‘Sarah! Time to wake up honey! Or you'll be late for school!’
Sarah moaned and groaned as her mother tried to get her to go to the bathroom. She hated Mondays. She would have to go to school again. But Sarah also hated being late. She was always the first to be in class. Miss Parker always greeted her with a warm smile and added a pretty sticker to her diary. It was a reward for her punctuality.
All the other kids in her elementary school were lazy. They always came in just a few minutes before the bell rang. She wondered what their mama and papa would say if they got to know that they never reached their classes early because if she were ever late, she would get a sound scolding from her mama and papa for sure!
Sarah hurried to the bathroom, rubbing her eyes groggily, trying to get rid of the remaining sleep in her eyes. She wouldn't dream of being late. Also today's star shaped sticker from Miss Parker would fill the tenth page of her diary. She couldn't wait to show it to her parents.
To mark the celebratory day, Sarah decided to wear her favourite pink dress to school. It was frilly and had butterflies all over it. Her grandmother had given it to her last year and Sarah had thought it her most prized possession since then. She had also begged for matching shoes with the dress and after a lot of whining and nagging, her papa had got them for her as a Christmas present.
She was very excited. She couldn't wait to get to class. How happy Miss Parker would be and mama and papa would be so proud of her. She hugged her mother and dashed to class. It was a wonderful day and she couldn't wait for it to start.
But just when Sarah stepped into class, she was faced with a horrible sight. Sarah could not believe her eyes, because there in the front seat, sat Jason Walker, the one person Sarah very much disliked in her class. And what was worse, Miss Parker was now giving Jason a star sticker to stick into his diary. The sticker that she deserved. Sarah couldn't be angrier.
She had disliked Jason from the moment he had stepped into class. He had been a new student, who had transferred from another city and everyone liked him from that very first moment. Well, everyone except Sarah of course. It all started when Jason stole her best friend Ruby Wilkins. Sarah and Ruby were inseparable before Jason came. But the moment he stepped into class, it was like Ruby had forgotten her. But Sarah never complained. But Jason didn't stop there. He stole her title of a star student as well!
He sang better, danced better and was a master at colouring. He even knew how to draw pretty roses, something which Sarah herself was trying to learn very hard. She was very sad to learn that she was no longer Miss Parker's most favourite student. But she didn't complain.
But now, Jason had crossed the line. He was trying to outshine her in every way. But enough was enough. Sarah was furious. He couldn't do this. Not on her day of celebration. She wouldn't let him. So Sarah did what she had to do. With tears running down her cheeks, she ran straight to Jason and pushed him off his chair and threw his diary away.
Miss Parker was horrified. She hurried to Jason and helped him stand up and scolded Sarah sternly. She couldn't understand why Sarah would do something like this. Sarah had had enough. She couldn't hold it in any longer. So she burst into a sob and told Miss Parker of everything Jason had stolen. That he was a bad person. That he was the cause of all her sadness.
After Sarah finished talking, Miss Parker looked very amused. She couldn't believe that Sarah had taken all of this so badly. But now that she thought back to it, there were signs of Sarah's sadness. She had seemed very quiet and grumpy lately. But now that she knew, she would fix things immediately.
So she took both Sarah and Jason to her desk and sat down in front of them.
Before she began with the explanation, she turned to Jason. He had been very quiet since the incident. He looked confused in the beginning. Now, he just had a sombre expression. She asked him if he was alright.
'I am okay Miss Parker. But I promise that I didn't steal anything. I am a good boy Miss Parker. My mother and father say so. I have never stolen. I don't know why Sarah says so.'
The moment Jason completed his sentence, Sarah looked like she was ready to pounce on him again. Miss Parker quickly intervened before something happened again.
She told Jason that she knew he hadn't done anything wrong. She then turned to Sarah. She explained to her why she thought Jason had done nothing wrong. She told Sarah that it wasn't his fault that Ruby chose to become his friend. Sarah could just share her best friend with him. It didn't mean that Ruby had forgotten her. She would still love to be Sarah's friend. And as for the other things, Sarah could always learn to be better than Jason. What if Jason was better at colouring, singing and dancing? Sarah was better than Jason at Math, English and elocution. Also, she could just work harder and maybe in time, she would beat him at it. Jason could also learn to work harder and get better at the things he couldn't do perfectly.
Sarah had stopped crying by now and both she and Jason looked as to be deep in thought after Miss Parker's speech. Miss Parker smiled and took both their hands into hers. She told them that it was okay to be imperfect. Not everyone could do everything. But they could become the best through hard work and with help from friends. So instead of being angry with Jason, Sarah could just become his friend and work together so that they could both learn new things from each other.
By the end of it, Sarah seemed very ashamed of her act. She couldn't believe she had hurt someone. She looked really sad. She knew Jason would never forgive her. But Miss Parker just waved her hand. She taught Sarah the three magic words. They would heal all wounds. She was sure, Jason would agree to be Sarah's friend if she said the word.
So Sarah turned to Jason and said softly
'I am sorry.'
Jason looked at Sarah for a long moment and then smiled.
'It's okay Sarah'
Sarah broke into a big smile. She was so happy. She was glad he had forgiven her. She would never hurt anybody again. She promised herself.
'Will you be my friend now Jason?'
Sarah really hoped he would agree.
'Yes Sarah. I will'
He smiled at her and held out a hand and Sarah shook it excitedly. She not only learnt the three magic words today, but also made a new friend. She couldn't be happier.
And because Sarah had learnt such an important lesson today and proved to be a 'big girl', Miss Parker awarded her the prettiest star sticker to add to her diary.
It looks like her parents would be proud of their little princess after all!