The Most Wonderful Gift of All || By Srinika Srinivas

The wind brushed over my face as I heard the sound of leaves rustling. The sun was just starting to rise on a Monday morning and we had already started walking to the bus stop. I was in a terrible mood, because I didn’t know what to write my short story about for my school’s contest, and the deadline was tomorrow! My thoughts were suddenly interrupted as I heard the roar of the bus around the block. 

As I got on, I decided to sit alone and think of ideas on the back of the back of the bus. When I got on, I found a seat near the back, not too hot, just the right amount of sun. Just as I became enveloped in my ideas, my friend Katie ran up and sat next to me. “Not now, Katie, I have a story to write!” I exclaimed angrily. “Sorry, Srinika!” she said. “It’s just that I got a brand new trampoline and I want to show you pictures and tell you all about all the fun I had this weekend!” I sighed and threw my head back. Katie was trying to be nice, but I really did not want to talk to her, I had more important things to do, but I also did not want to be mean. “Katie, can we talk later?” I asked questionably. “It has a bar for doing flips and is so colorful,” she droned on, clearly not having heard me at all. “KATIE!” I yelled. “I need to work on my essay! ” Katie looked down solemnly. “Okay …I’ll leave,” she said dejectedly and moved to sit with another friend. “Finally, some peace and quiet,” I thought to myself. I came up with some ideas but none of them seemed to work. 

As I exited the bus, I saw Katie laughing and talking with her other friend about the trampoline. I tried to join in the conversation, but she just gave me an annoyed look and went back to talking. I was confused, but thought it was just a misunderstanding. We headed into school, and the first part of the day went smoothly. We breezed through math and ELA but, during recess, Katie would not play with me and instead chose to play with some other friends, completely ignoring me again! I decided to talk to her, and figure out what was going on. I approached her cautiously and asked “Katie, do you want to go on the monkey bars together?” It was our tradition. “Sorry Srinika, looks like we’re out of time.” she said abruptly, as the bell signaling the end of recess rang. “Okay… I guess we can play tomorrow….” I mumbled. Throughout the day, I noticed that Katie and her friends continued to ignore me, and I did not know what was going on, but figured it had something to do with the bus ride.  Even in science when I asked her if we could be lab partners, she said no, so I was stuck with Mario. I decided to ask her about it on the bus ride home, and apologize for my impatience. 

When we waited for the bus, I leaned over to Katie and said, “Hey, I’m sorry about what happened this morning, I didn’t mean to be rude. I really just wanted to work on my short story. I’d love to hear about your trampoline now.”  Katie just stared at me for a second, then turned away and proceeded to completely ignore me again. I was so confused. Why was she still angry with me? But I had more important things to worry about than my friends, it was almost the end of the day and I still didn’t have a topic for my story contest. 

When we got on the bus I decided to sit with Katie and see if I could make things up, but when I got to her seat and was about to sit down she shoved me out and let another friend sit with her. By that time the bus was moving so I ran into the nearest seat, which was unfortunately where Mario had decided to sit. I asked Mario ten times to be quiet, but he just kept squabbling on and on. When it was near my bus stop, Mario was saying something about his Nonna talking about friendship, but then the bus stopped and I got off, his words still etched in his mind. I was walking, and realized that Mario was a genius! For the Short Story Contest, I could write about friendship! It was the biggest gift of all. I was so excited I found a topic, I ran all the way home. I was out of breath after I got home, but I did not let that stop me. 

When I entered I heard my mom shout, “ Srinika, come up here and help me!” but I ignored that and dashed to my computer to turn it on. My computer quickly responded with a beep. As I got on my document, I heard footsteps coming up the steps and hoped it wasn’t my mom. Suddenly, my document finished loading, so I forgot about it. “Friendship, the greatest gift of all.” I worked day and night to finish my short story. 

A few days later came another wonderful gift…        

“First Place in the WES Short Story Contest!” 

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