Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Guilt Indebted

Prompt: “I got the last ticket.”

She carefully wrapped it in gold and silver paper.  All her savings had gone into it.  It was the very last one.

The next day, she went to school as usual, waiting until the end of the day to approach her best friend, Edna.

“I got you something as an early present.”

“Really?  What’d you get me?!”

Edna was the type of girl who had everything.  It was hard to surprise her with anything, so Lily really hoped that this would do it.

“Why don’t you open it, silly!”

Edna laughed, “Alright then.”

As Edna peeled back the gold and silver wrapping, her eyes grew wide, the smile vanishing, replaced with shock.

“How?” breathed Edna.

“I got the last ticket.”

Edna threw her arms around her friend, “Oh Lily!  This is the best thing in the world!  You’re amazing!  Did you know my family tried to buy tickets, but there were only three left from the place they were buying from?  I’m so glad I get to go with them!”

April 10, 1912

Lily went to the pier with hundreds of other spectators to see their friends and family off.  She waved and screamed with thousands of other even though she knew that Edna couldn’t see her.  She was so happy that she had been able to afford the chance to give her best friend such a momentous opportunity.

Inside, she was envious of Edna, but she knew she would never fit in with the rich folk.  That’s why she had been so surprised when Edna wanted to be her friend.  But their friendship blossomed over the years and they became inseparable.

Edna had a kind heart and gentle soul.  She never wanted Lily to go without nor did she want Lily to miss out on all the fun that her fellow classmates could afford.  You see, Lily was from the poorest of the poor.  Her parents could barely feed and clothe her, let alone send her to school.  Lily had met Edna in first grade and by third grade, they were up to all kinds of mischief.  That’s when the money ran out.  Lily’s parents wanted to pull her out of school, force her to get a job to support the family, but Edna stepped in.  Edna told Lily’s parents that she could not stand by and watch as their family suffered.  Edna promised that from that day on they would never have to worry about food on the table, or whether they could afford to purchase new clothes to survive the coming winter, or to send Lily to school.  Edna vowed that she would take care of them, not out of pity, but out of the belief that everyone deserved this basic kindness.

All this time, Lily had saved up, hoping one day she could repay her friend with a gift worthy of everything she had done for her.

Lily smiled.  This had been Edna’s dream ever since it had been announced to the public and Lily was happy she had been able to give something back to the best friend who had given her everything.

Then came the news.  April 15, 1912.  The whole neighbourhood was abuzz.  How could the unsinkable sink?

And all Lily could think was that she sent her only friend to her death.  How could fate be so cruel?

So Lily lived on, never knowing whether her friend had lived or died at sea.  Only in Heaven did she finally learn the truth.

 

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