked absolutely perfect.
“Sara, which of these apples would you rather eat?”
“That one.” Sara replied, pointing to the big shinny apple.
“It’s nice and shinny. And it’s big. The other one looks weird.”
Stacy cut the two apples open. The small, dull, bumpy apple looked crisp and juicy. The other apple was brown and rotten on the inside. A worm had gotten into the apple through a small hole in the bottom. Stacy smiled. This was working out just as she planned.
“EWWW!” Sara squealed.
“Which one would you rather eat now?” Stacy asked.
“That one!” replied Sara, pointing to the small dull apple.
“Why don’t you want this one anymore?” Stacy asked, pointed to the big red apple.
“It’s rotten on the inside.” Sara replied.
Not quite sure how to make her point, Stacy plunged right in. “Sara, people can be like this too. On the outside, a person may look really pretty and seem really nice. But when you get to know them, they aren’t a very nice person on the inside. And people who don’t look like we do on the outside may be really nice once you get to know them.”
Sara scrunched up her nose. “You mean like Megan?”
“Yes. You don’t have to be friends with her though.”
“I don’t??” Sara replied incredulously.
“No. But you have to try to get to know her before you decide not to be friends. I want you to talk to Megan and get to know her.”
The next day…
Stacy waited in her car for Sara to get out of school. She saw Sara running towards the car, beaming.
“Guess what mom? Megan likes horses, just like me! And she says that she has her very own horse! And you know what else? She wants me to come over and ride her horse this Saturday. Can I mom? Can I??”
Stacy laughed. “Well, I’ll have to talk to Megan’s mom. Did you get her phone number?”
“Yep! I’m going to call her tonight. I can’t wait.”
A few days later…
That Saturday, Stacy picked up Sara from Megan’s house.
Stacy ran to the car, dragging her new friend behind her. “Mom, this is Megan!”
“Hi. It is very nice to meet you, Stacy’s mom,” Megan replied, smiling broadly at Stacy.
“It’s very nice to finally meet you, too, Megan. I hope you had fun. Maybe next time, you can come to our house. Would you like that?” Megan nodded her head vigorously. Megan and Sara said their goodbyes, and Sara got into the car. “So did you enjoy your day with Megan?” Stacy asked.
“Yep. Her mom talked to me too. Megan has something called Down’s Syndrome. That’s why she looks and talks the way she does. But I don’t think she looks funny anymore, just different. She looks like my friend.”
Dabbing away the tears at the grave side service, Sara smiled as she remember when she first met Megan. That first meeting had developed into a life long friendship. Unfortunately, Megan’s life was taken much too soon by a heart condition related to her Down’s Syndrome. As Sara walked past her casket and said her final goodbye, she left not a flower, but a small, dull, bumpy apple.
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