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Everyone Can't Be Emma
To Be Like Belli continued...
Emma wanted to be like Belli. She was certain that ONLY then would her life have meaning and purpose. Only then would she have the kind of friends that she longed for, pretty, handsome, popular and skilled at many things.
She had done something pretty stupid. She had loaded pictures of Isabella Cunningham, only THE most popular 9th grader, into her Quick Load profile. The world seemed to open up like never before for her and Emma just knew it was because those viewing her profile didn’t know what she really looked like. Belli had found out, the township police had been notified of her “stalking” and her mom had made Emma load real pictures of herself into her profile with an explanation of her deception. Life was over for Emma, of that she was certain. Never again could she face those she had deceived. Never again would she go to school. She could not believe the world could be so cruel.
While her mom took a day to sort out the legal ramifications of her actions, and discuss things with her principal and guidance counselor, Emma had stayed home from school. It was a welcome reprieve.
Around lunchtime, Emma’s mom had called the house to check up on her. The phone just rang and rang and rang.
The scene at 202 Thrush Court was as if from some bizarre horror movie. Blood seemed to be everywhere, ambulances, police cars, and gawking neighbors lined the streets. Emma’s mom, Claire had crumpled in a heap at the sight of her daughter lying in the bathtub. Her wrists had been sliced, and she looked as though she was no longer of this world. Claire’s screams had brought Information Lady running. Sadly – that is what everyone called her. No one knew her real name. They only knew that if something was going on in the neighborhood, Information Lady would know what was going on, who did what, and when it happened.
Today, Information Lady saved the day. Because of her the emergency personnel had arrived on scene in record time. Because of her, Claire was now sitting up with a glass of water in her hand instead of lying sprawled across the doorway of the bathroom.
Within minutes, the EMS had Emma loaded onto a gurney – yes, she was still alive, although immediate action was needed to help her stay that way. It was a good thing that Claire had called home, had rushed home, and that help had arrived so quickly. These were all the good things. The unknown was still ahead, and it weighed heavily on Claire as the ambulance doors closed.
The house was quiet when Claire got back home. Someone had cleaned up the bathroom. That someone was probably Doris, who Claire had known since she moved in as Information Lady. Amazing what good things you find out about people in a time of crisis. Doris, it turns out always knew so much because she walked…all the time. And she observed.. Something she had learned from being married to the Chief of Police for years. Emergency Personnel respected her. Current Police Officers treated her as if she was a celebrity and the EMS workers knew when Doris said something was wrong, something was wrong. It was because of who she was that Emma was going to live. No one second guessed Doris, and because of that – help had arrived swiftly and with a vengeance. Claire would forever be grateful.
The past 24 hours had certainly been memorable. Between finding out that her beautiful daughter had thought so little of herself, that her only recourse was to pretend to be someone else, the legal issues that had arisen from those actions, and the scene she stumbled upon in her bathroom, Claire felt as though she had lived a thousand lives in just one short day. She made her way into Emma’s bedroom, seeking some comfort, maybe a pillow of hers that held her scent that she could hold onto, anything to help her feel connected to her again.
Sitting on Emma’s bed, Claire’s gaze strayed across a picture on the dresser. It was a picture of Emma with her dad; their smiles looked out of place given the situation. Claire stared at the picture. Emma was so beautiful to her. Her long blonde hair had just the right natural highlights. She smiled, remembering the ladies at church that had accused her of dying Emma’s hair to get it that way. Emma also had been blessed with her dad’s beautiful blue eyes; a piercing light blue – a contradiction of words that truly described how beautiful they were. Sure, she was not tiny, not by any stretch of the imagination, but she played softball. If she was tiny, would she be able to hit the ball as hard as she did? Would batters tremble in fear whenever she hit the mound, if she was just a slight of a girl? Claire was proud of Emma. She was strong, she was beautiful and she was gifted. If only Emma could see what she saw. What so many people could see? It was times like these that she wished she still had her husband to rely on. God had taken him from them two years ago. It had been a difficult two years. Emma was always a daddy’s girl. It seemed to Claire that her smile had not been the same since he was gone. If only there was a way to bring that smile back.
Claire pulled out the banned computer from her closet and turned it on. That’s when she saw the Quick Load Profile that Emma had created, and the “ugly” pictures that Claire had made her upload. There was the little caption Claire had made Emma put on her profile, detailing her deception, and apologizing to all her “friends”. And there were the 192 responses below that. Row after row of positive comments. So many people asking Emma why she posted that other girl’s pictures when she was so much prettier. So many people telling her daughter just how beautiful she was. Sadly, there were a few negative comments. There was one from Greg, the young man who had befriended Emma, who had spent hours talking to her on the phone, who had wanted to SKYPE. Who now thought Emma was scum, and didn't hesitate to voice that loudly and clearly. But they were few and far between. Could this be true…that these young people thought more of Emma than she thought? Claire printed out as many comments as she could before the printer ink ran out. She was determined to show Emma what she had found as soon as she could.
Bright and early the next day, she received a call back from the lawyer. It seems that there had been no “rules” broken. The young cop that had threatened stalking charges had obviously not done his homework. Emma did not say she was Belli, she had just posted pictures as herself. There would be no stalking charges, in fact, there were to be no charges filed at all. True, there were still going to be repercussions at school. What Emma had done was not smart; a bit creepy, and definitely wrong, but not illegal. In fact, the lawyer went on to state that if Claire was interested in pressing charges against the youth that had been hitting and harassing Emma, she would be glad to represent her. Things definitely seemed lighter and brighter this morning.
Arriving at the hospital well armed with what she had discovered, Claire was glad to see Emma sitting up in bed with a sheepish smile on her face. The room was flooded with gifts, cards and flowers. There were three teenage girls that were just on the verge of leaving. All this within a few short hours… It was overwhelming!
Claire sat on the bed and hugged her daughter. Within minutes, she was showing her the many responses she had gotten to her “real” pictures. They were so deeply engrossed in reading, that they barely heard the footsteps of someone approaching until they saw Brent standing there with a bouquet of daisies. This could get interesting thought Claire, as she saw the light in her daughter’s eyes.
If this story touches you in any way, good or bad, please feel free to comment below. Your comments inspire me, encourage me, or help me to see the error of my ways and are always welcomed!