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“I want everybody to bring in five things tomorrow,” my English teacher Mrs. Quinn announces to the class.
All the students stare at her questioningly, waiting for a further explanation of what “things” to bring in.
“Five things that are very important to you,” Mrs. Quinn continues. “For example, a special necklace, your favorite postcard, an old stuffed animal; anything that has a special purpose in your life.”
The kids in my class nod with understanding. Everyone starts chatting about what they’ll bring in, but I keep to myself, deep thoughts of what to bring flowing through my head.
At home that afternoon, I look around my room for my five special items. I end up with a beautiful shell from Florida, my teddy bear, pretty pearl earrings my grandmother gave me, my favorite Shania Twain CD, and my camera. But after awhile, I decide that none of these things are very important. These five items are things I really like, but they don’t mean the world to me. I would be just fine if I didn’t have stupid CD’s. I need five things that are the most important, over all other things.
For some ideas, I go to speak with my mother. Unfortunately, she is asleep in bed. I go and sit beside her. Her tired, skinny face looks even older than the last time I looked at her. Her eyes have deep bags under them. I gently stroke her bald head, and a tear escapes me eye. Suddenly, I know what my five things will be.
Tomorrow in English, everyone else’s desk is covered in an array of insignificant things, like baseball cards, glow-in-the-dark pens, and fruit-flavored lip gloss. But on MY desk, is a single sheet of paper with a short list on it. I hope that how I did the assignment is correct.
We go around the room sharing our five things. Everyone has to tell why there items are important. A lot of responses are “Because it’s really cool” or “Because I just like it”. My reasons are much better.
When it comes to my turn, Mrs. Quinn says, “Amy, where are your five things? Did you do the assignment?”
“Yes, I did,” I say, referring to my piece of paper. “I brought in five wishes.”
I hear a few snickers, but that doesn’t break my confidence. I did the assignment correctly. I brought in five things.
“Umm . . . okay Amy. Read your wishes,” Mrs. Quinn says. She seems pleased with my interpretation of the “five things”.
“Alright.” I look at my paper and begin to read. “Number One: I wish that there was an end to world hunger. Number Two: I wish that animals and people were not abused. Number Three: I wish that the earth was not polluted. Number Four: I wish that children everywhere could go to school.”
That wish makes a few boys laugh, but Mrs. Quinn shoots them a look that tells them to knock it off. I pause for a minute. My final wish is very personal. I don’t know if I can handle announcing it to the class.
“Amy? Number five, please,” my teacher says.
“Number five . . .” I begin, but my voice chokes. I sigh heavily. “Wish Number Five: I wish that my mother was not going to die.” With that, I put my head down on the desk and begin to cry.