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They Don’t Know Better

I was walking right behind them in the school. I wasn’t eavesdropping, but they were really loud.

“She’s so annoying. Why does she even sit at our table?”

“I don’t know. Maybe because she thinks I am her best friend.”

“She’s so NOT, thought. She’s so annoying.”

They all laughed and the six of them piled on the insults, making fun of whomever that poor kid is — until they saw me listening, that is. Then they quieted down but I still fell back so I wouldn’t have to hear it anymore.

It’s 2:47 a.m. and I can’t sleep. Partially because I dozed off on the couch around 11, waking up around 1:45 a.m. It’s the guilt, however, that’s keeping me awake. I should have said something. I should have, as an adult, interrupted and told them how mean they all sounded. How wrong it is to pretend to be someone’s friend and talk and laugh about them behind their back. I should have used it as a teachable moment.

I didn’t, though. Instead, I waited until I got into the car and asked my daughter if she knew who sits with those girls at lunch. She didn’t know. She sticks with her own friends, she said, staying away from that group of kids.

And so here I am. Awake at 2:52 a.m. Thinking. Feeling bad for the girl they think is SO annoying. That child who is sitting with the wrong group, trusting them. Second guessing myself, but really, I have no idea what I could or should have said. Do you?

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