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The Red Notebook
Charlotte Katniss Clearwater was my best friend. The first time I met her in kindergarten, she helped me peel the paste off my hands because I had glued them together and couldn’t get them apart. Ever since then I knew she would always be there for me, I only wish I could say that I was the there for her.
To our delight, we both stayed at Alexander Prep as we made the switch to high school. By then, we had become inseparable, sharing secrets and giggling with each other as we walked down the halls. Although we were such fast friends, we couldn’t have been more different. Kat was free as a feather, her effervescent personality causing everyone she met to adore her. I, however, was a bit more reserved and people didn’t seem to like me as much.
Some time later, around November of tenth grade, Charlotte changed. We were still best friends, but her light seemed to dim. It may have had to do with her parents’ divorce, or it could have been her brother dropping out of college, but whatever the case, she started to back away from our group of friends. It seemed that the more she faded, the more people preferred me to her.
As time went on Kat, became the joke of our group. Her now tacit ways and ignorance of pop culture were often made fun of both behind her back and to her face. I knew I should stick up for her, but although I was the new leader of our clique, I felt like I didn’t have to power to. The guilt would haunt me for a while each time after Charlotte was made fun of, but it never lasted more than fifteen minutes or so, and quickly I would forget about the teasing.
A few weeks passed, and Kat began to carry a pocket-sized, rust red notebook. Every time after hanging out with our friends, she escaped and furiously scribbled in her small journal. The more the girls teased her, the longer Kat would spend writing. Her quirk was soon noticed, and it became the subject of the taunts.
Often I would hassle Charlotte, and convincing get her to let me look inside the mysterious journal, but I was never allowed to see the contents of the notebook, nobody was.
“Come on Kat, just a peak? Pleeeaase?”
“NO! Why don’t you ever leave me alone? You’re always prodding me closer and closer to the edge of a cliff, back off and maybe I won’t have to fall!” She screamed at me as she stormed away.
I think that was the first time I questioned her sanity.
A month later I got disturbing news. They had found Kat curled up in a corner, rocking back and forth. She had been muttering to herself about how pretty the world would be, if only the vultures would stop feasting on the antelope carcass.
Shortly thereafter, Charlotte was transferred to a school better suited for her state of mind. Nobody talked about Kat; her named was taken off the club sign up sheets and a new girl joined our clique. As far as I could tell, Kat’s presence had been erased from the school, like chalk on the pavement after a storm.
One day I found a note in my composition notebook written in green pen that said: locker 67- 33 26 17. Out of curiosity I walked to it, and twisted the combination on the lock. I proceeded to open the door, and then I saw it—the rust red journal. After pocketing the book I ran back to my house and began flipping through it. Near the beginning neat cursive filled the pages, but as I got further and further back, the tidy cursive changed to print and the print to an almost indecipherable scrawl. On the last page, I could make out one short paragraph:
You always wanted to know what was in this book, and here it is: a list of the taunts and cruel jokes you, and the other vultures have made in the past months. I hope you’re happy that the poor antelope finally got pushed off the cliff.
Those x’s and o’s were so out of place, so strange; they reminded me of when we were back in the sandbox, best friends.