The school hall was quiet. Everyone was silent with their heads bowed down. No one spoke,laughed, giggled or chatted. There was Just sorrow in the atmosphere. Few students could be heard sobbing while the rest Just sat stone dead in their seats. What had happened? What was the cause of this sad and eerie situation? Why did she do it? She had always been that cheerful bubbly girl that everyone loved. Her wide flashing smile could brighten up anyone's day. My thoughts were disrupted when the principal stood up at the podium to give a short speech. "Today , we all sit here in deep grief and sorrow.
Our school has lost one of its brightest student. Her death was indeed shocking and unexpected. And it would be only respectful if we attended her funeral in SST Pewter's church this coming Sunday. The service starts at 9 in the morning and ends at 10. 30. We hope to see each and every one of you there. As for the school , we have made a small altar with candles and pictures of her by the gym. Students can place flowers and cards of sympathy there. Deepest condolences from East High goes to the family' with that she stepped off the stage. The head prefect's speech brought many students to tears. My eyes felt misty and wet.
We were than dismissed. As I walked along the school corridor towards the gymnasium,my thoughts traveled afar. I remembered my first day in East High. I was a newbie with no friends. People whispered when I walked pass by. The mean lads threw spitballs in my direction. No one sat with me during lunch hours. I would lock myself in the washroom cubicle with my tray of food with tears seeping from my eyes. I didn't have any friends. I always wondered what my flaws were. Was I fat? Did I have greasy hair? Or was it because I wasn't a size zero? But then one girl changed everything. She was a newbie too.
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I was sitting alone at the back of my Biology class. Mr. Trend was having a difficult time putting up with the students. The boys were running about and the girls were gossiping. And there was me. The loner. It is amazing how a noisy situation changes into a sudden quiet one isn't it? Well that was what happened. Someone walked into class. A new face. She was a brunette with sparkly brown eyes. She wore simple clothing and flashed a wide grin as she walked into class. All eyes were on her as she handed Mr.. Trend a letter. "Class , we have a new student. Her name is Amanda Grey and she come all the way from Dallas , Texas.
Do make her feel at home". Amanda was given the choice to choose her seat. I noticed her eyes scanning the room and it fell on the empty seat beside me. She walked with confidence towards me and sat. "Hello , I'm Amanda. Nice to meet you" she said as she shook my hand. My mum had always taught me to greet people with proper manners so I shook her hand back and introduced myself too. All through class, I noticed many students stealing glances in our way. Some even had the nerve to walk up to our table and tell Amanda that she had made the wrong choice by hosing me as her first friend and sitting right next to me.
I had expected Amanda to agree with them and change seats but to my astonishment she stood up for me saying that it was her choice on the friends she made and no one had the right to choose for her. I had an instant liking towards Amanda. She became my new best lunch hours in the cafeteria. Amanda made new friends really fast because of her socially active character. Through her, I got to know people too and began conversing openly without being the old shy anti-social me. Amanda was my other half. I shared everything with her. She was someone I felt that I could open up to and not be afraid of being Judged.
Once , she even caught me self harming and throwing up after meals. She took away my razors and made sure I stayed put after meals without going to the washroom. She told me I was beautiful in her eyes and by god's eyes. And I didn't have to be a size zero to be beautiful. She made me appreciate life and realize that there were people who actually cared for me and I wasn't alone. Not only was she great in giving advice, Amanda was a very brilliant girl. She excelled in the studies and always did well in her examinations. She helped me a lot in my studies and my grades which were failing eventually began to improve.
My feet made a silent thudding sound as I turned the corner towards the gymnasium. There was quite a crowd around the altar. I stopped midway and stared ahead. My body trembled. And I realized I was alone. There wasn't a happy and Jolly Amanda beside me. The girl who changed my whole life in an instant had disappeared for good. She was never coming back. I approached the altar slowly sinking everything in. There were brightly lit candles around Manta's pictures and flowers were all over the altar. I knelt down ND stared at the pictures. The candles illuminated them with a soft glow.
I looked down and pulled out a picture of me and Amanda from my purse and laid it on the table. It was a picture of the very first time Amanda had a sleepover at my house. We watched a movie while snacking on caramel popcorn, baked cupcakes, did makeovers on each other and took loads of picture. That was the day Amanda had given me a tight hug and promised that she'll always be there for me no matter what. I tear rolled down my cheek. I wobbled slightly as I stood up. I turned away and walked out the school doors towards my home. The sky was a gloomy cast. Look , even the sky was upset about the loss.
On Sunday , I remembered my mum shaking me and waking me up reminding me that it was time for the funeral. I wore one of my favorite suit which Amanda had told I looked good in. I took deep calm breaths. I wasn't prepared to see her for the last time before she went six feet under. My dad drove us to the church. There were a couple of students outside dressed in black. We alighted from the car and my mother laid a reassuring arm around my shoulders. We walked in. The place was filled with people and a part of me was happy knowing that Amanda was loved by many. We took a seat at the back.
I noticed Manta's mother sitting by the coffin. Her face was blank and expressionless. I felt her. It felt as If I had lost a part of me when I heard the depressing news of Manta's sudden departure. The pastor began the ceremony by singing a few hymn's and citing reading a bible phrase. He went on with the sermon saying how God took the best people at times because he loved them more than we did. "But she took her own life" a little part of me whispered. "Why did God let her die when she had so much to live for? " My questions were left unanswered. Finally we came to the end of the ceremony.
We were requested to pay our last respects. My heartbeat was racing. This was it. My one and only chance to bid farewell. I walked towards the coffin. Amanda lay in there with a peaceful look on her face. It didn't look like someone who had committed that she would wake up laughing telling how she had franked everyone. But she didn't. I gently touched her hands. They were ice cold. I than unclasped the necklace around my neck and gently laid it in her coffin. It was my favorite necklace which Amanda really adored. "It's now yours to keep Amanda" I whispered.
Goodbye and I love you" I said as I walked out the church. The sun was shining brightly and the sky was blue. It wasn't a gloomy day at all. The birds were chirping a sweet melody. I looked towards the sky and blinked back tears knowing that Amanda was in a better place. To be honest , Vie never thought of Amanda as a girl who had problems in life. She seemed happy and cheerful at all times. I guess she felt better keeping them to herself rather than burdening others with her problems. She was someone who liked to help others in life. I wish she had opened up and talked about her problems to me.
It makes me feel that I wasn't there for her when she needed me the most or when she was going through rough times. She had told me many times that death wasn't the solution for problems. Now it made me wonder why was it her solution to something. And there goes another unanswered question. A year passed. Soon the date of Manta's first death anniversary arrived. I walked on the soft cemetery grounds. Everything was peaceful and quiet. The grounds were well kept. I made my way towards Manta's grave. There it was. I knelt down beside it and stared at the tombstone. "l miss you" I said softly as I laid a hand on the cold hard tombstone.
I laid the bouquet of roses I had specially made for Amanda on her grave and sat down right beside it. The memories came back. All the fun times with her. Amanda was like an angel sent by God to help me and taken away when her Job was done. I leaned back against the tomb. Some people might have found doing that plain scary. Knowing that your sitting on someone's grave and leaning on a tombstone. But what I felt was a warm feeling. I felt Manta's presence with me. Right beside me. After spending a few quiet minutes there I got up to leave. And to this day , I still don't know why she did it.
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