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The busy village crowded my path on the way to school. I see the flower shop opening and I think I’ll stop by later and get some flowers for my  mom. I see the school ahead and pick up my pace.  The bell is about to ring. I can’t be late again or Jonathan will be after me. “Slowpoke,” he’ll call me. He always turns everything I do into something bad! What can I do about living the farthest from school? Besides, I’m not one of those people who likes getting up in the morning. I’d rather be nocturnal. I made it before the bell...just. No Jonathan in sight.

On my way out of school I passed by the principal's office. The door was ajar and I heard Mr.Whittington say to a student, “I know you don’t have the best situation at home, but bullying is not the answer.” I recognized the student’s voice. It was Jonathan. I decided to scurry along before I was seen. On the way to the flower shop I started thinking, what could “not the best situation at home” mean?

I stepped into the flower shop. The sweet smell of flowers was calming and made me feel at home. The old lady at the counter noticed me and said, “Back again?”

“Yes, the flowers I got mom are beginning to wilt,” I replied. As I strolled out of the shop with my bouquet of purple tulips, something unsettled me. I saw Jonathan poking through crowd coming towards me. He knocked me to the ground, grabbed my flowers and said,

“Asking someone out or is it someone's birthday?”

“No!”I shouted, “They are for my mom!”

He didn't listen and chucked them across the street. It was hard to see through the crowd, but I could see several cars running over the flowers. When the dust settled, all I could see was a gathering of petals, stems, and paper. Jonathan, as if he saw a frightening monster, took off in panic. I couldn’t believe he had done this. He had done mean things in the past, but never this bad. As my black hair fell across my shoulders, I curled up in the ball and wept. Opal, the old lady from the flower shop, came out, helped me up and brought me to a tiny room in the back of the her shop. Opal sat me down at a table, gave me a warm cup of tea and sat down across from me.

“Maggie, I saw what Jonathan did to you, It isn’t the first he has done something like this. Before his parents divorced and his mom left, Jonathan was a sweet boy. He would often stop by to buy flowers for his mom just as you do. In fact, purple tulips were his mom’s favorite type of flower. When Jonathan’s mother left, his dad made him the scapegoat. When things went wrong for his dad he would lock Jonathan in his room or give him a beating. What’s worse is that in his Dad’s anger he broke off all contact with his x-wife. Jonathan hasn’t seen his mother in two years. Over time Jonathan slowly turned into the bully you see today.” So, that’s what Mr. Whittington meant by “not the best home situation”. After I calmed down, Opal gave me a new bouquet of purple tulips and I headed home. Mom probably wasn't home yet, and Dad's out of town on his work trip so I won't get in trouble if I'm home late.

When I got home Max was jumping everywhere, just being that excited yellow little fluff of happiness he usually is. I had a bit of homework to do, but I had a lot to think about too. I went to my room and sat down on my bed and waited. Max followed me the whole way. He put his head on my bed and sat their whining.

“Oh Max. I want to help out Jonathan in anyway I can, but I don't know how,” He just stared at me with his little golden retriever eyes and then I got an idea… “ Max!! you’re a genius! I'm sure if I get just a little bit more information I'll be able to help get Jonathan and his Mom back together! Then maybe we can put all this bullying behind us! I don't know if I'm a hundred percent ready to let go of what he No! what's done is done! It’s  in the past! And anyway, all's well that ends well. Let's see... tomorrow is a weekend so... Yes! That's exactly what I'll do!!” I heard the garage door opening and I snapped back to reality.

“Maggie, I’m home.” I could hear my Mom’s voice echoing up the stairs and into my room. I went downstairs for dinner.

“Oh, you know I love purple tulips,” Mom said,

“Maybe I’ll bring some into work. My friend Madeline really likes purple tulips.” I got a sneaking suspicion.

“Could Jonathan and Madeline be connected?” I whispered to myself.

“What did you say Maggie?”

“Oh, nothing. Hey Mom, does Madeline have any children?”

“Yes, she has a boy named Jonathan. Sadly, she hasn’t seen him in a few years.” My jaw dropped open. “Are you sure you are OK, Maggie? I sense something is wrong,” said Mom I slowly told my Mom the entire story of Jonathan, maybe not the entire story.

Mom paused. “I guess divorce can do many things to a kid and their parents. But I think I can help you. “

The next day I started in on our plan. I needed purple tulips and chocolates. Next, I had to find Jonathan and lure him to the special spot. I finally found Jonathan in the library. When you’re an easy target for a bully and you run away, they'll chase you. I never thought that I’d be able to use that bit of knowledge to my advantage.

Mom was supposed to take care of getting Madeline to the special spot. I was to take care of Jonathan as well as getting the gifts. In spite of my nickname, “Slowpoke”, I am quite a fast runner. I was really excited and had to set a pace so he could follow me. I ran into the park and dove behind the restroom building.  I stopped suddenly, turned on my heel, held my hand out, glared into the depths of Jonathan’s eyes and said, “STOP!” He came to a screeching halt!

“Listen,” I said In a strict yet kind voice, “I used to think that you would just bully me because you had nothing better to do. I knew there had to be a reason, but a part of me still thought it was just out of boredom.” My voice was softer now, it didn't sound so strict or direct. I ignored what my mother had told me. She told me what to say when I confronted him. She advised me to be quick and direct. However, I wanted to be friends after this. All fairy tales end with a happy ending. I wanted this school year to be like a fairy tale. I wanted it to end happily. I smiled at Jonathan and said, “Over the past few days, I learned about your parents divorce. I learned about how your father treats you. I learned, well I think I learned, the reason that you bully me.”

“Oh, shut up already! you know nothing!” snapped Jonathan.

“You're right. I don’t know anything.” This seemed to shock him quite a bit. “Or rather I didn't know anything and in a way I still don’t. I have a loving family. My parents are together and everything works out. I have no holes in my life, no issues that terribly affect me. However, I believe in love. There's someone here waiting for you,”  I said pointing around the corner of the building. “Please, take these flowers and chocolates and go out there. Even if your parents never get back together, you shouldn't have to suffer as much as you do.”

With that, I gave him the flowers and the chocolates and gave him a slight nudge. He still must have been processing what I said, because he didn't fight me. Instead, he looked around the corner and almost dropped the things I gave him. I heard a woman's excited voice call out, “Jonathan!?”

“ Mom?!”

“John,” this time the voice seemed closer. I decided to leave before i was spotted and this got awkward.

That night Dad came home from his work trip. We had a big dinner and everyone was very happy. The next day I was walking Max when we decided to pass through the park. I saw a tall beautiful blonde haired woman, wearing a light red dress, with yellow and white flowers sprinkled all over it like a flowery red cupcake sitting on a bench. There was someone sitting next to her, a boy around my age, with dirty blonde hair. He was wearing a white shirt and dark blue jeans. He waved at me and gave me a thumbs up. I could hear the lady next to him saying, “Is that a friend of yours?” And the boy replied, “yeah Mom.”

I just Smiled. I was happy to see Jonathan and his mother hanging out together. I hoped that we could be friends. And as if he heard my thoughts, the next day he came up to me after school and said, “I know this is ridiculous, especially after all the pain I caused you, but can we be friends?”

“I was hoping you'd say that,” I replied

Okay, so maybe it took a few more months then that, but still happened. And I'm happy it did!

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