Tjo! I could not shut up.

I’d tell you what I said, I really would, but I can’t remember. The words kept rushing out of my mouth like a waterfall. They would not stop.

Lazola kept saying things like, “Ayesha, stop. It’s okay. It is fine. Stop. You don’t have to…”

But my mouth kept moving. Words continued pouring out. I don’t know what I said. I hope I didn’t say anything too dof. But I felt so bad. Lazola has been so nice to me since we started playing netball together. I love the books she lends me. They mean so much. I didn’t want her to get into trouble. I just get so lonely on Friday nights. And sometimes – shut up! Don’t laugh – I’m scared.

But I can’t be scared. You understand, hey? Jade depends on me.

Hey, I have to be brave and tell Jade it is all right. That I know what I’m doing. That things will be fine. Every Friday. Week after week after week. Tjo, it’s exhausting!

All I know is, the words kept falling out of my mouth, more and more until I told them what I told you at the start of this sorry tale:

“I wanted to be happy. That was all. Everybody wants to be happy, right? It isn’t like wanting to be happy is a crime. And everybody knows that Friday nights are the nights where the adults get to be so happy! happy! happy! that they’re throwing bottles and yelling and breaking things and making everyone crazy. But they get to be happy, so the kids should get to be happy, too.”

I watched Lazola’s parents go from The Look, to tutting and smacking their lips, to shaking their heads, to going still, and their eyes going all soft and gooey.

Tjo, I promise you, as much as I don’t like getting into trouble, I wasn’t trying to save my neck. I knew I was dead. But I’m a good friend. Even if I’m looking like a really bad friend, in this story. Right. I KNOW I got my friend into trouble. But I do not sell my friends out, hey? If it is my fault, I know it is, and I will not make my friend take the blame.

Good friends do that.

Ja, so, I am a bad friend, but a good one. And I was willing to take whatever it was her parents were going to dish out.

I wasn’t trying to be bad-bad, hey? Honest. I just wanted to be happy.

***

Tell us: Has your opinion of Ayesha changed at all as you read the story? Or is your original opinion the same? Why or why not?