Never Too Late

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She ran down the hallway, her tennis shoes squeaking against the school’s linoleum floor as she went. Oh, please don’t let me be too late, her thoughts screamed as her lungs joined in. She burst through the high school’s back doors as the bus drivers started their engines. Though she did not ride a bus, she ran along the cramped space between them in a desperate attempt to find her friend.

“Layla! Layla!” she yelled as she looked from window to window. “Where are you!?”

“Elli! Over here!” a girl’s voice called.
She turned toward the sound to see the familiar chocolate-brown hair and sea-green eyes of her friend.

“Oh my God!!” she shouted, speeding towards the window the brunette stared at her through.

“Elli! You made it!” Layla exclaimed happily. “I thought you weren’t going to make it…”

“What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t see you off?” Elli replied with a sad smile.

Layla laughed and reached for her friend’s hand over the window.

“I’m really going to miss you…” she said, her voice breaking as tears rolled down her heart-shaped face.

“I’m going to miss you, too, Layla…” Elli replied. “I wish you could stay forever…”

“Me, too. I begged my dad not to take that job in Richmond, but apparently money is more important than our friendship.”

Elli wanted to console her friend, but the lump in her throat prevented any words from escaping. The pair just stared at each other until the bus driver yelled,

“Get going, little girl. We have to leave now.”

Layla blinked twice to clear her vision then gave her friend’s hand one final squeeze.

“Well…I guess this is…goodbye…Elli,” she said weakly.

“Y-Yeah,” Elli responded, slowly retrieving her hand.

“D-Don’t…forget about me…okay?” Layla stammered between sobs.

“I could never forget about you, Lay-Lay,” Elli whispered, calling Layla by the nickname she had given her in kindergarten.

Elli stepped away from the buses and onto the curb as the buses sped towards the homes of the children they carried.

“Goodbye, Elli!!” Layla called as her bus left.
“Good..Goodbye…Layla,” Elli whispered, much too quietly for her friend to hear.





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