All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
When It's Time
“How could I have done this to my best friend?” she said without any emotion in her voice. Tissues were all over the bathroom floor. Her waterproof mascara had failed to work and she had black marks all over her face. Sheila might have meowed; she looked so much like a cat.
Sheila had just gotten back from the funeral, and she was still mind blown. How could she ever forgive herself? Just the thought of forgiving and forgetting was mind blowing.
It all started on a dark, stormy night. The music was on full blast and pulsated throughout the street. Sheila looked out the window and saw lights flashing across the sky. She expected to hear thunder follow the lightning, but the music was too loud. Thunderstorms always comforted her, but Jessica, her best friend, had made her come to the party.
Sheila and Jessica had been best friends since the second grade when Jessica had moved to Transyltania, a small town near the biggest forest in the state of New York. Transyltania was know for being the scariest town in upstate New York. The two would do everything together, literally. There wasn't a thing they didn't know about each other. That kind of friendship could be either really good, or epically destructing.
Their friendship was really put to the test when Jessica’s mother died suddenly of Alzheimer’s disease. The summer between fifth and sixth grade, Jessica was distant. She wouldn't talk as much, and when she did it was as if she wasn't talking. Jessica wouldn't eat or sleep at that time either. Once, Jessica got mad at somebody for asking if she was okay, and not minding their business, and she would have killed them if Sheila wasn't there to stop her. When Sheila talked to her parents about Jessica, she would often describe her as a wall: it stayed still, didn't move or do anything, but when you tried to get up in its business, you would get hurt.
By the end of summer, Sheila’s parents were sick and tired of hearing their daughter complain about her friend, so they told her to get a new one. When sixth grade started Sheila did what she was told: got a new friend and lost the old. That is how she met Belly. It wasn't her real name, but everybody called her that (even some teachers). At first their friendship was rocky, but it became steadier and steadier as sixth grade continued.
While Sheila befriended Belly, Jessica was alone and had no friends. At lunch she sat alone and of course, didn't even eat. After a few months, teachers noticed that Jessica was becoming not only skinnier, but paler. Eventually, one of teachers told the guidance counselor, and after a few after-school sessions, she was brought to a mental hospital. Soon after, she was on depression medication. At last, Jessica got better. She started eating and sleeping. While the socializing didn't come as fast, it did come eventually. She even started talking to Sheila again. About two months after Jessica got on the pills, she was back to normal. Belly, at first, didn't mind Jessica, but as Sheila spent more time with Jess, she got more and more annoyed. By spring break, Belly wasn't considered a friend of the two anymore. She was so upset that she insisted her mom home school her. The day Belly left, nobody noticed she was gone, literally.
Since then, nothing has changed: Jessica and Sheila are best friends, Belly was home schooled, and Jessica was on her medication, until the party.
“Stop staring out that window Sheila!” Jessica yelled. The music was still blasting and Jessica was dancing crazily. It was almost 2 AM and the party was not yet at its climax.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know why, but the party mood hasn't come yet,” Sheila said.
“Well then,” Jessica exclaimed, “get into the party mood! I mean seriously! It’s our last party as juniors!” Jessica had almost knocked over somebody over by dancing so forcefully.
“I’ll be back,” Sheila said as she slowly walked away.
“What? Where are you going?” she was still yelling.
“Bathroom! I’ll be right back!”
This time, Sheila made sure Jessica could hear her. When she got to the bathroom, she washed her face with water, sat on the toilet seat, and sighed. Something wasn't right. Instead of feeling the fluffy seat cover, she felt… paper. Sheila slowly got up and picked up the paper. It looked like bits and pieces of magazine articles titles, like in those mystery movies. Some words were a dark red while some were black. Sheila started shaking violently and dropped the paper. It twirled around in the air and landed face down. It read:
I know the secrets, I know the truth. Make J Lo hurt, or else I’ll bring her body to the dirt.
Lots of Love,
Sheila remembered something crucial to the note. During her old sleepovers with Jessica and Belly, they would blast the music TV station, and whenever Jennifer Lopez came on, Jessica would sing and dance along. That’s how she got that nickname, from Belly.
“What could this mean?” she said aloud. As it was made from poisonous material, she lifted it up to the light and saw the letters: Rx.
Sheila gasped. Who would want to do this to Jessica? What does this mean? She scrambled out of the bathroom and quickly put the note in her pocket. The room smelled like sweat and she could only see people dancing. She stood on her tiptoes and heard Jess’ voice. Sheila pulled her hair back and dove into the sea of people. Pushing and shoving, she finally found Jessica and pulled her to the edge of the crowd.
“I have to go,” Sheila started, “I’m not feeling well.”
“So why did you have to interrupt me? You don’t have to ask for permission for everything you do! Just go!” Jessica spat.
“Okay, well then, I’m sorry,” And with that, Sheila stormed out the door.
By the time she got to her car, Sheila was wet all over. She started the engine and drove, above the speed limit, home. She couldn't hear anything other than the rain pounding against the windshield, and the windshield wipers squeaking away. Surprisingly enough, the radio wasn't blasting, or even on, in this case. The heater was on, although it wasn't working and it made a terrible gurgling noise as it gave out even the slightest hint of warmth. With all this, Sheila just kept driving.
By the time she got home, it was 3 AM. She had purposefully taken the long way home. However, just then, she didn't know why. After she had changed into her warmest pj's, even though it was the middle of June, she got into bed and fell into a deep sleep.
“Wake up, Sheila”
Sheila felt wet on her face. Was she crying? No, it couldn't be because she always felt like sneezing when she cried. She opened her eyes and saw her mother’s tear streaked face. She sat up quickly and felt dizzy. Then she asked, “What happened? Why are you crying?”
“Your sister… she-she was in a car crash…” Sheila’s mother was crying even harder now. Sheila took a minute to look at her mother’s face. Her wrinkles were more visible that usual and her nose was a very bright red. Her mother’s short, thin eyelashes stuck together as she tried to calm herself down.
“What!? Is she okay? Where is she?” Sheila scrambled around in her bed. Her eyes were burning and she felt like sneezing.
“She is in the hospital. The doctors say that she will be alright, but she will have to wear a back brace and cast at least until school starts next year.” Both of them were crying now.
“Can we see her?”
“Yes, darling, we can see her. Now, get dressed and we’ll go.” Her mother left the room, and Sheila changed from her sweaty pj's to jeans and her favorite hoodie. The sound of Adele’s “Love song,” her text tone, filled her ears. She put her password into her phone and gasped as she read the text. “Sheila,
I’m so sorry about your sister. My car just happened to bump into her! Oopsies! Why is J still happy? Make her sad or else I’ll make her nappy. Forever.
She checked the caller ID and there appeared the most common name: Sara Johnson. But, there weren't any Sara Johnson’s at school. Sure there were Sara’s and Johnson’s, but not put together.
Wow, Sheila thought, somebody must really want Jessica to be upset, but who? Everybody liked Jessica. She wasn't mean to anyone, and whenever somebody needed something, she would always help. Sheila wondered if she could just pretend to hurt Jessica so this weirdo stalker/blackmailer would stop. What would this weirdo do next? With that thought in mind, she went to see her sister at the hospital.
“Hey. How do you feel?” Sheila asked her sister.
“Dizzy.” Bridget answered.
“Well, that’s probably from the pills they’re giving you for the pain,” she replied sweetly. “Did you see who hit you? I mean, the car, did you see?” she patiently asked.
“It was… I think a small dark car, and I think I saw who was driving it, but, I’m not sure,” she squinted, “She looked familiar, but I can’t place who it was. She had red hair… Can you get me some water?” Bridget said.
“Sure,” Sheila replied. Red hair, there is only one person at school with red hair, and it was a guy. Who could she be thinking of, Sheila thought. Bridget wasn't very mean to anybody, but when she got mad, watch out world!
Two weeks later, Sheila and Jessica had a tennis match. Each month, they would have one to see who would drive the other around for the next month. Sheila had received two more threats, but she didn't take them seriously. She hadn't gotten anywhere, either, with who sent the text by looking in her yearbooks since the eighth grade. Ever since the party, Jessica was becoming ruder and meaner to Sheila. On the car ride to the country club’s tennis court, Sheila got (surprise) another text saying: Today is the day to strike, or I will. Sheila laughed forcefully and said, “Yeah right.” And with that she got out of the car, walked to the tennis court, and started stretching. 20 minutes after the proposed time, Jessica arrived.
“Let’s get this over with” Jessica said. She was biting her nails and staring at her newly manicured nails. Her rudeness was really starting to annoy Sheila now, but she didn't say anything. Sheila heard her phone buzz again.
“Sorry, can I check that?” Sheila asked. Jessica nodded.
It was another message from “Sara Johnson,” but this one was different from the rest of the messages, because it didn't really have a threat. It said: Doesn't it bother you when she is so rude? If you want to get back at her, there is a prepaid phone you can use in your bag.”
But again, Sheila ignored this and started playing tennis. At first it was the anger from the text that fueled her, but it didn't last long. Without noticing, she was soon playing on the anger from Jessica’s rudeness. After their game ended, the people on the bleachers applauded even though they weren't paying attention throughout the whole game. Jessica’s phone then rang to the rap part of Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me.”
“Hey Maggie!” Jessica squealed. Maggie was one of Jess’ more popular friends. “Oh, I just finished a tennis game with the Beast.” The Beast? Really! Wow!! Sheila was really getting annoyed now.
“She was really bad! She, legit, couldn't even hit the ball. Yeah, a nine-year-old could’ve beaten her.” Jessica was yelling into the phone. A high nasal laugh followed her rude comment. Sheila started looking in her bag. A nine-year-old could have beaten the Beast, what kind of friend was this, Sheila thought. When she found what she was looking for, she waited for another remark.
“Sure, I’ll come! Let me just shoo the Beast and I’ll be on my way. Bye Girly!! Sorry, it won’t happen again.” Jessica hung up the phone and took out a prescription bottle. Sheila then hit send on the Tracfone she had found in her bag.
Everything that followed seemed to be a blur. Jessica put the pill in her mouth and swallowed as she read the new text on her phone. Next, she dropped the phone, in surprise, into a bush to put her hands around her neck. Jessica was choking and Sheila was just standing there. People gathered around her as she dropped to the ground, and still Sheila just stood there. The people around her tried to save Jessica, but it was too late. Soon after an ambulance came and took Jessica’s body away.
“Thank you for your services,” a voice said mockingly. Sheila looked up and saw a fat, ugly, redheaded girl about her age.
“Belly? It was you who sent the messages?” Sheila croaked, but she didn't have to ask. After the J Lo text, she had thought it was her, but she just didn't want to believe it.
“Sara. My name is Sara. And yes, it was me all along, but you knew,” she answered as she walked away and then, suddenly, disappeared into thin air.
With all this, Sheila just crumpled to the ground and cried, but not a true cry.
Sheila hadn't really cried until after the funeral. Tissues were all over her bathroom floor and black mascara streaks covered her face. After about two hours of full on crying, she mustered up the courage to look at the text that had cost her, her friends’ life. “Although you think you’re perfect, you’re not. At least I never tried to kill somebody before. Your best friend, the Beast,” it read.
Sheila got into her car and started driving to her local flower shop. It was several months after the funeral and school was starting soon.
“Hi, um, can I have you longest lasting flowers surrounding a bunch of lilies, please.”
“Sure. That would be spider chrysanthemums and roses. Is that okay?” the florist replied. After 15 minutes of watching the florist work, she saw the most beautiful bouquet of flowers she had ever seen in her life. After paying, she got into her car and drove.
Once she got to the cemetery, she looked for the grave with the most beautiful person’s face on it. She looked at the grave stone and saw Jessica’s smiling face. Sheila placed the bouquet on the stone and said, “I’m sorry.” Lilies were Jessica’s favorite flowers.
Even though Sheila never forgot what happened to Jessica, she did forgive herself, because sometimes, that’s just what you have to do.