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Friends from Different Worlds
The school day was over, and Emily had just gotten home. She was still recovering from the loss of her mother that had happened almost nine months ago. Life just wasn't the same for Emily without her. Instead of riding her horse, Maverick, Emily decided to just relax and watch T.V. for the rainy evening. As Emily sank into the brown recliner, she flipped through the channels until she stumbled across the Fox News. Usually, Emily disliked the news, but the headline ‘Texas Teen is Hit by a Car and Paralyzed’ caught her attention. The news reporter said that the victim of this tragic accident was an all-star athlete, who was already offered a full ride scholarship to Auburn for track. Apparently this teenage girl was okay, and had already been released from the hospital. Although, she would be confined to a wheel chair for the rest of her life. The reporter also said that this girl was a sophomore at Westmoore High School, the school Emily attended. As Emily continued to watch, she recognized the girl. Macey Blackwell, probably the biggest bully to Emily in the entire school, was the victim of this horrible accident.
Emily dropped the remote when the news of Macey’s accident finally hit her. She felt awful for Macey, even though the two girls were not even close to being friends. You could easily call them enemies. Macey was popular and athletic, but now she had lost everything. Emily was determined to help Macey in some way, even though the two disliked each other immensely.
That morning, Emily walked to school, as usual. She went to all of her classes, and everything seemed the same. No one seemed to recognize Macey’s absence. Soon enough, school ended, and Emily gathered up her books from her locker. She slung her backpack over her shoulder, and decided to take the short cut home, which meant walking through the track field. As Emily shuffled behind the metal bleachers, she heard a faint sound. Emily went further under the bleachers and discovered Macey Blackwell, in her wheel chair, sobbing uncontrollably.
“Macey? Macey Blackwell, is that you?” questioned Emily, as she made her way ever so slightly towards Macey.
Macey wheeled her wheel chair towards Emily and clasped her hands together to form a fist. “Get away from me! I don't want you here! Leave!”
Emily cautiously stepped back a few feet. She glanced at Macey's legs and saw stitches. Emily unknowingly made a horrified look. Macey noticed that Emily was shocked by the appearance of her legs, so she promptly covered them with her track team jacket and hid her face. “I already told you! Get out of here! I don't want to see you! Run home, bookworm!”
Upon hearing this, Emily tightly held her favorite book, Black Beauty, close to her chest. She hesitantly stumbled backwards and took one last glance at Macey, sulking in the corner, and said,“B-bye Macey. Have a good night! S-s-see you to-tomorrow. J-just l-let me know if there's anything I c-c-can do for you!”
Macey scowled at Emily and crossed her arms. “I don't need your sympathy, Emily Quinn.”
Emily pushed out a smile and waved goodbye. She quietly re-organized the books in her hand and continued her walk home.
Once Emily got to the “Meeting Tree”, she sat down and started to resume her reading of Black Beauty. She looked up and saw a tall, lanky figure walking towards her from off in the distance. When she looked closer, she knew exactly who it was – it was her brother, Rivers.
Emily quickly folded the corner of the page she was on, set down Black Beauty, and ran to meet her brother. “Rivers, you're late!” smirked Emily as she tucked her disheveled, blonde hair behind her ear.
Rivers looked at his watch, gave Emily a hug (the kind older brothers give), and scratched the back of his neck, uncomfortably. “Sorry, Em. I've been busy at school. I think we’re gonna have t’ stop goin’ to the Meetin’ Tree after school everyday.”
Emily jumped back and hung her head low. She knew that their schedules were just too busy to meet at the tree everyday after school. “I know, Rivers. But, I need some advice. You know Macey Blackwell?”
Rivers rested his arm on the old oak and looked all around him, trying to recall who Macey was. “Yah. Wasn't she hit by a car or somethin’?”
Emily laughed and picked a leaf off of the old, mossy, oak tree. Her sarcastic attitude was rapidly replaced by a look of pure confusion. “Yes, she was hit by a car, and she doesn't want to talk to me. Earlier this afternoon, I took the short cut home, the one that takes you through the track field, you know? And I heard this noise from under the bleachers, and it was Macey. She was crying, and when I tried to be nice, she was just angry. What should I do?”
Once Rivers had stopped pondering this moment, he shoved his hands into his tattered blue jeans pockets and said, “Well, Em, what would Jesus do?”, and at that, he slung his backpack over his shoulders, and started walking back home.
Emily stood for a moment, thinking about her brother’s words. She replayed what Rivers had said over and over in her mind, and finally came to a resolution: she was going to help Macey Blackwell.
When the bell rang that signaled the end of the school day, Emily ran to her locker, grabbed a small piece of paper, and frantically packed all of her books into her backpack. She hoisted her backpack on one of her shoulders and raced off towards the track field. Emily clasped the paper in her hands, and repeated the words “What would Jesus do?” in her mind. As she approached the bleachers, she took a deep breath and called for Macey. “Macey, are you there?”
There was a shuffling noise under the bleachers, and Macey came wheeling out. “What do you want? I thought I told you to leave me alone! Get out! Go away!”
Emily took a deep breath and looked at the folded piece of paper in her hand. She unfolded it and held it out to Macey. “I wanted to invite you to my barn party. Please, just come tomorrow. It'll be fun.”
Macey looked at the paper and hesitatingly took it. “Don't you realize? You're dumber than I thought. I'm in a wheel chair! I can't do anything!”
Emily put her fidgety hands behind her back. “That's okay! Please just come, I have a surprise for you.”
Macey continued to scowl at Emily. Emily sullenly lowered her head and continued her walk home. She didn't know what she had done wrong. Emily kept thinking about what Rivers had said. She was certain inviting Macey to the barn would do the trick, but her plan seemed to have failed.
The paper Emily had given to Macey was an invitation to her barn party the next evening. Emily assumed that by inviting Macey, she would automatically become friends with her, but life just wasn't that simple.
The next morning, Emily went to school. She did well in all of her classes, and was glad that it was Friday. When the dismissal bell rang, Emily happily placed her books into her backpack. She decided to take the long way home and didn't even hesitate to stop at the “Meeting Tree”. When Emily got home, she dropped her backpack off at the door and began to get dressed for the barn party she had invited Macey to. She sluggishly pulled on her cowboy boots and floral dress. Emily then curled her straight, delicate blonde hair into tight ringlets and applied some makeup to her fair-skinned face. Emily headed towards the door, climbed into her brother’s red pickup truck and drove off towards the barn. When she arrived, she uneasily glanced about her, and when she didn't see Macey, she began to pace back and forth.
All of Emily’s friends were at the party, but Macey was nowhere to be seen. Emily’s friends desperately tried to get her to participate in the fun games and dances, but Emily was too desperate to have any fun. Finally, when the party was almost over, a silver Porsche rolled down the long driveway leading to the barn. Emerson Blackwell, Macey’s older brother, was driving the car. He gazed at Emily in admiration, and then went towards the trunk and pulled out a folded up wheel chair. He opened the passenger door and helped Macey into the chair. Macey then sheepishly began rolling towards Emily.
Emily bunched her dress in one hand and raced towards Macey. After about twenty feet, she came to a screeching halt and embraced Macey in a joyful hug. “I'm so glad that you came!”
Macey irritatingly pushed Emily away and let out a small, but still noticeable, smile.“I just came because I had nothing else to do,” fibbed Macey.
Emily put her hand across her mouth and let out a quiet giggle. She knew that Macey was lying, but Emily quickly scolded herself and folded her hands into a nice, ladylike position behind her back. “Well, I'm just glad that you're here. Would you like to ride my horse, Maverick?”
Macey frustratingly drummed her fingers against the arm rest of her wheelchair, contemplating the offer Emily had just made. “Can't you see I'm in a wheel chair? If I can't even use my legs to walk, how do you even expect me to ride a horse?”
When Macey said this, Emerson backed away from his sister. He knew that she had changed ever since the accident, and he felt bad for Emily, because he almost knew exactly how his sister would respond. Emerson tapped his foot nervously, checked his watch, and uncomfortably waited for Macey’s reply (which he expected would be rude and downright mean).
Emily brushed her curly blonde hair behind her neck, pointed towards Maverick, and let out a deep sigh. “That's okay! My horse, Maverick, used to be a therapy horse. He knows exactly what to do, if you do decide that you want to ride him sometime.”
Macey critically examined Maverick from head to toe, and came to a decision. To Emerson’s surprise, Macey responded in a nice, quiet manner. “Fine. I'll ride him. But when I say stop, take me off.”
Emily grinned from ear to ear and speedily said, “Yes!” She scurried off to the barn, grabbed a therapeutic riding saddle, and tacked up Maverick. Emily didn't mind one bit that she was in a dress. She hiked up the royal blue, floral dress, and wheeled Macey up the wheel chair ramp to help her get on Maverick.
Macey was a little uneasy about getting on a horse, but she did it anyway. With her brother and Emily’s help, she safely got onto Maverick’s back. Emily lead Macey around the clay arena and told Macey to do certain exercises.
After thirty minutes, it was getting dark, and Emily politely told Macey that she should get off. “Macey, the sun is setting. I think it'd be best if we call it a night.”
Macey frowned and said, “That was so much fun! I guess I'll get off. Can I come back tomorrow?”
At Macey’s words, Emerson was taken aback. This was the first time he had heard his sister say something positive since the accident, much less have any fun. Emerson immediately pilfered through his khaki shorts pockets until he found his phone. He hurriedly dialed his parents’ phone number and asked them to come to the barn party at once.
When Mr. and Mrs. Blackwell received the news, they promptly made the decision to leave the restaurant they were at, and go to Emily's barn party. They anxiously paid the bill for their dinner and raced off to their black Rolls Royce waiting in the restaurant parking lot. Mr. Blackwell sped along the highway and made it to the barn in less than four minutes flat. The Blackwells rolled down the driveway leading to the barn and hopped out of the car.
Mrs. Blackwell wrapped her shawl around her shoulders and took off towards Macey. Her long pink dress was bunched up in one hand, her heels in the other. “Macey? Macey, honey? Are you there? Are you okay?” When Mrs. Blackwell arrived inside the barn, she crinkled her face in disgust. The Blackwells were a wealthy, high standing family, certainly not one that enjoyed barns and all of the various smells they present.
Macey looked at her mother and nodded her head. “Yah, Mom, I'm okay. I had such a great time riding Emily’s horse!” She then looked down at her legs.
Mrs. Blackwell notice Macey’s uncomfortable stare at her legs and immediately questioned her. “Macey, honey, are your legs okay? That horse didn't hurt you, right?”
Macey giggled and said, “Of course not. I was just lookin’ at my legs ‘cause they feel so much better. I can even move ‘em a little!”
Upon hearing this, Mrs. Blackwell broke out in tears. She walked over to Macey and showered her in hugs and kisses. “Oh, Macey! I can't even believe it! My baby girl can move her legs again! This is such a blessin’! Do you think this horse riding helped your legs?”
Macey thought for a second and then snuck a peek at her legs. “I think so, Mom! I can move my legs a little!”
Emerson stared at Emily in amazement. He had always been fond of her, and now he was thankful for her, too. He slowly walked over towards her, with a smile on his face. “H-h-hey, Em-Emily Quinn.”
Emily discreetly laughed to herself, recognizing Emerson’s discomfort. “Hey, Emerson! You can call me Em.”
Emerson smiled awkwardly. “Oh, okay, uh, Em. I jus’ wanted to thank you for your uh, well,” Emerson racked his brain, searching for the words to say, “helpin’ my little sister. My whole family is very thankful for you.”
Emily smirked and folded her hands in front of her. “Oh, that's fine! I think Macey is a great girl, and one day, I hope to become friends with her.”
Emerson ran his fingers through his long, brown hair and looked at Emily in confusion. “Wait, but wasn't she mean to you or somethin’? Then why would you be nice to Macey?”
Emily laughed and said, “I know how much damage cars can do. I knew I needed to help Macey. I asked a special person what I should do, and they said, ‘What would Jesus do?’”. Emily then waved goodbye to the Blackwells, got into the old red pickup, and drove back home. She smiled with contentment the whole ride home, because she knew she had left Emerson in confusion, and that was just the way she liked it.
The next day, Emily walked to school with Macey. When they went through the big doors at Westmoore, everyone stared at them in amazement. Some people whispered to each other, others smiled, and some even clapped.
Emily helped Macey carry her books to all of her classes. At the end of the day, Emily offered Macey to come to the barn with her again. “Macey, would you like to come to my house to hang out after school today? We could go to the barn and ride, too, if you want, of course.”
Macey gazed at Emily in amazement. “I would love to, Emily. Thank you for being my friend, even when I have been so mean to you. Could I ride Maverick again, too?”
Emily smiled in excitement. “Of course you can!” She then took hold of Macey’s wheel chair and began to roll her down the two mile, cracked sidewalk that eventually lead to Emily’s neighborhood.
Time passed, Rivers moved out and left for college, Emily and Macey became seniors, and Westmoore changed, but one thing remained the same – Macey and Emily’s unbreakable friendship. Emily had worked continuously with Macey and her therapeutic riding. Eventually, three years after her horrific accident, Macey was able to walk again. She joined the track team, and Auburn re-contacted her and announced that their scholarship to Macey was still available, but Macey declined. She felt compelled to stay in Texas and start a therapeutic riding academy with Emily as her business partner. The two had started yet another journey together.