I've wanted to do a piece on Diana Barry because I believe there are hardly any stories about her on this site. I hope you enjoy this!
Before Anne Shirley, she was the one who mothers compared their daughters to. Both Mrs. Harmon Andrews and Mrs. Jasper Bell were known to have said to their daughters, "You ought to be more like that sweet Barry girl…there's a good, sensible gal if I ever saw one!" She was merely a soft-spoken, agreeable girl…one of the many girls in Avonlea that lacked imagination, intelligence, and independence. She'd still cower in fear whenever thunder struck above Orchard Slope's roof, and would run to the pantry to hide for the rest of the storm. She was a girl afraid of the upcoming adolescent life.
And then, she went away from home to visit her cousins, and returned to find Anne Shirley staying at Green Gables, eager to become friends with her. Almost reluctantly, she let into Anne's 'friendship oath', but immediately bubbled with happiness several days after the swear. Anne was the sister she never had, the accompanist that'd always play her a song. It wasn't until Anne engaged herself with the Queens preparation classes with Miss Stacey that Anne's bosom friend realized that the rambunctious redhead was becoming the town's new starlet…the mothers were now comparing their daughters to Anne. But Anne's friend was far from jealous…she was merely grateful that her own mother was not comparing Anne to herself, and that Mother believed that being a proper housewife was better than being a scholar…
Something Anne never discovered was the amount of time her best friend spent with Fred Wright when she was away at Queens Academy. All of the raven-haired, simple beauty's friends were absent, studying to be teachers – Anne, Gilbert, Jane, and Ruby. She even admitted to herself that she missed Josie Pye's vulnerable presence. Fred was one of the few Avonlea residents left behind from Queens that was both her age and bearable enough. She had but no choice to befriend him…how he surprised her with unexpected charm and wit! Charm and wit that she soon learned very few human beings saw…this was what made her feel connected with him, in an odd way…
When Anne obtained her teaching license, as well as the Avery Prize in English, her name grew to be common among others' conversations. Anne's plump, rosy-cheeked friend was seen only as that – someone in the background, merely a faithful and admiring sidekick. That sidekick never truly knew why she submitted Anne's story for publication…perhaps she didn't mind being the one behind the scenes?
She still flushes whenever she replays Fred's marriage proposal in her mind. It certainly wasn't the declaration of love that she had pictured as a girl, but yet, now that she was older, something just felt perfect about that moment. For the few months after that one moment, she was the one being compared to other girls. "The eldest Barry girl is engaged! What a lucky one to catch a reasonable man like Fred!" The attention faded almost the second she spoke her wedding vows, for it was then when the attentive romance/friendship of Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe appeared once again in the spotlight. She never minded…she was happy in her own home, her own home…
She began her life-long career as a housewife, while Anne went away to Redmond College in Kingsport. She enjoyed Anne's gory and hearty letters from college, especially the ones consisting of paragraphs about Roy Gardener. She very often sat out on the verandah at night, thinking about how different Anne could become if she eventually married this Gardener boy. But Anne never became the one who changed – she was the one who both looked and acted differently. For she had brought a life and soul into the world – Fred Wright Jr. became the sun and moon of her universe. Even with her new babe at her side, Anne was the one gossiped about – soon after Fred's birth, she declined Roy Gardener's first marriage proposal and accepted Gilbert Blythe's second one. Once again, the motherly friend didn't care that her friend was in the spotlight – who wanted to be talked about anyways?
The next few years were a whirlwind for the both of them. She gave birth to Anne Cordelia, and then little John, who was dubbed Jack for short. Anne moved to Four Winds with Gilbert, finding several new companions, as she always did in new environments. Soon, James Matthew Blythe arrived, a year after Anne's first child died at a day old. Five children followed James, known as Jem, and Mrs. Fred Wright would smile reminiscently as she watched the Blythe children play with her own. Never did she show Anne a hint of envy – the two women grew closer than ever as their children grew, and became even more good chums when Diana Blythe and Jack Wright made a match of it, being extremely close in their childhood years. Mrs. Gilbert Blythe and Mrs. Fred Wright were practically related now, after years of acting as sisters. No jealousy was shed between the two.
The time flew by too fast, and it was in May of 1931 when Anne Shirley Blythe's youthful soul finally departed from her body after suffering a bad case of pneumonia. Gilbert Blythe had passed away three years earlier, so Anne's funeral arrangements were made by her children and Mrs. Fred Wright, who was still as fit as a fiddle, despite old age. It wasn't until Anne's body was in her casket when Mrs. Wright peered upon her pale state, and thought about all of the memories they created together since they were eleven years old. Mrs. Wright was always one in the dark corner, while Mrs. Blythe shone radiantly center-stage. She had never minded of her lack of attention before…but now, looking at her best friend's body, the once dark-haired girl bit her lip as tears swam in her eyes.
She was never afraid, the bosom friend thought. She was the bravest woman I knew. She never cried…she looked at the bright side of life…always talking like she was in a medieval tale…
Jem and Shirley Blythe then appeared in the parlor, as well as Jack Wright and Kenneth Ford – husbands of Anne's daughters, Diana and Rilla. The four men lifted the casket off of the table and Jack said to Mrs. Wright, "It's time to bring her to the church, Mother. Y-you'll be all right walking there with the children?"
Mrs. Wright nodded, wiping away her tears. She was not to look heartbroken in front of her grandchildren and Anne's. As the men carried the casket out of the room, and out onto the porch, Diana Barry Wright sat down on the sofa and muttered to herself, "Anne Shirley…your life was one to envy. How I wish I was like you."
And with that, Diana rose from her seat and stepped out of the room.
Please leave a review, as well as any other suggested categories I can write for! I'm looking for new story ideas!