Friendship in Winter

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Kaitlyn Sudolnik writes, I woke up to a gloomy, freezing winter morning, rubbed my eyes, and got dressed in my wool dress and cotton black tights.

I woke up to a gloomy, freezing winter morning, rubbed my eyes, and got dressed in my wool dress and cotton black tights. I crossed off December 20 th on my calendar. Today was the day of the school Christmas party and pageant, in which I play Mary. My best friend Hallie is part of the choir, and my other best friend Fiona plays a dancing angel. Three quarters of the fifth grade plays shepherds. That was why playing Mary, Joseph, Dancing Angels, and the Three Kings was such a privilege. The school choir would sing lots of songs. It was the most pretty and special occasion of the school year, as beautiful as a sheet of ice glittering in the moonlight.My mother drove me to school. I kissed her goodbye and went straight to my classroom.Mrs. Frolise gave me my costume when I got there, due to the pageant starting this morning. I went to try it on. “Oh, it’s so beautiful,” I whispered to myself as I slipped on the sky blue shepherdess robe, and placed the silver halo on my head. Hallie and Fiona followed me inside the bathroom. “Wow Kaitlyn,” they both said. “That costume is amazing.””I can’t wait to see you try on yours!” I replied. “Yours is as white as snow, Hal. And you have a trumpet.””Yeah, it’s nice. And Fiona’s is nice, too. What is your gift, Fiona?””I made some perfume out of rose petals and lavender,” Fiona answered. “I’m glad thatJohn won’t be keeping the gifts, because I don’t want him to drink my perfume. It’ll make him sick.””I brought a little girl praying. She’s made out of clay and wire for designs on her white dress. But I’m curious to find out whatHal brought for John-A. K. A. Jesus,” I said.”I brought some prayers that I wrote myself, and a little jug of goat’s milk that my Grandpa sent me from England.””Come on you two! Get dressed! I want to see your costumes!” I impatiently screeched.They went and changed into their costumes.”Oh my gosh, Hal! Your choir robe is exquisite! And your hairband! Does the whole choir wear those?””Yes,” she replied, and gave a little nod.I giggled. “Even the boys?” I laughed.”Yes, but the boys’ are more like head straps.”I quickly started to talk to Fiona. “Fiona, your halo! It’s prettier than a real angel’s! And your outfit is as silky as velvet. Your shoes; they look like they’re made out of diamonds!””We all look very nice,” Hallie added, then said: “My mom has to make sure John is asleep before showtime so he doesn’t mess up the scripts with his crying. My own baby brother… His first religious show!””Alright, girls. Time’s up,” yelled Mrs. Frolise. “Let the rest of the girls come and change. And Autumn, you need to wait for your Joseph-Xavier, I believe-to accompany you. You two may go and set up the stage and take your places. Showtime is at 9:30. It is 8:00.”Fiona, Hal and I said our goodbyes for now, and I waited for Xavier by our classroom. I told him to go change into his costume and grab his shepherd’s cane. After he changed we headed down to the gym side by side.When we got there, the PTO, Fiona, Fiona’s mom Kerry, Hallie, and Hallie’s mom Marylyn were busy at work. I helped them. Clouds on top, stable in the middle of the stage, manger in the stable. Fiona and the rest of the angels got to be attached to a rope that pulled them up. But some of them had fears of falling-including Fiona-but I figured she would get the hang of it. Lucky Fiona, I thought. At least I’m Mary, probably the most important person up there.Soon enough, all the rest of the audience-classes, teachers, and family-arrived, and we had the stage set up. Hallie, Fiona and I hid behind the curtain, waiting for show time, making jokes to pass the time. Then Hallie headed to her group, and the show began with all the lights glowing to represent the light of Jesus. John was placed in the manger by an angel, our friend Helen, that floated down with him. She placed him there as gently as a lamb and floated back up. Then it was time for Fiona to be attached to her rope. This part and the part that was coming-Fiona feared most. She stepped into the rope with a tremble and Mike, the Stage Director, pulled it tight, harnessed it in between her legs, and whispered to Fiona: “It’s alright, Fiona. Close your eyes if you need to. These ropes are as strong as Redwoods.” Then Fiona got pulled up. This process was undertaken by all the angels. When they were all up, Fiona was put in the middle.The choir began singing. I could see Hal closing her eyes and focusing on her vocal cords. Xavier and I walked onstage. We got into the praying position, sitting on our knees, palms pressed together. Mike spoke into the microphone from backstage. He told the story of Jesus being born.After he was done, the choir sang the rest of the songs. The songs were comforting. They sounded heavenly and peaceful.It had come time for me to lift up John and hand him to Fiona in the air. I did, carefully handling him so he wouldn’t wake. Fiona was lowered so she could take John. She took him and floated up with him. She had John in one hand, her trumpet in the other. She blew her trumpet while she flew in a circle, watching him every now and then to see if he had woken. I knew she must be dizzy, from fear and spinning.Then the choir sang a very special song, a song that we had been singing since preschool. Then Mike concluded the show. After the show was over, there were treats and lemonade in the hall. Hallie met up with Fiona and me. We said a lot about how the show went. Then we had our party in our homeroom. There were games and lots of treats. Everyone had a jolly time, the boys misbehaving once and a while. All the grown-ups were being chatterboxes, talking about everything there was to talk about. Confetti was scattered about the room, making look like a circus had just been there. After our celebration, Marylyn drove Fiona, Hal and I to Hal’s house. All of our sleepover gear was waiting there. The three of us were stunned.We stayed at the house while Marylyn went back to school to pick up John. Sister Momonolia was watching him. When they got back, I took John in my arms. He was still in his pageant outfit. He looked SO cute. I took him up to Hal’s room to change him into his pajamas with Hal’s help. While we were changing him, Hal commented, “Great job, Autumn. You did really well.””You, too!” I replied, a little jealous. “You got to sing! All I did was sit there.””But you handed him to Fiona! And you were Mary, the most important person in the pageant!” Just then, Fiona burst into the room.”You both did really well. I didn’t dread it too much-I got over it after a while.” She paused. “I came up here to tell you guys my great idea.””What is it?” Hal and I inquired.”We could make Christmas presents for eachother, from tonight to Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, we could meet up at my house at maybe 4:00 P. M. We could exchange gifts.””Yeah! That’s the most awesome idea we’ve had this Christmastime!” I yelled. “We could start working tonight.””And then,” Hal said, “after we get tired, we could hold hands in front of the Christmas tree, and sing carols.””Let’s start!” I said.We all had about a quarter of our Christmas presents done by the time for supper (I was making a twenty foot paper chain for Hal and an amethyst-crystal necklace for Fiona. I was going to add lots of d├ęcor to the paper chain so Hal wouldn’t feel left out). Marylyn had made us a surprising dinner-French toast with strawberries and maple syrup! “Wow!” we all exclaimed. “This is by far the best sleepover ever!”After supper we continued working on presents. They were all half done when we declared to paint our nails red and green. While we were painting, I saw a little bit of glitter sparkle where Hal had hid her presents. I wondered what it could be.After nail-painting we sang carols in front of the Christmas tree, as Hal had said. Our favorite carols to sing as a group were “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas,” and “Joy to the World.” Then we watched a movie that reminded all three of us that our friendship will never end. We knew that we were all safe and sound, in this cozy little home, on a wintery night, in our sleeping bags. We all fell asleep soundly knowing this.The next morning, we had breakfast Marylyn had made for us, blueberry pancakes. Then, we dressed in our delightfully warm clothes, boots, mittens, hats and scarves and grabbed our sleds. We took turns pulling eachother to the sledding hill. Frightful, but fun, we all got on one sled for the first run. I took an action picture on my digital as we were sliding down the slope. At the end of the run, we looked at the picture. It was hysterically funny, because Hal had snow in her face, Fiona’s eyes were scrunched closed, and my tongue was sticking straight out! We laughed for about an hour thinking about this. After a few more runs, we went back to Hal’s to work on presents.That afternoon, we caroled some of our school and church friends, singing all the carols we knew. We held electronic candles. Before we knew it, it was time to go back to Hal’s to eat supper and have family prayer. We did so, and had some more activities. These included crafts and playing in the front yard. Following this, we went to bed. The next morning, we got dressed. Hal crossed off December 22 on her calendar. For breakfast, Marylyn made us some eggs. That day went exactly how the last two days had gone-working on presents and stopping for meals. After lunch, Marylyn dropped all of us at our own houses. We said our goodbyes until the twenty fifth.When I got home, I worked on my presents for Hal and Fiona. It felt good to work on them without having to hide them at the same time. The presents I had bought or made for my family were already under the tree. Before I knew it, it was time to have dinner. I ate very fast and went back up to my room, of course, to work on presents. Following this, I showered, said my prayers, and went to bed.The next morning, I woke very early to work on presents. Then I went downstairs to have breakfast. It was a slower eating period today, because I was tired. I then, of course, went up to work on presents. They were almost finished! “Just think,” I said to myself, smiling and putting glitter glue on the paper chain. “We’ll exchange in two days. I wonder what they got me.” I paused, thinking about snow. “Oh, the weather!” I exclaimed. “I wonder what it’s like today!”I dashed to the front window. To my surprise, it was blacked out–I couldn’t see anything. “Autumn! Don’t open the door!” my mom screamed from behind me. “What hap-happened?” I asked with a tremble.” We’re snowed in,” my mom replied. “It’s going to be eight days before it starts to melt.””Starts to melt?” I said, about to cry. “Eigh-eight days?””Yes. That’s what the forecast said.”I choked. I fell to the ground. I began weeping hopelessly. My mom thought I had just had a heart attack. “Honey-Autumn! Autumn, talk to me!”Imagine. Imagine that you were snowed in for eight days–more. No food, no heat, probably no Santa Claus, no church-No friends!”I-er-I,” I tried to speak. “I-I can’t believe i-it. Eight days. No nothing. We’ll starve, mom. And all those families that must be snowed in,” I gulped, “And Fiona, and Hal, and us.” I wept some more.”Don’t worry about food,” she said. “A huge package of fresh meals came a couple days ago. We won’t starve, honey.”That made me feel a little better, but still, on I continued, “Us three won’t see eachother for a long time. ” We’re so stuck together, we can’t survive without eachother. I don’t know if I can handle it, Mom. I’ll be weeping the whole time I’m like this. And how is Santa going to get here? What about he Christmas service where I was assigned to sing at church? And no heat?”I couldn’t stop. My heart pained. My mom tried to comfort me, but it didn’t help a bit. That night I couldn’t sleep. I could not even close my eyes.The next morning, I asked my mom, “Can the mailman deliver letters?””No, honey. They’re snowed in too.””What about the package?””I told you that the package came before we got snowed in.”I started crying again.Instead of breakfast, my time was spent of my mom holding me in her arms.Two days passed like this-crying and carrying on miserably. Then I began feeling hot. My mom checked my temperature. I had a fever. My temperature was 101.96.Three more days passed. All this time was spent by me lying in bed and having chicken soup. It was so cold. “Which is why I got sick,” I thought. The next day, my mom came up to my room and claimed she had news. “It’s going to start melting today.” I grinned. And then laughed. And then ran and gave her a hug. That night, it melted so much that it was unbelievable. The next morning, I looked outside. It was only ten inches deep! I ran downstairs and yelled with joy. I did a little jig.After breakfast, my fever was gone. My mom drove me to Fiona’s to greet her. I got up to the doorstep and rang the bell. Mr. Andoreyit answered.”Hi!” I said, giving him a warm hug. “Where’s Fiona?” I tried to look over his shoulder.He blinked, then hoarsely whispered, “Autumn, the rest of my family is at the hospital.” He shut the door.Once again, I choked. And then wept. Soon my crying came to an end, and I thought, “I’ve got to tell Hal.”My mom and I did so. Marylyn couldn’t hesitate saying, “She can go with you.” So Hal came with us, and we went to Swedish Southwest Hospital.When we got there, the receptionist politely asked, “How may I help you?””We’re looking for Fiona Andoreyit’s room,” my mom replied.While the receptionist gave my mom the directions for Fiona’s cell, Hal and I were saying so many things like, “What does she have? How did she get it?” After my mom told us to come on, we went to Fiona’s room.We knocked. Fiona’s sister May answered. Little knowing what was about to be before our eyes, we walked in. In an instant I began crying at the sight. Hal was, too. 3 doctors were in the room, 2 working on Fiona, 1 looking at her heart and pulse rates and scribbling it down on her clipboard.And in the bed was Fiona. She had oxygen tubes up her nose and mouth, and she had a needle in her arm. Her eyes were shut miserably closed. “You can touch her if you like,” the doctor said to Hal and I. “She’s disinfected, so it’s safe.” That was a relief, but I still wept. As I felt her cold hand, I asked the doctor, “What does she have?””It’s called Naginfineti Perosis. It happens when you’ve been freezing for two days straight. It’s a rare disease, and her house was cold and not heated. For a code name it’s called ‘Out Cold.'”Poor Fiona. I asked if I could see her heart rate, and the doctor said, “39 per minute. Not good.”I hugged Hannah. I whispered in her ear, “Goodbye.”Before I knew it, Hal’s family and Mr. Andoreyit arrived. They looked like they were about to cry, too. We all stood around Fiona’s bed, mourning her. I held her hand. I mumbled comforting things in her ear. We knew that she was about to go, when the doctor screamed, “Heart rate 67 per minute! She could live!”I jumped with relief. Fiona still didn’t open her eyes, but she was breathing more lively. I put my ear to her chest. Her heart was pounding.All of us were hoping she would live. We wanted to hear her voice. She mumbled in her sleep. Then, just as we were about to give up hope, she moved the arm with the needle in it-and opened her eyes!”Fiona!” Hal and I screamed and hugged her. “You’re alive!””Y-yes I-I am,” she almost spoke. “You-you guys w-were here the whole time.””Yes!” we yelled and gave her another hug. “You were about to die. We hated seeing you like that. Do you feel better now?””I feel much better now that I can hear your voice,” she said. “I missed you guys so much. We missed our Christmas presents.”Out of the blue, I cried, “Try to get up!”She got out of bed. The nurse took the objects and tubes out of her nose and mouth. She stood up. She took one step, then another, and she walked to her parents. All the people in the room laughed with joy and relief. Fiona laughed, too, as she greeted her loved ones. After she could walk normally, we went out to lunch together, all of us, a table of eleven. We went to my house later to give eachother presents.Ever since that one horrible night, we’ve been closer to eachother. Even today we’re best friends, and it’s been six years-we’re in high school now! We became more appreciative, respectful, and kind. We know what it’s like to have a loved one about to die. And we will never forget it. Our friendship (I’m sure) will last until us, ourselves, die. And even today we have the photo of the first sledding run hung up in each of our rooms.P. S.-The disease “Naginfineti Perosis” is NOT real. It is a fake disease.

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