By Maliha Iqbal

“Wake up! Wake up! We are already late” yelled my brother at me. I got up as quickly as possible and as I was changing my clothes I heard my brother say for the hundredth time “I am so excited! We are going to our hometown for our aunt’s marriage!” I knew it was going to be fun but I would miss my best friend – Sadie.

Thinking about Sadie made me think about Angela who was also a great friend of mine. As I thought about Angela the picture of a girl came into my mind. Her name was Zabrina- she was short, plump with small black hair and these days she had suddenly taken a great liking for the three of us. She had started following us and at first we didn’t mind but then she began to annoy us because each time when we were sharing some secret among with each other she would say “hey! What’s the secret? Tell me as well” and we would have to tell her. I was quite happy that I was going away from her for a whole month and my friends had promised to send me an email each day and call me once in a week but I was in for a shock.

After reaching the station we caught the train to our hometown and by evening we were at our ancestral home.  For the next few days I kept receiving emails from my friends. Then suddenly the emails stopped coming. I thought perhaps they were busy and would get in touch later. When they didn’t contact me for over two weeks I called them but no one picked up the phone.

I was a little worried but then I thought they might be busy but days passed and finally it was the day to return home. By then I had forgotten all about my worries and was only looking forward to meet my friends. The day I reached home I called my friends but once again they didn’t answer my call.

I was a little upset but I couldn’t help feeling excited because I was going to meet them the next day at school. My mother drove me and my brother to school. Everyone greeted me very nicely but I was shocked to see that my friends Sadie and Angela were not even noticing me and were constantly talking to each other. Even Zabrina was not talking to me. I was really upset and told everything to my brother during lunch break. He looked angry and shocked and said “I think …..Angela might have ….”  I wanted to scream. I looked at him and said “but nobody can get between me and Sadie”. He looked into my eyes and I saw that he was not joking. Then taking a deep breath I said “do you think Sadie is not talking to me because of Angela?”

“Yes” he replied.

I was so upset that throughout the next lesson I sat and brooded over what had happened. Just as school was about be over Zabrina came over to me and said “please may I talk to you for a few minutes?” I was eager to know what she had to say and said “yes, of course”.

She paused for a second and then said “I wanted to talk to you because I feel very ashamed of myself to have betrayed you and to have made friends with Angela and Sadie. I had no choice but to make friends with them because nobody really likes me, everybody thinks I am annoying.” A guilty look came over my face because I too had thought that she was annoying. “I desperately wanted a friend so I guess I got annoying” she paused and then continued “I think I must tell you that it was because of Angela that your friendship with Sadie broke. She told Sadie and me that you had said unpleasant things about me and Sadie to her. I never believed her but I pretended to because I wanted to make friends with both of them”.  Zabrina looked at me hesitatingly and continued “After hearing this Sadie became Angela’s constant companion and together they started saying really unpleasant things about you and your brother”.  I tried to be indifferent but it was impossible.

I felt close to tears.  I couldn’t control my tears and I started crying and exactly at that moment my favourite teacher Miss Rose entered the class. She saw me crying and hurried over to my side. She kept on asking me the reason that had made me cry but she couldn’t understand a word that I said because I was crying while speaking. She understood just one thing- someone had said unpleasant things about me which had made me cry. “We will talk about this in detail on Monday when you feel better and then you can also give me their names, I will see that they are punished, but for now I think you should go home because you look so exhausted and tired”.

As I sat in the class thinking about the turn of events, suddenly a thought struck me and I went straight to Zabrina and asked her “why did you tell me all this? You know now Sadie and Angela won’t talk to you and you will be friendless”. She looked at me and said “I really wanted friends and for that I was even killing my conscience but I realize how wrong I was and I feel better already to have told you everything”. I looked at her honest face and saw what I had never seen in Sadie before – a loyal and true friend, who was always by your side ready to help you whenever necessary.

Before I could stop myself I said “I am sorry because I always thought you were annoying and I tried to stay away from you but I never realized how lonely you must have felt when you didn’t have any friends. Would you like to make friend with me?” Zabrina looked speechless and overjoyed she hugged me and said “thank you!!” This was so unexpected that we both embraced each other and Zabrina wept.

After a little while she said “I have learnt the biggest lesson of my life today!!” “And what is it? I asked her she beamed and replied “you should always do the right thing whether the outcome is good or bad.” The next day was Sunday and I woke up with those words ringing in my mind- “you should always do the right thing whether the outcome is good or bad”. The following day I went to school and the first lesson was English which was taught by Miss Rose. She came into the class and asked me to come over and tell her everything in detail. I went over to her and said “Miss Rose I don’t wish to complain”. My word stunned the whole class and everyone stared at me in silence. Finally Miss Rose spoke up “what do you mean?” I said, “Miss Rose you see if I complain to you I would be just as wrong as the people who made me unhappy because in a way I am taking my revenge”. Miss Rose smiled proudly at me and said “what made you change your mind?” Now it was my turn to smile and I replied “once somebody told me – you should always do the right thing whether the outcome is good or bad”.

About the Author: 

Maliha Iqbal is a freelance writer settled in Aligarh.

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