“Rumor” By Jordan Lerner

It all started with a rumor. When I first heard it I didn’t know what to think. There were so many thoughts racing through my mind. “Who would make up something like this?” and “How many people has this spread to already?” That day at school was completely and utterly atrocious. There wasn’t a second of the day that I didn’t feel tears filled in my eyes. I was longing for lunch to come along so that I could be in the comfort of my friends. DING DING DING, the lunch bell rang. I walked into the crowded lunchroom and could feel dozens of eyes fall upon me.

I quickly scurried over to where my friends and I usually sit. “Of course,” I thought to myself, “I’m the first one here.” I sunk into a seat alone as I the longest three minutes of my life passed by, but then I saw Amanda and Kelly, two of my closest friends enter the lunchroom.

Almost impossible to miss, Kelly had curly blonde hair and Amanda had straight long hair. I sat up a little bit and lifted my head so that they could see me. I marginally waved. Rolling their eyes, they both looked at me for a split second and continued walking. Then I saw Brooke. Brooke and I have been best friends for as long as I can remember. She walked into the lunchroom and quickly scanned the room. She saw me and made her way over to my table with a slow, turtle like walk. As she approached me Amanda quickly swung by and grabbed arm and pulled her away.

“Come sit with me and Kelly!” Amanda exclaimed. Brooke briskly made eye contact with me, turned away and walked alongside Kelly. She looked over her shoulder and then she shot me a sympathetic look. I realized I was alone. I had no one’s shoulder to lean on. No one to tell me everything was okay.

I went home early that day. I didn’t want to do anything other than curl up alone in my bed where no one could make boorish looks at me, no one could whisper something to their friend when they see me, or quickly turn around when I try to talk to them. I didn’t leave my room for the rest of the day. I didn’t go to school the next day. I wasn’t ready to face reality again.

My mom made me go back to school the next day.

When the lunch bell rang I dashed quickly to the quiet library where I could eat my lunch in peace and without worrying. I looked up and saw Brooke walk in.

I slouched down and grabbed a book to cover my face.

“Leah?” she said hesitantly. I lifted my head slightly from the book. “I’ve been looking all over for you,” she said. I didn’t respond. I just looked down. “I need to apologize, I feel absolutely terrible for what happened a few days ago. I never meant to leave you like that,” I still didn’t respond. “Leah? Please forgive me.” I wanted to forgive her. I needed a friend more than ever right now, but I couldn’t stop replaying her walking away with Amanda in my head, acting like she didn’t even know who I was. But then all of the memories of us when we were younger poured into my mind and I thought of all of the times she was there for me.

I looked up and shyly smiled.

“Friends?” she said.

“Friends.” I assured her.

I realized that if Amanda and Kelly didn’t stick with me through this, then they truly ever my friends and were never loyal. I haven’t talked to them since, and I have never looked back

regretting it. Crazily, the rumor showed which of my friends were truly there for me and which would leave my side. While rumor didn’t provide a pleasant experience, I am thankful for it, for it lead me down the right path.

 

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