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When Sally Smiled
Author's note: I got this from reading a story about a girl who carried her best friend around with her for years. Except her best friend was dead and all that was left were some ashes in an urn.... :/
Ten days until freedom. I wasn’t forgetting this feeling of maturity, this feeling of my body taking flight. I was holding a plate of food which my mother had cooked (burnt) just a few minutes beforehand. Sally’s urn sat on the mantelpiece (mind you, if it had eyes it would be watching me right now as I paced the room, eating from the plate from time to time.) I had this weird, gut feeling of pain and departure. Was Sally trying to send me a message?
I dropped the plate on the floor as someone tapped me on the shoulder. Baby potatoes, Greek salad and chicken schnitzel went flying onto the hardwood floor.
“Sorry,” the boy mumbled, bending down to help clear the mess from the expensive floor. I looked up into his face. Lovely, was all I could think, “Daisy? Ha, I didn’t notice you under that makeup.”
“I sure am kinda scary,” I replied, smiling lightly.
“Did you know that I was talked into coming here?”
“Er, you were?”
“Mhm; I was talked into coming here and asking you whether you were ready for the end of year party!”
“You’re Khloё’s brother, Zachary? I only remember you from Khloё’s 16th birthday party!” It finally clicked.
“Ha-ha, I knew you’d work it out!”
“Tell her I’m not ready, tell her anything,” I shuffled towards the dressing room slash bathroom in the right corner of the room and opened the door. “Actually, tell her I’m about to vomit!”
He looked at me as though I was being irrational.
“And why are you going to do that?”
“Because I’m secretly afraid of party’s,” I admitted, jokingly.
“That’s just being irrational!” I knew he’d think that. “You’re not really afraid, are you?”
“No, I’m not,” I muttered half truthfully, “I’m actually going through my flu phase, and being irrational is what I do best. Now get out of here or you’ll be spending a long time in a sick bed!”
I was a really bad liar. I knew full well that ever since Sally’s death I had become a little bulimic. Zach turned on his heels, but hesitated.
“Oh, and you should know that Khloё said that Jackson Smith is going to pick you up from here to take you to the party, if that’s alright?”
I gulped. Jackson, the hottest guy ever was coming here, to my house? Nope, that was unbelievable.
“Khloё was dead right, you do love this guy,” and he just walked out the door. I gagged, and ran for the toilet. Not my best afternoon.
I felt so out of place that night. Everyone’s bodies were swaying to a Rihanna song, in such grace and unison that I felt what was left of my dinner coming back up. Luckily I knew where the bathroom was just in case. Khloё was holding onto Jackson’s hips, swaying in a rhythmic and yet sort-of-seductive dance. I was going to throw up on her if worse came to worse. She glanced at me from the moment she was having with the-guy-that-I-was-totally-in-love-with. I gave her my best half smile half glare; a glarile (if I may call it). She looked bemused and so I turned my face away. I wasn’t going to keep explaining myself to everyone. What I would have done to have Sally there or at least her urn – it would make me feel more comfortable and less apprehensive around these people. I noticed from the corner of my eye that somebody was standing next to me. Zachary peaked at me and then handed me a beer.
“You know I don’t drink don’t you?” I grumbled.
He took the beer that I was returning and lazily sat down on the couch I was leaning against. He looked around the hall for a second. “Khloё’s outdoing herself a little, isn’t she?”
“Just a little,”
“Are you okay?”
“I’m still a little ill, so just be careful and don’t say anything food related, or in this case anything Jackson and Khloё related.”
“You like that douche?”
“Well, maybe I did. But now that he’s seductive with your sister, I don’t think the feeling seems to still be there!”
“Can’t blame them, they are normal seventeen year old teenagers,” he chuckled. “And you do know that guys our age can’t control our hormones, right?”
“What kind of rhetorical question is that?”
“One that my mother can’t seem to answer,”
I laughed and we both took a swig of our drinks (I chose to drink an OJ in the end.) About half an hour later, I was in the bathroom, which I had purposely spotted from the moment I stepped through the door without hesitation, vomiting madly. I was interrupted sooner rather than later with Khloё standing next to the toilet, pinching her nose.
“You’re not fit enough to be here. Why did you come if you knew you were sick?” At least I didn’t tell her the truth.
“To get away from my problems for a few hours,” I managed to spit out after about five minutes, “And to get away from my dead best friend’s ashes!”
She didn’t understand the joke because I burst into tears and she had to comfort me. “Sally’s death affected everyone, Daisy, not just you. And do you remember what I promised you at her wake?”
“I’ll never forget it. Sometimes, Khloё, just sometimes, I get this voice in the back of my head mumbling ‘I’m always here, Daisy’ and yet you’re not here all the time. I’m pretty sure that most of the night you spent the time that was meant to be with me with the only guy who I seem to have feelings for. Why? Because you can’t control yourself,” I sobbed; not angrily, but with the sadness of a woman who just lost her husband of five years in the war. “Just like Sally couldn’t control herself, and I thought you’d learnt the lesson from her. I know you’re better than that...” I took a break to spit out some saliva into the sink as I washed my face. I looked up at the mirror between splashes. I was paper white and I had extremely red eyes from crying; compared to Khloё’s extremely beautifully structured face, wonderful strawberry blond hair, a curved body and chiselled legs, I was a ghost; a sheet of pure white silk.
Khloё looked up at me with a solemn frown and took my hand in hers as I turned the tap off and dried my hands. “I think about... what it must feel like to die, all the time, you know? And then I see Sally’s face in my mind and I cry hour upon hour!”
“Oh Khloё,” I sobbed.
“It must be terrible to die,” I muttered after some sobbing time. “All that pain and then it just disappears and you’re somewhere else...somewhere peaceful and high up in the clouds, watching over your family and not to mention friends.”
“You really believe that there is a God and a Heaven?”
“Not everything,” she grimaced. “If there is a God, then why did Sally have to die? Wasn’t God all about ‘saving’ the human race?”
“There was nothing ever about God ‘saving’ the human race, Khloё. Life is...life, I guess. It is the cycle of life and death, one must die for another to live; horrible, but that is the way it has to be!”
She put her arm through mine and we headed for the door.
“Sally didn’t deserve what happened to her.”
“I know,” Khloё muttered.
“And you don’t deserve to follow in her footsteps!”
She gave me a long look and opened the door. I sighed and we made our way out of the room. We smiled, a little more and more each time we looked at each other, until we came around the corner, arm in arm, and spotted the dead body in the hallway!
The shocking news spread across town like a disease. So too did my ‘flu’. We (the people of the party) were the talk of the town. There were rumours of me taking out my anger on the Khloё-and-Jackson-ordeal and killing an innocent bystander, but they were just rumours. Others just talked non stop about the gruesome way he had been killed, that is, the boy. Milton Graves, the corpse that lay upon the ground when we discovered him, had been literally mutilated, and to call it murder was like calling Hannibal a humanist; perhaps in his past life. Milton’s parents were devastated. Interview after interview would just be the beginning for the couple; soon there would be nationwide publicity and then the world. The FBI would be searching the nation for the murderer and for any related evidence. **** Sally’s urn was looking a little dull today. I took her out for a walk across the park green and then to Khloё’s where Jackson and his ‘goonies’ spent ‘spying’ on girls. You could clearly see their heads bobbing up and down in the bushes. What were they up to? I walked past the bush and then stopped. As slowly as I could, I turned around and I stared straight at the boys in the bush. “Cubby house meeting, I see?” “Shhhhh...” the boys grumbled. “Mhm, yes you’re right, too old for cubby houses, maybe a Star Wars Fan Club?” “Would you move already?” Jackson mumbled, shifting his weight from one leg to another. He bumped into Thomas and Dean, toppling them and him over. I laughed vociferously, “No...I get it...you’re spying on Zachary,” I muttered hilariously as I spotted Zach emerging from the front gate to his house. “Oy, Zach, these boys hiding in this bush are your secret Peeping Tom’s...” I took a glance at Thomas, “Oh, at least one of them is, the rest are a Peeping Jackson and Peeping Dean.” “Killed it,” Dean grumbled, coming out of the bush, followed by Thomas and Jackson. “We’re not gay; unlike Zach...who has never had a girlfriend!” “And you have Dean?” I glared. “Yeah...” “You sure about that?” “Positive...” “Well, what about you Thomas?” “Er, well, you see,” “I’ll take that as a no then,” Zachary interrupted. “No, it’s not a no, Zach,” I muttered. He gave me a bemused look. I winked. “He’s had a ‘special’ friend. His girlfriend was Dean and Dean’s girlfriend was Thomas!” Zachary burst into a fit of chuckles and Thomas gave Dean an angry, red faced stare. “You’re sister is their actual target, Zach,” I explained out loud. “They’ve been stalking her ever since last night. Why is that anyway, Jackson?” “None of your business,” Dean growled, pointing his fist at me. “Oh, it’s my business, alright! The person you’re stalking is my friend and I’d rather know that she is safe in her own front yard without getting stalked by three buff heads. So tell me, why are you pestering her?" “You wanna know why? She is a suspect to the murder of Milton Graves, that’s why!” Jackson blurted. “Wait, what? Khloё is a suspect, but that’s impossible! She was with me all night.” Well, not all night, I added in my head. “Well, apparently not. She told the police that she didn’t have an alibi,” Thomas mentioned smugly. “I guess because she is guilty!” Zach ran for Thomas, aiming his fist and administering a mighty blow to the smug face. I placed the urn full of Sally’s ashes on the ground carefully and I jogged towards the boys and stepped in between the fighting. Dean was pounding away down the path, running around the corner and out of sight. Pussy, I thought. “Stop, STOP!” I yelled. “This isn’t going to help anything you idiots. Hell, I don’t think fighting is going to solve the position Khloё is in right now.” I pushed Thomas and Zach away from each other. Thomas fell to the ground, cowering behind his hands. Luckily, the only thing bleeding on his face was his hideously deformed nose. “Luca was right, Zach, you are mentally challenged!” “Watch what you’re saying, Jackson, or I might punch you in the face!” I growled. “Ooooh, is the little girl going to give me her best shot,” “She can probably punch better than you and Thomas both put together.” “I’m going,” Jackson challenged. “I’m sick of watching p***ies. Thomas,” he looked at the sobbing boy on the ground. “Get up you pathetic loser. Look at you, grow some balls!” Thomas gave a slow sob, heaved himself up off the ground, sighed as he looked at Jackson and turned to leave. “By the way, Daisy, you were always a weirdo. Ever since Sally died, all you’ve been is a freak. Who carries an urn full of dead people ashes? That is gr-oss!” I glared as harshly as I could at him and felt stinging tears starting to push their way out of my eyes. I wasn’t going to allow myself to cry. It was definitely not going to happen! But it did, and before I knew it I was sobbing and Jackson was shaking his head at me and leaving the scene. Zach’s silhouette moved up next to me and I felt a strong arm around my shoulders. “Hey, don’t listen to the d***he bag. He makes life living hell, that’s why I asked you why you would ever like a d***he like him?!” “He...called me a freak. I liked him...so much and he just called me weird because...” I fell into another round of sobbing and Zach just cooed at me. “It’s ok, Daisy. He doesn’t understand. I was Sally’s friend too, and I cared about her. If I was in your position I’d be carrying around...well, you know already!” I let out a heaving sigh and wriggled out of his hold. “I’ll be fine,” was all I mumbled as I picked up the black-green urn full of my dead best ashes from the ground and continued on my way back home. “Are you sure?” He called as I just about turned the corner. “I’ve already lived through one major blow to my life. I’m sure this feeling will only last a few hours.” I called back, wiping tears with my free hand’s sleeve. The walk back to my house was long. Now all I had to do was get past the second blow to my not so fabulous life.
What I needed was a pick me up; something to make my day and bring a large smile to my continually grimacing face. Chocolate; well maybe it didn’t bring a smile to my face, but it sure made my stomach feel a little less twitchy and my heart a little less heartbroken. After getting through about two large blocks of chocolate, I pulled myself to my feet and headed for the bathroom. It was that time again. Chocolate was not going to stay in my stomach for much longer. I stuck my forefinger and middle finger down my throat, puking into the recently cleaned toilet. I pulled my head up. Was I really going to keep this going? Yes, was the answer my little voice told me, yes you are going to keep this going!
I washed my face and was out in a matter of minutes. My mother stood in the hallway, looking at me with strange worry pasted onto her beautiful face.
“Daisy, are you alright?”
“My flu is still giving me a little tickle in the stomach!” Exaggeration, Daisy, the little voice told me. Shut up voice, I sent back at it.
“Still sick, hmmm? Maybe I should take you to the hospital!”
I gave her a swift ok, but I knew that she would soon forget that she was meant to take me to the hospital. Well, at least for the next few days until she asked me again why, after two weeks, I still seemed to be holding onto the flu. It was going to be a long process of explaining and admitting, but I would get there in the end.
“Daisy,” Khloё muttered through the receiver. “Are you alright? You seem to be ill all the time! Are you sure you don’t need anything?”
I glared at the phone and mumbled, “I’m fine. You know it’s possible to have the flu for a full month. It’s only been two weeks. Get over it!”
“Ok, but if you need anything...”
“Yeah, I know, ‘call me’.”
“Good, I’ll see you tomorrow at the graduation. Five o’clock sharp!”
“Mmmmm,” I mumbled, clicking the end call button and returned the phone to its dock. She wasn’t going to leave me alone with this whole grad situation. In fact she probably wasn’t going to stop pestering me about my so-called illness; which I wasn’t planning on telling her about.
I spent the next twenty four hours in bed. My mother did not allow me to leave my bedroom because my sickness would ‘definitely’ spread across town. I wasn’t up for arguing so I raised the white flag and made my way to bed. She was over-protective, alright!
When the time came to get prepared for my graduation, I was too anxious to see Zach. I didn’t know why, but this little nudge in my head told me that I would smile seeing him. Or I would kill him, my head was messed up today because of my constant lack of nutrition (or rather digestion). I succumbed to my mother feeding me chicken soup that afternoon, but it would come right out that evening at the graduation after-party.
I was getting picked up by Khloё in her red Camaro SS. She parked on the driveway near the front lawn and honked her horn. I was applying the finishing touches to my mascara. I wanted that bold eye look, but it wasn’t going well because I felt the urge to run to the bathroom and puke. She beeped her horn again and I told mum to pass a message on to her saying ‘patience is a virtue, you knob’. Mum laughed and she left to pass on the message to Khloё. It gave me time to make a quick stop to the toilet to hurl. When I was finished I stepped out the front to see mum talking to Khloё. Khloё spotted me and waved ‘come on’, but I waved back and called, “I’ll be there in a sec, I need to go, er, get something!”
She shook her head and so I retreated to my bedroom. It was cluttered, slightly, and so it took me around a minute to locate Sally’s urn. Once I spotted it, I picked it up and double checked myself in the mirror. I was acceptable, but my face was just too white and I felt a little icky looking at such a pallid and unnatural face. Khloё didn’t think so.
“You look beautiful. And our graduation group won’t even notice you’re pallid face. Smile and it will all be fine!”
I nodded once and took a swift look at the urn I was holding. Oh Sally, I thought, this is it. I wish you could be here to hug me when we graduated! I passed on the urge to cry.
When we arrived at the school, the crowd made me feel nauseous. It was an amazingly large group of people, and with the group of us graduates, the immense feeling of claustrophobia had me at vomiting point; again.
After many kisses, hugs and hellos, the party moved into the great hall and were seated in a matter of minutes. We graduates were positioned behind the curtain awaiting the rising of the curtain and cue to be seated on the seats on stage. The audience outside quietened and the sound of a microphone being tapped echoed across the hall.
“Welcome parents, friends and families to Sacramento High’s Class of 2010 Graduation Ceremony. I would like to firstly thank you all for coming and hope you enjoy the graduation ceremony tonight. To begin, I would like to mention that camera’s, camcorders and flash photography is permitted...” I drowned Ms. Keysha out with some shuffling of my feet and a mumble to Khloё, who was seated not next to me, but down the row a bit.
“I’m nervous,” I muttered. She nodded and swallowed.
“So am I,” Linda, the girl next to me muttered.
“Shhh,” someone down the row whispered harshly. We all quietened down enough to hear Ms. Keysha still yapping away.
“...so to kick things off I’d like to begin with the students receiving their graduation certificates,” a round of applause, a pause and then, “Miranda Appleyard,” after about twenty two names my name was called out, “Daisy Rogers,” and I pulled myself out of the chair, leaving Sally’s urn under the chair instead of taking her with me. I shook hands with Ms. Keysha and stalked up to the front line of students waiting for the, well what I called it was the ‘hat throwing ceremony’. Khloё’s name was read out and she went up to collect the certificate, joining us soon after. I smiled at her, for the first proper time in a few weeks. I knew it was freedom. She reached behind Linda Robinson to hold my hand. Ms. Keysha finished off the names and that was our cue to throw our mortarboard caps in the air. My parents smiled and clapped all the way through. Khloё and I cried for about half an hour straight. Sally’s urn sat under the chair and was picked up by Ms. Keysha whom took into the store room and left it there, locking the room behind her as she left.
“Well find it,” Khloё growled at one of the boys from the ceremony. “And find it now, or she’s never going to stop crying you idiot!”
I was sobbing, hands full of tissues and I was being comforted by Zach who ran straight for me when he saw me break down on the stage in the middle of the ending ceremony when I noticed that the urn full of Sally’s ashes was gone. Ms. Keysha arrived, followed by the boy from the ceremony. She was holding the black-green urn and looked distressed.
“I’m so sorry, Daisy. I thought it was a vase for one of the teachers and so I put it in the storage room,” she handed me Sally’s ashes in the urn and I sobbed harder.
“Thank you,” I muttered, taking a deep breath and leaning my head against Khloё’s. My Sally was back with me and that was all that mattered right now.
We all arrived, happy and less mad, at the after party dinner. I was thinking of how to say no to any cuisine that was stuck under my nose. I didn’t know how long I could go without food, and how long I could go without telling Khloё about my bulimic periods. I decided that I would eat a little, to keep up my façade but that as soon as possible that I would be heading to the toilet to get rid of the food I swallowed. I was arm in arm with Khloё as we made our way to the seats and sat down. We were soon handed food and we ate (or rather, Khloё ate and I nibbled a bread stick).
“Aren’t you hungry, Daisy?” She asked.
“Not really, after that scare with Sally’s urn I kind of lost my appetite,” I lied maliciously. “And I don’t really feel like staying anyway, I just want to go home and sleep!”
“It’s only ten pm, Daisy,”
I gave her my ‘look’.
“Oh alright, I’m sorry. I guess I can’t blame you; it’s all this crap flu going around. You should go home and rest or you’ll just get yourself sicker!”
“Thanks,” I muttered. She stood up and picked up her purse, which she searched through looking for her keys. She pulled them out and smiled at me.
“Are you driving me home? I was going to walk!” I asked.
“Of course, I won’t let you walk home and risk the chance of you getting mugged!”