From Chicken Soup for the Child's Soul

All Because of Kelly

True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it is lost.

Charles Caleb Colton

Liz and I have been best friends for as long as I can remember. We’re neighbors, and we’re in fourth grade, and we both have the same teacher. We have done everything together, from building sand castles at the beach, to having sleepovers and going on camp-outs. We have also shared all of our secrets with each other. But our friendship almost ended a few days ago.

It all started with the new girl. Her name is Kelly. She came to school a month ago, and she’s already ruined my life.

Nobody is perfect, but Kelly looks perfect. She has blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and a perfect smile, too. She is also very smart.

One thing that really makes me mad is to see her whispering to Liz in the hallway at school. When I get close to them, Liz looks embarrassed, and Kelly laughs, like she’s talking about me and maybe saying things that aren’t true. Then they’re really quiet and wait for me to leave.

Maybe Kelly just likes Liz, and she wants to take her away from me so they can be friends. I still don’t understand why we can’t all be friends. That’s what I thought, anyway.

At first, it didn’t seem that bad, but then, at lunch, Kelly started taking my seat next to Liz. So I took an empty chair and put it next to her. They pretended not to notice me. When I think about it, it seems like a long time ago, even though it happened just a couple of weeks ago. I guess it seems like forever because I miss Liz so much. About that same time, I let Kelly use my mechanical pencil. I don’t know why, because she is always so mean to me, but I thought that if I was nice to her then, maybe she would be nice back. She gave the pencil back to me broken.

Since Kelly came to school, Liz has changed toward me. Last week at school, during free time, when I asked her if she wanted to play cards, all she said was, “No, I can’t. Sorry. Kelly and I are going to play checkers.” When I asked Liz if I could play, too, she said that it’s only for two players, and they wanted to be alone.

When I heard that, I was so hurt that I couldn’t stand it. I wasn’t only mad that Liz was playing with Kelly every day and ignoring me. I was also mad because Kelly had totally changed Liz. Now, her personality was bratty and mean. She always used to share, but now she didn’t.

This is the hardest part of the story to tell. Two days ago, Liz came up to me at school and said she needed to talk to me after lunch. At first, I thought it was probably a joke that she and Kelly were going to play on me. Then I thought that maybe she would say she was sorry and ask if I would be her friend again. All during lunchtime, I was excited, and I kept my hopes up.

After lunch, instead of Liz saying she was sorry and asking if I could ever forgive her, she said, “Listen, I know we’ve been friends for a long time, but now I think it’s time to find some other friends, and I think it would be better if we weren’t friends anymore.”

As soon as I heard that, I started feeling tears in my eyes, but I didn’t want to cry in front of her. When she left, I spent the whole afternoon trying not to cry. So that’s how it happened. Liz and I haven’t hung out with each other for a couple of days now.

Just now, as I finished writing this story in my bedroom, I heard a knock on the door. When I opened it, I was very surprised to see Liz. We stared at each other for almost a minute, and then she hugged me and said she was so sorry, and that she’s never felt as terrible in her whole life as she has the last couple of days.

After she apologized, she said that she just wanted to be popular, and that Kelly said she could only be friends with her. I told her, “Liz, you don’t have to be popular to be happy. You just have to do what you want and be with the friends you want. . . . You’re my best friend, Liz, and I forgive you.”

Then Liz said the best thing I’ve heard in three weeks: “You’re my best friend, too.” After Liz apologized and we were friends again, I went back to my room to finish this story about Liz and me, and I was glad it had a happy ending. When I think about it, if it weren’t for Kelly, Liz and I would never know our true feelings of friendship. In a way, I really thank her. When I finished writing this story, I went back to put the title on it: All Because of Kelly.

Amy Cornell, 10

“Well, that was the last of the grudges I’ve been holding.”

Reprinted by permission of Jonny Hawkins. ©2006 Jonny Hawkins.

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