By Neat Whale
Laura Jamie Pearson wasn’t in school that day, that life-changing day, on March 7th.
It was one of those days where it was too hot and too cold, and you couldn’t find your ski jacket, missed the bus, and got smothered in slush. It was that day where even the old shack, which Laura lived in, looked snug and cozy. But the weird thing was, there were a few police cars there, and an ambulance. I didn’t bother to think about that, though, because right then, Ryan Chanagan, Marc Switser, and Brian Marks took my bookbag right from my hand, and I had to give them fifteen dollars before they gave it back to me.
I was the only kid the noticed Laura wasn’t there that morning. No one else cared about her… she was a teacher’s pet, a neat and tidy kid, a whiz at everything, but still, besides to the teachers, she never interacted with anyone. She was sober at recess and always sat alone. she never swung on the swings, she never played horse, she never skipped rope, she just sat alone, her noes in a book.
The next day, she still wasn’t there. I caught the bus that day, but yet was forced to sit next to Brian Marks, who kept pestering me by calling me names like ‘Beth death’. I tried to understand why there were no cars in the driveway of Laura’s house, and that a ‘For Sale’ sign stood up in the front drive. The police car was there again, and that time, I saw a man sitting in the back of it, handcuffed. Someone broke in or something I guess. I didn’t know.
Everyone whispered and gave sad sighs as I walked down to my locker. I heard my friend, Jackie Silver whisper something like ‘I wonder what happened,’ but I ignored her. My homework was gone. Perfect.
Then, finally, on March 9th, we had a shocking interuption. It was in the middle of English. “I wonder what this is about,” Tracy Smith snickered under her breath. “I bet it’s about Laura Jamie Pearson.” Jackie said. “She hasn’t been here for days.”
And by golly, Jackie was right. But believev you me, it’s not very often when Mrs. Sanders, the English teacher, breaks down in tears.
“Class,” she said between sobs, “I hope you all know about our friend Laura Jamie Pearson.”
Now I was interested.
“Well, her father had a car crash over the weekend. He went mentaly insane. He speed all the speed limits, and ran three stop signs. He almost crashed into the garage. But he didn’t.”
“He went inside the house and started chasing his wife. She ended up hurting her hearing and now is deaf in one ear. But as for Laura… well, she didn’t make it.”
Everyone looked nervously at Laura’s empty desk.
“Laura’s father chased her down to the lake deep in the woods. Laura can’t swim ver well, class, might I tell you, and she tripped and sunk ten feet into the mud and weds. About an hour later, the nieghbors finally heard Laura’s father and called the police. They came over. It took a day, but they caught him. He was brought to a mental hospital, but yet, he’s dead.”
“It was today when they found Laura. She was all tangled up in the weeds. Her funeral is this weekend, because as you all know now, she… Laura’s dead.”
It seemed as if the entire schoolo was nothing. I couldn’t hear what the teacher said the rest of that class, I had to be shaken twice by Jackie at lunch to eat my sandwich, and I had to be called on 4 times when it was my stop that day.
Because hey, when a kid you don’t know that well dies, what can you even do?
End of Part One.
I sat at my desk and flipped through ’The Girl’s Book: How to be the best at everything’. But there were no articales on how to deal with death.
I groaned and turned on my laptop. Serching through favorites, I found my favorite site, IML, or It’s My Life. Luckily, there was an artical on how to deal with death there, and I read the entire thing.
It still didn’t help. I fell asleep.
The next day, I could barely get up. Dreams swarmed my head as I brushed down my super-frizzy hair, and pulled a green-and-yellow tank top over my head, and pulled on some green jeans.
Just as I was brushing my teeth, I heard a noise. A bus. Great. For the second time this week, I missed the bus.
Craming my homework into my bag, I headed out the door.
When I got to school, I saw a huge stand out front, with Tracy and Jackie behind it.
“For sale… Gimp.” I read aloud, and I walked over to it.
“Hey, Beth! You want to buy some? They’re only 50 cents!” Jackie told me when I was in earshot. “Umm… where’d you guys get this stuff?” I asked. “In Laura’s locker. She has a ton!” Said Tracy, grinning.
I frowned. “That’s stealing.” I told her, shaking my head. Tracy shrugged. “Well, she’s not around to worry anymore. So really, it’s not.” Tracy informed me. I balled my hands into fists. Tracy was a jerk. “So?!” I yelled, and stormed inside.
During English class, The teacher announced we’d all be going to Laura’s funeral. A few kids groaned. I closed my eyes tight. I knew I was gonna cry durring the time we were there. I knew it.
At recess, I slowly walked over to where Laura might have sat if she was still alive. There was a hard Spanish quiz coming up. I would’ve asked her for some help. I would’ve…
I shook my head. I couldn’t think like this. It was supposed to be a happy day today. It was sunny. My skin was warm. I didn’t need my ski jacket. I had gone to school without running into Brian, Mark, and Ryan. I got an A+ on a math test. What was wrong with me?…
My thoughts were interupted by a basktball heading toward my face. POW! It slammed into me and pushed me backward. I ended up, ten minutes later, at the nurse’s office.
The next day, I just decided to walk. It was Thursday. I could live.
I looked at the ‘For Sale’ sign again when I was close to Laura’s old home. “SOLD” Read the new sign nailed onto it. Okay, then. Someone was moving in.
I turned back the street and headed on for school again. This week was getting worse and worse, and I still had the funeral to go.
End of Part Two.
The new girl strowed across the classroom the next morning. She had long, blond hair shoulder length, and had lip gloss and blush on, but nothing was touched on her eyes. She had on a black button-down shirt, and violet sweatpants. written accros her shirt was ‘Yeah, so what?’. I thought it was hillarious.
Tracy, though, didn’t have the same thoughts as me, and was giggling hard with her friend Stephine Myers. “Check out the shirt. That’s soooooo elementary school.” she said as the new girl walked by. I gritted my teeth. Last time I listened to Tracy, the girl I wanted to be friends with died. So I wasn’t about to take her word for things again.
“Hi,”I said to her, smiling. She grinned back. “I’m Beth.” I told her, extending my hand. She shook it with enthusiasm, saying. “Great. I’m Danielle. I just moved to that old shack on Ringals Road… man, it’s a mess!” she laughed. “I imediantly chose the cleanest room before my brother did.”
I smiled, until I remembered what room must’ve been the cleanest.
I tried to change the subject. “Do you like reading?” I asked Danielle, but she kept on talking.
“I even saw this old poster above the bed. It had a picture of a girl on it, and it said ‘Laura, Me!’ on it.” She stopped talking to take a breath, but then, the bell rung, and we went back to our seats.
“Okay, class. Tommorrow is the funeral for Laura, so please dress abropriatly. When you get to school a bus will be there. And we also hope that at least one of you will have something to say in the funeral… she was a wonderus student.” said Mrs. Sanders.
The next day, I put on my favorite, yet formal, dress. It was red and went down to my knees. I then slipped on some brown leather shoes, and began to walk down to school.
Of course, Tracy, Stephinie, and Jackie weren’t dressed right. They were all wearing a blouse, skirt, belt, and WAY too much makeup. As for shoes, they wore high-heels. Tracy had on a blue blouse and green skirt, Stephinie wore a purple blouse and black skirt, and Jackie was wearing a yellow blouse with a pink skirt. All of their shoes were black, and their belts were red.
I walked toward Danielle. At least she was dressed right. Her dress was a beutiful faded green one, and in touched around her knees, too. She had a belt; it was in rainbow colors. Tye-dyed! And for her shoes, they were white slip-ons, with a small bow.
“Hey, Danielle.” I said. When she heard me, her face brightened. “Hey, Beth!” she said, just as the last student came over.
Time for funeral!
End of Part Three.
The bus parked infront of the church. I tugged at my bangs. This was it. One last chance for everyone to say goodbye.
The first person I saw was Mrs. Pearson. She looked like she had been crying. Well, who can blame her? Her daughter drowned and her husband went mentally insane and died. I sat down next to Danielle, but then, Jackie sat down next to me on the other side.
The first hour went by pretty quickly. But, by the second hour, it was time for people to start telling things about her. Her Mom stood up and said, “Laura always did well in school, and was polite to everyone. she even stared in last year’s big hit movie… we were so proud of her.”
“Wow.” said Tracy.
Jackie blinked her eyes in surprise.
“Does anyone else have something to say?” said her Mom, clutching her skirt.
Before I knew what I was doing, I stood up. “Me.”
I walked down the lane, and stood up. Then I began.
“I never really got to know Laura. But now I see how dumb that was. People who are shy are normally the most awesome and kind. I wish I could go back and tell myself this now. When Laura showed up at school in January, we never paided much attention to her. But that was so stupid. I would give anything to tell her how sorry I am now.”
I shining light flikered out on one of the windows, and I swear I could see Laura smiling at me.
I then knew I was forgiven.
In honor of Evan. I hope you forgive me, even up in the great unknown.