Sunday, 8 April 2012

Reflection

- I wrote this when I was 11 years old -

It was a dull Autumn’s day and light clouds covered the sky. Tall, dark trees surrounded me making a ‘swoosh’ sound in the gentle breeze. I looked around as fear gripped me. I had searched everywhere for her. I knew playing Hide and Seek in the woods was a bad idea! Ailish wouldn’t listen to me. She won’t listen to anyone, not even her mum or dad. Feeling a sudden wave of isolation, tears pricked into my eyes. I was about to cry when a voice shouted in my ear.

“BOO!” shouted Ailish, pushing me forwards.  I screamed as the familiar feeling of panic zoomed through my body. I never felt at ease with Ailish. She always cajoled me into doing something I knew was patently wrong. Last week she made me steal my classmates’ USB stick just so that there would be drama in the class!

“I knew that would scare you!” she exclaimed wickedly, “You’re such a ‘scaredy-cat’ Melissa!”

“Ailish! I’ve been looking for you everywhere! Why did you run off like that! You know we were only allowed to hide within this area! Oh! You scared me so much!” I cried, my voice trembling.  

“Now, now. Don’t wail, come on. Let’s go home.” said Ailish nonchalantly.
There were so many questions rushing through my mind that I would have liked to ask her but it had to wait for another time. It pained to me note as to why did she not see I was worried sick? Were best friends meant to treat each other like that, showing no concern?

Instead, I just nodded and followed her like a lost puppy.  Thoughts exploded into my head as I sneaked in through the back door of my house. Catching a quick glance at the clock, anxiety spread through me. I had gone for four hours! I was meant to be back two hours ago!

“Mel!”
yelled my six-year old sister with excitement seeing me after a while adding to my worry of getting an earful from my Mum. Lily came hopping down the stairs and I gave her a hug almost muffling her voice in the process.

My attempts to keep her quiet failed as she was jumping with joy having found me to play with her.  I hung my head in shame even as my Mum gave me a big scolding about how I should manage my time and how irresponsible I was. I gave a meek, quiet ‘sorry’ before going into my room. The door shut behind me as I jumped on to my bed and thought of how Ailish was having a negative effect on me. I recalled how I became her bosom friend.

It was the first day of high school when I met her.  She marched into the classroom two hours late, with her head held high.  Ailish decided to sit next to me and before we knew we had developed a kind of bond.  Soon enough she sent me a friend request on Facebook and declared that we were ‘Best Friends Forever’.  Little did I realise then what influence she would have on my life.

Now after many incidents where Ailish had got me into hot waters, I began reflecting on our relationship.  The more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me that we were not destined to be BFF’s.  I had now to face up to it and take a stance.  I hadn’t the heart to tell her she was a bad influence on me, somehow the fun I had with her held me back.

Telling her now didn’t seem like a wise move, as she is not a person who would forgive someone easily. Though I felt, if I never tell her the truth, it wouldn’t seem like a proper friendship.  She would never have a chance to change herself.  Life is just so hard at times.
I mustered enough courage and opened the screen of my laptop and went on send her a private message on Facebook.  After much thought, I began

Dear Ailish,
I know we have been close friends for a while and had some great, fun times together.  I cherish those good times.

But something has been nagging me for a while and I have to get it out. In the interest of our friendship, we need to be honest about our feelings. So here I am, about to tell you a few things that’s been bothering me for some time.
Some of the pranks we have been up to are catching up on me.  This is beginning to have bad influence on me. You are definitely changing my attitude to many things. The other day, you dragged me to some wild senior party and became so hyper we went home sooo late! I failed my geometry test because of that and can’t afford that kind of mishap. 

I am sorry if this hurts your feelings but we need to tone down our adventures. So, from now on we need to limit our social time. It has taken me a lot of courage to write this. I hope we can still be good friends, I really do! I really think you are amazing but please ..um tone it down?
Love Mel xxx

I pressed send and as soon as I did I regretted it. Why would I do that? She was the first ‘cool’ person to be my friend! Almost instantly there was a reply.

Melissa,
Well whatever, I don’t really need you in my life. It’s so typical of your types to blame someone else.  Never talk to me again Melissa Jones. NEVER! And you know what…I think I am going to spill the beans on that big secret about you. Go away and get a life.
Goodbye!
Ailish

Tears rolled down my cheeks as I read her reply.  I was shocked at the spite with which she had responded.  Not even a moment of thought for the great times we had together. She didn’t even remember the number of occasions I had sacrificed my breaks of studying just to be with her, how many times she had persuaded me into carrying out catty pranks.  Does she not see her flaws at all?

On reflection, it came out starkly that Ailish thinks she is the leader in our friendship and that I have to do exactly what she says.  She treats me like an obedient, helpful dog there to do her dirty work for her.  I felt used by an uncaring and an unworthy person.  The tears wouldn’t stop as I had never gotten into a big argument with someone before and I wasn’t sure what to do. I grabbed my pillow and dug my face into it to drown out the loud sobs escaping.

The wood creaked, my sister was in the room.
“I heard crying…” she looked at me, “What’s wrong Mel Mel?”
“Doesn’t matter.” I whispered, struggling to get the words out. She stared at me and wouldn’t budge. “Fine I’ll tell you. Ailish, that horrible, mean, spiteful girl is going to tell everybody about how I got the Maths teacher fired because he wasn’t teaching us well.  Mr. Links just sat there listening to music all day and letting us chat!”

“Melie, it doesn’t seem like you did anything wrong. I love Maths, our teacher makes it so fun! The fact is we need to learn and you did the right thing, ok?” Lily said.
“B-b-but everyone will hate me for it!” I whimpered.
“Look, I may be six but I am clever enough to know that true friends will stick by you through everything and you will find that person. If anything Ailish is doing you a big favour!”
“Thanks Lily, you’re a great sister. I don’t know what I could have done without you.” I said, hugging her tight.

I gathered up some courage to send Ailish a reply.

Ailish,
I thought you were my friend. I thought you cared for me and we would work this all out. Honesty is one of the most important things in a friendship and that seems to be lacking in our relationship.

You know what, you can go and tell everybody about Mr. Links. I couldn’t care less.  If you think that it will bring me down, think again.  It may just boomerang on you.
Melissa.

I shut the screen and went downstairs for dinner. Tomorrow was the beginning of a new week and the start of the new me.

I opened the classroom door. As I walked into the room, almost all faces were glaring at me showing a disdainful look as if they were ready to pounce on me. I gulped but put on brave face and walked lazily to my desk. I took out my books that were needed and strolled to my locker.  A fluttering piece of paper danced in the air and gently landed on the floor. Bending down I carefully opened it with a look of scorn on my face. It was from her. My eyes flickered over the words in disbelief and glee. This is what it said:

Melissa,
I am moving  back to Australia next week. I am glad that I was such an amazing friend and you benefited from my company.  It’s purely you’re fault that we split up.

You are such a whiner!  I shall unfriend you on Facebook and delete you off my BBM. I don't wish to keep in touch! This is the last time you shall hear from me!
Ailish.

A wide smile slowly spread across my face. I would never have to see her again! Quickly whipping around after hearing a small cough behind me, I saw two of my friends who I ditched because of Ailish. I was going to tell them about how sorry I was. I opened my mouth to talk.

“I’m so –“
“We know you’re sorry.  Be who you are. Don’t let Ailish or anyone change you or force you into doing bad things. ‘Cause girl you’re amazing just the way you are!” Miranda smiled while Katy nodded.

“I know. Thanks guys. I want to ask you if we can carry on being Best Friends Forever. I remember how we used to have a great time together and have a good laugh. Please?”

They pulled out a necklace that was sticking out of their shirts and smiled.  A silver, friendship necklace was in front of me.  Miranda handed me one and the atmosphere changed to a light, hearty feeling.  Bubbles of laughter exploded around the room and everything was back to normal. I took a seat next to my best friends and giggled.

I had forgotten the feeling of happiness because of Ailish but now, I have remembered. I shall never give in to peer pressure ever again and I shall be who I am from now on.