“Honey, why aren’t you eating? Are you feeling okay?”
“Huh?” I looked up from my plate to see Mom looking at me with a worried expression.
“You haven’t been eating all week. Your face is so pale. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong with Brooke, Mom, she’s just nervous about the concert at church coming up.” I shot my older sister Maggie a grateful look. I didn’t want Mom worrying about me, but I couldn’t tell her what was really wrong.
Maggie turned to me. “Listen, we need to get
moving or we’re going to be late for string practice.”
“Right,” I agreed, getting up to clear my place at the table. Maggie and I both played
string instruments with a small group of other teens in our church. Maggie played violin and I
played cello. I loved to play, and usually I couldn’t wait to get together and practice, but tonight I would have rather been anywhere else.
As soon as we were in the car and on our way, Maggie turned on me. “Brooke, you need to tell someone. I don’t care if it’s Mom, or Dad, or Pastor Grove, but you need to tell someone
about Christa. This is eating you up inside.”
“No!” I blurted. “And don’t you dare tell anyone, either. You promised.”
“I know, but Christa needs help! How can you just ignore the fact that she drinks?” Her
voice had been rising, but she suddenly calmed and softened her tone. “She’s your best friend,
Brooke. You have to do something.”
Angry words were on my tongue, but I swallowed them when she said that. I looked out
the window and sighed. Christa had been my best friend since we were in kindergarten. We grew up together going to a small Christian school, and we were now in our senior year. She played cello with me in our string group, but she had stopped practicing a week ago after I had found her drinking beer.
My best friend Christa, who was raised with the same beliefs as me, went to the same church, the same school.
She said she’d been drinking for the past two years. How she had kept it from everyone, I’ll never know. There must have been signs, but I was too naďve. That was what she had called
me. I replayed the scene from that night.
“What are you doing?” I had shrieked when I found her underneath the bleachers after a
football game. I stared in horror at the empty beer cans laying at her feet. She looked at me
blankly, unfazed. I grabbed the can from her hand and threw it as hard as I could. That got a
Her eyes were wild and her voice slurred as she clawed at my arm. “Give it back! What do you think you’re doing?”
“Saving you,” I had replied, putting my hands around her face to make her look at me.
“What do you think? That this is the first time?” Clumsily, Christa pushed my hands
away. “You’re so naďve, Brooke. That’s what I love about you. Sweet…innocent…naďve.” She
wavered and I grabbed her, afraid she was going to pass out. I realized I was shaking.
“Come on. Where are your car keys? I’m taking you home.” I was surprised when she didn’t fight me. She leaned on me heavily the whole way through the parking lot where I managed to get her into the passenger seat of her jeep. She collapsed there and didn’t move or speak until I had pulled into her driveway.
Sighing heavily, she pleaded with me, “Please don’t tell my dad.” I hesitated. Her dad wasn’t home because he worked nights unloading freight at a grocery store. Maybe in the morning I could convince Christa to get help, and no one would ever have to know.
After helping Christa inside the house and into her bed, I called Maggie for a ride. She was the only person I told. She agreed with me about keeping it a secret. But the next day when I confronted Christa, she told me to leave her alone. If I had a problem with her drinking,then I could just back off. So I did. All week long.
I was hardly able to sleep or eat. I went through the motions of living, but my mind was numb. Going to church seemed like a farce. Where was God when my best friend was getting
I was jolted from my tormented thoughts when we pulled into the church parking lot.
“Why is Christa’s jeep here?” Maggie asked. I looked over at where she was pointing. I felt butterflies in my stomach. She wouldn’t be stupid enough to come to string practice
expecting me to act like nothing had happened, would she? I felt numb as I climbed out of the
car and grabbed my cello out of the back seat. Opening the front door of the church, Maggie and
I walked through the foyer and down the middle aisle of the sanctuary. Amy and Simon were
standing up front talking to someone in the front pew.
“Hey guys, what’s up?” Maggie called out. The person in the pew turned around at her
greeting and stood awkwardly. It was, of course, Christa. I stood a few feet away, unsure what to say.
She shoved her hands in her pockets, and Maggie asked Amy and Simon to help her with something in the Sunday School room.
“Hi,” Christa said when they were gone. I didn’t respond, and when she didn’t say anything else I walked to the front pew and opened my cello case. She watched quietly as I sat down and started tuning. The silence was unnerving, but I was determined not to speak.
“I wanted…” she began, but then stopped and took a deep breath.
She started again. “The past week…I mean, I didn’t realize…” The words seemed to
stick in her throat. I stopped tuning and looked up and saw that she was sitting on the pew
with her head in her hands.
“Why are you here?” I asked, doubting if she knew the answer herself. She looked up at
me and there were tears running down her face.
“I came to say I’m sorry. But sorry isn’t good enough.”
“You’re right it’s not good enough!” I shouted. All the pent-up emotions of the past
week came out. I set down my cello and stood up. “You’re my best friend, Christa! I can’t just let you ruin your life like this. I’ve been thinking about it, and I’m sorry, I know I promised to keep it a secret, but you need help!” I paused, and she looked up at me. “I’m going to tell your dad.”
Tears spilled down her cheeks. “Okay,” she practically whispered. I sat down next to
her on the pew and hugged her. I was crying now, too. She pulled away to look at me. “This
whole past week I didn’t drink, Brooke. Honest I didn’t. I couldn’t. Every time I went to, I kept picturing your face. I know you probably think I don’t remember anything about that night, but I know I scared you. And I’m so sorry for that. I never wanted you to find out, I never wanted to hurt you. I’ve missed you. And I realized I couldn’t keep drinking and still be your friend. You mean too much to me…” I hugged her again, relieved beyond description.
Maggie came back in with Amy and Simon. When they saw that we were crying their expressions turned serious.
Amy spoke first. “What’s going on?”
I looked at Christa. “Is it okay if we tell them?” I asked. She nodded her head. Taking a deep breath, I relayed everything that had happened the past week. We spent the evening in prayer, and discussed strategies for helping Christa get through this. And as concerned as I was for my friend, I knew that she would succeed, because God really did care.
After all, He had given Christa me for a best friend.