“Sadie T. Winters is dead.” That was the last text sent out from her phone to all her friends and family. Sure enough, all that was left of Sadie was her disembodied long blond ponytail left on the edge of a rock ledge. Everybody liked that girl, but I could see right through her big blue eyes and her phony smile. “Sadie T. Winters is dead.” as I read that, I could feel a smile creep across my face as I lay back down on my bed and observe my sterile surroundings. If this was my punishment then I’d take it. I’ll be out in a few days just like always.
Now you may think that I’m crazy, constantly ending up in a hospital for “psychotic episodes” and I don’t blame you. It seems everybody else does. The truth is that it’s Sadie, it has always been Sadie. Sadie who would lock me in my room causing my mom to bash the door down. Sadie who would pin me down and drag a razor blade across my stomach. Yet no one believed me. They wouldn’t believe that a petite little towheaded girl could be ruining my life, but she was. Ever since I can remember Sadie has been there. When I was young she wormed her way into my parents’ heart. Even now I bet they still have pictures of her hanging on their walls. Sadie wouldn’t play with dolls and ponies like the other girls, instead, she’d spend her time pestering me about why I wasn’t. “Why don’t you want to play with the other girls?” “You shouldn’t be spending so much time playing with trucks and army men.” She only got worse as I got older. She’d ask me why I didn’t want to wear dresses or brush my hair, and she’d scold me for not making more friends with other girls. Eventually, she’d punish me for not living up to her expectations by not letting me eat and destroying my room by throwing tantrums when she didn’t get her way. Yet no one tried to stop her. Other people would remark that she was a generally pleasant girl, that she got good grades in school, was nice to everyone she met and would keep to herself. I came to the realization that she would focus all of her attention on harassing me. No one else. Just me. As such, she didn’t have much time for making friends, but she did have one, Virginia.
Virginia appeared to be a good wholesome girl next door, but I could see so much more. Behind those big brown eyes, I could detect a bit of slyness. As if I could peer right into her head and see the gears turning as she thought about the next prank to play on her friends. She loved nothing more than a well thought out practical joke, whether it be sneaking up behind me and spooking me or stealing my shoes and hiding them in the bushes. When you saw the twinkle in her eyes as she laughed at a job well done you just couldn’t help but laugh along too. She wasn’t like Sadie, she wasn’t mean spirited. When you gave any hint that you weren't laughing along with her she’d have this look, a look that was somehow more genuine than any “I’m sorry” any person could ever muster, a look so sincere yet so heartbreaking you had no choice but to forgive her. God, I wanted to hold her, I wanted to hug her and run my fingers through her chestnut hair, and tell her that I loved her. Not that Sadie would allow that, she’d scold me for having such impure thoughts about her best friend and she’d try to force me to stay away from Virginia. That was the one thing I fought her on. I wanted to see Virginia, for it seemed like she was the only person who could look right through Sadie’s hysterics and pleas for attention and see… me. No punishment Sadie, or anyone, could come up with could keep me from loving Virginia.
Over the long weekend, Virginia had invited Sadie on a camping trip with her family. She was scarcely there six hours when she sent out that text, “Sadie T. Winters is dead.” My first thought was that it was simply a trick played by Virginia, but she would never go that far. I was seeing red as I began to see the true intention of that message. Sadie just wanted attention, she wanted everybody to come pity her just like they always do, but not this time. I unzip the tent and walk out not even bothering to put my shoes on. I walk into the brisk autumn air, the prickly yellow grass tickling my feet. I eye a high rock ledge and Sadie crouching just in front of the guard rail, her phone still clutched in her hands. She gets up and turns around, her piercing blue eyes staring into me. In the distance, I can still hear murmurs of other families on the campground and through it all, I can make out the voice of Virginia calling for Sadie. I look Sadie dead in the eyes. I was not going to let her boss me around for the rest of my life. I wanted to leap over that guard rail, push her off and listen to the satisfying sound of her neck snapping as she hit the bottom. But I knew that if I pushed her off I would fall right along with her. So I whipped out my pocket knife and with a swift motion cut off the flaxen ponytail she cared so much about. The one that I had been growing out my whole life, that I spent every day brushing and styling despite the fact that I couldn’t care less what my stupid hair looked like. Just like that Sadie was dead, never to criticize or belittle me again, and as I lifted my head up to smell the smoke of distant campfires. I could hear Virginia’s voice again, and even though she was howling Sadie’s name I knew that she was truly calling me. My camping trip was cut short after that, I was rushed to the hospital even though I was not the one who was dead. My parents came and hugged me and commented on my hair and I talked to a counselor and eventually went back to school.
As I neared the concrete steps I saw Virginia was there to greet me.
“How are you doing?” she inquired.
“Fine,” I replied, “But I’m not the one who died.”
Virginia looked perplexed. “Someone died?” she asked.
I laughed. “Didn’t you get the text?” I answered, “Sadie T. Winter has died.”
Virginia cocked her head to one side before finally muttering, “Will she ever come back?”
“That’s not how death works.” I responded.
“Oh, I guess I’ll see you round,” she acknowledged before hastily disappearing into the crowd of people entering the school. Maybe someday I’ll walk right up to Virginia and kiss her just see the expression on her face, maybe I’ll forget about her and find some other girl with a contagious laugh and eyes that smile and love her forever, but I can do whatever I want, now that Sadie T. Winters is dead.