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Better Late Than Never

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The sick feeling in her stomach hadn’t gone away as her friends promised. She sat in the car waiting to go. Her friends all inside, laughing as if they nothing was wrong. Shannon opened the car door to get some fresh air in fear that she might be sick. She didnt’t do this type of stuff, it just wasn’t her. In the middle of her thought, her friend Sara came up to the door.

“What’s wrong with you?” Sara asked sounding annoyed.

“Don’t you feel guilty?” Shannon asked.

“ Oh I get it, you feel sorry for Lisa? Huh? Well get over it! Whats done is done. Besides you shouldn’t feel bad, she only got what she had coming to her.” Sara said , taking her hand and guiding her to the back seat. Sara got in the car, put the keys in the ignition and honked the horn. With that her two other friends came strolling out of the store, joking and laughing as they got into the car. Shannon looked at them with disgust in her eyes. Her two friends didn’t seem to notice as they carried on with their joking manner. Sara put the car in gear and pulled slowly out of the convenience store parking lot. The girls, all expect Shannon were gloating of the look on Lisa’s face as they all verbally abused Lisa one, by one. No punches were thrown but, mean words were said and did not stop even as Lisa was leaving in tears. All over a boy.” Sticks and stone can break you bones but words may never hurt me is as the saying goes”, but whoever said that lied. Words can hurt just as breaking bones and like broken bones, broken spirits take time to heal. Shannon turned and faced the window so she wouldn’t have to look at the other girls, it was bad enough having to listen but she was afraid what her face would tell of she disgust so that is why she keep herself forward. “What was going to happen at school on Monday?” Shannon asked herself. What would her parents say if they found out?” These questions haunted her as she look at the burl of trees passing by in the window. Suddenly the car came to a stop.

“Shannon here’s your stop” Sara said looking back.
“Oh” was the only reply Shannon could get out, as she unbuckled her seat belt and opened the car door
“Are you okay Shannon?” the other girl in the back seat asked.
“Yeah, yeah I am fine Melissa.” Shannon replied shortly. Then she turned her back to the car and went up her driveway, without looking back. Shannon climbed her front steps and turned the door handle. When she opened the door, she found her parents sitting on the couch watching T.V.
“Hey honey” Shannon’s mother said looking away from the T.V. Shannon’s father looked up and smiled.
“Hey.” Shannon replied quietly then rushed to her room and closed the door. Shannon changed in to her pajamas and laid flat on her bed. Shannon sat there for a long time numb. Her only disturbance was her mother knocking on the door say good night. Shannon didn’t even open the door, just yelled out hr good night. She laid on her bed for forty more minutes when finally she fell asleep.



20 Years Later
After 20 years Shannon could not forget what happened that night and regretted that she hadn’t done anything to help, or apologize or even told her friends to knock it off, but she never did. Shannon and her friends drifted apart after that night, even though nothing more had happened. Shannon graduated high school unlike Sara, who had dropped out their senior year to run off with “the man of her dreams.” She ended up pregnant and the “man of her dreams” dumped her as soon as she gave birth. As for the other girls, they graduated and went on with their lives Shannon didn’t keep in contact. Lisa graduated high school with high honors and went to college at Syracuse University to become a therapist. Shannon was married and had one child. One day she was out shopping with her husband and one-year-old daughter when she noticed a woman that looked like Lisa coming around the isle. Shannon stopped dead in her tracks as she stared. Shannon’s initial reaction was to stop and turn in the complete direction but as Shannon was about to dive into the next isle the woman who looked like Lisa looked up. Shannon and the woman made eye contact. Shannon lifted her lips into a smile and walked apprehensively toward the woman. When she reached the woman, Shannon knew for sure that is was Lisa.

“Lisa?” Shannon asked timidly.

“Yes and you are Shannon.” Lisa said confident yet standoffish.

“ I would just like to apologize for what I did back when we were in high school, I am also sorry that …….this apology didn’t come ….20 years sooner.” Shannon said with tears starting to form in her eyes.

Lisa started to cry.”Thank…you. You have no idea…. what this… means to me.” Lisa could hardly get the words out.

“I should have done this sooner.” Shannon repeated.

“Thank-you, very much.” Lisa said as she went up and gave Shannon a hug whispered in her ear

“Better late than never.” Lisa’s lips bent to a smile.

“We should catch up sometime, maybe go out for coffee?” Lisa suggested

“I would love it.” Shannon said shocked at her willingness to talk with her, it the situation was flipped Shannon wasn’t sure if she would do the same. The two exchanged numbers, set a date for coffee, and then parted on their ways. Shannon felt like a weight had been lifted off her chest. Shannon walked through the store with a smile on her face; she was finally free of the guilt that she had carried for 20 years .Absolutely free.





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