Chapter 9A Chapter by Laura Ann
All during Christmas Break, Claira and Francie hung out together. They drew closer to each other and became even better friends than they already were. Their parents continued to go out almost every other night. But, of course, Christmas Break couldn't last forever. Eventually it was time for school to begin again for both California schools and Florida schools.
Stacey was nervous about going to school without Francie there with her. It would seem so strange. She just hoped that she could make new friends as easily as Francie did. Then she could brag about it to Francie later.
Stacey stepped into her fifth grade classroom. It was the first time that Francie had not been at her side. She felt lonely, and tried to pretend that Francie was still there, only she was invisible. The "make-believe best friend" didn't work, and it only made Stacey's pain inside worse.
There was something strange about how everything looked. Francie's desk was still next to hers, except the permanent marker on it which labeled the name "Francie" had been erased. Just looking at the empty name tag made Stacey's stomach churn. She felt as if she was going to throw up at any second.
Whenever they needed partners for anything, Stacey refused to be with anyone. She and Francie had always been partners. If she was partners with anyone else, it just wouldn't feel right.
At lunch, Stacey sat at her own table. Alone. It was the table that she and Francie always sat at. They had shared many fun memories at that table throughout their Elementary School years. Now it was empty.
Stacey somehow managed to survive a week at school. She also never texted or called Francie during that period of time, either. It was a dreadfully long, boring, lonely week. It felt like the worst 5 days of Stacey's life. It probably was.
Every day Stacey would ride her bike to the river, sit on the edge of the dock, and cry. She would ask God why He took away something that mattered so much to her. She knew that everything happened for a reason, but to her, Francie's moving didn't have a reason behind it. It did, but she would find that out later. Right now she was just her miserable self.
The Monday after her Lonely Week, Stacey walked sadly into Mr. Howard's classroom. She plopped down in her seat and looked sadly at the empty name tag that used to hold her BFF's name on it. Except now it wasn't empty. There was a new name on it, a name that she had never heard of before. In Mr. Howard's neat cursive was written, "Lydia".
Stacey stared at the name in bewilderment. Lydia? Who was Lydia? Her question would soon be answered.
Mr. Howard entered the classroom with a girl at his side. He cleared his throat to get the class's attention.
"Everyone, I'd like you to meet a new student. Her name is Lydia Martins," he said, gesturing towards the girl next to him.
Lydia had long, curly, very light brown hair and sparkling blue eyes. She was around Stacey's height. She gave the classroom a quick, shy wave and sat down in her seat.
Stacey turned towards Lydia. "Hi, Lydia," she said. "I'm Stacey Stewart."
Lydia looked at Stacey and smiled a dazzling smile. "Hi. I would introduce myself but I assume you already know who I am."
Stacey laughed. "Yeah, I'm sure the whole school knows about you by now. Word spreads pretty fast."
Lydia nodded. "I figured."
"Where are you from anyway?" Stacey asked, trying to strike up a conversation, even though Mr. Howard was talking.
Lydia didn't seem to notice Mr. Howard. "Georgia," she replied.
"Ladies," Mr. Howard interrupted. "If you didn't notice, I'm trying to teach a lesson here. Now zippeth thy lippeth." It was one of his favorite expressions.
Once Mr. Howard turned back towards the white board, Lydia whispered, "Is he always this weird?"
"Pretty much," Stacey said. "Oh, and get used to hearing Latin."
Lydia grinned. "Hey, can I sit by you at lunch? 'Cause I don't know anybody here..."
Stacey tried not to show her excitement. "Sure. It's lonely sitting by myself anyway."
Lydia gave her a thumbs-up and then they focused on their Social Studies lesson, which didn't seem so boring today for Stacey. Maybe because Lydia kept smiling at her.
At lunch, Stacey and Lydia sat at the Stacey & Francie Memorial Table. Lydia glanced around, noticing that it was deserted.
"How come no one sits with you?" she asked, concerned.
"Oh, um..." Stacey considered telling her the truth. "It's a long story."
"It's a long lunch time. Tell me," Lydia requested.
"Well....okay," Stacey said, giving in. Then she told Lydia about her friendship with Francie over the years and how they always sat at this exact same table every single day. She told Lydia about how Francie had to move and was changing best friends so quickly, and how Stacey was feeling so lonely all the time. At the end of the story, she was crying. She couldn't help it.
A tear trickled down Lydia's cheek too. "I'm sorry," she told Stacey.
Stacey smiled. Telling Lydia everything that she had bottled up inside for so long felt nice. In fact, it felt great. She didn't feel nearly so depressed anymore.
"Lydia, do you think you could come to my house after school to do homework?" Stacey questioned. "Maybe we could go for a bike ride afterwards."
Lydia understood how much Stacey needed her. "I'd love to," she said.
Stacey wrote down her address and phone number on a slip of paper and gave it to Lydia. Lydia wrote down hers and gave it to Stacey. They grinned at each other.
The school day flew by. 3:30 came along faster than Stacey thought it would. Instead of trudging home with a heavy weight upon her shoulders, she was now skipping down the road, feeling light-hearted and free.
© 2010 Laura Ann
Book 1: Changes Can Be Good
About“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” “All of humanity's p.. more..