All afternoon four neighborhood girls played hard in Dominic’s yard, perfecting cartwheels and tumbling in the grass. Later as they spralled on the lawn, the wind gently bent the grass in waves of green as a soothing breeze softened the ripened heat of Indian summer. All of a sudden Julia waved her arms in the air. “Hey, y’all. Listen,” she said. “I have game idea.”

“What is it?” Dominic asked, twisting her long dark hair into a bun.

“Just raise your hand to answer my questions if you agree.  If you don’t agree, leave your hands down.”

Abby smoothed a shirt sleeve that was sliding down her arm. Then turned and gave Julia her full attention.

“Are you ready?” Julia asked, her eyes twinkling.

“Okay,” the girls said in unison.

Who likes Dominic?” Julia asked.

Everyone raised their hands.

“Who likes Sami?”

Again, four pair of hands went up.

“Who likes me?”

All fingers wiggled in the air.

“Who likes Abby?”

“Don’t raise your hand,” Julia whispered, looking straight at Sami.

Everyone sat in silence on the grass, hands down.

The next instant Abby felt hot tears gush from her eyes. She quickly stood and looked at her friends sitting on the lawn. She thought everyone liked her. But now… She quickly wiped the tears away.

“I–I guess I’ll just go home,” Abby said under her breath. She started walking toward her house, all the while hoping someone would stop her. But, no one did.

Her hands trembled as she opened the door. Of all her friends in the group, Sami was the very best one. But now she felt betrayed. Sami hadn’t raised her hand, or even claimed her as friend.

A few minutes later Abby heard the doorbell ring.

“Can I come in?” Sami asked.

Once inside, Sami hugged her friend. “I’m so sorry I didn’t stand up for you,” she said. “Julia told me not to raise my hand, so I didn’t. I was just doing what she said. But, you are my friend, and I really am sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Abby said, grinning from ear to ear. “Come on–let’s grab some cookies, and play in my room.”

Isn’t that just like God? He wants us to love each other just as He loves us.


©.2012 Phoebe Leggett

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