“Ok class. It’s Thanksgiving time and I want to know what you are all thankful for this year. Who would like to go first?”
Young Jeremiah stood up. Tall and gangly with OCD and ADHD he was often picked on by the “normal” kids.
“Mr. Bryer, I’m thankful for the girl with the purple hair.”
A few snickers resonated through the classroom.
“The. Girl. With. The purple hair. Who is the girl with the purple hair?”
“She used to be on my bus. We would sit three seats away from each other but she always said Good morning, the girl with the purple hair always said Good morning to me. And she would smile, the girl with the purple hair, she would smile right at me.”
“So she is a student here. Fabulous. What is her name?”
The rest of the class grew silent, awaiting to find out who this girl with purple hair was.
“I never knew her name. She was just the girl with the purple hair, the girl with the purple hair is who she was. She used to walk me to my locker in the morning, the girl with the purple hair used to walk with me. I miss her laugh.”
“So,” Mr. Bryer began slowly, “You miss her laugh. What happened to the girl with the purple hair did she move?”
“Yes. The girl with the purple hair has moved.”
“Well, where has she moved to?”
“She’s in heaven sir.”
“Heaven. Jeremiah who is the girl with the purple hair and how did she wind up in heaven?”
“I think she was an angel sir. See Amy and Lucy always laughed at her smile because her braces matched her hair. It made her sad. And Tommy dared to ask her out, the girl with the purple hair. And when she refused he spread rumors that she slept with him. And that made her upset. Then Michael and Briana got into a fight and Briana accused her of sleeping with him which deepened her sadness sir. And Tina and Callie wouldn’t let her on the cheer squad because she was a prude in their eyes. And I think that after her mother died from cancer and her father began raping her, the girl with the purple hair just needed a friend. No one here could be her friend. I tried, you see, to be the girl with the purple hair’s friend. But she couldn’t see that. She just wanted to fly sir. She said she wanted to fly away to somewhere where she would be loved.”
“Jeremiah,” Mr. Bryer said with concern, “Who is the girl with the purple hair?”
“She got very sad every day more and more and more and more. So she decided to fly to the heavens. She climbed to the top of the school sir and said she would be a bird and fly. I’m sorry she’s going to jump sir, the girl with the purple hair. But I’m thankful I knew her. I’ve always wanted to meet an angel.”
Mr. Bryer stood up quickly knocking his pleather chair to the ground. “Jeremiah. Has she or has she not jumped yet.”
Before Jeremiah could answer they heard the splat of the body on the pavement.
“Step away from the windows!” yelled Mr. Bryer. The students jumped to the windows. On the pavement laid the girl with the purple hair, blood pooling around her frail body.
“Stand back everyone!” yelled Mr. Bryer as he grabbed Jeremiah and ran out the door, down the corridor, down the steps to the front of the school.
“She was right here. What happened?” Mr. Bryer stood puzzled with Jeremiah’s arm to his chest. A small purple bird flew towards the clouds. Other than that there was nothing. Not even the wind.
“I told you Mr. Bryer. She wanted to be a bird to fly to heaven where she would be loved.”
They never found her body, the girl with the purple hair. They never knew her name. She was never reported missing. There were no records of her. Soon, all the teachers and the students wondered about the sound they heard. About the frail girl on the pavement who was there one second and not the next.
But Jeremiah knew the girl with the purple hair, and was thankful this year she found her way to a place where she would be loved.