She walks around schools with a smile on her face. That means she is happy right? Her life is perfect? She has got everything figured out? Well that morning when she woke up she heard the sound of her wood door creek open, it was her mom. Ella wondered why her mom was still home, she usually leaves for work at 3am and its now going on 5am. Ella’s mom closes the door quietly, sits on the end of her bed, grabs her hand tightly and with a soft quiet voice says, “honey I lost my job, and your father and I have been arguing a lot lately and he decided to pack all of his things and leave early this morning.” Ella was heart broken but did not show it. She asks her mom in a soft voice, ” are we going to be OK mom?” With a scratchy voice her mother replies, “with your father leaving and me losing my job I do not know how I am going to pay for our rent and your education…” Ella’s mom stops trying to keep her tears in, then continues. ” I am sorry sweetheart but today is going to have to be your last day of school for awhile, at least until I find a new job.” Holding in all her tears Ella says, : I understand mom” and continues to get ready for school. Her mother stops her, gently grabbing her face, her mother kisses her on the forehead and says, ” thank you for always staying my happy girl.” Saying not a word Ella just looks at her mother and smiles.
Ella arrives at school with a smile on her face like nothing that morning was said to her. She has a smile on her face though so everyone thinks she is fine. Well she is not fine. And I was the only one to notice. Ella does not wanna say anything to anyone because she does not know if she can hold back the tears and if she cries at school people will think she just wants attention. So she just does not say a word.
Everyone makes fun of her because she is too short and not pretty enough. They start to make rumors about her, but she is still perfectly fine right? I mean she is still smiling as everyone is saying these awful things, so of course shes fine. She walks in the halls not saying a word to anyone, getting pushed and shoved. She sits alone at lunch because everyone thinks she is too weird.
It is the end of the day and she gets off the bus realizing not one person knew that was he last day she would be at school because she had not talked to anyone about what happened that morning. Ella just kept that cheese smile on her face. I was the only one to notice. Walking home from the bus stop kids came up behind her and pushed her in a muddy puddle. Her coat and bag are ruined. Her white pants are brown her new shoes are garbage. They all run away laughing as she gets up and shouts “THAT WAS A GOOD ONE GUYS, DIDN’T SEE YA COMING.” and laughs as she still wears that cheese smile.
She gets home throws her soggy bag and coat on the floor, flings off her ruined shoes, runs to the bathroom, looks in the mirror and says, “I wish someone cared enough to ask.” Ella lifted up her hand slowly and brought it near her face and pulled. Looking through the small bathroom window I saw all the sadness she was feeling that she hid under that cheese smile. At that moment I knew what had to be done. All of a sudden Ella hears a knock at the door, she throws her happy mask on and answers the door. Standing on the other side of the door was me, Ella’s father.