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Some Things You Can't Forget
Jennifer, Age 13, Vancouver, BC

“You danced with the mayor’s grandson?” I asked, thoroughly impressed.

“Well, yes…” Jules admitted reluctantly. “But will you stop patronizing me? It was only a dance for god’s sake. Besides, it was my mom who set me up.”

“With prince charming-”

“At a ball.” Luke finished my sentence.

“Do you have pictures?” I asked, amused.

“No. My mom took one but it didn’t turn out.”

“Pity. You’re like royalty now, Jules. You and the mayor’s grandson.” Luke sighed mockingly. “It’s like Romeo and Juliet all over again except thankfully lacking the sentiment.”

My eyes rolled at Luke’s comment although I was thoroughly enjoying it. “Do you even know his name?” I asked.

“Of course she doesn’t! It was just a dance. And she obviously doesn’t like the mayor's grandson, so shut up about it, will you?”

Mark’s first big contribution hadn’t exactly come as a surprise to Luke and I, as it had become increasingly apparent over the past couple of years how Mark really felt about Jules. The only problem was that neither he nor Jules seemed to realize it.

Mark looked up distractedly, almost as if he didn’t know why he had just spoken. “Sorry.” He said weekly, “I’m just kind of stressed right now…” He muttered, and went back to his work.

“So how was the dance last night?” I asked, changing the subject for Mark’s benefit.

“Well as usual I danced with too many girls to count,” he said, without modesty.

I looked over at Jules for conformation, who nodded. A split second of jealousy came, and then was gone.

“But my absolute favourites were probably Sarah Evans and Jessica Low.” He added, obviously pleased with himself.

It didn’t exactly surprise me that he had danced with two of the most popular girls in our grade. Luke was easily one of the most popular guys in our school. Sometimes it even confused me to think that he still was still friends with us when he had the highest point of the social pyramid cheering him on. Being my best friend for the last 2 years must have counted for something, though.

“Where were you, Fiona? I didn’t see you last night.” Jules said.

The fun I had been having slipped away, all because of one simple, innocent question. Our conversation had been the first in weeks that hadn’t been tense and shifty eyed between my friends, worried that they would let something slip.

“I didn’t go.” I said, looking down determinedly at the book in front of me. “My mom just was a little sick so I decided to stay home. You know, to make sure she had everything she needed.”

I could see Mark was sorry he had asked. My mother was sick with a brain tumor, and had only a quarter of her eyesight left in each eye. She was expected to die. The doctor hadn’t said anything to me, of course, but the previous week he had asked to look at her will. As he did so, a look of disapproval crossed his face, as I was entrusted to no one if she died. He asked if my mother and father were divorced and I answered by telling him my father had left my mother before she even knew she was pregnant. He told me there was a possibility he could track him down. I told him I never wanted to see my father, look at him, or talk to him. That’s just the way I felt.

I came back to the present unhappily. Our library table was now as quiet as Mrs. Spinster lady would like it to be normally (I never did find out her real name). The people of other tables had turned around to see why we were so quiet.

“I think I’m going to start walking home.” Jules said, promptly getting up to leave.

“I’ll join you.” Mark said eagerly, fallowing her with as much admiration as a lost puppy who’s just found a home.

Luke just sat there, looking at me without a hint of shame. “ How is she really?” He asked quietly.

“Not good,” I said, after staring at my shoes for a minute. “She can’t get out of bed. We don’t even have the money to get a home nurse for her.”

“I’m sorry, Fee.”

“No use in feeling sorry. I’ve done it enough and it hasn’t done me any good.” I realized. “God, can you imagine me as an orphan?”

“No.” He said.

We started walking out of the door of the library, towards our street. The mob of school kids made it easy to walk with ease, as even if you wanted to go faster you knew you would never get through them.

“I tried to. Last night. I tried to imagine living in somebody else’s house, and then calling them mom or dad. It didn’t work.” I hung my head in sadness.

“Fee, what about your dad.” Luke was being careful and very slow with his words. But he knew he had crossed a line.

“No.”

“His name was Archie MacDougall, right?” Luke pressed on.

“Yeah. Yeah, that was his name.” I said with as much spite as I could muster up, hoping he would stop talking.

“Okay, well here you go.” He shoved some computer printed pages at me.

“Archie MacDougall at datefinder.com, Archie MacDougall won the prestigious award of honor, Archie MacDougall senator for the government of Scotland, 2006.” I stopped reading aloud and looked at Jake. “Are you crazy? Half of these people probably aren’t even him. Well, the pictures kind of look like the ones mom has. Kind of.” I admitted with a grudge.

“But Fiona, look at this stuff. I mean, he seems like a great guy.” He said.

“He was on datefinder.com! And when my mom is dying, too!”

“Give him a little credit, Fee. He doesn’t know he has a daughter. Some relationships just don’t work out. Take my mom for example. She was in love with my dad for six years, fell out of love, hated him for three, and then kicked him out. He hates her for doing that to him, but even though she did that he still comes and sees me. But I can guarantee you that if they hadn’t had a kid he would never have seen my mom again.”

“He knows he has a kid.” I said quietly. “My mom sent him a letter.”

We had reached my house by now. I stood by the gate looking at the pictures of him shaking hands with what I can only assume to be some important person in Scotland, and then him smiling and peace-signing it on datefinder.com.

“He didn’t want me.” I said, closing the matter. But apparently, Luke wasn’t finished yet.

“My mom has an account on datefinder.com, if you want to contact him through there. Don’t say no. Just think.” He said, starting to walk backwards towards his own house, less than a block down.

“Fine! I’ll think!” I said, shoving the papers into my bag so my mom would not see them. And then I remembered sadly how she couldn’t see anything. Like a slap in the face, only nine times worse, I knew I had to do something before I was left alone, just like she had been.

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