May 26, 2008
Milk stained the ceramic bowl and soggy Cherrios floated among leftover milk. It was empty. Nothing but unfinished breakfast left behind. The consumer hadn’t even bothered to pour out its remains or put it in the dishwasher. The bowl fell, and slowly clattered to the kitchen floor. It stayed there, abandoned, just like Erica.
Erica was the owner of the cereal bowl. She was a seventh grander who went to Pineville’s School for Gifted Students, or PSGS.
She was smart. A little too smart. Erica’s IQ reached a whopping 186, while her parents’ IQ’s lingered in the 120’s.
How was Erica abandoned? Her parents went through a bitter divorce, each fighting wildy for sole custody. Her mother was trying to prove her father was a bad parent, and vice-versa. Her father, Bill, even took money out of Erica’s trust fund to hire an out-of-state lawyer, the best in the country to be precise. When Erica found out, she leaned towards her mother for custody, but later found out her mother did something horrible as well. Erica’s mother, Emily, had cheated on Bill with another man, who was at leat ten years older than her.
Being thirteen, well it sucked. At leat for Erica. She envied other students. Most of them had parents who didn’t use their children as trophies, just trying to beat one another in a battle. Trophies are for winning at sports, winning school events. Not for winning custody.
Not only her parents used her, but her classmates did as well. She showed Hannah, her so-called friend, a poem she wrote. It was about her parents and their situation. Apparently, Hannah thought it was funny and decided to tell the whole grade about it. Vicous rumors were spread like wildfire, some so bad Erica almost burst into tears. People said that her father was “abusing her.” People said her mother “was sentenced to jail for a lifetime.” None of these were true, but they weren’t much worse than what actually happened.
Taking money locked away, saved for Erica? Cheating on your husband? Now that’s just terrible.
All next week, mysterious notes were placed into Erica’s locker. They said things like “Meet me at town square, at noon Sunday” and “I know what your parents did, and we need to talk.” The notes kept coming, but no signature was left, only confusion.
The notes came the week after that as well, and Erica’s curiosity had risen. The notes became more demanding as well. Now they said things like “We need to talk soon, or your situation will only get worse. I’m postive. –B.” and “Town sqaure. Saturday at noon. Be there. –B.” Apparently, “B” was a hint of a signature. The note writer’s name must start with a B.
Bob? Beatrice? Benjamin? Bella?
Erica decided to go to town square that Saturday. She needed to know who wrote the notes and why. Names still wandered through her head.
Becky? Bryce? Bailey? Brian?
When Erica reached town square, a girl, probably in eighth grade, was standing, looking around. The mystery girl was dressed simple, wearing a pair of cutoff shorts and a white T-shirt, with a big heart scribbled on it’s middle with permanent marker.
Erica cautiously walked up to the girl.
Brianna? Brittany?
“The name’s Bethany.” Mystery Girl boldy stated. “And I’m here to talk.”
“Thanks for saying hello.” Erica muttered.
“I heard that.” Bethany said.
Erica nodded. “Sorry. I just want to know. Why talk here? Can’t we talk at school?”
Bethany sat down on the grass and whispered,“I couldn’t.”
Erica sat down, too and asked “Well… why couldn’t you.”
Bethany sighed dramatically, and said in a snobby voice, “Well, what I want to talk to about it kinda private. There’s like, WAY too many people at school. Now will you please let me say what I have to say?”
Erica looked slighty frightened, but slowly nodded her head, too stunned to speak.
Bethany looked her straight in the eye and said, “You need to quit sulking around. I know about your parents, don’t ask how, but I do. I have a similar situation, though mine is worse. My mother left us when I was four years old. FOUR YEARS OLD! My grandmother is fighting my father, who’s an alchoholic, for custody! My grandmother is so old I wouldn’t be surprised if she died tomorrow! So you know what? Worse things can happen. GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE. I know you are uncomfortable with the situation, but there’s nothing you can do so just relax.”
With a hard, icy, stare, Erica shot daggers at Bethany. “I can’t give up! I have to try! And you are the one who needs to quit feeling sorry for yourself!”
Erica meant what she said. She shouldn’t give up and Bethany should stop feeling sorry for herself. Two sentences of Bethany’s explosion still surrounded her confused mind. “You need to quit sulking around. Get on with your life.” The words echoed in her head.
After a moment of silence Eirca looked at Bethany. “You’re right.”
Bethany was right. Erica needed to quit sulking around and she knew it. Now that Erica admitted it, she felt lighter on the inside. Erica said her goodbye, and rushed home.
Erica entered ther kitchen, and slowly walked towards the table. She kneeled to the gound, and lifted the cereal bowl. It still had several Cheerios and some drops of milk. Erica walked to the sink, washed out the bowl, and put it in the dishwasher. It was no longer abandoned.
Though Erica was still abandoned by her parents, she wasn’t abandoned by herself anymore. She knew the truth, and knew she had to face it. She did, with a smile on her face. She was no longer empty inside. Erica for once, was happy.

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