Isn’t it strange that pennies always seem to be around if you care enough to stop and notice them? Some people are like that too. David was a boy who never seemed to be around when needed. Once with tragic consequences. This is his story.
“David! Where are you? That boy is always getting himself into trouble. Disappearing when he is needed most. Figures he would be gone now too.”
David heard his mother talking, but he knew enough to know that he should stay right where he was, and see if his cousin would jump off her high horse and pick up her own stupid bags.
He wasn’t a bad kid; or even a lazy one. He just didn’t like being used, and that is exactly what he was. Used. Like a worn shoe or a well-traveled path. A life of people walking all over him until eventually he was replaced. Some people could grow accustomed to such a life, but it bothered him
Especially during moments like this, with his cousin. Everyone liked her more than they did him, and she certainly knew how to work them. At only 12 years old, he knew enough about women to know they were not worth as much as they cost. Particularly when what they are selling is smoke and mirrors.
He jumped out of the tree he had been hiding in. He didn’t know what he would do when they found his hideout. Probably what he had done when they found his old hideout. Get a whipping and find a new place.
His mother was talking to Sarah. Asking her about her trip. It was all a sham. Sarah knew what to say, and so she said it, but behind the scenes she was about as evil as they come.
“There you are David! Where have you been? We needed you to help bring Sarah’s bags in. You are never around when you are needed!”
“Sorry mom” David said. If it had been anyone else, David would have gladly helped out, but not her. The adults just didn’t understand. He went to his room. It wasn’t long before he heard a knock on his door. When he opened it, Sarah was standing there with a sneer on her lips.
“Hi David. It really is too bad that you are never around when people need you. Your parents will be even more annoyed with you, when they see how helpful I can be.”
“You? Helpful? As if you know the meaning of that word.” David said.
“Oh I know the meaning alright, and by the end of my visit, they’ll be talking about sending you to a boy’s home to learn some manners.” With that, she turned and walked off to the room she had taken over.
The room she was staying in had been his sister Emily’s. She died when she was four after falling in the creek that ran behind their house. Sarah had been there then too, she saw it happen. but by the time she got help it was too late.
David didn’t understand how she could stay in Emily’s room after that, but Sarah seemed to savor the experience. She never really had liked Emily much. Sarah never liked anyone, especially when they had something she wanted, but she was good at faking it.
“Time to eat.” His mom called out.
David slowly walked to the kitchen. There was no rush for this meal.
Sarah came shortly after. She was wearing a fancy dress, like it was an award banquet or something.
“You look pretty Sarah,” his mom said.
“I am so happy to be here. I feel like a princess with all of your kindness to me.”
It churned David’s stomach. He wasn’t even hungry anymore, but he managed to eat a roll and some carrots.
“After dinner you need to help with bringing some furniture in David. Sarah is going to be staying with us for a while.” His mom smiled at Sarah.
Weeks came and went, then months. The whole time Sarah worked his mom and dad. She toyed with them. Even David’s friends were falling for Sarah’s act, but David knew the real girl. She often followed him around the fields talking about how his mom would soon buy her a dress. How she had conned his dad into building her a tree house in the very tree that David used to hide out in. She had ruined that too.
She had secretly followed him there one time and when she saw him climbing up, she ran back to the house and convinced her aunt that she needed David’s help and he was gone again. Then she told where he had been hiding. David sure got whipped that day. The only reason Sarah wanted the tree house now was to rub it in David’s face.
David had tried telling his parents what she was really like, but no one believed him.
One day she started talking about the day Emily died. “I guess she could have held on to that branch if I had stretched it out to her. She did have a great room though, and I always had liked her doll. Have you ever watched someone who is dying? It is really very interesting. Eventually though, I had to go get help. She was almost dead anyway.”
David turned and vomited while Sarah laughed. “How could someone be that evil? To watch someone dying and only turn to get help when you know it’s too late,” he thought.
The next morning he headed out before the sun came up. He had to get away for a bit. He had to think. Later that day he climbed the ladder in the grain silo a little ways away. Getting as far away from her as possible was his plan. Unfortunately she found him and made her way up the ladder. There was a thin edge which David used to get to the other side of the silo. Of course, she tried following him, but as she made it across the ledge she almost tripped and fell. The loss of balance made her glance down, and although she recovered from her slip, she froze in fear at the height she had climbed to.
“Help me David,” she cried out “Please! I can’t move. I won’t be able to hold on. My legs are already shaking. Get some help! Hurry!”
He saw the panic in her face. Heard the desperation in her voice. She had been right. It was interesting to watch someone who is dying. It was a shame he was “never around” when people needed him. He could have quickly summoned help, or rescue her himself, if only he had been there. Now he would have to wait for a while, like she had done with Emily. They would wonder why she had climbed the silo, but sometimes people do strange things. She would be missed. Just not by him.