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Melody Makes A Friend

By: Jessica Sullivan

As the bell rang over the loud speaker, Melody cringed. It was a Tuesday and the school day had just ended. While she had always heard the excited chatter at the dismissal bell, she had never quite understood because unlike most of her classmates, the end of the day happened to be her least-favorite part. After the bell rang, it was time for Melody to make her way to Bus 44 where she would spend 45 minutes waiting anxiously until she could get off the dreaded school bus and finally be home.

Tuesday’s bus ride started out like all of the other days. Melody walked through the maze of bustling hallways and past the car rider lines until she made it through the set of double doors where the buses sat waiting. Bus 44 was always the third bus in line and Melody walked over and climbed the stairs. There was already a crowd, so she just took the first empty space she could find and sat down…

Mimi, the bus driver of Bus 44, had noticed one of her passengers all semester. The young, blonde girl always looked so sad and Mimi never noticed her talking to the other kids. This Tuesday though, Mimi noticed the other kids picking with Melody and pulling on her ponytail. Mimi decided not to say anything to Melody’s bullies because she was afraid it would embarrass the girl.

Melody could breathe again, her stop was nex, and in ten minutes she would be dropped off at her grandparents’ farm and would be free until the next day. She was the second to last to get off the bus each day and today had been an extraordinarily awful trip. All of a sudden Melody heard a soft southern drawl calling her name. She looked up, and it was Miss Mimi who was beckoning her to come sit at the front of the bus. Melody turned slowly to look at the popular girl who was always left at the end of the bus route with her. The older girl never picked on Melody, but Melody didn’t particularly want to be seen becoming friends with the bus driver either. That would be just asking to get made fun of. However, the girl had fallen asleep so Melody edged her way up and took the seat behind Miss Mimi.

When Melody sat down, Miss Mimi asked her why she always seemed so sad. “The kids all pick on me because I live on a farm with my grandparents and my clothes are always dirty or too small. We don’t get new clothes often in our house,” Melody answered.

Mimi thought for a minute and said, “Well, does this happen at school or just on the bus?”

Melody answered, “Only on the bus, all of my classmates know about my family. My grandpa came into the classroom during Career Week and told them about all of our animals and what I do every day to help out. They all thought that was pretty neat so none of them mess with me anymore. It is only when I get on the bus and am around the older kids who don’t know me. They think I look dirty and they say I am gross.”

“Well, I don’t think you are gross. Some people are not always nice and they don’t think about what they say, but your clothes are not what make you who you are. What do you like about yourself,” Miss Mimi asked.

“I like that I am nice to people, that I do well in school, and that I am good with animals. I already know what I want to do: I want to be a veterinarian when I grow up. I like that because I get lots of practice with all of the farm animals on the farm,” Melody said.

“I think any time people are being negative,” Miss Mimi, said, “you need to remember how great you are. Nobody can tell you otherwise. If you do well in school and treat people the right way, then you already have so much going for you. As far as being picked on while you are riding Bus 44, let me see what I can do to help.”

“CLAUDIA,” Mimi yelled to the girl in the back of the bus, “wake up and come up here.” Melody was mortified! She did not want they girl to see her making nice with the bus driver; this was going to be so embarrassing! The older girl sauntered sleepily toward the front of the bus as the red flush rose in Melody’s face.

“What’s up, Mom?” Claudia said. Melody was shocked. THAT’s why the cool girl was always the last one on the bus. Melody would have never guessed. “Have you met Melody?” Claudia said she hadn’t, so Mimi told Claudia about all of Melody’s animals.

“How many animals do you have?” Claudia asked Melody.

“Probably close to 200; we have cows, horses, goats, pigs, dogs, and we even have a few mules.”

“Could I come over sometime and help out,” Claudia asked. “I have always wanted to have animals, but my mom is allergic so we haven’t ever had any.”

“That would be lots of fun; I would really like that,” answered Melody.

After that Tuesday, Claudia started going to Melody’s house once a week, and she would even bring her friends sometime. Any time people picked on Melody, Claudia and her friends came to Melody’s defense. By the end of the semester, Melody even enjoyed the bus ride home because she had friends and they wanted to know about her. They were all nice to her, and now they understood why her clothes were sometimes messy. They no longer thought of her as gross.

From then on, Melody was always grateful to Miss Mimi, because she was nice to Melody and helped her out without embarrassing her in front of her classmates. Melody was also thankful that Miss Mimi took the time to notice she was having trouble and just needed a friend.