Enjoy this touching story, titled Because of Grace, written by two of my good friends. +1 if you have a friend like Grace! Let me know in the comments if you like it. :)
She walked the same way she usually did, through the hallways to get to the front of the school where her mother waited. Andrea got into the car as her mom questioned her about her day. "How was school?” Andrea sat silently for a moment, opened her mouth and then closed it, like a fish in water. "Did you get bullied again?" her mom asked worriedly. There was a long pause. "Kind of." Andrea replied. Andrea looked out the car window and noticed the cruel, “popular” kids who tormented her nearly everyday. Andrea sat with a slight frown on her face but didn’t say a word until they got home.
As Andrea slowly trudged towards room 16 for 1 hour of detention, she thought of how dramatically her day had changed. She had awoken from a nightmare to find that in her mother’s absence, she had slept late and had to rush to school. Her multiple sidetracks, one being forgetting her homework, caused her to arrive almost two hours late. As she burst into the room she was met with unyielding stares from both teacher and students, and ended up receiving detention. Running her incredibly horrible morning over in her head, Andrea was glumly trudging and found herself intimidated by all the confident teenagers' stares in detention. She saw empty seats surrounding an extremely tall, lanky girl working on her homework, and decided that she looked friendly enough to sit near. The girl looked surprised as Andrea slowly pulled out a chair to sit next to her. She smiled, then said "Hi, I'm Gracelyn. Gracelyn McKay, but you can call me Grace." Andrea smiled and waved, which is the closest she has ever communicated with someone at school. Grace smiled and said, " I know you don’t talk in school. I’m in Mr. Badeau and Mrs. Amherst’s classes with you. Need help with the homework?” Andrea politely shook her head and pulled out a binder covered with pictures of cats. Grace jumped slightly in her chair and exclaimed loudly, “ I LOVE cats! I have two cats at home. Hey, I know, how about we hang out today after school; we can finish our homework and you can meet my cats!" Andrea contemplated this and thought this seems like an unusual way to start a relationship off but…, but decided to call her mom after school to tell her anyway. Taking a quick glance at Grace, Andrea decisively opened her binder, ripped out a piece of binder paper, and slid over a note that read: "Okay, we can meet at the front gate after school!" Grace picked up the note and bursted out,"Yay! This is great! My mom can pick us up! Hey do you want to sit next to each other at lunch?” Grace’s enthusiasm led Andrea to wonder if this girl was shunned like her but maybe that would bond them. Finally, Andrea looked down with a shy smile and nodded.
Months went by and ever since that first day, the girls clicked. Grace explained that she had a serious disease called osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that develops in teenagers, and despite this "disability", Grace was care-free and confident, which was something Andrea lacked. Andrea and Grace spent all their free time together working on Andrea’s confidence and voice until she had blossomed into a social butterfly. Grace’s charm and charisma rubbed off on Andrea and soon, she was speaking up in class and even won the annual speech contest. During the first few stages of the speech contest, Grace was always there to cheer Andrea on and when she received a standing ovation, nothing mattered but her best friend rooting for her. "Yay! Go Andrea!” Grace yelled from the crowd, louder than anyone else. A small tear of joy dripped from Andrea's eye; as she walked away from the stage, she thought to herself, I can't believe this just happened. Me, Andrea Trevelyan, talking in front of hundreds of people. I never thought this would be possible. Never in a million years. But it was.
Everything was perfect, Andrea was advancing through the competition with her best friend by her side to cheer her on. Grace, Andrea, and her mom were on their way to Sacramento when they stopped at a hospital. Andrea awoke as her mother pulled the brake in a parking spot. "What's going on?” Andrea groggily said as she tried opening her eyes from her nap. "It's nothing. I'm just taking Grace in to have a check up; stay in the car until we get back.” A few hours later, Andrea and turned impatient and walked to the room the doctor had put Grace in, discovering that Grace had to stay in the hospital. Andrea was speechless with many thoughts running through her mind and tears running down her face as her mother tried to comfort her. Will Grace die? she thought, scared to know the answer. Grace's mother came as soon as she could; the doctor and Grace's mother talked in private but had the door opened a crack. Andrea could only see their lips move but knew the truth when she saw Grace's mother fall to the ground crying. As Andrea’s mother held her tightly, the doctor came over and delivered the news, announcing that Grace had about 2 weeks to live because the osteosarcoma wasn't treated properly five years ago, it was progressing at a terrifying rate, and there was nothing he could do. "May I please visit Grace?”, Andrea choked out between her tears. Grace's face lit up as she saw Andrea. "Hi, Andrea!” she said with a large smile. Andrea couldn’t believe how positive Grace was; being optimistic at a time like this demonstrated Grace's strength and courage. They hugged each other as Andrea cried and as her sobs subsided to hiccups and whispered, “I can’t do it without you, I can’t be the person I've become.” Making sure she understood, Grace said, “ You have to go on for me so it will all mean something!” At first Andrea couldn’t bare the thought of leaving Grace but it was clear she couldn’t do anything here. “Wait for me...please.”, Andrea said as she walked out the doors.
After giving her emotion-filled speech, which earned her first place, Andrea rushed to the hospital to show Grace the exciting news. Upon seeing her run in, Grace’s mother bursted into tears and finally choked out "I'm so sorry…but Grace is in a better place now." Andrea started to bawl as Grace’s mom tried to comfort her. "I know, I know," she said trying to get her to listen, "but she was so tired and just knowing that you would be able to make it without her gave her the courage to let go. Trust me, I know this is hard but it will get better, it will."Months passed, and although Andrea would never forget Grace. She made new friends on the debate team, which was a new hobby she developed to live in Grace’s memory and keep true to what she taught her: to be confident and express herself. Andrea frequently found herself thinking, I lost the best, supportive friend anyone could ever have, but I got to experience her love, energy and inspiration. She would have wanted this.