Rosalind and I

Everyone adored her. Rosalind had it all and more. If God created a perfect human, it would
most certainly be Rosalind Jayne. She had luscious long locks of blonde and piercing jade eyes. She
was tall, about five feet seven inches, and slender. The jaws of boys dropped whenever she walked
down the hallways of Kingston High School, but her heart always belonged to Kenneth Court, the
star quarterback of the football team. Not only that but she was a cheerleader, adding to her
popularity. Rosalind wanted to study history when she went off to university. It made sense when she
had a 4.0 average and a score of 1490 on her SAT. Compared to her, I’m average. I prefer to be
hidden actually and it works out perfectly in my favor because most people at Kingston could care
less when they hear “Claudia Aridam.” I don’t have any plans after high school and I’m not mighty
Aphrodite. But Rosalind almost ruled high school and acted like she wasn’t aware of it. She was
stuck to society and every grand stereotype as if she was solid teflon until the night she left.


It used to be Rosalind and Claudia. From the age of four, me and her were like two peas in a
pod. The both of us were friends for life, at least that was the plan. Rosalind and I lived in the same
neighborhood for thirteen years and everyday after school or during the humid summer, we used to
venture off to the old willow tree near Crimson Park.


“It looks like the tree is crying” Rosalind used to exclaim.


“A weeping willow” I’d respond and we’d both laugh about it.


We promised each other that this would be our most sacred spot. It was our weeping willow
tree. Its branches were lanky and hung downwards, providing perfect shade when the sun would burn
and blister our skin. Its leaves like tears as if the tree was Mother Mary, crying for her son. Just off
the weeping willow was a stream with crisp cool water and when it flowed south, a tall green hill
arose in the distance. Rosalind and I used to sit in the plush grass and play hand games, talk about
what we’d want for Christmas and what we’ll be like when we got older. Our girly talks changed as
we got older. We’d dream about cute boys and wonder why our bodies grew the way they did.


“My tummy hurts all the time Claudie. What’s wrong with me?” Rosalind complained.


“You’re fine Rosa, it's just the way your body is now.”


“Well I don’t think I can deal with this forever.”


“Maybe you should ask your dad for some pain reliever or something-”


“My dad gets all tied up when I talk about that stuff to him.” There was a long pause
afterwards.


“We’re mothers to each other…”


Rosalind’s mother was killed in a car accident when she was eight by a drunk driver. She’s
lived with her father ever since the incident. My mom left when I was a baby and I never understood
why. I can’t remember a time without my grandparents. They’re abusive, I can’t stand them. My
grandmother might’ve been my guardian, but I never had the love of a mother. Rosalind was right,
we were mothers to each other.


Rosalind Jayne was the talk of the town. The halls, streets, supermarkets and even the Roma
Cafe were filled with conspiracy theories of how she died.


“It was probably a suicide attempt.” a girl with a french braid hissed.


“Maybe it was a murder…” another girl with diamond studs whispered.


“That sounds too dramatic, why would someone murder Rosalind?”


She quickly went to her ear and muffled. All I could hear was the word “quarterback.”
Kenneth. Kenneth was known to be a player and he liked getting what he wanted. He was obsessed
with Rosalind. All they did was snog and touch each other. It could indeed be him but who am I to
say? Rumors and theories can’t actually be true.


“Miss Aridam? Are we daydreamin’ again?” My teacher spoke with her light southern
accent. Everyone turned to stare and some even giggled.


“N-no ma'am…”


“Well then, what’s the answer?”


“Uh-I-uh ...It's...”


My teacher got aggravated and repeated the question.


“Who stabbed Julius Caesar as an act of betrayal?.”


I gulped then remembered. “B-Brutus.”


“Correct Miss. Aridam.”


When I was fourteen, Rosalind broke the news to me that her father was going to move closer
to his new job. My heart sank but I knew it would be for the best because her father needed the
money.


“Do you know where you’ll be living, Rosa?”


“Mmm...It’s somewhere on the other side of town, I think.”


“Oh...but that means we won’t get to see each other as often. You’re going to meet by the
weeping willow right? Or at least as often as you can.” I begged.


“I’m going to try Claudia, but it’s not a guarantee.”


“What do you mean by that?” I knew my aggression was leaking.


She sighed, “Claudia, this whole tree thing is like for kids you know. We’re teenagers in high
school. We’ve got more important things to worry about than secret talks.”
I was furious. These secret talks have been with us since the age of four. Who’s going to care
what a four year old could say, but she was my most special friend. My only friend. My best friend.
She was there for me when I was bullied in middle school, when I had bruises from my grandparents,
both mentally and physically. I was there for her through thick and thin. We were each other’s
mothers after all. I couldn’t lash out at her.


“Oh um...o-okay. I guess you’re right. But…come over or give me a call if you ever want to
try.”


“Alright.”


She left the following Thursday and she did come over and call but not as often as a best
friend should. We met once or twice a week under the weeping willow tree, but I didn’t complain
about it.


“I got a job, Claudie, so I might not be able to come over as much.” Rosalind uttered with
exhaustion.


“That sounds great. I’m proud of you Rosa, I understand if you can’t come anymore. Jobs are
more important than...silly...secret talks…” I couldn’t bear to let go. It sounded like she didn’t want
anything to do with me. First the big move, not as many hang outs, calls or meetings under our
weeping willow tree. I knew exactly what she wanted. But I knew that she would come back
someday or when ever she had the chance.


During school, sometimes we say “Hi” or “How’s it going?” in the hallways, but usually
nothing more than that. Weeping willow meetings grew more and more. She soon blossomed into a
Kingston’s phenomenon. Everyone was obsessed with her, she was like Farrah Fawcett or
something. She was dating Kenneth Court for at least three months now. Both attracted physically,
but their chemistry seemed odd. He wanted to show her off like a trophy, she just wanted somebody
to love.


I called her to let her know I was going to be at our weeping willow tree at 7:30. She
probably wasn’t going to show up. Rosalind didn’t answer, nor did she call back. I glanced at the
wall clock in my room and it read 7:23, time to head out so that I wasn’t late. I carried my
sketchbook and pencils to Crismon Park. It was dusk outside. The air smelt of crushed leaves and
dewy grass. As I walked next to the stream to the weeping willow, I spotted Kenneth...kissing
Rosalind against the tree. She looked uncomfortable but I felt disgusted, enraged, filled with fire.
My heart, once made of glass, turned into stone. Our weeping willow tree was now a trap for black
widows to catch prey. What once used to be a place of bliss, darkened my mind. She had the audacity
to do this. I left as quickly as I could.


We both finally walked to the weeping willow tree, Rosalind and I. It was the last day of
November and it was brutally cold. When we both reached our tree, we turned to look at it. I still
admired its tear shaped leaves with a perfect slit down the center of each. I begged Rosalind to come
to the tree with me. I told her it was an emergency.


“It looks like the tree is crying…” Rosalind said with no expression.


“A weeping willow.” I responded.


I don’t know what came over me. I just had to do it. She betrayed me. Lied. Broke promises
that were kept for so long, so long ago. Then I ran as fast as my legs could take me.


There was no more Rosalind and I...

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