Back at school the next week, Amanda is having a hard time.

“Hey, Amanda! Tripped off any stages lately?”

”Is that you, Amanda? I thought it was Avril Lavigne.”

“Hey, Amanda! Avril called. She wants her song back.”

The jokes go on and on. Some are just mild teasing, but others are borderline nasty. It’s the relentlessness that’s wearing her down.

The trouble is, when Amanda first arrived at Innesfree High, she was just a bit too cool and too gorgeous. She radiated this attitude that said, ‘I don’t belong here. I should be in a fancy private school.’

Now that things aren’t going so well for her, the other kids are showing no mercy. She looks exhausted and depressed the whole time. She actually did fall off the stage once in rehearsal the other day. And now Mrs Reece-Smith has said she can’t do the Avril Lavigne song she was practising because she’s not hitting the high notes right.

“Hey, Amanda, you can see that zit from space!”

Something inside me snaps. I turn on the girl and say angrily, “Will you just leave her alone? What’s she ever done to you? Don’t tell me you’ve never had a zit before in your life. Stop teasing her or I’ll tell Jayden you’ve got ‘Mrs Depaul’ written all over your diary.”

The girl stares at me in shocked silence. I’m not normally the screamy type, so I’ve taken everyone by surprise.

”What does it matter to you?” she mutters at last. “I thought you couldn’t stand her. Why do you care what we say to her?”

“She’s my …” I swallow hard. “She’s my friend, okay? Now just leave us alone.”

I grab Amanda’s arm and practically frogmarch her away from there. It’s the end of the school day. I’m heading for the taxi to take me east on Grayston Drive to the industrial wasteland of Wynberg. Amanda will wait for her mom to pick her up and take her west to the shady peace of Strathavon. But somehow I can’t bring myself to feel as indignant about this as I usually do.

“Thanks for that,” Amanda says in a small voice. “And thanks for all the rehearsing you’ve been doing with me.”

”Sure.” This was the favour she asked me last week, to help her with her song practice.

We walk in comfortable silence. I realise how much I’ve missed having a best friend since Devorah emigrated to Perth.

“You know what?” Amanda says after a moment. “I want you to meet someone.”

But when I see who it is, I literally can’t believe my eyes.

Image: Princess Toadie, CC-BY-NC- ND-2.0

WHAT DO YOU THNK?  Have you ever tried to put a stop to a bullying situation? How did you handle it?