by Sophie Blake, aged 9
It was past 4 ‘o’ clock by the time we arrived. I was extremely tired but excited and that’s what kept me going. Mum told me we were starting a new adventure and I really believed her.
“Come on Jake!” Mum yelled as she found the key to the bright blue door to our new house and headed inside. Things had been difficult since dad left and I was looking forward to making new friends.
“Good evening!” a voice shouted loudly. Turning quickly I spotted a boy similar height to me with curly brown hair, a pale complexion and a friendly smile, standing by the garden gate.
“Hello,” I replied, “I didn’t see you there…. I’m Jake.”
“I’m William…. William Jones. Pleased to meet you,” the boy said holding out his hand.
That first day William and I spent a most fabulous evening in the park together and I could honestly say that even though I’d just met him, it felt like I’d known him a whole lifetime. Okay his clothes were a bit old-fashioned but I didn’t care and over the weeks that followed, we formed a great friendship. I’d never felt so happy and carefree and mum was relieved that I wasn’t moping around anymore. She was keen to meet William and on several occasions asked that I invite him to tea.
“Will you come around to my house one night?” I enquired, one hot and sunny day whilst we played cricket.
William’s expression changed and a look of uncertainty crept across his face.
“I…’ve … er… …. I’m busy at the moment. Another time yeah?” William replied rather hesitantly.
I couldn’t hide my disappointment but knew from past experience that not everyone liked visiting new people’s houses. A fear of using the wrong cutlery and slopping your food was always a worry for me and on several occasions had embarrassed myself with unfortunate mishaps.
We spent the humid afternoon tossing sticks into the nearby stream and chasing each other through the colourful fields.
By early evening, the gentle breeze was giving us some relief from the heat as we took a stroll past the village green and into the graveyard.
“Do we have to go through here?” William asked, almost scared at the thought of it.
“Come on, it’ll be great fun!” I exclaimed.
The smell of apple blossom filled my nostrils as I jogged up the mossy pathway. Varying shades of grey headstones were dotted amongst the overgrown grass. One in particular drew itself to me.
Here lies William Jones aged 12
Born 13th March 1943 – Died 5th December 1955
Beloved son of Katherine and Arthur
‘You will always be with us’
A feeling of confusion came over me as I turned and looked behind for my friend. All that stood there were the trees, gently swaying to and fro, the realisation dawning on me as I sank into the dry grass, my head in my hands, my heart heavy, my friend no more.