Human Behavior

“She what?” I said. I needed to hear it again. It just couldn’t be true.

“Uuuuh… I think Quiyamah is the one who stole your mom’s ring…” Anna repeated.

“Where would you get that idea?” I said in disbelief.

“Well she’s told me about … how she’s stolen things from your house before.”

“What?!” I was shocked. There was no way she could’ve done this. She’s pulled a lot of shit on me but never this foolish.

“Yeah like some of your jewelry and makeup.” She said.

I had lost some jewelry before and just thought I had misplaced it. I can be pretty forgetful sometimes so it was pretty easy to convince myself that. I also never thought my best friend, since kindergarden would do something like this to me.

“Well- why didn’t you tell me in the first place!?” I asked. I was furious with her for not telling me, but part of me still questioned her story altogether, so I kept interrogating her for the rest of lunch.

“I’m sorry! I really am. I should’ve told you… “ Anna looked upset and disappointed in herself, but I didn’t know if this was genuine or not. At this point I didn’t know what to believe.

“ Makeup is one thing, but your mom’s ring? I can’t keep lying about this.” She said. I couldn’t believe she lied to me. I thought I would have at least one friend that stood by my side but I guess I was wrong.

“Why would she do this, or even think she could get away with this?” I asked in a fiery voice.

“ Well... she said it was easy because you were too naive and trusting to notice anything.” Anna said.

Well that stung. It was like someone punching me in the heart. I could feel the tears in my eyes and I tried to hold them back. I took a deep breath.

“I’m really sorry. I should’ve told you.” Anna kept repeating. We sat in silence for a few minutes. We were sitting alone at one of the lunch tables at the time, but I checked to see if any of the other 8th graders heard us. I looked over at Quiyamah’s table to see if she noticed us. Fortunately, she seemed distracted enough by her friend Marie to notice us talking.

“Well what should I do now?” I said feeling bitterly defeated.

“I think…” She paused. “Maybe you should tell your mom.”

I thought about it for a few minutes. Part of me agreed with going and telling my mom, but I was also scared to. What was I even going to say? That one of my best friends since kindergarten had been stealing from my house, and another friend knew and didn’t tell me  about it? I didn’t know if I could bring myself to do it, but at this point I had no other choice.

“After school.” I stated. “We will go to my mom’s office after school and tell her.”

Getting through the rest of that school day was awful. I thought I was going to cry, but honestly I was still in shock. I counted down every minute until 3:00 o’clock knowing I would finally be out of school only be trapped in my mom’s office where I would have tell the truth.

Once our teacher dismissed us from school, I went over to Anna making sure not to bump into Quiyamah or any of my other so called “friends”. We quickly left the school, but instead of going to my house we walked to my mom’s office which was in Penn campus.

While we were heading over I was texting my mom informing her that Anna and I  would be over to tell her about the stolen ring. I told her that we thought it was Quiyamah and that we would tell her more when we got over. While that was going on Anna was giving me more details on what she knew about Quiyamah’s past thefts. My mood became more upbeat when Anna and I planned out what we were going to say to my mom. I felt like we had a whole secret plan, and that maybe everything was going to turn out okay. At this point I was in too much disbelief to be upset so I started to just laugh the situation we were in.

The closer we got to my mom’s office the more anxious I felt, so by the time we got to her door I wanted to run back home. Once I finally forced myself to knock on the door we heard a voice “come in” in a somewhat serious, but affectionate tone. Anna and I let ourselves in to find my mother on her computer focused on her writing, papers covering her desk.

We stood their for a few second as she kept typing on her computer. She looked up.

“So...What happened?”

We told her everything . I did most of the talking, but Anna would speak up every once in while. I could tell she was frightened by my mother at this point who sat their with a very grim look on her face.

Once we stopped my mom took a deep breath and said “I have a class I have to teach in a few minutes. You join me downstairs, and then we will figure this out afterwards. Is that okay?” We nodded.

For the next few hours we sat in the middle of my mom’s classroom as they discussed if rich people should be obligated to give to others in need. It kept me distracted, but not enough to get rid of the anxiety I was feeling at the moment. After the class she took us back upstairs to get her things.

“Were going to your mom’s house now, “ she said to Anna sternly. “I think she needs to know what’s going on too.”

Anna’s mom was known for being an incredibly strict and tough mother so when wasn’t surprised that she was yelling loud enough at Anna for the whole street to hear. Although I have to admit I was still quite scared myself. My mom noticed how scared and upset I looked so she put her arm around me.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I lied. She knew it too.

We went back to our house leaving a sad looking Anna with her mom. My mom called my dad and told him about it, then Quiyamah’s mom.

“I just called your father, and we decided we are going to invite Anna, Quiyamah, and her mother over to figure out what’s going on. We’re going to try to get Quiyamah to confess too, okay?” She said. She looked me dead in the eyes. “You realize how angry I am about this right?”

“Yes.” I said.

“Okay, I love you very much .” She said.

“I love you too, mom.” I said.

That night proceeded to be one of the worst nights of my life. My mom, dad, Anna, Quiyamah, and Quiyamah’s mom decided to come over our house and figure out what was going on. The whole time I just sat their silently with my head down, half listening to the conversation, half of my brain in a completely different world. It wasn’t until my mom asked me what if any of my stuff had gone missing that I started talking, and even then I was a sputtering mess, and on the verge of tears.

Quiyamah never actually confessed to stealing my mother’s ring. My mom knew it because we noticed it was gone right after Quiyamah left my house, and my mom NEVER misplaces anything. She never confessed to taking any of my stuff either. In the end I didn’t really know what happened, but I knew Quiyamah wasn’t a good friend. She has lied, used, and talked behind my back before so I felt as though it was a sign once I found out about this situation. The only thing I regretted about the end of our friendship was not telling her off when I had the chance.

Now I’m going to reveal something about the story I just told. No, it’s not a lie but I do stretch the truth. Their are detailed in her I made up from not remembering the exactly what happened and how it happened. From telling this story I realized one reason why Tim O'brien might’ve lied so much throughout his book. Besides wanting to show people a different truth he made for himself, maybe he also just didn’t remember exactly what happened in Vietnam. It was all a haze to him that he just wanted to block out of his head, and I can relate to this. Part of me doesn’t remember because it’s been so long since the incident, but part of me just didn’t remember. Although I can’t compare my experience to being in the vietnam war, I do know the pain of having to block out a memory, and replacing with a story.

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