The Festival Of Love
By Faisal Fransu
The people of the land of Smarta were excitedly preparing to celebrate the Festival Of Love, which took place on February the fifteenth of each year. But first, let me give you some information about the country of Smarta. This country was located in a hidden part of the world. It was a very rich country. It had a very kind government, which tried to please the Smartans in whatever ways it could. But the government was mainly concerned with teenagers who are depressed. That's how the Festival Of Love was created.
About twenty boys and twenty-one girls from each city who are single go to the capital city, where they find their sweetheart. There is a curious device called 'Love Choice,' which selects a random girl for each boy. This device only works on the day of the celebration. Only forty-one teenagers from each city are allowed to participate each year. If the number of the registered is more than forty-one, the first forty-one are selected based on the first letter of their name. The rest of the names will have to wait for the next Festival. The reason why there are more girls than boys is because the people will know who will be selected for the twentieth guy. There were only five cities in Smarta, because it was a very small country. Therefore, the total number of participants was two hundred and five young people.
In order to be able to participate in the Festival, a person had to send a package containing information about him or her to the government. The package included several papers that tell the life story of that person. There is also a paper on which the person must swear that he or she will never betray his new sweetheart.
No one was more excited for the Festival than Jack Gabriel, who was the most depressed boy in the whole country, because there was no girl to love him. He was a fifteen-year-old visually impaired student at Northton high school in the city of Northton. He was glad that the first letter of his name was among the twenty boys, or otherwise he would have to wait another year.
"So the whole country will be seeing you on the television," commented his geography teacher a week before the Festival. "How do you feel about that?"
"It doesn't matter who sees me," he told her. "All I want is my sweetheart, whoever she may be."
"What if she's not pretty?" she asked curiously.
"It doesn't matter," replied Jack. "All I want is a girl to love me. Of course I won't know whether she's pretty or not." He said this because he was blind.
"How do you know that you will win?" said a boy named Danny.
"All the participants are winners," remarked Jack. "There's a girl for every boy."
"I see," Danny laughed coldly.
There were three girls from Jack's school who were also participants in the Festival Of Love. Jack was hoping that the girl that the device would select for him would be one of them. He had fallen in love with all three of them at various times, but they all refused him.
So five days before the Festival, Jack and the three girls were on their way to the capital city of Smarta. They were accompanied by the principal of his school, many teachers, students and the parents of the participants.
Let me tell you a secret. The three girls from Jack's school were worried that they would be selected for him, for they did not like him.
"Welcome to Smarta City!" said President Gladson when he saw Jack and his companions. The president and all of his family were born in Northton, where Jack lived. But as you might have guest, he had to come live in the capital because he was the president.
They were taken on a tour of the city with the president and the prime minister. First, they visited the Festival Hall, where the participants in the Festival would be gathered. There were special seats for the two hundred and five teenagers.
On February the fifteenth, thousands of people from all over the country were gathered at the Festival Hall to celebrate the end of loneliness for two hundred and five teenagers. The celebration was conducted by the president.
The celebration began with the anthem of Smarta, which was performed beautifully by Mary Gladson, who was the daughter of the president. She was also one of the participants, because she did not have a boyfriend. Jack was hoping that the device would select her for him. He could tell that she was very pretty by her voice.
"Welcome to the twenty-third celebration of the Festival of Love, everyone!" began the president. "Let's all give a big round of applause for the two hundred and five participants! Today is the last day of loneliness for you, ladies and gentlemen."
Then he called for Aaron Abram, the first participant, to come up and stand in front of the special device. There was a little screen on the device that showed the name of the selected girl. Aaron was looking at it eagerly. Then the name appeared. "Leah Laban."
"Congratulations to Aaron Abram and Leah Laban!" exclaimed President Gladson as he shook hands with both of them. "Aaron and Leah will stay together until they choose their spouse in the future."
Jack Gabriel was the last boy to stand before the little device. But since there were twenty-one girls from his city, two of them were left now. One of them was Mary Gladson, who was the president's daughter, and Emily Badson, who was from his school.
His heart beat very fast. He had been looking for a girl to love him for four years, and now it was the most important moment in his life. He couldn't wait to hug the girl who would end his loneliness.
Suddenly, a masked man had entered the huge hall. He was walking toward the device.
"boom!" The device was broken into pieces. The stranger had shot it with his gun!
Everybody started running as fast as they could to get away from the criminal, who was later identified as Danny, who was Jack's enemy.
It was later announced on the television that the Festival was over. The remaining participants would have to wait for the next Festival. This news broke Jack's heart so badly that he refused to eat anything that night.
"You just have to wait another twelve months," remarked the principal of his school. "That's all…"
"Twelve depressing months!" sobbed Jack.
The president decided to invite the three remaining participants to stay in his palace for several days. He said, "Those who have found their sweetheart are very happy now. So I don't have to invite them."
The next day, they were eating breakfast in the palace when Mary Gladson came and sat beside Jack. She was also very sad, because she had to wait for the next Festival to find her future boyfriend.
When no one was looking at them, she turned to Jack and said, "You don't have to wait for the next Festival to find your future girlfriend."
"What do you mean?" he asked wonderingly.
"Well you can choose me to be your sweetheart," she replied.
Then her sad emotions took control of her and she started crying. "I love you, Jack. Will you love me, please?"
Jack was both happy and touched by her entreating tone. Therefore he replied, "I love you Mary. But you live in the capital and I live in another city."
"I'm actually from your city," she told him. "I was even listed under the group from Northton. I have
decided to move back to Northton."
"Who will you live with?" Jack asked curiously.
"I will live in my parents' old house," replied Mary. "Because they lived there before my dad became the president."
When breakfast was over, Mary went to her mother and said, "I don't have to wait for the next Festival to find a boyfriend."
"Why?" asked her mother.
"Because I'm in love with Jack, the participant from Northton," said Mary.
Several days later, the group from Northton left the capital for their city. Mary went with them to live in her parents' old house. So she became Jack's sweetheart. He was no longer lonely. She even attended his school, which filled Jack's heart with joy.