Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Friendship (04/04/05)
- TITLE: Cheerful Melodies
By addie mattern
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Maria had long dark hair, as she did all through middle school. Underneath her awkward glasses were big blue eyes with thick black eyelashes surrounding them. Maria was actually quite pretty, but she was hardly ever recognized as so. No one could think of Maria Anderson as pretty.
But Maria was my best friend.
By the time we reached high school, Maria had outgrown most of her awkwardness. The clunky glasses were traded in for contacts, and I talked her in to getting a more current hairdo. Her style of clothing had completely changed, her lisp was corrected, and her teeth were beautiful and white after many years of braces. But my Maria hadn’t changed a bit.
Despite all the teasing in junior high, Maria was no longer shy, but happy and outgoing. She walked into high school with a certain confidence I had never seen before. Maria was true to herself, no matter what everyone else wanted her to be.
To look at her, you wouldn’t have been able to tell that Maria carried a terminal illness. She was diagnosed at the age of eight and had miraculously survived for nine more years. But sadly, there was no cure for Maria’s disease. The doctors were always searching for new treatments, but because her illness was unknown, they were never quite sure of what to give her. The only thing we could do for Maria was to pray.
At school, the knowledge of Maria’s disease only made people tease her worse. Looking back, I don’t know how she even made it to school. There were many nights I knew she went to sleep crying. And on some nights, I cried for her.
Amazingly, I was never rejected for being Maria’s friend. I felt a need to show people the funny, strong, smart Maria that I knew and cared about so deeply.
One night, I had a dream about Maria. She and I were in my car headed to the little parking lot behind the football field. As we drove up, I saw a group of my other, more popular, friends standing around waiting for me. There were familiar, but still unknown, faces in the background.
I got out of the car, and Maria stepped out on the passenger’s side. Immediately, someone came over and started taunting Maria.
“You can’t be here,” he said. He started shoving Maria.
“What are you doing?” I yelled.
“She doesn’t belong here!”
“Why do you hate her?” I retorted.
I suddenly became afraid for our safety. I told Maria to get in the car, as I did so myself. I put the key in the ignition, and Maria rushed into her seat, quickly slamming the door. The boy chased after her and started pulling on the handle.
“Lock it!” I shouted.
He pounded on the window.
“I hate you!” I screamed. “How could you do this?”
I started the engine and pressed on the gas. I drove off crying, and, looking out the window, saw Maria standing outside next to him, staring blankly at me.
Maria died that night. I had lost my best friend forever.
Half the town showed up for Maria’s funeral. It was a warm, sunny day– a day that she deserved. The birds in the surrounding trees were singing cheerful melodies. I grew angry at them. How could they be singing when Maria was dead?
During the service, I could only think of all the times I had laughed when a joke was made about her. All the times I had left her alone. All the times she was teased, and I never did anything about it.
When I got home, I went up to my room and threw myself on the bed. I couldn’t even cry. I just laid there thinking.
“Maria loved you,” a sudden Voice came.
I got up and went to the door. The hallway was as empty as I had left it.
“Sam, do not grieve. Maria is home.”
I looked out my window. A little bird landed on the windowsill and started singing. I smiled. “I loved her too.”
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