“Chihuahuas and Choices,” Friend, May 2014, 22–23
Sunlight streamed through the back door as Bella ran inside with her best friend, Maria.
“Mom, can we go walk our dogs?” Bella asked.
“Sure,” Mom said. “But just go around the block. Dinner is almost ready.”
“OK. Thanks, Mom!” Bella called as she and Maria put leashes on their two Chihuahuas and raced outside.
Bella and Maria had been friends ever since Maria moved in across the street. They were in the same class at school, went to Primary together, and played together almost every day after school. Last year they had both gotten Chihuahua puppies together. They named them Pip and Pat.
Bella felt Pip give a little tug on his leash as they started walking. “Hey,” Maria said, “let’s go up the hill to see Megan.”
“I can only go around the block,” Bella said.
“Your mom will never know unless you tell her,” Maria said.
“I can’t lie to my mom.”
“Well, I’m going. If you’re such a baby about it, then I guess I’ll just make Megan my new best friend.”
Bella couldn’t believe what Maria had just said. She felt a lump in her throat. “So I guess we’re not friends anymore,” she said, her voice cracking, “because I won’t disobey my mom.”
“Whatever.” Maria pulled Pat’s leash and started up the hill to Megan’s house.
Bella watched her go, then turned around and started slowly back to her house with Pip. After a minute she began to run. She wanted to get inside before anyone saw the tears streaming down her face. Pip raced behind her.
“What happened?” Mom asked as Bella burst into the front room.
Bella choked back her tears as she told Mom what Maria had said. Mom listened and wrapped her arms around Bella in a big hug.
“Sometimes it’s hard to do what’s right,” Mom said, “but I’m proud of you for obeying, even when your friend wanted you to do something else.”
“But now she’s not even my friend anymore,” Bella said as she wiped away her tears.
“Sometimes our friends make mistakes,” Mom said. “But the best friends are the ones who help us choose the right. You were a good friend because you showed Maria it’s important to obey your parents. If she’s really your friend, she’ll realize that and be your friend again.”
The next day Bella was playing with Pip when she heard a knock on the door. It was Maria on the porch with Pat at her feet. Maria’s eyes were swollen and red, just like Bella’s had been the night before.
Maria had an envelope in her hand. It was decorated with little red hearts and had Bella’s name across the front.
“I’m sorry about yesterday. I hope you’ll read my note,” Maria said as she handed Bella the envelope. “Will you still be my friend?”
“Of course,” Bella said.
Maria still looked sad. “I shouldn’t have told you to disobey your mom.”
“It’s OK.” Bella smiled. “Now let’s go ask my mom if we can ride bikes.”
Pat tugged on his leash and ran inside to find Pip. Bella and Maria laughed. It felt great to be all together again.