Sophia, Age 15, Coquitlam, BC
Raindrops drummed against my roof as I watched hopelessly out the window. Cottons of grey clouds hovered over the city like wrapping paper. All was silent, except for the drumming of the rain. My fingers tapped against the window pane, as my dull hazel eyes dragged along the wet, empty road.
I couldn’t help but keep reminding myself of my beloved German shepherd – my majestic dog who always lifted my spirit whenever I was down. No other dog could replace Jack. He was my best friend. At times when I was lonely, he was always there, and even though he couldn’t speak, his eyes communicated with me. I loved him.
Then came one day, at school, I sat down to eat my lunch at the cafeteria. The room was packed with cliques sitting at separate tables. I did not belong in a clique. I was simply a loner. I was always the only one sitting at my table, with no one near me. I was used to it, but that day, memories of Jack kept flooding back. My nose stung and my cheeks burned, as I was lonelier than ever. Then I heard someone slip a chair next to me and sit down. I flinched, my heart hammering against my chest rapidly. My hands started to sweat, and I gobbled up my sandwich in a flash.
“Hey,” said the person next to me.
I froze, as if I had just heard an angel speak to me. No one had greeted me so kindly before. Not at school at least.
“Hey,” the person greeted again.
I slowly turned my head towards the student and smiled lightly. The student was a boy, around my age. His curly brown hair hung down to his eyes, his eyes like two diamonds glimmering under the light, and his smile was attractive and amiable. I chuckled nervously in reply.
“Can I eat with you?” he asked.
Cautiously, I nodded as I gradually chewed slower and took smaller sips of my juice.
“I’m Derek,” he said. “What’s your name?”
“Janice,” I replied. Hence the start of a change began.
We talked like the rest of the students in the cafeteria. Laughing at the most ridiculous jokes, we forgot that time was flying. The bell rang as soon as the clock struck one, and everyone automatically rose from their seats, throwing out their garbage, and carrying their books to their next class. Derek rose from his seat, and I followed.
“Well, it was nice talking to you, Janice.” he smiled.
“Yeah, me too!” I exclaimed, grabbing my books.
“I’ll see you around,” he waved, and was gone.
I sighed. I affirmed that he was not going to eat with me tomorrow. Derek would be like Jack; he’d be with me one moment, and then vanish in the next. My heart sank as I thought about losing another friend. Soon, almost all the students were gone, and I dragged myself to my next class.
I went home that day, missing Jack even more. I held his picture as marble-like teardrops fell on the frame. But what I missed the most was having a best friend to stay by my side and listen to my feelings. I yearned to tell someone about Derek. But there was no one to tell now that Jack was gone.
The next day, when the lunch bell rang, I ambled through the cafeteria to my table, and sat down to eat. I watched students enter the cafeteria with their friends, as I kept waiting for Derek to come sit beside me. Time ticked by sluggishly, and then he appeared around the corner, his face a light bulb with his wide grin. I smiled, just watching his joyful figure coming towards my table.
But another boy was tagging along behind him. My stomach churned as I watched Derek blend in with the other boy’s friends. I could feel him slowly slipping away from my heart, and I sank in my seat. I tried to keep my eyes away from him and concentrate on my sandwich, but his presence was so cold, despite his distance from me. However, I encouraged myself that he was going to come to my table soon. And so I kept eating.
Soon enough, my lunch box was empty, but still no Derek. I sighed, as I closed my box and packed it into my bag. Then suddenly, just as I stood up, a hand gently touched my shoulder. I flinched and looked up to find Derek, standing in front of me, a confused look drawn on his bright face.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied.
I felt his eyes glued onto mine, but my eyes were locked on the ground. His grip tightened.
“What’s wrong, Janice?” he asked.
“Nothing,” I said coldly.
“Why don’t you sit?” he gently pulled me back down on my chair beside his. “Do you want to talk?”
So after a pause, I told him all my feelings; about Jack’s death, my status at school, how Derek came to my life, and what I had just seen a few minutes ago. Then a pang of epiphany struck. Derek was listening. He wasn’t saying anything while I talked – he just listened.
“Janice,” he began when I finished, “know that I’m always here for you, and I’m just trying to make new friends and blend into the school. I’ll always eat with you because we’re friends, and friends never leave each other, okay?”
Then it completely hit me. Derek cared, just like Jack did. Derek and Jack were similar in so many ways, and I loved him for that. He ate at my table that day, and we talked about school for the rest of lunchtime. We laughed at teachers and made hilarious inside jokes. I had not felt so much joy in a long time. It was great to have a best friend again.
This page was last updated on January 29, 2011 by the KIWW Webmaster.