49: The Rumor Court

49: The Rumor Court

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive for Kids

The Rumor Court

It isn’t what they say about you, it’s what they whisper.

~Errol Flynn

I could hear them whispering. I could see the looks they were giving me. They had believed every lie about me.

When I joined the volleyball team, I didn’t plan on running into two girls who would make it their mission to make my life miserable. But when an old friend who hated me joined the team I knew I was in trouble. She immediately befriended a spiteful, self-centered teammate, Sierra, and together they began to spread rumors about me.

“She’s a bad influence. She parties every Friday night, drinking and smoking.”

“You know, she’s a drug dealer.”

“She acts like she’s such a good girl, but I’ve seen what she’s like. She’s a hypocrite.”

Not a word of it was true, but people believed it anyway. On top of that, they would harass me at practice when the coach wasn’t looking. By this time, my parents told me I should just stop playing volleyball, but I loved it too much to quit and I didn’t feel I should give up.

I was really hurt and angered by the thought of everyone talking about how I was such a horrible person. I felt so alone and abandoned. At times, I even felt like I was being punished for mistakes I hadn’t made. I just wanted to lash out and give those liars a taste of their own medicine.

One day, I confided in a friend, Cassidy, and explained the whole story. I told her how angry I was and how I planned to get back at them. At first, her only reply was a quote from a poet about showing beauty and courage to the things that frighten us, because in reality they’re really helpless things that need love.

That only confused me. I knew what Cassidy meant; she wanted me to be nice to those awful girls and show them love, but I was too angry for that. “They’ll receive love when they give it in return,” I told her.

Cassidy shook her head and replied, “An eye for an eye makes the world blind. You can’t treat people with love only when they’ve earned it.”

“But why should I show love to someone who clearly is no good?”

“Everyone has good in them,” she continued. “Often, girls try to make you feel this way because they don’t have confidence in themselves, so they try to make themselves feel better by putting you down. You never know what might be going on in someone’s life that makes her want to treat you like this. You should consider what may be going on in their lives before you rush to judge them.”

“But how is courage supposed to help me?” I asked. “I don’t know how to express my courage without rage. How could rage ever turn into something beautiful?”

“Courage isn’t always fighting,” Cassidy explained. “It’s not always standing up for yourself. Courage is doing what you know is right, even if everything, even yourself, fights against it. Sometimes it’s having the courage to treat someone with love, even if you don’t think you’ll get anything back.”

After I left, I started thinking about what Cassidy had said. I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do or if I was going to follow her advice. I didn’t have much time to consider it, because I had another practice with them soon after.

Sierra and I were both sitting on the bench, waiting to play. While we were waiting, Sierra’s dad came up and told her to come with him. They walked to a different room, but I could still see them from where I sat. I saw Sierra’s dad start yelling at her, and he seemed to be really mad. Suddenly, he slapped Sierra in the face. She started crying and went to her mom, but her mom didn’t do anything. Finally, Sierra went running to the bathroom in tears.

In that moment, I knew I had to go to Sierra, whether she hated me or not. I followed her to the bathroom and went inside. We didn’t say a word. Then she hugged me and cried on my shoulder, and it seemed we almost understood each other. I thought back to what Cassidy had told me, and it finally made complete sense. I really could show love to someone who hated me.

Soon after, the rumors stopped. The girls and I began to work together peacefully again. I soon found that Sierra no longer treated me as an enemy. I have learned that, in the end, there are few things that cannot be fixed with love and understanding.

~Christy Box

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners