It's the first day of grade school and I eagerly call for Edna, my best friend since I moved to the Philippines. We live right beside each other and ride the same car, but in the confusion of crying kids and crooning parents, she disappeared into the crowd.
I'll see her later, I thought. Maybe she went inside already.
Edna and I are very different. She's a Filipino. She has brown skin and black eyes and straight hair. I'm American with light skin and blue eyes and wavy hair. Edna's always been a shy and quiet girl, and if I didn't knock on the door of her house, I doubt she'd have any friends.
Oh! There she is, with other people like me. Light skin and eyes, colored hair. Come to think of it, so is everyone else in my class.
I sneaked up on the group, glad to see that she was making friends on her own. But as I neared the group, Edna suddenly ran away, her head in her hands. I straightened, surprised. Why is she crying? The group turned around and talked with me. Here I met Leyla, Mabel and Jessie. They were really nice to me and before I knew it, we were laughing and joking and playing hide and seek.
The first bell rang and we entered the classroom. I saw Edna in one corner of the classroom and waved to her.
"Caroline!" called Leyla. "Sit over here!" I waved at her and dumped my bag on the offered chair. Before I could go over to check on Edna, Teacher Millie came in. I sat down quickly, offered a sorry smile towards Edna, hoping she'd understand, and gave the teacher my attention.
The day passed quickly and I fell asleep the minute we were in the car. The whole week passed like that first day: Edna and I in the car, getting separated in school, me sleeping in the car, then not seeing each other until the next morning.
Finally, Saturday came. Edna came over and we played princess. Jessie, Mabel and Leyla arrived later on.
"Why is she here?" asked Jessie arrogantly.
"Of course, she's our servant, what else?" answered Mabel, pushing Edna and taking the throne. "Get me a glass of juice," she ordered, very much like a princess. And the way Edna answered was really like a servant: she bowed her head and did as she was told. I laughed while watching this and also called for cookies.
We played many games after that, and then I noticed that Edna seemed very sad. She tripped over a rock when Leyla called for her, and accidentally spilled milk on the sandcastle that Mabel was building.
"Hey!" screeched Mabel. She stood up and saw her that her dress was also wet. She started crying and shouted "How can someone like you be Caroline's friend?"
Leyla and Jessie ran to her, trying to comfort her, whispering and throwing bad looks in Edna's direction. Finally, they went to me and complained.
I told Leyla, Jessie and Mabel that if they didn't treat her like a servant in the first place, this wouldn't have happened. They said that all Filipinos were servants, and that's how they should be treated.
"That's not true! Edna is my friend, and if you don't treat her like one, you're not my friends anymore," I told them angrily.
They gasped. "You're friends with a Filipino?" asked Jessie.
"What's wrong with that?" I answered back.
They looked at each other and back at me. "We want to stay friends with you, Caroline," said Jessie. "If that means accepting Edna, then we'll try. But first she has to pass a test."
"Make her climb up that mango tree and give us a yellow mango each," said Leyla.
"Anyone can do it," ended Mabel, shrugging. "Deal?"
I agreed, but Edna violently shook her head when I told her about it.
"My lolo - grandfather - says that mango tree is the home of a duwende, a dwarf. We should leave it alone because it might go after us." She said. I argued, saying that she would get more friends if she did this. When she shook her head again, I asked her to do it for me. At this, she stiffened and told my mom that she had to leave.
She didn't mind me the next day. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months. My friendship with Leyla and the others grew on the dislike I was now feeling towards Edna. Why did she brush me off that way?
Summer came and Leyla, Jessie, Mabel and I were cooling off under the mango tree. We decided to play jungle and climbed up, happily jumping, pushing, and pulling the branches. I saw Edna looking at us from her window, very much concerned. The others saw her too and started making jokes. But Edna didn't mind them. She was looking at my silent face.
Fine, Edna, fine. I'll go down. Happy?
I jumped down to the next branch, and my foot got caught. Struggling to get it loose, the branch I was holding on snapped, and Mabel fell to the ground as I dangled dangerously with one foot stuck. Jessie stared, then started screaming, while Leyla ran to the house calling for somebody, anybody!
Suddenly, Edna was there.
Calmly, she unhooked my hands from the stingy branch and let me hold on to her. She bent down and carefully untwisted my foot.
"Shh, Caroline," she purred, like a cat, "It's okay, don't cry."
I sniffed, feeling the pain of my ankle and trying not to scream.
I held onto her back as she climbed down. She sat me on the grass and went back up. Mama suddenly covered my vision and asked how I was doing.
Edna returned and untangled herself from them now quiet Jessie. She went over to me, saw that I was okay except for the ankle.
She handed me 4 very round and yellow mangoes. "Get well soon. I told you that tree is dangerous." Then, she walked away.
The next morning, I looked through my window and saw a moving truck in front of Edna's house. I tried to run, but my ankle really hurt! I swallowed my scream, trying to walk as fast as possible, but when I finally reached our front door, they were gone.
Mama was there. She had been friends with Edna's mom and had said goodbye. She hugged me.
"Edna says sorry, and she forgives you. She says don't cry and have fun with your friends."
But… Edna is my friend. Not Jessie. Not Leyla. Not Mabel.
Why? Why did she leave so suddenly?
"Edna!!!" I screamed. Mama hugged me tighter as tears flowed down my cheeks. "Edna!"
"Come back, please." I whispered.
Thanks for reading this! Please help me: Is this an okay story for 5-8 year olds? Thank you. :)