Linda and Amanda were the best of friends. They used to love each other so much so that any newcomer who would come to college would definitely get confused and mistook them for twins. They both excelled in everything they did and were the apple eye of their lecturers. There was the only a minute difference in the marks that they would secure in their exams and were happy with each other's success. Linda was very good at singing and she made sure that Amanda too would learn it with her. They weren't bothered about the status except that Linda belonged to an upper-middle-class family in comparison to Amanda who came from a poor family.
Linda was very beautiful to look at while Amanda was no less than her. They both used to make the same hairdo to college, so except for their dress, they did resemble each other. Linda never used to keep any secrets from Amanda. This time, it was different. She wanted to disclose it to her after Christmas. As the festival was approaching soon, both of them were excited to get ready for the same, Linda took Amanda for shopping and forced her to buy few things, which Amanda could never afford to buy. Amanda felt happy about it, but then was thinking about repaying it, which she felt wouldn't be possible in the near future.
Linda dropped her home. Seeing Amanda with the shopping bag, her mother knew that it must've been none other than Linda. She slowly took the bag from her bag and started keeping things out. They were expensive ones. She told Amanda that she would be preparing the cookies and cake for Linda. Amanda felt happy and hugged her mom. She helped her mother in baking the cookies, which was Linda's favourite too. Amanda's mom took out the crocheted peach coloured gown out, which she was knitting for Amanda. She told her to gift it to Linda the next day. Amanda felt a little upset because every day she saw her mother used to knit it for her. Her mom took out another jacket and told her to wear it for Christmas.
In the morning, everyone was getting ready to attend the mass in the church. The church wore a festive look. Amanda's family came early and sat in the front while Linda's family was yet to come. Amanda had worn the pink jacket knitted by her mother. She kept on looking at the watch with the bag full of goodies that she was sure Linda would love to have it. When she turned back, she saw Linda waving at her. Amanda was all smiles for Linda and gestured her that she would meet her after the mass. Linda was waiting to show her new shawl to Amanda.
Immediately after the mass got over, both Linda and Amanda came running towards each other and hugged tightly. Linda was about to show her shawl to Amanda, while her eyes were captivated by the sight of her pink jacket, which was Linda's favourite colour. Amanda could notice that, but then she offered the bag of goodies to Linda, which she accepted happily. Amanda told Linda that she looked beautiful and the shawl that she was wearing suited her very well. Linda could not take her eyes off Amanda's jacket. Feeling uncomfortable, she took out the peach coloured gown from the bag and showed it to Linda, which barely took notice of. Amanda moved to the side and took out her jacket and gave it to Linda, which she readily accepted and gave her shawl to Amanda. Amanda didn't want the shawl, but to cover herself up, she wore it. Linda immediately went to her parents to show them the jacket. They had already gone out. Linda thanked Amanda for the shawl and told that she would meet her soon in college. Amanda felt embarrassed and waved at her.
Amanda and her mother came out of the church and were walking towards their home. One of the pupils stopped his bike and asked Amanda about the address. Amanda's mom kept walking ahead. Amanda bent little forward to have a look at the address, she was thrust upon by the pupils on the bike and before she could balance herself, an intense burning sensation on her face made her scream at the top of her voice. Amanda's mom came back running towards her. The pupils riding the bike sped away. People started gathering around Amanda. She had fallen in a prone position. Her mother lifted her up and was startled to see her. Everyone gathered around stepped back too. Someone called the 911, which came within no time and Amanda was rushed to the hospital.
Amanda was kept in ICU as she had lost consciousness. Her 3/4th of the face was burnt with no hair left on the head and it was all skins and bones on the face. She had to undergo major facial surgery. A police complaint was registered as it was an acid attack on Amanda. Linda came running into the hospital and asked her mother about the fateful incident. She felt depressed and started praying for Amanda's health. The police came in, but couldn't talk to Amanda because of her critical state.
The police chief instructed his personnel to check the CCTV camera footage from the church as the instance had happened near the church. They also inquired a few Bystanders, but in vain. One of the bystanders told them the colour of the bike and that there were two offenders on the crime site. The police asked him if he could remember the number of the bike, which he couldn't recollect. After obtaining the CCTV footage from the church, the personnel took it to the office and presented before the police chief. He went through the footage and noted the bike number and sent one of his officers to arrest the perpetrators with a warrant. He couldn't withstand the sight where they threw the acid on Amanda and had vanished from the site.
As Amanda gained her consciousness slowly, the policeman was the first person to take her statement, which was of no use to them as Amanda told him that as they were wearing a helmet, she couldn't see their faces. After he left, only Amanda's mother was allowed to see her. Within a few minutes, she was taken to OT for surgery. Linda was waiting for Amanda's mom. When she asked her about Amanda, she just wept silently. Linda was feeling upset as she couldn't get to see Amanda.
The police arrested the assailants and interrogation was carried out. To her surprise, Linda was called to the police station. As soon as she entered, she found herself in a bewildered state. Her parents waited in the waiting room. After taking her statement, the police told her to not go out of the station until further notice. Linda told her dad to take her to the hospital. Linda went and asked Amanda's mom if the operation was over. When she nodded no, she just dropped herself on her feet. Amanda's mom slowly lifted her up and made her sit on the chair.
Linda mustered up all her courage and blurted it out all in front of Amanda's mom. She was frozen for a second on hearing from Linda. Linda told her that there was a guy in college who used to like her a lot and since she hadn't liked him, she had refused to be his girlfriend despite his multiple attempts. She had wanted to share this with Amanda after Christmas, but then she couldn't. That guy had followed her on his bike along with his friend. He had taken her photo from far and had shown it to the goons who threw acid on Amanda, having mistaken her to Linda, who unaware of all this had exchanged her shawl to Amanda's jacket in the church. The photo had Linda wearing the same shawl, which was worn by Amanda while moving out of the church. The resemblance that they both had, had played a major toil on Amanda's life. Amanda's mother was cursing herself for having knitted the jacket for her. Had she not been wearing it to church on Christmas, this disastrous instance wouldn't have happened to Amanda.
Amanda's mother was speechless. She stood still outside the OT waiting for Amanda. Linda couldn't stand on her own. Her dad helped her out. The OT door was opened and there came out Amanda with the face closed on the stretcher covered in a white bedsheet. Her mother could not bear to see the sight. Linda's mother slowly took her to the waiting room. Amanda was kept in ICU. Linda was feeling guilty of how her desire for wearing Amanda's jacket had costed Amanda's dear life.
Amanda regained consciousness and she was allowed to see only her mother. She saw her mom's face and signalled her to give the rosary to her, which she did. Amanda held it in her hand and looked at her mother. Linda rushed in too, by that time, her best friend had left the world. Linda took the rosary from Amanda's hand and walked off. Neither her parents nor Amanda's mom was able to stop her.
At her funeral, Amanda's mom was accompanied by Linda's parents.
Dear Lord, ... We lift her to you today, in honour of the good we saw in her and the love we felt from her. Please give us the strength to leave her in your care, in the knowledge
Said Linda sister dressed in white with a rosary in hand.