For the first time ever, Tansey dreaded the English class. Especially when Mrs Jeffries said, “Anyone want to read us an essay? Tansey, what about you?”

With a burning face, Tansey admitted that she had lost her book with her essay in it.

“That is very unlike you, Tansey, making excuses for not bringing your homework to school. I hate to do this to you, but rules are rules. You have a detention this afternoon.”

Her worst nightmare! Shamed in front of Jonathan.

“Anyone else want to read us an essay?”

Then Gloria stood up. Tansey froze.

“This is unexpected,” said Mrs Jeffries. Gloria had never read aloud in class before. In fact, Gloria had never finished a single one of her essays.

“Moment of Glory,” read Gloria.

The class giggled. Then she started to read. She was smiling: this was her ‘moment of glory’.

She hasn’t read it, thought Tansey. Either that or she didn’t get its meaning? But everyone else would, that was for sure. And suddenly Tansey felt a little glow inside her. Gloria would get what she deserved, for stealing her essay and pretending it was hers, to try and steal Jonathan. Tansey sat back and listened.

“Two friends lived next door to each other in neat houses in Mitchell’s Plain,” Gloria began. “Their names were Gloria and Tansey.”

The giggles came louder now.

“Quiet. Continue Gloria,” said Mrs Jeffries.

Gloria cleared her throat. She looked over at Jonathan and smiled. He was listening intently.

“Tansey was very beautiful,” she stopped suddenly. Yes, she really hadn’t read the story, thought Tansey. Gloria had no idea of its contents.

There was whistle from the back of the class. Gloria flashed a look at Tansey.

“Go on,” said the teacher.

“As I said, Tansey was very beautiful, not in an obvious way, but with an inner beauty that glowed from her face. She was a very special friend, and everyone loved her for it. In fact, every single person in her class thought that she was his or her best friend. It didn’t matter if that person was a guy or a girl. They all thought that she favoured them more than anyone else. And that made them feel like one in a million.

“With one exception. Gloria. For Gloria was jealous of Tansey. And as jealousy is a very destructive emotion, Gloria hatched a brilliant plan for her friend’s downfall. Her motive: she wanted to be number one. Always.”

Gloria stopped. She stared at Tansey. Her mouth hung open. “I’ve changed my mind, miss. I don’t want to read any more,” she said.

The class was loving it. The girls tittered and the boys jeered.

Mrs Jeffries took control: “Continue with the story, Gloria. Read it right to the end. And the rest of you, you’d better listen,” she said sternly.

Reluctantly, Gloria carried on.

“As Gloria was a good story teller, it was easy for her. She began to spread rumours. A little story here. Another one there. In the classroom. In the school grounds. On the sports field. At assembly. Whisper whisper here. Whisper whisper there. Until the whispers became a tide. And the tide became a flood. Until Tansey was drowning in these whispers. She couldn’t go anywhere in the school without drowning in whispers. In the classroom. In the school grounds. On the sports field. At assembly. Whisper whisper whisper. Even in her sleep, the whispers haunted her.

“But Gloria was not haunted. Gloria was triumphant. Tansey had stepped off the pedestal. And Gloria had climbed to the very top. She had trampled on her friend. And she felt oh so important. She had achieved her moment of glory.”

Sies man,” said Zahra, from her seat in the front of the class. “How could you do such a thing, and then write about it?”

The whole class erupted.

“How could you treat Tansey like that? Are you proud of it?”

“I didn’t…” Gloria looked at Tansey. But she couldn’t tell the class it wasn’t her story, that she had stolen it, so she closed her mouth again.

Tansey just smiled.


Tell us what you think: Can Gloria and Tansey still be friends after this? What will Jonathan think?