Lost Friendship

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
May/June 2002

By Zhang He, Illustrated by Isabel Kimmelfield

Whenever I see Joanne, I always notice the red scar on her beautiful long legs. Although it was just a small scar, it seemed so noticeable on her feminine and beautiful legs. Joanne is the prettiest girl in my class. She has deep chestnut hair that she can flick about her face and shining crystal eyes glittering behind her little spectacles. We had been the best of friends, until one day . . .

It was my ninth birthday then. I threw a big party and invited tons of friends for a grand celebration at my house. I, of course, had not forgotten about Joanne. She was specially appointed as the clown of the show because of her comical face and humorous jokes which always bring us tears of laughter and leave us many happy memories. That day, she dressed up in a big clown costume and had colorful makeup blotched all over her face. She looked messy but funny at the same time. We watched her perform the magic tricks, and burst out laughing at her pretended clumsiness. After that, we played all sorts of games and enjoyed ourselves tremendously. The only time I felt a bit sad was when they reluctantly left one by one and could not sleep over at my house. Soon, there was only Joanne there to accompany me. I brought her into my bedroom and showed her the wonderful presents I got from my parents. All too fast, it was time for her to leave. I had to bid her a gloomy good-bye as her car slowly disappeared into the streets.

Lost Friendship a birthday party

I threw a big party and invited tons of friends for a grand celebration at my house

The next morning, I was awakened by the mind-bursting yells from my infuriated mother. “Where’s the watch I bought for your birthday? Do you know how expensive it is? And you just lost it like that? Your father and I saved every penny to . . .”

“Yeah, yeah, can you stop shouting and making such a big fuss? It’s just in the drawer of my desk!” I murmured drowsily with eyes half open.

“I’ve looked, it isn’t there!” my mother barked at me. Her news hit me with a pang as I jumped out of my cozy bed and ran helter-skelter toward the desk.

“It can’t be!” I remembered so vividly that I had put it . . . “Oh no, it’s gone!” My heart sank like a deflated balloon as I tried to recall where on earth I had put my precious watch. Suddenly, like a bolt out of the blue, a name that I refused to think of at the moment flashed across my mind. “No, not Jo, it can’t be her!” I tried to convince myself but had to face the bald fact. She was the only one who entered my bedroom the night before and also the first one to see my watch. I remembered her face green with envy as I showed it to her. She must have wanted it so much that she couldn’t help taking it. No, stealing it.

I felt the rebellion and fury at this thought and called Joanne to come at once. I dressed quickly and ate my breakfast. At about eight in the morning, I heard the doorbell ring. Joanne was standing on the porch. She waved happily to me as if nothing happened. I glared at her in a fierce, smoldering way and she was intimidated by my coldness. I approached her and blared, “Give me back my watch, you thief!”

“Huh? What?”

“Stop acting as if you’re innocent!”

“I didn’t take it!”

“Yes you did, you stole it!”

“I really didn’t take it!”

“Oh, so you want to deny it!”

“Please, I don’t have it!”

“Right!” I felt my face going as hot as fire. Without thinking, I took the crystal photo frame she gave me yesterday with the photo of us in it and smashed it hard onto the floor. Broken pieces of crystal and splinters fired off in all directions. I heard a small scream from Joanne but I chose to ignore it and stomped back into my bedroom. I slammed my bedroom door shut and threw myself onto the bed. “I hope it hurts, she deserved it!” I muttered angrily under my breath. Then, I felt tears prickling behind my eyes, before I knew it, they flowed fast and free down my cheeks like scattered pearls. I impatiently wiped them away with my hand and closed my eyes. I’m supposed to be the victim but why am I crying?

The next day in school, I told everyone who would listen to me that Joanne had stolen my watch. At first nobody believed me, but they began to see the “true colors” of Joanne as I told them my evidence along with the details. Then, the news about “Joanne the thief” spread far and wide. Joanne, of course, was a total disgrace. No one talked to her the whole day in school. I was happy to have my other good friends surrounding me during the break, listening to my explanation of how I found out that Joanne was a stealer. I was certainly delighted to see Joanne being left out of the conversation, feeling sad and miserable.

So week after week I had not spoken a word to Joanne and, when the weeks turned to months, Joanne had made a few friends (who doubted what I said about her) and I started hanging around with a new group of friends. I was enjoying myself so much with my new group of friends that I hardly noticed her.

But one afternoon, when I came home from school, I plopped my school bag down beside my bed as I watched my favorite TV show. After that, I decided to finish my homework first before I went roller-skating with my friends. As I took out my books, something shiny under my bed caught my eye. Being curious, I pulled it out and to my surprise, it was my watch! I wiped away the thin layer of dust and admired it happily. Then, Joanne’s name hit on me like a ton of bricks. I stared hard at the floor, feeling the blood burning in my cheeks. It was me who had made the wrong judgment about Joanne. I dared not go to her house and apologize. I felt so ashamed of myself for being mean to her. After what seemed like an hour, I finally decided to pluck up my courage and show her how sorry I was. After all, I owed her an apology.

I paused uneasily at Joanne’s door and debated with myself about whether to press the doorbell or not. Finally, I gave the button a push, telling myself that if I couldn’t do this, I would be guilt-ridden all my life and lose a best friend forever. After moments of nail-biting anxiety, Joanne opened the door and I got a glimpse of her living room, but the emptiness of the place didn’t bother me at that moment. “Err . . . look Jo . . . I found my watch and . . . I’m sorry about what I did earlier, OK?” I apologized sincerely.

Joanne glared at me angrily and shouted, “Sorry? That’s it? Think about all the damage you have done! I’ve become the most unpopular person just because of your blabbermouth! And I thought you didn’t need me anymore, not with your new friends!” Her cheeks were flushing with rage as she slammed the door, leaving me abandoned on the doorstep.

“I came here just to give you an apology and all I get is this? I’m sorry, OK, and if you don’t accept my apology, good-bye!” I yelled at the closed door and stomped away, infuriated.

And that was the last time I had seen her. She had moved to Australia with her parents, that’s what her friends said.

I felt ever so sorry and guilty on that unforgettable day. I was sorry that I had lost such a good friend and guilty that I had put the blame on her for the lost watch. I wanted so much to meet Joanne again and give our friendship another chance.

Lost Friendship Zhang He

Zhang He, 12
Singapore

Lost Friendship Isabel Kimmelfield

Isabel Kimmelfield, 12
Portland, Oregon

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