"I am sorry, but your score is not high enough to get the passing grade,"
the calm, meaningful teachers’ voice echoed in Maia’s head as she
walked down the hallway. She knew it would come, yet she was not
prepared for it. Ashamed of the whole world, she walked with her head
down,her shoulders dropping. She held her books close to her chest as
if someone would steal themfrom her. No, it cannot be. She could not
have failed. She should not have!
She needed to get out of the building and get some fresh air. There
was nothing she could do now. It was over. Everything she dreamed
about and the wonderful career her parents wanted for her will never
happen. How was she going to explain this to them? How will they take
it? Theywere going to be so disappointed in her.
Once she was outside, she felt better. She went to the nearest bench
and sat down. A thousands of thoughts were going through her head at
the same time. Her boyfriend Ado has not called since their last fight.
She has not been herself ever since. Her mind kept going back to him,
and she was not able to concentrate on her books. Sitting there lost in
thoughts she did not notice when somebody sat next to her.
"Hey, is everything okay?" It was her friend Dino.
"No." It was all she could say, suppressing tears.
"What is wrong? Did you not pass the exam?"
She did not have to answer. It was obvious. Her bottom lip was
"Hey, it’s not that bad. I failed last year, too. But I did well this year." He
tried to comfort her.
"You don’t understand." She sniffed. "My brother has finished High
School in a record time. He is in college now. He is going to be a doctor.
And both of my parents have a college degree."
"So what? You don’t have to be like them," he got up on his feet.
"Can I drive you home?I have a car now. We can talk on our way home."
"No, thanks. I’ll take the bus."
"Well." He shrugged. "If you say so. See you later, then. And, don’t
worry, things will get better," he added.
Dino has always been there for her when she needed help. He was
someone she trusted, someone she could have dated. But she never
felt that way about him. He was just a friend.
"They won’t," she said to herself when he was gone, then took her
cell phone and dialed the very familiar number. A friendly, female voice
"Hi, is this Ado’s mom?"
"Yes, it is. Is that you, Maia?"
"Yes, this is I. Can I please speak to him?"
"He is not home right now. He went out to play basketball. Is
"I just needed to talk to him, thanks."
"What is wrong?"
She hung up the phone without answering. She had to see him right
now. He was the only one that could make her feel better. He will make
it all right for her, and they will forget about the argument they had last
week and make up. They always have. They could never be mad ateach
other for long time. Smiling she got up and walked to the bus that was
already waiting. Half an hour later Maia got off the bus at the station near
Ado’s house. There was a playground behind the Elementary School
where he usually played basketball. She saw him talking to the couple
of his friends. His team won and they were all excited. She recognized
his tall figure and hurried toward him. When he noticed her the
expression on his face changed.
"Hi," she breathed. "Can I to talk to you? In private?"
"About what?!" He frowned.
"All right." He moved to the side, away from his friends.
"I need your help." She whispered looking him into the eyes. "I failed
"What does that have to do with me?"
"I love you. Let’s run away and get married."
"What?! Are you crazy? You’re only sixteen years old. I can’t marry
"I don’t care. I love you. I failed in school because of you."
"Listen, Maia. I’m too old for you."
"I can’t go home. My parents will never understand." She was near
"That’s not my problem. We broke up last week, remember?"
"I didn’t mean to break up with you. Please forgive me."
"No. I’m glad you did. I’m seeing somebody else now."
"What?" She could not believe what she heard. "I thought you loved
"I liked you, but I’m not for you. You need to finish school and then find
a boyfriend." He finished and walked back to his friends.
Maia stood there in disbelief. He really meant what he said. He was
just having fun while she loved him with all her heart. She was so naive.
Her love for him has made her blind, and she could not see the reality.
Now her life was destroyed because of the love for a man that has never
loved her. How could she go home and look into her parent eyes again?
She has let them all down. No, she couldn’t go home. Her parents
would never forgive her.
* * *
"I wonder if she is home yet?" Dino said to himself as he was
passing by Maia’s house. She was really upset the last time he saw
her. Poor girl, she was probably going to be grounded for the rest of her
life. He was glad his mom was not like Maia’s parents. She still loved
him even when he messed up. There was always a second chance.
She often told him.
As he was nearing the Elementary school, where the guys usually
played basketball, he noticed a female walking on the parking lot. It was
Maia. What was she doing there? Where was she going?
He parked his car and opened the window to call her. But, she just
passed by him. She held her head straight up and did not notice him.
There was a determination in her steps, but her gaze seemed empty.
She reached the end of the parking lot and stepped on the side walk.
What was she doing? Was she running away? That would be the most
foolish thing to do.
A yellow taxi car that stopped by Maia confirmed his suspicions. She
quickly opened the back door and got in the car. The car continued. Dino
turned on his car and started following them. He was not going to let her
do anything thoughtless. He drove slowly trying to keep the distance, so
Maia could not recognize him. They were headed downtown. The traffic
was bad and it was hard to follow them. It was a crazy ride through the
small streets and the downtown crowd. Dino did not pay much attention
to the speed. All he wanted was not to lose them in the crowd.
Soon they approached the bridge over the Ohio river. There was a big
truck and a few other cars in front of him that were blocking the view. The
cars were stopping frequently. He stretched his neck out the windowto
see more, but without any luck. Frustrated he hit the steering wheel and
bit his lip in pain.
Hopelessly he sat back in his seat rolling his head. Then he noticed
a movement on the right side of the bridge. His body flinched in
surprise. Maia was kneeling down and putting her books on the ground.
Then she stood up, grabbed the rails and started climbing up. As he
realized what she was doing he hit the brakes so hard, his tires
squalled. He heard a loud crashing sound and felt his car being pushed
further. Another crash. Not paying attention he flipped over to the other
seat, opened the door and got out.
"No, Maia, don’t!" She was already on the top of the rails. She
hesitated for a moment and then jumped. He grabbed the rails and
started climbing up. But, it was too late. Her body wasalready flying
through the air. Dino felt he was being pulled down by a pair of strong
"You can’t save her, boy." the man was telling him.
He leaned his head against the cold metal and closed his eyes. She
was gone. She had made the worst decision in the world.
"You want to answer this?" somebody asked, handing him the cell
phone. It was Maia’s.
He looked at the screen that displayed the phone number and a word
"home". Somebody from home was calling her.
"I can’t." He closed his eyes. "Somebody call 911, please?"
The man who kept Dino from climbing up after Maia was already
speaking on the phone.
"Yes, I need to report an accident, multiple car accidents. And a... and a