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Too Late

“Hey Crystal, come over here!”  Brandy shouts from across the gym. When Crystal doesn’t respond, Brandy runs over, “Why don’t you take your hat off?” Brandy taunts. She is looking for something to tease the new girl about.
“Because,” mumbles Crystal.
“Why not?” says Brandy, lunging for a braid of Crystal’s panda hat. She just misses as Crystal jerks away, nearly falling of the bleachers.  Crystal climbs higher, until Brandy corners her.
Crystal shrieks,” Leave me alone!” but it is too late. Brandy grabs Crystal’s hat and throws is across the gym floor; Brandy exploding into a high pitched laughter pointing at Crystal, whose blue eyes were filling with tears.
“Third grade, let’s go” shouts Mrs. Sparrow. Brandy runs, leaving Crystal alone in the corner feeling hurt. Brandy is not the least bit sorry. 
Four months later, Brandy is at her desk scowling. She has to do Crystal’s twin brother’s homework sheet. He hasn’t been in school all week.  When Mrs. Sparrow leaves the room, Brandy looks over to Nate and snickers at his new haircut. The rest of the class joins in.
A few minutes later, she points out Sarah glasses and her “out of style” shoes. Brandy is laughing so hard she falls out of her chair. When Mrs. Sparrow comes in, Brandy manages to stop herself from laughing. Max joins her, his hair messy and unkempt and his cheeks tearstained.
Mrs. Sparrow announces, “Max’s sister, Crystal, was diagnosed with cancer last year and passed away Saturday,” she finishes sadly. Brandy drags herself back into her chair, hiding the tears pricking her eyes. She regrets laughing at Crystal. She mouths “I’m sorry” to Sarah and Nate. But she is too late.




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