The Last Bloom

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is based on a true story. It was part of a bigger portfolio titled, The Solo Fight. Please leave any comments or suggestions.

Submitted: May 22, 2017

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Submitted: May 22, 2017

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Friendship is like a flower; it takes some time to grow but, once it blooms it is a breathtaking thing. When I was little, I always was thrilled to see the first flower on the dogwood tree bloom. My grandfather always laughed at me and told me to wait until the all the flowers fell off and there would be one flower bud that hadn’t bloomed yet.

“The flower that blooms last is always the most impressive, and it always lasts the longest” he would say.

I was never patient enough to wait for this last flower, but it didn’t upset me, I thought that the tree couldn't get more beautiful than when all the flowers were all bloomed, and it was a tree cloaked in a pink shawl. I had no idea how beautiful this flower story was until I had my own flower experience. . .

We all have that one friend who we could never imagine life without: our other half, our partner in crime, our best friend for life. They are the person who just can just come over to your house at any time of the day and let themselves in because they know where the key is. The person who you can’t lie to because they already know the truth. Your best friend.

Imagine if one day all that came crashing down, and looking back, you see things differently; almost as if history has changed. You two weren’t best friends; in fact, you were barely friends. All the memories you had were no longer unique. All because of the one person who came into her life, and suddenly you were no longer ever in the picture.That’s what happened to me.

Mary and I were the best of friends for as long as we could remember. She was a year older than me, but we still did everything together. When she joined the praise band at church, so did I. When she joined the orchestra, so did I. When she quit orchestra, so did I. When she continued in music, with chorus; I continued my music with the band. We went to church together, we got our driver's licenses together, we went to Maine to see her family together, we even traveled across the country in a camper together. We did everything together.

This friendship endured for a long time, right up until her junior year of high school, when she started to do things that it wasn’t the time for me to do yet, like go to prom, or tour colleges. That’s when things began to get real.

Before I knew it, she was always with a friend of ours, Martha, who was her age, and they started to do everything together. They went touring together, they went to prom together, they went hiking together, and they got a job together. They did everything together.

The three of us spent time together as well, Martha had been our friend for a long time, but it was different now. I was occupied with the neverending humming of the marching band buses, and Mary had dropped out of chorus and Martha had quit music earlier in high school. They had all the time in the world to hang out, and laugh, and make new memories.

They were counting down the days until they graduated, and I was counting down the days until my best friend disappeared, but she was already gone. Those memories we had were already buried way too deep to find them. It was no longer “Jane and Mary,” it now was “Mary and Martha.”

I was still in high school at the time and was planning my future out. I aspired to be successful, and I had it all mapped out ever since I could talk.My plan was to graduate high school, go to college, get my undergraduate and graduate degrees, then my dream job, and finally settle down; just live a happy life. I knew that if something happened and I couldn’t accomplish one of these aims, I could at least be the best Jane I could be; that was my ultimate goal. I had expected that my best friend would be there with me throughout my whole life, but plans change.

Mary and I were alike in countless ways, yet there was one tremendous difference between us; she was never striving to be the best Mary. She was just trying to get through life on the easy street.Nevertheless, Mary wanted a flourishing future, but she always need a crutch, and I was it. Until she upgraded.

Her upgrade was better than me in every way. It wasn’t enough that she was just like Mary; they were both the middle child, they both were Seniors, and they both wanted to go into the field of education. She also could write better than me, she had more time to hang out with her friends than I did, Martha even had a better job than I did. She was just better than me.

One thing about Martha that made her a better crutch than me: she loved to do the work, she wanted to do the job. She would take Mary’s ‘essay’ and practically rewrite it, making it one of the best papers Mary had ever ‘written.’

Martha gradually began to do everything for Mary. It got to the point where Martha was applying to jobs for Mary, driving for Mary, even applying to college for Mary. I just couldn’t compete.

Being replaced wasn’t an instantaneous thing, in reality, I should have seen it coming. I would ask Mary,

“Do you want to hang out today?”

“No, not today, I’m busy,” she would say.

This started becoming an everyday conversation between us, but she would never really give me an explanation. The thing that concluded our friendship was when their younger brothers ran away together.

I had just finished competing at The Grand National Marching Band Competition and was beginning the nineteen-hour drive back home to celebrate being eighth place. When I arrived home, it was a unique atmosphere than I hadn’t anticipated. My mom and my Grandmother were waiting for me at the kitchen table, and it looked like they had been crying.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Have you talked to Nick or Will recently?”  my mom said in a solemn tone.

Nick and Will were Mary and Martha’s younger brothers; they would pick on me at church because they thought it was amusing to do so. Clueless of the mood of the room I said:

“Now why would I do that, you know we are in the middle of a 'no talking time,'”

This was when I got the first glare from my mom, the ‘that was not funny’ glare. “Okay. Okay. Okay,  I get it, no more hype; the last time I talked to one of them was at church, last week.”

“Have you seen them post in social media or seen someone else post about them?”

This was when I noticed my Grandmother was not involved in the conversation at all, but she was just staring at us as if she were watching a tennis match, back and forth, back and forth, endlessly.

“Jane? Are you going to answer me?”

“MOM, WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH YOU?!?!?,” I had made a grave mistake by raising my voice, but it was far too late, I was going off, “I JUST GOT BACK HOME FROM MY LAST GRAND NATIONALS COMPETITION AND THE ONLY THING YOU SEEM INTERESTED IN IS WHO I’VE TALKED TO. NO, I HAVEN’T TALKED TO THE TWO GUYS WHO THINK IT’S FUNNY TO PICK ON ME. WHY WOULD I TALK TO THEM?!?!?!” Then we all sat there in unbroken silence for what seemed like an eternity.

Eventually, my mom stood up and started to walk out. She turned around and said, “They have run off. They have been missing since before you even left the field in Indiana.” Then she left. I hung my head in shame, and mumbled under my breath, “Of course they did.”

I felt awful; I knew that they had run off before but had always come home within hours, it was already approaching the first twenty-four hours, I knew they were serious this time.

As the week passed on, I started to envision never seeing them again. When the melancholy memories upset me too much, I began to plan what I would say to Nick and Will when they came back. Every day I would plan out what I would do when I saw the boys the next day, but they never came.

Thursday came, and it was supposed to be a marvelous day for me, it was my birthday and not just any birthday, my golden year. It was intended to be an incredibly fun day; instead, I spent most of the day crying.

Friday the senior high youth group girls were meant to stay over at my house for my birthday. Knowing that no one would be in the mood for a party, we organized a day out for Mary and Martha. We started a group chat with all of us that we intended invite;

“Hey, guys! Do Y'all wanna hang out tonight? I was thinking maybe pedicures, dinner, and a movie?” I said.

Almost immediately, the other girls started responding;

“OMG! THAT SOUNDS SO FUN!!! COUNT ME IN!!!” Gracie said.

Then Emma, “I'm totally down!” followed by an untold amount unnecessary emojis.

And finally Katy, “Count me in, what time?”

“IDK, whatever works for Y'all, Mary, Martha, Y'all in?”

“Idk… I don’t think I'm in the mood to have a girls night out, maybe

later,” Mary responded.

“same here,” Martha said.

“Look, guys, I know that it isn’t easy right now, but maybe getting out of the house would be a good thing for y’all. You know?" Katy was on a roll, "Get out, get our nails done, and celebrate Jane’s golden birthday. What if we just got our nails done; it will be two hours tops.”

“And the best part is my mom is paying!! Come on it will be fun.” I added.

After several minutes, Martha said,

“Good point guys, we need to get out of the house… I totally forgot that yesterday was Jane’s birthday, let’s have some fun. Mary, I’m picking you up in half an hour, get ready.”

“Okay,” Mary said.

When we got there, it was like we all were back to normal. We all talked and laughed and had a grand ‘ole time. Then I received a call from Mary’s mom; I stepped outside while our toes dried.

“Hey Mrs. Lites, is something wrong?”

“Ummmm… no… everything is fine,” I could tell she had been crying, and with good reason; the boys had officially been missing five days now, “Is Mary still with you?”

“Yes, ma’am. Do you need her?”

“Um, no, her father and I just got a call; the police have found the car that the boys stole, in Georgia.”

“Oh my,” I started to tear up, this means that they have to be found soon. Right?

“Yes, I just need to make sure Mary is okay, does she know yet?’

“No ma’am, I don’t think so,”

“Okay, good, let us keep it that way, she doesn’t need to know, there is no reason to get her all worked up over this, not yet.”

“Okay, I won’t tell her, is there anything else I can do for you.”

“No, I don’t think so, thank you for getting her out of the house. She needed that.”

I hung up the phone and walked back in.

“Who was that,” Mary asked, I can’t lie to her, she would totally know.

“Oh just your mom, she was calling just to make sure we are all good, and if we needed anything.”

Leery of my excuse, Mary paused... ‘she knows, she totally sees right thru me,’ I knew I couldn't lie to her, before she had too much time to think about it I said;

“Hey! Here’s an idea! Let's go back to my house and make some cheese logs!”

I knew Mary would be down to do this. A cheese log is a dip dish that my great grandmother always had in the freezer during Christmas time, or at least this is what my mom told me she used to do. One year Mary was at my house for a Christmas party, and she fell in love with it. She always wants me to make them for her, but it is supposed to be a Christmas dish, so I don’t make it very often, I knew this would be an excellent time to do it, and besides, it was almost that time of the year.

After we had gone to the store to get the ingredients, we all went to my house. For what seemed like the thousandth time, I attempted to teach Mary how to make the cheese dip. We laughed and had fun working on this dish together, but this was just one last flicker of our friendship.

When everyone had finally left, I felt relieved that she didn’t see through me, and she didn’t find out what was going on in Georgia, but at the same time, I felt guilty. I had lied to my best friend and gotten away with it.

This was the first time I realized that we weren’t best friends anymore, she couldn’t see through my lies. Our friendship had grown apart, and we were too far away from each other to try to regrasp that friendship again.

The boys running away was hard for everyone, but it was the most difficult on Mary and Martha. They spent every minute together, and they created a bond that would be nearly impossible to break. They had become best friends. Their flower was in full bloom.

I had officially lost my best friend. Our flower had died. We still were friends, but not really. Mary began to slowly push out all of her other friends, everyone but Martha.

Those of us who were pushed away started to grow a stronger friendship together, a companionship that Mary and I never had. Mary had actually all given us a gift; she had given us a common cause.

As summer rapidly approached; we all knew what was coming. Martha had plans to travel, and she was serious about them. The plans started the summer after she graduated. We all knew that come summer time, Martha was leaving, and Mary would be left with all of her burnt bridges. We juniors had a plan too, Mary was not going just to treat all of us like disposable friends and then come back like nothing had happened. We had all tried to keep those bridges somewhat intact, but it was nearly impossible.

When that day came, we all went to the airport with Martha. We said our goodbyes, and then we watched the plane take off. After what seemed like half an hour of silence we started to move on with the day and make plans to spend time together.

“Hey! Do Y'all wanna go to the Beach?”

“Yea, that sounds fun! We should go to the one by church.”

“Can you drive us Jane?”

Distracted I answered, “yes” not even sure what they were talking about.

As they continued to chat about our plans for the rest of the day, I started to zone out.

I had noticed Mary across the room; she was just staring out the window; watching the runway. She turned around and our eyes met. Her eyes were watering up; she was about to cry. I gestured my head towards the group as to invite her to come make plans with us, but she shook her head and headed for her car.


 

About a week later, we all got a text from Mary,

“Hey Guys, do y'all wanna hang out today? Maybe ice skating or bowling or something.”

Little did she know we were all at the beach, having fun.

“Guys Mary texted all of us like an hour ago! She wants to hang out.” Katy gasped.

“Crap!” Gracie yelped, “We are awful people, let's go get cleaned up and like go to a movie or something.”

We rushed to the car and went home and showered, and met up with Mary at the theater. We had fun, but it wasn’t the same fun we had two years ago, back in the good old days. Those days were long gone, Mary had made a new best friend with Martha, I had made a new group of best friends with these other girls. We weren’t the same anymore; things were severely different now; we felt as though we did not even know each other.

Two years ago she wouldn’t need to ask; we would have been taking turns sleeping in each other's' house, we were never apart. Now we were always apart. I only actually saw her at church, and that’s no place to have a conversation with someone. We weren’t even friends anymore. Not only was our flower dead but it had fallen off the tree altogether.

 

Fast forward ten years, I was strolling down the beach during a visit back home, as I passed a woman walking the opposite way, I caught a glance of her and recognized her, but couldn’t put a name to her face. She saw me too and seemed to have the same experience.

“Hey, do I know you?” She asked,

“I don’t know you look familiar though, what’s your name?”

“My name is Mary Li-”

“Lites?!?”

“Oh my god, Jane!”

“I haven’t talked to you in like a decade.”

“I know, crazy right?” She whisked her fingers through her hair and I saw it. A sparkling rock on her finger. I looked down at my hand and saw mine. ‘Damn, we had plans for this’ I thought to myself, ‘we had planned this huge double wedding, we were gonna wear dresses that complimented each other perfectly and all these other minute things that 12-year-old Mary and 11-year-old Jane had planned. And here we were, and we weren’t even at each other's weddings.’

“Jane? Jane! Are you okay?” She was pleading for my attention as if I had just been jerked out of a year long coma.

I had been so deep in thought that I hadn’t realized I was crying. I looked up at her. Tears began to stream down my face. Mary desperately searched my face for an answer, knowing I was too choked up to speak, I held my left hand up and her jaw dropped.

What had happened to us? How could we have been best friends for fifteen years and then not recognize each other? We had planned out all of our lives together, and here we are years later, and we hadn’t even spoken to each other.

“When did that happen?” She lamented.

“October 4, last year,”

“Wait, you mean on my-”

“Yeah on your birthday Mary,” I sniffled, wiping the tears off my face.

“When did you -”

“Your birthday; my wedding was November 17,”

“Why my birthday?” I asked.

“Honestly, I didn’t realize until just now,” she stammered, ”Why did you choose mine?”  

“I didn’t select it, my husband did,”

“Wow, I suppose fate had something to do with that,” She beamed.

I smiled and added, “Well, fate or aliens.”

We sat in the dunes and laughed, walked, and chatted about everything: college, jobs, traveling, our weddings, everything. As the sun began to set, and the temperature outside plummeted, we turned around and started to walk back home, side by side. The last bud has bloomed.


© Copyright 2017 whijan. All rights reserved.

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