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Orange peel smiles and banana phone calls

04/09/12 5:00AM

 Mugdha Gurram, a seventh grade student at Brattleboro Area Middle School, says she is usually prompted to write a story after seeing a photo or video. "They remind me of something (or someone) from my life, or I imagine what it would be like to be in the main character's shoes. It's like living another life, through my writing."


            Laura loved fruits. She loved lots of things. Flowers, animals, television (especially cartoons). But she really loved fruits.  

            She loved giving orange peel smiles, especially for the camera that her mom would hover over her with. She loved to call her mom on her banana phone. They would play catch with apples.

            Laura grew up to be nine, ten, eleven. She still loved flowers, animals, and television. And she still loved fruits. But there were no longer any smiles or calls. That wasn't "cool" anymore.

            Nowadays when she grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl on their coffee table, she didn't beg her mom to play catch with her, like she used to. She simply ate it.

            Laura's mother missed her little girl. She still loved the girl who now gobbled a banana down in two seconds, but she missed the child who thought her mother was the coolest person ever.

            Laura's mother soon became weak with skin cancer. It devastated the whole family.  She soon became too sick to even leave the hospital.

            They brought stuffed animals, photos, home movies, anything they thought would make her happy. But she wasn't. She smiled weakly when they visited, but there was no twinkle in her eye. It overwhelmed Laura.

            This was her mother, her idol, the one who was always there for her. Lying in bed, slowly and painfully dying.

            In the hospital, one day, she sat by her mother's bedside, trying her hardest not to cry, home videos on the TV.

            The video playing was one of her calling her mother on a banana.

She looked back at her mother in present day, and she was smiling. A real smile. With a spark of emotion in her eyes.

            This excited Laura.

            She took an orange slice, stuffed it in her mouth, and smiled. Her mother was laughing! It was raspy, but it was a laugh.

            Her mom raised a trembling arm, and Laura gently placed a slice in her mom's mouth.

            Day after day they played these games. Every day until her mother died.

There were tears, lots of them. There was sadness and remorse.

            But there was comfort in fruits. In orange peel smiles and banana phone calls.


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