“This happened a long, long time ago,” she laughed, “while I was in high school. My best friend came and told me she was pregnant. Most people looked down on someone who dared to have a baby out of wedlock. So I told my friend, Carla, look, when it happens one time, it’s an oops, but if it happens again, I won’t have anymore to do with you.”
“So, how did it go?” I asked.
“Everyone shunned her, as expected, but I stuck by her. The months seemed to creep by slowly, then her little boy was born safely and in perfect health.”
“So did her parents kick her out of the house?” I asked.
“No, they even agreed to help raise her little boy. In fact, he looked a bit like her younger brother.”
“Well, at least she wasn’t left all alone with a little one to raise.” I said.
“Yes, that was good. But only a few months later, I walked into the bathroom at school and someone was throwing up. Carla walked out of the stall. Her eyes were all red, her face was pale and she looked so tired. I recognized the signs and asked her if she was pregnant again. Carla just lowered her head.”
“Yes,” she barely whispered.
“And it still hurts to remember what I told her. I coldly reminded her of what I’d said the first time. If it happens once, it’s an oops. But you allowed yourself to get pregnant again. So, just like I said, I won’t have anything else to do with you.”
Kind of harsh words, I thought, for someone who was supposed to be a best friend.
“So, what did Carla say?”
“She started to cry. She begged me not to leave. She said she’d never make it without me. But I walked away. I thought I was keeping my promise. Besides, she had her family. They ended up moving away. And I did miss her. A couple of years later I ran into Carla downtown. We started talking. I ended up telling her how awful I felt for not sticking by her when she needed me so bad. I told her I was just hurt because I thought we were best friends. We were supposed to tell each other everything. But she kept secrets. I didn’t even know who her boyfriend was. She refused to tell me. I figured she must have snuck out at night to meet him. But Carla’s next words tore at my heart.”
“I just couldn’t tell you at the time.” she said. “But I’m out of that situation now, so I guess it doesn’t matter. But the father of both of my babies was my dad.”
“Oh, how horrific,” I said. “How could a father do that to his own daughter?”
“I have no idea,” Bea said. “And I made matters worse when I put her out of my life. I was supposed to be her best friend. I should have stood by her, no matter what. I should have forgiven her and walked beside her, even if the whole world walked away.”
Bea started crying. I walked over and put my arm around her shoulder.
“It’s Okay. You might have learned the hard way, but it was an important lesson, and a good reminder to not judge others. We don’t know the motive behind their decisions.”
We cried together, and even laughed. Then we agreed. Having just one person in the world who forgives and accepts you, faults and all, can make all the difference. That is a true friend.