The Writers Voice
Bright Orange Journal
May 14, 2003
Dear my new bright orange journal,
I've been pretty lucky. I guess when Fate dealt my cards, I got a good hand. Well, that's what I thought until a week ago. I haven't had the widest selection of cards possible; really only two kinds, great and really, really, really bad. Life has treated me well over the past fourteen years, so I guess I should have expected trouble somewhere along the line. Even so, I didn't expect this much of it.
First it was Freddie. Then it was Bethie. And finally it was Billy. Boom-boom boom. Gone-gone-gone. In my heart forever; in the graveyard forever. So I admitted it: they're dead. All of them. All of my friends.
Let me explain. In school, I never bothered to make any friends. I had my pets and they were my friends and that was good enough for me. Pets are loyal and they don't get angry with their owners, also, pets can be owned. Friends aren't always loyal, do get angry, and don't do everything you say. I like to be the boss. Still, it would have been nice to have friends, especially at a time like this.
It started last Tuesday, the ninth. On the eighth, I fell asleep as I did every other night, with Freddie sleeping on my feet. In the morning, I awoke just like every morning. But Freddie didn't. My best friend, Freddie the dog, was dead. A sudden heart failure, the veterinarians informed me. When they told me that, I thought that I, too, was going to have a sudden heart failure. Maybe that would have been better than living through the events of the next two days.
Then on the tenth it was Bethie. Bethie, my cat. She was given to my mother by my father when I was born. It's like we were twins. Every day, upon my arrival from school, Bethie would wait at the door for me. She was my second best friend.
I didn't think that I would ever get over the loss of Freddie and Bethie. It was like Bethie had died of a broken heart over Freddie. The cause of Bethie's death was undetermined.
I should have remembered that superstitious saying, "Bad things always come in threes." Then maybe I could have been prepared, but I wasn't. Sure, Billy wasn't my pet, he was my brother's. I wasn't attached to him at all but oddly enough, he was the straw that broke the camel's back. Billy wasn't anything special, just your run of the mill goldfish. But when I walked down the steps and saw his body floating dead on top of the water, I grew silent.
These three deaths caused me to collapse into myself. I grew totally silent. I wouldn't eat, sleep, talk, or go to school. My pets were my only friends, my confidants.
Psychologists were called in to help me. I wouldn't talk to them. Why would I? They didn't know how I felt. They only asked nosy questions which I half heard, "How long had you had your pets? Were your pets your best friends?" Maybe if they had used Freddie and Bethie's names, I would have answered them, but these questions were too impersonal.
I would lie in bed all day staring up at the white ceiling trying to keep my mind blank. I couldn't. Whenever thoughts of Freddy, Bethie, or Billy came into my head I would repeat a little saying: la-la-la, my mind is clear. I am an empty nutshell. No feelings at all.
The thing was, I didn't want to be an empty nutshell. I wanted to get over my grief, maybe even make some friends. I was ready to accept help, but for that I was waiting. Then Dad came into my room with a notebook in hand. He looked me over silently and placed the notebook on the foot of my bed. I pretended to be asleep but I was peeking through my eyelids to watch him. A few moments after Dad left, I picked up the orange notebook and flipped through the pages. I couldn't stand the taunting, blank pages. My hand shook as I reached for a pen and began to write.
You, Orange Journal, may ask
what I wrote. I will give you the answer:
I've been pretty lucky. I guess when Fate dealt my
cards, I got a good hand. Well, that's
what I thought until a week ago. I haven't had the
widest selection of cards possible;
really only two kinds, great and really, really,
really bad. Life has treated me well over the
past fourteen years, so I guess I should have
expected trouble somewhere along the
line. Even so, I didn't expect this much of it."
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