Call Me

Call Me

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be The Best You Can Be

Call Me

Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself.

~Lois McMaster Bujold

“I know it’s here somewhere.”

I dropped my book bag to dig through my coat pockets. When I dumped my purse out onto the table, everyone waiting in line behind me groaned. I glanced up at the lunchroom clock. Only three minutes until the bell, and it was the last day to order a class memory book if you wanted your name printed on the front. I did, but for some reason, I couldn’t find my wallet. The line began to move around me.

“Come on, Cindy!” Darcy might as well have stamped her foot, she sounded so impatient. “We’ll be late for class.”

“Darcy, please!” I snapped back. Even though we were best friends, Darcy and I often frustrated each other. We were just so different. Darcy had “budgeted” for her memory book and ordered it the first day of school, while I had almost forgotten… again.

“Darcy, my wallet’s gone.” I threw my things back into my purse. “My memory book money was in it.”

“Someone took it.” Darcy, as usual, was quick to point away from the bright side of things.

“Oh, I’m sure I just misplaced it,” I hoped.

We rushed into class just before the second bell. Darcy took center stage to my problem and happily spread the news about the theft. By last period in gym class, I was tired of being stopped and having to say over and over again, “I’m sure I just left it at home.” Rushing late into the locker room, I changed then ran to catch up with my soccer team.

The game was a close one, and our team was the last one back into the locker room. Darcy was waiting for me as impatiently as always. She brushed past the new girl, Juanita, to hurry me along.

I turned my back on her to open my locker. “Darcy, I know, I know, we have to go.”

There was a gasp behind me, and when I looked back at Darcy, her face was white with shock. There, at her feet, was my wallet.

“It fell out of her locker!” Darcy pointed at Juanita. “She stole it.”

Everyone took up the accusation at once.

“That new girl stole it.”

“Darcy caught her red-handed.”

“I knew there was something about her.”

“Report her!”

I looked over at Juanita. I had never really noticed her before, beyond her “new girl” label. Juanita picked up the wallet and held it out to me. Her hands were trembling. “I found it in the parking lot. I was going to give it to you before gym, but you were late.”

Darcy practically spit the words “I’m so sure!” at her.

“Really, it’s true.” Juanita’s eyes began to fill with tears.

I reached for my wallet. I didn’t know what to think, but when I looked over at Darcy, her smugness made me feel sick inside. I looked at Juanita. She was scared but looked sincere. I knew I held her reputation in my hands.

“I am so glad you found it,” I smiled. “Thanks, Juanita.”

The tension around us broke.

“Good thing she found it,” everyone but Darcy agreed.

I changed quickly. “Come on, Darcy, there’s just enough time to order my book.”

“If there is any money left in your wallet.”

“Not now, Darcy!”

“You are so naïve!”

It wasn’t until we were standing in line that I opened my wallet.

“It’s all here.” I couldn’t help but feel relieved. A folded piece of paper fluttered from my wallet. Darcy bent down to pick it up and handed it to me. I opened it to see what it was.

“She just didn’t have time to empty it yet,” Darcy scoffed. “I know her type. I had her number the first day she came.”

“You had her number, all right. Well, I have it now, too.”

“It’s about time,” Darcy huffed.

“Maybe that’s the problem, Darcy. Maybe you spend too much time numbering people.”

Darcy grabbed the note, read it and threw it back at me.

“Whatever!” she said and stomped off. I knew that something had broken between us.

I read the note again.

Cindy,

I found your wallet in the parking lot. Hope nothing is missing.

Juanita

P.S. My phone number is 555-3218. Maybe you could call me sometime.

And I did.

~Cynthia M. Hamond

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