I walked off the stage, my head spinning. It had happened again. I confuse Maddie for a fan in the crowd and my knees go weak, I fall down and a massive headache thunders in my head. This was the fifth time since The Letter.
I don’t open fanmail, it gets sent to a P.O box. The Letter was sent directly to my house. Only five words. “I know what actually happened”. I threw up when I read it.
One year ago Maddie and I were walking home from school. We crossed a bridge and heard a call for help. There was a kid holding a tree branch under the bridge. The current would pull him away any second.
Maddie jumped off the bridge, while I did absolutely nothing. I don’t know how exactly but Maddie managed to get the kid to shore. I ran down the path and pulled him up. Before I could reach for Maddie she got swept away. Her body washed up a day later.
For some reason the kid told everyone I saved him. Then everyone wanted to hear my story. The first few months of this fame I truly believed that I was doing that Maddie would have wanted. Then I forgot about her. I was famous and it was because I saved someone’s life.
Then I got The Letter. Everything came back to me. I had been sick and shallow for the last five months. It was like a tsunami. Now I was waiting for whoever wrote The Letter to reveal the truth to everyone else.
I thought about what I would do when people found out. Everyone wanted me to star as a guest on their shows, so I had to leave school. I would probably return.
Would everyone hate me? Probably, But I would be free of my secret. Everyone would know but maybe if I said it people would understand. I felt an invisible timer start. Tick, Tick, Tick.
Whoever wrote The Letter must be planning to tell the world soon. I had to do it before they did.
I was in my dressing room. Moments ago I had walked off stage, my head spinning. Now it was clearer than it had been in weeks. I grabbed a paper and pencil and started writing.
I was nervous about telling my fans how I lied, but then I realized they weren’t my fans. They thought I was a hero. Everyone wanted a hero to talk to them about being amazing.
I gave them cheap quotes. I lied to them and still expected me to worship me. This speech I was writing slowly made me realize things like this. I started getting antsy. Every second I wasn't writing I felt like whoever wrote that letter was getting farther and farther ahead of me.
Three days later I was done with my speech. I probably could've done it in a day but it wouldn’t have felt like the truth. I was set to go on stage in twenty minutes. I thought of how weird my life was. I had gotten famous and stayed famous for about a year all because some kid said I saved him from drowning.
Then I was up. I walked onto the stage and heard cheering. I cleared my throat and began the speech. “I liked being famous but I can’t be anymore” Silence. I slowly ripped my speech up. It wasn’t gonna work. “A year ago my friend Maddie and I were walking home from school when we heard a cry for help. She saved the boy from drowning but it cost her own life. She is the true hero.”
I stared at the crowd. They stared back. “I stood around and did nothing. I’m not who you think I am. Maddie Apple should be standing where I am right now, but please don’t hate me. I was doing what I thought was right but now I know I was very wrong”
Someone came on stage and took me off. I got in my parents car and we took the closest flight home. My parents weren’t mad or even sad. Mom just wished she had stepped in earlier. When we got home I went to bed immediately.
In the morning I looked for The Letter. I found it under my bed. I don’t know how it got there but i didn’t really care. I held it up and was about to rip it when I flipped it over. “I know what really happened, when you used the wrong shampoo! Switch to Mich’s lavender hair scrud today.”
I burst out laughing. A shampoo ad had made me anxious. It had made me tell the truth. The product also didn’t look half bad. I ran downstairs to see if we could get some.
When school started again I wasn’t too scared. People whispered but I didn’t care. After the first month I met a girl named Amy. I still felt bad for everything I had done. With all the money I had earned from doing my year of talk shows I threw a big funeral for Maddie.
Everyone in our school came. This time everyone knew what kind of a hero she was. I didn’t speak at her funeral. I had done enough of that. Instead Amy spoke. She had know Maddie from dance class,
The kid that she rescued came. He gave an amazing speech. I stayed later than most of the others. I knew I could never apologize to Maddie the way I wanted too but I still hoped she had forgiven me.
Now I could just be me, in my hometown with my family and friends. If I ever get a second chance at that day I know I would do everything in my power to help save everyone.
If I ever said anything that inspired anyone in the last year of my life that would be enough. If I convinced just one child to be like Maddie I would be thankful.