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As I opened the the door I felt the warm air just spray like mist all across my face. I had just entered the “help group,” led by the support group teacher. She told us to call her the “happiness helper.” God, I already wanted to shoot myself. It was a group where you were supposed to come and tell other depressed kids about your depressing life. It was one of those kinds of things where people are supposed to feel deeply sorry for you when really they are just asking themselves is this over yet?

I sat down in the circle or should I say square-shaped thing and listened for about a half and hour about people’s lives. I felt sorry for them. They all seemed like their lives were just dull all the time.

Finally the group reached me and I began.

“Hi my name is Dani Pike. I’m 16 years old and my life sucks.” That was my grand opening sentence. Funny, right?

“I spend most of my days in what some of you might call a living hell, high school. It was March 4th when I started school. I thought that day of high school was going to be an average day of bad cafeteria food and homework but something changed for me and I was glad it did.  My first class was Math so I grabbed my binder and books and headed up the stairs to my class.  I sat down at the table in the corner by myself. I know it seems sad but I learned to deal with it over the years.”

I looked around the room at the support group. Blank faces stared at me.

“No just continue on with your story,” said the “happiness helper”.

"Okay where was I?” I said, and began my story again.

“THUMP went the door as my math teacher shut it.”

“My class is an environment of learning,” said my math teacher, Mr.Crow. “It is not a place of socializing or instachatting.”

“After that I remembered hearing a faint laugh in the class,” I said to the support group.

“We will begin with turning in with homework review,” he said.

“I unclipped my binder and set it next to me on the floor. I looked around and then again. I was one out of five kids who actually did the homework. The other twenty three were just too busy ‘instachatting’”.

“Dani, nice job,” said Mr.Crow as I handed him my paper.

“Thanks.” I said quietly.

“You know you should really consider doing some sort of mathletes or something.”

“Um well I’ll think about it, I told him. When really all the thinking I was doing was mathletes, really? That’s the last thing I need right now. Lets just say I’m not the popular kind. I’m not gross or mean but I just kinda have my own kind of me I guess.”

“Now this may seem good, like, oh that girl is so unique, but I was really nothing but the girl who sat in the corner and got A+ on everything. What? I had a lot of time on my hands considering the fact that my friends consisted of my pet dog, my 12 year-old neighbor and my mom. But that day that list of people got a little bigger. I saw the door begin to open slowly.

“Umm, hi” said a girl who I had never seen before walk in. She was tall and had beautiful dark brown hair.

“Oh hello….. oh yes everyone this is Norah Madison. She is new here at South Webster High.  She is joining us for the rest of the school year,” said Mr. Crow.  

“Hi,” said everyone in the math class in a slow muttered voice.

“Why don’t you go sit next to Dani over here?” Mr. Crow said.

I felt a rush of excitement rush through my body.

“Hi,” she whispered as she sat down.

“Hi I’m Dani.”

“I’m Norah.” .

“So, new school, huh?” I asked.

“Yeah. Not really a big deal. I’m used to it,” she said.

“Oh” I said, surprised. There was a pause in our conversation where we both wondered what to say.

“So what exactly are we doing right now?” she asked.

“We were just about to do book work, so, here, we can share,” I said. The rest of the class went great and I had a happy feeling inside of me that I wished I had all the time.

Glop went the gravy as Ms. Cartwell scooped it onto our lunch trays. She was a short little woman with long curly grey hair that seemed to just continue on forever.  She was always smiling, but I didn’t understand why being a lunch lady made her so content.

“So whats for lunch today?” asked Nora.

“Um, well, it looks like cardboard with a side of green crayons to me,” I said as we sat down at the small circular table.

“Ouch my tooth,” said Nora as she attempted to take a bite out of her so called turkey patty.

“Oh, you think this is bad food? Just wait until you find a long strand of curly grey hair in your mashed potatoes,” I said.

“I sure do look forward to it.”

The rest of the day and week went perfectly. I was finally happy to wake up at 6:00 in the morning and have something to look forward to. The next few months passed by with movies and games. We even went to a few parties. Everything seemed to be going well but what I didn’t know was that something was going to change, and soon.

“Rrriiinngg” went the phone.

I groaned but managed to get out of bed and pick it up.

“Hello this is Summerville County police station,” said a deep strong voice.

“Oh, um, hello this is Danielle Pike,“ I said, seeming confused on why the police had been calling me so early in the morning.

“We are investigating the disappearance of Norah Madison.  Her parents told us that you were a friend of hers. Do you have any knowledge about her whereabouts?”

After that I remembered a long pause in the conversation. The words just seemed to penetrate my ears. I didn’t believe him.

“No, I don’t, what do you mean disappearance?”

“Well she went missing last night  at approximately 10:30 pm. We do not have that much information on the incident yet we believe it has something to do with her parents getting a divorce.  We are so sorry and will notify you as soon as possible if anything is found.”

And all I remember after that was getting mad at the police officer for calling me and telling me that the best thing that ever happened to me had just disappeared. It had all happened so fast, I mean why would Norah just disappear? I asked myself that question everyday for the next three months. In those three months I began to get sadder, everything was going back to what it was like before. And because my parents were so worried about me I had to start taking anti-depressant pills.The truth was that I was worried about myself, but I was not going to let my friend, well, my only friend disappear and not do anything. So after those three months of nothing,I got up and began to put my life’s puzzle together again. I was going to find her.  After looking, researching, talking to so many people, I felt like the world was against me. Eventually I tried to get my life back on track. Then I started coming here. And even though I had that pain in my heart about losing that one person, I knew I had to take care of myself.

“Ok, well, thats the end of my story,” I said as I looked around the room of the support group.

“Great wonderful story and I'm so sorry,we are always here for you ” said the happiness helper.

“Thank you Ms. Garett,” I said.

“Oh please, call me the happiness helper.”

“Oh shut up” I mumbled quietly half hoping she heard.

“Ok, Joshua, you ready?” said Ms. Garrett.

Joshua began his story about his life and while I pretended to listen I saw the door to the conference room slowly open. And in stepped a person, a girl.

Joshua paused.

“Hi, my name is Nora,” she said.


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