Have you ever been so caught up in a goal that you lose sight of what's most important? I didn’t know it at the time, but one of my greatest thrills would soon evolve into one of my greatest regrets. I was in middle school and, like everyone else, just trying to fit in with the rest of my classmates. My best friend, Cassidy Taylor, was…err… how do I put this gently… a nerd. I was too, but had dreams of being one of the “popular girls” someday. I often tried to do cool things or wear cool clothes, but somehow, all of my endeavors resulted in a situation in which Cassidy had to bail me out. My friend didn't understand why I did it, but I assured her that I had plenty of good reasoning. For one, I HATED my name. My name is Petal, which reminded me, at the time, of flowers and made me feel like I was helpless. I loathed flowers although I'm not quite sure why. Maybe it was their overwhelming fragrance that gave me a headache. Or, maybe, it was the large sea of colors that made my head spin. Whatever the reason may have been, I wasn't fond of it. On the other hand, my sunshine-and-rainbows friend, Cassidy, loved her name as well as mine. Aside from our differences, Cassidy had been my best friend since kindergarten, when she punched Carlos Newman in the nose after he told me that my Bryer horse model collection was stupid. The next day she invited me to sit with her at lunch and from then on we were the perfect duo. I can't recall the number of sleepovers we had, laughing at the other girls who thought they were ”all that and a bag of chips” as we liked to say. It wasn't until sixth grade that I started to feel like being popular, but after many failed attempts, I gave up. After all, one good friend was all I needed… Right?
It was a Thursday afternoon. The sun was shining but the air had an unusual nip to it. Quite an unusual setting for something extraordinary to happen, but that would be life. I shivered slightly through my lightweight jacket as I walked through the halls of Cougar Mountain Middle School. Everything seemed normal, but it always does, in the movies at least, before something exhilarating happens. You see, I was walking through the corridors on my way to math when I heard a small plea for help. Through the bustling traffic of people I went, trying to identify the source of the cry. My remarkable hearing took me to the janitor's closet which had a large stick pushed through both handles. After removing the beam, I pushed the door open.
”Mary Ann?” I questioned in dismay. Mary Ann was part of the, so-called, ”popular group”.
”How did you get in here?”
”Carlos, ” she sputtered in disgust. ”That bully, he locked me in here after I told him his shoes were ugly.” I raised my eyebrows in question.
”What, they were!” I threw my hands up in mock surrender.
”Oh and, hey, thanks for getting me out of here.” her green eyes flitted nervously from the ground to my face.
”Do you uh wanna sit with me, Amber, and Julie at lunch or something?” she said their names like They were one person.
”Wha- me?!” I started, but then remembered to be cool.
”I mean, sure I guess, ”
”Cool, ” she responded and walked away. I waited until Mary Ann was out of sight, and did a happy dance until I heard the bell ring, signaling third period.
”Hey!” I turned my head to see Cassidy staring at me with concern.
” I said, we're on for lunch today right?” she repeated.
”Well actually I'm uh… Sitting with Mary Ann, Amber, and Julie today, ” I said. My friend's mouth gaped open as she stared at me.
”you mean the Mary Ann, Amber, and Julie, ” she retorted. I nodded my head.
” I guess I'm part of the ”popular group” now, ” I joked.
”Lol, yeah, right, ” I thought I saw hurt flash across her face, but dismissed the thought.
”Well, I got to go now, see ya,” I grinned
”Yeah, see you later, ” Cassidy said, barely making an effort to smile.
Being part of the ”popular group” was AWESOME. That is, until ”a few lunches” turned into every day, and ”hanging out for a bit” turned into having sleepovers daily. Soon, I never saw Cassidy. We noticed each other in the hallways, but no more than that. One day she tried to talk to me. I could see tears streaming down her face.
”Oh my gosh, Cass, what's wrong?” I questioned. Before she could answer, Amber bumped in.
”Hey, Petal, we're going to the café, wanna come with?”
”Sorry guys, I have to do some stuff, later though.”
”No, I want to go now. If you don't come, it's back to eating lunches with your nerd friends by the dumpster.” As much as this enraged me, I loved being popular. Everyone paid attention to me and wanted to be my friend. I hoped Cassidy would realize how much this meant to me.
”Cassidy, I- I have to go.” Cassidy will understand I thought. But, oh, I have never been more wrong. My friend's face flushed red with anger.
”You know what?” she said, her lower lip trembling.
”Do what you want. How dare me to try to get in the way of your ”popular life”, ” she remarked. I could hear the sarcasm dripping from her voice. She ran away with a face full of tears.
”That's not-,” I.started to say, but it was too late. Cassidy had already left and little did I know, that was the last time I would see her.
I chased after her. Down the hall and out the doors, but by then she was gone. I looked everywhere that week but the house was empty and no one was home.
”You looking for the Taylor's?” a gruff voice behind me said. Started, I turned around to see an old man, presumably Cassidy’s neighbor, standing behind me.
”Yes, sir, ” I responded.
”Hey, you wouldn't happen to be Petal, would you?”
”Yes, that's me, ” I announced.
”Well, uh, Cassidy gave me this to deliver to you,” he said. He handed me a manila colored letter and walked away. Slightly shocked, I quickly tore through it and peered inside. The first thing I noticed was Cassidy’s swirly handwriting scrolled across the page.
As you may have seen, I've moved. I tried to talk to you multiple times but you always seemed too busy. The truth is, I don't blame you. If I were in your shoes I may have done the same thing. I wish we had more time together before I had to leave. I know you may be asking yourself ”why?” and I believe that I have an answer. This is hard to write out as it makes the reality all the more true. The truth is, I have cancer. It's not a type that can be treated. The doctors have given me a week to live. I'm not scared to die, I know that God has a special place for me and I suppose it's my time. Please don't try and find me, it will make leaving even harder. Again, I wish we had more time together, but as I lay here, I am recollecting all of the special times we had together. All the laughter, with a good share of crying too. All the endless sleepovers filled with scary movies and popcorn. I love you, Petal, and you will always be my dearest friend. As you look into the light-filled sky, just know that heaven has gained another star.
With infinite love,
I dropped to my knees in disbelief. Big, fat tears began rolling down my face. My silent sobs soon turned into audible wails for no one but the birds to hear. Maybe if I wouldn't have been so caught up in my social life, I could've been there for her. Maybe she wouldn't have to die alone. As I sat there on the hard ground I realized the price of popularity and knew I would never get caught up in its trap again.
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powerful message+ realistic settings. The twist at the end was like fireworks, it blew my mind. Keep writing and keep providing us thoughtful messages. Would love your feedback on my recent stories.
Thank you so much!!
Heart-felt story with a powerful message of the consequences of neglecting what is important. You conveyed that very well. The end was quite the twist- So unexpected! Good job Abby✨ By the way, my favourite themes in fiction are popular vs regular students, so I was very much looking forward to reading your story. Will you write more school stories?
Thank you so much! I think I will, so stay tuned if you like.😉
Amazing story 😉
Oh I think I got er to stop.
Very week written story. It was a sad ending. Overall good.
Do you think it was a good sad ending or was it too sad?
It was good maybe a bit to sad.
Hm okay I was trying to do like a drama but maybe I need to tone it down a bit?
I'm sad to hear that you thought it was weekly written but thanks for your feedback!
Very well written, a few things to fix with dialogue but overall an awesomely written story for someone so young!
Thank you! Could you let me know(when it's convenient of course) what was wrong with the dialogue? I have trouble writing it so I would love to know your thoughts on how to improve. Thanks!
Hello everyone! I hope you all enjoyed my story. I tried not to make it too clunky, but I realize it still probably is lol. Please feel free to comment your thoughts below. I appreciate getting constructive criticism as well.
do ya wanna hear some jokes?