Originally posted on: 2/25/2005
This is a story I wrote for Nikki. It was her birthday yesterday. I hope she likes it. :) I haven’t been writing much and I think that my writing skills are still, well, kinda raw. Comments will be appreciated :)
Amanda was writing a letter to her dear friend Jasmine. She hasn’t seen her since third grade. They have only been corresponding through letters ever since Amanda’s family has been travelling all over the world. Amanda’s parents are missionaries and so they have been traveling for a while until they got to Manila, where they seemed to be staying on a more long term basis.
It’s Jasmine’s birthday in two weeks time and Amanda wanted to surprise her friend by making sure that her letter would reach California by that time. In this day and age where e-mail and instant messaging have become the easiest way to communicate over long distances, Amanda still preferred to send and receive hand written letters. Jasmine was fine either way but to Amanda, nothing was more personal than a handwritten letter. She believes that everything that a person would like to say to someone could easily be read in handwritten letters. She remembered one of the times that Jasmine actually sent her a Christmas card. It was a year ago. Jasmine went into a bookstore and saw a cute drawing of a Christmas tree. Because she wanted to do something special that year (as she wrote Amanda), she decided to make homemade Christmas cards for her family and friends. The card came late because it was almost new year when it reached Amanda but she saw the effort that Jasmine put into the card. It was made of a red board and on the cover was a Christmas tree made with glitter glue. The bells and other decoration on the glitter glue Christmas tree were made of small circles of various colored paper, a bit of ribbon and the star was made of a glossy silver paper. Inside was the message: “Merry Christmas, Amanda! I will only probably make only one Christmas card for each of you, ever! I just wanted to do something special for you. It was tough and there were so many of you. I hope this gets to you in time for Christmas or I will hunt down the postman who has delivered it too late. I hope you like it and you better! I am only making it this year, ok? Remember that. And keep this because I might be famous one day and you have a proof that you knew me even before I became a star! xxxooo Jasmine” (and there was a small drawing of her face underneath the name). Amanda kept it in her box of memories which was hidden in her cabinet. She knew that Jasmine didn’t really want to show her affections for her love ones in an overly demonstrative manner that is why she had that haughty tone in her note within the card. And it was quite obvious to Amanda that Jasmine has not forgotten her vow to herself that she will be famous one day - either as an actress or a writer.
They have been corresponding over the years. They talked about the differences between the schools that they attended, the pets they had, what they got for their birthdays, the holidays that they celebrated, their favorite teachers, their most dreaded homeworks and projects and so many other things. Archives of their correspondences, mundane and profound, have been kept. They both had online journals but they didn’t really write everything that they thought and felt there. They didn’t really feel comfortable talking about some things on their journals. And those things are usually what their correspondences contain.
Lately, however, Jasmine seemed to be so busy, having no updates on her blog. At the same time, Amanda was active in the school newspaper. She was a features writer for her school paper and so she hasn’t the time to e-mail her dear friend Jasmine. They get to chat a little, when they are both online. High school life gave them too many activities in their respective schools. Amanda sighed. It’s been two weeks since they e-mailed and talked. It was vacation time for Jasmine, actually so she was expecting her friend to be online more often and to reply to her e-mails. Amanda thought, “Oh well. Maybe she was not at home because she was on a road trip with her friends in California.”
Amanda folded the stationery where she wrote her letter to Jasmine. She inserted a bookmark she made: several pieces of pressed flowers on a 2.5 cm by 6 cm pink colored board. She knows that Jasmine loved flowers. After that, she got the stationery’s matching envelope and sealed it with stickers of a floral design.
It was 3:30 pm on Amanda’s desk clock. She had to go to the post office to send it to California. After that she has to go home immediately because her mom told her that they have a visitor and that everyone had to be at home by 4 pm. Good thing that the post office wasn’t so far from their house. It was just two blocks away so she could still take her time and leisurely walk there. After all, what could be more important than for her to send her birthday greetings to her “bestest” friend in the whole world? Amanda had a smile on her lips, thinking about how happy her friend would be upon receiving that letter and the bookmark she made. Then an amusing thought entered her mind: maybe Jasmine would actually respond by sending her an actual handwritten letter instead of e-mail! Then again, Amanda knew her friend better than that. Jasmine will probably beg her parents to allow herself to call Amanda in Manila. Jasmine was always hyper and ecstatic when she receives surprises.
Dropping the letter off to the post office was a quick trip and Amanda took her time walking home. She thought of what other things she might write Jasmine the next time that she sends a handwritten letter. Maybe she will send a picture of herself with the entire staff of the student paper the next time she writes.
Amanda got home and saw that her mom was slicing some banana bread. She helped her mom prepare the orange juice and set the table in the dining area of their house. Then the doorbell rang.
Amanda told her mom, “I will answer the door, Mom!” And she ran to the front door.
Upon opening the door, Amanda squealed with delight and she found herself being hugged and pinched by a teen-age girl with really long red hair and amazingly grey eyes. It was Jasmine, her friend from California! Girlish shrieks reverberated in the entire house. There were so many things they were saying simultaneously.
“Oooh! It’s been such a long time!”
“Since when have you gotten here?”
“You cut your hair short, Amanda! But it looks great!”
“It’s sooo wonderful to see you again!”
“I know! It’s been so long ago since we last saw each other.”
And Amanda saw that Jasmine had her mom with her standing right behind them. She was grinning. “We wanted to surprise you, Amanda. Jasmine almost wasn’t able to keep it a surprise that we’d be here.”
Then Amanda’s mom was suddenly by the front door as well. She made sure that they all went inside. The mothers were sitting side by side and their daughters were happily chatting across them.
Amanda told Jasmine her concerns. “You know, I already thought you were on a road trip with your friends from California!”
Jasmine laughed. “Really? You think so?” She giggled. “It was hard for me to not tell you! Everytime I saw you were online, I wanted to tell you. That is why I didn’t e-mail you and didn’t use the instant messenger!”
Amanda stuck out her tongue. “You were mean! Nothing at all from you.”
“But if I talked to you online, I wouldn’t have been able to keep this visit a secret.”
“I know.” They both grinned. “So how long are you staying here?”
Jasmine looked at her mom. “Three weeks, right, mom?” Her mom nodded. “I will actually spend my birthday here! This is mom and dad’s gift to me.”
They both shrieked with delight. Amanda hugged her friend. “This is great! I can bake you a cake and show you around the city.”
Jasmine smiled. “Uh huh. Definitely. Ain’t it great?”
Then Amanda remembered something. “Oh no! I already sent you my present!”
Jasmine raised her eyebrow. “You have?” Then they both bursted out laughing. “Well, we got to get take it back!”
And so the two girls had a long talk as to how they were going to the post office to the post office and try to retrieve the letter that Amanda wrote for Jasmine.