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My First True Friend
Jenna awoke on a shiny Monday morning, ready to seize the day. She went gingerly down the stairs, trying to not startle her son. She was also trying not to fall from the fatigue she was feeling. She now didn’t care about startling him. She barged into his room yelling, “Rise and shine babe, you don’t want to be late for your first day of school, do you?”
“But mom, I don’t want to go I’m too tired. Also I’m scared,” said Cedric.
“Why babe? What do you have to worry about?” asked Jenna.
“Well, yeah, I’m smart and all. Getting into the greatest elementary school in the country is a chance of a lifetime, but what if the kids don’t like me?” asked Cedric
“What if? What if? Honey, you just have to take is slowly. You’ll make friends, I promise. I wouldn’t mind being friends with you if I was your age, you’re the coolest kid I know,” the mom said, “You really think so?” Cedric asked.
“Oh quiet, of course you will. Now c’mon and get downstairs, its time for breakfast,” she demanded in a nice manner.
Cedric ran downstairs and grabbed the cereal box, and made his wheat filled cereal. His mom drank a mug of coffee, sitting across from him. With a mouthful of food, he asked his mother, “Mom, do you think we’ll ever be rich? I don’t like this house or this neighborhood, it’s ugly and I have nothing to do at times.”
“Sweetheart, this is life right now, it’ll work out one day for our family. Just live your life as it is, and enjoy it for as long as possible,” she replied.
She kissed him on the head and sent him out the door to school. Cedric walked at a slow pace having all these curious thoughts in his head. What if, What if? This what if phrase kept running by his mind over and over. He told himself to stop and just follow what his mom said and to focus on the present and live life as it is. He approached the bus stop, waiting for his ride. Ten minutes had elapsed he must have been early. Just then, he saw a child in the distance. The kid looked about his age. The kid sat next to him on the curb minding his own business, until he said, “So, what’s your name? I’m John.”
Cedric was in a state of shock. He couldn’t believe he was actually being talked to on the first day of school. He felt cool already.
“Um… I’m Cedric, nice to meet you, I guess,” the boy said.
“Well Cedric, you’re not very outgoing. Don’t be shy I don’t bite. Here let me get to know you. I’m eleven, and you?” John asked.
“Same,” Cedric replied quietly.
“Well, would you look at that, we already have something in common. I can already tell we’re going to be great friends,” said John
“Want to sit next to me on the bus?” asked John.
Cedric kept the usual glum sounding voice
On the bus they socialized for too long. Since they were so focused on their conversation the bus driver had to tell them to get off. Before you knew it Cedric became a social butterfly. They were two peas in a pod. Even in classes the teachers had to separate them, they couldn’t take the talking. Then came the end of the school day. During dismissal, John asked, “Do you want to come over this evening? We have a ton of homework.”
“That sounds great, would your parents be okay with it?” Cedric questioned.
“Just my dad, my parents are divorced, but he’d be okay with it.” Said John.
“No way! My parents are divorced too, but I live with my mom instead, I’d love to come over. I’d have to tell my mom though,” said Cedric.
“Oh don’t stress, my dad can call your mom,” John offered.
“Alright,” agreed Cedric.
John dad pulled up in front of the boys. He had and old vintage car, which Cedric had never seen before. John asked his dad if Cedric could come do homework with him. The dad just gave him a puzzled look He said, “Sure he can come over, just as long as you two promise to do your homework.”
“Of course we will,” said John.
“Alright, hop in boys,” the dad allowed.
“So what’s your name boy?” asked the dad.
“Cedric,” the young boy replied.
“Cedric, huh? Nice name. Do you mind giving me your mom’s phone number so she can pick you up when you guys are finished?” the dad asked.
“Sure the number is 555-4547,” Cedric said.
“Thanks boy,” the dad acknowledged.
As the men approached the house, Cedric was in awe. The house had fine modern architecture, about three stories tall, Cedric was afraid to step out of the car, and enter the house. He wondered if he was to do something special before walking in. Instead, the dad took control and typed in the gate code, and the gate opened automatically. The dad also pulled out a fancy gold key and opened the door to the house. When Cedric walked in he stopped and stared for a minute. This was the ritziest house Cedric had ever seen. The dad asked, “Um… Cedric, you alright?”
“Oh… um… yeah,” Cedric replied
“Good, then move along now, boys,” said the dad.
The dad giggled at Cedric, for he could tell he was amazed. John took Cedric up to his room. They sat on the floor and got to work immediately. They both pulled out their math homework and they were done in a flash. No one could believe they were doing algebra in fifth grade. When they were finished Cedric said, “ So John, your dad isn’t very talkative or welcoming either. Is he always like that?”
“Well, sometimes, it depends. He just had a bad day today,” said John nervously.
“Why?” Cedric asked.
“I don’t know, he won’t say,” said John.
Two hours had passed. The sun was setting and the moon was just waking up. The dad ran up to John’s room and urgently said, “Cedric, I’m afraid its time to go, your mom is here.”
“Oh, alright,” said Cedric.
He packed up and both boys went downstairs and ran to Cedric’s mom. She sweetly said, “C’mon Cedric, I’ve got dinner waiting for you.
“Okay mom,” replied Cedric.
As the mom and son approached the door the dad stopped them and kindly said, “It was very nice having your son, he’s very polite.”
“Thank you, and he better be. Thank you for also having him,” she replied.
“Anytime,” said the father.
“Bye!” said Cedric and his mom.
“Bye!” said John and his dad.
As the door closed the father gave the mom the most deadly look imaginable. His eyes were squinted and his face was angry. Jenna was afraid to return to the house ever again. She drove her son home. At the same time, the dad and John were eating dinner at the table. The dad still carried an unpleasant face.
“You know exactly why I am furious John.”
“N-no What?” John asked hesitantly.
“That friend of yours, he is not welcome here ever again!” The dad yelled.
“Why?” cried John.
“Why do you think? He’s black! I never want to see you around him ever! No talking, no looking, or even thinking about him. If I even catch you one time with him were going to have a huge problem. You got that!?” Screamed the father.
John took a long pause. The look on his dad’s face was getting more vicious by the second.
“How come you never like my friends?” They never did anything wrong to you,” cried John.
The father could not take the nonsense. He went ahead and slapped John’s face as hard as he could. The child’s face was radiating with pain, and his cheek turned the darkest shade of red, along with his father’s hand.
“Now go right up to your room now, young man. I don’t want to hear a word about it!” commanded the father.
Back at Cedric’s house he was getting ready eat dinner with his mom.
“Sorry honey, we only have leftovers from last night. I know you hate it but I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do,” said the mom.
“Its fine mom,” Cedric accepted.
“Thanks for understanding,” she said.
Cedric and his mom sat at the table and Cedric offered to say grace. After, they both began to gobble their food.
“Well look who made a friend today. I told you sweetie,” the mom happily said.
“I know mom I can’t believe it, why was I so scared?” Cedric yelled with excitement.
“See, you shouldn’t worry yourself so much,” said the mom.
They took a moment of silence to just concentrate on eating their food. They both had full stomachs. However, Cedric wanted to throw up because he hated this dinner. He broke the silence by letting out a sigh and two words, which were,
“Okay, I’ll clean it up. Get ready for bed,” said the mom in a sweet tone.
Cedric ran upstairs, he changed into something comfortable and dove into bed. He couldn’t wait to see John again. The sun had risen in the morning with the shiniest appearance. Cedric put on his school uniform and made a repetitive thumping noise as he ran downstairs. He pulled out his favorite cereal and put it in the bowl. He viciously stuffed his mouth and did that with each spoonful.
“Boy, someone’s hungry,” said the mom.
“ No I’m just excited for school,” Cedric replied.
He stood up threw the milk filled bowl into the sink, grabbed his lunch, kissed his mom debonairly on the cheek and dashed out the door to the bus stop. He did his regular morning walk, but this time he ran ten times faster. He was coming upon the bus stop bench so fast that his leg hit it. He took a few breaths to regain himself. He saw his friend in the distance, although, he didn’t seem himself. He was quiet and reserved. Cedric attempted to make conversation with him.
“What’s up John?” asked Cedric.
“I’m good” John muttered.
“Why so silent?” Cedric asked again.
“Just really tired,” replied John.
“Is your face okay, that bruise looks pretty gnarly,” Cedric pointed out.
“Oh this old thing. This is nothing I just hit my face on a wall. Stupid me,” explained John.
Cedric giggled. The bus came out of nowhere, stopped, and the boys climbed aboard. Cedric didn’t know what to do, so he decided to give John his space. The whole day they were quiet. Even the teachers complimented them on how quiet and well the two were working in class. At lunch, the same thing occurred. No interaction what so ever. At dismissal John sat on the curbside and read a book. Just then his father’s car pulled up. He reached for the door handle feeling as though he was opening a door to Hell. Cedric startled him and yelled, “Wait! I have something for you!”
Cedric slipped a piece of paper into his hand. However, his father didn’t notice.
“So I see you didn’t listen to me son,” the dad said in a creepy tone.
“Oh no he was just helping me with homework. I swear I wasn’t talking to him at all today.” cried John.
“Yeah right I just saw you with him now,” yelled the dad.
He was speeding home like he had to be somewhere important. When they got home the dad grabbed John by the ear lobe and threw him in his room and shut the door. John began to cry hysterically. The father ran downstairs and dialed a number on the phone extremely fast. It had to be a world record. As the ringing stopped, the father heard a voice he despised greatly
“Hello, this is Jenna. Who is calling?”
“Hi this is Brian, John’s dad. I was wondering if Cedric wanted to come to dinner with us and have a sleepover. I’d be more than happy to take him to school tomorrow.”
“I’ll ask him.”Jenna happily commented.
She hoped Cedric would say no because she was still scared of Brian. However, she didn’t want to show Cedric she was scared. The look he gave her yesterday was unforgettable.
“Cedric! Do you want to spend the night at John’s house tonight?” she yelled.
‘That sounds great!” yelled Cedric.
Brian could hear the voices in the background. He got an angry look that would scare any creature away.
“He said he’d love to. Do you want me to bring him by?” Jenna asked,
“No, I’ll just pick him up,” said Brian.
“You sure?” questioned Jenna.
“Positive,” Brian sad said excitedly.
Cedric sat on the doorstep waiting for the father. The car approached and stopped. It began to rain and with ever second it got heavier and heavier.
“Hi Sir,” said Cedric
“Call me Brian, and come sit in the front seat, you can experience some real comfort,” said Brian.
“Okay, Sir, I mean Brian” Cedric corrected himself.
They drove in the rain until they could feel the coolness of the water surrounding the car. They came to a stop, a long unsettling stop.
“Cedric I have a question. Don’t worry you’re not in trouble, we’re almost home, just listen,” said Brian calmly.
“Anything for you Brian,” offered Cedric.
“How are you and my son getting along?” asked Brian.
“Oh it’s great I can’t wait to see him tonight,” Cedric said.
Brian took a long pause to regain his composure. He looked as if he was in some sort of possessive trance. He broke the silence. He took his arm and grabbed Cedric by the front collar and pulled him close to his face.
“How dare you get anywhere near my son. You black folk think you can do anything, don’t you?!” screamed Brian.
He was so furious Cedric could feel his spit fly on his face. Cedric stuttered, “B-b-but I thought you liked me?
“Please! Does it look like I like you now? I would never like anyone black. No one!”
“I-I-I’m sorry sir…”
Brian couldn’t take the voice of the child. He clenched his fist till it hurt a bit, and punched Cedric right in the center of the eye, knocking him out. The eye turned a dirty shade of purple too quickly. He tied bandana around the boys face so he couldn’t talk. He started to speed in the car again. He drove very far north to the local family camp. He parked next to the hiking trail. He went to the trunk and pulled out a shovel and a wooden box, paired with nails and a hammer. He placed Cedric’s unconscious body in the open box. He dragged the box to the end of the of the trail. The rain began to soak his body. The clothes weighed him down. He worked through the fatigue. He had to make this action fast. Nothing could stop him. He shoveled and shoveled until he couldn’t feel his arms anymore. To put the cherry on top to his demented fest, he nailed the flat board to the top of the box to close it. Every hit of the nail made him happier. He threw his homemade coffin into the pit. He threw dirt on it to cover it. He was even happier now because he was almost finished. He flattened out the dirt on top to make it look as natural as possible. He grabbed his materials and drove home.
He was so exhausted, but joyful to be able to sleep tonight. He made it home and drove into the garage. He had just remembered that his son was locked up in his room. He grabbed the key on the key holder and opened his son’s door and said, “Sorry for the way I acted. That’s not how a father is supposed to be,” the father apologized.
“It’s fine dad. Where were you and what took you so long?”
“I just stopped for coffee, it’s raining and it’s colder than sin out there. Get in bed son you have school tomorrow,” The father said.
John put on his pajamas and tucked himself in for bed. He was putting his book in his backpack, but just remembered the paper that Cedric gave to him. It was written in his fine hand writing it had said
Thanks for having me yesterday at your lovely home. I was scared to go to school until I met you. You are my first real friend and my best.
John starred at the note for a second, not knowing how to respond. A heavy tear dropped upon the paper.
Cedric awoke lightheaded and afraid because he couldn’t talk. He opened his eyes and saw nothing but pitch black.