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Summary: A ten-year-old girl relates her story about her best friend and her experience with life.
A/N: Last bit. Please review!
I wanted to go to the hospital to visit her the next day, but Mom wouldn't let me.
"Mo-om!" I protested, close to tears again. "I have to make sure she's okay!"
"You're too young, Cassie," she said. "And Debbie is okay. Her father told me it was just a broken arm. Nothing too serious. She'll survive."
She looked at my face: pouting and eyes puffy. "The hospital is no place for a little girl," my mom concluded firmly. "And it's so far away. I'm not going to drive there."
"I'm not little!" I cried. "I can take care of myself!"
Mom gave me a wry smile. "Like how well Debbie took care of herself?" she said, and I stopped asking.
But I had to go see her somehow. I couldn't just leave her there, after what I said to her and what I got her to do. And I knew that her arm must really be in pain, and probably in a cast. I had to help her feel better somehow. Anyway, if she never got better, who would I play with? I hardly knew any of the other kids. So I went back to that tree to think. And I found the owl nest, overturned and lying a few feet away. I couldn't remember if it had fell when Debbie did, or there really was a mom owl and took the eggs away. I guess I'll never know.
Later, I decided to send Debbie a card. I made one out of construction paper, and drawing on it with markers. It said, "Get well soon, Debbie" and had a picture of an owl and a nest. Inside, I signed my name. It took me two days, because I kept making mistakes and having to start over.
I took it across the street to give it to Mrs. Goldenstein so she could give it to Debbie at the hospital. But the doorbell rang and rang, and no one came to answer it. I even went around the back to peek through a window, but I didn't see anyone. Finally, I got my mom to call the hospital to see how Debbie was doing, but the nurse said she was already gone.
Well, after asking around a bit, I found out the truth: Debbie and her family had left. They left town a day after the accident, to go to her grandparents' house or something. I remembered how Debbie was always messy, and I think it was because they were so poor, they could hardly afford to pay the hospital, and so they sold their house and left.
And I never got to give Debbie her card. Or to say good-bye.
When I went back home, Mom asked me what was wrong. I told her, and she hugged me, and I cried. I showed her the card I made for her, and how long it took. She didn't really say anything, only asked what the pictures were of. She still didn't know! And I'll bet she'll probably never know, because that's how grown-ups are.
Because I had a good friend named Debbie once, and she was poor, and she lived in a poor house in a boring town, but she was so happy because she had her tree and her stories and her owls. And I had her as a friend, but I didn't know what I had until Debbie left. Now, I realize that Debbie gave her tree, stories, and owls away…to me. She wouldn't miss them, because she'd always find more. She'd be able to see more, and she taught me how to see, to see past all the masks and disguises and see the real beauty of life itself, because it really is everywhere.
And when I told my mom about this, she said not to worry, because she was working really hard to get us out of this town, and then we can go to a really good one, and have all the nice things in life.
So grown-ups will just never understand, because they just won't ever see anything!
A/N: Yay! Hope you liked! All critiques, comments, flames welcome! Please review!