Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Bedtime Story (14/3/2018)

We've all had that moment at some point in our lives, where we've met someone and instantly felt as though they're just meant to be our friend.  It's hard enough as an adult, navigating the whole "can we be buddies?!" situation, let alone for a child!  So, this story is dedicated to anyone who has ever set their sights on friendship with someone they think might be out of their league.

You can also listen to this story as a podcast, by clicking here.

The New Girl

She'd started school on Monday.  Jenna had watched her walk into the classroom, looking all nervous and shy.  But as it turned out, the new girl - Annie - had nothing to be shy about.  She was the coolest, funniest, cleverest and most interesting person Jenna had ever met.

On Monday afternoon, when the whole school joined together for assembly, Jenna couldn't help but notice how sweetly Annie sang.  Jenna could never hit the high notes, but Annie sounded like she should be in a choir.

When their class had PE on Tuesday, Annie had taught them a dance routine she and her friends at her old school had made up.  Everyone agreed it was really good.  Some of the moves were tricky for Jenna to get to grips with, but Annie made it look easy.

When they had a science lesson on Wednesday, Annie told the class about a really cool experiment she'd done at home once, making a bottle-rocket that really flew.

On Thursday, Annie had arrived at school, wearing a brand new coat.  The same coat that Jenna had been gazing longingly through the shop window at for weeks.

Now, as the last day of the school week rolled around, Jenna wished she was brave enough to really talk to Annie.  She'd spoken to her a few times, but she'd never been able to chat to her properly.  Annie was so cool, it made Jenna feel nervous, as though she couldn't find the right words.

Annie sat on a different table to Jenna, too, so she'd made friends with everyone who sat closer to her.  Jenna wasn't sure Annie would want to be friends with her, as well, even though being Annie's friend was what Jenna wanted more than anything.

They were just finishing off an English lesson, when the teacher explained: "After break time, we'll be getting into groups for a maths activity.  I've already planned who's going in which group, so make sure you're listening when you get back in from the playground, or you won't know which group you're going to be in."

With that, everyone got up to go and play outside.  Jenna watched Annie skip off with some of the children from her table.  She had brought a special snack to eat at break time; her cousin had sent it over from America.  Everyone wanted to try a bit, but Jenna hung back.  Annie was the most awesome person.  Whereas Jenna was... Well, she was just normal.

Jenna spent most of playtime with a couple of the girls who sat on her table.  They told stories and played games, but Jenna felt a bit left out.  The girls were best friends and she didn't really have a best friend of her own.  When the bell rang for the end of break, Jenna trudged back to the classroom, feeling more than a little fed up.

"Right, listen out for your names," the teacher called.  "Jack, Simon, Annie and Jenna:  you're Group 1."

Jenna couldn't believe it!  She barely listened as the teacher explained what they'd be doing.  She and Annie were going to be in a group, together!  Suddenly, Jenna felt horribly nervous.  What if she couldn't think of anything to say to Annie?!  She held her breath as she walked across the classroom and stood beside the new girl.

"Are you any good at maths?"  Annie asked.  Her big blue eyes were wrinkled with concern.  "I'm rubbish at it!"

Jenna blinked back at her.  How could Annie be bad at anything?!  "I...  I'm okay at maths," she stammered.  The truth was, Jenna was top of the class, but she didn't want to sound big-headed, or set herself up for a fall.

"Can you help me?"  Annie asked her.  "I'm not sure I really understand this exercise."

Jenna beamed.  "Of course I can help," she said.  "But...  You're good at everything.  You don't really need my help!"

Annie laughed and her cheeks turned pink.  "Oh, there are loads of things I'm not good at," she chuckled.  

Jenna frowned.  "But you seem so confident about everything!"

Annie shook her head.  "You can fake a bit of confidence when you need to," she explained.  "Coming to this new school was the scariest thing I've ever done.  I've tried really hard to be chatty and to take centre stage now and then, but really, half the time, all I want to be doing is sitting, curled up reading a book, or something.  It's hard being the new girl.  Everyone wants to get to know you, but you don't know them, so you're not sure whether you can totally be yourself.  Does that make sense?"

A big, broad smile crept across Jenna's lips.  "You can be yourself with me," she promised.

"You're the first person to make me think I can be myself, here," Annie grinned.  "Do you think we can be friends?"

Jenna nodded, beaming.  "Definitely."

She could hardly believe that the cool, confident, outspoken new girl was actually just as unsure and nervous as she was.  

By the end of the lesson, Jenna's face hurt from smiling.  She and Annie had learned all about one another and discovered lots of things in common.

Annie was still the coolest, most interesting and funniest person Jenna had ever met.  But now, she was something much more special as well. 

She was her friend.


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