The Farewell Basket

by Natalie
(Philippines)

It was in 4th grade, and my first day. I met new people, new teachers. It wasn't all that strange, after all, since it was my 4th move. My mom had died, and my dad and I had to move each time so he could look for a job. Because of this, I was treated differently, being bullied, and made fun of. But in this school, I was accepted.

On the first day everyone introduced themselves. I was scared at first, anticipating the mocking comments of my classmates. But when the guy in front of me stood up to introduce himself, my fear faded.

His name was John, and he was way taller than me, and had the nicest smile on his face. It was his 9th move, and hoped for everyone to accept him as he was. After his introduction, I heard a few whispering voices. But I didn't mind. I was used to the sound.

After I gave my introduction with the best smile and the nicest voice I could give, the whispering started to grow louder. I sat down with my face down, and I felt some eyes on me. Though, I could feel the stare of the boy in front of me the strongest.

During recess, I got my books and lunch and planned to study after eating. I sat at a table, and no one sat beside me. After a few minutes though, John sat across the table and smiled at me.

I asked, "Why are you here?" "Don't you want to talk to the others?", and he replied, "I'd rather not. You seem more in need of my help than they do", and he was correct.

He talked to me, saying that he saw through my mask during the introduction I had given, and that it must have been hard traveling a lot.

I got a little angry, saying, "How about you? Isn't this you're 9th? Shouldn't it be you who's in need?" and he said, "I don't seem like I need comforting."

I think I cried a little when he said that and he seemed tsurprised. He apologized many times, and said he didn't mean it that way. I stopped and looked at him, "Thanks."

After that, we became friends. I told him about my mom, and how my dad and I are struggling. He seemed pretty interested, and told him about himself.

He was abandoned by his biological parents, and sent to a random house on the street. He was sent to multiple orphanages, until someone wanted to adopt him.

He told me it was fine, since his current parents love him and he loves them back. I didn't know how to react, but I just smiled at him and said, "That's good."

Months later, when I came back home, I was told that I had to move. I tried to convince my dad that I wanted to stay, but no such luck. I wanted to stay a little more, with my school, and friends, but most especially John.

I didn't consider him as a friend anymore, it was more like, I had a crush on him. He accepted me at first glance, and I wanted it to stay that way. But all I could do is think about how I should tell him.

I told him the next day. He seemed shocked for a few seconds, and said, "I hope we'll meet each other again someday.", and brought over a basket of a lot of things. Food and a lot of letters just from him.

It wasn't the
Toast of the Town Gourmet Basket - WebGift
, but it was as good as it gets from one 4th grader to another.

He said he prepared it a few days ago, expecting that I would move later. I cried, and hugged him. I told him I'd miss him and everyone else so much.

After school, my dad and I boarded the train with our luggage, and left. On the train ride, I read one of the letters from John. It said, "I hope we can find each other someday. I have something to tell you when I find you. John." I didn't get it back then, but I made sure to keep those letters. Thinking back on it, these letters are what kept me going for so long.

9 years later, I was in my 1st year, and it was typical. I was back stabbed and made fun of again. But I didn't mind, since I was used to it. It was my 9th move.

I looked around the hallways, and stared at the bulletin board. I looked at some of the names, and there it was. John's full name, the exact spelling and spacing. My eyes widened, and looked at the header. It was for those who were accepted to the soccer team, and their first meeting was the next period. So I ran to the fields. I didn't care if my break was over, I just wanted to see if it was really him.

I panted, and collapsed on my butt, my eyes busy trying to see where he was. At first, none of them looked like him. Most were staring at me, wondering why I was there. The coach didn't seem to mind, but if he had he could have reported me after school.

Then, someone was running late. My heart was racing, and I was thinking, "Is it him? Is it just me seeing that?"

Then when he was close enough, he stopped. He stared at me, with a blank face. Then he started to smile and ran over. And he pretended to be mad and said, "Don't you know break is over? Go to your class!"

All I could do was stand up and hug him. He whispered, "Meet me tomorrow, after class. I have something to give you." I nodded and ran back to my next period.

The next day, I waited for him to come out of his last class. After he did, we both walked around the campus. He said, "Oh, I just remembered! Here.", and gave me a tiny basket with a small envelope. I opened the envelope. Most of the paper was blank, and it simply said, "I love you."

I started to cry, and he told me that he wrote that the day I left. Before he could continue talking, I hugged him. After that neither one of us said a thing, we just stayed there, hugging for what seemed like forever. At that time, all I could think of was that basket of letters from 9 years earlier.

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