Alright, finally back on track! It’s been a long few days helping my kitty recover along with trying to keep myself sane in the process and still try to catch up on my writing, but I’m finally back on schedule! This writing challenge didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped, and really only because of my cat getting so sick and having to go to the vet clinic a few times. I’m planning on keeping up for the rest of the challenge, though, now that he’s doing better and I feel like things are calming down again.
Anyway, here’s the story for today. A bit strange maybe, but whatever, it came to mind and I wanted to write it.
I always believed that there was good and evil. Not so much grey in the middle as others believe, but maybe some. But I’ve found that maybe I’m wrong. I know there are good and evil people out there, but maybe it’s not so complete as what I once thought. It seems everyone is capable of both. Even me.
I sat silent as my friend confessed to me the things she had been doing through the entire school year. She was top of our class, and all of the teachers loved her. They called her the perfect student. Straight As, always got homework done on time or early, always showed up for tests. She was every parent’s dream child.
And here she was telling me that she had gained all of her amazing grades thanks to a sophisticated system she had been using to cheat on everything. She told me she had not done a single homework assignment in over three years. That all of her impressive test scores were only due to the skills of those she paid to steal the tests beforehand so that she could write the answers on her hand before the test and merely copy what was written there onto the test paper.
“Why are you telling me this?” I asked hesitantly, unsure of how I was expected to react to any of this news.
“Because I need to know you’re a real friend. I need to know I can trust you. Now that you’re friends with her, I need to know you won’t talk about me to her or anyone else. You are the only one who knows any of this who isn’t being paid to keep quiet. So if anyone finds out, I’ll know who told them.”
I was shocked at this. She had never been so forward and demanding of me, and had never even hinted that she was questioning my friendship. I couldn’t bring myself to say anything, only to promise that I would keep quiet about it all.
Days passed and I began to feel guilty. What she was doing was wrong, and I knew it, but it was also wrong for me to tell anyone when I had promised not to. So what was I to do? To keep it a secret would make me guilty if anyone found out, but to tell the teachers about this would surely be worse.
Another week passed, and I realized that it was the longest decision I had ever made. Everything had been so clear to me before. But this was different. No matter what I did, someone would get hurt. If I told someone, she would be hurt and angry, but if I didn’t say anything, I was no better than her and I would probably explode from my overwhelming guilt.
“Mr. C, can I talk to you?” I asked, knocking quietly on his door and trying to not draw any attention to myself.
He waved me in, and I told him everything, right down to the smallest details she had shared. I knew I would lose my friend, but it was unfair of her to do what she had been doing. What she was doing was wrong, and there was a tiny part of me that even felt jealous. She was getting praised for all of her amazing work in school, but without having done any of it herself.
But what I was doing was also wrong. I had never broken a promise to anyone before, not even the smallest of promises. I felt wrong doing that to my best friend. It made me feel terrible, like I was out to hurt her, even though that was not the case.
After a long talk, Mr. C told me that he would take action and would try to keep me from being at fault for speaking, but I knew better. I knew it meant losing my friend, but there was a satisfaction in telling this teacher about what she had been doing. I realized how this alone sounded evil to me, and I enjoyed it. It made me feel dirty, but it made me feel stronger.
I wasn’t as good as I had always thought, and it was almost comforting to know this.