I’ve lost trust in Janice. We’ve been friends since the second grade. Now we’re Seniors in high school. She’s never been completely trustworthy. She stole a boyfriend of mine. Once she told a deep dark secret of mine to the whole sixth grade class. I don’t know why. I forgave her. I believed her each time she said it would never happen again. This time I can’t forgive her. She told all the important people in my life that my mom is a bar hopper and a whore. Really, it isn’t the truth. Why would she make up such a lie? I think Janie is jealous of me. She’s never really been my friend. That’s what really hurts. Because I trusted her so much. She was the sister I never had but wanted all my life. My parents treated her like their daughter. My mom never hurt her. Why would she say something so daggone ugly and horrible? I wanted to kick her butt. She’s five inches taller than me. That made me change my mind. Plus, I’ve seen her in fights. She really can fight. She pulls hair like an orangutan might pull hair. She scratches your face. She goes crazy. Really, I think she is crazy. This time I’m not making up with her. If this is friendship, I don’t want it.
Now when I walk down the hall at school, everybody laughs at me. One boy hollered, “you gonna be like yo’ mama?” I dropped all my books on the floor. Left my school locker open. Ran outside of school. I passed my street and ran up the hill to the cemetery. No one comes here unless they have to bring a body for a funeral. I don’t have to worry about a truant officer coming by. I don’t have to worry about seeing Janie’s big nose looking down trying to find out my business. I didn’t want to cry. Couldn’t help it. Janie never was my friend. The kids in school didn’t care one bit about me unless there was a way I could pass them an answer to a quiz or do all their homework.
I use to do all of that for them. I thought that would make them like me. I knew underneath they didn’t really like me. I couldn’t face knowing that fact. You can’t go through public school without friends. If they ever figure out you’re a loner, you can forget it. They will hurt you up bad. I pulled a nickel out of my pants pocket. I looked at the print, “In God We Trust.” I remembered my Grandmama telling me, “Don’t trust nobody but the Good Lord.” I didn’t know what she meant. She was always humming and making up some old saying to quote day after day after day. As I say by the grave of Jenella Lincoln, I had to look down at the gravestone to see her name, I wondered did Grandmama know what she was talking about. Man, I had to have somebody to trust. I decided to go to church on Sunday. I would go with my brother, Tom. That way I wouldn’t be by myself. I wouldn’t sing. While the preacher was preaching, I would read the words to the hymns. They seemed to talk about Jesus in almost every song. And tonight I would try to say my prayers.
Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I die before I wake, I pray the
Lord my soul to take.
I didn’t know about a soul or none of that stuff. I just believed praying it would help me get my trust back in folks again. Maybe Jesus would send me a “real” friend. Someone I could tell anything to and they would really care how I felt. That would be my first prayer. “Jesus, I need a friend.” I looked at Jenella’s gravestone. She died at ten years old. I would come back and visit her. Put a rose or two on her grave. If I couldn’t find roses to pick, I would bring and leave my gold locket for her. I don’t think anyone would steal it. After all, couldn’t you trust people who came to visit cemeteries?