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The Red Scarf's Final Wish“Anna! Anna, please!” I cried, “Anna, please wake up!” I stare
“Anna! Anna, please!” I cried, “Anna, please wake up!” I stared at my friend laying motionless on the hospital cot. “Please.” I whispered, “Please, Anna.”
Just moments before, as her parents spoke in hushed tones at the side of her bed, she had whispered in my ear, “Remember the first day we became friends? It was the last day of school - funny, today is the last day of my life.” Anna broke into a weak grin.
I choked down a sob, “Anna, don’t say that. You’ll get better soon, I promise.”
Anna shook her head, “No, Alice. I won’t. You know this and I’ve known this for a long time.” She sighed, “Alice, take this,” she handed me a sealed envelope. This was so like Anna, to make everything more mysterious.
I sobbed as I took the envelope from her weak, pale hands, “A-Anna.”
“Hush, Alice, don’t cry.” Anna closed her eyes and moments later, the monitor went dead.
The day of Anna’s funeral, I stood there and smiled - Anna would have wanted me to. I stood there and reminisced the beginning of our friendship.
I stood in the shadows. The bell rang, and a girl ran past me, scraping me off to the side – and didn’t even say sorry. I turned back, into the darkness, choosing to take the long route home; I had no one waiting for me, no one at all.
“Hey, Alice! Alice Pritchard!” I turned; it was Anna Hampton, voted Miss Popular in our freshman, sophomore, and junior years. I walked on. What does she want from me? What did I do to her-
“Alice, will you be my friend?” Anna called after me, from a distance.
I turned around completely, quite confrontational of me, “Why?”
“Because I like you. Isn’t that enough?”
“Yes… it is.” Did she hear me? Not that I’d care or something…
Apparently, she had heard. The next day, with a bag full of makeup and enthusiasm, she rang my door bell. I hesitantly peered through my curtains – it was her all right. Anna. I moved slowly, hoping she’d go away- leave me alone. Alone to live in my universe, where I turned my back from the world and it turned its back on me. Alone - where I could recite my poetry and listen to my iPod, with its single song, Mozart’s Requiem. No such luck.
The bell rang once more. I opened the door. “Hello, Alice!” Anna exclaimed as she came in and made herself at home. “Let’s go to your room, ‘kay?”
“’Kay.” I whispered back. The next thing I knew, I was in my room - hearing a sweet unfamiliar song tinkling with Anna’s confident laugh - the sounds entwining. I soon realized its source - my own voice.
“Hold still Alice,” Anna murmured, “You’re cute, ya’ know. Mmm, this brings out your beautiful purple eyes. There - gorgeous!” I glanced at the mirror; it did bring out a certain tinge. “Omigawd, let’s go shopping! We need something for that fabulous auburn hair of yours.” I stared at her... shopping?
I found myself at the mall, being tugged along to each and every shop. Anna Hampton was a force of nature. I glanced at the window displays, when red caught my eye. It was extraordinary, a graceful stream of red, like a waterfall, gauzy and shimmery- a red silk scarf. I was entranced, strolling into the store of the red scarf.
“Excuse...Excuse m-me, may I-I buy the re-red scarf?” I asked the saleswoman. She gave me a smile, ushering me to the checkout.
“Would you like it wrapped, Miss?” She asked me, returning my credit card.
“Yes, pl-please.” I responded, twirling a lock of my hair. She handed me the shopping bag and I left the store, in search for Anna, “Anna? Anna. Anna!”
“Yes, Alice?” Anna replied, popping out nearby store.
“I got this for you, Anna. It’s a present for our friendship.” I wavered.
“Thank you, Alice.” She replied quietly. She placed a hand to her heart, closing her eyes, “I am touched.”
A full summer of memories had trickled to an abrupt end. I tucked away Anna’s melodramatic envelope, I wasn’t ready - not yet. “Anna, good bye.” I thought to myself, as we each prayed for Anna. The funeral was over - gone.
The next few weeks went on and on, repeating over and over. I began to wonder, why did Anna become my friend? Why? Was it pity? I grew angry at Anna - leaving me and not explaining herself. Why? Why? Why? I was consumed with the question, I didn’t notice the new addition to our homeroom, Diane Ingram, or anything that had happened in the following weeks, only, “Why?”
One afternoon, I recalled Anna’s sealed envelope and quickly found it where I had left it, tucked in the folds of the funeral dress. I tore the envelope open, eager for answers, yet it only said: Alice, Go to the forest behind the school. Find our friendship. -Anna P. Hampton. Our friendship?
I pondered briefly, but what I had to do was clear.
As I walked into the forest of ancient oak trees, I was intent on finding the red silk scarf. The breezing seemed to be wafting Anna’s special lavender scent and the crisp vivid leaves crunched underneath my shoes. The ravens cawed and the single ray of golden sun streamed through the crest of the forest bring the whole forest to life. I gloomily walked past a bailiwick of nature’s ladies thumb and dark gray bunnies. The whispering willows wailed into the depths of the forest. The sky darkened in hues of pink and shades of dark purple. And there- in contrast to the dark sky, the red scarf hung on the bare branch, billowing in the wind like the flowing of water, a rippling sea of red. I reached out and seized the rippling sea. Out sank a letter, written in Anna’s hand. I read the letter.
“Don't Cry For Me
When I'm gone; don't cry for me
I am not dead; I'm in sweet eternity
I'll live forever; I'll wait for all of you...
I did not die, so do not cry; I'll meet you here one day
Jesus will send an Angel to bring you to me; all the way
Our love is sure; our hearts are strong
I did not die, so please don't cry; I am home.
I will miss you. Ya’ know, you were my best friend - my truest one. Keep our friendship alive. Carry it on - forever and always. I’ll be waiting for you in heaven.
I couldn’t hold it in any longer - warm, bittersweet tears flew down my face. Anna. I’ll miss you, but now I understand. I really do. When I walked out of the forest, clenching the red scarf, I saw that Diane was still here at school. I chased after her, “Be my friend.” I offered the red scarf, realizing its true worth.
Diane glanced back, slightly shocked, “Why?”
I replied, still offering the scarf, “Because I like you. Isn’t that enough?”
“Yes.” Diane took the red scarf and stroked it with her delicate fingers. She smiled - the seeds of a great friendship were planted.
I looked up at the sky - at Anna. You wanted me to be happy and befriend people, and to keep our friendship alive. I’ll always take your final wish to heart. Thank you, Anna. Thank you.