• I sat, reading a book, on the bleachers, waiting for the cheerleading practices to end. It was six o’clock in the afternoon and they have been practicing since three. I’m not even sure why I’m sitting here. I’m not part of the cheerleading squad. I’m not a cheerleading coach. I’m not a stalker (and I don’t plan to be one either). At first it was embarrassing to sit here, cheerleaders occasionally glancing with a what-is-that-loser-doing-here-again face. Well I can’t blame them if I’m not a popular kid. As time went by, I’ve already been used to their silent jeering and teasing. I was here for only one thing, and that was because my best friend asked me to. She was not a loser like me – no, I can’t compare her with me. She was the cheerleading captain, captain of the volleyball varsity, Prom Queen, an honour student and an amazing pianist.

    One might ask how someone like me became best friends with someone like her. Well, it all started when we were in our freshmen years.
    First subject, Chemistry Lab., North Wing – that’s where we first saw each other. The only Thing I knew about her was her name, Antoinette Cyrille. She was our class president but still a nobody back then, and like other girls, her dream was to get into the cheerleading squad.
    Well, it was 9:00 pm, and there were little to no people inside the campus. From the library, where I spent five hours reading I book that I can’t borrow, I went back to my classroom to get my bag. The lights were open and the door was ajar. I went inside, wondering who else might still be inside the room. I went inside and saw her making paper roses. There were three big plastic bags of paper roses in one corner. She noticed me stared rather surprised.
    ‘It’s for the thanks giving event tomorrow.’ She told me even if I asked her nothing. I got a piece of pink paper and started to make my own paper rose. I placed the finished product on the table and got another piece of paper.
    ‘Whoa! These things are better than my work!’ I dropped my head, trying not to let her notice I blushed.
    ‘Th-thank you’ This was the first time someone noticed the paper roses I was making.
    ‘I should be the one thanking you. Now I only have to do 199 more roses. ’. She paused for a while waiting for an answer but I only got another piece of paper.
    ‘You’re not the talking type aren’t you?’ I didn’t answer. ‘Someday..even just for fun I would want to make a thousand of these.’ She talked about how her day was. She told me her funny experiences. Somehow I started to open up and it was like we already knew each other for a long time, from the way we talked with each other. And just like that, we became the best of friends.
    “Andy!” I quickly turned my head towards the direction of the voice. I saw my best friend a tall, blonde, with hazel eyes, and a fair complexion, wave gleefully at me. I stood up from where I was sitting and went to her.
    “Hey, Anne! Let’s go home now, I’m sure your really tired.” I said handing her, her things. By the time they had finished it was already 7 o’clock. I was the sole person in the whole campus who called her Anne, the rest would know her as “Tony” they said it was a “fantastic” name.
    “Wait, I’m pretty sure your hungry – why don’t we eat before we go? My treat! ” It was all she had to say and I was ready to go.
    I waited for her outside the coffee shop across the campus, occasionally scanning the crowd for a sign of her. Then there she was -- standing across the street. I waved my hand at her. She saw me and crossed the road. I heard a loud screech – a car was going towards Anne’s direction. Everything was happening way too fast now that I wasn’t able to comprehend any of it. The next thing I saw – pierced my heart so much I couldn’t breathe. I ran towards her, not caring about anyone or anything in the world. Then there she was lying unconsciously, bathing in her own blood. People started to crowd in the crime scene. The car driver seemed to have gotten away. I called the ambulance.

    Luckily, Anne survived, but she had lost her sense of sight in the accident and it would be long before she would be able to see again. Her only chance was an eye donor. She could believe that her sight had been lost. At times she would feel so bad she would blame God for it. After a while, she stopped blaming anybody and thought that God must have plans for her that she cannot grasp.
    She was sitting on her bed learning how to read Braille. She had no contacts with her school, and no one ever seemed to visit her. It was like she had been deserted by all of her friends, by all of the people who used to seek her. She has been told to quit the cheerleading squad (within months the cheerleading competition was to take place. And she – the cheerleading captain would not even be there) and the volleyball team. She wasn’t even sure if she was going to study in the same school afterwards. They – all of them – were only hiding under a veil of lies. She never really had a real friend, even if she was a popular girl in school. Of course, there was an exception --
    “Anne! Hey! What’s up?” -- Andy. A guy just a few inches taller than her with jet black hair that was always unkempt, emerald eyes that were always jolly and a handsome that was always unnoticed smile went inside the room.
    “How should I know? I can’t…” Anne bowed her head slowly.
    “No – Wait – I didn’t mean to offend you!” He held his hands up in an innocent manner.
    She chuckled lightly “I was only joking!” It was fun to tease him, he was always so gullible. “Anyway -- What are you doing here?” She knew classes had not ended yet.
    “That’s not important right now. Well – I have something to tell you…” He sat beside her bed and enclosed her hand inside his.
    “W-What?” she suddenly realized what he was about to do – or did she?
    “I know what you’re going through is hard and I just can’t see you like this anymore. So… I – I – I found an eye donor for you!”
    “WHAT? REALLY? -- You’re only trying to get even, aren’t you?”
    “No. Why would I be joking about something so important?” He let go of her hands and then she hugged her tightly.
    “Thank You! Thanks for everything and for always being there for me.”
    “You’re always welcome.” He said and patted her back lightly.”
    As the time scheduled for the operation got nearer, Andy’s visits have also become very often. It was so often that the nurses thought he was her boyfriend. Every time he visits he always had something for her (which he says is good for people that would soon be undergoing an operation). She somehow felt that he was becoming strange. Once she asked him if he remembered the first day they met, and he said he couldn’t remember something that happened so long ago. He talked about things that I never knew he liked. Sometimes I would like to ask him I it really was him that I was talking to. But that would sound ridiculous. She knew his voice and it was the one speaking. So I just dismissed that thought
    Nevertheless, she liked being with him – it made her feel safe and secure as never before. She knew she was not alone and she had someone to share her experiences to.

    ring ring ring – ugh! Not again! Anne smiled at me thoughtfully and encouraged me to answer the phone. It was days before the operation. ring ring ring
    “I’ll be back in a sec.” I went outside to answer the phone. It was him again. He knows the reason why I’m here. Wasn’t this his idea?
    “Hey…cough…How is she?” the caller’s raspy voice said.
    “Are you alright?” I asked concerned he sounded more sickly than I remembered. “You need to rest -”
    “How is she?” He was more persistent this time.
    “You know how she is – do I need to tell you again? Please. I know it’s hard for you…well, it’s hard for me too. But you need to stop calling me, otherwise – “
    “Fine I won’t – cough – do this again…I just have a favour to ask that’s why I called – can you drop by here?”

    The calls Andy received had vanished. They were never to be disturbed again by those, annoying calls. Without these calls Andy’s attention was undivided, tending to Anne and only her.
    The day for the operation was drawing near. She was excited, she could finally see again but somehow she was nervous. She didn’t know who was donating a pair of eyes for her. She was not even allowed to see the person after the operation. She wondered how someone could give away their eyes just for her. She wanted to thank that person, whoever it maybe. She hoped she was given a chance to do so.
    On the day of the operation Andy told her that he had something to show her after her eyes were completely healed.
    While inside the Operation Room Anne could feel a very familiar presence. So familiar, just like the first time she and Andy met. The feeling you get when you know that the person you’re with was someone you were close to. She felt a light touch on her hand. It was soothing. She knew that touch – she knew it. It was – it was like…Andy’s touch! She was starting to get nervous, she hoped it was not him but after a while she slept while the operation was going on.

    After a few months her eyes had completely healed. She was happy; it was not Andy after all. But somehow she was mystified by the fact that the person was somehow -- familiar.
    knock knock knock “May I come in?” Andy’s voice!
    “You know you don’t need to knock.” He was still the same – he still had his handsome smile and his jet black hair. And most of all his eyes were still where it ought to be. But after literally not seeing him for 10 month (Yes she had missed the rest of her junior years) He had changed a bit. His hair was well kept and he had black glasses on.
    “Do you remember – I told you I had something to let you see when your eyes have completely healed?” He looked worried and nervous.
    “Well – what is it?” She threw a puzzled look at him.
    “I need you to come with me – we need to go somewhere.”

    Our destination – was a cemetery. The marble gravestones, bleach white, were on the ground were following a certain pattern. The tall, dark, trees were giving shade to the little benches perched under it. It was …peaceful.
    He led towards a gravestone with angels seated beside it. A cold wind swept her face but it was not frightening. She looked at the gravestone, it had a glass jar of paper roses next to it. A tear rolled down her eyes:
    Andy Willis
    September 11, 1995 - November 9, 2010

    “What do you mean by this? What Is this?” she sounded sarcastic.
    “Anne…I’m not Andy…I’m his twin brother, Anthony…” he placed his hand lightly on her shoulder. She pushed him away.
    “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ANDY! YOU LIED TO ME!” she screamed to the person standing next to her. She looked at him with teary eyes.
    “He has been sick for month – HE WAS GOING TO DIE ANYWAY!” Anthony was also in pain. It was his brother.
    She knelt beside the gravestone. It was excruciating she didn’t know what to say. She got the jar , opened it , and read the note in side. I’m sorry I only made 500 of these. I didn’t have any time left. ‘Stupid’ she thought to herself.

    “Thank you.”