It seems Leslie Burke did something for someone every minute she was on this earth. The difference between me and those others? I didn't have to wait until she died to know how special she was.

Who am I?

I'm her best friend. Or I was, anyway. My name is Jess Aarons, and this is my story.

The story she wrote for me.

Leslie was unlike anyone I have ever met. She was strong, witty and imaginative. She didn't mind that I wasn't like anyone in my family. She didn't mind that being my friend destroyed any chances of the other girls liking her.

She liked me for me, and embraced it. She embraced Janice Avery and Maybelle, something I never had the courage to do.

She trusted me; she made me feel something I had never experienced.

Love, companionship, trust.

She did so many things for me, and I couldn't do that one thing for her.

I didn't want to share a day with her.

That museum day. I was selfish, and greedy, and I didn't want to share my happiness with her. What I was thinking, I don't know, but…

But it doesn't matter now.

Because of the one thing I didn't do for her, she's dead. And it's all because of me.

She made me think to build that scrawny shelter in the woods, but Leslie could make it a castle of grandeur. Leslie could make anything happy and good and full of life and hope.

I'm living proof.

It's too soon to embrace the Leslie Burke I knew, that tall, geeky to some, brunette, with the curls and coke bottle glasses.

I didn't think Leslie was ugly. I thought she was beautiful. But maybe only I could see how beautiful she was, because I was the only one who took the time to look.

Does it matter, though? No, it does not matter. Because Leslie is dead. And she'll never ever come back, no matter how much paint and paper I dump in that stupid river. No matter how many times I cry with Dad and Maybelle, she'll always be gone.

I'll never get to thank her for the things she did for me.

And I'll never get to apologize for not returning the favor.

A/N: Man, that's depressing! :( For those observant readers, yes, this is book-verse, my first and last. A few weeks ago, I actually read the book. And this is the first case where I actually liked a movie-adaptation better than the book. The book didn't delve into the magic of Terabithia, and it didn't talk about how important the friendship was to them. AnnaSophia Robb and Josh Hutcherson grasped the characters much better, in my opinion. The ending was a bit rushed, (the book. It said he got over it in a week) but perhaps it was Katherine Paterson's attempt at closure (For Lisa Hill's death) but it just didn't make sense to me. So this is my attempt at book closure.

Bye for now!