Student Writer Spotlight: Danilo B!

By
Anna Starecheski

One of my favorite parts of my job is managing student writing contests. On the Ideabook, we like to highlight extraordinary student writing through our Student Writer Spotlight. See our previous Storyworks winner here!

 

Our fantastic student writer for the Storyworks October/November issue is Danilo B! Danilo sent us an amazing entry to the Good Deed contest. The prompt was: Write a conversation between Heather and Risa in which Heather apologizes for how she acted and explains what she learned. See Danilo's entry below!

 

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The Good Deed Story Continuation

By Danilo B

 

The next day, I went back to Risa's apartment with a book bag over my shoulder. The heavy bag was filled with poem collections, classic novels, short stories, and, of course, read-alouds for Risa's little brothers. Anxiously, I knocked on the door.

Will Risa be glad to see me? Probably not, I thought knowing our previous interactions. Still, I wanted her to know, I am not as I appeared earlier, judgemental and snotty. I needed to make things right and apologize. As I contemplated my apology, the door opened. Standing in the doorway was Risa, glaring at me intently, sleeping Andrew resting on her shoulder.

Why did I ever look at her in disdain? All my confidence was lost.

"Reeead to us pleeease!" Begged one of Risa's brothers, holding onto her leg. Risa and I stared at each other.

"Can we read to your brothers again? Together? I said softly, breaking the silence.

"Just as long as it's not a good deed!"

"Don't worry; it is definitely not." I stammered.

"Come in." She made a motion with her head as she opened the door completely.

''Y-Yeah." I stuttered.

As I entered, I noticed Risa's other brother sitting on the couch with Stories that Never Grow Old on his lap.

"That's Matthew."  Risa nodded towards the brother on the couch.

"And this is Lukas." She patted the head the brother still holding her leg.

"Nice to meet you two!" I said as sweet as I could.

Risa gave Lukas gentle push and he ran to the couch. The wide couch was old, but clean. We joined them, boys seated between us. Risa reached for Stories that Never Grow Old, and started to open it.

"How about this one?" I interrupted, pulling a short story compendium from the book bag, that somehow went unnoticed all this time.

"Uhm...sure." Risa said, surprisingly.

Matthew and Lukas loved listening to stories. They would sigh in relief, yelped in surprise and smack their hands laughingly as Risa and I took turns, reading stories to them for hours. Risa's reading was getting better too, as she was gaining more and more confidence with every page read.

The afternoon went by quickly. I packed my books and was ready to head home, when I remembered I still didn't apologize. I pulled Risa aside. I wanted to apologize, but still couldn't bring myself to do it.

"Risa. I...I—", I stuttered. She gave me a confused look.

Lukas was grabbing her leg and making puppy dog eyes, as if to say "Keep reading!" I couldn't bring myself to say 'sorry'.

"I really liked today. It was fun." I said instead. I left the apartment in shame.

 

Following day I went to Miss Benson's apartment. I knocked on the door. "Who is it?" Miss Benson's voice was soft from the other side of door.

"Heather."

"Come in, sweetheart."

I entered quickly and shut the door. The aroma of snickerdoodle cookies filled the small apartment. Miss Benson was sitting in her chair as usual. Taking the empty chair next to hers, I picked out a classic novel from my book bag and started reading to her. However, thoughts of apologizing to Risa cluttered my head.

"You know, Miss Benson..." I started to say.

"Yes, Heather?" She replied sweetly.

"Risa, she, she has flowing brown hair, and brown eyes like cinnamon."

''Thank you," Miss Benson nodded, ''I'm sure the two of you are great friends."

"Yeah..." I trailed off.

 

I continued to read to Miss Benson, but apologetic thoughts invaded my conscious.

Will my apology make things worse or better between Risa and I? Will she judge  me, like I did her? Will she know I am sincere and not be snooty and judgemental to me like I was to her?

I closed the book and placed it in bag. No matter what, my apology to Risa cannot be put off any longer.

"Miss Benson, I was so wrong." With that unusual goodbye, I left her apartment.

 

Heading to Risa's apartment, I was determined to apologize and hopeful she will accept!

With sweaty palms, I knocked on Risa's door twice. "Back again?" Risa asked dumbfounded.

"Y-Yeah." I replied nervously.

"Come on in, then." Risa opened the door. Lukas and Matthew were chasing each other around the small apartment. I came in, sat down my book bag on the couch, then pulled Risa aside. It was time. Before I lost my courage again, I cut straight to the point.

"Risa, I know that I should have done this sooner, but I'm sorry. I'm really, really, sorry. Without any reason, I was mean to you and very judgemental. I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me, but if you don't, it's probably what I deserve."

Risa's mouth curved in gentle smile.

"Don't worry Heather, you're fine. I forgive you."

"R-really? Th-thanks."

"No problem!" She said grabbing my hand and pulling me to the couch. Her brothers were ready for storytime. "C'mon, let's read to Matthew and Lukas. Together!"

My heart swelled with joy. I had done what needed to be done and it felt good!

 

Risa and I spent the rest of our summer reading to Miss Benson and her little brothers.

We became best of friends. And the best part was that it wasn't a good deed.

 

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Danilo's entry was chosen as a winner because of his clear writing, excellent dialogue, and thoughtful response to the prompt. I, for one, was blown away by the quality of his writing! He demonstrated a great understanding of emotion and expression, which made the dialogue in his story come alive. 

To learn more about Storyworks contests, click here!

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