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... Show full author's note »
PickingIt 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.