My friend Melanie.
Melanie: the one who befriended the girl who no one else would talk to. So now no one talked to her.
. . . we had laughed together at each other's houses. Even though we'd been to each other's birthday parties, worked on school projects together, and even talked about God into the wee hours of the morning. We had shared our hearts.
Even though she was my friend. I ignored her.
We had met in the third grade when a mutual friend introduced us. My friend found Melanie on the playground because she beat up the boys. Melanie came to our rescue. I don't remember any bruises or anything. I think it was mostly that she was tall and unafraid. But either way, after that, the boys left us alone.
The following year, Melanie & I were in the same class. Everyone in the class had fun together. We were all friends that year. Fourth grade was a wonderful year.
But that was the fourth grade and this was the sixth grade. Things had changed. Different rules applied.
Melanie talked to the girl. You know the one. The one no one talked to. Not only did Melanie talk to her, she sat by her at lunch. She befriended her. Therefore, sixth grade rules applied. You talk to her, no one talks to you.
So, no one talked to Melanie, including me.
I missed her. But I wanted more than one friend. I wanted us all to be friends. Honestly, I didn't even know if I liked the girl we weren't suppose to like or not. I just knew I didn't want to be shunned. So I didn't talk to her or to Melanie. Even though I wanted to.
Instead, I hung out with the cool people.
Until that day: the one where I noticed Melanie walking around the playground all by herself.
Now, I wish it could be said that I had noticed her all by herself for a good reason. Even the girl that she had befriended didn't appreciate her and had run off to hang with someone else. And Melanie was alone. I would like to say that is why I noticed her.
But it wasn't.
It was because it was my turn that day to be shunned.
That day the cool people decided it was my turn. No one was to talk to me. At first, I was wondering if it was happening. We were in class after all. But once we were all at lunch and recess, it was quite obvious that no one was talking to me.
I pestered Lynn again and again and again. "What did I do?" I was quite bothered that I had done something wrong. Finally, Lynn told me, "You didn't do anything wrong. We just wanted to see what you would do if everyone ignored you."
I walked away.
That's when I saw Melanie across the playground, walking all by herself in the empty baseball diamond.
The one who stood by the girl when no one else did.
The one who welcomed the new girls to school even when the new girls didn't keep being her friend.
The one who laughed with me.
The one who shared secrets with each other and no one else.
The one who introduced me to the sacred truth.
She was alone. And I now I knew this truth, too: One true friend is way better than a whole crowd of cool people. That I knew.
What I didn't know was if I had lost my chance to be friends with Melanie. I didn't deserve to be her friend. I had ignored her for weeks. I had hurt her. I was ashamed.
Nevertheless, I walked up to her across the playground. I don't remember what words I used or if I ever asked to be forgiven. But I do know that she walked back across the playground with me that day. And I felt forgiven.
We were both smiling.
Me & My friend Melanie, last summer (yes the image is a little fuzzy).
When I can scan an old photo of us I'll come back and edit to have a then & now photo.
She has been a true friend to this very day. My friend Melanie. The friend I have had the longest.
One true friend was better than the cool crowd. I'm glad I learned that lesson in the sixth grade.
Linking up for some Company Girl Coffee HERE at Home Sanctuary.
Come & join us. It's fun. Or simply clicking on the blog hop below makes it even easier.