Tree's, or was it knowledge that helped me save my BF's life?
| I like to think the trees that summer helped me solve the mystery. Maybe it was just hidden knowledge. The mind has a funny way of coming back to people in times of crisis or need. For instance, when your best friend shows you her favorite spot in the forest. Think you have forgotten? Even though you think that, there is a little spot in your brain that collects little bits and pieces of information and saves them, unharmed for a reason. Before I knew it, that little piece of information came back and helped me find, and maybe even save my best friend's life. Emma and I had been friends ever since we both started elementary school. But I never knew of the problems she was having at home. |
I searched desperately for my pencil in my backpack. I could have sworn it was in there. Today, in the life of me, an 8th grader, we had a big math test. I hadn't studied at all. I was the "Miss. Perfect" in my family. Never doing any wrong. I always had my work done the day that I got it. I was always an "A+ student." Today, was alittle bit different. I had spent my whole weekend with Emma and we both had so much fun that we had totally forgotten about studying. Emma never studied. Making up an excuse for class every week was one of her specialties. Emma was never prepared. Funny how opposites attract.
"Does everybody have a pencil!? We will be starting our tests in a few moments." said my teacher. I hate Mrs. Bently . She has a pointy nose and her hair is an afro the color of ashes. She looks like a witch. One time in 7th grade, Emma and I were chewing gum. Mrs. Bently had us spit it out, then write a 250 word report on why you shouldn't chew gum in class. We had to miss recess that day and write "No Chewing gum" on the board. When Mrs. Bently looked away Emma and I both drew on each other 's noses with the chalk.
"We will start now." Mrs. Bently squealed once more.
"Hey..." whispered Emma.
"What!? I need to find a-" Emma shoved a pencil in my face. I smiled. I was suprised . This was the first time that Emma actually had a pencil.
"Thanks." I said.
"What a relief." I thought. Mrs. Bently glared at me, and I glared right back.
"Maybe you two girls would like to share with the class what is so important." Emma shrunk down in her chair. What was wrong with her!?! She's never like this. She was acting like it all weekend too with her parents.
"Well, Mrs. Bently , do you want me to take the test or not!? Emma was just giving me a pencil! No need to freak out." I said in the same tone as when I yell at my annoying brothers.
"Wow. Did I just mouth off to the teacher?!" I thought to myself.
"Miss Pharaohs, (My last name is pronounced, Hair-oehs)I will NOT allow that kind of talk in my classroom. Office Now." Mrs. Bently snapped at me. Why wasn't Emily saying anything!!?!? I looked over at her and half-glared. I got up and left. That was the first time that I hadn't felt what she was feeling.
It was one class after lunch. I had spent the whole day so far ignoring Emily. That was the first time I ever did that too.
"Emily, please listen to me." Emma cried.
"What!?" I snapped. I turned around to see Emma holding my backpack.
"What are you doing with my BACKPACK!!" I ripped it out of her hands.
"We're skipping school." she said bluntly.
"We're doing what?!?! No way! Maybe YOU are, but me, no, no. I'm NOT! Especially not with you." Okay , yeah, I admit it. I was overreacting a little bit.
"You're coming. I need to show you something." Emma grabbed my wrist and pulled me out of the school. Believe me, I was struggling to get back in. We walked through the school field and into the forest behind them.
"Where are we going anyway?" I started to loosen up and lose the "Snobby" tone.
"My favorite place. It's where I come when-just when I want to. When I want to get away." She reached in her pocket and pulled out a pocket knife. I stepped back alittle . It had a dull red tint. Some pocket knife's had that though, so I thought nothing of it.
"What are you gonna do with that?" I asked. I mean, who wouldn't be freaked out by that? Emma laughed.
"I'm gonna have both of us carve out our names in these tree's. That way if YOU ever need to get away you can come to my favorite place. Maybe I will be there too. You can find it by these carvings. I'm sorry about earlier okay . I didn't know what happened I was just, just, I don't know. Friends?" She stuck out her hand and wanted me to shake the thing. I did and then we both smiled.
"Sorry for being so rude." I said. I guess I was. Okay , I was. I'm glad we made-up because, it ALWAYS hurts to be mad at your Best Friend. She handed me the pocket knife. I carved stiff blocky letters in the tall mossy tree. The forest smelled of mold and wet dirt. It had rained yesterday but all of the remains had already evaporated. I guess the forest just takes longer, after all, it is covered in tree's. I handed the pocket knife to her. She stepped forward and carved her name right next to mine. She kept on walking further and further into the forest. We stopped alot to carve our names in the tree's. It reminded me of dropping bread crumbs to find our way back home. Or the yellow brick road in "The Wizard Of Oz." I had started to relax now. It was peaceful . The sound of Birds, and squirrels, and water droplets falling from the tree's and shattering into a-million pieces when finally crashing to the ivy leaves that covered the ground sounded like a song. A song that would put you to sleep if you let it. We kept walking deeper. It got darker but little shimmers of light sometimes seeped in through the tree's. Emma and I both said nothing. Water began to make it's way into the song. It rushed and splashed and crashed.
"There is a river that we have to cross to get to my favorite place." Emma said.
"Oh. How many miles is this little place of yours from the school because my feet are starting to hurt." I replied. A sharp rock had found a weak point in my shoe and decided to perform surgery on it but it forgot to stitch it back up. My heel kept hitting sharp things and got cut. I could feel the sharp wooden splinters diving into my foot, going deeper and deeper.
"Oh, just one I think." We stopped and carved our names in a tree. Finally we came to a ditch. It was filled with water. The water was a deep blue and some rocks were sticking out of it up the river. We walked up the river and watched it rush and crash into rocks down where we used to be. There we some big rocks under the surface there and the water made it's way around them forming a bump on the surface. We got to the rocks and it was quite shallow here actually. The water was still a blue color but here you could see the bottom. It was covered in dark green.
"To get across we will just hop on these rocks. I threw them in awhile ago so they are pretty sunken and will stay where they are." We both skipped across the rocks and kept walking through the forest. We finally made it to a dome tent that the tree's had formed themselves. To me it looked like an igloo, covered in green food coloring. Emma stopped, stood and smiled at it. The dome was high enough to stand up in! But in the forest it didn't seem like it was anything. It didn't stand out, it was just there.
"C'mon ." she yelled happily. She ran to the right and disappeared behind a tree. I followed. The dome made a dog sized hole behind the tree. She went into the hole and I did the same. Inside it was amazing! The ground was dug up and went into a little bowl type shape. The warm dirt was covered in the same pink carpet as her room at home!
The dome was the size of a medium sized bedroom. The ceiling didn't leak water because the floor wasn't wet. A cooler was on the opposite side from where the door was. I hit the wall and the dome didn't even wobble. It was sturdy! This was just too wierd . Emma opened the cooler, I STOOD up and walked over to it. The cooler had a block of ice in it and a melted bag of ice. There were 18 cans of pop (mostly Sprite) and three water-bottles. Man, was she planning to live here? On top of half the cooler was a cookie sheet, it had tylenol and a loaf of wheat bread, peanut butter, jelly, Sun Chips, Banana's, and Chewy Bars. I guess she WAS planning on living there. Where did she get all this money, and if she didn't pay for it, wouldn't her parents notice what was missing.
"You know baby-sitting? I spend all that money on food for this place. Have anything you want." Emma did it again. She read my mind. What was up with this? She stood up and walked over to a covered storage box. She lifted the lid. I could swear it was filled with over 50 blankets. There were maybe 5 flashlights and 3 packs of batteries. There was also one lantern. On top of the blankets and light sources was a journal. I had never seen it before. I guess she just kept it here. I reached for it and Emma slapped my hand.
"No. There is stuff you shouldn’t know about." she said.
"Oh." I said. Emma and I never kept secrets from each other . Emma and I spent a few hours talking about school, boys, and we just grazed home and family. I looked at my watch and told her it was time to go home. We both got up and left the dome, which we now call "Club hideaway." The next week at school Emma came with many bruises. She told me that she got them when she was at gymnastics. So, that week I skipped my own ballet practice and went to watch her gymnastics practice. She wasn't there. Her gym coach told me that she hadn't been at practice this whole month. Okay , all right, well, what was going on then, and why did Emma lie to me? I called her on her cell phone that evening and we made plans to go get some Ice Cream at one of our favorite places, " Istas I-scream Ice cream." a block away from our houses. Istas was a small building, no bigger then a store in the mall. It was somehow roomy though. The inside was the color of cotton Candy and it smelled like it too.
We both went to Istas at 7. We opened the door and immediately Ista put on her biggest smile.
"Ladies! It's so good to see you two! I haven't seen you both since last month! Where have you been?!" She came out from behind the old-fashion country swinging doors. Emma and I both smiled.
"We've just been busy with school. Sorry." I smiled back.
"Well, you know you can bring your schoolwork in here! I would like the company. What would you two ladies like today, or are you just dropping in?" she asked. Emma and I smiled.
"No. We're staying. I would like to get a big bowl of peanut-butter chocolate and a big bowl of Phish Phood . Also known as, the same-as-usual." All three of us smiled this time. Emma and I sat down at a table near the window. Emily could tell that I wanted to say something.
"What? You know you can tell me anything." she said. I looked at her instead of the passing cars now.
"You can do the same too Emma. Why did you lie to me?" I asked her. She looked shocked.
"Lie to you!?! When did I do that?" she asked.
"You told me you got the bruises from gymnastics. But when I-"
"Here you go Ladies." Ista handed us our bowls and walked back to the kitchen.
"Thanks! But when I went there today your gymnastics teacher told me that you haven't been there in over a month. So you lied to me. Where have you been Emma and where did you get those bruises? I am your best friend Right Emma? So, if I am, you can tell me anything. I will never judge you, because Best Friends don't do that." I said. She looked at me nervously.
"I-I am going to a new place now and-" I was angered even more now.
"No your not Emma! Your gymnastics teacher told me that your parents are still paying the bill! Stop lying to me! Then, if you can't tell me, then I guess I am not your Best Friend. Call me when your truthful again." I got up, went to the counter and gave Ista the money and stormed out of that joint as fast as I could. It was my job to be worried about my Best Friend, and this was a good way to show it. Guilt. Guilt makes them come forward.
I called Emma that night on her Cell Phone. She never picked up. I left her a message:
This is Emily. I'm sorry about how I acted earlier. I just wish you would tell me what's going on. I would tell you. So, call me back please." Then I hung up. Then, I called her house. Her parents answered and said that they hadn’t seen her since before school this morning. They said she hadn't been home since. Well, Where was she then? I put on my jacket and left my house. It was dark, so I had to bring my flashlight. My parents of course asked where I was going, they must have thought I was in a gang. Me? Yeah right. I'm a good girl remember? I told them I wasn't in a gang and that I just left my backpack at Istas . So they let me out. That was my first stop. Istas . Emma wasn't there and Ista said that she hadn't seen her since I left. So, I left there, I went to her friend Wendy's and she wasn't there. I went to her favorite store outside the mall. She wasn't there. It was close to midnight now so I went to her house to see if she had gone home. She wasn't there. Her parents looked pretty worried. They called the police and filed a missing person report. I hoped she was all right.
I had had a lousy day at school. I had to carry all of Emma's homework. Her seat was empty and she was my only friend so I was bored out of my mind. I decided to skip a class. Can you believe it? Me? Skipping class without being forced. What was happening to me? I traveled through the field and pushed my way into the shrubbery that led me into the forest. I followed the carvings and crossed the river, and made it to the dome. I crawled in.
"Emma?" I asked in shock.
"Emily?! What-What are you doing here?"
"Well, you wanted me to come here didn't you."
"I was so worried about you! I'm sorry about last night. But, your parents are really worried about you and I think you should go home. They filed a missing report on you! But, really Emma. What's going on?' I asked concerned.
"No lies?" she asked.
"No lies." I said. Emma told me. I was in shock. Total shock. I had never expected it. I held her. She was crying, and shaking.
"It's going to be okay ." I said while rubbing her back.
I brought Emma home with me without telling her parents that she was found. We both walked through the door. My parents faces showed shock. My mom set down her book and ran over to Emma and hugged her. I swear she was going to make her body explode.
"Sweetheart! Where have you been sweetie!?!? We need to call your parents dear." my mom reached for the phone and I took it from her hands.
"Not now mom" I said. I set the phone back down on the coffee table. The alarm went off on the oven.
"O. Yes. Dinner is ready. Emma? Will you be staying?" my mom made eye contact with Emma almost grounding her into the floor with the force of the soft look. Emma nodded but didn't say word. My mom went into the kitchen and called me in. I told Emma to have a seat. I went into the kitchen and washed my hands assuming that my mom wanted me to help her with something. My mom put a wide smile on her face. As if laughing at me because that's not what she wanted.
"Hunny, might I ask you where Emma was and why she ran away?"
"Mom, i'm sorry. I think Emma would like to talk to you alone. I don't think she wants me telling you."
"Alright. Well, would you mind setting the table for me dear?"
"Not at all." I grabbed the plates from the cubbord. I placed them in the dining room and proceeded back into the kitchen to get the silverware and the cups. My mom pulled Lasagna out from the oven and placed in Garlic Bread. My favorite!
When the Garlic Bread was done mom set it out on the table and called everyone to come and eat. My dad and Emma went into the kitchen and washed their hands and then came to the table. My dad (of course) was the first one to grab the bread. He took 4 pieces, leaving me with one. I took the piece and handed the plate to Emma, she took two. So on. When we began to eat the room fell silent. You could hear a thread fall and gracefully graze the ground. My mom suddenly broke into it with the soft patience in her voice.
"So Emma dear, where were you sweetheart? Why did you run away dear? You know you can tell me anything sweetheart. Your secrets are safe with me." she said. I filled my mouth with a HUGE bite of bread, set down my fork, then looked back and forth between my mom and Emma. Emma looked at me and bit her lip then turned to my mom.
"Mrs. Pharaohs, would you mind if you and I left the room and talked?" Emma half-squinted showing that she was nervous and hoping that my mom would say yes.
"Yes, of course." my mom took the napkin off her lap and set it softly on the table. Emma did the same. They both walked into the kitchen. I looked at my dad. He was busy stuffing his face with the lasagna that he had no clue what was going on. He looked up with his face stuffed like a hampster and was leaning forward, almost touching his plate.
"Hut?" he asked . Stretching out his hands. Obviously he was trying to say "what".
"Uhthing!" I replied with my clean, empty mouth. Then I threw my bread at his face. It hit him smack dab at the top of his nose. I snorted and then began laughing at how stupid I sounded. In the Kitchen my mother and Emma talked. Very quietly I might add.
Emma boosted her self up on my kitchen counter and my mom pulled open the fridge and got her a pop.
"Mrs. Pharaohs, my parents abuse me. That's why I ran away and-" Emma's eyes got glazed. "That's why I don't want to ever go back." My mom looked at Emma, her eyes filled with compassion. She set the pop down next to Emma and hugged her. Emma's tear fell upon my mother's shoulder.
"Emma, why didn't you tell me sooner? We could have done something. Okay dear, how about you stay tonight and I will call the police department first thing in the morning. Does that sound good?" my mom asked. Emma nodded and slid off the counter.
"Just, PLEASE don't let my parents take me back. Can I shower?" Emma asked with a big smile on her face.
"Of Course." my mom said. Emma ran up the stairs and showered.
The next day Emma and I went to school. What a boring day! Well, while we were gone my mom called the police. My mom came early and grabbed Emma to take her to the police department to talk about it alittle bit more with the highly respected gentlemen. The police took her parents away. Emma is living with me now! Sometimes we get annoyed with eachother but, usually that is because she is on the computer every time I want to get on, and sometimes because she gets in the shower when I need to get in there to shower for Ballet. But anyway, Best Friends, always stay Best Friends. It's like marriage. You need to stick with eachother through thick and thin. Through sickness and health. For rich or for poor.