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Mar 2013
… “Ready Scarlett; one, two, two and a half, three,” said dad looking as proud as ever.

It was my eighteenth birthday, the one and only year that I finally would graduate from High School. The ecstatic moment when I get my diploma and the rush I would get from wanting to rapidly pursue my career. I knew that I’d surely get a scholarship in life science, all about animals. The one and only thing that blockaded my chances of having a future life was me having to suffer from diabetes and few heart problems. Other than that, I was in for all new surprises.

“Scarlett Perkins, would you now gracefully make your way up for your diploma.”

The principal of the school should’ve spoken louder so people could hear, but when I smiled, he got a warm feeling and smiled right back. I know I’m not supposed to make a speech or even say anything, but meaning I’m officially finished with high school and by law, allowed to live on my own, I thought I’d say something that my family would never forget.

“Thank you Principal Williams.” “I will always strive to improve on what I struggle with the most. I am proud of myself as an honor student and will always think positively. Whether it’s finding a cure for my heart problems, leaving my best friends behind to let them pursue their careers, or finding someone to love and to cherish for the rest of my life; preferably Jewish and good looking…

Audience laughs

“I will work up to my very best and even further if possible. Thank you all for your time.”

Audience claps and cheers me on.

“Well, time to go to sleep ladies and gentleman, as the day is officially now over.” “I’m really proud of you Scarlett. You sure have the guts to get up there and give a fantastic speech, you see, I have barely any guts left; kids beating me up in your grade, but overall, I’m good.”

All I could do at that point was listen and smile at his humorous jokes.

It was a long car ride home with the window ajar and my mom having to stop short at every yellow light. It is just her thing now a day’s. My brother, James, was wearing his usual, yet casual, short-sleeved shirt with coterie shorts.

I had to open the window fully as if the humidity increased
about ten percent in the last few minutes. My graduation gown made me sweat even more and feel much overheated. My mom was wearing her new, loose fitting blouse with jean shorts. I would have to admit, my dad looked rather cool with his dark shades on even though it looked as if it was impossible to see through them.

“I’m very proud of you Scarlett. Hey, who knew that such a bright girl could make a speech like that,” said dad.

“Thanks dad, it wasn’t that hard to make a speech like that. I was more excited then nervous,” I said.

“So Scar, who’s having this graduation party honey?” Said mom.

“Mom, it’s just going to be a party with my close friends and maybe a few kids from school. Jake said he might be able to come too.”

“Ooh, Scarlett and Jake…” said my brother.

“Are you really going to be that immature on my graduation day?”

My brother and I always end up arguing about something. James lay back, looking relaxed while listening to his I-pod.

We arrive home at about once thirty eager to see our grandparents whom we haven’t seen in ages. They were on my dad’s side of the family.

“Hey, what’s cooking mom, dad?” said Dad.

Mom and dad both walk over to greet grandma and grandpa as well as James and I.

“My James, you’ve gotten so tall since I last saw you. Oh, and older too”, said grandma.

“Yeah, I just turned fourteen a couple of months ago,” said James.

“And who have we here?” “Happy eighteenth birthday Scarlett.” said Grandma.

… My friends pick me up at about six at night. They are the kind of friends that you would call very fortunate. Chelsea’s car is a silver Honda that costs close to the amount of $20000. To tell the truth, I don’t know how and where she gets that kind of money from as only a teenager. I know only one thing; she doesn’t have a job yet.

I got my first and only job about a week ago at a pet shop explaining to people how to care for certain animals.

“Chelsea, how long is the party till?”

“Till around ten,” replied Chelsea.

“How many people are going to be there,” I asked.

“Don’t worry so much Scarlett; they’ll be about twenty of the people from school that we know.” Said Tory from the backseat of the car

“Okay, no more questions.” I said. “Party it up baby!”

Chelsea, Tory, Veronica and Katy all smile and laugh at my remark. I smile as well.

We all arrive at the party ten minutes later. She was right on account of about twenty other graduates from school there. After all, Chelsea’s house looked spectacular!

She had a sign with big letters saying, “We’re the 2005 graduates!” Boy I felt so proud of myself and for once, relaxed.

“So I think It’s really cool that you are interested in animals. I love that subject as well. Great speech Scarlett!” said a girl named Rachel from school

“Thanks a lot Rachel,” I replied as I went to get a cup of water.

Something slowly wrapped around me as I was pouring a glass of water.

“Whoa, you scared me there for a second.”

“I wouldn’t say that I’m that much of a creeper Scarlett,” replied Jake.

The DJ (graduate) started to play some popular, current music in which we could all dance to. I head with Jake to the center of Chelsea’s enormous living room to go and dance with everyone else. I knew Jake for a long time now and he definitely out danced everyone on the dance floor with his cool moves.

The music started to get so loud that I couldn’t hear myself talk or even think for that matter.

“Hey Katy and Veronica, I’m going to go outside for a little bit. Can you please tell Chelsea if you see her?” I said.

“What’d you say?” said Veronica in a loud tone.

“Never mind.” I replied.

I took a couple of steps, then straight to the ground while holding my chest. Jake ran over to me like lightening.

“Scarlett, are you okay?” “Scarlett, Scarlett, Scarlett!” cried Jake with fear in his eyes.

It eventually got to the point where I fully blanked out, not being able to hear or see a thing.

...When I woke up, I was a little scared and baffled as to where I was and what happened. I further noticed my mom and dad looking as nervous as ever by the look of their faces, and my boyfriend Jake coming towards me frantically.

“Oh, my God Scarlett, are you alright? You look so pale sweetheart,” said dad softly.

“What happened honey? Do you feel dizzy or motionless? Said mom extremely worried.

“Did I blank out or something? Oh, I feel so dizzy and I have a migraine.” I said helplessly.

I moaned hopelessly and tried falling back to sleep. That didn’t work because I also had another part of emotion on me and that was guilt. I felt terrible that I ruined the most important party of my life, and possibly, the last party I’ll ever go to.

“It’s going to be okay Scarlett. I’ll ask the doctor to give you some Advil for your headache and please try to get some rest. Try not to think about the pain in your chest.” said Jake.

I know he was trying to be nice to try and help me and cheer me up, but visualizing pain in my chest felt painful to me and I tried not to cry.

He smiled at me holding my hand. I smiled back at him hugely.

“I’ll be right back sweetie.”

About five minutes later, the doctor came to check up on me.

“Hello Scarlett; Mr. and Mrs. Perkins, I’m doctor Isenman.”

“Nice to meet you said dad.”

“I’m just going to ask you Scarlett, how much pain do you have from one to ten?” said the doctor.

“Eight, I replied without any enthusiasm; my head still on my pillow with my eyes shut.”

The doctor turned from having a smile to a serious frown. The doctor told me to drink a lot of water to prevent the suffrage of dehydration. Dr. Isenman also told me to take it easy and try to relax for the next couple of days. I vowed to take his advice because he was definitely right.

“Scarlett, you have a very high fever of 103.5. I want you to drink every cup of water to ease the fever.” said the doctor.

“Okay,” I said without lifting my head or opening my eyes.

As the doctor leaves, I see Jake coming back with Motrin in which he probably got from one of the nurses and an ice pack.

“Put this on your head scar to ease the fever.” said Jake.

“Thanks for staying with me Jake, but you don’t have to stay much longer. You should go home and rest.” I said.

“I want to stay with you though.

He paused.

“I don’t know if now would be a good time to tell you that I got a scholarship in football for the whole season; but, I did.” said Jake.

“Wow Jake, that’s amazing; very impressive. You’ll be the star quarterback.” I said.

“I hope so; thanks Scarlett, and one night in the hospital couldn’t hurt, right?” said Jake.


… “How are you feeling baby?” said mom.

“It’s morning already, I’m feeling much, much, much better now!”

“That’s very, very, very great.” said dad.

Jake walks up to me with a grin on his face.

“So I heard you’re feeling better?” said Jake.

“Yeah, I’m feeling good.”

“So I was thinking, how about just you and I see your favorite singer, Billy Joel, in concert this Saturday.” said Jake.

He pulled out two tickets from his front pocket and my face enlightened greatly.

“Oh, my God! Are you serious? Thank you so much Jake! That sounds like a terrific idea! Thank you so much; this was so nice of you.” I said.

“You have to have some fun after a miserable; well half miserable birthday.” said Jake.

“You’re the nicest guy I ever met Jake.”

He leans in to give me a kiss on the cheek. We both smile and my parents, brother, Jake and I, walk out of the hospital very serene and calm.

The next day, I found myself working overtime in Joe’s Pet Shop. I was already used to all the animals there and treated them as if they were my own pets. One of the animals, a puppy, I had a very strong connection with and knew very well.

A lady walked in the pet shop with a girl that looked about my age, if not, older.

“Excuse me Scarlett, can I take out that puppy just to play with?” said the girl.

She scared me for a second when she called me by my name, but then I realized I had been wearing a nametag.

“Sure,” I said. “No problem.”

“Thanks, do you live around here?” she asked.

“Yeah, I live right near the mall. Michigan’s great.” I said.

“Yeah, I agree.

“Do you go to high school here?” I asked.

“That’s great; I just graduated from high school here about two days ago.”

“Wow, congrats! Oh, sorry; when I talk it can be forever. My name’s Amanda.” She said.

I laughed at the thought of her when I was the one who’d talk till sun down.

“So here’s our little puppy.”

Soft and not afraid, one who would strongly adore all thee who gave it no arm; all affection and this little puppy grew with happiness every time.

Five minutes later, my companion and I settled down on the smooth carpet, chatting intensely.  I nice, lonely girl she was, or assumed to be, and my companion and I went to extraordinary places; unforgettable times I shall cherish for the rest of my life. The park, where children jumping around of all sizes, smiled of the excitement, no stress, of their day. As I listened deeply to my companion, she had something wrong with her as well. Not just any sickness for that matter, diabetes, the poor thing suffered from. I now knew, my friend and I had much in common; she felt as a younger sister to me in a way; a good way.

… The next day, my lover, Jake and I were walking eagerly to the C.L.D.I. Stadium in Michigan.

“Are you excited Scarlett?” said Jake, nearly alarming me there.

“Yeah, definitely.” I responded with all emotions there.

On the way to the concert, I told him aout my friend and how she was like a close companion to me. She was a nice, clean girl with a bright future.

“This concert is amazing Jake!”

“What’d I tell you.” And to top it all off, front row seats.” said Jake trying to sound cool.

All of a sudden, right before my very eyes, the place turns pitch black, the lights flickering on and off; showing different colors all at once. This was something I wasn’t used to at all.

Jake started getting up and singing and dancing to the music. His dancing was cowardly, but his singing was reasonably good. He got me to my feet and started dancing with me when there were fun and slow songs.

Halfway through the concert I got a phone call from my friend. She sounded as if she couldn’t breathe the whole time. The words I could make out were “Can’t breathe… help and Joe’s Pet shop.

“I have to go Jake; I’m very sorry. Thank you for inviting me, but this is an emergency. Bye Jake.” I said quickly.

As I ran out of the stadium to my car, I drove my stick shift car with full speed ahead. Honking my horn to make cars go faster didn’t seem to work well, but I got there in less than ten minutes.

About fifty police cars were lined up near the pet store. The sound of sirens of a police car going off gave me butterflies. And, right before my eyes lay my companion dead on the ground. In total shock I was, having chills at the moment. Amanda’s parents were crying while their dearest daughter had been taken to the hospital. I knew right then and there… She wasn’t coming back. My good friend, my nicest friend, had died before my eyes and she wasn’t coming back.

… At the hospital, I viewed nurses and doctors trying to pump her chest with air and taking her blood pressure. Everything was spinning inside my head and I didn’t know what to say.

… There was no pulse, the doctor told her parents as I was praying for her. My friend, Amanda, had done nothing wrong to deserve this. Luckily, God spared my life, yet, there was nothing to be done to spare my friend’s life.
Written by
Shari Forman  New York
(New York)   
   John Stevens
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