“Last Friend Standing,” Friend, May 2019
It was my first time hanging out with my new friends Becky and Sarah. I was so excited! Becky’s mom dropped us off at the bowling alley, and I followed Becky and Sarah inside. I could smell hot dogs and hear something clattering in the background.
“I’ve never been bowling before,” I admitted.
“Don’t worry,” Becky said. “It’s easy.”
“And fun!” Sarah added.
They led me to a counter, where we checked out special bowling shoes. Then we found our lane and put the bowling shoes on.
I picked up a bowling ball. It was a lot heavier than I thought it would be. Sarah showed me how to put my fingers in the holes in the ball. Then Becky showed me how to roll it down the lane.
On my first try, my ball didn’t hit any pins. But after a few turns, I got the hang of it. One time, I even knocked over all the pins at once!
“Nice!” Becky gave me a high five. “That’s called a strike.”
When the game was over, I went with Becky and Sarah into the bathroom. They unlaced their bowling shoes. Then Becky shoved the shoes behind the garbage can.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
Becky grinned up at me. “This is part of the fun. We always sneak out without paying!”
I froze, feeling my stomach clench. “What about the money your moms gave you?”
“We keep it,” Sarah said as she slipped her regular shoes back on. “Come on, hide your shoes too.”
My heart was beating fast. I knew it would be wrong to not pay. But I didn’t want Becky and Sarah to get mad at me. I wanted them to like me.
Heavenly Father, I prayed silently, please help me be brave enough to do the right thing.
I took a deep breath. “I can’t do that. It would be like stealing.”
Sarah put her hands on her hips. “I thought you were our friend!”
“I am,” I said. “But I don’t want to steal.”
Becky frowned. “My sister will be here any minute to pick us up. Just ditch the shoes and let’s go!”
“Yeah, it’s no big deal,” Sarah said. “We do this all the time. Besides, no one will ever know.”
But I would know, I thought. And Heavenly Father would know.
I shook my head. “I’m gonna go pay for mine.”
Becky pursed her lips. “Then I guess we can’t be friends.” She and Sarah pushed past me and out of the bathroom.
After they were gone, I got their shoes out from behind the garbage can and took all the bowling shoes back to the counter.
“How was the game?” the man at the counter asked. “And where did your friends go?”
I swallowed the lump in my throat. “Turns out they weren’t really my friends.” I told him what happened and pulled out the money my grandma had given me. “I can pay for all of us.”
“That’s OK. You can just pay for yours.” The man took the money and gave me my change. “Thanks for being honest. I’m sure your parents would be proud of you.”
I called my grandma to come get me. As I waited, I thought about what the man had said. A warm feeling spread through me. I knew it was the Holy Ghost letting me know I’d done the right thing. I could find friends who would help me choose the right.