When I first told Amy I wanted to talk to her, I felt I just barely had enough courage to go through with the conversation. Yet when the school day ended and we still hadn’t found a chance to talk, I felt my courage slipping away.
Lines from Amy’s note ran through my head.
What are we going to do about Chrissy?
Sometimes I don’t even want to be her friend.
What would happen when Amy found out I had read those words? Would she say even more awful things? Would I find out that all my friends talked about me behind my back?
The more I thought about it, the more I wished I could just forget the whole thing. But this was too big and too hurtful for me to pretend that everything was all right. Besides, I had already told Amy we needed to talk. She would know it was something serious.
“Can it wait until tomorrow?” Amy asked as soon as Miss Jones dismissed us from class. “I have to leave right away to get to my riding lesson.”
I looked at Amy, this friend I had confided in about so many things, and I realized that if I spoke, I was probably going to cry. So I just nodded my head yes.
“Okay, see you tomorrow.” She glanced over her shoulder at me as she headed out the door, flashing her characteristic smile. “You sure are acting weird!” she laughed as she stepped outside.
I wasn’t the only one “acting weird,” I realized later that evening. My parents were behaving strangely, too.
Usually I could count on my mother to know when I was upset about something. Tonight, however, she barely seemed to notice that I was moping around the house without a friend in the world. Then my father came home early, and the two of them went into our home office and locked the door behind them.
Feeling neglected, I trudged upstairs to my room and shut my own door. I climbed into bed and was just about to bury myself in blankets and self-pity when I heard a tapping on my bedroom door.
“Can we come in?” my younger brother Matthew asked.
I grunted. Matthew took that as a yes and pushed open the door. Timothy followed close behind, clutching his favorite teddy bear.
“They fighting,” Timothy said, clearly meaning our parents.
“They’re not fighting,” Matthew assured him. “They’re just talking.” Then he turned to me. “What are they talking about, Chrissy?”
“Probably about splitting up again,” I mumbled into my pillow. I hadn’t meant for my brothers to hear, but they did.
“Are they getting separated again?” Matthew asked, his eyes wide.
Timothy, who apparently understood more than I realized, looked worried, too. “Daddy leaving?” he asked.
“No,” I said quickly. “I mean, I don’t know. But they’re not fighting, so I think it’s okay.”
“I listened a little,” Matthew admitted. “I heard them talking about a test. Did you do bad on a test at school?”
“No!” I said. “Why do you assume it was me? Maybe Tony flunked a test.”
Matthew began to laugh. “Ha ha ha! That’s a good, one, Chrissy! He he he!”
Ordinarily I, too, would have laughed at the thought of our semi-genius older brother flunking anything, but tonight I just wasn’t in the mood.
“Chrissy?” Matthew asked when he’d finished laughing and turned serious again. “Can we stay in your room for a while?”
I sat up in bed and took in my brothers’ worried faces. “Sure,” I said. “You can stay as long as you need.”
The next morning at school, I was a total wreck. I had tossed and turned all night, going over and over in my mind what I would say when I talked to Amy.
In some of my imagined conversations I screamed at Amy, telling her what a rotten person she was for pretending to be my friend when she clearly wasn’t. Other times I practiced how I might calmly end the friendship, rehearsing the words in my head so I wouldn’t break down and cry when I had to say them for real
Yet when the time came, during morning recess, to actually talk to Amy, I didn’t say any of the things I had planned.
The two of us had climbed up to our usual spot on the jungle gym. Ordinarily Amy would goof around on the climbing bars, hanging upside down or doing a few chin-ups. Today she simply sat.
“Okay, what’s up?” she demanded. “You’ve been acting way weirder than usual.” She smiled.
I pulled the note from my pocket, unfolded it, and handed it over. “I found this yesterday,” I said. “Maybe I shouldn’t have read it, but I did.”
Amy’s eyes scanned over the note. I watched her face change from confused to serious, then to an expression I couldn’t read. She didn’t say anything. The silence was driving me crazy.
“I know you wrote it,” I blurted out. “It’s in your handwriting and you signed it and….”
“Yeah,” Amy said quietly. “I wrote it.” She looked up, and I noticed her chin was quivering slightly, almost as if she were about to cry, too. “Chrissy, I promise, I never meant to hurt you with this. I just…I was just upset with you when I wrote it, ‘cause…. I mean, sometimes you do drive me crazy, no offense…but it’s like you don’t want me to be friends with anyone else, which doesn’t make sense because we’ve always been friends with everyone…. You always said that was the coolest thing about our school. And one day I got annoyed and I wrote this note, but I really do like being your friend…please believe me….”
By now we were both crying. We were sitting at the top of the jungle gym, facing each other and crying, and I guess the ridiculousness of the situation hit us both at the same time, because suddenly we started laughing through our tears.
“I sure hope nobody’s watching this,” Amy laughed, wiping her face with her shirt sleeve. “We must look like we just fell out of the coo-coo’s nest!”
It took us a little while, but we did finally settle down for a serious talk. Amy apologized again for the hurtful words in her note. Then it was my turn to apologize. I didn’t want to admit I had anything to apologize for, but I now realized I did. I had driven a wedge between my friends with my jealousy and possessiveness. Later, I would apologize to the others, too. I would make things right and everything would be back to the way it had always been.
Well, maybe not the way it had always been. Maybe change was something that couldn’t be helped. And maybe the way to handle it was not by trying to force things to go my way, but instead by letting God go before me, and following His lead into the unknown.Little did I realize at that moment how much I would have to rely on the Lord during the awful unknown of the next few days.