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Chocolate Snow MAG
Screwed up is what people said. Messed up. Her brain is in the wrong place.
But not to me. To me she was the sweetest of girls. She didn’t care about your race or religion. She didn’t care if you were smart. She didn’t care if you were fat or thin, tall or short, young or old. She cared about you for you. And that was the beautiful thing about her.
But not to others. To others, she was someone to pick on. They shot spitballs into her hair and called her a retard. They stole her shoes and ripped apart her books and called her a freak.
That bothered me. I wanted people to see her as the person she was. She laughed and hurt and cried and loved just like anyone would. But they didn’t seem to realize that. Anything different was given a label and shoved away.
That didn’t bother her. She didn’t really notice if you were a horrible person. She talked to everyone in her polite, friendly voice. “Look at the lemonade!” she exclaimed, pointing to a little yellow puddle in the snow. The neighborhood boys laughed hysterically as I dragged her away.
Even I started to get annoyed. I needed to protect her all the time. And she wasn’t the only one ridiculed; I got tormented too. My other friends shook their heads at me. “Why are you friends with her?” they would ask. “When we go out, we don’t want you bringing that aberration.”
Aberration. Well at least it sounds more dignified than “retard.”
For a while, I ignored her. I couldn’t help it; I wanted a normal life too. With my old friends I went to Starbucks and the mall and watched movies and had sleepovers. Like a normal teenage girl. I tried to forget the girl who needed my friendship, my protection. Whenever she tried to approach me, I pushed her away.
I received lots of calls from her parents, asking if I would come over and “play.” They told me she was lonely. I told them I had homework. A flute lesson. That I was in New York. Once I saw her family at the library just minutes after I told them I had a soccer game. “Was the game canceled?” her mother asked. Her father was less kind; he only shook his head, as if he knew this would happen all along.
That angered me. It wasn’t my job to watch over their daughter. I had a right to my own life.
And that was how it was for a while. They stopped calling, so I no longer had to make up excuses, but I felt worse that I didn’t have to. Soon I started to forget that she had been my friend.
Months passed, and then her mom called, sounding hysterical. I couldn’t understand what had happened until her father’s gruff voice came on the phone. She had wandered off, was lost. “Even if you don’t care,” he grumbled, “she still does, so come.”
Her parents and I (although I tried to hide it) went completely insane trying to find her. Then we got a call from the police. They had found her lying on someone’s icy driveway without any clothes on, ready to freeze to death. “The girls at the park said they’d bring me prettier clothes,” she had explained.
The officer told us to take her to a mental hospital.
She didn’t understand why I was crying. When she grabbed my sleeve and pleaded for me to stop, I stared at her blankly.
“Aren’t you angry at me?” I asked.
“Why? You’re my best friend!” she exclaimed. That only made me cry harder.
“Are you sad?” she asked after a pause. I didn’t reply but gave her my scarf and hat. She was wearing her father’s coat and her mother’s boots.
Back at her house, she was warmed up and wanted to play outside again. “The girls at the park said I could make normal chocolate if I made a cup out of ice and put hot chocolate in it. Want to try?”
I opened my mouth, prepared to tell her that the neighbors would think she was insane before I closed it.
Why should I care what others thought? She didn’t. She was my best friend, and that was all that mattered.
So I sat on her lawn and helped her pour hot chocolate into the snow.