It was around noon time when I arrived at school because I had an appointment at the ophthalmologist. Apparently, my eyes are ready to get glasses. They'll be ready by next week. I grunted as I stepped into the cafeteria for lunch. Imogen and Maryam waved from the other end, and I jogged right to them, not bothering to get lunch because I already had a burger from Wendy's.
"Hi! Where were you? We started getting worried!" Maryam said shrilly.
"At the eye doctor." I replied dully. I didn't know why I was feeling so down, but I was. And it was to remain a mystery.
"You're getting glasses?" Maryam asked. I nodded.
"Happy birthday, by the way." Imogen chirped, Maryam doing the same. That cheered me up a little.
"Thank you." I said, smiling warmly at the two.
"We have something to tell you." Maryam said, her voice barely audible.
Imogen nodded. "We found out about Ella's... secrets. They spilled. And badly. In front of everyone."
As if on cue, Ella, from her spot beside Maddie in the middle of the cafeteria, looked at me, eyes narrowed. Rolling my eyes to the ceiling, I urged them on. I need to hear something that'll satisfy my heart. It was too heavy to bear anymore.
Maryam started, "Ella had a diary. And she writes everything in it. Everything that's on her mind. Every possible -"
"Okay, okay, I get it." I chuckled. "Continue."
"Yeah, well, some idiot got into it and read everything. Apparently, the idiot had it for a while. Then, the idiot posted everything about it on Instagram. Haven't you seen? I'll just sum it up for you - Ella's parents had a divorce. She lives with her dad now. He never liked it that El rode horses, so he made her stop. She was forced to. And then... Oh, Imogen, you continue. It's to horrible." Maryam finished.
Imogen sighed, "Ella's mother passed on."
My jaw dropped. "What?" I yelled, pushing my chair back and jumping up. "When?" I shouted.
"Jules, come down here, stop, you're making a scene." Maryam said, and I was. Many looked at me curiously.
I slowly sat down, shaking. "How?"
"Grief." Imogen answered. "She already had cancer."
My heart skipped a beat, and ran up to my throat, causing a lump to rise. "And she told us none of this?"
Maryam shook her head. "None of it. And she wrote that she was ashamed of it all."
"I think me and Ella are fair and square now. We both have deceased parents, and... complicated situations." I said flatly. No one said anything. It was too scary to. But the noise in the rest of the cafeteria was deafning. I switched on my phone and checked all the Instagram posts. I scrolled down and saw the long post that summed up poor Ella's life. It was by someone called Invincible. The post even mentioned why Ella left me and Maryam.
She was ashamed.
Suddenly, I felt a hole in my stomach. Did she really never think of us as friends? Did she really never trust us? Me and Maryam always trusted her with our secrets. If she didn't think of us as friends? Why bother act as our friends?
I got my answer...
She would have been alone.
I wiped away the tears that I didn't see coming, suddenly stood up, and marched out of the cafeteria. Shaking, I ran to my locker - thankfully, there were no teachers in sight who would stop me. Not even Mr Hikings. Since I had Art, Science, and Gym next, I kept those books and essenials in my bag, and put the rest of my books in my locker.
Aching all over, I looked at Ella's locker, beside mine, and thought of all the times we laughed and giggled over silly things. Tears fell and I didn't do anything to stop them this time.
Students filled the hallways and I wiped my face with the end of my sweater. I should go say something to Ella. My heart slowed down a little, but it was now racing instead of sprinting. "What happened?" a deep voice said. I whirled around. "Sorry, didn't mean to scare you."
"N-nothing." I stuttered, looking at Duncan dead into his gray eyes. "I... Just thought of some stuff."
"If you ever want to talk about it, you have my number." he said smiling.
I nodded jerkily and smiled back. "Thanks, but I'm good. Yeah, I do. Yeah." I stumbled over my words. What I heard just a few minutes ago was still whirring in my head, and it was hard to recover from it.
"You have Art next, right?" he asked, moving back so we could walk together to our next class - it was obvious by his body language.
The day passed quickly, and soon I was walking home. I didn't get a chance to even look at Ella that day. "Someone looks upset." Grams commented as soon as I entered the kitchen.
"Ella's mother passed away. She had cancer and her husband divorced her. Ella lives with her father, and made Ella quit riding." I blurted. As soon as the words left my mouth, I felt a heavy weight lift from my shoulders, and into the air. I dropped my bag against the wall, and grabbed a glass of water. Grams still hadn't said anything, she was in shock, she had froze.
I sighed, kissed her forehead, and walked up to my room. I met Mum halfway up the stairs, and she greeted me, embracing me. "Why so glum, chum?" she asked, worried.
I sighed. "Just ask Grams."
She raised her eyebrows at me and walked away. I curled up in my bed and squeezed my eyes shut. It was too much to bear. Soon, I fell asleep.