Trust No One
Akeira Adams, Grade 7
The sun was out, and it was a beautiful day in Merid. I'm staring into the horizon, the Festival of Joy has started, marking the beginning of Summer. A firm grip squeezed my shoulder and I shudder, without turning around, I already know who it is. Nobody would follow me this far. "Hi Noah, what brings you up here?" I already know the answer. “I had a feeling you wandered up here and came to see if my best friend was okay.” He replies. I know that it’s not true, and I’m hurt. “Don’t lie to me.” I’m not looking at the ocean anymore, or the festival, I’m looking at him. I stare at his eyes, trying to decipher his thoughts. He’s calm, unnaturally calm I decide. “I came because you’re my friend, I wanted to make sure that you’re okay.” I give him a look to tell him I’m not buying it, and he shrugs his shoulders. After 2 weeks of knowing me, Noah already knows I’m not okay. Never okay. “Ms Constance set you up for this didn’t she?” He doesn’t reply, so I repeat it “Didn’t she?” Noah doesn’t sigh like I expect him to, his shoulders don’t sag in resignation, but he takes a deep breath and says “Yes.” I’m not angry, but I feel it rising up. He’s talking, “Rosalind, are you okay though? And don’t worry, this time I’m asking from the bottom of my heart.” He keeps talking, but I look away, and stare back into the deep, blue sea, waiting for it to just swallow me whole. I must stay silent for too long because Noah is shaking me gently. “Sorry.” I say, “You were saying something?” He gives me a weird look, and is about to ask me something, but he thinks the better of it. “I was asking why you always come up here. I mean, there's other beaches, fields, and plenty of other cliffs, but why here? What do you even do? What do you think about?” I must have been glaring at him because he stops. “Rosie?” I stand abruptly, “I come up here to think about my mum. I come up here to remember her. From here I can see all the places we went, this spot is merely a place to think about her!” I don’t realise I’m yelling until what he’s just said sinks in and his face morphs into one of regret. He stands slowly and gently pulls me into an embrace, careful to not crush the fragile little girl. He rests his head on mine and whispers. “She’s gone, Rosalind, gone. Nothing can change that. It’s ok.” I pull away from him and laugh dryly. “You don’t understand, I don’t need your pity, my mother is dead. I know nothing can change that.” I start down the path back to the city, back to the walls, back to solitude. I’m almost grateful when Noah doesn’t follow me, he’s safe from me for now.