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A Rose For Marly


Bobbie Sawyer

It was one week before high school graduation when I found the note. I didnít know it then, but by the end of that week, my life would be changed forever.

I had been cleaning out my locker, looking through old papers and taking down all the pictures I had taped to the door. Everything seemed to hold memories from the past year, so I was careful not to throw away anything with sentimental value. I found the note on the top shelf of my locker, laying on top of my biology book. It had my name , Marly, printed neatly at the top, and though I didnít recognize the handwriting, I thought that it was probably from one of my friends. But as I read it, I realized that it couldnít be. It was signed, 'from a secret admirer.' I knew I shouldnít take it seriously, but I couldnít stop my heart from beating fast or my face from turning red.

I kept thinking that it was just a prank. But who couldíve written something so sweet and touching just for a good laugh? I heard laughter from the end of the hall, but when I looked down there I saw that those laughing were paying no attention to me.

That evening I kept replaying the words of the note in my head. I reread it so many times during my last hour class, I almost had it memorized.

We never spent any time together, it said, but in my mind we did... In my mind we shared so much... from our first kiss to popcorn at the movie theater on our first date. We laughed at inside jokes that no one else got, you taught me how to dance in my backyard. Of course, none of those things really happened... I only imagined them. Outside of my mind we never existed as a couple, you never even knew my true feelings for you. And Iím afraid you never will if I donít tell you now. Please meet me Friday night after the prom, in the park.

I spent that entire evening thinking about the note and who couldíve written it. It wasnít every day I got a note from someone who had been admiring me from afar.

The next day at school, I showed the note to my best friend, Christy. We sat down by our lockers, musing over who the mysterious person could be. Every time a boy walked by I contemplated the question: Could it be him? I tried to act like it wasnít important to me. After all, it could just be a cruel joke someone was playing on me and I would look stupid if I made a big deal out of it.

By the end of third hour, everyone knew about the note I had received. At noon, a crowd had gathered around my locker. Some wanted to see the note but I was cautious of who I let read it. I guarded it as if it were some great treasure, and to me, it was.

"What if its him?" Diane Johansen said, pointing in his direction and laughing. She started doing a dead-on impersonation of Jimmy. I couldnít help but laugh as Diane talked with a stutter and shook, as Jimmy often did. I instantly regretted it. I looked at him. I didnít see love or admiration in his eyes, I saw pain.

Throughout the rest of the day I kept thinking about Jimmy. He had lived across the street from me for years, yet I knew so little about him. I remembered my mother telling me to be nice to him when I was younger. She said that he needed a friend. When I asked her why he acted so different, she told me that his mother had done bad things when she was pregnant with him. It wasnít until I was older that I really understood this. I would occasionally wave at him on the street, but not if my friends were with me. I tried to make myself feel better by thinking that I had at least treated him better than others had.

Jimmy was pleasantly interesting. Sometimes I could see in his room through his window as I passed by. He was often playing his guitar, or sitting at his desk writing. After I got the note, I wondered if he had been writing things for me. From then on I tried to see Jimmy through the window. It was my only way of looking into his world. I wondered if my admirer had ever done the same.

One evening, I got a call from Christy.

"I think I know who your admirer is!" she shrieked.

My heart pounded. "Who?"

"Youíre not going to believe this, but I think its Russell Moore! At church I overheard him say you were cute! Can you believe it?"

There was a long silence.

"Well, arenít you excited?" she asked.

"I guess," I said.

"Who do you want it to be?" she asked.

I couldnít think of anyone but Jimmy so I said that I didnít know.

Later that evening, I considered writing Jimmy a letter. I thought I could be an 'admirer' myself. He thinks I hate him. He thinks Iím like everyone else. What if I donít get the chance to tell him different? But I decided against it. I guess I wasnít as brave as my secret admirer was. It was strange. I wondered if I was falling in love with him. All of a sudden I wanted to see him, talk to him, hear his voice. I wondered why I felt that way.

The next day was the day of the prom. I woke up that morning feeling nervous. I couldíve cared less about the dance, it was where I was going afterwards that I was thinking of.

The decorations at the dance were beautiful. The music was great. But I couldnít enjoy myself. I was restless up until I left at 11:45. I began walking towards the park. Although it was May, it was a cool evening. A breeze stirred the branches of the trees. I wrapped my jacket tight around me. Then I spotted a small park bench where I decided to wait.

Thirty minutes passed and he still hadnít arrived. Maybe no one was coming in the first place, I thought, maybe he doesnít exist. I let a few tears slip out, then told myself I wouldnít cry.

Just then I got a call on my cell phone from Christy. She sounded upset.

"Marly!" she shouted, "Jimmy McAllister was in an accident by the school! Heís hurt really bad!"

"Oh my God!" I exclaimed choking on tears. "Iíll be right there."

I tried to run, blinded by tears. I tripped a few times but finally made it back to the school. I saw that his truck had slid into a ditch alongside the school. They were carrying Jimmy into the ambulance on a stretcher. I donít know what made me do it, but I looked inside his badly damaged truck. Laying on the seat was a red rose. Attached to the rose was a card that read, 'for Marly.'

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