We were idiots. It was the sorry truth of it. We were idiots; caught in a rut that nobody could pull us out of.
The principal looked me in the eyes,
“Helen, are you sure you don’t know anything about what happened in the girl’s bathroom last week?” I tried to keep the confused look on my face, tried not to give anything away.
“No, Mrs. Okasha, I don’t know anything. What are you talking about?”
The truth was, I knew exactly what she was talking about. She was talking about Mandy Crane, in the hospital with a concussion and a fractured skull. She was talking about how she was found in the bathroom in a puddle of blood, barely breathing. She was talking about how Mandy croaked out three words before going into a coma:
“Helen and Sandra.” Sandra, my best friend, was also guilty. Guilty of what? Trapping Mandy in the bathroom stall until she became so frantic she started trying to climb over the walls and slipped, falling to the floor with a crash.
We had bolted from the scene with wide eyes.
I don’t think I’m a mean person. But Mandy was so annoying. She was the one exception to my ‘everyone deserves a smile’ policy.
I mean, she followed Sandra and I around like a lost puppy. It wasn’t my fault nobody wanted to be her friend! We went to a private Christian school, and she swore every five seconds! We couldn’t be friends with a girl like that. We had to be seen as girls who hung out with good people, not bad influences who broke dress code everyday and said the ‘f’ word every five minutes.
It’s safe to say that Sandra and I were popular. We both had lots of friends and admirers. Mandy, on the other hand, was the outcast. At any other school, she’d be the cool one, but like I mentioned before, we’re all supposed to be good little sheep. She skipped Bible class, while I had never missed one (I got everyone sick one time, but nobody cared because, well, I’m me).
When the school found out about Mandy, Sandra and I had a little meeting in her basement.
“We should admit to it,” Sandra said. “What we did was not Christian-like at all.” I disagreed.
“I’m not risking it, Sandra! They could send us to juvie! How would we get into any of the best Christian colleges then? We can’t risk the marks on our record.” Sandra sighed,
“Helen! What about Mandy? She’s in the hospital because of us!” I tried to ignore that.
“The doctors said she’ll live.”
“With brain damage!” Sandra yelled. I startled. We had never raised our voices at each other. You just didn’t do that with your best friend. I stood up.
“Let’s decide what to do tomorrow. We’re too worked up right now.” She sighed,
“Okay, Helen. But think about what I said.” I didn’t respond.
“Helen!” Mrs. Okasha’s voice lifted me from my thoughts. “Helen, we have evidence that you caused Mandy’s accident, along with your best friend, Sandra.” That was my cue. I took the pencil I had stolen from her desk when she turned her back and stabbed my leg. I gasped in pain and started crying, trying to remember what I was pretending to cry about.
“Why are Mandy’s words so trusted? She was half-conscious, and she's a jerk! I feel so sad about what happened, and I’ve been praying for her every night. Besides, when have I not been the model student?” Mrs. Okasha nodded, seeing the truth in my statement. I had never gotten a demerit in my life.
Of course, I had come close a couple of times, but I had always talked my way out of the bully side and into the victim side.
I was very persuasive. Like with Sandra.
“Sandy, let’s do rock-paper-scissors. Whoever wins gets to decide if we tell the truth or lie.” Sandra smiled,
“Fine.” She thought she was going to win, because my default was scissors, making her default rock. But I had built this up over time in case I ever needed an easy win. My paper was ready.
“Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!” we both said, showcasing our weapons. As I had predicted, Sandra had chosen rock. My paper covered it,
“I guess we’re lying, then.” Sandra gaped,
“But- but- Helen, we can’t do this to Mandy.” I glared,
“Sandra, you promised! You agreed to this. You can’t back out now.” She looked down,
“I just feel so dirty. I don’t want to live the rest of my life with this guilt!” I groaned,
“We’re in this together, Sandra. Unless you aren’t really my best friend?” Sandra gaped at my almost-threat.
“Helen, best friends don’t threaten each other!”
“You PROMISED, Sandra Joyce Allen! Best friends don’t break promises!” She sat back down, red-faced.
“Fine, Helen. We lie. But I am NEVER talking to you again.”
“Helen! Pay attention!” Mrs. Okasha reprimanded me again. I said,
“What, Mrs. Okasha?”
“You’re free to go. I’ve seen how you and Sandra are fighting. She told me that you did it all, but I don’t believe her. You’re our cover student, our role model. She’s going to juvie, and you are free from all charges.” I almost gasped, but reminded myself that Sandra hated me.
I waited outside as Mrs. Okasha told Sandra of the verdict. I heard her say,
“WHAT?!” I tried not to feel bad. She wasn't my friend anymore, was she? I knew what would happen now. Sandra would be handcuffed and led off to juvie, while I'd live a good life and yet again look the victim.
The officers came to take Sandra away. I was immediately taken back to elementary school.
Cops and robbers was my class's signature game. We played it at every recess, everyone fighting to be a robber. One day, one of the boys brought actual handcuffs to play with.
Sandra got captured and was locked into them. When it came time to try to free her, we couldn't get them off. She started to have a panic attack, freaking out like crazy. Eventually, our teacher was able to free her, but she was emotionally scarred that day.
Now I was going to see her led off in them. But I couldn’t feel sad about it. Right?
When they came and started to lead her away, I couldn’t hold my ground. I couldn’t let my ex-best friend go alone. I couldn’t continue letting her be my ex-best friend.
“Wait!” I called. “I was a part of it, too. We both did it. I’m sorry for lying.” Everyone gasped. I was supposed to be the model student. But I was being the model student by telling the truth. At least that was my hope.
Like I said, we were idiots. Locked up idiots who’s victim ended up dying. But at least, in the end, we were truthful idiots.
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A good story. |I'm glad Helen turned out to be a friend after all. That dilemma to speak up was well portrayed. Well done
Thank you! It's based on a real live story, where I was Helen (though the other girl wasn't hurt thankfully) and I had to make the decision to tell the truth with my friend.