Best Friends

March 7, 2011

I had just finished brushing my teeth like Mommy had told me, and was crawling into bed and noticed I forgot to turn on my nightlight in the hallway. It seemed stupid to still use a nightlight in the fourth grade, but the dark was too scary. I didn’t want to get in trouble for not being in bed yet, so I tiptoed out into the hallway. I flipped on the light as fast as I could and was hurrying back into my room when I heard something.

It was Mommy and Daddy. They were in the kitchen, but were talking so loud I could hear them all the way upstairs. I don’t know why they would be shouting at each other, they always told me to be nice to everyone. Their voices just kept getting louder and louder. I couldn’t even tell what they are saying. Their voices just blended together, a loud and noisy mess. And then just as soon as it started, it stopped.

“Be quiet!” I hear Mommy whisper. “You don’t want Brooklyn to hear us! We will finish this later.”

Then I heard her start walking from the kitchen toward the stairs, so I ran as fast as I could back to my room and jumped into bed under the covers.

I stayed as still as I could, listening. Mommy walked up the stairs and went into her room and shut the door. I waited some more, making sure she didn’t come back out until I moved. Then I just laid there thinking. Why were Mommy and Daddy fighting? Did I do something wrong? Was I going to get in trouble? I just kept wondering all of these things over and over until I fell asleep.

I woke up the next morning to Mommy’s voice, “Sweetie, it’s time to get ready for school.” I was still sleepy, so she had to say it a few more times before I opened my eyes. Then I got up and went to my closet to pick out my clothes. I grabbed my new pair of jeans, the ones with the sparkly belt, and my favorite pink shirt. After I was dressed I went into Mommy’s bathroom. I brushed my teeth and then she put a clip in my hair that matched my shirt. Then I went downstairs and made my breakfast all by myself. Soon it was time to go to school, so I grabbed my purple backpack and went to sit in the car. Once we pulled up to my school, Mommy parked the car.

“Bye Mommy!” I said and leaned up to give her a kiss.

“Goodbye sweetie, have a good day at school!”

I hopped out of the car and started up the sidewalk toward the doors. When I stepped inside, there was a group of sixth graders standing together so I carefully avoided them. I started walking a little bit faster to get to my class. When I walked in the room Emma was already sitting at the desk next to mine. I wanted to tell her what happened the night before, but was scared. Would she think it was my fault Mommy and Daddy were fighting and not want to be my friend any more? But then again, maybe she could help; I mean she was my best friend.
I looked up from my morning worksheet and saw Brooklyn just standing in the doorway looking at me.

“Hey, sit down with me!”

I had lots to tell her about what happened this weekend and couldn’t wait to hear what she said. I had been at the grocery store with my Mommy and saw Bobby there with his dad. He was standing in the checkout line right next to mine. Normally he was always really mean to Brooklyn and me, but he actually smiled at me and said hi! I couldn’t believe it, neither would Brooklyn.

“Oh my gosh, you will never guess what happened…” I started, but she was staring off into space not paying attention to me. “Hey, what’s wrong with you?”

She looked at me funny, “What do you mean?”

“You were totally spacing out! But anyways, you will never ever guess what happened! So I saw Bobby yesterday at the grocery store, and he smiled at me! And then he said hi! What is up with that? It’s totally crazy! What do you think it means? Cause I think it means he likes me.” I looked up from my paper, and realized Brooklyn wasn’t paying any attention again. “Oh forget it. Probably doesn’t mean anything.” I went back to solving the multiplication problems; we could talk about it later when she was in a better mood.

Turns out, her mood didn’t get better all day. She barely said a word to me or anyone else. All she did was stare into space, not paying attention to anyone around her. Since I wasn’t talking to her, I spent the whole day thinking about Bobby. It was so weird that he had suddenly been nice to me. Things got even weirder when he came up to me in the library and started talking about the book I was holding. He said it was really good and I should read it. Why was he acting so weird? I really wanted to talk to Brooklyn about everything going on, but every time I started saying something she didn’t seem to even see me. I had never gone a whole day without talking to my best friend before. I felt so lonely. What could be wrong with her?


I stood up from the table and took my plate to the sink. Something was definitely wrong. Mommy and Daddy hadn’t said anything to each other the whole time we were eating. We all just sat there and didn’t talk. I couldn’t figure out why they were so mad at me. So after I put my plate up, I went up to my room. I was so upset I just started crying. I’m not sure how long I was laying there bawling before Mommy came into my room.

“What’s the matter?” she asked.

I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know if I should apologize for something I didn’t know I did. But I just blurted it out. “I’m sorry Mommy! I’m so sorry! Please just stop being mad at me!” Mommy’s face just looked confused when I said this.

“What are you talking about honey? I’m not mad at you.”
This just confused me more!

“Then why were you and Daddy yelling at each other last night and then not talking to each other tonight? Its cause you are mad at me isn’t it? Except I don’t even know what I did wrong.” I was still crying, so I’m not sure if Mommy could even understand what I was saying.
“Oh honey,” she said. “Daddy and I aren’t mad at you about anything. We are just disagreeing on some things right now. Sometimes grownups don’t agree and they get mad at each other. We didn’t mean to upset you; I’m the one that should be sorry.”

I felt so much better after she told me this. I just jumped into her arms and gave her a humongous bear hug. Then Daddy knocked on my door and walked in.

“Kate, we can’t lie to her. We need to tell her sooner or later.” He walked toward my bed and sat down on the other side of me. “Honey, I didn’t want it to come to this, but sometimes grownups just don’t agree on things. And sometimes they do things or say things that end up hurting the people they love. Mommy and I both still love you very much, but… we aren’t going to live together anymore.”

As soon as Daddy said this, Mommy started crying. I didn’t understand. We weren’t going to live together anymore? Why not? Daddy must have noticed how confused I was because he started talking again.

“Now Brooklyn, remember none of this has anything to do with you. Mommy and I have some problems and we just want you to be as happy as possible. So for that to happen, we are going to live in different houses. I know this is a lot to handle right now, but do you understand?”

That was a dumb question! Of course I didn’t understand! I had so many questions: Did this mean we weren’t a family anymore? What would happen to our house? What about all of my toys? What about Christmas, and Thanksgiving, and my birthday? But Daddy just kept talking while Mommy sat beside me crying.

“I know this is a lot to try and understand right now and it is getting kind of late, so we are going to let you get some sleep now since you have school tomorrow. Ok?”
This just kept getting worse and worse. Now they wanted me to sleep? How could I possibly sleep when I had all this stuff whooshing around in my head? This was the worst night ever! But Daddy just stood up, tucked me in, and kissed me on the forehead goodnight. After he left, Mommy stood up from the foot of my bed and came beside me.
“Honey I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to tell you until this weekend but it seems your father has a mind of his own.” She was still crying but just kept talking through her tears. “Do you think you will be able to get enough sleep tonight?”

I wanted to say yes. I wanted her to think I was a big girl, but I couldn’t do it. I was so confused and scared. All I could do was shake my head no.

“Well then why don’t you come with me? You can sleep in my bed tonight.”

So I got out of bed and me and Mommy went and lay down in her bed. I didn’t know where Daddy was, but it was ok. As soon as I was in my Mommy’s arms everything seemed better and I drifted off to sleep.
I woke up and was sitting in Mommy and Daddy’s bed. Why was I here? Then I remembered everything. Mommy and Daddy were having a fight yesterday, but maybe today everything was back to normal. I went downstairs to the kitchen and found Mommy sitting at the table.
“Hi Mommy.”
She looked surprised to see me standing there, but then said, “Oh Brooklyn, you’re finally up.”
I just then remembered I was supposed to be at school. I looked at the clock and saw it was ten-thirty. But that didn’t matter; I was still worried about Mommy and Daddy. So I hopped up in the chair next to Mommy.
“Are you and Daddy friends again? Did you make up?” After I said this I knew I did something wrong. Mommy’s eyes filled with tears.
“Oh. No honey, I don’t think we are going to be friends again. And I don’t want to upset you, but you might not be seeing Daddy for a little while.”
None of this makes any sense. The only thing I understand is that Daddy is leaving us. When I realize this I get really angry, so angry that I start crying. Mommy thinks I am sad and tries to comfort me, but I just want to be alone. So I go up to my room and lock the door.

I walked into the classroom the next day and noticed Brooklyn wasn’t there. I was hoping things were going to get back to normal, but I guess not. I was worried about her. It felt like something was very wrong and that she needed me. After school I asked my mom to drive me to her house to give the homework to her. When I was walking up the front steps I got a very bad feeling, maybe I shouldn’t do this, but I kept walking anyway and pushed the doorbell. When Brooklyn’s mom came to the door she was still in her pajamas, which was a little weird.

When she answered the door I said, “Hi, I just wanted to bring Brooklyn her homework from today.”

Her Mom let me in and told me Brooklyn was upstairs in her room. I took the stairs up to her room and knocked.

“Just go away!” Brooklyn yelled. At first I was so surprised I had never heard her yell at me before.

“Um, Brook it’s me…”

After a few seconds the door cracked open and there she was staring at me. Her eyes were all red and puffy and she was in her pajamas too.

“I brought you your homework from today.” She just took the papers from me and tossed them on her desk. This really annoyed me, “You’re welcome…” I said. She didn’t say anything, just sat on her bed. “What the heck is wrong with you?” She glared at me, and then started yelling.

“Well sorry I have other things to worry about than if I have my stupid homework Emma! Sorry I’m not kissing your feet for going out of your way to help someone beside yourself!”

Her words hurt worse than the time I got stung by a bumblebee on my arm. I was about to say something back when I noticed she was crying. I went over to her bed and sat down next to her. We sat there for a while before she stopped crying.

“I’m so sorry Emma. I didn’t mean that at all!”

“It’s ok,” I said, “but really, what’s wrong?”

Then she told me everything. So much had happened to her over the past two days that I had no idea about, everything had changed. After she was done, I didn’t know exactly what to say to her. Everything was out of our control and there was nothing I could do to change it. All I could offer was a hug and someone to talk to, and hopefully that would be good enough to help her get through this.

“When it hurts to look back, and you’re scared to look ahead, you can look beside you and your best friend will be there.” –Anonymous

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