“A True Friend,” Friend, June 2012, 44–45
The note was written on blue paper with zigzags drawn around the corners, so even though Jeremy handed it to her, Melanie knew the note was from Rachel. Melanie glanced around. Reading time was over, and her classmates were putting away their books.
Melanie knew how the note would start: “Dear Best Friend.” She smiled to herself. She and Rachel had been friends since second grade. “We’re still best friends, even though we’re very different,” Melanie thought as she unfolded the note.
Dear Best Friend,
Do you smoke?
Melanie was surprised. “Rachel and I are together all the time,” she thought. “Doesn’t she know I don’t smoke?”
She wrote on the bottom of the paper:
No. I think it’s gross. Why do you want to know?
Melanie handed the note back to Jeremy. Soon he passed it back again. Melanie read:
I snuck a pack of cigarettes from my aunt’s house. Do you want to try some with me after school?
Melanie stared at the note. Then she wrote:
Rachel! Why do you want to smoke? It’s bad for you! I know you like to try new things, but I don’t want to see you get hurt.
Rachel wrote back:
A few cigarettes aren’t going to hurt me. I might not even finish the whole pack.
Melanie felt like she was going to cry. She wrote:
You’re my friend, and I love you. Don’t smoke.
Melanie watched Rachel as she read the note. Now Rachel looked like she was going to cry. She held onto the note for a long time. Then she wrote back. When Melanie got the note, she read:
Thanks. I love you too. I won’t smoke the cigarettes.
Melanie was grateful she had chosen to be an example. She felt relieved that Rachel had made the right choice.