“A Helping Angel,” Friend, Dec. 2013, 16–17
“Tryouts will be held soon for our annual school Christmas play,” said Mrs. Humphreys to the class. She smiled at Molly. “We’d love to have each one of you come and try out.”
Molly decided she’d audition for the part of Mary. Being Mary would be better than anything! Well, except maybe for finding a friend. That would be the best thing of all.
After several months in this new big-city school, Molly still didn’t have a single friend. Whenever she tried smiling at the girls in her class, they would only giggle and whisper to each other.
The leader of the girls in her class was Julia, a smart, pretty girl who always seemed to do everything right. One day Molly took a chance and walked up to her.
“Hi, Julia. Could you please help me with my homework?”
“Sorry,” Julia said. “Don’t have time.” Then she ran off to play with her friends.
Molly sat down at lunch, alone again. What could she possibly do to get the girls to like her? Then she remembered the Christmas play. If she got the part of Mary, maybe somebody would want to be her friend.
Audition day arrived. Molly had practiced hard. When her turn came, she sang her audition song with almost no mistakes.
The next day when Mrs. Humphreys announced the parts, Molly crossed her fingers. “The part of Mary will be played by Julia,” Mrs. Humphreys said, “and Molly will play the part of the first angel.”
Molly’s heart sank. Julia would get to play Mary? Julia, who was already so popular? It wasn’t fair! Molly blinked away hot tears.
Over the next few weeks, Molly worked hard at learning her part. She knew the angel was still important, even if it wasn’t the lead role.
On the night of the Christmas play, Molly felt like butterflies were fluttering in her stomach. She’d never been in a play before. What if she made a mistake or forgot her part?
When the music began, Julia walked to the stage to sing her solo. The audience got quiet as the pianist played the opening line. But Julia didn’t start singing.
Molly was confused. Had Julia forgotten to start? She peeked over at Julia. She could tell that Julia was trying to sing, but nothing was coming out.
The pianist started over. Molly held her breath as Julia opened her mouth. The only sound that came out was a tiny squeak. Julia’s lips began to tremble.
Molly had never imagined Julia might feel scared too. But she was—and in front of all those people too.
“Start over again,” whispered Mrs. Humphreys loudly from behind the scenery.
The pianist started over a third time. Molly made a quick decision. She knew what it was like to feel all alone. Nobody should have to feel that way.
She took a couple of shaky steps onto the stage and put her arm around Julia’s waist. Molly started to sing. As soon as Julia realized she wasn’t on her own, her face broke into a smile. This time her voice worked! Molly thought they sounded wonderful singing together.
After the song ended, the audience clapped and clapped. When Julia went back on stage to take a bow, she grabbed Molly’s hand and pulled her out for a bow too. Then she gave Molly a big hug right on stage.
Molly grinned ear to ear. Yes, finding a friend was definitely better than any part in a play.