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“Rachel, Carma, Tori, Brianna, and Miranda in room 243,” announced the principal nonchalantly.
“YES!! WE’RE ROOMED TOGETHER!!!” we shouted with voices full of enthusiasm and big, bright smiles on our faces. I can’t believe I actually got roomed with my four best friends. How lucky am I!? I quickly scanned the sea of hurrying people for the four other girls who were bouncing with excitement. We ran together in a big group hug, erupting with girly squeals and giggly laughs. 1500 miles from home for a week, with my four best friends on our long awaited, eighth grade trip to Washington D.C. This is gonna be the best week of my life!
Three nights later, there I was, lying on the hard, hotel room couch crying a river. How could this be happening? Do they even care about me? I have feelings too. Time seemed to stop as a million thoughts of confusion and disbelief raced through my mind.
“We all have crap that happens in our life too. Get over it,” yelled Tori, with harshness engulfing her voice.
“Please, leave me alone. Just let me cry,” I pleaded, pondering why I ever thought of her as my best friend. What happening? Just last week we were laughing and having fun…and now this? Playful verbal jousts that made all of us laugh turned to hateful comments that were all aimed at me. I never did anything, why are they being like this? I was overwhelmed with confusion and feelings of vulnerability. I had nowhere to turn to. Starting the second day of the trip, I had been intentionally excluded from the group and hurtful comments were constantly slung at me. I can’t wait to get to high school; I want this to stop. I went to the two girls out of the group that I was closest to, Miranda and Brianna, and told them how I felt.
“I know I didn’t do anything, and I hope you guys are just joking when you say some of the things that you have been saying, but I’m asking you to stop. I’m tired of it and it’s not fun for me to be the target of all the comments,” the words poured out of my mouth.
“I’m so sorry, Rachel, I promise you we will stop. We didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, we were just kidding,” explained the two, simultaneously. It was evident that they truly did care about my feelings and were my true friends. However, Carma and Tori did much more than make little comments here and there. They would intentionally leave me out of group activities or make comments that were VERY personal and aimed not to be funny, but to hurt me. I could not think of why I called these two my best friends. They were so much fun to be around, but they tried to tear me down instead of build me up. However, I was not ready to give up on our fun-filled friendship.
“Us four are normal, Rachel, you are just…” cattily sneered Carma. The words stung, but were worsened by the mocking laughter of the surrounding people. She had no reason to say that; it’s not even funny. Even the principal witnessed this comment and did not say anything about it. I could not think of anything to say back to her so I just shrugged it off and kept my feelings to myself. I wanted to go home and just get away from these so-called “friends”. I have had so much fun with them in the past! Why is it all changing this week...maybe it’s not all about having fun, but isn’t that what friendship is? I battled the thoughts in my mind; completely exempting the fact that they had constantly tried to put me down all week long
“Let’s hurry off the bus and get to the room so we can take showers and use all the of towels first!” whispered Carma to Tori as they pulled Miranda and Brianna off the bus, leaving me behind once again. She knows I hear her. My heart sunk and there I sat, completely abandoned. I made absolutely no hurry to get off the bus and up the elevator. I knew it would be another night of taking the last shower and not having a towel because Carma insisted on using three. I kept my feelings to myself and sulked onto the elevator all by myself, surrounded by empty air that seemed to taunt me. You’re not good enough, I imagined Carma saying. The fun times we shared did not even matter to me anymore, I just wanted a real friend. Why can’t I just totally quit this friendship? I deserve better. However, I still had a longing to remain friends with them and I wanted everything back to normal. The thoughts overwhelmed me and I began to cry uncontrollably out of confusion and hurt. I stepped off the elevator into the corridor that had an unwelcome feeling lingering in the air. It was then that I locked eyes with Katie, one of my most genuine friends.
“Rachel! What’s wrong?” Katie said as she pulled me into a big hug.
“I-I-It-It’s Carma and Tori. I can’t take t-t-this anymore,” I tried to explain while wiping black mascara streaks off my face. Why didn’t I spend my middle school years building up my friendship with her instead of the other girls? She actually cares about me. I still want to be friends with Carma and Tori though.
“You are totally welcome to spend the night in our room,” caringly gushed Katie.
“Thank you! I think I am going to go back to my room and have a talk with Carma and Tori and see how things go. If it goes well, ill stay there. If not, I’ll for sure come back.” I affirmed. I thought I had composed myself enough to go back to my room, but I was not ready for what lay ahead. I don’t think anyone could be ready. Okay, Rachel, you’ve got this. Deep breath…1…2…3…and exhale. Seeing me with a tear stained face, HA! That should make them feel bad. Beginning to panic, the tears started up again as I was almost at the end of my seemingly million-mile journey back to my room. Oh, I really don’t want to go back. This is not going to be fun. 243. There is was; my room. The glare of the light off the numbers that had once excited me, now reminded me of Carma’s cursory, judgmental glances. Come on. Get yourself together. I knocked on the wooden door and felt my heart leap out of my chest, as Brianna answered it. I pushed past her and ran straight to the phone.
“Are you okay?” she questioned with concern enveloping her voice. I ignored her question, though I appreciated that she cared. I went on about what I was doing and called extra towels up to the room. I was not going to be the spotlight of Carma’s joke tonight. I went and lay down on the sofa, crying uncontrollably. I willingly will trade all of my fun memories with Carma and Tori for true, genuine friends. This is not worth it.
“Suck it up! We all have problems of our own. You do not always have to be the center of attention,” huffed Tori. Does she seriously think I’m doing this for attention? Does she care about me at all? It is because of you and Carma that I am crying. There were so many things that I could have said at that remark of hers, but I kept quiet and continued to sob into the pillow. She is sitting here watching me cry and she does not even care! Does she have any concern for anyone else but herself? I sighed as thoughts kept zipping through my mind. Tori continued her rampage as Brianna and I sat there speechless, totally stunned by her choice of such foul words.
“Tori, stop,” I pleaded, but Tori was unstoppable. Carma joined in with Tori and both girls agreed that they would not apologize to me under any circumstances. I guess our friendship isn’t very strong if it’s only based off of having fun.
“Why are they being like this? I never did anything to them,” I asked Miranda and Brianna.
“I have no idea,” they replied, “they aren’t worth your time, so just forget about them. We graduate in two weeks and you won’t have to deal with them anymore.” Their concerned filled words soothed me, but I felt like my heart was missing a piece. I wanted an apology, but I clearly would not be getting one. Well, I’m glad there true colors came out finally. They’re so much fun, but I just can’t count on them.
The rest of the trip was amazing! I focused on building up positive friendships with other people who were very genuine and I spent a lot of time with Miranda and Brianna.
“I see how badly they treated you, and that was just totally wrong. I can’t believe they said those things to you! I’m always here for you,” gushed Brianna as Miranda nodded in agreement. These are my best friends. The foundation of our friendship is loyalty to each other, care and concern and we also have a lot of laughter filled fun times together. There was not much depth to my friendship with Carma and Tori, it was just primarily about having fun. Friendships like that only last for so long.