By Tori Peck

~She lay there in the field with tall, golden grasses swaying enchantingly in the light wind around her. Watching the cotton candy clouds flying over her, she smiled. Filled with such warmth and happiness, she closed her eyes and knew that everything was perfect in the world...~

She sat on the swing, listening to the rain with her head resting gently on the chain, and opened her eyes. The rain was so beautiful, so delicate and serene in the middle of a world of enmity and empty promises. She was so cold, so confused... How could this have happened?

Swinging back and forth slowly, she thought of Angela. They had so much fun together...she just couldn't understand where Angela had gone, or why. It was so hard without a best friend.

She stood up, the swing wobbling from the sudden movement, and walked over to the slide. Climbing up the stairs and sitting down at the top, she remembered all the times Angela and she had on this playground. Every day after school, they would come just to hang out, to talk, when they snuck out that time and came here for hours. Why did Angela leave? She just couldn't understand why she would want to leave, and where she was going.

She got up again, restless, and walked over to the blacktop. Staring up into the sky with rain falling on her face, she smiled. Why was she smiling though, when her best friend was gone? How could she be happy?

"Don't cry..." Those were Angela's last words before she left.

She walked over to the basketball pole and stared at the slide... The dark shadows beneath it scared her. She liked it out in the rain, out where there was light... There's less pain in the light, less fear. Nothing can hurt you when you're in the sunlight, dancing in the rain...

~Angela! Why are you just lying there? Get up! Get up! You have to get up,
Angela! Please... Why are you bleeding? Please wake up Angela... I need
you!!! You said you would always be here when I need you... You said we
would be friends forever! You can't leave... Angela...~

On her knees, she was crying. What happened? Where is Angela? Why is she lying there, just... not moving? She can't be dead!!! Angela wouldn't do that!!!

Realizing Angela wasn't actually there, she stood up and slowly walked to the slide. She crawled underneath, into the shadows... where she could hide. The rain ceased to fall upon her, and she cried there. She must be dreaming, Angela is fine, she's just not here... that's all, Angela's fine...

The wind swirled the fallen leaves around her as she walked through the graveyard. A closed coffin lay under a tree, and the sunlight shining through the turning leaves gave the wood a dappled red look. Dressed all in black, she kneeled by the coffin. ~Let Angela be at rest, let her be happy wherever she is now...~ She hoped that Angela was ok now, that she was happy now that she was safe. Silently crying, she stood up and placed a single, white lily on the coffin.

Snow was gently falling toward the ground, and the world was completely white. Wrapping the cloak Angela had given her for her birthday around herself and shivering, she walked across the empty street and opened the grand gates. Winding her way through the cold, gray stone and the leafless trees, she found Angela. Kneeling down in the wet snow, she looked up at the frozen angel atop the gravestone. ~I miss you Angela...Please watch over me, and be happy... I'm sorry I couldn't give you that while you were with me...~ She looked down with teary eyes, stretching her hand out to touch the stone. Tracing the letters engraved in the stone, she realized that she needed to move on. She knew nothing would ever be the same; you just can't go back to the way things were...

~Angela Mason~
~April 27 1990 - September 7 2004~
~Never give up your hope, for there is always a light.~