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Author's note: It all started one day when one of my friends asked me to come up with a story. And so i told her about a tree, with notes in it form past students, and you can leave a not if you wish. The idea kind of carried on from that, and became bigger and bigger.
It was the start of a new year, no more summer… just constantly studying for the next test coming up. I, Angolie, was a woman of my own. Although it was only tenth grade, I had already thought about the college to which I could be attending, and I had planned out my future years of high school. One of my good friends and I, Cat, decided to go to The University of New York together. We had been at a boarding school in England, spreading our French accents and ways around along with our traditions. Oh, how I missed France. It was all worth it though, to come to this English boarding school, Wooldingham, and experience what it was like to live in England. My parents told me that I either attended this school for all of high school or I stayed in France for all of these years. Of course, I decided to choose to come to England.
“Angie!” Joey, my best friend, walked up to me with a smile on his face… that Joey smile. He had a very unique smile all on his own.
“Class is over, stop day dreaming kiddo. Next class is with Mrs. Paula, and we both know how she reacts when just one person is a few minutes late. Now hurry up and get your books!” He said this with the most lovely French accent, because Cat, Joey and I had all come to this boarding school together. Joey and I had been best friends since the third grade, and Cat joined in the picture once we turned thirteen. We were all amazingly good friends, but no one could replace Joey.
“Right, can you pretty please wait for me?” I made a puppy face, which always seemed to work with him.
“I will always wait for you… no need for that adorable puppy face, which you know gets me every time.” He winked and followed me to my locker, which was right by Charles’, a popular, punkie school boy, and his looks helped him get there. I had seen him smile at me a time or two before, with those amazing teeth of his, and his hair, which was just to die for. He had been caught a few times by myself, looking at me. It seemed unrealistic for a guy like him to like a girl like me, so I just kept that idea tucked away in my fantasies that would probably never happen.
I reached from my English book, we were still mastering the language, and it was a required class for the first three years of high school for those foreign students. It actually came across as quite simple for me, and it seemed as though the language was so beautiful, that it actually became interesting to me. Every time the teacher rolled her lips and R’s into a formation, I felt as though the word had meaning, and it could be said by anyone, anywhere… with a perfect accent. It was as though the words were meant to be together, like two people forming a marriage together.
We walked out of the classroom together, silently, for we were some of the last few people to exit the classroom.
“What was that all about?” Joey nudged me on the way to French class
“What was what all about?” I was confused
“That day dreaming, you rarely do that.” He looked me in the eyes and glanced away to the path ahead of him as we carried our books down the elegant hallway.
“Day dreaming, no, not me,” I winked
“Come on, tell me what it was about,”
“You are starting to gain an English accent there, Joey.” I laughed and snickered at him, teasing his ways with his words
“Angie, please tell me” he really seemed interested
“Why do you care so much?” as soon as I said this, he turned away, embarrassed
“I don’t know, just please tell me.” He looked hopeful, and I didn’t understand
“I was day dreaming about, you know…” I winked at him, and he smiled
“Who, Angie who?” he nudged me again in a flirty way. But I knew he didn’t like me, he had a girlfriend of his own, living in England, or so he told me. He never really talked about her though.
“It’s nothing big, and it will probably never happen.” I looked at him, in the eyes
“Is it about someone here?” He was forcing the words out of me
“Charles, okay Joey, Charles!” I did not know what to say after this. He sank down and seemed disappointed
“Was that really who you were day dreaming about, that jerk?”
“He’s not a jerk, although I will probably never have him,”
“I just don’t want you dating or day dreaming about a jerk here Angie”
“I know, I know, because you love me and would hate to see me get hurt.”
“Yes, that is exactly why” He smiled, and then we continued on until we reached the classroom door. He opened the door for me and I did I sarcastic curtsey for him after saying thank- you.
We filed into the classroom like little middle schooler’s, except more mature. We all sat next to each other in a squished room, when I noticed that Charles had purposely chosen to sit next to me. So there I was, on my left side sat Charles and on my right side sat Joey. Joey gave me a stink eye as he rolled it in Charles’ direction. I didn’t know what to do.
Throughout class, Charles kept making strange remarks, whispering in my ear, comments to the teacher. He made me laugh, and when I turned to see Joey’s reaction, he seemed angered at me. Charles began saying mockery things towards Joey, and Joey could take no longer. I smiled anyways, he was funny. Charles tapped on my shoulder,
“Would you like to catch a bite to eat after this?” Was he asking me out? I went into shock
“Can Joey come?” I asked suddenly, then wished I hadn’t. I didn’t want Joey coming, he would sabotage our “date,” if he really meant it in that way.
Charles scratched his neck and looked at Joey, who had a boost of self-esteem in him and sat perfectly in his chair, tapping his pencil, smiling. “Err, sure…” he was hesitant
“What’s the matter?” I questioned him, playing hard to get
“Well I just thought that maybe the two of us could go together. Alone.” He smiled
“Sorry, but I really wish to include Joey, if that’s alright with you.”
“It’s fine,” he had given up on getting me alone, which showed he was a player. He didn’t care that much about me, if I showed no interest, neither did he. If I showed interest, so did he. It was a confusing little mind trick he played on women, and I was the victim, Joey had been right.
“Are you sure?”
“You know what, I actually just remembered I had plans with another girl. Sorry” he winked at me. I was upset by his rude remark at me, and he did not speak to me for the rest of class. I was playing hard to get, now so was he. Did this happen often? I didn’t want him anymore.
We had a break, to spend some of our money on food, and so I did. I bought Joey and I some pizza. We sat by the wishing tree during break.
The wishing tree had been on school campus since the school had been born, which had been a couple hundred years ago. It had been one of the oldest trees in the world. Every year, high school students would come and go, leaving little crumpled up notes and ideas and to-do’s in the tree, and every once in a while, a student would pass the tree and realized they wanted a crumpled letter. The rules were simple: a student could pick a note from the tree every once in a while if they chose to and they could leave a note in thetree every once in a while if they chose to. But, here was the catch: for every note a student took out of the tree, they would have to do the tree a favor in return and leave a note of their own.
I feared the wishing tree so much. Students had called it so because they all wished to get something fantastic. One student picked a threat letter up from the tree, telling her that if she did not fail high school, she would have to kill herself. The wishing tree was very well respected, and everyone believed every single word that came from it. They believed that once a note had been written and thrown into the tree, the note became part of two people: the person who put the note into the tree and the person who took the note out later.
Some say the tradition was started when a young student had all his papers flying around on one windy day. He had written a love letter to his crush, hoping to give it to her that day… when the wind came, the letter was pushed into the tree, and no one could get it out, until one day the girl to whom the letter was written to finally fished the letter out of the tree, unaware of what had happened. Once she read the card, she came up to him and told him that she felt the same way. Now, this part is a little far, but the rumor is that she was married to him long after the note was written.
If you dare to question the tree, you are disrespected all around school, thrown food at, called names. And, everyone at least once in their school life, must take at least one note. I knew I had to take it soon, but I did not know when.
“Joey,” his forehead wrinkled, he had been taking a bite out of his sandwich when I had said his name. We had been sitting down in the grass next to the tree.
“Yeah” he said with a mouth full of bread, trying to cover his mouth with his hand
“You know the wishing tree?”
“What about it?”
“Should I take a note out?” His eyes went wide open, he gulped his sandwich down, almost chokig.
“Are you sure, right now?”
“Yeah, why not?”
“Only because you promised the first week of school that you would never take a note, not until someone forced you to, because you feared you would get a threatening letter.”
“Well, my fear is gone”
“Not so fast, are you sure about this?”
“Yes Joey, I am sure.”
We paused for a minute, and I saw cat walking up to us in the corner of my eye.
“What’s up, love bugs?” She said this in a sarcastic way with a snicker
“Should I take a note from the wishing tree?” I immediately asked her
“Since when have you had the bravery to take a note from that? Are you sure?”
“I’m positive, now should I take a note?”
“Remember, once you open the letter…”
“I know, I know. I am a part of it and it is a part of me.”
“Bad things can happen Angie, bad things.” She shook her head
“Please guys, please”
“We aren’t holding you against your will, take one.” Joey smiled, I stood up, fluffed my skirt and removed the extra leaves and such and headed for the tree.
I looked at the tree, finding a note that looked just right. Once I found one, I reached for the note, as far as I could go. I finally reached for a yellow, crumpled paper.
As I walked back to where we had all been sitting, I held the paper tightly in my hands, wishing myself good luck. It was truly the wishing tree. I sat down in the grass by the tree and opened the crumpled paper up as slowly as I could. I bit my lip.
It was a yellow paper… originally a white one, from the early nineteen hundreds. The note read:
I’m sorry you picked this note out of all of the rest of them, for it is not a very good one, I am ending my life today… all by myself, and I want my life to be continued, because there are a few things I was not able to do before my death. Want to know why I am killing myself? It all starts with my parents, who are constantly asking things of me, telling me I am ugly short and fat and should go and work out. Then comes the people in my school, none of them dare to include me in any games. Then comes my life in general, I have a horrible life, surrounded by clouds of darkness, do you know what it’s like, knowing you can’t escape this feeling? Knowing it will stay on your shoulders day and night? I just cannot stand it. So I am asking you to do the following, for me. As they say, you are now a part of this letter, which means that you have a link to me.
I will give you ten visits, one for each of the favors listed below. I figured you should meet me and know what you are doing, and I figured you should know not to throw this paper away, for it will come in handy, and you will need it. My first visit will be the second you read number one on my list. I will come every time, the first time you read each thing to do. I will only come ten times, so listen to what I say to you. Thank you for picking this note:
1. Pull the fire alarm…. And there is a catch to it
2. Prank a teacher
3. Make someone jealous of you
4. Enjoy the smallest things in life
5. Love who you truly love
6. Make a wish, and make it come true on your own
7. Be mean to just one person whom you dislike, and apologize after
8. Tell everyone your biggest secret, except for your best friend
9. Spread a rumor
10. Talk to someone you would have never talked to before
Now that you have read this letter, share it with no one whom you do not trust, and no teachers or adults. Share them with only people your age. I came to this school for three and a half years, and am going to kill myself in the middle of eleventh grade. If you do not do the things listen, I’m afraid there will be horrible consequences, and expect for me to come, do not doubt this letter. These are all things I wish I would have done. All the things I wish I had the guts to do.
I turned to my friends, who were pale in the face. Cat was trying to say, “I told you so” but the words would not flush out, and Joey was trying to scream, but his face would not cooperate with his speech.
“What am I supposed to do?”
“Do the things on the list Angie, do the things on the list!” She yelled, I cried.
“Joey, I’m scared!” He hugged me, and I cried into his shoulder, Cat made a jealous mocking face at me, I could tell because Joey aimed one right back at her.
“It’s going to be okay, just do the things on the list, and you will be fine.”
Cat finally turned to hug me, and a last, Joey’s embrace around me was no longer.
“It’s going to be okay, trust us.” She smiled, and Joey looked at me, in a way I had never seen before. As I smiled at him, he turned away.
“When’s break over?” Cat looked down at her watch when I asked her this. She knew it was to cover up awkwardness.
“In just a little” she looked down at me and winked. I wanted to cuddle in their arms, but I could not. I heard the bell, and it was time for science class, in the English language.
The rest of the day, all I could think about was that note, the letter… because I was the picker. I went to sleep that night, cat in the bed next to me, and watched television, cat interrupted the show.
“Angie,” she said sleepily, wiping her eyes from exhaustion
“Yes, cat” I yawned as I turned down the volume of the television using the remote.
“What are you going to do about the note?”
“I have to do what the note says, don’t I? So I will.” I sunk down in my bed, wishing the day had not begun, and wishing everything that had happened had not happened.
The door slammed open, it was Charles. I was surprised and sat there in shock, in my pajamas.
“Angie, I heard about the note!” He yelled
“What? Who else knows?!” I was in complete shock
“I just overhead it, Just I know about this.” He smiled, “and, I know this sounds kind of crazy, but…. I can talk to ghosts” I was in utter shock, which wasn’t uncommon for that day.
“Let me see the letter, please-“
“I don’t trust you-“
“Please.” I handed him the paper, confused. He read over it
“Okay, now what?” I questioned him
“Read the first line for me.”
“Okay, fine… then hand the paper to me.” He thrust out the list, and as our hands met, we looked into each other’s eyes. His hands were warm, compared to my hands, which were incredibly cold. He smiled his sweet smile, and cat broke into our moment.
“you guys” and I snapped out of it, “haha, Angie’s got a boyfriend.” She snickered, Charles smiled deep down and scratched the back of his neck.
“Erm, you should read the note now-“ Charles said to me, trying to stop the awkward moment from continuing
“Right, okay” I shuffled around and sat on my bead, he sat down next to me. Our shoulders touched and he kept it there, I could feel myself blushing. His hand moved over to mine, and our hands were touching. My cheeks were read, and I could feel it.
“Number one-“as I said the words, he reached over to hold my hand. We had just interlocked our hands when the door slammed open, banging against the wall. Joey ran into the room.
“Angie, I found-“ he stopped moving, then saw Charles sitting next to me and us holding hands.
“Yeah” I looked at him with a slight smile on my face.
“Angie, angie, no, you can’t!”
“Don’t go out with him, he is a jerk and he will break your heart.”
“Why do you hate Charles so much?”
“It’s not that, it’s just-“as joey said this, Charles removed his hand
“Just read the note” Charles said
“Okay,” “number one, pull the fire alarm, and there’ a catch to it.”
Suddenly, I heard a teenage girl crying. I could not figure out where it was coming from. Then, I heard a loud cry, and Charles took my hand, I let him take me into the closet. There sat a teenager our age, bent over and hugging her knees. Mascara and eyeliner bleeding from her eyes, she had long, straight black hair. She was dressed from older times, and her hair was parted in the side, so she had side bands, the back ends of her hair waved outwards, and her shoes, I noticed, were Mary Janes.
“Help me, please!” She screamed, I looked back and realized that neither Joey or Cat could hear or see anything coming from the closet…
“Angie, it’s Audrey, and you have the power too, the power to talk to ghosts. They don’t see anyone or here anything, only us two.” Charles explained to me, looking in Cat’s direction
“Hi, Audrey, I’m the picker.” I said, hoping she would understand what I was saying
“You are?!” She jumped up
“Yes,” I sighed
“I’ve been locked up in this stupid school, for a hundred years. I can’t go on to heaven until the things on the list have been completed. You have the list, right?”
“Yeah, I do.” I gave her the list, she was cold, cold and hard as stone.
“Well, the first thing on the list is to pull the fire alarm. I know it sounds silly, but I wrote this letter a hundred years ago, and that was the worst thing you could you. Plus, I still kind of want to do it. It’s the one on this floor. By the bathroom,” she smiled, “but here is the catch, you have to admit your feelings to a school crush. And don’t say you do not have one, because I know you both do.” She winked at both of us, and I had only a small idea of what she was saying.
“Okay, is that all?” I asked
“Well, you must also hide with them, so that nobody questions you who pulled it, and only you two, alone.” She giggled, I shrugged.
“Let’s do it!” I looked at Charles, who was smiling at me. I had realized at that point that he was a shy, punkie boy… he was just loud and kind of cute, which made him popular.
Charles explained to Joey and Cat what we were going to do. Joey had this long expression on his face,
“What about the second part?” Joey looked at me
“You mean, admitting your feelings to a school crush?” I asked
“Yeah,” he leaned forward, crossing his shoulders on his knees.
“Well,” I looked in Charles’ direction
“Angie, remember what I told you.” Joey sighed
I ran out of the room with Charles at that moment, and we ran laughing down the halls, shouting jubberish words as we went. We finally arrived at the fire alarm, I looked at him, into his eyes. He stepped forward to me, smiling down at me, he was adorable. I was about to kiss him, when I looked behind him, Audrey was standing behind him, signaling to me to pull the fire alarm. So, I did. He backed up just a bit and when the alarm sounded. It was a loud beeping sound, and immediately I heard the scurrying of feet in the dorms around me. Charles took my hand again and we ran into a closet nearby. Audrey disappeared.
The closet was dark, and smelly. He turned on the lights, there sat a plunger, a mop, and a custodian box. We sat down, next to each other, laughing. He had an amazing laugh that showed his smile ever so perfectly. We finally stopped laughing and I looked at him. He smiled and looked back at me.
“Charles, I have something-“
He leaned forward and kissed me.
“What have I done?” I looked at him, turning away.
“You have just kissed me” he smiled
“Joey will hate me for this. I was told about people like you, you fall in love with them. Then, they break your heart.” I turned to shake my head, in disappointment of myself.
“Angie, you are different. You aren’t popular, and I think that’s why I am so attached to you. I can’t stand being away from you. Please-“
“Oh, thanks,“ I said sarcastically.
“Hello?” I heard a knock on the door. I froze. “It’s cat-“
I swung open the door and Cat fell on the floor, she had been leaning on the door before, pressing her ear to the wood. Charles stood up immediately and came over to help her up. He looked alarmed.
“You guys, do you understand what you just got yourself into? Everyone on school campus is falling down the stairs, in order to get outside because of the fire alarm. And remember they have the drill, so the teachers are going to come by and check in this closet any time now.” She fluffed out her skirt and fixed up her hair just a bit
“I know, but I can’t do anything about it. Remember the letter? And we saw her, we saw Audrey, this letter is no phony.”
“Just warning you guys,” She paused for a moment to look at Charles, “what did you guys end up doing in here?” She smiled
“We just laughed in here about the fire alarm, and you came knocking on the door right after we stopped laughing.” I lied, covering his mouth with my hand. She knew I was lying too
“Okay, so Charles what really happened?” She sat down and listened intensively, I let my hand go.
“I just, I um, I kissed her and I told her how I felt.” He acted normal.
“You know the letter is not for you, Angie still needs to do her part.” She said this in a way that she hoped I would pick neither Joey nor Charles
“Well, I,” I stopped for a moment, unable to speak. What was I going to say?
“It’s fine, Angie. I think we all know who you like,” Charles looked down at the ground
“Really, who do you think I like then?” I said sarcastically
“I don’t think, I know” he confidently corrected me.
“But, who?” I asked
“Joey-“ he stopped abruptly
“I don’t, you guys…. I don’t like Joey. I mean as a friend, yes. Nothing more than a friend though.”
“I know who you like,” Cat smiled, “I overheard you and Joey talking, you said you were um, daydreaming or something.” She chipped at her nails, something she did when she became nervous.
“Okay, fine.” I sat there, an open gaze at all of us, sitting in there, wondering in five years, what would I have wished I had done? There was Charles, the most popular and most handsome man in school, and then there was Joey, my best friend since third grade. I had been in love with Charles since the ninth grade… but I knew it was only attraction, nothing more.
“Who?” Charles began to demand from me
“Charles, I” I looked him in the eyes, “I love you.” The words were shaky, and his face lit up.
“I am the one? But you have known Joey since the third grade. Really, me?” He was surprised, and happy
“I love you too” he looked at Cat as he said this to me, and she blushed
That was how the first thing on the list went along. I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but that is exactly what happened. Charles had something hidden behind his back, and I knew it. Something behind that grin of his, something behind his words, something behind everything. He had a secret, and it wasn’t that he could speak to ghosts.
I woke up the next morning, exhausted because of the little amount of sleep I had gotten. For the next week, We sort of formed this group, Charles, Cat, Joey and I. We were the note readers, what ever you chose to call us, we were. We planned what exactly we would do and how.
Later, Charles came up into my room. We were dating, but I had this small feeling in my heart that he didn’t love me the way he said he did, although I just ignored it. Maybe Joey was wrong, maybe he was right, all I knew was that we would find out soon.
“So I thought of a new plan.” He smiled, and in doing so, we sat down on the floor together.
“I’m all ears,”
“We read the note, but in a separate room, an enclosed room. This way, no one can hear us talking to Audrey and no one questions us.” He untangled and unfolded a map of the building in which our dorms were located, then he showed me a red X he had marked on one of the rooms. That was where we would meet next.
The next week, we came into the room and I read aloud the next sentence,
“Number two, prank a teacher.” I waited until I heard a cry, but there was not one this time. Instead, I heard a low moan, coming from the bathroom, she was there, sitting prettily with a long skirt on, sitting on the toilet. Of course, she hadn’t been using the toilet, but she had sat herself comfortable on it.
“Okay, please explain this second one.” I asked. Charles stood outside, figuring I wanted to speak with her alone. She had the same clothes on this time, as from a long time ago, a long skirt and I white polo t-shirt, what I would have worn in her time as well.
“My friends and I always wanted to come to the meanest teacher on campus on prank her. You have to ring her door bell, run away as fast as you can, and leave a bucket of water outside her door. This way when she comes to the door and steps outside, she will look around and suddenly feel a large amount of water dumped on her head. All you have to do is get a bucket filled with water and barely balance it on the door, so that it is about to fall down, and do not run away until you feel you can.” She looked at me in the eyes as she explained this, “good luck.” And then she was gone.
I walked out of the bathroom, Charles was curiously sitting in the leather chair, facing the door.
“We must play a prank on a teacher, ring her door, and put a bucket above the door just so that when she walks outside, the water will dump all over her.” He laughed from this, trying to cover it with his hand.
“I know which teacher we can do it to,” Charles said
Mrs. Williams was a very strict and hot-headed teacher. Although she did not mind if a student forgot their homework or did not study well for a test, she was incredibly angered when students arrived late in her class, just as Mrs. Paula, except for that was the only thing Mrs. Paula flawed about. Mrs. Williams was flaws all over the place, starting with her children, who left her at an early age to run away to meet their father, whom they lived with for the rest of their teenage years. Then came her love life, I don’t think she had been on a date since the third grade, when kids pulled her hair, thinking it was funny to annoy her.
We filled a bucket with water and hung it at her door step, we rang the door and just balanced the bucket enough that it would fall any moment, when we heard her reach for the door and try to pull it open, her door was locked, so we had five seconds to run, and so we did. Once we were behind a bush, the pale of water was slowly sliding, and it was perfect timing, she opened the door, and the small amount of air from the door, that little brush, triggered the bucket to tip, she looked around for three seconds, and during the first second, the pale was flipping over, during the second, the pale was spilling, and during the third second, she was in complete and utter shock and disgust, she was drenched in water.
I tried so hard not to laugh, I saw Audrey standing in front of the door. What was she doing? She walked up to her and inside her house, yet the teacher did not notice.
“I’ll get you little slugs!” She readjusted her eyeglasses on her head and slammed the door. Audrey was now in her house, and the teacher I figured was headed upstairs to take a shower and get the unknown water source away from ever touching her body again.
Charles and I grabbed the bucket, and the second Charles had the bucket in his hand, Joey called me on my cell phone.
“Angie, we need to meet up.”
Charles, Cat, Joey and I all stood in a circle. Joey looked jealous of me, jealous of Charles, and in doing so, he looked me in the eyes, for a good three seconds, and he turned to Cat.
“Cat, I have been wanting to tell you something for a while.” He looked right at me, and then he turned to her, “I love you.” He kissed her, and then he turned to me, and back at her.
Cat’s face lit up, she was confused because Joey had a girlfriend already,
“But, don’t you have a girlfriend already?” Cat asked
“It was all a cover up, I never had one in the first place.” Joey replied
“You called all of us here so that you could ask Cat out?” I tapped my foot
“I just wanted to show you guys how much I love her, and I wanted everyone to know.” He looked at me, with a greedy look. That was the last I saw of Joey that week.
I talked with Charles and Cat, and told them both that we had to meet up. It was time to recite the third thing on the list.
We sat in a circle as I said it, “number three, make someone jealous.” It had been over a week since I had seen Joey, one of the longest times since the visit he took to Hawaii in fifth grade.
Right in front of us, this time, Audrey appeared, she looked happier and happier with each time we saw her. She was straight faced.
“Make someone Jealous. This is easy to do when you have two guys, one that likes you and one that you pretend to like. Here is how this will work, you must choose someone, not anyone standing before me, and choose to make them jealous, they have to be a friend, someone that you know well, so that you know how to make them jealous. Make them fall in love with you.” I knew who Audrey wanted me to make jealous. It was Joey, and I knew what she wanted me to do.
“Who, and what exactly do you want for me to do?”
“You know who, I can read your mind. And do exactly what you are doing now, it is working, but go more intensely. Only you will understand what I am saying, picker.” She sounded magical, like a narrator from a movie. I thought it just came with being a ghost.
“Okay, will do.” I smiled, and she disappeared.
“What exactly does that mean?” Charles asked me, Cat knew exactly what was happening, but she did not dare to peep a word. She knew everything.
“Well, I cannot be helped on this one. So let’s meet back here next week for the fourth thing on the list.” I winked, Cat knew everything. And, in detail, she knew what I had to do.
“Cat, are you going to try to help me out here?” I asked
“I’ll do what I can, but like you said, no one is allowed to help you” she winked. This meant yes.
The next week, I was all over Charles, especially in front of Joey. I was holding his hand, flirting, playing footsies, and Joey kept gritting his teeth, turning away, coming to Cat and kissing her on the cheek. Then he would turn back to me and see what I was doing, this continued for the entire week. I was then done with messing around with him.
The next one, I meet up with Cat and Cat only. She didn’t understand why, but I needed a small break from Charles, I went everywhere with him, and she agreed. So, I read,
“Number four, enjoy the little things in life.” Audrey appeared, with a very slight smile on her face
“Sit by the wishing tree one day, watch the students come and go. Be grateful that you were the picker. You will understand soon.” And she disappeared, it had been the shortest explanation I had ever been given.
“What did she say?”
“To sit by the wishing tree and be grateful”
“Was that all?”
That is exactly what I did on that very Tuesday, and unfortunately, we had winter formal and finals coming up that same week. Charles asked me to come with him to the dance, right in front of Cat and Joey.
Joey and I sat next to each other that day, by the wishing tree, pointing out the small things in life that we were grateful for.
“Angie, I don’t know if this counts or not… because it is not something small or little, but every day when I count my blessings, you are number one on the list.” He smiled his shy smile, and I cuddled up next to him.
“I love you Joey,” I said this in a brotherly, family way. I heard him sigh, and he held on to me for as long as he could. I then knew, at that very moment, that I was not wrong, Joey had a crush on me, but since when?
“I love you too.” Was all he could say in return, and I knew he did not mean it in the brotherly way, he meant it as in: you are the most beautiful girl I have ever come across in my entire life, and that will never change, and I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you, forever. He meant it that way.
Charles walked up to Joey and I cuddling during break. He had no instant spark of jealously, in fact he just took a seat next to us.
“Angie, I’m sorry.” He got up and walked away. I didn’t understand what he was trying to say. Joey smiled, and he held me closer. He had won.
“Do you want to come to winter formal with me, Angie?” He looked down and smiled at me
“But, I’m going with Charles.” He had hoped I would cancel out with Charles and go with him… but I did not. “Plus, aren’t you and Cat going together?” I asked him, looking up into his gorgeous eyes, that sparkled in the light. Such vibrant colors they were.
“I broke up with her, just yesterday actually.” He looked down at his feet
“Because Angie, the only reason I went out with her was-“
“Joey, what the hell is wrong with you? First you break up with me, now you are all over Angie?!” Cat ran forward to him, yelling in her angered voice.
“Cat, calm down, we are best friends and have been since the third grade, he is like a brother to me.” I smiled at her, “Plus, he isn’t a player, it just is not in his genes.” I looked up at Joey again, who had apparently been looking at me for the past minute, smiling.
“You better not. You go with him and our friendship is over.” She ran away, bickering and yelling words here and there.
“Once she cools down, she won’t care about it anymore. She won’t mind.” Joey stopped moving once he had said this, stopped breathing, his heart beat went faster, and I could feel it, I just didn’t respond.
I took out the note that night, in my dorm. Cat would not speak a word to me, she was mad that I had even talked to Joey. I read the letter in the bathroom, and she appeared, sitting on my bed, jumping on it, laughing. Cat didn’t notice anything. Nothing but me talking.
“So this next one requires for you to find who you truly love, which may not be the person whom you expected it to be, and love them.” She laughed, and then disappeared. It was a short visit.
I knew who I was in love with, who I had loved since fourth grade, without even knowing it. I did not love Charles, I called him that night,
“Charles, I don’t think I-“
“Hold on a second, why are you calling me?” He sounded frustrated
“Because you are my boyfriend, at least for right now anyways,”
“No, Angie when I said I was sorry today, I was breaking up with you. We are over.” He hung up, abruptly.
“Charles just broke up with me.” I turned to Cat, who smiled. She pretended to be engaged in the television show she had been watching, between that and her studying books. She did not fool me in any way.
I found Joey the next morning. I found out I was in love with him. I thought it was too soon for me to tell him the day after a break up, even though I wasn’t upset at all that he had broken up with me, I was actually kind of happy. He put a big problem out of the way, and prevented it from even happening.
“Joey, Charles broke up with me, just last night.”
“I told you he would break your-“
“My heart isn’t broken Joey, it’s only because I never loved him.”
“Well then is there someone else that you love or something?”
“It’s,” I looked at the clock behind him, for we had been standing in class, “I’m going to be late for Mrs. Paula’s class. I have to go, sorry!” I ran past him to my locker to smash my books into my back pack messily. Then I ran off to the auditorium, where the class took place. I passed Charles running down the hall, but he acted like he did not know me. I didn’t really care.
I took my finals, for that class. Then I ran to catch up with Joey during break.
“Joey! Hey,” I bumped his shoulder to get his attention
“Oh, hey” he smiled, putting his right arm around my shoulder, “How were finals?”
“Fine, I just hope I passed. You,” I questioned him
We sat in our usual place, by the wishing tree, and a few of my friends joined me, extra friends, to whom I didn’t talk to oh so very often. They were considered my back up when Cat was upset with me.
“Hey Angie” May sat in front of me, and her group followed, sitting down. We ate lunch together, and it was good, I was able to forget about all the drama, first Cat, the Charles, then Joey, then winter formal and finally, finals.
I finished my meal and waited for Joey to finish his. He walked me to my next class, opened the door, and then left, his class was right next to mine. During all of science, I could not stop thinking about him, I would not be able to tell him, Audrey had to help me somehow, and somehow this note had not just changed Audrey, but it was slowly, every single day, changing mine as well. Every day I was discovering something about myself that I did not know the day before, some of my feelings are pulled out of the corner, behind the bush, and brought to plain sight for me to see.
Winter formal was on Friday, and it was Thursday. Because Cat was still mad at me, for doing practically nothing but hugging Joey, she went with some other friends, and I went with my acquaintance friends. May, Jolie and Adele came along with me to go dress shopping.
The entire school had freedom for a week, to find which dress they wanted, and each student was sent an amount of money from their parents to spend in order to find the perfect dress. It was a big deal. I found a white, sparkling puffy dress that I loved, but it looked as though I was going to a wedding, so it did not work. I tried on twenty dresses, and then I found one. It was perfect.
It was blue, a color I had not expected myself to like, a mix between sky blue and a darker aqua blue. It had a white lace lining on the bottom and was strapless, with a small amount of tulle underneath, only to make it puff out just a bit. It was gorgeous, and I bought a white head band to go along with it and a white clutch.
I came with my friends to winter formal. I was alone. No date, only friends. Before I was about to step into the building for the dance, I heard someone calling my name,
“Angie! Wait,” I turned around to see Joey.
“Joey, what are you doing here?” I asked him,
“I came for you. Angie there is something I have to tell you, I Love you, I only went out with Cat to make you jealous.”
“I love you too.” I smiled and held his hand.
“Angie, not in the brother way, I mean you are beautiful, you are amazing, you are precious. I can’t stand being away from you. Angie, I am in love with you.” I smiled and kissed him, and it was the most magical moment of all time.
We walked in together, and Cat looked at me. It was intense. She walked up to me and asked me who I was holding hands with.
“But, isn’t he like a brother to you? Remember?”
“Cat, Why can’t I love Joey? First you have a problem with Charles and I. I never loved him, don’t you get it? He went out with me just to make you jealous.”
“Then why did he break up with you?”
“Because he loves you, he never loved me.” I felt so cheesy saying these words. My high school years, with this note, had become a cheesy love story.
“Then why was he with May yesterday, holding hands?”
“Because, he is trying to make you jealous” I yelled over the music.
It was at that very moment, no sooner, and no later, that I realized the music and the background sound. I looked at the huge crowd in the school, they were all dancing and having fun, and I spotted Charles, I motioned for him to come over to where I was. He moved through the crowd, a punkie, tall, handsome man, in a tie. That’s all he was to me. But Joey, Joey was everything to me.
He came over, and when I looked at Cat, he walked over to her and tapped her on the shoulder, she turned around. Cat looked at Charles, with a confused look on her face,
“Hey” she said
“Cat, come with me, I have to tell you something.” He held her hand and walked her out to the room separating the entrance from the dance. I saw her blush, and then I pulled Joey with me to dance together.
It had been one of the most fun nights of my entire education at the school. Never had I felt so alive, I felt like I had given it my all. Then I looked back at the wish, and realized that there was something else I could do that night. I walked into the bathroom and took the note from out of my clutch.
“Number 6, make a wish and make it come true on your own.” I closed my eyes as I said this
“I want for you to wish for something, one thing. Something that you can make come true, and I want you to make it come true,” She disappeared.
I looked in the mirror and wished for Cat to be happy. Not to be jealous, and to understand that she was truly beautiful, just the way she was.
I walked outside, and I saw Charles and Cat kissing, she was smiling. I could tell she was happy. It was the easiest thing I had completed on the list by myself. I had only four more to go.
I told Joey what had happened, and after we danced for a couple hours more, we went back to my dorm and watched television. His room was only one floor below me, and he was in his pajamas. He sat, cuddled up next to me, watching crochet. It was boring, but with him, there, it was the most fascinating thing I had ever watched. He explained everything to me, and he smiled, looked down at me, and kissed me on the forehead. I smiled, and hugged him. It was the best night, by far.
I had only four more things to complete on the list. They seemed a bit pathetic, but I could understand them, If I had been in Audrey’s shoes, I would have done the very same thing.
I went into the bathroom and recited the seventh one, “number seven, be mean to just one person whom you dislike, and apologize after.” I smiled at this one.
I only disliked one person on campus, it was Charles.
I walked up to him during break that day and slammed his food from the cafeteria into his face. He grew angered at me. There wasn’t much that happened after that. He kind of walked off, and then later I apologized.
The eighth thing, I was almost done. I rushed through them, I wanted to get the list over with and live my life. I went into my room the very next day and read the note.
“Number eight, tell your biggest secret to everyone except for your best friend.” Joey and I looked at each other, and he knew exactly what I was going to do.
“This one is pretty straight out forward. Tell them your biggest secret, the only thing that Joey doesn’t know.” Then Audrey disappeared.
My biggest secret was my love for Joey, and so I ended up spreading it all around the halls. I told everyone tall and short, fat and thin, pretty and ugly… everyone. Joey did not find out, and it truly surprised me. Number eight had been officially done.
I read the ninth thing the next night, “number nine, spread a rumor.” I read
“Tell everyone that one of the teachers is getting fired, and that you overheard it in the principal’s office.” She laughed, and then she was gone.
I did exactly that, I told Charles, who told many people, and then I told May and her friend group, before break time, the entire school knew of my rumor, even Mrs. Paula, the teacher to whom I rumored to be getting fired. She began packing up her supplies, I saw, in the middle of class. I heard a loud booming over the speaker later, that Mrs. Paula was not getting fired, and it was in fact a rumor.
I had one left to go. But at that moment, I wished there would be more things to do. I wished I had not rushed through it, and then I realized how much happier I had been since I found the letter. So I sat on my bed, and read the letter, slowly.
“Number ten, talk to someone you would have never talked to before.” Audrey then appeared, she sat on the bed in front of me
“Go and talk to David, the American, and his friends. And I lied, I will pay you one more visit, but you will not have control over it, and you will not know when I will come. Good luck.” She laughed and disappeared.
I woke up the next morning, brushed my teeth and headed to school earlier than usual, once I found David, an outsider, and his group, the outsiders, I walked up to him and began to talk to each of them. They all talked back to me, happily. They seemed surprised that someone besides themselves would want to talk to them. Once I was finished with conversation, I hurried back to my dorm, half scared to death that Audrey would come then, at school.
I was reading a book peacefully, understanding that I had completed the list. But it seemed as though something was missing. I finally heard a girl laughing in the closet and I jumped from my bed to greet her.
“There you are!” I smiled
“Thanks to you, I can go to heaven; I am no longer stuck in this school, forever. Thank you, Angolie, thank you for being my picker.”
I came to school and then realized that I had not written a letter to place in the tree. I thought and though until break time came, and that was when I knew what I would do:
I am sorry you have picked this letter for it is not a very good one. I came here in the twenty first century, and I was terrified of the tree… until one day I decided to pick up a note from it. I faced my fears, and I opened a letter almost identical to this one. This is the start of a chain of letters of favors you must do. I will pay you ten visits-“
And so the letter went on. I smiled as I reached into the tree and left the note, silently. Oh what that letter had done.