Mum walked up the podium.
“Hello everyone. I’m Mrs O’Connor. Before I say my speech, I’ll like to present my gift,” mum said. Then she opened the box and everyone gasped.
I looked in the box and saw two glittering metallic objects. Then, I realized that it was two keys.
Oh my gosh, Mum and dad had gotten Mr Richmond a car and a house.
Before I had time to think about how they’d been able to purchase such things considering the present financial situation of our family, I was rudely dragged out of my thoughts by Amy’s shaking and calling my name.
“Michelle this is unbelievable,” Amy whispered.
“What?” I asked, confused.
“Look over there.” Amy pointed towards the podium.
Oh, she’s surprised by the awesome gift my parents got Mr Richmond, I thought with a smile.
Then, I followed her pointed fingers and immediately, the smile disappeared.
I stared in shock, embarrassment, fury and awe all mixed and mashed together as I saw what was in the box.
Oh no! It wasn’t real after all. It was just a daydream. My parents haven’t gotten Mr Richmond a car and house after all. My subconscious had been playing tricks on me, my making me think my parents had gotten Mr Richmond what I wished they’d gotten him.
Homemade cookies? my parents had fucking gotten Mr Richmond home made cookies!
Other parents had gotten Mr Richmond dishwashers, ovens, washing machines and sort.
While my parents have gotten him homemade cookies!
I felt embarrassed, saddened and angry all joined together. But the embarrassment overshadowed all other feelings.
I suddenly felt very hot. I started breathing heavily. It seemed like the auditorium was too small and there wasn’t enough air in circulation.
I need to get out of here. I need to get out of this pit of embarrassment in the disguise of a party.
Not waiting a minute longer to hear mum’s speech, I quickly walked out of the auditorium. What was there to hear? Embarrassing tales of how the family had gone bankrupt? I couldn’t bear to hear that. I just couldn’t!
I walked out of the auditorium and felt a presence behind me. On turning back, I saw it was Amy.
“Michelle, wait up,” she said as she approached me.
“What’s it? What do you want with me? You want to rub in the fact that my parents had gotten Mr Richmond a worthless gift like homemade cookies?” I shouted in exasperation.
Amy’s face contorted in hurt. I knew I’d hurt her but I wanted was just too angry and I needed someone to throw all my fury at. She’d made the perfect person.
“That’s not it, Michelle. I’ll never do that. After all I’m your friend. I’ll never do such a thing to hurt you,” Amy said.
Michelle took deep breaths. “I’m sorry for that. I’m just too angry and upset and I needed someone to throw it at. I’m so sorry,” she said.
Amy smiled as she realized that Michelle had said sorry without being told to or forced.
Perhaps she’s becoming humble, who knows?
“No problem. I understand. It must all be hard on you.” She moved closer to Michelle and hugged her warmly. “Don’t forget that I’m always here for you. You hear?”
Michelle hugged her back. “Thanks a lot Amy. You’re one in a million. And I’m really sorry for keeping that a secret from you.”
“Don’t mention dear. And I’ve already forgiven you and forgotten it.”
“Thanks a lot, once more. Merci beaucoup.”
“You’re highly welcome,” Amy said with a wide smile. They disengaged from the hug. “Now, let’s go back in. Nicole and the rest must be worried.”
Michelle nodded and they walked into the auditorium, hand in hand. They walked in just in time to hear Mrs O’Connor say, “I know Mr Richmond would understand as he’d stood with us since our family went bankrupt.”
Michelle’s step halted as she heard those words. She’d just realized that Mr Richmond knew about their family situation yet when he’d asked her why she hadn’t paid for the excursion, she’d lied to him.
“What’s wrong?” Amy asked with concern.
“I just realized something which is so not good.”
“What’s it?” Michelle explained it to her. “That isn’t good. What will he think about you?”
“I don’t know. I just don’t know,” Michelle said sadly.
“There’s nothing you can do anymore. It’s no use crying over spilt milk. The deed has been done,” Amy said. Then she led Michelle back to her abandoned seat. Michelle shook her head sadly. She willingly allowed herself to be led by Amy.
Nicola silently asked what’s wrong but she received silence as an answer.
“… I’ll like to say a big thank you to him. He’s been a long, great support and I’m sure that this isn’t going to be my gift to him but I believe he’ll appreciate this,” Mrs O’Connor rounded up with a smile pasted on her face.
A round of applause echoed around the auditorium as Mrs O’Connor stepped down the podium.
Mrs O’Connor’s last words left unanswered questions in everyone’s minds but it seemed like a question without an answer so everyone disregarded it.
The reception held in the school auditorium and it was a wonderful one.
Every student left for his/her home with satisfied smiles on their faces and only one thought in mind—exams!
To be continued…