Marisol Milito lived in an affluent high-rise apartment in downtown Apple Springs. She was an only child – the somewhat pampered princess of her mother and father. Her life was somewhat luxurious, filled with comfortable furnishings, beautiful clothes, and all the culture and entertainment that downtown Apple Springs had to offer.
Both her parents were successful business executives and overachievers, who believed that one could accomplish anything with hard work and perseverance.
“Whatever you do,” her parents often said, “do it with all your might, until you have mastered it.” And Marisol did. She practiced drawing and painting until she became one of the most talented child artists in the city and won several awards at the county fair. She studied hard in school, with the help of her parents, and would have been the highest-achieving student at school if not for the teacher’s pet, an unusual and poor boy named Ari Paz.
“He is such a liar,” Marisol said one evening at dinner, describing Ari to her parents. “He’s trying to make everyone believe that his foster mother almost burned down their house.”
“Well, it was true,” said her father. “My company is dealing with the insurance claim from that fire. Apparently the old woman’s cats chewed through an electric cord in the kitchen.”
“Oh.” Marisol felt awful for calling Ari a liar. She apologized to him at school the next day, and after that, tried to be a little nicer to him. When Christmas approached, she even hid a gift in his desk at school – a brand-new book by one of her favorite authors. She never told Ari that the gift was from her.