Wait Chapter Ten: Renewed Hope

“Now I have another hard assignment for all of you,” Mr. Lombardi told his third period English class. Everyone groaned. He was notorious for assigning projects that nearly gave kids a stroke. “This is not due for the next few months because I want you guys to really get the feel for the assignment,” he continued. “This assignment is to tell me what life means to you. You don’t have to tell me about something specific that happened. You just have to define what the word life means to you. It has to be at least two pages long, single-spaced, Arial size 10 font, one inch borders, justified. It is due in June.” Some people still groaned. But most were happy to have a while to work on it. “Let me tell you, it is not as easy as you think it is. So beware that this will take a while. It’s February now. Don’t procrastinate on this.” The bell rang. Everyone got up and walked out the door. Mandy knew she was going to have to work on this, starting tonight. She grabbed her books for Math and walked back down the hall. This was going to be a hard assignment. Hopefully, it would end up easier than she expected it to.

Mandy walked into the library for her free “study hall” period. She needed to do some research. It wasn’t going to help really with her English assignment. But it was going to give her a place to start. She got on a computer, logged in to the system, and searched depression. She found where they kept those books and logged off. She quickly found the shelves and pulled a few different books off them. Taking the books to an empty table nearby, she pulled out a few pieces of paper, a pencil, and opened one of the books. She didn’t know what she expected to find. But if she had depression, which she knew she had, this might tell her some things she never knew before. Or, even better, why she could have gotten depression in the first place. She turned a few pages to the symptoms of depression and started writing them down. She then drew a box next to all of them and started checking off the symptoms she had experienced. She had enough of the boxes checked off to confirm what she already knew. She then flipped a few pages forward to where it listed the types of depression. She read over some of them and knew that she didn’t have any of those types. She finally got to the last page of the types. She read over the page talking about reactive depression. Reactive depression was caused by a serious event that happened in someone’s life. It usually lasted a while, during the grieving process. Was it that she was still grieving that fact that her mother and father were both dead? She realized it had to be. It was the only thing that could set her off like that. She shut the book and made some notes on the paper. What she didn’t realize was there had been one more page on another type of depression. The kind she actually had. She put the books on a shelving cart and walked out of the library. Now she knew where to start on her project.

“So, have you picked out your dress for the Valentine dance yet?” Alex asked Mandy as they sat at a picnic table, waiting for Jake and Jeremy to come outside. “Yeah,” Mandy replied. “I made it myself, remember? But it is absolutely gorgeous.” “When can I see it?” “When you come over before the dance, Alex. That’s when you can see my dress.” The guys appeared and sat down next to them. “What are you guys talking about?” Jeremy asked the girls. “What we’re wearing to the Valentine’s dance,” Mandy replied. “It’s cool that they made it a masquerade ball. Then nobody really knows who’s who.” “Well, let’s hope Jake and I can at least find our lovely dates,” Jeremy told her. Both girls laughed. “Oh you will,” Mandy said. “You just got to trust us.” They finished making plans for the night of the dance, which was in two days. “I get my hair done at 7,” Mandy told them. “It’s probably going to take an hour. I’m going to meet you guys at the dance. Alex is coming over before my appointment to see my dress. So we’ll all meet for dinner at say, 5:30. That will leave enough time for Alex and I to become your lovely dates, guys.” Jake and Jeremy laughed. “Okay,” they said. The bell rang and everyone went their separate ways for class. “This is going to be a night I’ll never forget,” Mandy thought to herself.

Mandy got home and logged onto her laptop. She had an idea of where to start on her English project and needed to type it out before she could forget it. She started off with something like this:

“Life is an interesting word. It means one thing to one person and a different thing entirely to another person.
It is something that can be explained. Yet, at the same time, you can not explain it at all. I think that is because life has a different meaning to all of us. To some, it means that you have a chance to live. Others think of it as something that is a privilege, not a given right. Life means many different things to me. Some are opposite each other, making it a little difficult to understand. You will realize, though, that in the end, it all makes sense.” Mandy reread her work. “It’s a good start,” she told herself. She logged off her computer and finished the rest of her homework. When she was done with that, she parted the maroon curtains that concealed her dress. She smiled as she glazed at it. It was going to look stunning on her. She let the curtains fall back on the dress. She slid on the heels she was going to wear for the dance. She stood up and held her arms out, pretended to be dancing with Jeremy. She looked up and saw her mother in front of her. “Now you have to go slow, Mandy,” Her mother, Christine, told her. “The boy needs to be very gentle with his movements. He can, but only if you are gentle with your movements.” Mandy held her arms out and her mother grabbed them. Mandy began to move. “You mean like this?” she asked her mom, even though she wasn’t really there. “Exactly like that.” Mandy smiled and danced around the room. Soon, she heard clapping. She turned her head to see her father standing there. “Dad?” she said. He stepped forward. “My, don’t you lovely?” he said to her. She stepped forward, hugging him and crying at the same time. “Dad,” Mandy cried. “I miss you so much.” Mark stroked her hair. “I’ve missed you too,” he told her. “But I’m in heaven with your mother and God. I’m happy there. But not as happy as I would be if you were there with us. But it’s not your time yet. You still have to get married and have the grandkids we never will meet. I’ll see you again soon.” He walked to Christine and put his arm around her. Mandy started crying even harder. “But when will that be?” she asked. “I’ll watch you dance at the Valentine’s dance. But I will see you at your wedding this summer.” Mandy became confused. “But I’m not getting married this summer, Dad.” He smiled at her. “Goodbye, Mandy,” he told her as he came and gave her a hug and a kiss on the forehead. “Bye, honey,” her mom said as she gave Mandy a hug and kiss. “You will always be our little girl.” Christine and Mark turned around, held hands, and walked off into a shining light. Mandy waved goodbye. “I love you too,” she said. She sat down on her bed. “I just wish you could dance with me at my wedding. Whenever that is,” she said to her self. She was still confused. Did her father know something she didn’t know? He was in heaven after all, looking down on her. But she realized that Jeremy wouldn’t propose to her now. She was too young. Yet, her mom had predicted that she would get married young. Was Jeremy actually going to propose to her now? She shook the idea out of her head. Even though he had asked her if they would get married in the near future, he was probably saying sometime during or after college. Not this summer. It was too crazy to think about. She took off her heels and put them back in her closet. She was ready for the dance. Only because she had renewed hope that everything was going to be truly alright in her life. For once.





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