Once I drew a picture... and I was happy.


Riley McGregor-Mann















The wind is blowing on my wet hair as I sit on the sandy rocks near the shoreline. My name is Diana Freeman and I have been givine an assignment. What that assignment is you may ask? To tell you my story of Sandal , my dearest friend, my dog.  This is my story.


“Mummy?” I asked as my mum walked in the house. I was seven years old. My mum had walked in with a red gash along her cheek.

”Mummy? What happened?”

“Nothing! Just go to your room!” She had yelled.

I listened that night to my mom screaming at her boyfriend on the phone. I heard everything. My mummy’s boyfriend had pulled a nife on her and had sliced her cheek. She kept saying “you’re my love darling, don’t be mad” but really he was not her love, he was just another type of alcohol, sitting on a shelf with all the others my mom drank. He was just a drug to make her forget dad. That night I drew a picture, a picture of the perfect family. There was my mom with no cuts or gashes on her face, my dad who was living and healthy, and of course me, happy and smiling. That family never came true. Ever since, my mom has had a cut on her cheek, a reminder of the picture I had drewn. That picture is still on my wall hanging there ripped and wet but still there .I am 16 and living in the same house with the same mother. No dad. All my mom has is booze and her stupid boyfriend. School has been hard and I had been getting C- on most of my papers. My girlfriend Ricka is busy with her latest boyfriend Kim, and Billy is apparently not interested in me anymore. I sat at a tree one afternoon gazing at the clouds when I heard a rustling in the bushes behind me. “Who’s there?” I asked nervous. I heard giggling and knew right away who it was.

“ Ricka! Get out of the bushes now!”

She laughed and stepped out.

               “I see you have been day dreaming about someone, but who I may ask, I don’t know.” She winked at me. Ricka’s blond hair blew in the wind and her skinny figure seemed even thinner than ever before.

               “Ricka, you need to start eating! This is not funny anymore, your going to starve yourself over a boy, pleas Ricka get your priorities right!”

“Oh relax Diana, look at you, your just as skinny!”

               “Not even close! Look I don’t want to even talk about this anymore, Kim’s pushing you way to much, you have been with him for like a year now, I mean when are you gonna dump him?”

“Never, he’s all mine and only mine!”

               “Oh god Ricka, your going to DIE if you don’t stop!”

“Let’s just stop this Diana, come, let’s go spy on the Robinsons!”

               “why do that when you could go swimming or chill out at the smoothie corner

 Ricka, there’s nothing rong with the Robinson’s,”

“Ya, besides being rich while our family’s are starving and doing rounda bout’s in the neighbourhood asking for money.”

               “Don’t be silly, we don’t do… what did you call them?... oh yes, rounda bout’s!”

               “but we will be soon if the supermarket shuts down, it’s just a matter of time.”

“Ricka, come and sit, if you look at the clouds you’ll see images in the sky, see, there’s a snacke!” I pointed to a curving line of clouds.

               “That’s what you have been doing all this time! Looking at snackes in the sky!”

“Yes, a matter of fact I have been”

               “OK, if that’s what you want to do but I’m going to call Kim and get him to pick me up ok?”

               “Sure, whatever” I mumbled back. She rolled her eyes and tiptoed away trying to avoid stepping her sneekers in the mud puddels. I left soon after and went home to find my mom drinking a bottle of booze on the porch and singing some song about cowboys and fat lion’s.

“Mummy, there is no drinking before 8:00, remember?!”

               “WHAT DID YOU SAY?!” She yelled way to loud.

“Oh, look at you, your pathetic, your drunk mummy, your drunk!”

               “What?!” She yelled very loudly. I could see parents stepping out of there homes and peering over, trying to find out who was yelling so loudly.

“Its that drunk mother again!” I heard one of the adults yell. There was a crowd starting to form around are porch and I could feel all the eyes boring into me. All of a sudden my mum stood up from the ground and sang even louder.

“Cute cowboys are in the place but the fat lion is taking them away, I am a super mom so I save the day! YAYAYAYAYAY!”

<< Oh god, this can’t be happening!>> I thought as my mom started singing even louder. All of a sudden there was a change in the crowd, there walking right in the middle was my good friend Ricka.

“Pardon me, ecscuse me Sir, pardon me” She said moving through the crowd. She stepped onto the porch and yelled as loud as possible…

“GO AWAY!” Then she grabbed my arm and pulled me right through the crowd and up the gravel road that led to the parking lot.

“ Come on let’s go to Maceys, she’s having a party at her place” She pulled me into her red pickup truck and turned on the engine.

“ I hate parties!” I said lying. The truth was I loved parties and partying was the only thing I could bring myself to do right then besides sleeping.

“Your such a bad liyer Diana!” Ricka said, wiping a tear from my cheek. She pulled out the car from the parking lot and started driving.

“You know your way to young to be driving” I said with a funny look on my face.

“Ya well, life is no fun if ya don’t do crazy stuff”

               “What do ya mean, crazy stuff?” I asked raising my ibrows.

“Oh you know… STUFF LIKE THIS!” She swerved the car onto the other lane so we were facing direct traffic.

               “Oh god Ricka, get back onto the right lane!” I screamed. She laughed and drived back into the other lane.

               “That is NOT funny!” I shouted at her.

“Cool it Diana, it was just a joke”

               “Well it wasent funny!”

“ok, relax, I won’t do it again.” She looked at me with puppy eyes.
               “Oh stop it!” I lauphed, forgetting that I was supposte to be mad. We drived the rest of the way in silence till we reached Maceys house. Macey was known for having great parties and the kids from all around the block would come to her house and have a good time. The house had toilet paper thrown all over it and tons of drunk teenagers were sleeping near the front door. We walked inside to find a full going party.

“Hey guys!” Macey yelled to us over the blasting music. She was wearing face makeup and wore a black dress with rips up the side.

“Come on, let’s dance!” Shouted Macey, pulling me and Ricka onto the temporary dance floor Macey had set up. There were sweaty body’s bumping us from every angle and I quickly lost hold of Ricka’s hand. I moved with everyone else enjoying the music till I got tired and needed a rest. I opened one of the windows and sliped out the back to get some fresh air. It was quiet in the street and you could hear the faint music in the backround. I felt a chill go down my spine and relized it was very cold outside. I needed some time to think about what had happened to my mom that day so I sat by one of the big trees in Maceys yard. Rapping my arms around myself for warmth. I thought about my dad. <<If he had seen what my mom had done today what would he do?>> I thought to myself. << He would take my mom to a sycoligist or something, right? Yes he would infact he would have never approved of me going to this party when my mom needs my help but then again, he wouldent approve about a lot of things I have been doing lately. Mmmm.) BARK! BARK! BARK! I heard coming from the other side of the tree. I looked around the tree only to find an old garbage can. BARK BARK! I heard it again. I reached over and opened the lid.

“Oh my!” I said to myself looking at the scruffy dog sitting in the pile of garbage. He was a kind of golden color but he had dirt all over him so it was hard to see, his hair was matted and one of his paws looked like it was broken.

“Hey little guy, how did you get in here?” I pulled him out of the can and sated him on my lap.

“You must be far from home I bet. Sorry but I really cant take you home… Mabey you could stay at old mister Workmen’s farm. He could take care of you for a couple days, I hope.” I knew mister Workmen would not like that and I quickly pushed the idea out of my head, I would have to leave the dog here, no space for a dog at home, I had my mom to deal with. Haps, there were plenty of stray dogs in my town and I couldent just go around taking them and dumping them at Workmen’s farm. I  walked back to the old window and climed back inside to join the party. I found Ricka hanging out with Kim her boyfriend, flirting and drinking punch.

“ Hello Kim” I nearly snareled as I came to stand beside Ricka. “ I see you have found your next target, starving her, are you.” Ricka turned and glared at me, giving me the evil eye. “I suppose after Ricka you’ll go for Olivia, after all she’s so SKINNY.” Kim clenched his mouth, I suppose a warning. I ignored him and continued. “It’s true you are handsome, to bad you turned out to be such a suck up” He moved forward looking mad. “your nose is a bit fat though, mabey take a bit of your own edvice sometime.” That just did it, he raised his fist and punched me in the stomach.

“Kim! Diana!” Ricka screamed. The music stoped and everyone stared at us.  Ricka looked at me angry and took Kim by the hand, dragging him away from the crowed. The music turned back on and they all went back to what they were doing, pertending nothing had happened. I recovered quickIy and snuck back outside to find the golden dog sitting there waiting for me passiontly. “Go away!” I screamed at it picking up a rock and throwing it in it’s derection. “go away and never come back!” The dog wined at ran away scared by my quick change of personalites. I watched it run, off into the night, regretting the outburst I had just had. <<I need a ride home>> I thought bewildered by everything that had just happened. Just then I noticed the figure that was standing behind me. Erick.

“Hey Diana, I’m guessing you need a ride”

“Ummm…. Ya I do, I do need a ride”

               “K well, I have a couple guys coming home with me so it will be tight”

“Tights fine by me”

               “Ok then well, were going to leave in about 5 or 10 minutes so you better get ready”

“Alright, thanks Erick”

               “Umm, Diana, what just happened out there?”

               “Well, I have some issues with Kim but it’s no big deal”

“Are you ok though, your not hurt are you?” I kept my back turned trying not to show the red stain that was seeping through my t-shirt.

               “Fine, where is your car?”

“Over there” He pointed to a ruff looking pickup, similar to Rickas. He then started walking away, most likely going to find his other friends. I waited there for about 15 minutes and then I met up with a couple other boys. There was Jhonathan, I knew him from the sports team, he was allwase friendly, Paul who worked at the flower shop during the weekends and some others who I had seen in school.

               “Hey, you gonna get in?” Erick said, waking me from my day dream. I climed in to the back and sat beside Jhonathan.

“Hey Diana, been a while since I have seen you”

               “Ya, lost interest in playing soccer on a boys team” I smiled. He laughed and continued the conversation he was having with the guy beside him. The truck started moving and I closed my eyes, feeling the wind blow in my face. I relized my stomach was still bleeding and I curled my nees to my chest even closer.

               “You ok girl?” Asked the boy on the other side of me.

“Ya” I smiled.

               “You cold?” Asked Paul. <<God why so much fuss?>> Paul didn’t wait for an awnser and he pulled of his jacket and tried to rap it around me.

               “No really I’m fine” He kept on insisting. He reached to pull it around and then froze. His eyes widened.

               “Oh god Diana, why didn’t you say you were hurt!” He signaled through the glass for Erick to pull over. Everyone stared at the amount of blood that was seeping through my shirt.

               “What’s going on?” Erick asked as he came around to the back.

“Diana’s hurt real bad and she didn’t tell nobody” Erick looked at my shirt, jaw dropped. He pulled me out of the back and the rest followed.

               “Jhonathan, can you pleas give me your shirt?” Jhonathan pulled of his T-shirt and handed it to Erick. Erick quickly pulled up my shirt a bit so he could rap Jhonathan’s t-shirt around my waist.

               “God Diana, what were you thinking, why didn’t you tell me?” Suddenly I felt a sharp pain and dropped to my nees, clutching the area with blood.

               “You got a place to stay tonight?” Asked Jhonathan.

“Not really, Ricka’s mad at me and my moms drunk so there is no way I’m going home”

               “You better come with me then, my mama can give you some bandages and my sister will be more then happy to share her room” I nodded. They hauled me back into the truck and drived to Jhonathans house first. As I watched them drive away Jhonathan led me into his house.

               “Mama?” He yelled.

“You little bugger of a boy, where were you?!” She yelled coming from the kitchen. She stoped before she could say anymore relizing me. She looked from me to Jhonathan and then to my blood soked shirt.

               “Well all be, you poor thing get over here” She didn’t need any explanation. She pulled me by the hand and into the living room. It was simple with a small TV and radio in the back with an old couch. She sat me down and told Jhonathan to get the first aid kit.

               “What happened my dear girl?” She asked as she took the kit from her sons hand.

“Got in a fight with my friends boyfriend, he punched me in the area that I just got sewn up yesterday”

               “I see” She frowned and then turned to her son again.

“You Jhonathan can leave now, I think well be needing some privacy” He looked at me and nodded.

               “Close the door on your way out!” His mom said as he stepped out of the room. The door closed and his mom looked back at me.

               “I hope you don’t mind but I think you’ll need to take of your shirt. I nodded and did as she told. With a wet cloth she patted my cut where the stiches had opened and cleaned them so she could rap the bandages around.

               “You’ll need stiches but intil then bandages will have to do”

“Thank you” I said looking her in the eye.

               “Honey, why did you not go to your own mother?”

“My mother is NOT a mother, she’s drunk as ever, after my dad died she just went mad. Started spending all are money on booz.” Jhonathans mom nodded understanding. “It’s nice to have someone taking care of me, I have been taking care of myself all my life, haven’t done a good job either” I said looking down at my bandaged stomach.

               “Well your alwase welcome here my love, now wait, I’m gonna go ask Jhonathans sister if she has a shirt that will fit you,” She walked out of the room leaving me there for a minute or too. <<My love, my mom never said that in years to me>> I thought playing with a strand of my hair. She came back with a I LOVE THE QUING STONES T-shirt. This will be big for you but wont hurt if your just sleeping in it. I pulled it over my head. She passed me a pair of high shorts and I slipped them on to. We both stepped out of the room to find Jhonathan waiting outside.

               “Relax darling, your girlfriends fine!” She laughed looking at his worried exspression.

“Mama, she’s not my girlfriend!” He looked at me grinning. I grinned back at him, understanding.

               “Well she’s sure cute” She winked at her son and he rolled his eyes.

“Here, I’ll show you my sisters bedroom, she’s already set up a place for you to sleep” I followed him up the stairs and into his sisters bedroom. It was a medium sized room that was painted pink. There were posters and photos covering the wall, a white desk sitting in the corner and a bed.

               “Here is my sister Rose” He introduced me to the girl sitting on the bed.

“Hi, I’m guessing you’re the girl who has the drunk mom, herd about you” She smiled as if she didn’t care who my mom was. “It’s gonna be fun tonight, just you and me, a girls night”

               “Thanks” I said turning around to see that Jhonathan had left.

“We’ll both sleep on the floor tonight, my mama is fetching the good blankets.”

               “Oh you don’t have to sleep on the floor to!” I said noticing the 2 mats in the corner.

“What do you mean sister! This is a sleepover, it’s gonna be fun!” I smiled enjoying the idea.”Infact, were even gonna watch a scary movie, my brothers got a good one for us, sais well come running to him crying before the first 5 minutes but we’ll show him” She winked at me  and I laughed. Rose’s mom came to the door with a handful of blankets in her hands.

               “Here girls” She said arranging the bed sheets on the mats.

“Thanks, that’s perfect” I said moving across to help her.

               “Oh don’t be helping me, you’re the one who’s hurt child” I could see by the way she spoke that she wasn’t going to let me help her so I started looking at the pictures on Rose’s wall. There were pictures of her and friends on her birthday, her with her mom at the mall, Rose with Jhonathan at baseball games, but what caught my attention was the small photo that was pinned in the corner. It was a picture of the perfect family, there was Rose, her mom, Jhonathan, and there dad who I had met once at a hokey game. He was tall with a lovely smile and dark bleu eyes, he was a nice dad.

               “Ok now that everything’s set up, I better leave you to it” Roses mom smiled and made her way to the bedroom door, stepping over left out CD’s and papers. ”Sorry about the mess” She added giving Rose a look that meant, you better clean this up when Diana leaves. We talked for a while and then made are way to Jhonathans bedroom to ask him for the CD.

               “Ok, you can have it if you want but I dought you’ll last”

“Pleas, your just trying to scare us’”

               “No, I’m just saying it might give you the spooks”

“Ok, we’ll see.” Rose looked at him with a smirk like expression on her face. He handed the CD to Rose and then sent us of. Rose slipped the movie in to the CD player and then went to grab some junk food from downstairs.

               “Ok, here, I have toffee, popcorn, chips and hot coco.”

“Sounds good to me” It was pitch black outside and about 2:00 in the morning by the time we started the movie. The movie turned out to be freaky and Rose and I had are eyes closed most of the time.

               “AHHHHHHHHHHHAHHHHHHHHHH!!!” We both screamed when the girls on the TV had there throtes cut.

“Oh god I can’t take this!” Screamed Rose.

               “I can’t watch” I said covering my eyes. Just then Jhonathan walked in laughing.

“Oh god you to are funny, I have been listening to you both screaming for the past half hour!” Jhonathan grinned at me and Rose. We both looked at him with terrified faces and said

“Can you watch the rest with us?”

               “Umm… I guess if you promise not to scream every 3 minutes” We nodded are heads. He walked over and sat between Rose and I, took a handful of popcorn and then pressed play on the remote. The next day I woke up covered in popcorn. <<I must have fallen asleep during the film>> I thought sitting up. I walked downstairs to find Jhonathans mom making pancackes on the small stove.

               “Good morning honey, just making breakfast, why don’t you sit down” She pointed to the small wooden table near the window. Rose and Jhonathan walked in soon after laughing.

               “Rose, come help me with breakfast would you?”

“Sure mom” Rose walked over to her mom and took the spoon from her while Jhonathan came and sat across from me.

               “So what are you going to tell your mom?”

“Nothing, I’m just going to tell her that I was at a friend of a friend”

               “Ya about that, what happened between you and Kim?”

“He’s starving Ricka, putting her down and telling her she’s over wait.”

               “So you gave him trouble in front of everyone and so he punched you?”


               “That’s bad”

“No kidding!” Jhonathans mom placed down breakfast for us and we ate quietly. Finally she had to break the ice.

               “So Diana” It was the first time she had called her by her real name. “What are you doing tomorrow tonight?”

               “Nothing really” I said

“Good because me and my husband like to take the kids out to see the the jets take off and see the fireworks, how about you come with us tomorrow night?”

               “Oh, I really shouldn’t but in, I have stuff I need to do anyway”

“No, I inssiste, come with us”    

               “Well if that’s ok with you all then I would love to” I said exited. I finished the last of my pancake and looked at the watch.

               “I should really be going”

Rose’s mom nodded. I stood from the table and went upstairs to get my jeens on. Once I got downstairs I thanked everyone and headed out the door.

               “ Thanks Jhonathan, i really did needed a place to stay”

“No problem Diana, you need help with anything just let me know”

               “Thanks” I said giving him an occword hand shake. I thanked Rose’s mom and traded phone numbers with her. Then I walked away letting the sun beat down on my face thinking <<This is a new beginning, I just know it.>>





I stopped when I saw the golden blur down the hill. It was about 12:00 in the afternoon and I

was walking home from Jhonathans house. Mom’s car was gone witch meant that she probably went to play bingo. <<What is that?>> I thought as got closer. Soon I could make out the line of a dog… finally I relized it was the dog that had been at Maceys party.

“What are you doing here again mister!” I nelt down to pat him on  the back. He barked and then plopped something that had been in his mouth. It was my necklas, the one I had worn to the party.

“Oh my, you got my necklas, thanks!” I gave him another pat and he licked me on the face. <<Oh god, I can’t leave you here!>> I thought as I looked towards the sky and rain started to poor on my head. It was raining. I signaled to the dog to come and he followed me into the house. Are house was very old fashioned, very suitable for the town we lived in. Laced brown curtains, pictures of old people in black and white on the walls, it felt homie. My mom alwase came late from bingo so I had practically the whole day to keep the dog. I closed the open windows as the rain poured down and went to the bathroom.

“Now you stay here and make yourself at home” I said to the golden dog in front of me. He barked and I laughed as I stepped into the bathroom. When I came out the dog was still standing there where I had left him. << You must be hungry>> I grabbed some of the left over meat from the dinner before and placed them in a bowl.

“There you are” I smiled and made my way over to the carpet floor. Then I took out my sketch book and began to draw him.


When I finished drawing the dog it was about 9:00pm and my mom still hadn’t come. I had been drawing him all day! I placed my pencil down in the corner intending to write the dog’s name when I relized he didn’t have a name.

“How about Golden?” I said out loud. He growled. “Well you clearly don’t like that, how about Sparkle” He wimpered. “To girly for you!” I laughed. “Ok well what about Sandal?” He came up to me and barked. “Well then its decided, your name is Sandal” I wrote his name at the bottom of my picture just as the doorbell rang. I got up to open the door. It was Ricka. She was crying. She was wearing a high top shirt and loos baggy jeans that were all wet from the rain”

“Oh Diana, Kim dumped me!” She cried jumping into my arms.

“Oh god, oh I’m so sorry ” I found myself crying with her as I brought her inside. Just as I was sitting down the lights went out.

               “BARK!” Sandal barked.

“Who’s that?” Ricka asked sobbing between words.

               “That would be my temporary dog Sandal, anyway I’m gonna get the candels out and some warm blankets” I left the living room. When I got back I was holding a box of candles and a lighter, three big warm blankets, two flash lights and a jar of cookies. Ricka had Sandal on her lap and was rubbing his belly.

               “Be carefull! He has flees!”

“Don’t be silly, I’m sure its fine” Ricka said giving me another one her terrible puppy faces. I laid the stuff on the floor and started lighting the candels. They casted a eary glow against the walls and theres was an odd humming noise coming from the basement.

               “My mom is probably going to be at bingo for the night, won’t get back till late tomorrow by the looks of it so you can stay for the night”

“Thanks” She smiled at me and then stopped short and let her face fall. “I’m sorry about yesterday, you got me real mad but I shouldn’t have left you there hurt. You were right He’s already started flirting with Olivia according to Macey. Where did you go after the party anyway?” She asked looking at the big T-shirt Rose had gave me.

               “Jhonathans house, Erick was driving the boys and me home when one of them noticed I was bleeding. Jhonathan took me to his house and his mother fixed me up. He also has a sister, Rose her name is. She’s hilarious!” I placed the last candel down and cuddeled up in the blankets across from Ricka.

               “I should have been there for you” She bent her head down again”

“Oh don’t worry about it, I was rude and that’s probably why Kim’s mad at you”

               “I’m happy he’s gone, he was unkind anyway” I smiled and reached for the cookies.

“Well now that he’s not here to boss you around why not celebrate and have a big fattening cookie!” She laughed and took one. We ate in silence till we had finished the jar.

               “You know Ricka” I said as I stuck my tongue in the jar trying to get the left over crumbs. “I was thinking for my mom maybe I should take her to a doctor.”

“What kind of doctor?”

“Oh well you know, one of those psychotherapists kind of doctors, someone who will help her stop drinking.”

“Why not give it a try, couldn’t see what wrong it would do.” She smiled at me, trying to be encouraging.

“I guess it might work, maybe they’ll be able to make her stop gambling to!”

We both laughed at this, everyone knows that my mamma would never let anyone get in her way of gambling. Ricka laid her head back and closed her eyes.

“Good night.”

“Good night” I sighed.

I lied my head back beside Rickas and slowly drifted into a sleep.




The End

2 comments about this story Feed