April 9- Dear Diary,
Where do I begin? I’m so exhausted and I have a major headache. Let’s just say this whole week has been a nightmare and I wish it was only a dream – you know, the type where you wake up and are relieved that it’s not true. If only…
So, today was a massive day. Carmen was at school. I was at my lockers with Rosa when she turned up and came straight to me. Her eyes blazed with fury, uh-oh, it didn’t look good.
Without a word she slammed my locker shut and stood in front of it, her lips twisted into a snarl, “How dare you! How could you spread all that gossip about me and hurt me and my mum like that!” Her bottom lip trembled.
I gaped. I opened my mouth to say something, but I was mute. Besides, what could I say? It was true.
“What do you mean your mum?” Rosa spoke up and moved next to me.
Carmen glared at me then turned to Rosa, “We went to the shop last night and we saw three mums from this school. They said they wanted to say sorry for everything that had happened to us and would love to help any way they can.” Carmen turned her head away, “They didn’t mean a single word. They’re fakes like all of you.”
I cleared my throat, “Carmen, I honestly didn’t mean to blab. Seriously. I was shocked when I heard it and just told someone. It was never meant to be a gossip.”
“Yeah right. You’ve hated me from day one and I get it. I was a loser but still you had no right to tell anyone about my dad. I don’t want to talk to you every again.” With that Carmen swirled around and stormed off.
I flopped against my locker and exhaled, so thankful that barely anyone was at school and Rosa had been with me.
“Rosa, I don’t know what to do. I feel awful.” I groaned.
Rosas curls bounced with each head movement, “I don’t know what you should do, but if you were in her shoes, what would you want her to do for you. I mean what would make it right?”
I nodded slowly, hmm maybe I could come up with something.
The rest of the morning was uneventful, Alisa and her friends ignored me or laughed behind my back, Carmen glared daggers each time I was around and my friend stood with me. I asked them not to leave me alone.
In English, we were writing a book critique, our teacher gave us time to work on that. I was relieved. I needed the quiet time to think.
I opened my laptop and made a list of how I would like someone to apologise to me and make it right.
Suddenly one of my options jumped out at me.
That was it! That’s what I had to do.
I needed to go see Brenda and Josh at lunch and ask a huge favour. I hope they said yes.
I looked around to see if Sir was watching me, but he was busy helping another student. Good.
I quickly opened my school email and typed a quick message to Brenda and Josh.
“Hey guys, I was wondering where you’ll be at lunch time – I need to talk to you both. It’s urgent! Thanks, Leah.”
I pressed sent and hoped for the best.
God please let this work. I whispered.
“Did you say something?” Jess leaned over.
I shook my head and got back to work.
Before the bell rang for lunch, I checked my email and had one from Brenda.
“Hey Leah, I don’t know where Josh will be but Candace and I will be in the dark room developing some film for an assignment – Miss Chen said you’re welcome to come hang out. See you then. B”
When the bell rang, I told Jess and Rosa that I had to do something urgent.
“Just don’t get in more trouble.” Jess said.
I rolled my eyes, “No. I promise this will make things good.”
Rosa exhaled, “Phew. I’m glad.”
We said goodbye – I didn’t even feel like eating.
Miss Chen let me in the dark room where they developed negatives and turned them into photos. It was super cool.
There was a soft reddish rusty kind of light glowing, the room smelled like a mixture of chemicals – my nose itched, and I sneezed.
“Hey Leah, come at the back.” Brenda’s voice floated from the back.
I walked slowly admiring the photos hanging on pegs.
I sneezed again.
After greeting the senior girls, I sat down and told them the latest.
“Ok, so I’ve stuffed up real bad. I mean did you hear about the new girl Carmen?”
“I started that rumour.” I mumbled.
Brenda gasped, “No way. Leah you don’t do that kind of stuff! I don’t believe you.”
I nodded, “Well, I overheard her and then I told someone and they blabbed and now I’m about to get expelled or suspended who knows.” I shrugged.
Candace shook her head, “Girls can be so vindictive.” She sighed.
Brenda nodded then asked, “So, how’d you need my help and Josh’s?”
“Well…” I began and followed with my plan.
By the time the bell rang, Brenda, Candance and I had cooked up a plan.
“I hope it works!” I said and thanked the girls and headed to double maths. My stomach growled. But there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t be late to class and get a detention.
Rosa and Jess were waiting for me at the lockers, their eyes questioned where I’d been.
“Well?” Jess demanded to know.
“I’ll tell you as we walk to class.” I promised.
By the time last class came around, we waited expectantly for assembly to be announced.
The special Friday afternoon bell rang and everyone ushered to assembly. Butterflies danced in my stomach and I wiped her sweaty hands.
Jess and Rosa squeezed my shoulder and hand, “You’ll be fine.” Jess reassured me.
Mr Casio started the assembly as normal, students settled down and paid attention. Some giggled or smirked with things he said, but no one dared get into trouble.
“Alright let’s move on to Josh’s and Brenda’s latest school news segment ‘Blabs with J & B’.
The students clapped and leaned forward; they loved this segment on a Friday afternoon. We all did. They told the latest school news and development. It kept us up to date.
“Hey welcome to blabs with J & B.” They said in unison.
Josh ran his hand through his sandy blond hair and winked at the younger girls at the front, a few giggled, heat coloured their faces and ears, I rolled her eyes. He knew he was hot and played it every Friday afternoon.
Come on, I muttered under my breath, get on with it.
“Ok you guys, today we have something a little different.” Brenda said. “I’m gonna call Leah to come up.”
Little whispers popped all around the under covered area as I made my way to stage.
Brenda smiled and handed her mic over, “You’ll do awesome!” She whispered.
I grabbed the mic as my hands trembled, I cleared my throat and began.
“Ok so maybe you’ve heard some things…”My voice trailed off as I locked eyes with Alisa and Carmen. Alisa smirked and Carmen’s arms were folded across her chest. I scanned the crowd for my best friends.
Jess and Rosa grinned and motioned for me to continue.
I cleared my throat again and took a deep breath, “Ok so, you have all heard that I said some nasty things about a girl and today I really want to apologise to her publicly. Carmen, I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you at all. I made a mistake and I’m truly sorry. I don’t expect you to forgive me but I still wanted to say I’m sorry.”
There was a dense silence.
A wave of heat rushed all the way from the tip of my head to the bottom of my toes. My heart thundered and I was sure everyone could hear it. I turned to Brenda and practically threw the mic in her hand. I couldn’t handle it anymore. Filled with humiliation, I bolted to the girl’s bathroom. I closed the door of the cubicle and leaned against the door. It was done. After what seemed forever, my shaky hands returned to normal and my heart steadied. I closed my eyes and whispered a quick thank you God.
A minute before the bell, I unlocked the door, washed my face and headed to my locker. I didn’t want anyone to see me.
Just as I rounded the corner, I came face to face with Carmen. I gulped.
Carmen stared at me, “That was really brave what you did. Thanks.”
I nodded, “You’re welcome and I’m sorry again.” I bit my bottom lip.
Carmen nodded and continued her way.
I sighed, at least that was a start.
I hurried to my locker, grabbed my books, shoved them in my bag and hurried to catch the public bus. I felt a little guilty for not saying bye to my friends, but I couldn’t. They would understand. I would text them later.
So, here I am now, with a massive headache. Could I restart the week over?
The ding of my phone startled me, reluctantly I grabbed it and checked who it was.
It was Rosa.
“Hey Girl, you were awesome!! Everyone’s talking about how cool and brave you are. Jess and I are proud. Lov you girl – see you at church x”
I grinned. Aww.
Another ding, it was Jess.
“Woohooo GO Leah! You did soooo well. I’m super proud to call you bestie 😊 Love love x PS: I overheard Carmen talking to Mr Casio – she’s pretty impressed with what you did. I think by Monday all will be alright.”
I reread her last sentence, threw my phone on my bed and squealed.
Maybe I wouldn’t be BBF with Carmen or anything, but at least it was a start.
“Thank you, God – you’re pretty awesome!” I shouted with a huge grin on my face.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17