“In a world consumed by death, a young girl finds laughter, love and the courage to live.”
“Underneath the spangled sky of suburban Pennsylvania, stood a peculiar mauve-roofed funeral parlor, which also happened to be the residence of eleven-year-old Vada Sultenfuss. An eccentric, spunky girl with a mop of red hair, Vada was not your typical pre-teen; she possessed an unusual obsession with death. Her life swirled around deathly enigmas, a result of her mother’s tragic death and her father’s occupation as a mortician. This obsession, however, was just the icing of Vada’s whimsical existence.
Her heart held an innocent infatuation for a man she could not have – her English teacher. Her best friend, whom she shared a bond of coveted companionship, was like a walking medical encyclopedia, allergic to everything under the sun. The universe had a peculiar sense of humor when it came to Vada, casting her into a rhythm of comedic misadventures and poignant heart-touches.
As the summer stretched its arms wide open, Vada’s world was about to mutate into a panorama of confusing emotions, surprising plot twists, and unexpected climaxes. Her father hires a makeup artist for the parlor, Shelly, who comes into their lives like a whirlwind, stirring emotions and evoking changes. As the lines blurred between laughter and tears, friendship and love, life and death – Vada’s story began…”
Chapter 1: “The Obsession”:
Vada Sultenfuss’ world was an anachronistic mix of the macabre and the mundane. She woke one bright summer day, not to the aroma of pancakes or the trill of birds, but to the reverberating, ominous tolling of the funeral parlor’s doorbell. Death had come, once again, right at their doorstep.
Contrary to other children, Vada found comfort in the shadowy corners of death. She would often be seen traipsing behind her father, Harry, through the house-parlor, asking curious questions about the process of embalming or the science behind rigor mortis. She took pride in her knowledge of the unusual, much to the chagrin of her best friend, Thomas J.
Thomas J. was the peanut butter to Vada’s jelly, the rhythm to her blues. A perpetually runny nose, glasses as thick as soda bottle bottoms and a head full of allergies, Thomas J. was a living, breathing irony to Vada’s morbid fascinations.
One such day, while Vada was engrossed in a book on medieval burial rituals, Thomas J. piped up, “You’re gonna scare everyone away with your creepy books, Vada.”
Vada spared him a distracted glance, “Death is natural, Tommy. You’re just too chicken to accept it.”
Shaking his head, Thomas J. knew better than to argue with Vada’s stubbornness. So he simply sighed, slumping back against the tombstone they used for their makeshift bench.
The days continued, a medley of comical debates about death and a plethora of sneezes from Thomas J. Yet, their unique friendship was the undercurrent that kept Vada anchored to the bright side of life. Simultaneously, she continued to dream about the man who praised her essays in class, her English teacher.
The peaceful mundanity of their lives was interrupted with the arrival of Shelly. A sparkly-eyed, vivacious woman, Shelly came as the new makeup artist arranged by Harry. From the moment Vada laid her eyes on Shelly, she knew change, like an inevitable summer storm, was on the horizon.
The story thus kickstarted, painting a picture of love, tragedy, comedy, and life lessons that would unfurl in the chapters to come. As our protagonist navigated these changes, the readers too would embark on an emotional roller-coaster, etching a memorable impression in their hearts.
Chapter 2: “Shelly’s Arrival”
The morning was filled with the smell of pancakes as Vada descended the homey, creaky staircase of the old Sultenfuss funeral parlor. Her stomach churned, not with hunger but with a whirlpool of disquieting emotions. Today marked the arrival of the new employee, Shelly DeVoto, a cheerful makeup artist with flaming auburn hair, a melodic voice, and an infectious laugh.
Mr. Sultenfuss, Vada’s dad, had hired Shelly to give the dearly departed a more ‘lively’ appearance for their final journey. Little did Vada know, Shelly’s arrival would do more than just enhance the appearance of the corpses. It would shake the very foundations of her pre-teen world, stirring an unexpected emotional tornado inside her.
Vada took a moment to glance at her father, the funeral director Harry Sultenfuss. He was a man of few words, his life dictated by the ebbs and flow of death and despair, yet he managed to find humor in the oddest of places. Harry was hunched over the stove, cheekily flipping pancakes, filling their house with a sweet aroma that belied its morose business.
Shelly arrived promptly at nine, radiating enthusiasm. The old funeral parlor was filled with a strange vitality as her laughter echoed through the hallways. Vada observed Shelly meticulously; her colorful clothing a stark contrast to the solemn décor, her incessant chatter filled with anecdotes about the deceased and their peculiar last wishes.
Vada couldn’t place the odd sensation that Shelly’s presence ignited within her. It was a perplexing mix of curiosity, envy, and growing unease. She felt as if an unwanted intruder had barged into their life, threatening to disrupt the equilibrium they’d so carefully maintained. Every glance her father shared with Shelly, every instance of shared laughter, filled Vada with a strange dread. Was she on the brink of losing her father to this stranger?
Meanwhile, her best friend, Thomas J., was a constant presence by her side, sneezing and coughing away from his relentless allergies. Vada’s concern for Thomas provided a welcome distraction from her growing apprehension about Shelly. Whenever her thoughts strayed towards her father and Shelly, she’d promptly switch her attention to Thomas, ensuring he was stocked up on tissues and making him promise not to die of his allergies.
As days passed, Shelly’s presence became a fixture in their lives. Vada’s father seemed happier, laughed louder, and the gloomy funeral parlor was losing its gloom. This was not the change Vada had been yearning for. Her father’s growing rapport with Shelly ignited a pang of jealousy in her. Vada also found herself missing the quiet comfort of their morose routine. She was not ready to share her father’s affection with Shelly. To make matters worse, her attempts to voice her concerns resulted in hilarious misunderstandings, adding to her frustration.
One day, she found her father and Shelly laughing in the parlor, their laughter drowning the melancholic symphony the old gramophone played. It was then she realized, change was inevitable. This fact of life was as unavoidable as death itself. The chapter ended on a note of uncertainty with Vada, sitting alone in her room, filled with a strange blend of envy, dread, and longing. Shelly’s arrival had not just stirred the tranquility of their funeral parlor but also disturbed the composed waters of her heart. How she wished things could go back to the way they were. But wishing, Vada knew, was as effective as yelling into the void.
Chapter 3: “The Poetry Class”
The hot summer days were just beginning when Vada made her decision. The poetry class. Heat waves shimmered in the air, mirroring the intensity of her resolve. She was in love, or at least, she thought she was. Her English teacher, Mr. Bixler, with his tousled hair and intellectual glasses, was the object of her affection. She knew she had to do something to catch his attention, and charming him with words seemed like the perfect plan.
So, she joined the poetry class. And so began the hysterically awkward journey of a 11-year-old girl, trying to align her innocent ideas of love with the sophisticated concepts of metaphors and sonnets.
The classroom smelled like dusty books and lemon-scented detergent. Vada, for the first time, felt a tinge of apprehension. As she nervously chewed her pen, which was habitually borrowed from Thomas J. (an unwitting victim of Vada’s absent-minded tendencies), she realized that the world of poetry was vast, like an ocean she was about to dive into, and she didn’t know how to swim.
She was used to the silence of the morgue, the whispered words of condolences, the softness of funeral flowers, but the loud, bustling classroom filled with eager minds was a different territory. And as Mr. Bixler stepped into the room, his smile touched with kindness, Vada knew that her heart was facing an uphill battle.
The first few lessons were about understanding the forms of poetry. Sonnets, haikus, free verse…the words floated around Vada like butterflies, tantalizing but elusive. She had to catch them, mold them into something beautiful, something that would make Mr. Bixler proud. So, she began weaving words.
“Life is but a fleeting shadow…” she started one day, her voice trailing off into a giggle. Vada tried to infuse her words with the gravitas of Shakespeare or Dickinson but often veered off into musings about death, morgues, and funeral parlors. There were bursts of laughter and teasing from the class as Vada tried to relate her daily life to the romantic words of age-old poets. In these moments, the comic interplay between her grim yet humorous musings on death and the romanticized world of poetry revealed Vada’s unique and engaging character.
Through it all, Thomas J. was her unwavering rock. Despite his widespread allergies and his own woes, he was profoundly supportive, pulling out his handkerchief whenever she broke into fits of laughter over her ridiculously dramatic verses and patiently listening to her endless talks about Mr. Bixler. Their friendship, in contrast to the whirlwind of emotions Vada was going through, remained constant, grounding her in a reality to which she could always return.
As the days rolled by, Vada found herself getting lost in the world of poetry more than she had anticipated. Her initial motive had been to impress Mr. Bixler, but as she delved deeper into the mesmerizing world of words, she began to reflect on her own feelings and experiences. Her verses started to echo her thoughts about her mother, the unconventional childhood she had led, her father’s increasing affection for Shelly, and her unacknowledged feelings for Thomas J.
Vada was unconsciously growing up through the medium of poetry. It was a chaotic transformation, full of laughter, tears, and revelations, and it was just the beginning of a tumultuous summer.
Chapter 3 was a comedic rollercoaster ride of a young girl navigating her first crush and the mesmerizing world of poetry. The underlying layer of drama, her unique perspective, and her quirky thoughts about life and death added a whole new dimension to the narrative, making it not just engaging but also deeply thought-provoking.
Chapter 4: “A Budding Romance”
The story takes an unexpected twist as Vada’s father, an enigma wrapped in the austere uniform of a funeral director, starts developing feelings for Shelly. Vada, who had been lost in the whirlpool of her own emotions, now finds herself tossed around on her father’s waves of affection for this woman.
Her father, Harry Sultenfuss, was a reserved man entrenched in his profession. He wore a somber look most days, his face reading like an open book, except the book was about death and taxes. Shelly was different – she was a burst of colours, a woman who wore her heart on her sleeve and her hope in her luminous smile.
Vada noticed the changes in her father too late: the way his eyes softened when Shelly was around, the sudden increase in his concern for his appearance, and, the most damning evidence, he had started wearing cologne. Vada found the whole situation hideously hilarious. She even started calling her father “Don Juan DeMarco” behind his back.
But the comedy of her father’s courtship was also tinged with a sense of loss. She felt as if her father was slipping away, replaced by this lovestruck man who shared his ice cream with Shelly and laughed at her silly jokes. It was as if he was being reborn, and in this rebirth, Vada felt left behind.
Her disjointed feelings towards this budding romance were reflected in her interactions with Thomas J. She started to ignore her best friend, claiming she needed to guard her father from Shelly’s entrancing clutches. Her attempts to sabotage their romance were often laughably clumsy, leading to a multitude of innocent comedy of errors that only served to further amuse her father and Shelly.
However, her obsession with her father’s love life led her to neglect her own emotions. She had been too busy playing the role of a jealous daughter that she hadn’t realized her own feelings for Thomas J were changing. His unwavering support had become a crutch, his companionship a haven, and his smile a balm that lessened the sting of her father’s burgeoning romance.
Their friendship was transforming into something deeper, something Vada was too afraid to confront. She buried her feelings, throwing herself deeper into her father’s love life. The unfolding drama was a welcome distraction, a cloak she could use to hide from her own emotions.
The sliding scale of Vada’s plots to keep her father from falling in love was humorous. From spilling coffee on Shelly to “accidentally” breaking her father’s antique vase, Vada’s antics had become the talk of the town. But as the comedy of her situation increased, so did the drama. Vada was caught in the vortex of her misunderstood feelings, for her father, for Shelly, and most importantly, for Thomas J.
The chapter ends with Vada realizing her efforts were in vain as she catches her father kissing Shelly in the moonlit porch. The sight leaves her heartbroken, but also on the precipice of a realization – that her world was changing and she could no longer ignore her burgeoning emotions for Thomas J.
The budding romance between Harry and Shelly was serving as a catalyst, pushing Vada on the journey of self-realization and acceptance. The interactions brimmed with comedic instances at one moment and soaked in drama at the next, crafting a perplexing narrative that kept the readers engaged throughout this chapter.
Chapter 5: “Dance of Denial”
Vada Sultenfuss, a vivacious eleven-year-old with a tempest of emotions in her innocent heart, was no stranger to life’s complications. Still, watching her father swoon over Shelly, the new help, was something she hadn’t anticipated. She was caught off-guard, and her raw emotions stirred a potent brew of drama and comedy that spilled into every corner of her world.
In contrast, Thomas J., Vada’s best friend and confidante, was always a peaceful island in the stormy ocean of her life. At eleven years old, he was allergic to the world, but he wasn’t allergic to Vada’s eccentricities. However, as he watched her flounder in the sea of denial, even he couldn’t suppress an amusing shake of his head.
Drama unfolded at the breakfast table when Vada saw her father, Harry, shyly pass a buttered toast to Shelly and their fingers brushed. Vada choked on her cereal, causing Thomas J. to slap her back. The incident left them both red-faced providing a dollop of comedy in the sombre setting of the breakfast parlour.
Meanwhile, Vada struggled to understand her feelings for her best friend, Thomas J. She vehemently denied any romantic affection, maintaining that they were just best friends. However, her actions told a different story. Her constant need to be around him, her longing gazes when he wasn’t looking, put her feelings under a spotlight that was both humorous and heartwarming.
On the other hand, Shelly was perplexed with these developments in the Sultenfuss household. She was starting to fall for Harry herself and was warmed by his timid advances. Despite her affection for Harry, she found Vada’s possessiveness towards her father both endearing and hilarious, adding a little bit of humour to the day’s drama.
Vada, clueless about her father’s growing affection for Shelly and her own emotions for Thomas J., decided to distract herself by focusing on her poetry classes. She tried to woo her English teacher with verses that had a hint of childish charm and a whole lot of unintentional humor, creating a paradoxically comedic situation.
In an unexpected twist, Thomas J. was bitten by the jealousy bug when he found Vada spending more time with her poetry and less with him. He found himself longing for the time when it was just him and Vada against the world and her obsession with death. It was a peculiar cocktail of drama and comedy that emanated from the innocent jealousy of a young boy.
One sunny afternoon, Vada decided to confront her feelings. However, the conversation took a funny turn when she accidentally blurted out her worry about losing her father to Shelly instead of confessing her feelings for Thomas J. The situation turned into a humorous episode as Thomas J., in his attempts to comfort Vada, ended up sneezing continuously due to his allergies.
As the chapter drew to a close, Vada found herself dancing on the edge of denial, her heart wrapped in a shroud of confusion. Was this the first step to acknowledging her emotions, or was she weaving a web of additional complications? The subsequent chapters would unfold the drama and comedy that lay ahead, taking readers on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, laughter, and unexpected twists.
Chapter 6: “Realization”
The summer sun was slowly dipping beneath the horizon, casting an orange hue across everything in its path. Vada Sultenfuss was perched on the steps of the funeral parlor, her fingers tracing the worn-out edges of a poetry book, a gift from her English teacher. She had joined the poetry class to impress him, but the verses scrawled across the pages were slowly but surely capturing her heart. Yet, as she mulled over the poignant words, her thoughts kept drifting towards Thomas J., her best friend, who was “allergic to everything.”
Vada watched him from the corner of her eye as he sneezed, an amusing yet endearing sight that never failed to extract a chuckle from her. How could she not see it before? The feelings, which had existed in the peripheries of her consciousness, were becoming more palpable now. His laughter, his unfailing patience, his constancy – it all drew her towards him.
The realization hit Vada like a sudden gust of wind. She was in love with Thomas J. More than a friendship kind of love. The thought was fascinating, exciting, and yet, extremely terrifying. Was she ready to risk their friendship? To step across the invisible boundary that had always kept them secure in their camaraderie?
As if sensing her internal turmoil, Thomas J. looked up, his eyes wide and innocent beneath his tangled mop of hair. “What’s up, Vada?” he asked, a look of genuine concern crossing his features.
Vada shook her head, her lips stretching into a slight smile. “Nothing, just reading a bit of this,” she said, holding up the poetry book. But her thoughts were far from the lyrical verses now. She was grappling with a feeling she had trouble putting into words.
Her heart pounded in her chest as she watched Thomas J. return to his doodling, oblivious to the profound revelation that had just occurred. It was thrilling to hold this secret feeling so close to her heart. It made her feel grown-up, just like her father, who had started dating Shelly.
The mention of Shelly made Vada’s smile falter a little. The intricacies of love, she realized, were far more complicated than she had ever imagined. As the adult world of relationships unfolded before her, the chaos it brought was bitter-sweet. The woman her father had chosen, Shelly, was not her mother, not the woman Vada had envisioned as her new maternal figure. Yet, she couldn’t deny Shelly’s charm and kindness. It was a battle between resistance and acceptance, a difficult feat to navigate.
A laugh bubbled up from Thomas J., and Vada found her thoughts drifting towards him again. The complexities of her feelings for him were undeniable, yet they were overshadowed by an overwhelming feeling of affection. The realization of love, as perplexing as it may be, added another layer to her adolescent life, one she was both eager and scared to explore.
As the last vestiges of the sun disappeared, a strange peace settled over Vada. A new chapter was about to commence in her life—one painted with the colors of love, loss, and realization. The world around her was changing, and so was she. The summer of self-discovery, she knew, was only just beginning.
Chapter 7: “Tragic Twist”
Vada had long maintained a strange fascination with death, but she never anticipated how abruptly it would come knocking at her door. It wasn’t one of her many elder neighbors, nor an anonymous body at her father’s funeral home. Instead, it was Thomas J., her close friend, her confidant, the one who was “allergic to everything.”
The news hit her like a brick, causing her young heart to contract in a way she had never experienced before. It was as if someone had sucked the oxygen out of the room and she was left gasping for breath. She cried, and she screamed, her tears soaking the very earth that had conspired to take her friend from her. She raged against the unfairness of it all, her grief palpable, raw, and undeniably real.
In the midst of her lament, she found a strange sense of humor unfold within her. It was morbid, even for her, but humor had always been her defense mechanism. Amidst the whirlwind of emotions, she would catch herself laughing at the irony of it all. Thomas J., who was allergic to everything, being taken away by his very first bee sting. The universe indeed had a cruel sense of humor.
Vada’s obsession with death soared to new heights, not out of curiosity now, but fueled by a deep-rooted sorrow and a longing to understand why things had to happen as they did. She sought solace in her poetry class, pouring her heart into verses that were no longer just about impressing her English teacher but had become her only means of expression.
Her father and Shelly tried to console her, their comforting words floating around her like forgotten lullabies. But no matter how soft their voices or warm their hands, they could not touch the cold, hard corner of her young heart where death had left its mark.
Vada began spending more time at the funeral parlor than ever before. Not because it reminded her of Thomas J., but because it didn’t. There, amidst the peaceful silence of the concrete and mahogany, she was away from the reminders of his laughter, his jokes, and his courage.
While her father and Shelly waged their battles of love and responsibility, Vada waged hers with grief and acceptance. Her struggle was punctuated by bursts of erratic behavior, hilarious for their absurdity but also heartbreaking for its source.
One day, she found herself trying to list down everything that Thomas J. was allergic to. It started as a simple exercise but soon turned into an obsession, driving her into fits of hysterical laughter, then into sobs. This was Vada’s way of grieving, confusing, complex, yet strangely fitting.
Throughout all of this, the specter of Shelly and her father’s burgeoning relationship loomed in the background. Vada could not find it in herself to be bothered by it anymore. If anything, watching them grapple with their feelings added a comedic undertone to her already spiraled existence.
Buried under waves of sadness, confusion, and a myriad of other emotions, Vada had to face the tragedy life had dealt her. The comedy intertwined with the drama of her life created an intricate narrative, as she navigated through her loss, growing up, and the ever-changing dynamics around her.
Finding solace in the strangest places and humor in the darkest corners, Vada braved through her situation. This was her tragic twist, a young girl’s poignant dance with grief, filled with unexpected climaxes, complex emotions, and the bizarre humor of existence. The very essence of life and death, tangled in the mirthful tragedy that was Vada Sultenfuss’s world.
Chapter 8: “Acceptance”
As Vada woke up bathed in the light of a fresh new day, she could feel a shift. A change in the air, an almost palpable shift. She glanced at the empty bed next to her, the bed that used to belong to Thomas J. His absence was still a throbbing wound, but now it was a wound she was willing to dress and tend to, not one she hid from or denied. And with this morning’s golden light, something else had changed. She had stopped denying life’s ebb and flow and was ready to confront it.
Her father, Harry, could hardly contain his happiness as he went about his daily chores at the funeral parlor. His relationship with Shelly had grown stronger, and it was hard for him to keep his joy from seeping into his work. Vada watched him from the stairs, her heart filled with mixed emotions. The sight of her father so happy was strange yet comforting. Yes, she still wished her mother could return. But she had also begun to accept Shelly’s new role in their lives – not by replacing her mother, but by adding something new and refreshing.
The morning went by in a flurry of chores and small talks. The once menacing funeral parlor was now merely a part of her life, not an obsession. Later that day, she found herself in the attic, rummaging through old boxes of memories. Here she found echoes of Thomas J., traces of her mother, shards of her past. She picked up his favorite comic book and the handkerchief her mother used to wear, each item propelling a burst of laughter and a pang of pain. But she embraced them all, accepting they were part of her journey.
Vada’s attempts to cook dinner were far from successful, adding a dose of comedy to the evening. But she tried and failed and tried again, her determination borne out of acceptance, not defiance. Her father and Shelly watched her from the corner of the room, their hearts filled with pride and a pinch of amusement.
In the poetry class the next day, she penned down her feelings for the first time. She wrote about loss, love, and acceptance, about her father and Shelly, about Thomas J. Her words bore a raw honesty that only a heart dealing with grief and growing up could conjure. Her English teacher, moved by her poem, appreciated Vada’s courage.
The day came to an end with Vada, Harry, and Shelly sharing a simple, home-cooked meal. The air was filled with laughter, stories, and a comfortable silence. Vada found herself enjoying their company, not out of compulsion, but because she wanted to. Her laughter bounced off the walls, a sound reminiscent of her mother.
Later that night, as she lay in bed, she looked at Thomas J.’s empty bed. But this time, she didn’t see it as a gaping void that threatened to consume her. Now it was simply a testament to a cherished friendship. A pang of sorrow still lingered, but it was overshadowed by the warmth of acceptance. Vada was learning to embrace life with all its complexities, accepting every high and low, every joy and sorrow.
She was growing up, and the journey, while filled with laughter, tears, and learning, was hers to make. One thing was certain, she would approach every new day with a brave heart, a little humor, and a lot of acceptance. As sleep lulled her into its warm embrace, she knew she would wake up ready to face another day, another challenge, another step towards growing up. It was acceptance, at last.
And thus, Chapter 8 of Vada Sultenfuss’s story ended, etching a new beginning in her life’s chapters to come, a beginning characterized by acceptance, growth, and a new-found sense of optimism.
Chapter 9: “New Beginnings”
The world had seemed bland and grey to Vada for quite some time after the tragedy, but with time she began to witness its myriad hues anew. She woke up one morning, not with a heavy heart, but with something akin to hope. It was a foreign feeling but not an unwelcome one.
She found herself staring at Shelly while having breakfast. The woman had become a fixture in their home, her father’s smiling gaze a testament to his newfound happiness. Initially, this was a source of bitterness for Vada. Yet, she was beginning to see Shelly not as an intruder but as an addition, a peculiar addition to their unconventional family.
As she went about her day, she stumbled upon her poetry notebook. Her words brought back memories of her English teacher, her love for him now amusing more than anything else. She flipped through the pages, finding one particular poem about friendship. It was about Thomas J. The words had flowed effortlessly when she wrote it, the lines tinged with his innocent humor and the moments they shared.
Just as Vada was getting lost in the labyrinth of her memories, her father called out, breaking her reverie. To her surprise, he wanted her to accompany him to a funeral. She felt a chill run down her spine. It was all too familiar. Would she be able to handle it? She decided to face her fear. After all, she was Vada Sultenfuss; she could face death head-on.
The funeral was a somber affair, yet there was a peculiar serenity about it. It wasn’t the gruesome event she had always envisioned it to be. It was about bidding farewell, offering a last tribute, and coming to terms with the circle of life. Death, she realized, was not to be obsessed over but to be respected.
There was an odd sense of closure after the funeral; it was as if something within her had shifted, allowing her to let go of her obsession and embrace life more fully. She laughed with Shelly, helped her father with the chores, read her poems aloud, and even began to write about topics beyond death.
One day, sitting by her window, she saw a group of kids playing. Before she knew it, she was outside, heart thumping wildly, joining them with a shy greeting. The laughter, the camaraderie was infectious, a welcome respite from her previous self-declared solitude. In their company, she discovered the joy of being a child, the exhilarating freedom of existence beyond her self-created gloom.
She began spending more time with these kids, swapping stories, sharing secrets, and making memories. She started feeling a strange, intoxicating connection with life itself. The fervor of the children sparked a flame within her, resurrecting the child in her that had been lost amid her obsession with death and grief. In their world, she found her childhood that her uninvited adulthood had stolen.
One evening, while returning home, a ray of the setting sun fell on Thomas J.’s grave. It looked peaceful, almost beautiful. Not a place of eternal silence but a resting spot for an eternally lively soul. Vada realized she had found her peace, not in escaping death, but in embracing life. She was ready for the new beginnings life had to offer.
Vada transformed from a solemn child obsessed with death into a lively, spirited person embracing life. She learned to view Shelly as her father’s partner rather than a rival, to find solace in her poetry, and to appreciate the friends she made along the way.
Her journey was filled with dramatic twists, humorous moments, and powerful revelations. It was the journey of Vada Sultenfuss, a journey of self-discovery, acceptance, love, friendship, and a journey from death to life. This was just the beginning; the rest of her story was waiting to unfold.
Some scenes from the movie My Girl written by A.I.
INT. SULTENFUSS FUNERAL HOME – VADA’S ROOM – DAY
Gloomy and filled with odd curiosities, VADA SULTENFUSS (11, glasses, mature beyond her years) sits at a desk, engrossed in a book titled “Stages of Grief”. Her best friend, THOMAS J. (11, timid, perpetually sniffling) sits across the room.
“Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. The five stages of grief.”
Why are we reading this again?
Knowledge is power, Thomas J.
Suddenly she jumps from her chair, startling THOMAS J.
(holding up the book)
I know! We should organize a mock funeral for the class hamster. It will be educational!
But the hamster isn’t dead, Vada!
They share a grin.
EXT. SCHOOL YARD – DAY
VADA flutters around, organizing classmates for the hamster’s mock funeral. THOMAS J. trails behind, handing out tissues.
INT. SULTENFUSS FUNERAL PARLOR – DAY
VADA (11, curious eyes) is at her usual spot, spying when the front door opens to reveal SHELLY (30s, attractive, warm smile). Vada’s father HARRY (40s, stern, dressed in black) assists her in.
Ah, Shelly! Right on time.
Vada sulks, watching as Shelly and Harry share an amiable interaction.
INT. KITCHEN – DAY
VADA, frowns at a sandwich, deep in thought. THOMAS J. (11, skinny, delicate) enters, sniffing.
You okay, Vada?
(pointing at Shelly)
My dad likes her.
So what? Your dad’s allowed to like people.
Vada glares at Thomas J., not amused. Suddenly, she has a plan.
Maybe he can like your mom.
Thomas J., surprised, chokes on his sandwich. Vada smiles at her small victory.
INT. VADA’S BEDROOM – MORNING
Vada, a girl with a fascination for death, is seated at her desk. She looks nervously at the pile of poetry books stacked high.
(aside, to herself)
I can do this… it’s for him.
Suddenly, a KNOCK at the door. She jumps. THOMAS J., her best friend, enters.
Ready to be the next Shakespeare, Vada?
We’ll see about that.
EXT. COMMUNITY CENTER – DAY
They’re now outside the Community center. Vada takes a deep breath, looking at the “Summer Poetry Class” sign. Thomas J. gives her a thumbs-up.
INT. COMMUNITY CENTER – CLASSROOM – DAY
Vada and Thomas J. walk into the classroom. A RUMBLE of LAUGHTER and CHATTER. VADA spots her English teacher, MR. BIXLER.
There he is…
You got this!
Vada walks up to Mr. Bixler, stammering a hello. Mr. Bixler smiles warmly. The class begins. Thomas J. watches proudly from the back.
Throughout the class, Vada tries her best to impress Mr. Bixler. She stumbles over words, makes awkward jokes, but she’s earnest. Mr. Bixler seems amused. Thomas J.’s support never wavers, a constant presence.
As the day closes, Vada walks out with a grin. She survived her first poetry class, and she’s ready for more.
INT. SULTENFUSS FUNERAL PARLOR – DAY
Vada, a young, curious girl with an unusual fascination with death, is watching her father, HARRY, converse with the new hire, SHELLY.
Across the room, her best friend THOMAS J. is sneezing uncontrollably due to his severe allergies.
(whispering to Thomas)
He’s just hired her and can’t stop blushing. Ugh!
Maybe he just likes her…
He can’t just LIKE her!
Vada storms off to her room, Thomas trailing behind her.
INT. VADA’S ROOM – DAY
Vada is pacing across the room while Thomas sits on her bed, looking worried.
This is all going wrong! My father cannot fall in love with her!
Thomas looks at Vada, eyes wide with concern.
Vada, maybe if you got to know her…
(cutting him off)
No! I won’t allow it!
The tension escalates as Vada gets more frantic and Thomas tries to calm her.
TO BE CONTINUED…
INT. VADA’S BEDROOM – DAY
Vada, a quirky, curious girl, talks to her best friend, Thomas J., a boy with an unending list of allergies. She fiddles with a poetry book, trying to hide her restlessness.
It’s just weird seeing Dad with a woman that’s not Mom…
Thomas J. looks at Vada, an empathetic quiver in his eyes.
You know, it doesn’t mean he’s forgetting your Mom, Vada…
Vada quickly changes the conversation.
Oh, do you know what? Mr. Bixler said my poem had “deep metaphorical implications”.
Thomas J. laughs, lightening the atmosphere.
Did he now? Maybe you’re a poet and you didn’t even know it.
They giggle together, but Vada’s smile fades as her thoughts wander back to her father and Shelly. She sighs, staring at a framed photo of her mother on her dresser.
INT. KITCHEN – DAY
Vada enters, finding her father, Harry, and Shelly laughing over breakfast. A pang of jealousy hits her. She watches, biting her lip, then bravely interrupts.
Morning! I was thinking…why don’t we have a fun day out?
She glances at Harry, hopeful. Harry trades a glance with Shelly and nods. Vada hides her relief behind a bright smile.
Viewers remain intrigued about Vada’s coping mechanism with her father’s new romance, her real feelings for Thomas J., and how the day out will turn out.
INT. VADA’S BEDROOM – DAY
Vada sits at her desk, studying with an open poetry book. Thomas J. lies on the floor, reading a comic book. The room is filled with a soft, comfortable silence.
“And so I sit, both weak and weary, in this desolate world of endless query…”
She trails off, deep in thought, glances at Thomas J. who seems engrossed in his comic book.
Thomas J., do you think you could ever…you know…like someone?
Thomas J. glances up, confused.
Just someone, anyone.
Thomas J. shrugs and returns to his comic book. Vada looks back at her poetry book, an unspoken realization growing within her.
EXT. TREEHOUSE – DAY
Vada and Thomas J. sit in their hideout. Vada now looking at Thomas J. with new-found affection.
Thomas J., I think I like someone.
Thomas J. looks at her, surprised.
Who is it?
You dork! It is you!
Thomas J. is breathless. They share a comfortable silence, looking at each other and realizing that their friendship could be blossoming into something more.
TO BE CONTINUED…